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Xiotech HDD/SSD Combo A Price/Performance Powerhouse

In its latest Magic Quadrant for Midrange and High-End Modular Disk Arrays, Gartner cautioned Xiotech that it needed to grow its revenues and market share "before competitors can provide reliability comparable to ISE," as well as add an SSD (solid-state disk, or flash drive) option. Looks like Xiotech has addressed both points with the newest addition to its ISE (Intelligent Storage Element) family.

The Hybrid ISE combines both hard disk drives and SSDs in a 3U (5.25 inch) form factor that provides more than 60,000 input/output operations per second. The system can scale to almost 900,000 IOPS in a rack, with 14.4Tbytes of usable capacity, for a starting price of $100,000. This price includes the Continuous Adaptive Data Placement feature, a fully automated tool that uses return on investment calculations from weighted IO counts to begin tiering within 1 minute of IO and continues to manage the performance requirements of applications in real time. The company also addresses any SSD reliability concerns with its active and passive recovery-oriented storage methods and a five-year hardware warranty.

According to Xiotech executives, storage performance has been trailing capacity growths. Based on its research, 46 percent of organizations say business applications need a five times or more performance increase over what their current storage provides. The company says that we're at the next stage of evolution of the storage industry, focused on performance, not capacity.

Jon Toigo, CEO and managing principal, Toigo Partners, calls the Hybrid ISE platform one of the few intelligent applications of FlashSSD to storage that he's seen. "Basically, Xiotech has chosen not to make SSD a target for initial writes. [Tier 0, as some vendors call it.]. Instead, they are using it in a way that integrates tightly with their approach to balancing I/O across their system and with their management approach, which is based on Web services and REST [REpresentational State Transfer, which Xiotech calls a game changer that eliminates vendor lock-in]."

The really cool thing, says Toigo, is that this hybrid storage operation is also monitored and recorded by the on-board management facility and presented, via RESTful API, to ISE Analyzer. "ISE Analyzer captures historical data and analyzes it so that guidance can be provided on the characteristics of storage required by an application. Thus, when a customer is deploying storage behind an application, the system can advise about the flavor of storage that should be provided to the app by the admin. Add this to the other outstanding features of ISE, including managed reliability and the most cost-effective warranty in the business, and you have a winning combination."

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