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XtremIO in SSD brickup ballsup: 'We have seen over 150 ... so far'

Don't worry, failure rate is 'really a non-issue', says exec

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An EMC exec has admitted that the SSDs inside the company's flagship XtremIO all-flash arrays have a high failure rate after installation.

According to a transcript The Register has seen, XtremIO chief technology officer Robin Ren said at an October EMC boot camp that the dead-on-arrival (DOA) rate is too high.

He said: “I am not too happy about our field hardware failure rate for many reasons. However, the vast majority of failures – we have seen over 150 X-Bricks so far – [pauses] in real customer environments … [and] another 200 systems internally. I think we have seen a lot of DOAs in terms of drives.”

He goes on: “I don’t know why they happen at such a high rate … to me I think it’s a pretty high rate.”

When asked about this, Ren told El Reg:

This is really a non-issue, but glad you asked and am happy to provide some context. My comment was simply addressing a question from the audience around SSD media reliability during an internal training session. This is one of those component issues that any array vendor in the industry would have had.

One of the cool things that we built into XtremIO is XDP, our data protection algorithm. So, even if a few drives do fail - which again, happens in any system - XDP protects the array and offers leading flash drive endurance. Again, it’s a non-issue.

Once these initial failed drives are replaced then the XtremIO SSDs work just fine, says EMC.

However, the high DOA rate may have been a factor in EMC putting XtremIO systems on limited and restricted availability for the past few months. ®

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