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This article is part of our Essential Guide: Best data storage products 2017: Products of the Year

Infinidat InfiniBox 3.0

InfiniBox 3.0 stores data on disk, deploying a small amount of flash as an acceleration tier. Its caching algorithm ensures the hottest data is on the fastest storage media.

Bronze winner in Storage magazine and SearchStorage’s 2017 Products of the Year Storage Arrays category.

The Infinidat InfiniBox hybrid, unified storage system debuted in 2015, marking the latest venture of CEO and founder Moshe Yanai. Prior to Infinidat, Yanai launched deduplication pioneer Diligent Technologies and XIV, both subsequently acquired by IBM, and he developed the high-end Symmetrix enterprise array while at EMC (now Dell EMC).

Infinidat aims to make hyperscale storage available to enterprises and service providers. Its InfiniBox petabyte-scale system is designed to outperform all-flash arrays, according to Infinidat. InfiniBox unified storage places data on HDDs. Flash accounts for about 3% of the platform and is used solely as an acceleration tier. Warm data is placed on NAND flash, and cold data is stored on spinning disk.

Most I/O traffic is served from dynamic RAM (DRAM). A proprietary caching algorithm keeps hot data on fast storage, with up to 3 TB of DRAM and 207 TB of all-flash cache to optimize reads and writes. The Infinidat InfiniBox array features three controllers in an active-active-active setup for high availability.

Infinidat InfiniBox scales to 5 PB of effective capacity in 42U or rack space, including inline data compression with no performance penalty. The vendor rates the system to handle 1 million IOPS with submillisecond latency and 99.99999% availability. In what is rapidly becoming table stakes for storage vendors, the InfiniBox array embeds granular performance analytics and space-efficient snapshots.

SearchStorage named Infinidat to its 2016 list of storage startups to watch. Since its launch, investors have funded Infinidat to the tune of $325 million, including a $95 million infusion in 2017 that tipped its valuation to $1.6 billion. An initial public offering of stock could be in Infinidat’s future.

Infinidat's InfiniBox
Infinidat's InfiniBox stores data on disk.

Infinidat InfiniBox 3.0 earned kudos from judges, even those with some concerns about the novel architecture. The InfiniBox array is a "solid box," albeit one that still "uses RAID and other techniques that some other vendors have relegated to the dustbin. Despite the monolithic architecture, I like this array," one judge wrote.

Another judge noted how Infinidat InfiniBox provides "standout performance scalability due to a unique timestamping approach," instead of locking. This approach maintains data integrity and offers "excellent value" in TCO, the judge said.

This was last published in February 2018

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In using disk as primary storage, how might InfiniBox swing the pendulum toward hardware-defined storage?
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