Enterprise SSD Buying Guide


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You can tell how hot an area of data storage technology is by how hard it is to keep up with what’s new. Enterprise SSD is one such zone. No sooner have you completed a buying guide when a whole raft of new products flood onto the market. Here are some of the recent ones:

IBM DS8880F All-Flash Storage

IBM’s DS8880F all-flash storage systems target IBM z Systems mainframe users where high availability, disaster recovery(DR) and performance requirements are high. They use the new High-Performance Flash Enclosure Gen 2 which gives more storage capacity, faster throughput and lower application response times.

The DS8884F is targeted at midrange enterprises for up to 154 TB of flash storage. The DS8886F is aimed at high-performance, large enterprise applications with up to 614.4 TB of flash storage. The DS8888F is the analytics and cognitive application version with up to 1.22 PB of flash. IBM POWER8 processors and Fibre Channel/FICON ports provide plenty of performance.

“DS8880F systems emphasize block storage, not the file and object storage common in Intel-based systems, which are addressed by other members of IBM’s all-flash portfolio,” said David Hill, an analyst at Mesabi Group. “IBM DS8880F products inherit the good capabilities from their storage predecessors and bring new capabilities, such as a new flash storage enclosure.”


Kaminario’s sixth generation (Gen6) K2 all-flash array is now available. Powered by the VisionOS platform, K2’s architecture can linearly grow the number of CPU cores and independently grow solid-state capacity. It also includes upgraded compression technology.

It is comprised of modular K-Blocks that include an active-active controller pair and between one and four drive shelves that each accommodate 24 SSDs. A single K-Block scales-up to 1 PB capacity. The use of Intel Broadwell CPUs doubles performance over the previous generation.

“Kaminario’s philosophy is to ensure backward compatibility with all new generations of the product so customers can scale-out existing implementations with the latest generation of K2,” said Doron Tal, chief architect, Kaminario. “This is critical, as all-flash array architecture starts to more rapidly evolve as we leverage new technologies such as NVMe and NVMe Fabrics to deliver new levels of performance, cost-efficiency, simplicity and scale.”

Dell EMC Flash

Dell EMC regularly brings out new flash products. A couple of its latest ones are Isilon All-Flash, which takes high-performance, low-latency flash into the realm of file and object storage, and VMAX 250F, which adds more affordability to the VMAX architecture.

“With the 250F, we've combined all-Flash and VMAX data services, right-sized to cost-effectively address a broader set of enterprise workloads,” said Dan Cobb, vice president of flash storage strategy and fellow, Dell EMC.


NexentaStor 5.0 on the Supermicro SBB is a dense form factor (2U) all-flash solution that targets high-performance unified block and file storage. The appliance includes deduplication, compression and replication capabilities.

In addition, the NexentaEdge 1.1 on All-Flash Scale-Out Architecture is an iSCSI solution with inline deduplication, compression, unlimited instant snapshots and clones, and cloud copy on write.

Finally, NexentaStor with IF150 (Peak10) is scale-up storage for service providers, telecommunications and technology companies. With high-performance, low-latency block (FC and iSCSI) and file (NFS and SMB) unified storage services, you can provision 2 PB of block and file services in as little as 16 rack units and 2,500 watts.


Tintri’s VMstore T5000 all-flash series makes each VMstore available as a partially populated configuration that can be expanded in just a few minutes with zero interruption. In addition, VM Scale-out treats multiple VMstores as one federated pool and automatically recommends the optimal location of every virtual machine, said Craig Schultz, director of product management at Tintri.

Pure Storage FlashBlade

Pure Storage FlashBlade is an all-flash storage platform for unstructured data available in 8.8 TB and 52 TB blade capacities. The company is marketing it toward big data and analytics users.

“Big data flash platforms are optimized to handle very large unstructured data sets with high degrees of concurrency while delivering flash performance and reliability,” said Eric Burgener, an analyst at IDC. “FlashBlade from Pure Storage is one of the earliest entrants into this high growth new market, which IDC expects will drive $1.05B in revenues by 2020.”

The company cites successful applications already in genomics, sport, Formula One driving, oil and gas, finance and other verticals. These companies have used it to crunch numbers faster and solve complex analytics problems.


The enterprise SSD market isn’t only about the storage hardware and all-flash arrays. Most vendors emphasize the software that they pair up with their latest hardware to maximize storage efficiency and performance. And some companies focus purely on the software side.

Enmotus Storage Automation and Analytics software, for example, profiles user volumes and identifies how much data is active, both in real time and historically, as well as what portion of the volume is active. Knowing this, users can plan their purchases to match their requirements, eliminating guesswork. As data changes over time, adding the right amount of additional data can be accomplished online with any disruptions.

“The question is no longer do I need to deploy flash, but rather how much flash do I need to deploy?” said Andy Mills, CEO of Enmotus.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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