Disky business: DRAM array cacher Infinidat adds faster solid state array to extend InfiniBox line

High-end array supplier Infinidat has announced its first all flash array as a higher-performance  extension to its existing disk-based InfiniBox line, using the same DRAM-cached architecture and software.

Infinidat has three InfiniBox systems, all rack-based: the entry-level F2300, the F4300 and the high-end F6300. The mid-range F4300 has four 60-drive storage enclosures and triple-active redundant nodes with SSDs used for level 2 caching.

The new InfiniBox SSA (Solid State Array) , the F4304S, is the F4300 modified to have up to 60 SAS SSDs, using TLC NAND, per storage enclosure instead of disk drives.

Phil Bullinger

Infinidat CEO Phil Bullinger said of the established InfiniBox system that it “disrupts conventional all-flash arrays, delivering a unique and very compelling combination of performance, scale, availability and cost for the vast majority of enterprise workloads.” He added: “The InfiniBox SSA now extends our capabilities to meet the most intensive enterprise storage requirements.”

He told Blocks & Files the SSA was not a standard all-flash array (AFA). The Infinidat architecture uses DRAM as a cache to hold data stored in a bulk capacity tier (nearline disk up until now) fetched by its Neural Cache technology. Some 90 per cent of reads, or even more, are served from the DRAM cache, providing better than AFA performance.

With the InfiniBox SSA, the DRAM cache is loaded with data even faster and hence the array is faster still. The disk-based F4300 delivers up to 1.4 million IOPS with 20GB/sec bandwidth while the new F4304S outputs 1.5 million IOPS at sub-millisecond latency with 26.8GB/sec (25GiB/sec on the data sheet) bandwidth.

Infinibox rack.

It supports up to 546TB of usable capacity (1,092TB after data reduction), 2,304GB of DRAM and has 24 x 32Gbits/sec Fibre Channel ports that are NVMe-ready. That suggests a future product development distraction – NVMe drives and NVMe over Fabrics data access.

Bullinger said Infinidat was positioning the F4304S as a higher-performance system for its customers who have stringent low-latency requirements or who may have a blanket AFA requirement. It has been testing the F4304S with customers for six months, he added.  

Matt Bieri, Chief Information Officer at Infinidat customer Tyler Technologies, said: “Our most demanding applications, representing about 5 per cent of our workload, require sustained sub-millisecond latency. We’re excited to bring in the InfiniBox SSA, which leverages the same InfiniBox architecture, Neural Cache and feature-set, for these ultra-high performance workloads.” 

We were told one Fortune 500 US customer hired a third-party vendor which captured the current customer performance from the current SSA arrays and executed the same profile against multiple storage vendors as well as 3X the profile (for future growth). The customer claimed: “We put the InfiniBox SSA through rigorous testing and compared it head-to-head with the major all-flash array solutions. The InfiniBox SSA surprised us by outperforming every AFA product, achieving 3x the original captured performance with 40 per cent lower latency, even during multiple failure scenarios.”

The InfiniBox SSA is generally available today and you can download a product datasheet.