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).
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.
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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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
|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|