EMC Fires Up Flash Storage With XtremIO All-Flash Storage Array


XtremIO is at its heart based on proprietary software running on industry-standard server and SSDs, Goldstein said. Each 4U XtremIO storage block, which EMC calls an X-Brick, has a capacity of 6.763 TB without deduplication, and offers more than 150,000 functional 4-KB mixed read-write IOs per second and 250,000 functional 4-KB read IOPS.

The array features scale-out operation so that adding a new X-Brick scales both capacity and performance linearly. "If you add an X-Brick to the original X-Brick, you double performance and capacity," he said. "Add two more, and they double again."

XtremIO also utilizes all the flash storage components and other components across the system to increase performance, Goldstein said.

"In a lot of flash array systems, you have to designate volumes to live on certain drives," he said. "We distribute the volumes across all the drives and controllers to get the best performance. Because performance is inherently consistent, you get the best performance. And services like thin volumes, inline dedupe and snapshots can be done all at full performance."

EMC also wants to tie server-based PCIe flash storage to its new XtremSW Suite. The XtremSW Suite builds on the company's XtremSW Cache software, which turns server-based flash into a high-performance cache.

The XtremSW Suite, when it ships in mid-2013, will allow eMLC and SLC XtremSF flash accelerators as well as non-EMC PCIe flash devices to be combined into a larger cache or as a high-performance direct-attached storage pool with coherency for Oracle RAQ and Microsoft clusters, Hussain said.

"It's the software layer that will drive customer adoption of PCIe flash storage," he said.

EMC's flash storage strategy is based on some powerful technology, said Jamie Shepard, regional vice president at Lumenate, a Dallas-based solution provider and longtime EMC partner.

Shepard's former company, ICI, which in January merged with Lumenate, had one of EMC's first VFCache accelerators and a pre-acquisition XtremIO flash storage array in its labs tied together as part of a virtual desktop infrastructure solution. "It was ridiculously faster than anything we tested before," he said.

The new XtremSF accelerators and XtremIO arrays are not dumb flash storage products, but instead feature a lot of intelligence that Fusion-io and others will have to integrate to compete, Shepard said.

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