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May 10 2017

Unchain Your Data with FUJITSU Storage ETERNUS DX S4 (Part 2 of 2)


In part 1 of our feature, we identified five key objectives any organization, regardless of size or industry, strives to achieve in its storage environment – scalability, business continuity, flexibility, protection against data loss and criminal attacks, and efficiency. Naturally, the implicit assumption is that an improved storage solution will not only address these issues, but deliver higher speed and better responsiveness. And that's exactly what Fujitsu's latest ETERNUS DX entry-level systems stand for.

Since Fujitsu first entered the storage market, our key goal has been to design and deliver business-centric solutions – disk arrays, tape libraries, data protection appliances and, more recently, all-flash systems that put our customers' business priorities ahead of technical complexities normally found at the backend, without compromising on quality. Over time, this approach has translated into a full-grown design philosophy, as we're basically trying to map hardware resources to business needs (and vice versa) in an effort to build systems that will handle complicated tasks and still remain affordable. This philosophy has come to full fruition in our latest lineup of entry-level storage arrays, consisting of the ETERNUS DX60 S4, ETERNUS DX100 S4, and ETERNUS DX200 S4. For many customers, these hybrid systems will open up a path to attaining entirely new levels of storage performance, since they are the first to integrate flash technology into classic disk arrays. In a nutshell, the result is that these systems offer 100% more storage capacity and 25% better performance than their predecessors, which makes them a better fit for data-intensive applications. But before we get into the details, let's first look at the specs in the table below.


Table 1: Fujitsu's fresh lineup of ETERNUS DX storage arrays

Those of you who have sold ETERNUS DX arrays before will immediately realize that these specifications are for the most part identical with those of the previous generation. Moreover, all three could be equipped with SSDs before, so why the hype about integrating flash, really?

Improvements over ETERNUS DX S3 Systems
However, if you look a little closer you will also notice subtle changes. For example, SAS connections to and from the ETERNUS DX100 S4 and DX200 S4 are no longer restricted to maximum transfer rates of 6 Gbit/s, but support 12 Gbit/s (SAS-3) instead. Likewise, FC connections to and from a DX60 no longer max out at 8 Gbit/s, but will carry twice as much data over 16 Gbit/s links. So with just a few tweaks to their networking infrastructure, users can substantially increase performance and decrease latencies for both storage systems and applications – a fully configured ETERNUS DX200 S4 will easily reach 250,000 IOPS, digest up to 1 petabyte of data per day (!), and respond to queries in less than 0.1 milliseconds. That's more than enough to achieve some drastic improvements in real-world scenarios, e.g. to support some 2,000 VMs in production.

As for scalability, that's already part of every ETERNUS DX system's DNA. The underlying family concept ensures that each hybrid array may at all times be seamlessly upgraded to cope with inevitable data growth. In other words, users can start with an ETERNUS DX60 and build their storage landscapes by adding more capacity and system memory and more powerful processors as needed.

Other essential improvements derive from an expanded set of functionalities in our ETERNUS SF management software. The main achievement here is that our developers found ways to further capitalize on synergies between flash and disk and make system administration as well as data management easier, more secure and more efficient:

  • Data protection and business continuity – all ETERNUS DX S4 systems support data encryption and snapshots for both physical and virtual servers and allow for fast rebuilds from reserve systems. As a result, important data can't be tampered with and organizations will be back on track within minutes, even if an attacker succeeds or an outage occurs. What's more, the ETERNUS DX100 S4 and DX200 S4 allow for remote replication, storage clustering and transparent failover to a second site – when combined, these functionalities can provide users with near-permanent storage uptime and data availability of 99.9999%.
  • Ease of management – the ETERNUS DX100 S4 and DX200 S4 offer various comfort functions that help storage administrators simplify and stabilize operations and relieve them from specifically error-prone tasks: Automated Quality of Service (Auto QoS) enables them to prioritize network traffic and reserve bandwidth based on the relevance and requirements of key applications and to implement policies for monitoring and readjusting existing configurations. Automated Storage Tiering (AST) organizes data according to business relevance, so that 'hot data' is always available on the fastest tier, such as SSDs, whereas less important information is transparently migrated to the capacity tier such as nearline SAS HDDs. This helps to increase SSD utilization, again resulting in higher responsiveness (= better quality of service), and eventually eliminates the need for system tuning – customers get to work with a 'self-optimizing' platform that's stable, reliable and prepared to handle spikes. In addition, functions like SSD Caching and SSD Tiering use the speed advantage and low latency of flash storage to accelerate applications and data traffic. Plus, the combination of flash and disk helps customers to strike a balance between increased (and increasing) performance demands and reasonable costs per GB of storage space.
  • Higher efficiency through data reduction – all ETERNUS DX S4 models have Thin Provisioning activated by default, enabling administrators to allot storage capacities on the fly, in line with user or application requirements. To achieve this, all SSDs and/or HDDs within a system are merged into one huge virtual storage pool, from where administrators distribute virtual volumes of a pre-defined size along with (smaller) physical capacities that match current usage patterns. For most users, this is their first encounter with storage virtualization, and a great method to maintain their flexibility and agility when handling their own customers' queries, either alone or in conjunction with AST and Auto QoS. Still sooner or later many companies will realize that the amount of data they handle has grown to such an extent that the combined power of AST, Auto QoS and Thin Provisioning isn't enough, and that they need more efficacious data reduction techniques, namely compression (removal of unnecessary or less important information) and deduplication (eliminating duplicate copies of reoccurring data sets). Both are included with the ETERNUS SF software package and supported on the ETERNUS DX200 S4, where they may be applied to individual volumes on a per-application basis, depending on whether IT has to meet performance SLAs or not. The combination of compression and deduplication may result in capacity savings of 80%, meaning that companies can store the equivalent of 1 TB of data in a volume of just 200 GB. It's hard to imagine that there could be a more effective way to increase storage efficiency.

Availability and Pricing
All ETERNUS DX S4 storage systems are available globally today from Fujitsu and its channel partners. Pricing varies depending on configuration and region.

Further Information
Did we spark your interest? Great – then we suggest you check out the details at our ETERNUS DX S4 microsite.

René Hübel


About the Author:

René Hübel

Senior Product Marketing Manager Storage Solutions 


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