Winchester Ships FlashDisk FX Hybrid Arrays

Winchester Systems jumps on the auto-tiering bandwagon with a new line of hybrid storage arrays.

While vendors like Kaminario and Pure Storage are stoking competition in the growing market for all-flash storage arrays, Winchester Systems continues to make the case for hybrid systems.

The Billerica, Mass.-based maker of storage systems for industrial and military IT solutions providers announced that it has begun shipments of the company’s new FlashDisk FX hybrid storage arrays. Available in three configurations, the FX-2U12, FX-3U16 and FX-2U24, the new arrays feature new auto-tiering capabilities to optimize solid-state drive (SSD) and hard disk drive (HDD) capacity and deliver responsive application performance.

Hybrid storage arrays have become a popular way of overcoming the I/O bottlenecks imposed by traditional, disk-based storage systems. Big vendors like IBM, HP and EMC all offer hybrid arrays. Nimble Storage, a San Jose, Calif.-based provider of hybrid storage hardware, enlists both speedy SSDs and relatively pokey HDDs to help drop the per-user cost of Citrix virtual desktop infrastructures (VDI) to $64.

Winchester’s implementation involves automated storage tiering tech that groups SSDs and HDDs into a virtualized pool of capacity. FlashDisk FX controllers monitor block activity and age, migrating less frequently accessed data from SSDs to HDDs. This allows organizations to strike a balance between cost and performance.

Auto-tiering fleshes out Winchester’s enterprise storage feature set, said the company’s vice president of Sales and Business Development in a statement. “Adding Hybrid Flash and Automated Storage Tiers to other must-have enterprise features such as snapshots, thin provisioning, remote replication, and online capacity expansion makes FlashDisk FX as compelling as ever to systems integrators, solution providers, and end-user customers.”

Those customers can expect brisk performance, according to the company. The FlashDisk FX-2U12 model, which supports up to 12 drives (3.5-inch) per shelf, can deliver throughput of up to 5,000 MB per second and over 1 million IOPS.

The bigger the FlashDisk system, the more performance there is to be had. With 16 drives per shelf, the FX-3U16 can push 5,500 MB per second and over 1.2 million IOPS. The 24-drive-per-shelf FX-2U24 suffers a bit of a drop in bandwidth (5,200 MB second) compared to the FX-3U16, but makes up for it with an IOPS rating of 1.4 million.

FlashDisk FX supports up to 16 host ports and up to 2 petabytes (PB) of storage capacity when decked out with 360 drives, each weighing in at 6 TB. Base FlashDisk FX controllers feature eight 1 Gigabit Ethernet (1GbE) iSCSI ports. Hardware expansion options include 1GbE or 10GbE iSCSI, 8Gb or 16Gb Fibre Channel, or 6Gb SAS host ports.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InfoStor. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.


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