New AMI StorTrends 3500i Array Adds SSD Cache, Tier For Improved Performance

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American Megatrends (AMI) on Tuesday unveiled a new storage array it claims is the first to tier SSD cache and SSD storage along with spinning hard drives in a single enclosure.

AMI's new StorTrends 3500i SSD array, which can also be configured as an all-SSD array, provides iSCSI connectivity for up to 256 TB of storage capacity, said Justin Bagby, director of sales, marketing, and support for Norcross, Ga.-based AMI, better known as the world's top supplier of the BIOS used in PC and server motherboards.

The StorTrends 3500i comes configured with two SSDs uses specifically for cache, as well as two SSDs used for storage tiering, Bagby said.

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"We can guarantee a sustained latency of under 3 milliseconds in a hybrid array, or under 1 millisecond in an all-flash array," he said. "We'll give customers their money back if they're not happy with it."

In addition to the performance guarantee, AMI also offers to provide the StorTrends 3500i to partners as part of a proof-of-concept demonstration to customers for no charge, Bagby said.

"We want customers to really try it out in their environment," he said. "And we offer free installation and training remotely so customers really understand the technology."

AMI has already released a number of StorTrends 3500i arrays through channel partners, a couple of which have found them to be the right fit for their customers.

Stanton Girod, solutions architect at AR Consultant Group, a Monroe, Ga.-based solution provider and AMI partner, said the 3500i is priced like an SMB array but competes with the likes of Hewlett-Packard's 3PAR or Dell's Compellent offerings.

One of AR's health-care customers had cobbled together iSCSI storage and servers, including three database servers grouped geographically, to manage its health records, Girod said. The busiest server was managing the data at 17,000 IOPS, while the servers were offering a consistent 12,000 IOPS, which he said were extraordinary requirements that pushed the customer to look for higher performance from its storage.

"We went to several vendors about the time the 3500i was just coming to market," Girod said. "AMI said we could use SSDs as a cache, and as tier 1 or tier 0 storage, however we wanted to. The customer had archival data, but also had SLAs on offering the records to their customers. We found we could use the 3500i to do reports while not impacting day-to-day queries."

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