Tintri FlexDrive Goes GA – Is A Very Handy Feature

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post and you’ll probably see the content elsewhere on the Internet. Tintri provided no editorial input and the words and opinions in this post are my own.

Tintri recently announced the general availability of FlexDrive, a storage expansion feature for EC6000 all-flash arrays that gives you the ability to increase system capacity to meet a specific storage need by adding drives incrementally. This feature is included at no charge with Tintri’s 4.4.1 release.


What is It?

With FlexDrive, you can purchase a partially populated EC6000 all-flash array (with as few as thirteen drives) and add as little as one drive at a time to increase the capacity. Once the drive’s been added, all you need to do is click on the “Expand” button in the management interface and you’re all set. It’s a non-disruptive activity that you can do yourself, so there’s no need for drawn out change control meetings or extensive planning for support staff to be on-site to deploy the capacity. Imagine working with storage infrastructure that no longer ties you to the requirement to deploy flash drives as if they were spinning disks? Instead of scrambling to deploy additional rack and power capacity that you don’t really need, you can slot in a drive and get what you need out of the equipment, rather than dreading the idea of a capacity upgrade.


Who’s the Estimator?

Many all-flash systems leverage data reduction technologies such as deduplication and compression to provide effective resource utilisation in a dense footprint. So how do you know how the addition of one drive to your array will impact the capacity and performance of the array? Tintri has incorporated an expansion estimator into its standard user interface so that you can model the impact of adding drives. The estimator also uses historical system workload profiles to help you get to the right number of extra drives, ensuring you get the necessary number to meet your target capacity. With the estimator by your side, you not only have clarity around what the future holds, you also get the benefit of some really smart analytics ensuring you get the performance and capacity outcome you need based on what you’ve used the array for previously.


The Benefits are Real

Storage provisioning has been a somewhat clumsy process for years. Anyone familiar with deploying terabytes of disk storage will also be painfully familiar with the various vendors’ requirements to deploy disks in certain, minimum numbers to satisfy configuration and performance requirements. This approach was extremely important when spinning disk ruled the world. Those days are behind us though, with Flash-dominant arrays becoming the norm in a data centres all over the world. When you have Flash as your primary medium, you don’t necessarily have to deploy a lot of it to meet your performance requirements. So why buy five more disks when you only need the capacity of two? It’s a waste of money, not just in terms of the asset, but also the additional costs, such as power, cooling and (possibly) additional rack space. All to meet a requirement that keeps systems from the early part of the century happy. With FlexDrive you don’t need to do this, and nor should you have to. The estimator adds a level of intelligence to the expansion activity that has previously been an exercise in guesswork and hope. Tintri aren’t interested in making you buy trays of disk just because that’s the way it’s always been done. Tintri are interested in you getting the solution that matches your requirements in terms of capacity and performance. This approach yields real benefits when it comes to budget allocations and controlling costs for your storage environment. You no longer have to spend over the odds-on storage to get the performance you need for the next six months.