EMC Takes Enterprise Flash Storage to the Xtrem

EMC today announced new PCIe flash server add-on cards that now fly under the Xtrem banner, a brand that will cover the company’s high-performance enterprise flash software and hardware products.

Xtrem is symbolic of EMC’s complete embrace of flash storage technologies and solid-state drive (SSD) based storage systems. To date, the company has dipped its toes by offering PCIe-based application cache and acceleration cards called VFCache.

Today, the IT storage giant is signaling that it is addressing the market for high performance flash storage in earnest.

In a statement, EMC Flash Products Division senior vice president Zahid Hussain remarked, “Flash technology is enabling new levels of application performance and is the single biggest consideration to how customers are architecting their data centers today. Today, we are delivering a market-leading and comprehensive portfolio of Flash solutions across a variety of customer use cases and requirements.”

That portfolio is being anchored today by the company’s new line of XtremSF Flash PCIe flash cards.

During a webcast, Hussain stated that XtremSF offers “not only the highest performance, most reliable family of flash cards for PCIe, but also unprecedented performance, best in class in terms of accelerating your application workloads.”

To back up those claims, EMC said in a statement that XtremSF cards have scored an industry first, namely “a record 1.13 million IOPS in a standard form factor.” In terms of size, XtremSF cards conform to the half-height, half-length PCIe standard, enabling them to slot into compact server enclosures.

XtremSF flash cards are available in both eMLC and SLC flavors. Storage capacity options include 550 GB and 2.2 TB for the eMLC models, while SLC models can be ordered in 350 GB and 700 GB versions.

The energy-efficient, 24 watt cards also reduce CPU utilization by up to 50 percent. And the cards will cost less in the long run. EMC boasts that XtremSF has a lower total cost of ownership, up to 58 percent better than rival PCIe flash cards.

EMC also introduced a new software suite called XtremSW Cache. Formerly called VFCache and once an SLC-only technology, XtremSW Cache now supports both eMLC and SLC cards. The company plans to follow up with advanced data services, VMware enhancements and capabilities like flash as memory and flash as DAS.

Lastly, all-flash arrays from EMC are inching closer toward general availability. XtremIO SSD arrays are now being shipped to select customers. EMC snapped up Israel-based XtremIO last May to the tune of an estimated $430 million.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

Pedro Hernandez
Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to Datamation, eWEEK, and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of IT-related websites and as the Green IT curator for GigaOM Pro.

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