Wednesday, 09 July 2014 00:42

EMC boosts XtremIO range and capabilities

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As part of a raft of announcements, EMC today unveiled new XtremIO all-flash systems at both ends of the size range, along with several major new features.

XtremIO is EMC's contender in the all-flash array market. The company has announced new software-based features - including inline data compression providing up to four times more usable capacity in database applications, and in-memory, metadata space-efficient snapshots for instant, high performance application copies - as well as new entry-level and high-end configurations

The combination of inline deduplication and inline compression is said to give an typical 6:1 saving, and data encryption is also supported if required.

Compression "is the killer technology for relational database workloads," said EMC Information Infrastructure president of products Jeremy Burton (pictured above).

Another important new feature is support for writeable snapshots. Where the traditional approach meant that 10TB of application data in 20TB of allocated could end up occupying 185TB after ten copies had been made for developer or analyst use, the new writeable snapshots mean 19 copies can be made in the original 20TB, leaving plenty of space for changes to be made to any of them.

EMC bigger on the inside 550

Does dedupe and compression make it bigger on the inside?

Existing owners benefit from a free upgrade to the XtremIO 3.0 software, providing security, capacity, performance, and functionality, company officials stated. OLTP databases run nearly 1.5X faster, data warehouses achieve nearly 2X better throughput, and cloning virtual machines takes half the time, they said.

The new entry-level Starter X-Brick comes with 5TB of storage, but provides the full performance and data services of a standard XtremIO array. Additional SSDs can be installed non-disruptively to expand a Starter X-Brick right up to a full 10TB X-Brick.

At the high end, XtremIO arrays will soon allow configurations with up to six 20TB X-Bricks with 12 active controllers. This provides a 50% IOPS performance increase and 50% more capacity without sacrificing sub-millisecond latency, officials said. Orders for these systems will be taken this quarter.

XtremIO all-flash arrays provide "consistently predictable low latencies," said Mr Burton, adding that 40% of customers have already scaled out their initial XtremIO purchase with additional X-Bricks.

Page 2: a customer's view, and more new features.


Boston Scientific principal architect Craig Englund said his company has now deployed eight X-Bricks. Originally purchased for use with a VDI deployment, Boston Scientific found virtualised database servers using XtremIO storage outperformed physical servers by 2.3x.

Although database applications did not gain much from deduplication, inline compression provided a 1.9:1 advantage, with very low latency. "XtremIO rocks" for demanding workloads, he said.

Also new is broader integration with other EMC products, with the introduction of support for ViPR SRM Suite, EMC ViPR software-defined storage platform and EMC VSPEX (also later this quarter). This complements the existing integration with EMC VPLEX, EMC PowerPath, VCE Vblock, VMware VAAI, and VMware vSphere.

XtremIO 3.0 is expected to be released this quarter.

Along with the new products and features, EMC announced the 'XtremIO Xpect More Program', providing customers with maintenance price protection for up to seven years (annual support costs will not increase from the original price), a three-year money-back warranty that XtremIO will meet its specifications (in the event that other remediations prove insufficient), and replacement of any SSD that reaches 95% of its endurance limit during the life of the support contract.

This is in addition to the as yet unclaimed EMC XtremIO '$1 Million Inline All the Time Guarantee' (which offers US$1 million to the first customer that can prove their XtremIO system's inline data services have switched off, been throttled back or defaulted to a “system garbage collection” state) and the EMC 'Flash Rescue Program' (which provides for the trade-in of alternative flash arrays that have not lived up to expectations due to system-level garbage collection, poor usable capacity, or other performance issues).

Disclosure: The writer travelled to London as the guest of EMC.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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