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July 4, 2014updated 22 Sep 2016 11:37am

5 flash array storage solutions worth considering

Some of the best offerings from HP, Dell, Pure Storage, Skyera and Nimbus Data.

By Duncan Macrae

Skyera skyHawk

The skyHawk, which recently became available in the UK, is an all-flash enterprise solid-state storage system built from the ground up in an effort to provide the most demanding enterprise customers with best-of-breed hardware and software.

Described as "completely integrated and completely seamless", Skera says the storage platform combines affordability and performance in the "only viable all-flash array to break the price barrier for mainstream enterprise storage".

skyHawk’s vertically integrated hardware and software solution combines the attributes of a purpose-built flash storage array, designed to maximise flash performance, with a rich feature set of storage software tools.

With this solution, enterprise customers can utilise solid-state technology as a direct replacement for traditional hard disk drives, bringing "unparalleled performance, speed and capacity" to all of their applications, while reducing costs for power consumption and physical space.

What Skyera says:

– High performance and low latency to meet broad data requirements.
– Superior data reduction to minimize storage costs.
– Superior power, cooling and space utilisation achieve lower total cost of ownership.

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Pure Storage FlashArray 405

This is an entry-level array for midsized companies, distributed operations and single-application deployments.

As Pure Storage says: "Don’t let its small size fool you." The FA-405 aims to punch above its weight, offering up to 40TB of usable space in a 1U controller form factor, making it ideal for top-of-rack and entry-level configurations. Running on the same Purity 4.0 software as its higher capacity counterparts, the FA-405 has been designed to deliver all the power, performance and enterprise-class features of the Pure Storage’s FA-420 and FA-450 arrays, with the budget and space conscious requirements of smaller and distributed businesses in mind.

The FA-405 could also be ideal for single-application starter deployments, such as VDI pilots or single database acceleration, and can be upgraded non-disruptively to a FA-420 or FA-450 system, as a customer’s capacity or performance needs expand.

What Pure Storage says:

– Up to 100,000 32K IOPS @ – 3 GB/s bandwidth.
– Up to 40+ TBs effective capacity.
– 2.75-11 TB raw capacity.
– 4 x 10 Gb/s Ethernet iSCSI or
– 4 x 8 Gb/s Fibre Channel and 4 x 10Gb/s Ethernet iSCSI or
– 4 x 10 Gb/s Ethernet iSCSI (all 405 systems include Replication Ports).

Nimbus Data Gemini F400 and F600

Nimbus Data claims its all-flash arrays, Gemini F400 and F600, break new ground as the first arrays to utilise 1x nanometer MLC flash, directly challenging hybrid HDD/SSD arrays on cost-per-gigabyte for server virtualisation and VDI while delivering the superior reliability, consistent performance, and lower operating costs of all-flash storage.

The Gemini F400 and F600 also set new performance records, deliver 2-5x greater IOps and lower latency than competing offerings, strengthening Nimbus Data’s position in the market in low-latency applications like databases, analytics, and OLTP, according to the company.

What Nimbus Data says:

– 100% flash memory for unrivalled performance.
– Industry’s best efficiency and lowest operating costs.
– High availability with no single-point-of-failure.
– FC, iSCSI, NFS, SRP, IPoIB, RDMA, and SMB protocols.
– Patent-pending architecture and flash management.
– Ethernet, Fibre Channel and Infiniband connectivity.
– Complete data protection and optimisation software.
– Hot-swap everything with live expansion/upgrades.

HP 3PAR StoreServ 7450

The HP 3PAR StoreServ 7450 storage is marketed as the only all-flash array in the industry that delivers the performance advantages of a purpose-built, flash-optimised architecture without compromising resiliency, efficiency, or data mobility. A flash-optimised architecture reduces the performance bottlenecks that can choke general-purpose disk arrays that have been retrofitted with solid-state disks (SSDs).

However, unlike other purpose-built flash arrays, HP says the 3PAR StoreServ 7450 doesn’t require you to introduce an entirely new architecture into your environment to achieve flash-optimised performance.

You could accelerate business agility by boosting application performance with more than 900,000 IOPS at less than 0.7 milliseconds (ms) latency while delivering the same Tier 1 data services from the storage platform that powers 3 of the world’s 4 largest Managed Service Providers.

What HP says:

– Achieve sub-millisecond response time for your critical applications by hosting them on HP 3PAR StoreServ 7450 Storage.
– Consolidate numerous applications without compromising on performance.
– Lower your data centre power consumption and space requirements with 3PAR all flash array.
– Scale non-disruptively to four nodes, adding performance and capacity.

Dell Storage SC4020

Part of the new Dell Storage SC4000 Series arrays, Dell Storage SC4020 can scale to more than 400 terabytes of raw capacity. It supports a wide range of workloads for organisations, across all industries and sizes, seeking a high-performing, mid-sized SAN entry point or a remote or branch office storage solution.

For example, the Dell Storage SC4020 can host up to 10,000 Microsoft Exchange 2013 user mailboxes in a single 2U SAN with 24 hard disk drives or can achieve nearly 120,000 IOPS (input-output operations per second) with less than one millisecond latency for OLTP or mixed workloads.

The Dell Storage SC4020 is also said to provide an excellent replication partner for Dell Compellent SC8000 arrays, allowing customers to seamlessly connect and manage arrays together with a single, centralised management interface that can help simplify operations and reduce total cost of ownership.

Alan Atkinson, VP and GM, Dell Storage, said: "The Dell Storage SC4000 Series is redefining the economics of enterprise storage, offering the advanced capabilities of larger-scale enterprise storage and outstanding price for performance to help customers with mid-tier storage needs become more competitive."

What Dell says:

– Highly efficient SAN and compact size, making it ideal for mid-sized needs or remote or branch office deployments.
– Enterprise-class performance with dual controller capability and SAN optimised for all-flash or hybrid SSD/HDD configurations.
– Advanced software capabilities, such as real-time automated tiering, replication, thin provisioning, snapshots and centralised management for multiple local and remote SANs.
– Perpetual software licensing that enables customers to pay only once for software features, even across hardware upgrades.
– Unified storage with the ability to manage both block and file storage, with the Dell Fluid File System, from a single management console.




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