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Xiotech definitely not using SSDs in near future

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A Xiotech blog post says unequivocally that Xiotech will not be using solid state drives (SSDs) in its Emprise arrays in the near future.

The post, made to rebut a Techopsguys blog, is written as though it comes from someone like Jim MacDonald, Xiotech's new Chief Strategy Officer, although it is not attributed to any individual. The text says: "We are indeed working on integrating SSD into the Emprise line, but ... We are not going to release SSD in any imminent fashion, and the news that we have completed integration is premature."

It goes on to say: "Xiotech can speak with context on this subject, because we became the first vendor to offer SSD in arrays when we first offered DRAM-based SSD in our Magnitude 3D 3000 system in July 2006. In fact, we looked at SLC (single-level cell) flash SSD shortly after that release, and found the technology wanting. It's certainly improved since then, but not quite to the point of full deployment with the same (or better) characteristics as found in the ISE. We think that timeframe is over the next two years, with better technology as time elapses."

The ISE is Xiotech's Intelligent Storage Element, a sealed canister of Seagate disk drives with software involving a RAID Allocation Grid System (RAGS) to provide data protection and high IOPS. The blog states: "using RAGS enables the Emprise 5000 to get 20-30 per cent more IOPS per drive than normal – i.e. the same drive in an unintelligent bay."

Responding to the Techopsguy blog view that 3PAR's T800 outperforms an Emprise 7000, the Xiotech writer claims that Xiotech has tested "a large Emprise 7000 configuration" on what seems to be the SPC-1 benchmark; "Those results are not published yet, but we can say with certainty that the results are superior to the array mentioned in the blog (3PAR T800) in several terms: $/IOP, IOPS/disk and IOPS/controller node, amongst others."

Emprise arrays have a 5-year warranty and customers don't have to replace failed drives during that period as the ISE works around the failures. SSD characteristics, such as cell wear-out through a write-cycle limit being reached, indicate that an ISE containing SSDs might not be able to sustain a 5-year warranty period or the performance levels needed.

The Xiotech blogger corrals in a 3PAR source supportive of the Xiotech viewpoint: "As my friend and industry cohort Marc Farley said about SSDs, "We think they will be an important technology in the future and we are working on integrating them into our products in a way that will allow customers to take advantage of their capabilities." Couldn't have said it better myself."

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