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StorTrends 3600i Series All-Flash Storage Arrays

AMI released two new Data Storage All-Flash Arrays (AFA) called the StorTrends 3600i and StorTrends 3610i. Both units are a 3U form factor and feature 16 drive bays that are divided into write-specific and read-specific solid state drives (SSDs). The StorTrends 3600i supports up to 64 terabytes; whereas the StorTrends 3610i can expand up to 256 TB. A unique aspect of the new storage devices is the use of dedicated read and write tiers. Both systems have write tier SSD capacities of 200 GB, 400 GB, 800 GB and 2 TB, as well as read tier SSD capacities of 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB and 1 TB.

"StorTrends goal is to replace spinning disk within customers data centers with All-Flash Arrays (AFAs) while offering substantial CapEx and OpEx savings. Just a few years ago spinning disk would have cost customers around $4/GB to $5/GB. Today StorTrends is able to reach price points of $1/GB with All-Flash Arrays for our customers. This is primary due to the cost reductions in flash technology and in new features like in-line data deduplication and compression which allow us to reduce the data footprint and save space for new unique data", stated Justin Bagby, Director of StorTrends at American Megatrends, Inc.

StorTrends customer Cross IT Services and Solutions recently deployed a StorTrends 3610i array, and is in the process of migrating the data from five spinning disk units onto its new all-flash storage solution. The new StorTrends 3610i will now serve as the backbone of its cloud infrastructure, which hosts its end customers' applications and information. "We have long been aware of the advantages of flash over spinning disk, but from a budgetary standpoint it did not previously make sense to deploy on a large scale. However, with the price of flash coming down, it made sense to explore," said Ryan Kelly, Manager, Technical Services, Cross IT Services and Solutions. "After a careful review, we found that StorTrends offered an all-flash solution that we felt had superior features and functionality over that of other flash competitors -- at a fraction of the cost. In fact, the pricing was actually quite comparable to that of a spinning disk solution." He added, "Another significant selling point for us was that the StorTrends service organization is made up of highly experienced storage professionals, and is backed by parent company, American Megatrends - an organization that has a long lineage of quality and stability. Having that kind of company in your corner, versus many of the startup storage competitors and newcomers to the market, is huge.

"The demands on application performance are at an all-time high," said Storage Analyst Arun Taneja from the Taneja Group. "From high-transaction databases to virtual desktop implementations, the patience users have for traditional spinning disk speeds is wearing thin. With the high-performance and enterprise-class data services offered by the StorTrends' 3600i family of all-flash arrays, combined with their industry-low acquisition cost, IT organizations no longer need to compromise. High storage performance has never been more attainable."

"One of the things with All-Flash Arrays that customers need to be concerned about is SSD endurance." stated Bagby. Memory cells can sustain only so many "program and erase cycles." When they're used up, "that cell will just die — and then it converts itself into a read-only cell. You can no longer write to it. You can no longer make block level changes to that cell." To address the endurance concerns, StorTrends has optimized flash drives for specific types of operations. "We found that the right mixture is to have a handful of write-intensive drives and then to populate the remainder of the array with read-intensive drives," Bagby said. Write-tier SSDs are faster for writes and come with heavy endurance capabilities allowing for terabytes of changes to be made on a daily basis; they're also about four times the cost of read-tier drives, he pointed out. Read-tier SSDs are faster for reads. The StorTrends 3600i is offered with four write-tier drives and 12 read-tier drives.

The StorTrends 3610i comes with four or six write-tier drives and 10 or 12 read-tier drives. StorTrends has also architected a new technology called Enlift Cache that sends all net new writes and rewrites for blocks contained in the read-tier to be held within the write-tier. StorTrends then profiles that data block and watches its activity. If that block is issued more writes then it is determined to be a hot block and it migrated automatically into the write-tier. If that block becomes cold then StorTrends will sends the write changes held within Enlift Cache downstream into the read-tier with a consolidated single write. This is another patented technology advantage designed by StorTrends to further protect the endurance of the read-tier SSDs. With features like Enlift Cache customers can rest easy knowing that StorTrends has designed a product that will be reliable, robust and available for the long-term deployment in the data center.

Both models include deduplication and compression software. Bagby said that initial beta testing of the units show an overall data reduction ratio of 6.1-to-1 when dedupe and compression are used in a mixed environment that may be running backup, virtual server and virtual desktop, database, Exchange and user directory operations. However, data compaction varies and will be different for every company. "Some of our customers will only achieve a 2:1 data compaction ratio, however others with heavy VDI users could reach levels of 20:1. This is why StorTrends has developed a Dedupe Analzyer called the StorTrends iDATA Tool that allows customers to profile their existing databases to determine dedupe ratios for their specific infrastructure. Why guess when you can run a simple tool and know?", stated Bagby.

The new StorTrends AFAs also support a list of extensive enterprise-class features that are inclusive within the StorTrends 3600i and 3610i array pricing, which include ManageTrends, the console for centralized management; advanced snapshots; automated data tiering; Replication with WAN optimization for DR and many other quality of service features.

The StorTrends 3600i all-flash array has a starting price of $24,999 with numerous models under $1/GB for effective capacity. For more information please visit us at www.StorTrends.com. Also, please follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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