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

That upstart is Infinidat. Read on and see if you agree.
As Nimble Storage has shown, founders on their 4th or 5th startup can move much faster than newbies. Storage is just different, and enterprise storage is the toughest part of the storage market.

That’s why the fact that the founding team’s deep experience from EMC, IBM, NetApp and XIV is important. They know the customer requirements 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 – key to producing enterprise-ready storage – and an investment no VC backed firm would make.

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.

Why you haven’t heard of them
Infinidat is self-funded. The founders have succeeded with prior arrays – Symmetrix and XIV among them – and haven’t needed or accepted venture capital.

They’ve been focused on winning strategic customers with a small, elite sales force. Also, they’ve been production-constrained and are looking to build a factory in the US.

Why you will hear of them
Infinidat’s flagship product is the InfiniBox, a petabyte scale enteprise array.

The InfiniBox has a number of advanced features:

  • 99.99999% uptime. Seven 9s of availability: turn it on and it never stops serving I/O over its useful life.
  • 2PB usable capacity. In a single 42U rack. Or start with 300, 1,000 or 1,500TB.
  • Natively supports block, file and object. No bolt-on NAS gateways.
  • FICON, FC, Ethernet. Integrates with OpenStack, VMware and others through native intefaces.
  • Active/active/active controller triplet. Infiniband mesh connectivity for maximum performance – with no switches. All controllers see all drives.
  • Massive caches. Up to 1.2TB of DRAM cache and up to 48TB of flash secondary cache per controller.
  • Automatic real-time data movement between DRAM, flash and disk.
  • 15 minute drive rebuilds. No limping along for hours after a drive failure. All data is protected against two drive failures.
  • End-to-end data authentication. Checksums ensure data integrity.
  • Balanced drive loads. No hot spots because due to advanced data layout.
  • Snapshots with no performance impact. No table locking during snaps virtually eliminates snap overhead.
  • HTML5 GUI. Simple system management.
  • 3 years 24/7 support included in base price.
  • Base price includes all software and system updates. No pricy extras.

Amazingly, all of this is done with NO custom hardware. All hardware is off the shelf – which is reflected in the pricing. Which is the next topic.

Of course, these features – and many more not listed here – are going to cost you.

Less. A lot less.

Street price, all in, with all software, 3 years maintenance, all system updates: 1/3rd to 1/2 of EMC.

A fraction of current enterprise arrays.

The StorageMojo take
The InfiniBox is the single most exciting product StorageMojo has seen in 10 years. Cloud IaaS and all flash arrays are flanking attacks on current enterprise arrays, while Infinibox is a frontal assault. It applies everything the industry has learned in the last decade to the problem of enterprise storage.

The availability, performance, management, density and pricing reflect the benefits of a modern architecture. The enormous investment – 100PB in QA! – behind Infinidat reflects the success of the founders with earlier iterations of enterprise storage.

Infinidat means business. If you’re looking at a new high-end array, take a moment to check out Infinidat. There is nothing else like it on the market: enterprise availability and performance; unbeatable density and efficiency; and excellent all-in pricing. All this thanks to a fully modern architecture and built by a deeply experienced team.

Courteous comments welcome, of course. I couldn’t go into all the details here, but ask questions and I’ll try to answer them.