The Wait Is Over: EMC Unleashes XtremIO All-Flash Storage Array


Jeffrey Flowers, a technical consultant with eGroup, a Mt. Pleasant, S.C.-based solution provider and EMC partner that also had early access to EMC XtremIO, said he expects the technology to do well in virtual desktop implementations and wherever low latency is required.

Flowers also dismissed concerns that EMC has remained on the sidelines while its all-flash array competitors have been building their markets.

"The EMC name will help the company win out in a lot of markets because customers want to reduce the number of vendors they work with," he said. "A lot of customers of Violin Memory and others will be giving EMC a look. Companies that pioneered the virtual desktop and other niche markets will probably lose market share."

Customers are ready for EMC XtremIO, Flowers said. "A lot of enterprises have pursued other alternatives because EMC didn't yet pursue this market," he said.

EMC's Rokach described the EMC XtremIO as an all-flash array for block storage designed from scratch specifically to take advantage of flash memory performance.

It is sold in modules called "X-Bricks." The initial models are available with 10 TB of raw capacity, with 20-TB models slated to ship early next year. Up to four X-Bricks can be clustered together.

With in-line deduplication, that means customers by early next year will be able to configure about 250 TB of logical capacity with performance of about 1 million IOs per second, Rokach said. "You can expect that to grow over time," he said. "There's nothing in the architecture limiting it to four X-Bricks."

However, he said, XtremIO is about more than raw performance and includes some key enterprise features.

XtremIO allows capacity to be added automatically, with a single point of management and a single namespace solution.

In-line deduplication of data is performed at wire speed because data, as it comes in, is mapped based on content, not on its physical address, Rokach said.

"It looks at granular blocks of data coming into the array and fingerprinting those blocks according to content," he said. "This provides a balance in processing and the management of I/O within the array."

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