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During the recent VMworld Europe, I’ve got the opportunity to talk with Gavin McLaughlin, Solution Development Director EMEA of X-IO about their products and their history. Yes, because X-IO has a long term (over two decades with different names) of expertise to deliver unmatched price/performance for enterprise applications.

It’s all started in 1999 with Seagate Technologies with the idea of build a new zero touch design storage: Seagate invested over $100 million in this project, but on 2007 this technology was acquired by Xiotech and Intellinget Storage Element (ISE) has began is life on 2008.

Hyper ISE was one of the first hybrid storage that fuses SSD and HDD as single pool of storage, creating the ideal balance of price, performance and capacity and each storage array has a dual controller with 30 SAS disks + 10 SSD disks, and could scale with a scale-out approach in a single group with a single virtual IP and more members (there is no specific limit with the number of members).

Considering the scale-out approach the remark is “Fast Forever”: data growth has a deep impact on capacity and with it an increasing demand for high performance at low latency. The Hyper ISE storage system was designed for performance, even as it reaches high levels of capacity utilization, during RAID rebuilds, data movement, mirroring, or when drive issues arise. Hyper ISE has been architected to minimize the performance degradation that is felt by the users and applications during any and all of these conditions. Leveraging the proven technology of HDD and blending that with the amazing performance of SSD means that Hyper ISE can be fast forever.

Actually the front-end is FC (could be used in SAN or DAS mode), but on December will be added also the iSCSI support and in the future also the Mellanox chipset to open the storage at Infiniband communications.

Cortex is XIO’s RESTful web-based management service that is built-in to all ISE storage systems as well as being integrated with the XIO storage resource management platform: ISE Manager and ISE Analyzer. Cortex enables simple commands and interfacing for the discovery, monitoring, and configuration of all ISE storage resources. CorteX is designed such that the ISE systems can be easily controlled via custom scripting or the storage management functionality inside operating systems, hypervisors, databases, and other applications.

Also there are the XIO certified storage software adapters and providers enable ISE storage systems and ISE storage resource management functionality to embed within vendor-specific management consoles, user interfaces and software services. There are numerous, valuable XIO software adapters and providers that integrate ISE into VMware, Citrix, Hyper-V, Storage Foundation, and Windows Server environments.

Some interesting aspects of this products are:

  • the control pane in completely software defined and at high level, but it does not provide each function: for example  thin provision is demanded at hypervisor level
  • the synchronous replication feature can work in an active-active was, and they build a multipath module for implementing a “metro cluster” solution
  • there is an unique algorithm ROI based for the optimal used of SSD disks in the hybrid storage
  • all storage include 5 years of support
  • each storage can send the statistics each 24 hours (the feature could be disabled) to verify that is working correctly and also can export the date locally

Finally, about the differentation with flash based storage, Gavin McLaughlin has written this post: The Risk of Adopting Flashy Trends.

See also the other mine reports from VMworld Europe 2013.


Virtualization, Cloud and Storage Architect. Tech Field delegate. VMUG IT Co-Founder and board member. VMware VMTN Moderator and vExpert 2010-24. Dell TechCenter Rockstar 2014-15. Microsoft MVP 2014-16. Veeam Vanguard 2015-23. Nutanix NTC 2014-20. Several certifications including: VCDX-DCV, VCP-DCV/DT/Cloud, VCAP-DCA/DCD/CIA/CID/DTA/DTD, MCSA, MCSE, MCITP, CCA, NPP.