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SanDisk, Nexenta combine on InfiniFlash all-flash arrays

SanDisk's all-flash storage with InfiniFlash adds Nexenta System's NexentaStor storage software for data protection and reduction.

SanDisk Corp. and Nexenta Systems Inc. this week introduced a validated reference architecture that combines SanDisk's InfiniFlash hardware platform with Nexenta Systems' NexentaStor software for a petabyte-scale, all-flash, unified storage system.

The all-flash storage system combines SanDisk's 3U all-flash InfiniFlash IF100 chassis, Dell or Supermicro commodity servers, and NexentaStor 4.4.

The InfiniFlash branding refers to SanDisk's line of all-flash storage hardware and its high-density PCIe NAND flash drives. InfiniFlash IF100 is a hardware-only base building block that includes up to 64 of SanDisk's SAS-connected 8 TB PCIe NAND flash cards.

SanDisk said InfiniFlash can deliver more than 1 million IOPS, with less than one millisecond of latency.

SanDisk said its system was tested for use with Dell PowerEdge R730 storage servers and Supermicro 2U SuperServer storage. The InfiniFlash IF100 appliance runs as  just a bunch of disks (JBOD) behind the commodity head nodes, with NexentaStor's scale-out storage software controller managing data services.

Up to four InfiniFlash IF100 chassis can be connected in a single system that scales to 2 PB of raw storage before NexentaStor inline compression and deduplication is applied.

Nexenta said the SanDisk partnership broadens the appeal of NextentaStor storage software, for which features include asynchronous replication, inline compression and deduplication, unlimited snapshots, and thin provisioning. NexentaStor is based on the ZFS file system, and supports small and medium-sized business and NFS file storage, as well as Fibre Channel and iSCSI block storage.

"We have had the capability to support all-flash systems in the past, but those versions normally [required a customer to] take a JBOD and buy a stack of [solid-state drives] SSDs to put into it," said Mike Letschin, field chief technology officer at Nexenta, based in Santa Clara, Calif. "This gives us a high-performance, lower power all-flash solution that can compete with the likes of Pure Storage, Violins and other all-flash vendors."

Gary Lyng, senior director of marketing and strategy at SanDisk, based in Milpitas, Calif., said the reference architecture lets customers build a preconfigured all-flash array, starting at about $1.50 per gigabyte. Although SanDisk has steadily increased its footprint in enterprise storage, Lyng said it is not trying to compete directly with all-flash storage vendors that buy SanDisk's PCIe flash and solid-state drives.

"Our goal since launching our emerging solutions group has been to bring flash technology to more and more workloads," he said. "We don't see all-flash array vendors as our competition, we see them as our partners. Our model is not to move up the stack to compete with tier 1 OEMs. Our model is provide best-in-class flash systems that expand the use cases of flash."

In addition to partnering with Nexenta, SanDisk this week also rolled out the next generation of its FlashSoft server-based flash caching software for accelerating ESXi hosts in VMware's vSphere 6, which provides write-back caching for VMware data stores.

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