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EMC adds DSSD D5 and VMAX all-flash arrays to enterprise portfolio

DSSD D5 brings array-based PCIe flash to market for EMC. VMAX hybrid arrays upgrade controller software to create two all-flash arrays, the 450F and 850F

EMC has launched the first product based on its DSSD rack-scale flash, the D5, which offers 10 million IOPS and 144TB in 5U of rack space.

The storage giant – recently bought by Dell – has also revamped controller software in its VMAX enterprise arrays to create the VMAX all flash arrays, which use 3D TLC flash and scale up to 8PB.

EMC's DSSD rackscale-flash array is based on the acquisition of DSSD in mid-2014. The startup's flash array technology was based on PCIe flash drives although with this week's launch EMC said the flash modules it uses are a custom design.

DSSD aims at extremely high-performance and analytics workloads such as applications built on top of Hadoop and in-memory database use cases such as SAP Hana.

A DSSD D5 supports up to 48 servers with a mesh of NVME PCIe gen 3 connectivity.

Meanwhile, EMC has announced the launch of two all-flash VMAX arrays with revamped controller software.

According to EMC marketing vice-president Chris Ratcliffe, the company has been “working to upgrade infrastructure software in its arrays to support flash storage natively”, in the expectation that the price of “enterprise-class SSDs would drop in price to below that of mechanical drives”.

He said the timeframe has been that that would happen in early 2016 and this launch of all-flash VMAX is the first manifestation of this.

Read more about all-flash storage

Ratcliffe described the work as a “ground-up re-engineering” of the VMAX software (controller hardware is untouched) that include “write coalescing” in which multiple writes are held in cache for as long as possible until being written into flash storage.

Much of that capability, he said, is down to relatively large amounts of cache in the VMAX arrays.

He said: “Mostly, we are leveraging VMAX cache to manage and extend the life of SSDs. We've got a tonne of data from our XtremIO and hybrid arrays on flash usage and wear and have developed a number of mechanisms to deal with it. We've written 9 million lines of code.”

What Ratcliffe refers to here is the difficulties of the so-called program/erase cycle. This refers to the need in solid state storage to erase and repurpose flash cells after use.

VMAX all-flash arrays come with 53TB of useable storage in a base product with a V-Brick controller engine. Drives are Samsung 3D TLC flash with latency for reads and writes of less than 500 milliseconds. There can be up to 4TB of NVRAM cache per V-Brick.

Customers can add capacity in 13TB increments up to 500TB per engine. The VMAX all-flash arrays come in two base units, the 450F that can comprise up to four engines and up to 2PB and the 850F that has eight engines and up to 4PB of capacity.


Read more on SAN, NAS, solid state, RAID