Research Library

Western Digital IntelliFlash – Product Analysis

Last updated July 16th, 2019 for release 3.10. 10-page unbiased deep-dive into the product architecture and advanced features of Western Digital IntelliFlash. Part of new Evaluator Group research on solid state.

Tegile is a start-up company with storage systems that provide multi-protocol storage with both spinning media and NAND flash solid state disks as cache. Two configuration models, HA2800 and T3800, are all-flash systems in the IntelliFlash product family.

The system design leverages common hardware platforms with the most recent models utilizing standard bridge-bay controllers and storage in a single 2U enclosure. Storage controller features are delivered through a combination of open source ZFS, combined with Tegile developed features, CLI and GUI.

Tegile systems are designed as general purpose, high performance storage systems competing with other midrange storage systems. The IntelliFlash systems compete against HP 3PAR 8450 and 8200 All-Flash Storage, EMC VNX F7000, NetApp EF560, IBM FlashSystem, EMC XtremIO, Violin Systems, Hitachi VSP G-Series (populated with all SSDs), and other leading all solid state systems.

Tegile IntelliFlash storage systems provide multi-protocol storage with both spinning media and NAND flash solid state disks as cache in the hybrid models. In some configurations, an all-flash system is possible with all data residing on flash.

Target applications are those requiring high performance, particularly those with large capacity requirements. With raw capacity ranging from 18 TB to 336 TB for the T models, the effective capacity with compression and deduplication can exceed 1.5 PB. For the HD model, effective capacity in a single rack can exceed 10PB of all flash.

Current generation systems are highly available (HA), providing all hot-swap components with active / active controllers with symmetric LUN access. This enables non-disruptive access during component failures and upgrades including host access paths or storage controllers.

The controller firmware supports FCP and iSCSI block access along with CIFS and NFS file access via the HA controller nodes.

Available in the latest embedded software release is support for VMware Web client and vCenter plugins. The VMware support enables users to perform storage allocation along with performance and capacity management from within the VMware console. Additionally, support for VMware VAAI provides enhanced performance with VMware based workloads including thin reclamation, block zeroing and virtual machine cloning operations.

The ability to pin data into flash SSDs in their hybrid models may further enhance performance. Specific volumes or filesystem mount points for NFS may be designated as residing in flash. When pinned, data must be copied onto the SSD cache but will remain in the cache until the system is restarted.

Tegile does support asynchronous storage replication, an included feature at no additional cost, which is a differentiating factor versus some next generation flash systems.

IntelliFlash is Tegile’s flash-optimized storage software architecture that integrates multiple grades of storage media. This includes features for management, storage protocols choice, data services, metadata management, and media optimization.


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