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Infinidat adds smaller SAN array, unified storage

After starting with a system aimed at high-end enterprises, startup Infinidat adds a midrange InfiniBox F2000 SAN array, plus NAS support for unified storage.

Infinidat today launched a midrange SAN array to go with the high-end enterprise system it started with earlier this year. The startup also added NAS support and asynchronous replication for all its arrays.

Infinidat describes the new InfiniBox F2000 as an entry-level system, although it starts at 250 TB of usable capacity in an 18U configuration and can hold 330 TB with 4 TB drives. It is a smaller version of the InfiniBox F6000 that Infinidat officially launched in April. While the F6000 is targeted at high-end systems, such as the EMC VMAX, Hitachi Data Systems Virtual Storage Platform and IBM DS8870, the F2000 will compete in the midrange market.

Infinidat CTO Brian Carmody said the F2000's architecture is identical to that of the F6000, but it includes two disk enclosures instead of eight. The F6000 scales to 2 PB in a 42U rack.

"We didn't change anything. We just made it smaller," Carmody said. "We wanted to make InfiniBox a possibility for customers who don't have a line of site to a petabyte of data yet."

Performance-wise, Infinidat claims the F2000 can handle 500,000 IOPS and 7 GB per second (GBps) throughput, compared to the F6000's 750,000 IOPS and 12.5 GBps. The F2000 can scale to 576 GB of RAM and 38 TB of flash cache, while the F6000 has a maximum of 3.2 TB of RAM and 86 TB of flash cache.

Both systems use three active-active-active controllers and N+2 redundant system components.

We wanted to make InfiniBox a possibility for customers who don't have a line of site to a petabyte of data yet.
Brian Carmody, Infinidat CTO

Like the F6000, Infinidat claims the F2000 costs less than $1 per usable GB. Carmody said Infinidat does not yet support customer upgrades from an F2000 to an F6000 but that is on the vendor's roadmap.

Both Infinidat platforms can use the new NAS and data protection capabilities.

Infinidat added support for NFS to go with its original Fibre Channel and iSCSI block storage, making InfiniBox a unified platform. The startup developed its own file system, which it claims can support thousands of files or one large file system. It supports up to 2 PB of usable file storage. NAS support is a free non-disruptive upgrade for existing customers, Carmody said.

Infinidat's asynchronous replication combines with its previous snapshot capability to provide a recovery point objective within seconds, Carmody said. He said the snapshots are thin provisioned and do not degrade performance.

"We guarantee no more than four seconds of data can be lost in a disaster when the primary site is gone," he said.

Carmody said Infinidat plans to add synchronous replication next year. All Infinidat software features are included in the base license.

According to chief marketing officer Randy Arseneau, Infinidat has more than 100 customers and has shipped more than 200 PB of storage. Although it officially launched in April, the vendor has had customer deployments since late 2013.

Infinidat claims most of its customers switched over from EMC VMAX storage.

Scott Sinclair, a storage analyst for Enterprise Strategy Group, said the F2000 should make it easier for Infinidat to gain adoption in the enterprise because customers may be wary of trusting a startup for petabytes of mission-critical data. He sees the F2000 as more competitive with EMC's midrange VNX than the VMAX.

"This [F2000] increases the workloads and organizations it can go into," he said. "It also encourages organizations to test InfiniBox. Most organizations are more inclined to deploy newer storage in a lower tier workload. VMAX customers would rather stay with something tried and true. The smaller array is a more consumable version of the product."

Infinidat CEO and founder Moshe Yanai led EMC Symmetrix engineering for more than 10 years and went on to start backup deduplication hardware vendor Diligent Technologies and storage array vendor XIV, selling both Diligent and XIV to IBM. Infinidat has raised $150 million in venture capital funding.

Despite its founder's track record, Sinclair said Infinidat's success will ultimately be decided by its ability to win customers' trust. He expects the smaller system will prompt more companies to give it a try.

"While people in the industry and investors know Moshe, the IT director of a Fortune 1000 company may not know who he is," Sinclair said. "To compete in the high-end SAN market, you have to prove you have the services, support and reliability that people expect."

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