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Fujitsu Eternus DX arrays upgraded for performance, capacity

Fujitsu phases out its DX8700 S2 model and replaces it with two Fujitsu Eternus DX S3 block storage devices that scale from 4.6 PB to 13.8 PB of raw capacity.

Fujitsu pumped up the capacity and performance of its enterprise-class Fujitsu Eternus DX storage system with two new arrays designed to handle petabyte-scale workloads.

The Eternus DX8900 S3 and DX8700 S3 arrays for block storage will be generally available in August. They mark the third generation of Fujitsu's Eternus DX8700 array family.

The DX8700 S3 scales from two to eight storage controllers, up to 1,536 drives and nearly 4.7 PB of raw storage. Included in that capacity is 1 TB of DRAM cache and 22.4 TB of read/write cache comprised of PCI Express (PCIe)-connected solid-state drives (SSDs).

The DX8900 S3 provides 13.8 PB of raw storage, between two and 24 storage controllers and scales to 4,608 drives, including 67.2 TB of PCIe flash cache and 6 TB of DRAM.

Roger W. Cox, research vice president of data center governance at Gartner Inc., said S3's modular architecture lets customers flexibly scale storage and avoid forklift upgrades.

"What this allows users to do is buy what they need now and simply add processing power as their capacity requirements increase. It's a scale-out architecture, which means there's no rip and replace as you expand," Cox said.

Starting price of the Fujitsu Eternus S3 line is listed at approximately $200,000 per appliance. Fujitsu said the high-powered platform is intended for service providers and other enterprises running hyper-scale data centers. Up to 8,192 host servers can be connected to the DX S3 array. Also featured in the rollout are redesigned internal components built to make the systems highly redundant.

The vendor claims S3 provides eight times the performance of its S2 systems, topping out at 4 million IOPS at peak.

"This is not a facelift of the controller. It's an end-to-end design to achieve high performance," said Frank Reichart, Fujitsu senior director of product marketing.

QuadStar Architecture connects storage controllers via PCIe 3.0

Eternus S3 arrays hold hard disk drives and solid-state drives. The platform supports multilevel cell NAND flash-based SSDs from Toshiba in 600 GB, 800 GB and 1.6 TB capacities and hard drives ranging from 2 TB to 8 TB. Fujitsu said it introduced SAS 3 functionality to support 12 Gbps drives as they become widely available.

The Eternus S3 storage scales capacity by adding two controllers at a time. Each pair of storage controllers supports a maximum of 384 hard drives, SSDs or a combination. Four PCIe lines connect storage controllers and front-end routers to provide redundancy and automatic failover. Fujitsu refers to this as its Flexible Quad Star Architecture.

The design includes redundant connection to disks and redundant data through shared RAID. Fujitsu added Eternus Storage Clusters to the S3 line, a feature introduced in its midrange and low-end DX systems. Storage Clusters recognize when a system fails and automates synchronous mirroring between primary and secondary storage.

QuadStar in combination with Fujitsu's algorithm "behaves like one front-end system. We don't use a federation of controllers. You can use our system as one logical unit," Reichart said.

For now, S3 systems provide only manual failback. Reichart said adding automatic failback is a roadmap item.

Fujitsu S3 systems can be used for shared storage with other Eternus arrays

All Fujitsu Eternus arrays use the same cabling, components, hardware racks and management software. Customers can replicate data between DX8700 and EX8900 and Fujitsu's entry level DX50 and DX60 systems and midrange DX200, DX500 and DX600 systems.

Fujitsu said it upgraded Eternus storage management software to include features for automated quality of service. Customers define response times for storage and Eternus's management software intelligently allocates bandwidth or storage tiering to meet performance requirements.

"The good thing is that system admins don't have to care anymore [about] how to tune the system. They only have to define what the outcome should be," Reichart said.

The Eternus DX S3 could be a steppingstone for Fujitsu to penetrate U.S. markets more deeply, Cox said. The vendor has a large installed base in Asia and Europe but has trailed EMC, Hitachi Data Systems and NetApp in the U.S. enterprise storage market.

"This should be a good platform for doing software as a service. At $200,000, you're getting to the top end of the midrange market. It fits nicely into Fujitsu's product portfolio and gives them a very competitive high-end system," Cox said.

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