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This article is part of our Essential Guide: Best data storage products 2017: Products of the Year

Enterprise storage arrays: 2017 Products of the Year finalists

All-flash and hybrid products comprise the bulk of the 14 storage arrays chosen as finalists in the 2017 Products of the Year contest. Only two arrays rely predominantly on disk.

Fourteen enterprise storage arrays have been selected as finalists in Storage magazine and SearchStorage's 2017...

Products of the Year competition. This group underscores the steady march of flash storage media, but two of the arrays rely predominantly on disk. The list includes familiar storage brands as well as a handful of startups seeking to disrupt the traditional array market.

Why does disk storage remain relevant? Several factors come into play here, including big data implementations, cloud arrays and applications that don't require blinding performance. It's clear, however, that all-flash arrays are ascendant.

Entries in this category cover storage arrays available with flash storage, hard disk drives or a hybrid mixture. Products include Fibre Channel and iSCSI SAN, NAS, multiprotocol systems, converged infrastructure products, solid-state drives, HDDs, disk controllers and caching appliances. Arrays in this category have all the software management and storage features integrated with the storage media, as opposed to software that can be run on any appliance.

Nine of the 14 entrants sell systems that only use SSDs. The remaining five vendors offer hybrid systems that combine varying amounts of flash with fixed disk.

Cloudian HyperStore 4000

The Cloudian HyperStore array provides on-premises object storage, starting in a three-node configuration, with native Amazon Simple Storage Service APIs. HyperStore 4000 scales to 700 TB in a 4U enclosure. Disaster recovery is supported with erasure coding and bimodal object synching to multiple public clouds.

Datrium DVX 3.0

Datrium DVX software-defined storage splits I/O processing from durable storage using separate compute and data nodes. A log-structured file system converts random writes to sequential writes on host-based flash for endurance. Back-end disk nodes deliver performance.

Dell EMC Isilon F800

Dell EMC's scale-out NAS now comes in an all-flash model. Isilon F800 is rated to deliver an aggregate 9 million IOPS in a four-node cluster. Sixty 15.4 TB SSDs are housed in each Isilon 4U chassis. A single cluster can scale from 96 TB to 33 petabytes (PB). N+1 through N+4 redundancy provides data protection.

Dell EMC VMAX 950F

This is the big daddy of Dell EMC's all-flash enterprise storage arrays. Customers can start with a single V-Brick that packages 53 TB of usable flash, and build an eight-node V-Brick cluster that scales to 4 PB of effective capacity. The unified system supports block and file storage, open systems and mainframes.

E8 Storage E8-D24

E8's enterprise storage arrays take advantage of nonvolatile memory express (NVMe) flash media. Each rack-scale D24 appliance packs 24 NVMe SSDs in a 2U chassis and supports 100 servers. The Remote Direct Memory Access-enabled servers share access to the data via E8 software agents installed on each host.

Hitachi Vantara Virtual Storage Platform F1500

Hitachi Vantara's Virtual Storage Platform F1500 is an all-flash version of its Hitachi VSP hybrid array. Hitachi claims the all-flash array delivers 4.8 million read IOPS with sub-millisecond response time as the IOPS load approaches 99% and Hitachi flash modules reach 90% capacity.

IBM All-Flash DS8880F

The all-flash DS8880F is designed with integrated support for IBM Z Systems, Power Systems and open mainframe systems. PCIe-connected flash enclosures are rated to deliver 570,000 IOPS. Data protection includes cloud tiering for aged data and point-in-time snapshot recovery. Rounding out the product line is the midrange DS8884F and the DS8886F for large enterprises.

IBM All-Flash Elastic Storage Server 5.2

IBM gears Elastic Storage Server for exabyte-scale big data deployments, including applications powered by artificial intelligence and cognitive learning. Version 5.2 combines IBM Spectrum Scale software-defined storage, IBM Power servers and commodity disk enclosures. It also adds distributed erasure coding and end-to-end checksums.

Infinidat InfiniBox 3.0

Unlike all-flash and most hybrid enterprise storage arrays, InfiniBox stores all data on disk. Flash is about 3% of the array and used only as a mechanism to cache data. Infinidat is basing its roadmap on the advent of 20 TB and larger HDDs, claiming its architecture can meet or exceed all-flash performance. InfiniBox models range to 5 PB of effective capacity in 42U.

Kaminario K2 Gen6

A single K2 all-flash flagship model scales to 4 PB, using 4 TB and 8 TB flash cards. K2 hardware provides hot-swappable PCIe and NVMe slots, as well as storage-class memory, such as Intel Optane SSDs. Kaminario VisionOS enables hardware-accelerated inline compression in a dedicated engine. Kaminario Clarity provides cloud-based predictive analytics and monitoring.

Nexsan Unity models 2200, 4400 and 6900

Nexsan Unity provides block and file storage. Unity arrays support flash and disk with wizard-based non-disruptive expansion. There are four Intel Xeon processors, each with eight cores, along with 128 GB of dynamic RAM, dual onboard 12 GBps SAS ports and four 10 gigabit Ethernet ports for iSCSI, NFS or SMB.

Pure Storage FlashBlade

Pure Storage FlashBlade for unstructured data and web-scale analytics ranges in capacity from 98 TB to 1.5 PB. The FlashBlade blade is a single unit of compute and storage. Pure's DirectFlash technology lets the system talk directly to flash chips to alleviate bottlenecks. The 4U chassis accommodates 15 blades and is available in 8.8 TB and 52 TB capacities.

Reduxio HX550

Reduxio touts speed to deployment as a key feature of this hybrid flash array. The vendor claims its storage can be up and running in production in one hour. It uses flash to store active data and write deduplicated blocks, offloading data to HDDs. HX550 derives its value from the TimeOS operating system, including the BackDating feature for any-point-in-time snapshots.

Tintri EC6000

Tintri positions EC6000 all-flash storage as a platform for private cloud deployments in a company's data center. Capacity ranges from 19 TB to 645 TB of effective flash capacity in two rack units. Tintri VM Scale-out lets users manage 64 EC6000 enterprise storage arrays as a federated pool, topping out at 40 PB of effective storage and 480,000 virtual machines. 

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