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Dell EMC XtremIO – Product Analysis

Last updated May, 2018 with addition of async remote replication. 14-page deep-dive into the architecture and functionality of EMC XtremIO. Part of expanding Evaluator Group coverage of solid state.

The EMC XtremIO array is a scale-out all solid-state system purpose-built to support solid-state technology and provide both FC and iSCSI block storage access. XtremIO systems cover mid-range to high-end enterprise requirements by adding additional controller pairs ranging from 2 to 16 active controllers to scale performance and from 25 to 150 SSDs to scale capacity.  All data is both deduplicated and compressed inline prior to being written. XtremIO claims there is no performance penalty for in-line data reduction (XtremIO claims that performance increases when the array processes duplicate data) and enables an array with 320 TiB of physical usable flash capacity system to support an effective capacity up to 1,952 TB with a 6:1 data reduction ratio (for example a 3:1 deduplication ratio combined with 2:1 compression).

XtremIO arrays are built from building blocks called X-Bricks, which contains two active-active controllers and up to 25 SSDs.  XtremIO can offer consistent and predictable performance by avoiding system level garbage collection processes leveraging a combination of technologies such as in-memory metadata processing, flash specific data protection algorithms, and a content-addressing architecture that inherently distributes data evenly across all controller and SSD resources for load balancing by using part of the deduplication hash code address (digital fingerprint) of the individual data blocks to select the node for storage.  Access to data on the different nodes is accomplished using RDMA transfers over a redundant internal InfiniBand interconnect.

XtremIO runs an embedded operating system and all array features are included in the purchase price without separate software licensing fees. XtremIO competes against NetApp EF560, IBM FlashSystem, Pure Storage FlashArray, HP 3PAR StoreServ 7450, Violin Memory, Hitachi VSP G800 (populated with all SSDs), and other leading all solid state systems.

EMC XtremIO Product Analysis includes:

  • Highlights
  • Overview of system
  • Hardware architecture
  • Software architecture
  • RAS features
  • Performance
  • Evaluator Group commentary

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