by Brian Beeler

EMC Announces General Availability of XtremIO Flash Arrays

EMC has announced the general availability of their XtremIO all flash arrays. XtremIO was acquired by EMC in May of last year as a way to boost EMC's offerings and visibility in the all flash array arena. EMC showed off "Project X" at VMworld a few months later, touting the unique feature set that let XtremIO bricks run at a consistent and predictable IO and throughput rate over its life and at any available capacity level. This past summer at EMC World, XtremIO were said to be in directed availability, which more or less means being sold to their best and friendliest customers. All that is past us now as XtremIO arrays hit the big time, now generally available for the first time and ready to compete in the competitive and cutthroat high-performance flash storage array segment.

The virtues of all flash arrays are widely known and generally touted as the best and only option for high-performance workloads like VDI, transactional databases and as storage for high demand virtual servers...essentially anywhere you want shared storage to operate extremely quickly. The XtremIO differentiates itself form the others though by offering several technologies that reduce data footprint while still providing key features like full VAAI integration with VMware and steady performance. 

Other key highlights include:

  • Content-Based Data Placement - keeps the array balanced and optimized to within a fraction of a percent across all SSDs and array controllers and removes duplicate data inline in the data path which also prevents write wear on the individual SSDs.
  • Dual-Stage Metadata Engine - allows the array to fully leverage the random access nature of flash and places data anywhere in the array without requiring system level garbage collection enabling XtremIO to be more efficient with reduced latencies.
  • XtremIO Data Protection (XDP) - a flash-specific algorithm that guards against SSD failures while delivering up to 6X more usable capacity than traditional RAID. XDP allows end-users to utilize 100% of the capacity on XtremIO – while maintaining maximum levels of performance. 
  • Shared In-Memory Metadata - enables the array to deliver the widest range of performance, and to rapidly clone information already in the array to massively accelerate common tasks like deploying virtual machines. Virtual machine clones are created at up to 20X the network bandwidth between the host and the array.

Architecturally, XtremIO scales out in what they call X-Bricks. Each X-Brick is configured with 10TB of capacity, with 20TB X-Bricks expected next year as XtremIO adds support for 800GB SSDs, twice the current 400GB offering. XtremIO can be deployed in clusters that include up to four X-Bricks, which effectively means 40TB of raw capacity or up to 250TB based on EMC's estimates after inline deduplication takes effect. 

To further illustrate the XtremIO growth within the EMC portfolio, XtremIO is now built on EMC parts, including VNX chassis, which provides better scale and support. A VCE Vblock Specialized System for Extreme Applications has also been crafted around XtremIO arrays that targets VDI deployments. The Vblock solution is expected to be available later this year. XtremIO is also supported with other EMC offerings including; EMC VPLEX, EMC PowerPath and EMC Secure Remote Support (ESRS).

EMC XtremIO Product Page

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