This content is part of the Essential Guide: Data storage systems: 2016 Products of the Year finalists

All-flash storage system 2016 Products of the Year finalists

Our seven all-flash storage system 2016 finalists include products from flash-only vendors, as well as vendors that offer all-flash versions of existing hybrid arrays.

The seven finalists in the Storage magazine/SearchStorage all-flash storage system category underscore the steady enterprise adoption of all-flash technologies. Most of these all-flash vendors represent familiar names in the storage world, and the arrays are a mix of systems created specifically for flash and platforms adopted from hybrid arrays.

Eligible products in the category include systems that can only be purchased as a flash storage system, with no hard disk drives. The category includes systems for Fibre Channel and iSCSI SAN, NAS, multi-protocol systems, converged and hyper-converged infrastructure products, DAS, solid-state storage drives (SSDs), disk controllers, flash-based caching appliances, storage virtualization appliances and cloud-integrated flash storage.

Hitachi Data Systems VSP F800

The Hitachi VSP F800 is the first VSP array that uses Hitachi's intelligent flash module drives (FMDs) instead of SSDs. Hitachi claims its FMD storage is five times faster than SSDs and reduces controller overhead by shouldering data reduction tasks. Inline data compression scales FSP V800 arrays to 448 TB of usable storage and up to 1.4 million IOPS. Companion products include VSP F400 and F600 all-flash storage.

IBM FlashSystem A9000

Both FlashSystem A9000 and A9000R (see below) cloud arrays use IBM's Spectrum Accelerate codebase and custom-designed flash modules. Midsize enterprises and smaller cloud service providers form the primary target market for the 8U A9000 flash building block, which has raw flash capacity of 105.6 TB and scales to 300 TB per array with data reduction. IBM claims its FlashCore technology provides at least a nine-fold boost to A9000 flash endurance.

IBM FlashSystem A9000R

IBM's new rackmount A9000R flash storage system targets large enterprises and hyperscale cloud service providers. A9000R arrays integrate IBM FlashCore with grid architecture for high availability and comprehensive data reduction. It uses four grid controllers, two flash enclosures and InfiniBand switches to federate node connectivity and deliver 2 million IOPS and bandwidth of 18 Gbps. Raw capacity of 633.6 TB per rack scales to 3 PB per rack with presumed 5:1 data reduction.

IBM Storwize V7000F

The V7000F all-flash array is a complement to the IBM V7000 family of midrange hybrid arrays. The V7000F system contains 512 GB of flash cache per controller and supports 1.92 TB and 3.84 TB flash drive capacities. The enclosure has 10 CPU cores that IBM claims gives a performance boost up to 45%. Each enclosure supports up to 20 expansion shelves and 504 drives for an estimated 2 PB of capacity.

NetApp SolidFire SF-Series 19210 Node

Finalists in our all-flash storage system category underscore the steady enterprise adoption of all-flash technologies.

This SF19210 is the first SolidFire all-flash storage array launched since NetApp acquired SolidFire in February 2016. SF19210 replaces the SF9010 as SolidFire's high-end array. SolidFire rates SF19210 to deliver 100,000 IOPS and sub-millisecond latency. It is also the highest capacity SolidFire flash storage system, holding 10 1.92 TB SSDs for 19.2 TB of raw storage per node. Effective storage scales from 36.3 to 72.7 TB per node after data reduction.

Nimble Storage All Flash Arrays (AF-Series)

Nimble was a latecomer to all-flash storage, launching AF-Series in February after years of selling exclusively hybrid flash arrays. Nimble all-flash storage system uses 3D NAND flash drives across four AF-Series models: AF3000, AF5000, AF7000 and the flagship AF9000. Four AF-Series arrays can be managed as a single cluster. Non-disruptive scaling allows customers to scale up from 20 TB to 2 PB and scale out to 8.2 PB and 1.2 million IOPS.

Tegile System IntelliFlash HD

With IntelliFlash HD, Tegile launched a high-capacity system that delivers two tiers of flash storage. The base hardware building block is a 3U InfiniFlash IF100 all-flash chassis by SanDisk Corp. (now part of Western Digital Corp.). Tegile stuffs IF100 with 512 TB of SanDisk PCIe NAND flash, its Tegile 2U controller and performance-optimized enterprise MLC flash drives as a caching and deduplication layer. A 42U rack tops out at 10 PB of effective capacity.

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