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American Megatrends launches flash array that can be all-SSD or hybrid

American Megatrends' first SSD array, the StorTrends 3500i, can be configured as a hybrid or all-flash array, with SSD caching and auto tiering.

American Megatrends Inc. today rolled out the StorTrends 3500i solid-state drive (SSD) array, which includes both SSD caching and tiering in a single appliance, as well as automatically tuned volumes.

The 3500i is a 3U 16-bay system available fully loaded with flash or as a hybrid configuration of solid-state drives (SSDs) and Serial-Attached SCSI (SAS) hard disk drives. An all-flash configuration scales to 32 TB inside the box, and the system can store 56 TB of raw capacity in a hybrid configuration. Additional capacity can be added up to 256 TB with expansion shelves. The 3500i supports 200 GB, 400 GB and 2 TB multi-level cell flash SSDs; 300 GB, 450 GB and 600 GB 15,000 rpm SAS hard drives; and 500 TB, 1 TB, 2 TB, 3 TB and 4 TB 7,200 rpm nearline SAS drives.

The 3500i includes eight 1 Gigabit Ethernet or four 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports, and dual controllers and components for high availability and snapshot-based bidirectional, many-to-one, and cloud-based replication for disaster recovery. The 3500i can replicate to other 3500i units or to AMI's disk-based 3400i arrays.

Justin Bagby, AMI's director of sales, marketing and support, said having SSD caching and auto tiering in a single appliance increases overall array performance and provides greater SSD endurance and less solid-state cell stress by splitting write and read cycles fairly evenly between the cache and the tier.

AMI uses what it calls automatically tuned volumes (ATV) to enhance the amount and type of data kept in the cache and tier for increased performance, Bagby added. "We're watching the access blocks, we're determining what's hot and what's cold, and making those movements based on one-hour reads within the box," Bagby said.

Administrators designate each storage volume's performance requirements and ATV manages the system's IOPS yield to match the settings. The system can also be tuned manually to meet each environment's needs.

Jayesh Dave, CEO of Avision Technologies, an Atlanta, Ga.,-based provider of software, network and managed IT services, has been running a StorTrends 3500i to support his VMware virtualized environment since last November. He said the system gives him room to grow capacity and performance.

"We can always scale out by attaching JBOD [just a bunch of disks] to it, and even adding extra flash," Dave said. "So there are a lot of ways that we can scale out by performance and capacity. We really like the growth path."

He currently has 27 TB of usable capacity, including 400 GB of flash.

Dave said his 3500i survived a controller failover without any drop in performance, and he didn't even realize the failure when it happened. It was fixed with a code release. Dave said he would recommend the StorTrends 3500i as an array with a good price/performance profile.

StorTrends 3500i pricing starts at $34,999, and a 48.8 TB configuration that delivers 100,000 IOPS costs $57,000. The 3500i, designed for small- and medium-sized businesses and small enterprises, is the first member of the AMI StorTrends platform to support flash. Its previous highest capacity system, the 34001i, has the same hard drive support as the 3500i without flash.

The all-flash array market is crowded with EMC, IBM, NetApp, Violin Memory, Pure Storage, Nimbus Data, Kaminario, Skyera, SolidFire and Tegi selling dedicated all-flash systems. Hewlett-Packard 3PAR, Dell Compellent and EqualLogic, Hitachi Data Systems HUS VM, and EMC VNX sell all-flash versions of mainstream storage area network arrays.

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