In the last couple of weeks X-IO announced a number of improvements to its iglu line of storage arrays – namely flash optimized controllers and stretch clustering. But what struck me in listening to X-IO present the new features of this array was in how it kept referring to the iglu as “intelligent.” While that term may be accurate, when I look iglu’s architecture and data management features and consider them in light of what small and midsize enterprises need today, I see the iglu’s architecture as “thoughtful.”
Anyone familiar with the X-IO product line knows that it has its origins in hardware excellence. It was one of the first to offer a 5-year warranty for its arrays. It has been almost maniacal in its quest to drive every ounce of availability, performance and reliability out of the hard disk drives (HDDs) used in its systems. It designed its arrays in such a way that it made them very easy and practical to scale without having to sacrifice performance or manageability to do so.
But like many providers of HDD arrays, X-IO has seen its apple cart upset by the advent of flash. Hardware features once seen imperative or at least highly desirable on HDD-based arrays may now matter little or not at all. In some cases, they even impede flash’s adoption in the array.
X-IO arguably also encountered some of these same issues when flash first came out. To address this, its ISE and iglu arrays carried forward X-IO’s strengths of having an in-depth understanding of the media in its arrays. These arrays now leverage that to optimize the performance of flash media to drive up to 600,000 IOPS of performance on either its hybrid or all-flash arrays. The kicker, and what I consider to be the “thoughtful” part of X-IO’s array architecture, is in how it equips organizations to configure these two arrays.
One of the primary reasons behind flash’s rapid adoption has been its high levels of performance – up to 10x or more than that of HDDs. This huge performance boost has led many organizations to deploy flash to support their most demanding applications.
Yet this initial demand for performance by many organizations coupled with the need for storage providers to quickly deliver on this demand resulted in many all-flash arrays either lacking needed data management features (clustering, replication, snapshots, etc.) or delivering versions of these services that were really not enterprise ready
This left organizations in a bit of a quandary. Buy all-flash arrays now that offered the performance for their applications that needed it or wait until the data management on them were sufficiently mature?
X-IO’s iglu and ISE product lines address these concerns (which I why refer to their design as “thoughtful.”) Organizations may start with ISE 800 Series G3 All-Flash Array data storage system which offers the performance that many organizations initially want and need when deploying flash. It is with the data management features (LUN management, Web GUI, etc.) that organizations need to do base line management of the array. However it does not provide the fuller suite of features that organizations may need an array to offer before they deploy it more widely in their data center.
It is when organizations are ready to scale and use flash beyond just a point solution in their data center that the iglu blaze fx comes into play. The iglu introduces these more robust data management services that many organizations often need an array to offer to justify deploying it more broadly in their data center.
The decoupling of performance and data management services such as X-IO has done with its ISE Data Storage Systems and iglu Enterprise Storage Systems reflects a very thoughtful way for organizations to introduce flash into their environment as well as a means for X-IO to independently innovate and deliver on both data management and performance features without organizations having to unnecessarily pay for features they do not need.
The recent announcements about its flash optimized controllers and stretch clustering on its iglu blaze fx illustrate this mindset perfectly. Organizations that need raw performance can get that baseline functionality that flash offers by continuing to deploy the ISE 800 data storage system. But for those who are ready to use flash more widely in their data center, need more functionality than simple performance to achieve that goal and are ready to make the investment without sacrificing the investment in flash that they have already made, X-IO offers such a solution. That is what I call thoughtful.