I'm speccing out a server for work, and one of the requirements is that it will have a bunch of SATA HDDs RAID 5-ed together. We need some sort of SSD caching solution for high performance, as we are building the new server to solve disk latency and throughput issues. I know that LSI has its CacheCade SSD caching solution, and Adaptec has a competitor called MaxCache, implemented in cards like the 9265-8i and (more affordably) the 2405Q.
Do these SSD caching solutions work exclusively at the hardware level? That is, can I plug in a SAS card which supports MaxCache or CacheCade, and configure the array and the SSD caching in the BIOS, before I boot an OS? I know that the after-boot management tools for these RAID cards allow configuration of SSD caching, and that post-boot utilities are typically better than the BIOS-based ones, but I'd like to be able to configure caching before booting. If MaxCache or CacheCade don't support this, is there another hardware-based SSD caching solution I should investigate?