Tegile’s Zebi arrays also perform data deduplication and compression on primary data. Tegile targets the systems at highly virtualized environments, citing storage for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) as a prime use case.
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Zebi systems support Fibre Channel, iSCSI, NFS and CIFS protocols. Zebi’s hybrid architecture utilizes DRAM and flash in the data path for high-speed cache. DRAM serves as first level read cache with flash SSDs used as a secondary cache for non-volatile reads and writes. The systems also store all data on 2 TB nearline SAS hard drives.
Tegile characterizes the Zebi architecture as a Metadata Accelerated Storage System (MASS). Rob Commins, Tegile’s vice president of marketing, said the systems organize and store metadata independently of the data on SSDs for faster retrieval. Commins said Zebi systems use single-level cell (SLC) and multi-level cell (MLC) flash. SLC, which performs better and lasts longer than MLC, is used to process metadata with high usage patterns.
Commins said some of the baseline function of operating system is built on ZFS, but it’s unclear how much of the operating system is ZFS and how much is Tegile’s IP. Commins said Tegile developed its own deduplication algorithms. Tegile claims it has patents pending around its MASS architecture. Commins said its copy-on-write file system keeps dedupe from impacting performance.
“We spent a lot of time working on our deduplication algorithms,” he said. “We handle all the math in the background while maintaining performance integrity. Our big secret sauce is we’ve figured out how to dedupe on a hybrid array.”
Tegile launched with four hybrid SSD storage systems and two expansion shelves. The SS1100 and SS2100 are single-controller arrays. The SS1100 has one Intel Xeon E5620 processor, 24 GB of DRAM, 600 GB of flash SSD and 14 TB of hard drive capacity. The SS 2100 has two Xeon E5620 chips, 48 GB of DRAM, 1 TB of SSD and 22 TB of hard drive storage.
The HA2100 and HA2100EP are dual-controller systems. The HA2100 has dual Xeon processors, 48 GB of DRAM, 1.2 TB of SSDs and 22 TB of hard drive storage. The HA2100EP has four Xeon processors, 96 GB of DRAM, 1.2 TB of SSDs and 16 TB hard drive capacity.
The SS1100 is a 2U model, and the other systems are 3U boxes. The arrays ship with Gigabit Ethernet ports, and 10-Gigabit Ethernet and 4 GBps/8 GBps Fibre Channel connectivity is optional.
The J1100 expansion array includes 400 GB of flash and 20 TB of hard drive capacity and the J1200 shelf has 800 GB of flash and 28 TB of hard drives storage.
Pricing begins at $16,000 for the SS1100.
The Zebi arrays will compete mainly with mainstream midrange arrays from EMC, NetApp, Hewlett-Packard and Dell. Tegile’s new hybrid SSD arrays also take aim at products from smaller vendors such as XIO’s Hyper ISE, Nimble Storage’s systems with built-in compression for primary data, and other flash systems designed for virtualization.
Although Zebi hybrid SSD systems became generally available today, Commins said Tegile has around 50 customers through an early release program.
Any new storage system architecture needs time to prove itself in the market, but Jef McCreery, director of core systems for IT services at Lexington, Va.-based Washington and Lee University, said he has four Zebi systems that have performed as advertised.
McCreery said he discovered Tegile about a year ago, just as his school was beginning a VDI implementation with Citrix XenDesktop. He said he uses two Zebi HA2100EP systems to support 500 virtual desktops. He said before installing the Tegile hybrid SSD storage, his four-year-old Hewlett-Packard EVA4400 could only generate about 8,000 IOPS and support about 20 desktop images. With Zebi, he said he’s averaging around 30,000 IOPS.
Washington and Lee also uses two SS2100 for file shares and to complement its EMC Data Domain DD630 deduplication backup target.
“We keep a lot of research data on those,” McCreery said. “We have a lot of GIS [geographic information system]-type data, with average file size of about 50 MB. We use the two systems to replicate, and that reduces the frequency of our tape backups. Tegile has been very good filling our needs.”
He said he found it easy to set up LUNs, dedupe and compression, but would like to see improved monitoring.
“I’ve asked them to expand their monitoring,” he said. “They have some good statistical graphs for performance, you can see CPU, RAM, and disk IOPS. Where they’re lacking now is on SNMP communication for that kind of monitoring. I’d also like them to be more proactive in the way they notify for hardware issues.”