This content is part of the Essential Guide: Working in a virtual machine environment: VM-aware storage

Tintri storage gains flash capacity, scale-out, analytics

Tintri storage upgrade includes VM Scale-out software to manage pooled storage on clustered VMstore arrays. Customers can opt in for SaaS-based Tintri Analytics.

Tintri gave its storage systems a makeover through the introduction of higher capacity flash models, software for managing pooled virtual machine-aware storage, and optional cloud-based analytics.

Tintri today said it will start shipping upgraded  VMstore T5000 all-flash arrays this month. The upgraded 2U Tintri storage hardware supports 4 TB TLC solid-state drives with Samsung's 3D Vertical NAND technology.

Tintri also added new software: VM Scale-out software for pooling storage across its VMstore arrays and Tintri Analytics to help customers with capacity planning.

VMstore arrays add 3D TLC NAND drives, flexible capacity option

Tintri VMstore T5080, T5060 and T5040 all-flash arrays are each available in three capacity models. The rollout also marks a departure for Tintri, which for the first time will allow customers to purchase partially populated VMstore arrays and add optional flash expansion shelves as needed.

The high-end VMstore T5080 comes in effective storage capacities of 70 TB, 139 TB and 308 TB. The T5080 supports up to 5,000 virtual machines and four to six 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports per controller.

Midrange VMstore T5060 arrays range from 35 TB to 154 TB of effective flash, while the VMstore T5040 platform scales from 17 TB to 77 TB of usable storage. Tintri bases effective capacities on 5:1 data deduplication and compression rates.

The revamped T5000 arrays run a dual controller for active-standby and require Tintri OS version 4.2 or higher operating software.  Tim Stammers, a senior storage analyst at 451 Research, said the enhanced VMstore all-flash configurations are more flexible than previous versions. Stammers said the enhanced Tintri storage platform provides a necessary steppingstone toward competing in the all-flash market.

"Tintri used to sell VMstore only as fully populated appliances. With this release, they let you buy a VMstore array with partially filled shelves and add capacity as you need it," Stammers said. "This is a good update that keeps Tintri on track."

Part of the greater flexibility comes from the use of the 3D NAND TLC drives.

"We're taking advantage of much larger (TLC) drives and also shipping some of the systems partially populated," said Chuck Dubuque, Tintri senior director of product and solutions marketing. "An update in the third quarter will let you add disks to the controller non-disruptively to get more capacity on the same box."

Tools added for virtual storage pool management, capacity-planning analytics

VM Scale-out software creates and manages virtualized pools of Tintri storage. The initial release, which will be generally available in June as part of Tintri Global Center management, is programmed in a manual advisory mode and supports 64 TB virtual disks. VM Scale-out software examines 30 days' worth of historical data on physical VMstore arrays. It scans storage twice a day to spot potential or capacity issues and suggest recommended actions.

Coupled with the new higher capacity T5000 flash arrays, the VM Scale-out software supports up to 10 controllers and 3 PB in a single pool. The first iteration supports migration from VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V. Dubuque said support for Citrix, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, and OpenStack is planned in subsequent versions.

"It works very similar to the way you scale compute in a VMware server model. We allow you to create pools of our VMstore arrays, including a mix of our hybrid and all-flash systems that we already have on the market. It's a loosely coupled architecture that is hyper-visor neutral," Dubuque said.

Storage analytics is emerging as a common option for storage arrays. Tintri Analytics is an optional cloud-based platform for capacity planning.  The vendor collects up to three years' worth of metadata from customers' Tintri storage arrays, tracking metrics such as IOPS consumption, average workload latency, and performance tracking over time. The analytics component also lets users associate VMs to specific applications through heuristics and name-tagging.

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