X-IO Technologies recently announced the ISE 900 Series G4. I had the chance to speak to Bill Miller about it and thought I’d provide some coverage of the announcement here. If you’re unfamiliar with X-IO, ISE stands for Intelligent Storage Elements. This is X-IO Technologies’ “next-generation ISE”, and X-IO will also be continuing to support their disk-based and hybrid arrays. They will, however, be discontinuing the 800 series AFAs.
What’s In The Box?
There are two boxes – the ISE 920 and ISE 960. You get all of the features of ISE hardware and software, such as:
- High Availability
- Encryption (at rest)
- Management REST API
- Simple Web-based Management
- Monitored Telemetry
- Predictive Analytics
They used to use sealed “DataPacs” in the disk drive days but this isn’t needed in the all-flash world. ISE still manages SSDs in groups of 10 and still overprovisions capacity up to a point. The individual drives are now hot-swappable though.
You also get features such as “Performance-Optimized Deduplication”, and deduplication can be disabled by volume.
The ISE also uses Enhanced Matrixed RAID Data Allocation, where you get:
- Up to 60 individually hot-swappable SSDs (for the 960, 20 for the 920)
- Writes to SSDs balanced across drives for better wear and performance
ISE Software for “resilient in-place media loss”, meaning
- Less frequent drive replacement
- Global parity and spare allocation
- Failed drives do not have the same urgency for replacement as traditional arrays
Web-based Management Interface
- Simplified management with X-IO’s OptimISE
- Support for multi-system management through a single session
- At-a-glance and in-depth performance metrics
- Customizable widget based layout
As with most modern storage arrays, the user interface is clean and simple to navigate. OptimISE replaces ISE Manager, although you’ll still need it to manage your Gen1 – Gen3 arrays. X-IO are considering adding support for Gen3 arrays to OptimISE, but they’re waiting to see whether there’s customer demand.
[image courtesy of X-IO Technologies]
X-IO tell me that snapshots and replication are on the roadmap and will be added in the future, with X-IO aiming to have these features available in H1 next year (but don’t hold them to that though). They’ll also be aiming to add support for iglu systems.
Show Me Your Specs
It wouldn’t be a product announcement without a box shot.
[image courtesy of X-IO Technologies]
2U Dual-Controller Active/Active
- 8Gbps FC (16Gbps field upgradeable in the future)
- 4 ports per controller (8 ports will be field upgradeable in the future)
- Power Supplies
- SSDs min – max
- ISE 920: 10 – 20
- ISE 960: 10 – 60
- Two hot-swappable 1600 Watt PSUs
Capacity (*Effective capacity assumes 5:1 deduplication ratio)
- ISE 920: 9.6TB – 242TB
- ISE 960: 9.6TB – 725TB
Capacity expansion (up to 60 drives) is done in 10 drive increments.
X-IO tell me they can get performance along the lines of:
- Up to 400,000 IOPS; and
- Access Time <1ms.
Conclusion and Further Reading
X-IO released a really good overview of the Intelligent Storage Element (ISE) platform a while ago that I think is worth checking out. X-IO’s deduplication solution promises to deliver some pretty decent results at a highly efficient clip. If you want some insight into how they go about doing it, check out Richard Lary’s presentation from Storage Field Day 13. This is their first array with deduplication built in, and I’m interested to see how it performs in the field. The goal is to deliver the same results as their competitors, but with improved efficiency. This seems to be the goal behind much of the hardware design, with X-IO telling me that they come in around 60 cents (US) per effective GB of capacity. That seems mighty efficient.
X-IO have been around for a while, and I’ve found their Axellio Edge product to be fascinating. The AFA market is crowded with vendors saying that they do all things for all people. It’s nice to see that X-IO aren’t promising the world to customers, but they are offering some decent features at a compelling price.