It was almost 4 years ago that IBM bought XIV (See 2008: cluster storage goes mainstream). StorageMojo couldn’t understand IBM’s product positioning – yeah, the world was clamoring for a block device for multi-media – but liked the architecture.

Now XIV appears to be making good on its early promise. Here are XIV bullet points to consider.

  1. XIV interface the “most elegantly simple” in the industry?
  2. Design goal: using large drives produce needed app performance.
  3. 3rd gen version – now with Infiniband! – announced.
  4. Supports 3TB SAS drives.
  5. Data divided into 1MB chunks and auto distributed across all disks pseudo-randomly.
  6. Infiniband boosts performance ≈4x, making it competitive with Big Iron arrays at lower cost.
  7. Full system is 180 drives.
  8. Gen3 3TB drive data rebuild takes 54 minutes.
  9. Failing drives are rebuilt from data copies on other drives.
  10. Minimum LUN size is 17GB.
  11. Thin provisioning is standard.
  12. Using Infiniband XIV’s latency and bandwidth are on a par with IBM’s Big Iron DS8000 series.
  13. Fidelity Investments replaced a 240 drive – all 15k – Big Iron array with a 180 drive XIV and found it was 60% faster.
  14. Fidelity now has 86 XIV frames installed.

Is this the most elegant management interface in storage?

The StorageMojo take
The XIV architecture was its first strong point. And now it looks like commodity hardware has caught up with the architecture.

IBM likes the XIV management interface so much that they are standardizing on it. It is the best looking storage GUI I’ve seen – much better than the 1-step-up-from-Excel look of most – and I’d like to hear how it works for large shops.

I expect that a lot of shops that are using EMC and HDS arrays would be surprised at how far XIV has come. I was.

Courteous comments welcome, of course. IBM brought me out to a well done customer event in California and put me up for a couple of nights while schmoozing me. Other than that no lucre changed hands.

Love to see some comments from XIV users. How’s it working for you?