Xiotech Prepares Scalable Storage For VDI Deployments


Xiotech on Tuesday plans to officially unveil the latest in its Emprise family of storage arrays based on the company's Intelligent Storage Elements (ISE) technology with an eye to making the arrays a cornerstone of virtual desktop implementations.

The Emprise 9000 is Xiotech's ISE first storage array to offer scale-out performance, said Eric Lomascolo, product manage director for the Eden Prairie, Minn.-based vendor.

The ISE is a self-contained, sealed storage module complete with hard drives; redundant storage controllers with local RAID, cache, and drive management software; redundant power and cooling; and battery backup.

Each ISE DataPac has a total capacity of 8 TB. Two DataPacs can sit side-by-side in an industry-standard rack, giving a total capacity of 16 TB in a 3U space.

The Emprise 9000 lets customers scale a single storage system from two storage controllers to 12 controllers, Lomascolo said.

As a result, the Emprise 9000 Enterprise array can scale to up to 1.8 petabytes of data, 4,096 server connections, a maximum of 255 TBs in a single storage volume, and a 96-GB maximum cache size, Lomascolo said.

This compares to a maximum storage capacity of 1 petabyte, a maximum of 1,024 server connections, and a maximum cache size of 3 GB, he said.

Xiotech is complementing its new Emprise 9000 with the introduction of two new software applications to improve the management of the storage arrays.

The first, ISE Manager, allows the pooling of multiple ISE DataPacs across the same data center or across data centers, Lomascolo said. Previously, the application being replaced by ISE Manager could manage multiple ISE DataPacs, but without the pooling capabilities, he said.

"This provides a single view for managing and auto provisioning across VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V, and XenServer environments," he said.

The second application, ISE Analyzer, is a new tool that provides detailed trending and analysis reporting in ISE environments. ISE Analyzer provides performance utilization,
capacity utilization, and chargeback capabilities, he said.

Next: Prepping Storage For VDI

The new Emprise is Xiotech's response to a growing need for storage that can scale to meet the needs of customers implementing a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), said Brian Reagan, chief marketing officer for the vendor.

A lot of Xiotech customers, many of whom work with the vendor's solution provider partners, are starting to deploy VDI, Reagan said.

"It's really unlocked a new set of partners for us," he said. "Many of our partners with storage in their line cards working with VDI are finding that the cost of storage is stopping VDI deals. We can show them our technology helps with the cost of VDMI."

To ensure customers have enough capacity and performance to meet the storage requirements of VDI, they traditionally have relied on overprovisioning of capacity, which refers to the practice of purchasing far more storage than required in order to have the capacity ready when needed, or on purchasing SSDs for increased performance, Reagan said.

"ISE offers customers the ability to use 100 percent of their capacity," he said. "There are no holdbacks, no 'best practices' which say, for instance, don't use more than 70 percent of capacity. Our grid-type of technology gives customers increased performance, and our high level of cache sitting with the drives in the ISE DataPac means ISE is treated more like a 'super drive' than normal storage capacity."

With ISE, customers can serve 400 to 600 VDI users in a 3U rack space, Reagan said. "So now customers will use more rack space for servers than for storage for the first time," he said.

This will be important as storage requirements for VDI booms over the next few years. Reagan, citing studies by his company in conjunction with such analyst firms as Gartner, IDC, and Enterprise Strategy Group, estimated that about $7 billion will be spent on storage for use in VDI implementations by 2014, compared to $700 million in 2010.

The Emprise 9000 is expected to ship in the third quarter.