Best All-Flash Storage Arrays: Vendors & Features

Customers shopping for an all-flash array are typically looking for a high end product at a premium price. As such, the products highlighted on this list could be thought as the “sports cars” of the enterprise storage market.

When shopping for flash, be aware that the gear on this list varies significantly by capacity and toolset. So realize that the base price of a unit is not the only consideration when evaluating your purchase. Instead, balance your decision with the knowledge, for instance, of cost per capacity, and cost for the total toolset. In some cases – and depending on your needs – a higher cost may be more than justified for an all-flash array.

The results of the Enterprise Storage Forum survey, Data Storage Trends 2018, provides insight into flash in the enterprise.

Our methodology for including these items focused on the legacy reputation of the vendor, the depth and breadth of the product offering, and the product’s ability to meet the demands of a high performance environment.

Here then are ten of the top vendors offering all-flash arrays (AFA).

Jump to: Top Flash Vendors Comparison Table

Kaminario K2

Kaminario’s software-defined storage platform aims to build high performance storage infrastructure at cloud-scale. It can scale up or scale out based on application requirements. It is available as an appliance or software. Features include optimized RAID6, snapshot-based replication and workload agnostic. At 1.5M IOPs and a solid 5 9’s of availability, this is a solid choice.

Dell EMC PowerMax

The Dell EMC PowerMax features end-to-end non-volatile memory express (NVMe) and a machine learning engine to optimize performance. It provides six-nines of availability, data-at-rest encryption, scalability across open systems and mainframe storage, and provides data protection, including Symmetrix Remote Data Facility (SRDF). Up to 4 PB of effective capacity is available.

X-IO ISE 900

The ISE 900 series is available in two models. The ISE 920 G4 is available with 9.6TB to 242 TB effective and the 960 G4, which starts at the same 9.6TB effective but can scale to 725GB, supporting 60 SSDs. The X-IO ISE 900 is designed to support enterprise applications including virtual desktop implementation (VDI), server virtualization, online transaction processing, (OLTP), data warehousing, business intelligence and big data. Features include deduplication, RAID, and performance metrics with a customizable widget-based layout.

HPE 3PAR StoreServe

HPE 3PAR StoreServ was built to meet the extreme requirements of massively consolidated cloud service providers. It can handle unpredictable workloads with guaranteed 99.9999% data availability. Automated provisioning, multi-tenant design, hardware-accelerated deduplication and compression, and sub-1ms latency are includes in a storage architecture.

NetApp AFA A800

The AFF A800 array delivers latency below 200 microseconds and throughput of 300 GB/s powered by a combination of NVMe SSDs and NVMe/FC connectivity. It also includes many cloud-integration choices for artificial-intelligence workflows. Key features include 100GbE connectivity and 2.5 PB effective capacity in a 4U chassis with 15.3TB NVMe SSDs.

Fujitsu Eternus AF

The Fujitsu Storage Eternus AF delivers flash performance plus management integration with existing disk storage environments. Mirroring and transparent failover ensure nonstop operation, and automated quality of service minimize administration. Its two models include deduplication and compression options, automated quality of service management and transparent failover. This unit’s 1 ms of latency is particularly impressive.

IBM FlashSystem 9100

A leader in flash due to its flash module design and Spectrum software defined storage, the IBM FlashSystem 9100 is clearly a major competitor in the market. Be aware of the guarantee of only 5 x 9s availability, and that due to the FlashSystem’s advanced design some features are new. But certainly IBM has major design expertise in storage hardware. Potential users are encouraged to test it in their own environments. As the FlashSystem’s feature set matures, it could take business away from companies like Pure Storage, Dell EMC, HPE, and NetApp, based on its advanced design.

Tegile IntelliFlash

The IntelliFlash N Series flash array is a unified, NVMe storage systems that accelerates applications. By incorporating non-volatile, solid state memory and NVMe interconnect components into its IntelliFlash storage systems, it delivers enterprise storage at near memory speeds. The IntelliFlash N-Series is a dual-controller system with 24 NVMe SSDs in a 2U footprint. It provides micro-second I/O latency, scales to 184 TB in 2U footprint, and deduplication and compression, thin provisioning, snapshots, clones and remote replication.

Pure Storage FlashBlade

FlashBlade is scale-out storage for infrastructure that disaggregates compute, networking, and data storage. A broad range of data-intensive applications leverage this deployment model, from data recovery and data warehouse workloads to Spark and AI. Key features of FlashBlade include multi-dimensional performance, S3 object support and a massively parallel design.

Hitachi Vantara

The Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform (VSP) F-series is a flash-powered cloud platform for mission-critical applications. The scalability of the VSP F series goes to 34 PB of raw flash capacity and 4.8 million random read IOPS with 100% cache miss.  Features include a 100% data availability guarantee, deduplication, compression, and support for Docker, Kubernetes and Red Hat OpenShift as well as OpenStack.

Honorable Mention

HPE Nimble

HPE’s Nimble storage product division provides what it refers to as a ‘nimble set of storage options for enterprises. HPE Nimble has 10 different models in its All Flash (AF) lineup, with up to 4 PB effective capacity in the top-end AF80 storage array.

Top Flash Companies Comparison

Vendor Cap. IOPS GB/ sec Latency Avail. Gartner MQ Pricing Differentiator
Kaminario K2 4 PB 1.5M 25 350 us 5 9s Leader Starts at $80,000  Scale up and   scale out
Dell EMC PowerMax 4 PB 10M 150 300 us 6 9s Leader Starts less than $200,000  High IOPs   and NVMe
X-IO ISE 900 230 TB 400k 5 1 us 5 9s Niche Starts at $58,000  Low cost for   decent   performance
HP 3PAR StoreServ 20 PB 3M 20 1 us 6 9s Leader Starts at $45,000  6 x 9s   availability
NetApp AFA A800 70 PB 11.4M 300 200 us 6 9s Leader Not disclosed High capacity   and NVMe
Fujitsu Eternus AF 3 PB 430k 12 1 us 6 9s Challenger Starts at $20,000  High   performance   for SMEs
IBM A9000 32 PB 10M 136 100 us 5 9s Leader Not disclosed  Strong for   virtualized   environments
Tegile IntelliFlash 5 PB 1.5M 61 200 us 5 9s Visionary Starts at $190,000  Low latency,   unified   storage   software
Pure Storage FlashBlade 792 TB 7.5M 75 250 us 6 9s Leader Less than $200,000  Good for file   and object   storage
Hitachi Vantara VSP F Series 34 PB 4.8M 48 1 us 6 9s Leader Starts at $70,480  Targeted at   mission   critical
Drew Robb
Drew Robb
Drew Robb has been a full-time professional writer and editor for more than twenty years. He currently works freelance for a number of IT publications, including eSecurity Planet and CIO Insight. He is also the editor-in-chief of an international engineering magazine.
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