Tintri products refreshed with DDN controllers

DDN-owned Tintri has updated its IntelliFlash all-flash N-Series and hybrid flash/disk H-Series arrays, adding DDN fault-tolerant controllers while reducing the effective capacity levels of the H-Series. This continues its strategy of unifying the hardware used in its DDN and Tintri product ranges.

Update. Additional and corrected information from Tintri added. 21 Sep 2021.

The performance-optimised N-Series is an all-flash NVMe array supporting SAN block (iSCSI, Fibre Channel) and NAS file (NFS, SMB) protocols. The existing three-model range (N5100, N5200, N5800) is replaced by a two-model one (N6100, N6200). The performance and capacity-optimised H-series is a two-tier system with an NVMe flash performance tier and disk capacity tier. It supports the same SAN and NAS protocols as the N-Series.

DDN’s SVP of Products, Dr James Coomer, said: “With the new IntelliFlash N6000 series and enhanced H-Series, DDN has made Enterprise data features and Intelligent Infrastructure and data management solutions accessible for at-scale customers.”

Tintri H-Series with controller on top and expansion unit below.

The H-Series has a two-rack unit controller with 24 NVMe SSD slots. Up to four disk drive expansion trays are supported. By comparing the old and new datasheets we have built a table which shows how both the raw disk drive capacity and effective hybrid (flash+disk) capacity have been reduced:

The previous H6200 scaled out to the 26PB level, but the new one can only manage 20PB. We have asked Tintri why these reductions have been made and a spokesperson said: “The maximum raw and effective capacities referred to above are from an early version of the H-Series datasheet and were calculated based on 18TB HDDs, which were intended to be the highest capacity drives for the H-Series.

“However a decision was made, prior to the H6200 GA, to limit the H-Series configurations to support 8TB and 14TB HDDs only and introduce support for the 18TB drives at a later date. The new H-Series data sheet associated with the Sept. 15 announcement correctly reflects the maximum raw and hybrid capacities (based on 14TB HDDs). Unfortunately, it appears the corrected version of the original H-Series datasheet was not posted at the time of the October 2020 GA, so what is being referred to as the “existing H6200” shows early, incorrect maximum capacities.”


Tintri’s announcement talks of the N-Series having an “expanded unified platform, [so] customers managing massive data repositories can increase read and write performance driven by the latest NVMe technology and a combination of zero-impact inline data reduction and patented intelligent caching. Customer applications run faster and respond quicker while reducing complexity and cost in their environments.“ But no performance numbers are revealed to back these claims up or put them in context.

Tintri IntelliFlash [controller] head unit.

The N-Series controller has the same 2RU x 24-NVMe SSD slot form factor as the H-Series and a second table built from the old and new data sheets shows the capacity changes:

It looks at first as if the new N-Series has much lower effective capacities than the old ones — but poring over the data sheets revealed major description changes in the capacity area. Both the old and the new series can have SAS expansion shelves. The old N-Series data sheet lists both the maximum raw flash capacity and the maximum expansion raw flash capacity, as well as the maximum effective capacity, not distinguishing between NVMe and SAS.

The new N-Series data sheet changes things, omitting the expansion capacity and only supplying the maximum NVMe effective capacity, thereby making the comparison between the old and new N-Series systems impossible.

A Tintri spokesperson said: “The effective capacities for the N5100/N5200/N5800 systems include SAS SSD expansion shelves. The N6100/N6200 systems do not currently support SAS SSD expansion shelves, hence the lower capacities. However, N-Series support for SAS expansion shelves is planned with an upcoming release.”

Apart from that it seems apparent that the N6100 replaces both the N5100 and N5200, with the N6200 replacing the N5800. We asked Tintri why is there no N6800? A spokesperson replied: “We are currently evaluating the business justification for the N6800 – in terms of production cost and the required price premium.”

The IntelliFlash N6000 series will be available in Q4 2021. Enhancements to the IntelliFlash H-Series are available now.