StorTrends Intros All-Flash Storage Arrays
- By Dian Schaffhauser
Atlanta-based StorTrends has released two new storage devices that feature all-flash storage area network (SAN) arrays. The new 3600i family includes two models: the 3600i and the more capacious 3610i. Both units have a 3U form factor and feature write-specific and read-specific solid state drives (SSDs). The main difference between the two models is in the raw storage capacity of each. The 3600i can go up to 64 terabytes; the 3610i can go up to 256 TB.
"We went out and surveyed all the 3500i customers we have in the field and we found that a little less than 40 percent never will grow beyond 64 TB of capacity. They're in that 20 to 30 to 40 terabyte range, [including] a lot of the colleges and [school districts]," said Director Justin Bagby. By providing a "lighter version" with fewer CPUs and less RAM, they would save "a lot of money," he added. "There's a $10,000 difference delta just in cost between these two products based on the configuration of CPU and memory."
The system in the 3600i features two Intel quad-core processors with one processor per controller and 64 GB of memory. The 3610i system has four Intel quad-core processors with two processors per controller and 192 GB of memory.
A unique aspect of the new storage devices is the use of dedicated read and write tiers. Both systems may have write tier drive capacities of 200 GB, 400 GB, 800 GB and 2 TB, as well as solid state drive read tier capacities of 120 GB, 240 GB, 480 GB and 960 GB.
As Bagby explained, "One of the things with SSDs is that people need to be concerned about endurance." Memory cells can sustain only so many "program and erase cycles." When they're used up, "that cell will just die — and then it converts itself into a read-only cell. You can no longer write to it. You can no longer make block level changes to that cell."
To address that limitation, StorTrends has optimized flash drives for specific types of operations. "We found that the right mixture is to have a handful of write-intensive drives and then to populate the remainder of the array with read-intensive drives," Bagby said. Write-tier SSDs are faster for writes and come with heavy endurance capabilities; they're also about four times the cost of read-tier drives, he pointed out. Read-tier SSDs are faster for reads. The 3600i is offered with two to four write-tier drives and 12 to 14 read-tier drives. The 3610i comes with four to six write-tier drives and 10 to 12 read-tier drives.
Both models include deduplication and compression software. Bagby said that beta testing of both new units shows an overall data reduction ratio of 6.1-to-1 when deduping and compression are used in a mixed environment that may be running backup, virtual server and desktop, database, Exchange and user directory operations.
The new drive arrays also support company-standard features, including ManageTrends, the console for centralized management; snapshots; automated tiering; encryption; a VMware plug-in and WAN optimization for replication.
The company has also updated its free iDATA Tool to be able to monitor activity in environments that include the new models of storage arrays. Once the iDATA download is set up, it runs for seven days and reports back on an organization's capacity use, IOPS usage, reads versus writes for volumes, network bandwidth, performance, application loads and other statistics to help IT classify the amount of "hot data" and "cold data" required.
"The demands on application performance are at an all-time high," said Consulting Analyst Arun Taneja from the Taneja Group. "From high-transaction databases to virtual desktop implementations, the patience users have for traditional spinning disk speeds is wearing thin. With the high-performance and enterprise-class data services offered by the StorTrends' 3600i family of all-flash arrays, combined with their industry-low acquisition cost, IT organizations no longer need to compromise. High storage performance has never been more attainable."
The StorTrends 3600i all-flash array has a starting price of $24,999.
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @schaffhauser.