Xiotech today added blades to its Intelligent Storage Element (ISE) line that combine traditional hard disk drives (HDDs) and solid-state disk (SSD) drives. Although Xiotech has offered SSDs on previous generation disk arrays, this marks the first time that SSDs are supported on the ISE architecture.

Xiotech uses 100GB, multi-level cell (MLC) SSDs from Smart Modular Technologies, and provides a five-year warranty on SSD-equipped Hybrid ISE arrays. That compares to a three-year warranty on many other SSD-based systems.

In a 3U system with 14.4TB of raw capacity (with about 10% of the capacity on SSD drives and the rest on 2.5-inch SAS drives), Xiotech claims approximately 64,000 I/Os per second (IOPS) based on internal testing. That configuration is priced at about $100,000, which translates into $7,000 per TB and $1.56 per IOPS.

From a capacity perspective, that means 4.8TB per U, and about 21,333 IOPS per U.

Users can scale performance to almost 900,000 IOPS per rack.

“We’re balancing HDDs and SSDs, as opposed to making tradeoffs between capacity and performance like some other vendors that support SSDs do,” says Jim McDonald, Xiotech’s chief strategy officer.

The secret sauce behind Xiotech’s HDD-SSD hybrid is its Continuous Adaptive Data Placement (CADP) technology. CADP automatically puts data on the most appropriate tier (SSDs or HDDs) without administrator involvement.

“The ISE system’s CADP monitors data access patterns on hard drives in real time and automatically moves data to the SSDs,”says McDonald.

Another feature of Hybrid ISE is application profiling, where the system profiles application I/O patterns in order to eliminate or dissipate I/O storms before they happen

To improve the reliability of the SSD-based blades, Xiotech combines on-drive technologies from Smart Modular with reliability-enhancing techniques that Xiotech uses on its HDD arrays, including head-level sparing, preventative drive maintenance, internal telemetry and external environmental monitoring.

Hybrid ISE can be configured with 20 100GB SSD drives and 20 900GB HDDs, 8GB of memory, and eight 8Gbps Fibre Channel front-end ports. With Hybrid ISE, Xiotech moved to 6Gbps SAS for the internal drive interconnect (vs. Fibre Channel in previous generations).

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