On Wednesday 4 November, HP announced a new network storage system based on the Ibrix Fusion file system called the X9000. Three versions were announced:
- X9300 gateway appliance which can be attached to SAN storage (HP EVA, MSA, P4000, or 3rd party SAN storage) and provides scale out file system services
- X9320 performance storage appliance which includes a fixed server gateway and storage configuration in one appliance targeted at high performance application environments
- X9720 extreme storage appliance using blade servers for file servers and separate storage in one appliance but can be scaled up (with additional servers and storage) as well as out (by adding more X9720 appliances) to target more differentiated application environments
The new X9000 appliances support a global name space of 16PB by adding additional X9000 network storage appliances to a cluster. The X9000 supports a distributed metadata architecture which allows the system to scale performance by adding more storage appliances.
X9000 Network Storage appliances
With the X9300 gateway appliance, storage can be increased by adding more SAN arrays. Presumably, multiple gateways can be configured to share the same SAN storage creating a highly available file server node. The gateway can be configured to support the following Gige, 10Gbe, and/or QDR (40gb/s) Infiniband interfaces for added throughput.
The Extreme appliance (X9720) comes with 82 TB in the starting configuration and storage can be increased by in 82TB raw capacity block increments (7u-1/2rack wide/35*2 drive enclosures + 1-12 drive tray for each capacity block) up to a maximum of 656TB in two rack (42U) configuration. Capacity blocks are connected to the file servers via 3gb SAS, and the X9720 includes a SAS switch as well as two ProCurve 10Gbe ethernet switches. Also, file system performance can be scaled by independently adding performance blocks, essentially C-class HP blade servers. The starter configuration includes 3 performance blocks (blades) but up to 8 can be added to one X9720 appliance.
For the X9320 scale out appliance, performance and capacity are fixed in a 12U rack mountable appliance that includes 2-X9300 gateways and 21.7TB SAS or 48TB SATA raw storage per appliance. The X9320 comes with either GigE or 10Gbe attachments for added performance. The 10Gbe version supports up to 700MB/s raw potential throughput per gateway (node).
All these systems have separate, distinct internal-like storage devoted to O/S, file server software and presumably metadata services. In the X9300 and X9320 storage, this internal storage is packaged in the X9300 gateway server itself. In the X9720, presumably this internal storage is configured via storage blades in the blade server cabinet which would need to be added with each performance block.
All X9000 storage is now based on the Fusion file system technology acquired by HP from Ibrix, an acquisition which closed this summer. Ibrix’s Fusion file system provided a software only implementation of a distributed (or segmented) metadata serviced file system which allowed the product to scale out performance and/or capacity, independently by adding appropriate hardware.
HP’s X9000 supports both NFS and CIFS interfaces. Moreover, a\Advanced storage features such as continuous remote file replication, snapshot, high availability (with two or more gateways/performance blocks), and automated policy driven data tiering also come with the X9000 Network Storage system. In additition, file data is automatically re-distributed across all nodes in X9000 appliance to ballance storage performance across nodes. Every X9000 Network Storage system requires a separate management server to manage the X9000 Network Storage nodes but one server can support the whole 16PB name space.
I like the X9720 and look forward to seeing some performance benchmarks on what it can do. In the past Ibrix never released a SPECsfs(tm) benchmark, presumably because they were a software only solution. But now that HP has instantiated it with top-end hardware there seems to be no excuse to providing benchmark comparisons.
Full disclosure: I have an current contract with another group within HP StorageWorks, not associated with HP X9000 storage.