back to article Infinidat's big iron array gets data scrunching, no-footprint iSCSI

Big iron array vendor Infinidat has made its third major software release, adding compression, baked-in iSCSI support and enhanced array analytics. The company’s architecture has 3 controller nodes, which each can see all the drives, and eschews an all-flash design, relying instead on up 1.2TB - 3.2TB of DRAM caching, 24TB to …

  1. Nate Amsden

    sure it's faster

    but at what cost?

    A few years ago I was joking with my then manager about how EMC likes to come in and "buy" business by engaging at the executive level, one of the reasons I have not bought from EMC (though it seems recently they are working to change that image and I see positive results - may be an Isilon customer soon).

    Anyway, maybe it was barely a WEEK later and I am in a meeting with some people along with our then-CIO, and someone comes in with two boxes. In them were two dozen premium cupcakes from EMC. They wanted to meet. My boss joked "why didn't they just buy him(CIO) a @# car" (we were/are a 3PAR customer). Maybe 2 years later had a more direct conversation with the person at EMC that sent the cupcakes. Seemed like nice people, and really appreciated their new approach, their attitude was they weren't going to try to end run around me, if their solution isn't a good fit and we are happy with what we have, that's great. Let them know if that changes. No high pressure shit, none of the "old EMC" that so many people are familiar with, and it is that "old EMC" that these and other newer EMC staffers have told me they are trying so hard to wipe that image because almost every customer they go to feels the same way.

    CIO asked if we need storage I said no not really, but said I am fine to meet with them. I expected EMC themselves to show up but a reseller did instead.

    They weren't prepared to deal with me. It was funny. In the end they actually shifted to try to sell us Hitachi storage instead of EMC which got me confused as until that point I thought they were EMC. They said they could sell us an array that had 1 TERABYTE of cache in it(i.e. Hitachi VSP), so much faster than our tiny little 3PAR array. I laughed, they said this with straight faces too, we obviously don't have the budget for that kind of system. They later walked out with their tail between their legs and haven't heard from them since. It was a somewhat enjoyable conversation though as I rarely get to talk about storage to someone in person who even has a vague idea of what I am talking about. Maybe a couple times a year (yeah I don't get out much). Same goes for networking.

    But I thought of that experience when I read the comment on how Infinidat's storage is faster than all SSD platforms. Don't doubt that for a minute for many workloads especially ones that fit in the cache.

    I have no doubt their storage platform is a really good platform for the target market (tells you a lot if they are supporting mainframe connectivity), and I'm sure really good for many other workloads though also confident the price premium is hefty too, given the high availability probably well deserved premium for the niche of apps that really need that.

    1. Rob Isrob

      Re: sure it's faster

      "but at what cost?"

      Why not do some digging and find out? You can read a dollar a gbyte:

      http://www.storagenewsletter.com/rubriques/systems-raid-nas-san/infinidat-expands-infinibox-enterprise-arrays-starting-at-1gb/

      If their effective capacity goes from 2.8 to 5 PB, that comes close to halving that $1/Gbyte.

      "Don't doubt that for a minute for many workloads especially ones that fit in the cache."

      They have DRAM for the hot data and up to 200 TB for warm data. Listen here if interested, it's mentioned: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTYFF56qdvA

      How they promote and demote that is pretty involved and patents all around it. The 200 TB is just a copy of what lives on disk. And you can bet it isn't any coincidence that random talk about XPoint keeps showing up. It would be pretty slick to speed those warm cache hits up to much faster than 180 microseconds B^)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: sure it's faster

      Nate, the point of Infinibox is there is no price premium. In fact it's quite the opposite. The hardware cost to the vendor of any system is the sum of its parts, which in our case are all commodity. The bulk of the storage is nearline spinning disk, which per-TB is very cheap, as I'm sure you are aware. We don't have development costs for any of the hardware, unlike the VSP which you mention so the price you pay is based on a low hardware cost, low development cost, low maintenance cost and so on.

      If you need a few tens of TB of storage, we're not going to try and convince you to buy Infinibox. If you're looking in the region of 100s of TB to multi-PB, then we can provide storage which under real workloads will beat AFAs on performance, has industry-leading resiliency and will cost less than others' mid-range offerings, let alone enterprise class. Our performance claim is based on actual production workloads and proofs of concept, not unrealistic lab tests, just as our compression claim is conservative unlike some of the claims I've seen wildly thrown around. We achieve what we do with innovative architecture and being incredibly efficient how we use available resources, rather than just throwing SSDs at it as many of our competitors are doing.

      If you are confident the price premium is hefty, I can promise you that you will be surprised.

      I know you're a 3par proponent. Consider how novel it was when it appeared on the scene. It did several things in a very new way. As did XIV, and Netapp back in the day and many others. Genuine innovation can really make a huge difference.

    3. briancarmody

      Re: sure it's faster

      Hey Nate - I work at Infinidat, thanks for the thoughtful comment. Despite the "premium" features of Infinibox, it is not an expensive product. I can share an anecdote: I recently saw a customer quote for a Dell EMC Unity midrange system, and Infinibox was one sixth of the cost per TB. For VMAX, which the majority of our workload gets migrated from, the difference is much higher. I'm not involved with every customer engagement, but in my three years I can't recall a case where a solution from EMC/HDS/Pure/etc had a lower cost per TB than Infinibox. For sure anecdotes != data, but you could also take a look at this reddit thread where a customer describes our pricing relative to EMC:

      https://www.reddit.com/r/storage/comments/4vyk4g/infinibox_f600_deployment/

      Brian

  2. Rob Isrob

    Much better writeup than that other one

    Chris - I can see you either listened to the youtube or paid attention. There's another article out there today that isn't even close on some of the details.

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

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