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DCIG Updating the Flash Memory Storage Array Buyer’s Guide

DCIG is in the process of researching the Flash Memory Storage Array marketplace with the intention of publishing the DCIG 2015-16 Flash Memory Storage Array Buyer’s Guide in May 2015. Since the publication of the 2014 edition, many storage providers have come out with new models, new providers have arrived on the scene and others have exited or been acquired–warranting a fresh snapshot of this dynamic marketplace.
The purpose of this courtesy notice is five-fold

  1. To inform prospective storage purchasers and storage providers that DCIG intends to publish the DCIG 2015-16 Flash Memory Storage Array Buyers Guide in May 2015.
  2. To describe the appeal of flash memory storage arrays while clarifying DCIG’s definition of the category.
  3. To disclose DCIG’s inclusion criteria and enumerate the products identified in our preliminary research.
  4. To give storage providers and end users an opportunity to inform DCIG of additional products that may qualify for inclusion.
  5. To give notice of key dates for participants.

The Appeal of Flash Memory Storage Arrays
Flash Memory Storage Arrays lower the total cost of ownership for enterprise data centers by delivering hundreds of thousands and even millions of IOPS with consistent sub-millisecond latencies while using as little as 1/10th the rack space, power and cooling of traditional storage arrays. They are no longer just a point solution for storage pain points. The most recent generation of arrays offers the data services most enterprises expect from their primary storage and enough capacity to replace an enterprise’s traditional storage array.
Driver #1: Data Center Budget Savings
For those with a responsibility for the technology budget, a flash-storage-enabled rethinking of the data center can measurably increase data center efficiency; achieving hard cost savings of over 30% in data center hardware and software, and realizing an ROI of less than 11 months.2
Driver #2: Accelerating the Enterprise
Flash-based storage systems typically create a seven-fold improvement in application performance. This accelerates associated business processes and creates opportunities to save money on business operations or realize new revenue. This is especially true if business operations and initiatives have been hampered by storage systems that could not keep pace with business requirements.
DCIG Definition of Flash Memory Storage Array
Flash Memory Storage Array is a physical rack-mountable storage appliance that exclusively uses flash memory for primary data storage.
Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria
DCIG welcomes input from users and providers in refining the inclusion criteria for each Buyer’s Guide and in identifying products that qualify for inclusion. The criteria we are currently using to determine whether or not a specific model qualifies for inclusion in this Buyer’s Guide are:
Available as a rack-mountable appliance.
Must be available as a specific all-flash SKU. Nearly all storage providers support the use of SSDs in their storage arrays. To be included in this Buyer’s Guide, an all-flash configura­tion of the array must be available as a specific SKU.
Must use flash memory as primary storage, not merely as an extended cache.
May permit storage expansion with disk shelves that contain HDDs or the virtualization of external disk-based arrays–essentially converting the flash memory storage array into a hybrid storage array–as long as an all-flash configuration is available as a specific SKU.
Is NOT based on Microsoft Windows Storage Server. This requirement was put in place to eliminate products that are just standard server hardware with flash drives plus MS Storage Server. Flash memory has specific weaknesses that must be addressed if it is to be responsibly incorporated into storage arrays as primary data storage. This Buyer’s Guide includes storage providers who have taken steps to address flash memory’s weaknesses.
Must support one or more of the following storage networking protocols: iSCSI, Fibre Channel, InfiniBand, NFS.
There must be sufficient information available to DCIG to make meaningful decisions. DCIG makes a good faith effort to reach out and obtain information from as many storage providers as possible. However, products may be excluded because of a lack of sufficient reliable data.
Must be generally available by May 1, 2015. A cut-off date had to be put in place or this Buyer’s Guide would never be published.
Ultimately, it is the professional judgment of the analysts working on each DCIG Buyer’s Guide whether or not a particular model meets the inclusion criteria.
Products That Appear to Meet the Inclusion Criteria

  • Cleversafe dsNet Appliances (Mgr/Acc 3100, Slicestor 2440)
  • Coraid EtherDrive
  • Dell Compellent FS8600 NAS
  • EMC Isilon NL-Series
  • EMC Isilon S-Series
  • EMC Isilon X-Series
  • Exablox OneBlox
  • Fujitsu Storage ETERNUS CD10000
  • Gridstore GS-3000-FCN
  • Gridstore GS-3000-HCN
  • Gridstore GS-H2100-12
  • GS-3000-FSN
  • HDS NAS 4100
  • HP StoreAll 8800
  • HP StoreVirtual 4330 Storage
  • HP StoreVirtual 4530 Storage
  • HP StoreVirtual 4630 Storage
  • HP StoreVirtual 4730 Storage
  • Huawei OceanStor N8500
  • IBM Elastic Storage Server
  • IBM Storwize V7000 Unified
  • IBM XIV Storage System
  • Kaminario K2
  • NEC HYDRAstor 4010R-720
  • NetApp FAS2520
  • NetApp FAS2552
  • NetApp FAS2554
  • NetApp FAS8020
  • NetApp FAS8040
  • NetApp FAS8060
  • NetApp FAS8080EX
  • Nimble CS700
  • Nimbus Data Gemini X and X1000 Flash Director
  • Nutanix NX-1050
  • Nutanix NX-7110
  • Nutanix NX-8150
  • Nutanix NX-9040
  • Oracle FS1-16
  • Overland Storage SnapScale X2
  • Overland Storage SnapScale X4
  • Panasas ActiveStor
  • Pivot3 vSTAC Data
  • Scale Computing HC3 Platform (HC1000)
  • Scale Computing HC3 Platform (HC2000)
  • Scale Computing HC3 Platform (HC4000)
  • Scale Computing SCr Storage Node
  • SolidFire SF2405
  • SolidFire SF4805
  • SolidFire SF9010

Key Dates for Participants (DCIG reserves the right to revise this schedule)

  • 2/26/15 – 3/13/15  Additional products may be proposed for inclusion in the Buyer’s Guide
  • 3/16/15 – 3/30/15  Provider survey review period
  • 3/30/15  Last date for provider updates prior to competitive scoring
  • 4/17/15 – 4/24/15 Provider data sheet review period
  • 4/30/15 Last date for provider updates to be reflected on data sheets
  • 5/15/15 – 5/30/15  Anticipated publication
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