Inspur spurs storage to go faster and store more

Inspur, the Chinese computer systems maker, has announced a dozen storage products – eight updated AS5000 hybrid and all-flash unified block and file arrays, three distributed systems and a software-only system.

There are four AS5000 flash arrays – AS5300G5-F, AS5500G5-F, AS5600G5-F, and AS5800G5-F – plus four hybrid flash/disk arrays – AS5300G5, AS5500G5, AS5600G5, and the AS5800G5. They are positioned as mid-range arrays and succeed the AS5000 G2 line.

Blocks & Files thinks these systems will compete with Dell EMC Unity, NetApp FAS and AFF arrays as well as HPE Nimble and 3PAR arrays.

Li Hui, Inspur’s general manager of storage, issued a quote: “According to statistics, real-time data will account for 24.5 per cent of global data by 2023, which will bring great challenges to storage systems. In response to this trend, Inspur Storage has increased its investment and innovation in SSD media and high-speed interconnection technologies to improve the operating efficiency of major applications in data centres with high-performance, low-latency storage systems.”

All-flash systems

The G5 all-flash arrays support dual-port Optane SSDs as a caching layer. They deliver up to 8 million IOPS with latency down to 0.1ms.

The arrays have four storage tiers: boiling, hot, warm and cold. Metadata, classed as boiling, goes on the Optane SSDs.

Inspur said data hotspots are located and dealt with by using AI-based hotspot identification, sequence flow identification and a cold data elimination algorithm.

The current AS5000 G2s all support FC, FCoE, iSCSI, NFS, CIFS, HTTP, and FTP but not NVME-oF. Their networking support is limited to 8 and 16Gbit/s FC, 10GbitE, and 1/10GbitE iSCSI. There is no 40 or 100GbitE support, nor 32Gbit/s FC. Hopefully the G5 products have uprated networking support

The systems are managed by a multi-device InView facility, which features predictive resource usage. Inspur positions this as an AIOps feature and claims 14-day accuracy of up to 95 per cent or better.

The current G2 range divides into two pairs. The AS5200 G2-F and AS5500 G2-F come in a 2U enclosure. The AS5600 G2-F and AS5800 G25-F use a 4U enclosure. Blocks & Files expects these enclosures to continue in use.

Distributed systems

Inspur has released three distributed systems: the P-series for high-performance, H-series for high density, and X-series for flexibility in cloud storage.

The P-series uses IBM’s POWER architecture CPUs with up to 3.GHz processors and the PCIe 4.0 bus. The performance of the P-series is described in Inspur’s announcement in an odd way: “2 times 4M sequential write performance, 1.5 times 4M sequential read performance, 3 times 4K random write performance, and 1.3 times 4K random read performance.”

Other suppliers release direct numbers, such as 12GB/sec for sequential reads. (We have asked Inspur for the direct numbers.)

Inspur says the H-series can store almost 1PB per AS13000G5-H node. The X-series is for storage in the cloud, with the AS13000-X able to handle multiple storage tiers, including an archival tier.

A software-only AS23000G5 supports single-port Optane SSDs.

Inspur Gartner status and questions

In its press announcement, Inspur mentions three large scale deployments in China and reveals Inspur ranked first in the Gartner 2019 global user ratings in distributed storage as well as among the top three in all indicators of Gartner’s 2019 distributed file storage critical capabilities’ report.

Inspur was placed in the niche player’s box in Gartner’s 2019 Distributed File Systems and Object Storage Magic Quadrant.

There are no data sheets or other document available about the new storage systems on Inspur’s website yet.

Blocks & Files has asked Inspur questions about networking support, data sheet availability and the P-series performance numbers. We’ll update our story as soon as we hear back.