Networking and Hardware Blog

Best of TechEd Finalist: Xiotech Hybrid ISE Offers Stylish Power

012Just met with Keith Hageman (storage technology evangelist) and Blair Parkhill (technical marketing engineer) of Xiotech to talk about their Best of TechEd award finalist, the Hybrid ISE Storage Blade. This 3U blade combines hard disk drives and SSDs to provide more than 60,000 input/output operations per second (IOPS). The Hybrid ISE offers a stunning 14.4TB of usable capacity.

The amount of data out there is exploding, and enterprises typically respond to that by simply buying more and more storage, at greater and greater cost. We’re at a turning point in the trajectory of the storage industry, and Xiotech seems to be pioneering a unique path that focuses on performance rather than capacity. Building on the first-generation ISE architecture, the Hybrid ISE fuses together hard disks (for capacity) and SSDs (for performance) into a single steel-enclosed pool of storage, into which apps place their data. The patented Continuous Adaptive Data Placement (CADP) feature permits this fusion of disparate storage types into a seamless pool.

You can see CADP in action in the company’s web-based GUI (accessible even from your mobile device). You can see data moving from hard disk to SSD on an as-needed basis, all in the service of avoiding hot spots and providing the best possible performance. Rather than target less-reliable SSDs for initial writes, Xiotech uses SSDs to relieve those hot spots, thereby balancing I/O across the system. By continuously monitoring access patterns and moving heavily used data from hard drives to SSDs in real-time, Hybrid ISE blades deliver outstanding performance in the face of random, I/O-intensive workloads such as virtualization, data warehousing, and messaging. As workloads change over time, so does the distribution of data between hard drives and SSDs, so performance remains optimized. Cool stuff!

Five 9s of availability were promised in the previous-generation ISE, but the sky seems to be the limit with the new Hybrid ISE, which captures and analyzes historical data—generally at “epochs” every 5 seconds—so that it can make “smart” decisions about the type of storage to devote to a particular application. Hybrid ISE is optimized for boot storms from random bursts of I/O, providing an ideal solution for VDI implementations and beyond.

This is a self-professed “company of fun-loving geeks,” according to Parkhill. “We’re all gathered around, going, ‘This is what I want to see it do!’” And the company places a lot of value in its interaction with its community, ensuring that customers have a say in the direction of the product. Key in that community focus is the product’s style and usability: The enclosure’s bezel is a work of gaming-style geek art—a look implemented at the request of customers. And in this era of reduced resources and on-premises expertise, the ease of use is a huge plus.


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