Since I don’t write anything ahead of time I’m always under the gun when it comes to product launches. You can look at pretty pictures and contemplate your navel elsewhere, this post will last as long as my morning cup of tea so here are just the facts.
At time of writing the current shipping release of the XtremIO Operating System (XIOS) is version 1.05. In this release of code the management system, X-Brick N-way clustering via RDMA over InfiniBand, the global memory pool and the zero configuration XtremRAID (Not a real name, I use it to differentiate XtremIOs Flash protection scheme from the disk array stuff we’re used to) systems are fully operational allowing for XtremIO X-Brick scale out performance functionality, no LUN carving requirement and no requirement for performance tuning.
Inline data deduplication is enabled by default and is global inside the system, every X-Brick has access to a global deduplication cache meaning unique 4K blocks are written to flash only once and N-way access means all SSDs are accessible to all X-Bricks and therefore wear level at the same rate. Any volumes you make available out the front end can be made available via any port on any X-Brick you choose.
Connectivity is via 8Gb FC or 10Gb iSCSI and VAAI (Zero block, X-Copy. UNMAP/TRIM, ATS, whatever) is fully supported for vSphere 4.1 and vSphere 5.0 onwards. Snapshots are available but there will be a code upgrade adding more granular data services later.
The use cases for the system are the same as they ever were, VDI, Server Virtualization and Databases. So pretty much anything that requires a lot of small random IO.
The above is no substitute for reading the release notes, but in a small nutshell that’s the 1.0 release of code shipping today.
A quick note on Directed Availability.
DA is an EMC business process concept, not a technology concept.
Since 2011 (Maybe even further back) when EMC launches a net new product or a product where there’s a significant amount of new or changed functionality the product is first shipped to market through Directed Availability. New Data Domain code, new VMAX, new Isilon, new NetWorker, new Avamar new whatever is sold first using the directed availability process.
The product is for sale, orderable and shipping but there are metrics which control how many systems are manufactured or how many copies of the code are shipped. Okay, so metrics such as what you might well ask?
-Number of support & delivery engineers trained on the product.
That’s pretty much self explanatory as if you have seven thousand people selling a product you want to make sure you don’t just have three people back in the office to support it while their co-workers sit in a classroom learning the new stuff. The more engineers you have ready to deploy and support the more products you build and sell.
-Cumulative production run time.
You set down how many hours of continuous production operation the system must meet out in the wild before you scale the manufacturing and delivery plans for the product to meet projected market demand.
-Supply chain quality & availability.
Lets say you’re sourcing new parts for a new offering, if you find out that every night when darkness falls one of those parts creeps out and eats kittens, you’ll want to know that before you’ve ten thousand systems sitting around the world. On the opposite side of that lets say you’re using a component currently only deliverable by one manufacturer, they say they can deliver the 50,000 of them a month you have believe you’ve demand for but they only deliver you 5 because they have problems manufacturing them. You want to find all of that out before you take $100M in orders from customers.
So those are examples of the metrics in the DA process. The more your business is ready to absorb everything that comes with selling a new technology the more of the technology you can plan on selling.
Getting away from the part that puts things in cardboard boxes or on download sites and back to the tech lets ask..
Whatever happened to Project Thunder?
Amongst talk of Xtrem cards, Xtrem code and XtremIO, Project Thunder is notable through it’s absence. But it’s in all of what they’re announcing today and are going to announce ‘later in the year’.
Let me explain.
You might recall that Project Thunder was what I/they called ‘server networked flash’. A scalable PCIe based solution networked together with InfiniBand to deliver millions of IOPS at a very low latency. So the team wrote the code, built the product, trotted it out for some behind closed door meetings with customers, did some proof of concepts and when they ran through all the customer feedback it boiled down to one thing.
Like it a lot, but it needs to be more like a storage array.
Indeed were you to go through all the feedback you’d find that XtremSW Cache (The artist previously known as VFCache) and XtremIO cover every use case Thunder was designed to address between them. So the Thunder hardware has been shelved and the Thunder data path and data services software has been absorbed by XtremIO, XtremSW Cache and parts of the XtremSF Suite ‘later this year’.
That’s pretty much all I’ve got for this post. No changes to XtremSF Cache besides the rename and ability to use the new XtremSF DAS cards in their various sizes, but you can expect a major version number increase ‘later this year’.
And that was the final swallow so we're done. See you in Vegas…I mean, ‘later’.
(And don't forget to backup your data regardless of if it's on Flash or not.)