White PaperINTRODUCTION TO THEEMC XTREMIO STORAGE ARRAY (Ver. 3.0)A Detailed ReviewAbstractThis white paper introduces the EMC XtremIO Storage Array. Itprovides detailed descriptions of the system architecture, theoryof operation, and its features. It also explains how the XtremIO'sunique features (such as Inline Data Reduction techniques[including inline deduplication and data compression], scalableperformance, data protection, etc.) provide solutions to datastorage problems that cannot be matched by any other system.December 2014

Copyright 2014 EMC Corporation. All Rights Reserved.EMC believes the information in this publication is accurate asof its publication date. The information is subject to changewithout notice.The information in this publication is provided "as is". EMCCorporation makes no representations or warranties of any kindwith respect to the information in this publication, andspecifically disclaims implied warranties of merchantability orfitness for a particular purpose.Use, copying, and distribution of any EMC software described inthis publication requires an applicable software license.For the most up-to-date listing of EMC product names, see EMCCorporation Trademarks on is registered trademark or trademark of VMware, Inc. inthe United States and/or other jurisdictions. All othertrademarks used herein are the property of their respectiveowners.Part Number H11752.6 (Rev. 07)Introduction to the EMC XtremIO Storage Array2

Table of ContentsExecutive Summary . 4Introduction . 5System Overview . 6X-Brick . 7Scale-Out Architecture . 910TB Starter X-Brick (5TB) . 10System Architecture . 11Theory of Operation . 13Mapping Table . 13How the Write I/O Flow Works. 14How the Read I/O Flow Works . 19System Features . 20Thin Provisioning . 21Inline Data Reduction . 21Inline Data Deduplication . 21Inline Data Compression . 23Total Data Reduction . 24XtremIO Data Protection (XDP) . 25How XDP Works . 26Data at Rest Encryption . 28Snapshots . 30Scalable Performance. 35Even Data Distribution . 38High Availability . 39Non-Disruptive Upgrade . 40VMware VAAI Integration . 41XtremIO Management Server (XMS). 45System GUI . 46Command Line Interface . 48RESTful API . 48LDAP/LDAPS . 48Ease of Management . 49Integration with other EMC Products . 50Powerpath . 50VPLEX . 50RecoverPoint . 51Solutions Brief. 52Openstack Integration . 54Conclusion . 55Introduction to the EMC XtremIO Storage Array3

Executive SummaryFlash storage is an attractive method for boosting I/O performance in the data center.But it has always come at a price, both in high costs and loss of capabilities likescalability, high availability, and enterprise features.XtremIO's 100% flash-based scale-out enterprise storage array delivers not only highlevels of performance and scalability, but also brings new levels of ease-of-use toSAN storage, while offering advanced features that have never been possible before.XtremIO's ground-up all-flash array design was created from the start for maximumperformance and consistent low latency response times, and with enterprise gradehigh availability features, real-time Inline Data Reduction that dramatically lowerscosts, and advanced functions such as thin provisioning, tight integration to VMware,snapshots, volume clones, and superb data protection.This is achieved with a competitive cost of ownership. The product architectureaddresses all the requirements for flash-based storage, including achieving longevityof the flash media, lowering the effective cost of flash capacity, deliveringperformance and scalability, providing operational efficiency, and deliveringadvanced storage array functionality.This white paper provides a broad introduction to the XtremIO Storage Array, withdetailed descriptions of the system architecture, theory of operation, and its variousfeatures.Introduction to the EMC XtremIO Storage Array4

IntroductionXtremIO is an all-flash storage array that has been designed from the ground-up tounlock flash's full performance potential and deliver array-based capabilities thatleverage the unique characteristics of SSDs, based on flash media.XtremIO uses industry standard components and proprietary intelligent software todeliver unparalleled levels of performance. Achievable performance ranges fromhundreds of thousands to millions of IOPS, and consistent low latency of under onemillisecond. *The system is also designed to provide minimal planning, with a user-friendlyinterface that makes provisioning and managing the array very easy.XtremIO leverages flash to deliver value across the following main dimensions: Performance – Regardless of how busy the system is, and regardless of storagecapacity utilization, latency and throughput remain consistently predictable andconstant. Latency within the array for an I/O request is typically far less than onemillisecond.* Scalability – The XtremIO storage system is based on a scale-out architecture. Thesystem begins with a single building block, called an X-Brick. When additionalperformance and capacity are required, the system scales out by adding X-Bricks.Performance scales linearly, ensuring that two X-Bricks supply twice the IOPS, fourX-Bricks supply four times the IOPS and six X-Bricks supply six times the IOPS ofthe single X-Brick configuration. Latency remains consistently low as the systemscales out. Efficiency – The core engine implements content-based Inline Data Reduction. TheXtremIO Storage Array automatically reduces (deduplicates and compresses) dataon the fly, as it enters the system. This reduces the amount of data written toflash, improving longevity of the media and driving down cost. XtremIO arraysallocate capacity to volumes on-demand in granular data blocks. Volumes arealways thin-provisioned without any loss of performance, over-provisioning ofcapacity, or fragmentation. Once content-based inline deduplication isimplemented, the remaining data is compressed even further, reducing theamount of writes to the flash media. The data compression is carried out inline onthe deduplicated (unique) data blocks.Benefits gained from avoiding a large percentage of writes include:* Better performance due to reduced data Increased overall endurance of the flash array's SSDs Less required physical capacity to store the data, increasing the storagearray's efficiency and dramatically reducing the /GB cost of storageAs measured for small block sizes. Large block I/O by nature incurs higher latency on any storage system.Introduction to the EMC XtremIO Storage Array5

Data Protection – XtremIO leverages a proprietary flash-optimized data protectionalgorithm (XtremIO Data Protection or XDP), which provides performance that issuperior to any existing RAID algorithm. Optimizations in XDP also result in fewerwrites to flash media for data protection purposes. Functionality –XtremIO supports high performance and space-efficient snapshots,Inline Data Reduction (including inline deduplication and data compression), thinprovisioning, and full VMware VAAI integration, as well as support for FibreChannel and iSCSI protocols.System OverviewThe XtremIO Storage Array is an all-flash system, based on a scale-out architecture.The system uses building blocks, called X-Bricks, which can be clustered together togrow performance and capacity as required, as shown in Figure 2.The system operation is controlled via a stand-alone dedicated Linux-based server,called the XtremIO Management Server (XMS). Each XtremIO cluster requires its ownXMS host, which can be either a physical or a virtual server. The array continuesoperating if it is disconnected from the XMS, but cannot be configured or monitored.XtremIO's array architecture is specifically designed to deliver the full performancepotential of flash, while linearly scaling all resources such as CPU, RAM, SSDs, andhost ports in a balanced manner. This allows the array to achieve any desiredperformance level, while maintaining consistency of performance that is critical topredictable application behavior.The XtremIO Storage System provides a very high level of performance that isconsistent over time, system conditions and access patterns. It is designed for truerandom I/O.The system's performance level is not affected by its capacity utilization level,number of volumes, or aging effects. Moreover, performance is not based on a"shared cache" architecture and therefore it is not affected by the dataset size or dataaccess pattern.Due to its content-aware storage architecture, XtremIO provides: Even distribution of data blocks, inherently leading to maximum performance andminimal flash wear Even distribution of metadata No data or metadata hotspots Easy setup and no tuning Advanced storage functionality, including Inline Data Reduction (deduplicationand data compression), thin provisioning, advanced data protection (XDP),snapshots, and moreIntroduction to the EMC XtremIO Storage Array6

X-BrickFigure 1 shows an er2UDAE1UFirstStorageController5UFigure 1. X-BrickAn X-Brick is the basic building block of an XtremIO array.Each X-Brick is comprised of: One 2U Disk Array Enclosure (DAE), containing: 25 eMLC SSDs (standard X-Brick) or 13 eMLC SSDs (10TB Starter X-Brick [5TB]) Two redundant power supply units (PSUs) Two redundant SAS interconnect modules One Battery Backup Unit Two 1U Storage Controllers (redundant storage processors)Each Storage Controller includes: Two redundant power supply units (PSUs) Two 8Gb/s Fibre Channel (FC) ports Two 10GbE iSCSI ports Two 40Gb/s InfiniBand ports One 1Gb/s management/IPMI portIntroduction to the EMC XtremIO Storage Array7

Table 1 shows the system specifications per X-Brick.Table 1. System Specifications (Per X-Brick)FeatureSpecification (per X-Brick)Physical 5U 13 x eMLC Flash SSDs (10TB Starter X-Brick [5TB]) 25 x eMLC Flash SSDs (Regular X-Brick)High Availability Redundant Hot swap components No single point of failure (SPOF)Host AccessSymmetric