Flash Wars. EMC comes out with Xtrem guns

As expected sooner or later that had to start since EMC’s 400M acquisition of Israel XtremIO, and now it begins.

Pulling of VFCache from USD (Unified Storage Division) and creating Flash Business Unit that now includes VFCache renamed to XtremSF (LSI “although EMC is not revealing who they are” ;) ) and XtremSW (home grown VFCache software) along with XtremIO.

I was always questioning where middle-ware product similar to iON would actually make sense, and sure enough it does not seem it does: “Thunder server networked flash cache product built from VFCache cards has been discontinued”.

EMC is showing very interesting results “Fusion-io being able to run at around 115,000 IOPS with a 70/30 read/right mix of 4K blocks and a queue depth of 256. The XtremSF 2200 delivers around 215,000 IOPS in the same situation.”

“EMC has also tested the XtremSF and Fusion-io cards over a greater than 5 hour run period and found its cards quickly outperformed Fusion-io cards with 4KB random write IOPS and eventually overtook the Fusion-io card with 64KB sequential writes in MB/sec terms.”

They will be leading on the VMWare integration as well.


Of course the response from FIO is expected. Inheriting EMC’s possession in fast cars FIO creates a video of FIO vs E brand (not hard to figure our what goes after E):

Who is who in “Flash Wars”?

  • EMC – a potential powerhouse but it must link its software to backend arrays as soon as possible or server makers could freeze it out.
  • Fusion-io – software is the key and Fusion-io already knows this.
  • IBM-TMS – we’re still waiting for IBM to add TMS flash to its servers and get busy on software driver front.
  • Intel-Micron – it owns foundries, has distribution channels and it’s getting software.
  • LSI – no foundry link-up but potentially has a good distribution channel although it needs software.
  • OCZ – no foundry link-up and in crisis.
  • Samsung – can sell PCIe flash on the back of memory and flash chips to system manufacturers so it’s potentially strong – but it needs software.
  • Seagate-Virident – needs a flash foundry tie-up and that could be Samsung.
  • STEC – its high-flying SSD business stalled, although it’s now recovering, but it has no foundry tie-up so question marks remain.
  • Toshiba-SanDisk-Violin – a potential powerhouse.


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