by Adam Armstrong

EMC Introduces The DSSD D5

EMC has called 2016 the year of all flash. Today EMC released an all-flash version of its flagship storage product VMAX. While EMC did go big here and could have went home they've decided to up the flash ante a bit with the introduction of its new all NVMe flash storage, the DSSD D5. The DSSD is able to tackle the most data-intensive applications, is ready for the next-generation applications, all while delivering extremely high performance and very low latency. EMC claims that the DSSD can speed applications as much as ten times in use-cases such as genetic sequencing calculations, fraud detection, credit card authorization, and advanced analytics.

Workloads and applications are growing in complexity and end users are expecting speedy functionality. In order to power such applications while meeting customer demands, organizations need technology that has the highest of performance with practically no latency. The first technology that comes to mind is PCIe Gen 3 leveraging NVMe. NVMe seems like a simple answer but it has several drawbacks including price, scale, expandability, serviceability, availability, and shareability.

The DSSD D5 intends to take full advantage of all the benefits of NVMe while sidestepping all of the drawbacks. According to EMC the DSSD D5 leverages NVMe technology to deliver ultra-dense, high-performance, highly available and very low latency shared flash storage for up to 48 clients. D5 is connected to each node through PCIe Gen3 and leverages NVMe technology, which delivers the performance of PCI-attached flash. At the same time, D5 is a standalone appliance that is disaggregated from compute, delivering the benefits of shared storage. This all results in performance up to 10 million IOPS, with average latency as low as 100 microseconds, and throughput as high as 100GB/s (that's gigabytes per second not gigabits per second).  Additionally, DSSD D5 FMs are fully non-volatile and feature built in vaulting circuitry to avoid any issues that may arise during power failures.

From a capacity standpoint, the DSSD D5 is ultra dense and uses 36 proprietary flash modules to deliver 144TB of raw capacity (100TB useable) all within a 5U rack space that can be accessed redundantly by up to 48 direct-attached clients. EMC will also be offering the DSSD in lower capacities or partially populated for organizations that don't need as much capacity up front but wish to grow in the futures. The DSSD is also engineered to provide increased application uptime through enterprise-class availability and serviceability features such as dual-ported client cards, dual H/A controllers, redundant components and industry-leading flash reliability and resiliency with Cubic RAID, dynamic wear leveling, flash physics control and space-time garbage collection. In addition, all EMC has made all major components of D5 field replaceable as well as fully redundant, providing excellent enterprise availability by removing the issue of single point of failure from the client card to the flash modules. I/O is also atomic and protected from data loss in the event of virtually every power failure scenario.

DSSD Flash Module

While the DSSD D5 will accelerate traditional workloads, it is really designed to power next-generation applications that require this amount of performance and capacity. Emerging applications need high availability, very low latency, and all of their data will be hot or active. As far as current use cases go, DSSD can be used to accelerate current databases and data warehouse solutions, such as Oracle, DSSD can also benefit applications built on top of Hadoop, while significantly accelerating operational analytics compared to traditional DAS infrastructure, and it can be used to consolidate multiple applications into a single storage platform. The last benefit can help organizations lower TCO by up to 62% and reduce data center footprint by up to 28x.

EMC will be incorporating DSSD D5 into its VCE converged infrastructure portfolio with the introduction of DSSD Technology Extensions for VxRack, Vblock, and VxBlock Systems.

DSSD D5 specifications:

  • Form factor: 5U
  • Models: DSSD-D5-1-2T18 | DSSD-D5-1-2T36 | DSSD-D5-1-4T18 | DSSD-D5-1-4T36
  • Flash module capacity/total: 2TB/36TB | 2TB/72TB | 4TB/72TB | 4TB/144TB
  • I/O ports:
    • 96 PCIe Gen3 x4 lane, hot-pluggable
    • 48 ports per I/O module, 2 I/O modules per DSSD D5
    • I/O modules are field replaceable
    • Connect up to 48 servers with dual connectivity
  • Control modules: 2 Control Modules per DSSD D5 (Control Modules are field replaceable)
  • Client Card: 1/2 height, PCIe Gen3 x8 lane per card
  • Management port: 1Gb Ethernet
  • Reliability:
    • Active-active controller, 2 per DSSD D5
    • Dual port, active-active, field replaceable FMs
    • Cubic RAID
  • Serviceability:
    • Field Replaceable, non-volatile, dual-ported PCIe FMs
    • Field Replaceable fan modules (5)
    • Field Replaceable power supplies (4)
    • Field Replaceable control modules (2)
    • Field Replaceable I/O modules (2), non-disruptive to I/O in dual path configurations
  • Fans: 5 x hot-swappable, N+1 redundant
  • Power supplies: 4 x N+N redundant, hot-swappable
  • Power:
    • AC Line Voltage: 200-230V, 50-60Hz single phase
    • AC Line Current: 6.5A Max @ 200V AC per cord
    • Power consumption: 2315 Watts
    • Power Factor: .94 @ Maximum Load
    • Heat Dissipation: 8.18 x 10^6 J/hr (7,752 Btu/hr)
    • In-rush Current 7.8 Amps
    • AC Protection: +/10% for active power supplies
    • Power Socket: IEC320-C14/4 per supply
  • Dimensions (HxWxD): 8 x 17.5 x 28 inches
  • Weight: 147 lbs.


The EMC DSSD D5 is expected to be generally available in March 2016. While no specific pricing was given, and the pricing will vary with different needs, we are anticipating the pricing to be around $1 million for the entry configuration. Obviously the price per IOPS/GB will be better with scale.

EMC main site

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