76_10e3a_zps2997524cI’ve had the chance to talk to Infinidat many times in the last six months, however, Storage Field Day 8 served best to understand its technology.

Enterprise storage DNA

I won’t go deep into talking about Infinidat as a company, you can find all the info you need on their website… but there are a few important things to mention.

Its founder is Moshe Yanai, the inventor of Symmetrix as well as many other storage systems and technology, a sort of legend in the storage industry.

The company is incredibly well funded, I’m sure that just having a company with such a founder attracts money.

But what struck me since the first meeting we had is the fact that they have a lot of enteprise customers already and are selling like mad (I think the last press release talks about a 61% increase in revenues in the last Q, with massive international growth).

The beauty of Infinibox

Infindat’s product is called Infinibox. It’s a monolithic storage system… but, let me say, a next generation monolithic. It directly competes against EMC VMAX, HDS VSP or 3PAR 10K and has some really interesting features that make the product very compelling…

It’s not all-flash! It’s hybrid, with tons of RAM and flash at the front-end and big 7200 RPM disks at the back-end, bringing a total usable capacity of 2PB per rack (pretty dense I’d say).

The product is designed around availability and resiliency, everything is N+1 (for example it has a particular 3 controller configuration, unusual but very effective). Videos recorded at #SFD8 give a pretty good idea of its capabilities and potential.

But then, there are at least two other important aspects to consider:

1.The price tag is really low for this kind of system: $1/GB! Way lower than VMAX and similar arrays.
2.This is a unified system, with FC, iSCSI, NFS, SMB and Object storage protocols already enabled and FiCON coming soon (mainframe connectivity? in 2016? yes, indeed… and I think it’s smart than you might think).

This allows Infinibox to be used for a considerably wide range of applications. And this also helps to boost sales. Think about a bank for example, it wouldn’t be very comfortable putting its primary data in an Infinibox (infinidat is just a startup after all, isn’t it?), but with a price point around $1/GB it could be perfect for storing a copy of a DB for analytics purposes! And it could be even faster and denser than the primary storage system already in place. (A good opportunity for Infinidat to demonstrate its potential without being pressured)

Infinibox is available in two different models, which primarily differ in the number of disks at the backend. The “mini” infinibox could be a good system for mid size enterprises or DR sites as well…

Last but not least, it’s interesting to note that each single system is heavily tested for weeks before leaving Infinidat’s facilities for customer sites. Another example of maniacal attention for detail and capacity of execution of this company.

Closing the circle

The first time I saw Infinidat’s infinibox I thought about XIV (a startup founded by Yanai, sold to IBM), the two products have some design similarities (and, as far as I know, many engineers followed Yanai in this new venture when he left IBM after disputes about the development of XIV…). So I was worried about the real potential of Infinibox… reality is that infinibox is indeed an interesting product based on solid technology that could be a real threat to traditional enterprise storage systems like EMC VMAX (and for a better price!).

I’m also quite fascinated by Infinidat as a company. They are well funded, they have engineered an interesting storage system (in a segment which is very conservative) and seem to have a really strong capacity to execute. I’m sure we will hear more about them in the future

If you want to know more about this topic, I’ll be presenting at next TECHunplugged conference in Austin on 2/2/16. A one day event focused on cloud computing and IT infrastructure with an innovative formula combines a group of independent, insightful and well-recognized bloggers with disruptive technology vendors and end users who manage rich technology environments. Join us!

Disclaimer: I was invited to this meeting by GestaltIT and they paid for travel and accommodation, I have not been compensated for my time and am not obliged to blog. Furthermore, the content is not reviewed, approved or edited by any other person than the Juku team.