StorONE, Intel launch joint solution to fully leverage Intel Optane tech

StorONE’s S1 software unlocks the full potential of Optane to the extent that the joint All-Flash Array.next offering can use Optane as a storage tier, not just as a cache.

George Crump, StoreoONE’s Chief Marketing Officer

Today, storage software vendor StorONE is announcing its new All-Flash Array.next (AFAn), which becomes the first storage software to fully leverage  Intel Optane Technology. While competitor solutions typically leverage Optane as a cache, StorONE’s software is able to use it fully as a storage tier, including its very fast write capabilities. AFAn also integrates Intel QLC 3D NAND SSDs for efficient storage tiering and consolidation.

“AFAn is the world’s first Intel Optane-powered flash array,” said George Crump, StoreoONE’s Chief Marketing Officer. “StorONE is software only, but we bundle because customers and resellers want it. This is our first authorized bundle. It’s an Intel box with our software.”

Crump, well-known in the storage industry for his 13 years as an analyst at Storage Switzerland, said this announcement and its technological innovation, was the reason he left the analyst world to move to StorONE.

“I had been working with StorONE as a consultant since September of last year, and the more real this became, the more I became intrigued,” he said. “There are three companies that were truly innovative when I first met them, and this is one of those. I also knew Gal [Naor, StorONE’s CEO and co-founder] real well. But this announcement was much of the catalyst for my coming on board.”

StorONE’s secret sauce here is their StorONE’s S1 Enterprise Storage Platform, which in the AFAn is able to extract the full performance of Intel Optane SSDs, and automatically tier to lower-cost Intel QLC 3D NAND SSDs, without read performance penalty.

Crump outlined the synergies that are derived from the S1 platform working with the Intel Optane SSDs.

“With our starting configuration of 50 TB, we can deliver 1 million IOPS from 3 Optane drives, while delivering 85-90% of Intel’s stated performance, which is much better than anyone else,” Crump said. “Our competitors need up to 12 drives at $2000 a pop to do what we do with 3.

“The other big difference is that we use Optane as storage – not as cache as competitors do, because they can’t get its full performance,” Crump added. “That loses a key Optane advantage, because just using it as a read cache doesn’t take advantage of its incredibly high write IOPS. Most storage vendors don’t use Optane at all. It exposes the inefficiencies in their software, just as it highlights the efficiencies in ours.”

An AFAn configuration with 4 Optane drives has 3 TB raw storage, with 2.2 TB usable.

“In most data centres, 2.2 TB of active data is very high,” Crump said. “The 2.2 TB sets up the next big feature for us, which is our tiering.  S1 moves data across multiple tiers of storage, from from NVMe flash to high density SAS flash storage like QLC. It makes it much cheaper. At the same time, the weakness of QLC is you don’t want to write to it a lot, and our software is designed to save QLC.”

The AFAn has 320,000 Sequential write IOPS, 310,050 Random write IOPS, and latency which in worst case scenarios is like .8 ms.

“With our Direct Write feature, we write directly to media, not a RAM cache,” Crump said. “We’ve always done that.”

“We are pleased with StorONE’s use of Intel Optane SSDs in their new AFAn product offering,” said Chris Tobias, GM, Optane Solutions Division of Intel. This will bring new and exciting enterprise storage services to data centers of all sizes.”

“We have fine-tuned our message since I came on board, really focusing on the storage consolidation market – storage consolidation done right,” Crump stated. It’s software only with hardware flexibility. Everyone else doing storage consolidation forces you to buy their hardware. Most consolidation plays lead with throwing stuff out. We can start with a point project and grow, and cover all use cases as a consolidation play. We can solve an immediate problem and set you up for a nice strategic play going forward.”

In May, StorONE launched their TRUprice back transparent pricing site, where people can configure S1 with Dell, HPE or SuperMicro hardware, to create what are essentially do-it-yourself bundles. They have now added an AFAn configuration option to TRUprice.

“There are likely to be more of these bundles in the future,” Crump said. “Companies like the turnkey experience.”

StorONE sells through a 100% channel model,  They will work with Intel on this to a high degree, with extensive joint marketing, including a joint webinar about the solution on June 30th at 1:00PM ET. CompuTech International [CTI] will distribute the offering.

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