Infinidat shakes up enterprise storage market

Infinidat is focused squarely on the high-end enterprise storage market. Against the likes of EMC, NetApp and IBM how can they possibly succeed? Building a better product is a great start.
Written by Robin Harris, Contributor

The enterprise market is the most demanding and brutally competitive venue in storage. The incumbents have deep pockets, large sales forces, long-time relationships and proven products.

But they also have nose-bleed prices and aged architectures. In an era when cloud providers are taking increasing enterprise share those are big negatives.

The contender


The Infinidat founding team has deep experience is from EMC, IBM, NetApp and XIV. They know what customers need and they know the technology.

They wrote their first code in 2008. Won their first customer in 2011. They have over 100PB installed in their QA lab. That's key to producing enterprise-ready storage.

They have earned over 90 patents, but are also big contributors to open source projects. They currently have systems in production in the US, UK, Europe, Israel and China.

Infinidat is self-funded. The founders have succeeded with prior arrays — Symmetrix — now VMAX - and XIV among them — and haven't needed or accepted venture capital. 

The product

The InfiniBox has a number of advanced features:

  • 99.99999 percent uptime. Seven 9s availability: turn it on and it never stops serving I/O over its useful life.
  • 2PB usable capacity in a single 42U rack.
  • Natively supports block, file and object. No bolt-on NAS gateways.
  • FICON, FC, Ethernet. Integrates with OpenStack, VMware and others through native intefaces.
  • Massive caches. Up to 1.2TB of DRAM cache and up to 48TB of flash secondary cache per controller.
  • 15 minute disk rebuilds with RAID6-equivalent data protection.

And there's more, much more, based on the fact that this is a clean sheet design, using what we've learned in the last decade of explosive storage progress. Competitors are still sporting 1990s architectures with lengthy rebuild times, low-density drive enclosures, dual controllers and costly high-end drives.

But the bottom line is the bottom line: the Infinibox street price, all in, with all software features, 3 years maintenance, all system updates: one-third to half of a VMAX.

The Storage Bits take

Who would have thought, at this late date, that an upstart would appear to challenge high-end EMC, NetApp and IBM arrays with a fundamentally superior product? But when you don't have an installed base to protect, you can go big. 

Cloud IaaS and all flash arrays are flanking attacks on current enterprise arrays, while Infinibox is a frontal assault. The availability, performance, management, density and pricing reflect the benefits of a modern architecture.

If your enterprise is looking at a $200k+ storage acquisition, check out Infinidat. It's the first new enterprise array in a decade and worth a close look.

Comments welcome, as always. Nothing says "enterprise" like FICON. What do you think?

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