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Enterprise hard disk/hybrid storage systems: 2015 Products of the Year finalists

The 14 finalists in the hard disk/hybrid storage systems category of the 2015 Products of the Year competition blend flash configurations with traditional spinning media.

Visions of an all-flash data center haven't yet materialized, but finalists in our enterprise hard disk/hybrid storage systems category for the Storage magazine/ 2015 Products of the Year award illustrate how prevalent flash has become. Each of the 14 finalists in the hard disk/hybrid storage systems category incorporates flash configurations alongside traditional spinning media. Several scale-out NAS systems are included, along with some midrange storage systems and startups trying to pioneer data-aware storage.

Entrants in the hybrid storage systems category include vendors selling hybrid flash arrays, Fibre Channel (FC) and iSCSI SAN, NAS, multiprotocol systems, converged and hyper-converged infrastructure products, DAS, hard disk drives, disk controllers, caching appliances, storage virtualization appliances and Cloud-integrated storage.

Coho Data DataStream 1008h

Coho Data's newly launched DataStream 1008h provides hybrid storage that scales from 100 TB to 1 PB in half a rack. It is rated for more than 1 million IOPS and features auto-tiering, non-disruptive upgrades, remote health monitoring, and integration with Microsoft Active Directory and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP). DataStream1008h integrates with software-defined networking for linear scale using a single IP and namespace, supports multiple generations in the same cluster, and includes automatic configuration and ongoing maintenance.

Data Direct Networks (DDN) GS7K

DDN launched its GS7K General Parallel File System appliance for big data workloads running scale-out NAS. It embeds IBM General Parallel File System (GPFS) and DDN's Storage Fusion Architecture operating system. The GS7K base appliance supports up to 60 drives in a 4U rack. Capacity can be expanded non-disruptively by adding up to four 84-drive 4U enclosures. Multiple GS7K systems can also be aggregated to serve petabyte-scale workloads requiring fast throughput.

DataGravity Inc. Discovery Series V2

Startup vendor DataGravity made a splash in 2014 with its "data-aware" Discovery arrays, and enhanced the platform this year with a major software upgrade that added security features. DataGravity integrates production storage, security, search, discovery and data protection in a single appliance. Discovery Series arrays analyze the data contents of files and virtual machines to provide near-real-time alerts, forensics, compliance auditing and reporting. The Discovery Series models include the DG1100 (18 TB), DG2200 (48 TB) and DG2400 (96 TB).

Dell Storage SC4020 TLC array

Dell rolled out an enterprise array that supports triple-level-cell NAND flash drives, making it the first vendor to do so. The Dell Storage SC4020 array supports all-flash, hybrid and traditional spinning disk and provides 90 TB of raw capacity in 2U of rack space. Dell's Fluid Data technology works in the background to provision and optimize data placement across drives, steering writes to high-performance protection storage and automatically moving older data to lower cost tiers. 


The EMC VMAX3 marks the vendor's push to bolster its high-end enterprise SAN array with software-defined features centered in cloud, heightened data protection and automated storage management. Application-based service level objectives in VMAX3 are designed to automatically guarantee that performance meets required levels. The platform features FAST.X automated tiering across multiple EMC storage systems as well as non- EMC arrays. It also offers active-active high availability and integration with EMC's ViPR Controller.

HP ConvergedSystem 250-HC StoreVirtual

The CS 250-HC is HP's branded hyper-converged platform that combines compute, storage, hypervisor/virtualization and central management capabilities in a scale-out appliance. Each appliance comes with software preinstalled and requires only IP addresses, credentials, and vSphere license information to get started. The CS 250-HC server node is configured with two Intel Xeon CPUs, a choice of 128 GB, 256 GB, or 512 GB of memory, two 10-Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) ports, all-SAS or hybrid SSD/SAS configurations and support for VMware vSphere 5.5 and 6.0.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. HP 3PAR StoreServ 8440 Storage

HP started shipping its StoreServ 8440 converged flash array in September, designed on its flash-optimized 3PAR architecture. It supports up to four controllers in a "Mesh-Active" cluster for load balancing and incorporates inline hardware-accelerated data deduplication. HP rates StoreServ 8440 for more than 1 million IOPS with sub-millisecond latency and scales to 7.3 PB of usable storage. Features include HP's 3PAR Adaptive Sparing technology, bidirectional data mobility and asynchronous streaming replication to enable low recovery point objective and "zero-data-loss" recovery time objectives.

Hitachi Data Systems VSP G800

The VSP G800 is part of Hitachi's Virtual Storage Platform family, which recently expanded as part of the vendor's emphasis on software-defined storage infrastructure. VSP G800 is sold as a standalone system or implemented as part of Hitachi's Unified Computing Platform converged-infrastructure product. It is designed to deliver up to 1.4 million random read IOPS with Hitachi's Accelerated Flash technology. When configured for scale-out performance, Hitachi Data Systems claims VSP G800 tops more than 600,000 NFS operations with sub-millisecond response time.

Infinidat Inc. InfiniBox F2000

Among the features of Infinidat's midrange SAN array are unified block and file support, and near-synchronous replication. The InfiniBox F2000 starts at 250 TB of usable capacity in an 18U configuration and scales to 2 PB usable in 42U, and includes the same data protection features as Infinidat's high-end F6000 array. Infinidat claims the F2000 provides 750,000 sustained IOPS and throughput of 12.5 Gbps. The system accelerates I/O with up to 23 TB of SSD cache.

NexGen Storage QoS Manager for vCenter 6

NexGen QoS Manager for vCenter Server 6 software runs on the vendor's refreshed N5 line of hybrid arrays that combine hard disk storage with a PCIe flash-based low latency write buffer. The software supports VMware's Storage Policy-Based Management framework. Customers use the NexGen storage software to assign service levels for varying workloads, using one of five preset policies.

Oracle Corp. ZFS Storage ZS4-4

The latest version of Oracle's flagship multi-protocol NAS system features new capabilities for Oracle Database 12c, including support for pluggable database analytics and encryption of data at rest. The ZS4-4 enables storage to see thousands of pluggable databases as one instance. Oracle added 50% more DRAM and CPU cores and rates throughput at more than 30 Gbps. The in-memory, DRAM-based architecture and multi-threaded symmetric multiprocessing take advantage of 120 cores in parallel and 3 TB DRAM per cluster.

Panasas, Inc. ActiveStor 18

ActiveStor 18 is a denser version of Panasas' scale-out NAS system. Targeting energy, government, higher education, life sciences, manufacturing, and the media and entertainment sector, the modular NAS appliance integrates the vendor's PanFS storage operating system, and uses 8 TB helium-filled hard drives and solid-state drives to scale capacity to 20 PB. Each Panasas storage blade holds up to 181 TB of disk capacity per 4U shelf and 480 GB of SSD storage. PanFS provides RAID 6 triple-parity data protection.

Qumulo, Inc. Qumulo Core

Similar to DataGravity, startup Qumulo markets its Qumulo Core as a data-aware, scale-out NAS system. The difference is Qumulo's software-as-a-service model, which uses a "flash first" hybrid design. Qumulo Core can run on commodity hardware, dedicated appliances or in virtual machines. The Qumulo Scalable File System provides built-in analytics by curating and managing data. Starting price is $50,000 for a four-node cluster of Qumulo QC24 hybrid storage with 100 TB of raw capacity.

Reduxio Systems Reduxio HX550

Startup Reduxio Systems in September launched the iSCSI HX550 hybrid array that writes deduplicated data to flash and retains active data on SSDs. The 2U box can be outfitted with 24 hard disk drives and SAS SSDs for raw storage capacity of 40 TB. Built into the array is Reduxio’s BackDating recovery technology that lets users take unlimited snapshots and clone a volume from any point in time.

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