SolidFire: Intros Element X, Guarantees Flash Array Upgrades, Endurance

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SolidFire CEO Dave Wright

SolidFire, in a move to distance itself from its fellow startup all-flash storage array vendors, this week went beyond its unveiling of a new all-flash array to introduce new software capabilities and guarantees its solutions would not suffer from future compatibilities or flash memory wear.

The company also unveiled a software-only version of its all-flash array technology aimed at making it possible for hyper-scale data center operators and large-scale service providers or OEMs to use commodity servers to build their own flash arrays.

Dave Wright, CEO of SolidFire, said at the company's analyst day, held Wednesday in Boulder, Colo., that SolidFire wants to be a force for disruption in the storage industry.

[Related: CommVault Channel Veteran Joins All-Flash Array Maker SolidFire]

"Storage is very often the boat anchor when people are transforming their data centers," Wright told the audience, which comprised mainly storage industry analysts. "We don't think it should be. Storage should be pulling the transformation."

On the hardware side, SolidFire introduced the SF9605, a new all-flash array node that comes configured with 9.6 TBs of raw capacity utilizing SanDisk cMLC-based SSDs. With compression and deduplication, the SF9605 can store up to about 34.5 TBs, said Adam Carter, vice president of product management for SolidFire.

It features a 25 percent lower cost-per-GB than SolidFire's flagship SF9010, with slightly lower performance, Carter said at the conference. "With the SF9010, there are some cases where it is too fast," he said.

More important than the new hardware, however, was the introduction of the SolidFire FlashForward program, a move that demonstrates SolidFire's commitment to the longevity of its all-flash arrays, Carter said.

The SolidFire FlashForward program has two main planks.

The first is the Platform Compatibility Guarantee, which ensures that customers who purchase a SolidFire solution know those systems will be compatible with all future software upgrades.

This means customers always know their investment is protected, Carter said. "If you happen to get the last shipment of a particular node because of upgrades, you're still guaranteed that for the entire supported life of that platform, you'll be compatible with the latest features and compatibilities."

Carter later qualified his statement by noting that the guarantee is for as long as a platform is supported by SolidFire, which is typically five years after it is no longer available for sale.

NEXT: Software-Defined All-flash Storage Array: SolidFire Element X

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