EMC Demos 'Project X' All-flash Storage, Says Shipments To Start Early 2013

EMC has started showing off its first all-flash storage array, a new device in which even at a minimal configuration proved to be a high-speed platform for virtual desktop infrastructure, according to one solution provider.

The new all-flash storage array, dubbed "Project X" by EMC, is the first product developed in stealth mode by XtremIO, an Israel-based startup acquired by EMC.

EMC demonstrated Project X at last week's VMworld conference.

[Related: EMC Acquires XtremIO, Becomes First Top-tier Vendor With All-Flash Array ]

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EMC said Project X is a scalable storage array that is built with flash memory, with no spinning drives inside the device. It is based on commodity server hardware, and it includes a full range of storage features including real-time inline deduplication, clones and snapshots, thin provisioning, and VMware API (VAAI) support.

The storage solution includes dual-storage processors with no single point of failure, and it provides hundreds of thousands of fully random 4-KB IOs per second with a consistent latency of under 0.1 milliseconds. Capacity starts at 7 TB in a 4U footprint.

Because of Project X's scalable architecture, both performance and capacity scale as additional 4U nodes are installed.

Jamie Shepard, executive vice president of technology solutions at ICI, a Marlborough, Mass.-based solution provider and the first EMC channel partner to have an early release version of Project X, said his company has been doing heavy testing on a 2U version of the device.

"We did 700 virtual desktop emulations, but the 2U device should be able to handle 3,000 virtual desktops," Shepard said. "We also cloned a 100-GB virtual machine. To copy it from an EMC VNX, it took over nine minutes. But, XtremIO did it in under 12 seconds. So, EMC did the right thing there."

ICI also managed to store 9 TB of data using only 1.5 TB of actual capacity on the Project X device for a dedupe ratio of 6:1, he said.

During its tests, ICI estimated that performance reached over 68,000 IOPS, and that with an average virtual desktop session using 25 IOPS, the Project X could support over 3,000 VDI sessions per disk enclosure with no difficulty, he said.

NEXT: EMC's "Project X" Coming Soon

Project X is currently in beta testing with a limited number of customers, and it is slated for general release early next year, EMC said.

Minimum configuration is slated to be a 4U node, which includes two active/active controllers and a shelf of MLC flash storage. EMC has yet to announce possible pricing other than to say it will be competitively priced.

Details about possible channel programs, certification and training have yet to be announced, EMC said.