back to article FIRST LOOK: Gartner gurus present all-flash prognostications

Gartner's gurus have completed their prognostications and their all-flash array magic quadrant has been released upon an anticipative flash array world - and The Register has seen a copy. The diagram is the key: Gartner AFA MQ Gartner Magic Quadrant for all-flash arrays. (Apologies for the poor pic quality – it was scraped …

Anonymous Coward

Wrong flash.

When I saw the headline I thought that Gartner was going to start animating the magic quadrant. They could have it with darts coming in one at a time with a reassuring thunk as they land. I'm sure thats how they come up with these things anyway.

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...

So from that and taking my experience of gartner that suggests the best system is probably Huawei.... LOL

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Anonymous Coward

As per usual Gartner are six plus months behind the market, it looks like they gone back to giving the usual suspect the obligatory free pass.

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Silver badge
Meh

Ho-hum.

Whilst it's all interesting stuff, I'm more interested in knowing the market trends of all-flash vs hybrid arrays and whether people are doing anything revolutionary with their flash or just treating it as fast disk.

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Anonymous Coward

All 3 of the names in the 'leaders' box still lack some basic storage array functionality yet they are classed as being 'leaders'. Really?!?

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Anonymous Coward

In IBM's case (yes, I work for IBM), it was a conscious decision not to include all of the management software in the FlashSystem. The reason: pure performance. FlashSystem runs at 100-150 microsec latency. If you just want pure performance, the bare metal FS will have the lowest latency on the market. If you want all of the management features, you can buy the v840 (SVC layer included) which will add another 150 microsec of latency, but provide compression, replication, snaps, etc. Your choice.

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Flash and Hybrid?

There is a load of garbage talked about flash and this obsession that it is fast. Flash is fast when it comes to doing one thing, reading data. Flash is next to useless if you need to write large quantities of data. The bandwidth (not just IOPS) is barely any improvement on SAS and once you cost it against a traditional spinning disk, it become a very expensive toy. Yes, it may have a place in VDI where there are a lot of reads but in the real world the use of flash as a top tier storage medium is currently lmited. The sooner, Gartner and more importantly, manufacturers stop spouting this crap that falsh and only flash is the future the better. Of course the will always be a motive for this, you can make much more profit flogging flash and then, when it does not perform, charge the customer even more to correct the underlying problem.

One assumes that EMS in particurly are still ensuring thier inclusion in the top right by paying money.

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Re: Flash and Hybrid?

Thats not completely correct. Yes a single SSD or an SSD based array without any intelligence will eventually start to show problems with writes. However the architecture and intelligence on how the flash is managed makes a huge difference on the performance delivered. For example, I have a customer who writes 1PB of data all day every day and performance never drops and the wear counter has hardly moved in the 12 months they have been doing this; this replaced a disk array that couldn't keep up with the writes. I have another customer who's disk array with SSDs couldn't keep up with the level of write transactions, put in Violin and the applications are flying.

(works at Violin Memory)

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Re: Flash and Hybrid?

Hello Ashminder. What is that... at least 12 10Gbit links at 100% utilization? Somebody check my "up for 26 hours no sleep" math. What kind of all-SSD storage system was this replaced with? Regarding the need for SSD, my napkin math suggests SATA would have been a far more economical choice. A SATA HDD can handle 100 512KB writes in a second. 226 4TB SATA drives (lets just say 300, accounting for some type of parity). 600 disks if the array does smaller disk transactions. But the real bottleneck would have probably been the controller compute in this case, and the PCIe/SATA(or SAS) disk connections.

I am an employee of NetApp Corp. Thoughts and comments are my own, and do not represent the opinion or position of my employer.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Flash and Hybrid?

I would disagree, Flash is fast at most things, however what it excels at is random reads and to a lesser extent random writes. To put this in context a decent 10,000-15,000 RPM SAS drive will manage up to about 300 random IO's per second where as an Enterprise SSD will manage over 30K random IO's per second. If you are using 4K blocks than this equates to about 1.2 MB/s IO for the HDD vs 120 MB/s for the SSD. The SSD will also manage this at an average latency that is an order of magnitude better than the best an HDD can do and a well designed Flash Array will not show the under load behavior seen with mechanical drives where latency can increase by 50x.

Use cases are anything that is dominated by random IO and which requires consistent low latency IO, this means use cases from DBMS's and most structured data to VDI.

If you throw de-duplication into the equation then Flash will outperform any HDD's for any pools of data where decent levels of de-duplication are being achieved because any decent level of de-duplication has the effect of randomising data in the storage pools creating a toxic environment for mechanical HDD's.

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Anonymous Coward

Odd place for EMC

EMC's location on the Gartner pictogram confuses me a tad. EMC's presence in the AFA market is entirely down to their purchase of XtremIO.

Effectively EMC spent a very large amount of money acquiring what is essentially a soft appliance. They then spent 2 years getting what was apparently a customer ready platform at the time of purchase ready for their customers finally releasing a product which was stripped of almost all features EMC's own high end Array customers would have expected to see in an Enterprise Array. No snapshots, no replication, no online expansion, no compression.

Replication as with IBM required an additional layer. Little additional functionality has been added since leaving XIO as one of the physically largest and lower performing AFA's. Not only is XIO large it is also not very Engineered, built as it is out of a stack of third party components, Melanox Switch, White label X86 servers and a disk enclosure EMC had lying around in their parts bin. It even has to include UPS's because to protect the XIO metadata all adding to the general sense of the devices being a bit of a lash up.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Odd place for EMC

Agree, how is EMC top of the quad? IBM is the market share leader and the leader in pure performance. PureStorage is second in marketshare and performs about as well as XIO. Pure has all of the management bells inside the array whereas EMC requires another layer.... Other than the EMC label being on the box, I can't imagine what other criteria would put them above IBM and PureStorage. Shenanigans.

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