A recent conversation with some fellow analysts revealed a puzzling set of claims. EMC, at its EMC World conference (May 3-7) claimed to be the leader in flash array shipments. The very next week, in the same Las Vegas hotel, IBM also claimed leadership in flash.
Who do you believe?
- EMC is counting XtremIO Arrays as units shipped and according to Gartner Group held the #1 market share position with a 31.1% share, which is over a ten percentage point share lead
- IBM is counting capacity of PBs shipped with all of their flash storage solutions: The FlashSystem 840, 900, V840, V9000, DS8000, plus the XIV systems, Storwize V7000, IBM Flash DAS, and IBM PCIe Adapters
- NetApp is the leader if you count total flash systems shipped (NetApp-branded plus privately-branded systems) spanning multiple years as their SANtricity operating system and E-Series platforms have sold over 750,000 units
- Pure Storage uses its 700% growth to show that it’s the #1 fastest-growing flash storage company
- Then, if you want to compare any vendor’s total all flash array (AFA) systems sold this past year against hybrid storage arrays, Nimble Storage beats any of the AFA vendors.
With a webcast in the style of the big system makers like EMC and Oracle, SanDisk announced its InfiniFlash flash appliance. InfiniFlash is a box that crams a whopping 500 terabytes into only 3U of rack space.
How big is 500 terabytes? It’s more bytes than SanDisk’s entire flash output for 2001.
SanDisk boasts that InfiniFlash is a “category-defining product”, and pointed to the fact that IDC, who provided support for the roll-out, created a new “Big Data Flash” storage product category for this device.
The system boasts performance of one million random-read IOPS, which is impressive, but doesn’t give much indication of how it performs in standard enterprise dataflow, which is generally assumed to consist of a 70/30 split of reads and writes. (I should mention here that Objective Analysis published a survey of users’ IOPS and latency needs which can be purchased on our website.)
Price is a major focus for this product. SanDisk says that it will sell systems bundled with software at less than Continue reading
IBM has unveiled its new IBM FlashSystem V9000, an all-new offering that supports scale-up and scale-out flash growth models. The FlashSystem V9000 is an upgrade to the company’s FlashSystem V840 product. IBM also introduced the new IBM FlashSystem 900, the follow-on generation to the IBM FlashSystem 840. A full complement of software services (including snapshots and replication) is bundled with the product.
Over 4,000 IBM FlashSystems have shipped since the brand was introduced two years ago causing the company’s bit shipments to outpace the combined shipments of the second and third-ranked flash array providers.
The IBM FlashSystem V9000 comes in a 6U package that incorporates twelve IBM MicroLatency modules that provide 57TB of RAID 5 usable capacity, which then blooms to 285TB with IBM Real-time Compression. The proprietary modules provide more consistent performance than SSD-based systems – the system is as fast when it is 90% full as it is when only 10% of its total capacity is in use.
IBM tells us that the FlashSystem V9000 is not simply a virtualized node built up from a number of IBM FlashSystem 900 systems, but is a single, integrated system purpose-built to address the needs and focus of cloud, analytics, mobile/social and security. It supports seamless concurrent capacity increases up to its 2.2 petabyte upper limit when real-time compression is used.
IBM’s FlashSystem V9000 is currently available and carries a 7-year warranty as well as an optional 5-year “TCO” lease that IBM has priced to be cheaper than the high-performance disk arrays it has been designed to replace. This is intended to bring peace of mind to skittish would-be flash users.
An acquaintance pointed out that EMC has published a case study detailing how one of its divisions, EMC Corporate IT, decided to use an EMC Isilon storage system over other competing candidates:
After considering various storage solutions, EMC IT selected EMC Isilon® scale-out storage as the foundation for a new Hadoop-as-a-Service (HDaaS) offering.
My acquaintance wondered exactly which systems EMC IT evaluated before selecting an EMC array, and whether or not there was even the option of choosing a product from any of the numerous competing storage array vendors. He pointed out how embarrassing it would have been if this case study had been written by a competitor to tout its win at EMC IT.
You really have to wonder why EMC published this case study. Its customers take it for granted that the company will use its own offerings, and would probably leave in droves if it did not.
To paraphrase an old saying: “No EMC employee ever got fired for choosing EMC!”
Tom Coughlin and I have just released a new report that helps shed a lot of light on a pretty challenging subject: We asked nearly 200 IT managers to tell us how much storage performance their systems require. They provided candid replies about their IOPS, latency, and capacity needs for a number of leading applications.
The results of the Storage Performance Council’s SPC-1 report, show Kaminario surpassing last year’s record performance by 20k IOPS.
Interestingly enough Kaminario set the 2012 record using DRAM while this year the company was able to do it with its fourth-generation all-flash K2.
Why is the SPC1 test so highly respected in Continue reading
Violin Memory and Microsoft have jointly announced a novel way of harnessing the power of Windows Server software. Violin will be shipping its memory arrays with a special version of Windows Server 2012 R2 pre-installed on the embedded server that manages the internal operations of Violin’s all-flash array.
Violin explains that native support of specially-optimized versions of Windows Server and System Center that have been tuned for an all-memory array will provide improved performance and economics for large-scale enterprise cloud deployments.
The system can internally run Continue reading
SSD spec sheets, might lead you to believe that power is just not an issue. For example, Samsung lists the power use for a 512GB 830 SSD at 0.127W (typical) for “Active Power Use”. This implies very low demands on the system power supply.
If you do some more research, you find that the peak power usage is a lot higher. AnandTech, in a review article reports sequential write power draw at 5.14W and random write power draw at 5.8W. In that 2.5” SSDs use the 5V power rail exclusively, this is more than Continue reading
Skyera, a flash appliance start-up, has been working for some time to amaze would-be flash users. The company takes advantage of the most advanced flash processes and non-SSD formats to squeeze as much flash as possible into a 1U cabinet.
Not content with the 44TB maximum of its original 1U skyHawk product (based on 19/20nm NAND chips from Micron and Toshiba) the company, at the Flash Memory Summit, introduced its new product, skyEagle, a system that provides up to 500TB of storage in the same Continue reading
Violin Memory has introduced the 6264 array, doubling the capacity of its earlier 6232 product from 32 terabutes (TB) to 64TB, while remaining in the same form factor. The company has done this by migrating to 19nm MLC NAND flash from Toshiba.
Violin says that this move was made possible by the fact that the company’s arrays aren’t built using standard SSDs, and claims that this has caused Violin’s all flash array revenues to be significantly higher than those of any of its competitors.
With this product the company doubles its power efficiency, when measured in watts per gigabyte, and boosts its Continue reading