EMC touts X-brick's hit house: 320TB all-flash cluster and XtremIO v4

Plus VMAX and Data Domain developments

EMC World 2015 EMC has doubled the capacity of its XtremIO all-flash array X-bricks – and increased the cluster count taking it up into higher-performing application areas.

X-brick raw capacity doubles from 20TB to 40TB while the cluster node limit rises from six to eight, meaning there are 16 N-way active controllers. The previous maximum raw cluster capacity was 120TB. It's now 320TB, a 167 per cent increase.

With a 6:1 data reduction ratio, the effective capacity of a fully packed cluster is 1.9PB. EMC claims the new X-brick performs up to 33 per cent faster than previous models: Jeremy Burton, EMC's president of products and marketing, said up to 2 million random read IOPS are available in this beast of a system.

These developments come with v4.0 of the XtremIO firmware, which brings in fully non-disruptive upgrades – something the v3.0 release could not brag about. Version 4 also introduces replication using RecoverPoint, which ships data out to any array supported by RecoverPoint.

EMC says "XtremIO replication delivers up to one-minute Recovery Point Objectives (RPO), even when replicating at data centre scale with flash-array levels of workload and data change rates."

When X-bricks are added to a cluster, the data is automatically rebalanced across the node set. The v4.0 software can recover from two simultaneous SSD failures per X-Brick, and up to 16 simultaneous failures per cluster with no loss of performance and no additional capacity overhead compared to previous releases.

It has extended historical reporting – maintaining two years of operating history – and better tagging and search functionality "for handling large numbers of provisioned volumes, hosts and snapshots." It also haas improved built-in reporting capabilities.

Multiple XtremIO clusters can be managed from a single XtremIO Management Server (XMS). Copy data management is also available for VMware, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, and Microsoft Exchange software.

With this v4 XtremIO software, and the expanded X-brick capacity and cluster count increase and better protection facilities, EMC is piling the pressure on its all-flash array competitors. These rivals include Dell (all-flash SC), HP (3Par 7450), IBM (FlashSystem), Kaminario, NetApp (EF560 and all-flash FAS), Pure Storage, and Solidfire.

The pace of development is fast. Burton said this is the fourth XtremIO software release in 18 months. Getting rid of the disruptive upgrade stain will be a relief, and we can expect further X-brick capacity and scalability upgrades in the future.

More EMC World news

In another boost for XtremIO, VMAX arrays have gained an upgrade to their automated tiering: FAS X provides tiering of data between XtremIO, VMAX arrays, and a cloud back-end using the acquired TwinStrata technology. Hot data is pushed up to XtremIO arrays, and cool or fast nearline data is stored on VMAX boxes with older volumes pushed back to the cloud. Thus fits in perfectly with EMC's hybrid cloud strategy, and solidifies cooperation between XtremIO arrays and VMAX.

There is a new top-end Data Domain array, the DD9500. Burton says it has 1.5 times the performance and four times the scalability of its nearest competitor.

ProtectPoint is being upgraded so a VMAX array can have its data copied directly to Data Domain arrays with no need for backup software nor any infrastructure. The ProtectPoint product also now supports SAP, Oracle and other application environments directly.

EMC's backup facilities are getting extended with the acquired Maginatics software powering CloudBoost. It pushes backups to the cloud for archiving. Burton said it complements the VMAX FAS X TwinStrata technology, which copies online data to the cloud.

CloudBoost will support Boost on Data Domain and Avamar.

EMC World attendees in Las Vegas this week – it starts today, May 4 – will also get sneak peeks at coming rack-scale DSSD all-flash array technology and something codenamed Caspian. Any attendee who wants to drop us a line about that is welcome to do so.

XtremIO configurations with up to eight 40TB X-bricks can be ordered this calendar quarter. The version 4.0 XtremIO software, also available this quarter, is a no-charge upgrade to customers with maintenance contracts. ®

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