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This paper outlines the differences between a block-based and a file-based approach to disk caching to improve I/O performance. Block-based caches run at a lower level in the operating system and work directly with block storage devices to provide high speed performance, whereas a file-based solution operates in the file stack of the operating system at a higher level. This paper will highlight the strengths and weaknesses of each approach, and demonstrates that a file-based solution often meets or exceeds the raw performance of a block-based solution and allows for a much richer and more powerful set of controls on an intelligent caching policy, essential for delivering targeted application acceleration.
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