May 8th, 2017 by Brian Beeler
Dell EMC XtremIO X2 Announced
Dell EMC has announced XtremIO X2, the first major update to their mainstream enterprise all flash array in some time. While XtremIO was quick to hit $1 billion in sales and has added several new features like iCDM, there hasn't been a hardware leap in several years. XtremIO X2 now brings to bear an all-new custom chassis and core software update, XIOS 6.0. While there are plenty of performance gains, Dell EMC sees an improvement in response times by 80% for instance, the positioning for XtremIO X2 is as much about data efficiency and scalability as it is raw performance. There's also a massive cost savings, as the new X2 is as low as one third the cost of the prior generation ($/GB effective).
Looking at data efficiency, Dell EMC says XtremIO X2 shows up to a 25% gain in data reduction compared to the previous platform. Further, the X2 supports twice the number of XtremIO Virtual Copies (XVC) per cluster, which empowers customers to make XVCs more often and with longer retention. These updates combine to hit on two key use cases Dell EMC is seeing for XtremIO, those being VDI and test/dev. With better data efficiency and more effective use of iCDM, XtremIO X2 is better positioned to meet these demands.
XtremIO X2 still thinks about capacity, controllers and connectivity in terms of building blocks called X-Bricks. X2 X-Bricks come in at three times the capacity as the prior version thanks to a near tripling of drive bays in the 2U storage shelf (72 vs. 25) and can scale to eight X-Bricks in a cluster. A cluster can start out relatively small at 7TB, scaling to 135TB per X-Brick. In total, this means the X2 can reach roughly 5.5PB of effective capacity (after data reduction) which translates to 100TB effective per rack unit. What's somewhat interesting is that XtremIO isn't using large drives to get here. They're using relatively small SSDs (X2-S uses 400GB SSDs, X2-R uses 1.92TB SSDs) and taking advantage of target workloads and software intelligence to maximize the system while keeping cost down. Customers can also scale in reasonable increments, data packs as small as 6 SSDs are available to add capacity to XtremIO.
As noted Dell EMC expects some progressive performance improvements in X2. The response time improvements are the highlight, but there's also a sizing boost for VDI use cases as 40% more concurrent users are supported. VMware performance is also improved, the an 8-brick X2 cluster boosts storage operations by a factor of two, posting up to 40GB/s bandwidth. Looking at synthetic results, XtremIO jumps from 150k 8K 70R/30W random IOPS from the first generation to 220k IOPS with the X2. On the peak bandwidth side, it doubles from 3GB/s to 6GB/s. Another very helpful change is Dell EMC drops the requirement for a UPS to be part of the X-Brick to backup controller cache, which had been in the first-generation product.
On the software side, XIOS 6.0 brings in a new version of XtremIO Management Software (XMS) that has a new HTML5 GUI and other enhancements like advanced reporting and analytics, new global search and automated workflow suggestions.
Dell EMC XtremIO X2 is orderable this month and will be generally available this summer.