EMC’s XtremIO all-flash storage array


Last year EMC announced its new product line XtremIO all flash array as a result of a startup acquisition. Flash arrays are becoming widely popular and are usually considered the best option for workloads with high IO and where performance is critical, such as databases and VDI.

Arrays based on solid-state storage are not new. Most vendors have a product offering of arrays based on solid-state drives. However products like EMC’s purpose-built XtremIO all-flash array can provide the real technology performance edge compared to arrays with a combination of spindles and flash.

EMC has created their all-flash array with some unique features. XtremIO comes in modules called X-bricks with 10TB of storage; 20TB storage bricks have been announced and will be coming soon. A rack unit of XtremIO can have as many as eight X-bricks with 256GB of memory, which holds the metadata in duplicated form and is replicated in the scale-out version to another X-brick. In-line duplication and distribution of data across the cluster for load balancing, linking of X-bricks to distribute data efficiently among controllers using direct memory access gives an edge to EMC over other flash based arrays.

XtremIO will help to reduce the data centre footprint, as it comes in a 6U package with low energy consumption; XtremIO integrates well with VMware. Some of the keys features of XtremIO include:

Removal of duplicate data on the fly using EMC data placement scheme
A powerful and enhanced metadata engine able to place data anywhere in whole cluster and able to avoid the impact of garbage collection, (one of the main side effects of flash based storage systems).
A data protection algorithm for preventing any impact by SSD failures and allowing users to use close to 100% of the capacity with full performance
Content based data placement which intelligently places data with XtremIO optimisation keeping the array balanced and at full performance levels
Shared in-memory metadata for fast deployment of virtual machines.
Consistent latency below 1ms
No single point of failure and emphasis on keeping the data protected at all times

There is significant demand and desire for high performance storage systems driven by applications with high IOPS requirements and performance hungry workloads. EMC is well-positioned with XtremIO to deliver this performance and flexibility to customers. EMC’s all-flash XtremIO technology delivers consistency, reliability, integration and performance. Other storage vendors such as NetApp and IBM are moving toward a similar approach, EMC’s early entry has definitely made an impact for now.