Back-from-the-brink X-IO has a new, bright & shiny all-flash array

Dedupe and hot-swap drives with monitored telemetry and predictive analytics

X-IO has moved on from its ISE sealed array of disk drives to a 60-slot, hot-swap deduping all-flash array with monitored telemetry and predictive analytics.

It is the fourth iteration of its ISE technology and comes in the form of a dual active:active controller 2U rackmount box with 60 drive slots that scale from 9.6TB to 725TB of effective capacity. That assumes a 5:1 deduplication ratio, meaning the 725 effective TB is based on 145 raw TB, implying 60 x 2.4TB SSDs. The box scales in 10-drive increments from the base configuration.

This compares to NetApp's latest EF570 all-flash array, which is a dual active:active controller system, also in a 2U enclosure but with 24 drive slots and pumping out 1 million IOPS from its non-deduplicated SSDs.

The ISE 900 delivers up to 400,000 IOPS and has a less-than 1 millisecond response time.

We expect that its CPU resources are fairly basic. X‑IO said: "Adoption of an industry-standard, high-efficiency CPU platform, lowering the entry cost for enterprise flash-arrays." That doesn't sound like the latest Skylake Xeonry is being used.

The IO interfaces are 8 x 8Gbit/s Fibre Channel, pretty basic, with 16 x 16Gbit/s coming. There are hot swap and field-replaceable controllers, power supplies, fans and regulators.

An ISE 920 config supports 10 to 20 SSDs (9.6TB to 242TB effective) with the larger 960 having from 10 to 60 drives (30 per side in 6 sets of five.) Writes to the SSDs are balanced across drives for better wear and performance.

Deduplication is X‑IO's own technology – settable on a per-volume basis – and is said to have the lowest CPU overhead in the industry. Non-deduped volumes have higher storage access performance than deduped ones.


X-IO ISE 900

Other data services include snapshots, replication, quality of services, and encryption. There is a FastForever program "...that supports growth flexibility, clear expectations of future cost and an upfront price guarantee that is unmatched in the enterprise storage industry."

X-IO says the ISE 900 has an unrivaled price point, without naming numbers. X‑IO Technologies CEO Bill Miller claims it's "...the most affordable enterprise-class all-flash storage array on the market."

There is a web-based GUI and management system called OptimISE, which uses data from system telemetry to provide predictive analytics about the system's operation. There is also a management REST API.

The ISE 900 sits at the top of X‑IO's ISE product range, above the hybrid flash/disk ISE 700 and disk-only earlier ISE 200 and 100 systems. It is not the speed king – that crown belongs to the NVMe-based Axellio and its monstrous 12 million IOPS.

Position the ISE 900 as an entry-level all-flash array with dedupe and other data services. Sounds like a good box for the channel; being more panel van than rocketship. There are 8,000-plus deployed ISEs and the 900 is an obvious upsell opportunity. ®

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