I've got a 30GB SSD that I would love to start using as a cache for my larger HDDs. I primarily want to improve apparent performance for general desktop use. I do the occasional massive DB migration or other data processing stuff, but it's fine if those don't see a huge performance boost.

I've been looking at current SSD caching solutions, and the notable options right now seem to be:

I'm not sure how to choose the best one for my use, though. I want something that is easy to get running, works well without any ongoing attention from me, doesn't hose my SSD, and doesn't make my life way worse when a common catastrophe hits (SSD failure, HDD failure, I screw up OS and have to boot from a live CD, etc).

I'm not super concerned about performance - obviously I want it to be fast, but I'm skeptical that synthetic benchmarks will accurately reflect the actual benefits I see in using my desktop on a daily basis. So I'm willing to make my decision based largely on other factors and assume that the performance will be good enough - unless there's a good reason to assume that one of these solutions will perform poorly for my use case.

Ease of installation is important, but those three all seem to be in recent kernels / have widely supported utilities. Bcache requires formatting a new volume, which isn't ideal but I could probably live with.

Bcache advertises some specific features that sound great, like skipping sequential IO and avoiding random writes. Are these unique to bcache, or do all of these solutions offer comparable features?

Is there a difference in the reputation / stability / future commitment of the people and organizations supporting these?

Is there anything else I should be looking at?

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    Helpful references for other folks interested in this question: * lwn.net/Articles/548348 * blog.kylemanna.com/linux/2013/04/20/dm-cache Feb 3 '14 at 19:11
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    I think this is a great idea for a question, however, to avoid people misunderstanding it as a product recommendation, you may want to make it more clear that you are asking how to determine a good SSD caching solution and what type of info would be helpful. Otherwise, you may mistakenly be closed.
    – nerdwaller
    Feb 3 '14 at 19:32
  • @nerdwaller thanks for the tip. I edited the title to hopefully make it a little clearer. I know I'm walking a fine line of subjectivity here, so I'm glad you agree that this is a legit question. Feb 4 '14 at 0:40
  • If you do end up needing a recommendation for Software you can post a companion question here: softwarerecs.stackexchange.com
    – James
    May 8 '14 at 16:04
  • Is this like ReadyBoost for Linux?
    – Sun
    Sep 13 '14 at 0:42