Advanced Cache Protection for RAID Adapters

Enabling the onboard cache on a RAID adapter card significantly enhances performance – especially in RAID 5 and RAID 6 scenarios – by accommodating both options read caching and write back caching of data. But data stored in the cache for write back caching can be lost if the cache is not protected against a power or system failure.

RAID adapters typically employ battery backup units (BBUs) to protect cached data, but BBUs require constant monitoring and expensive maintenance, and can only preserve data for a maximum of 72 hours during a power loss.

Microsemi Adaptec 12 Gbps RAID adapters with Zero-Maintenance Cache Protection (ZMCP) built in flash backup circuitry, however, provide maximum protection for cached data and eliminate the substantial costs and environmental impact of complex, messy, and expensive lithium-ion batteries, while improving cache protection and performance.

The following graphic illustrates how ZMCP works:

Now in its 6th generation, the Zero-Maintenance Cache Protection (ZMCP) included with the SmartRAID 3162-8i integrates the ZMCP power source (capacitor module) in the adapter to enable instant cache protection without the need to find space to mount the super capacitor elsewhere in the system. The onboard capacitor module form factor together with the SmartRAID adapter card fits into a LP/MD2 form factor PCIe slot. and optimizes cooling/heat dissipation. It supports a five-year lifetime and is continuously monitored by the smart storage firmware to ensure the data can be safely backed up to the flash memory on the SmartRAID adapter.

ZMCP Features

Low operating costs—No installation, monitoring, maintenance, disposal, or replacement costs due to batteries
No data loss from power failures—Replaces lithium ion batteries
Maintenance-free cached data protection—No need to monitor battery charge level, no shutdown required for battery replacement
Protects data indefinitely—No rush to restart systems before the battery runs out, stores protected data for years
Instant RAID cache protection—Charges in minutes instead of hours, RAID performance optimized immediately
Environmentally conscious—No toxic battery disposal, simplified IATA compliance
Flexible design—SmartRAID 315x includes integrated ZMCP. Third-generation ZMCP is available as an option for Series 8 adapters (AFM-700)
SmartRAID 3162—First solution with fully integrated ZMCP, including onboard super capacitor to enable cache protection without requiring extra server space


Read more on how to reduce data center operating costs and how to protect cached data with our Zero-Maintenance Cache Protection Technical Brief.

ZMCP is available for most Microsemi Adaptec RAID adapters. To find out more, please visit or contact

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