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Flash storage: Guide to enterprise all-flash storage arrays

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Tegile Systems bolsters all-flash storage options

Tegile Systems bolsters all-flash storage options with T3800 and continues to offer HA2800 with limited SSD capacity but expansion option with HDDs.

Tegile Systems Inc.'s primary focus is selling hybrid arrays equipped with hard-disk and solid-state drives, but the company pushed into new territory this week with the release of its T3800 all-flash model.

The T3800 targets high-performance workloads such as big-data analysis and online transaction processing (OLTP) applications and affords a maximum raw capacity of 332 TB, or a possible 1.3 PB TB usable with data reduction factored in, according to Tegile.

"As we move into these types of applications, latency predictability becomes paramount," said Rob Commins, vice president of marketing at Tegile Systems. He said the company added the T3800 in response to customer demand for a more latency-focused product.

Prior to the T3800, Tegile's only all-flash option was the HA2800. Most customers purchased the HA2800 with hard disk drives (HDDs) or ended up adding disks later, according to Commins.

Commins said the HA 2800 all-flash array attracted about 75 of Tegile's 500 customers. They could "pin" a volume in flash with a HA2800 array used in hybrid mode, he said.

In all-flash mode, Tegile's HA2800 has a raw capacity of 4.4 TB. With deduplication, Tegile claims that flash capacity jumps to 22 TB. But the real attraction for many Tegile customers is the ability to add hard-disk drives to expand the HA2800's capacity to 148.4 TB, or 742 TB after deduplication.

"We have found that most customers looking at all-flash solutions also have capacity-based applications, or that their performance-hungry apps only require that 3% to 10% of their data be in flash at a given time," Commins said. He cited the most common use cases for hybrid arrays as database optimization and large virtual server and desktop environments.

Features that make Tegile's T3800 and HA2800 stand out from other all-flash arrays include their support of block and file storage and both inline data deduplication and inline compression. On the product roadmap for 2014 is the addition of scale-out capabilities to augment the current product's scale-up architecture, Commins said.

Performance statistics are tough to compare because all-flash array vendors test their products using differing configurations and workloads, but the maximum read IOPS of 350,000 for the T3800 and the 330,000 for the HA2800 (at 4K block size with a random workload) were not among the highest. The read latency for each array is 1 millisecond.

The product's exclusive use of eMLC flash drives -- which offer greater endurance than less-expensive MLC drives -- is not the norm and perhaps factors into the product's higher price compared to some all-flash arrays.

"Using eMLC drives, we see very few problems or returns," Commins said. "Do they cost us more in our [bill of materials] cost? Yes. Do they offer superior customer experience? Definitely."

The list price for the least expensive configuration of Tegile's T3800 is $550,000 (with 44 TB raw capacity), and the estimated street price per GB is $1.10 with data reduction factored in. The list price for Tegile's HA2800 is $235,000 for 4.4 TB raw capacity, and the estimated street price per GB is $8 with data reduction factored in. Unlike many all-flash array vendors, Tegile Systems does not charge an extra fee for its storage-savings and data management features.

The T3800 and HA2800 are full-featured storage systems that support a wide range of efficiency and management technologies such as thin provisioning, snapshots, replication and VM-aware metrics. Among their few areas of deficiency in comparison to other arrays is a lack of support for data encryption and a driver for the open source OpenStack cloud technology platform.

Tegile said there is performance degradation up to 50% during a controller failure. Data can be accessed during a controller failure.

This was first published in June 2014

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Flash storage: Guide to enterprise all-flash storage arrays

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