The AMI StorTrends 3500i is a 3U, 16-bay hybrid storage array that combines the benefits of SSD acceleration and the capacity and pricing benefits of HDDs. The StorTrends 3500i is a dual-controller configuration set to active/passive, each driven by Dual Intel Xeon 2.4GHz E5620 processors and 16GB of memory. The real magic though comes in the control the 3500i offers to customers. The array supports both SSD caching and tiering, which is somewhat novel in the hybrid space, and a feature called Automatically Tuned Volumes (ATV). ATV gives users a high-degree of control over what kind of performance an individual volume receives by selecting the storage it sits on, allowing admins to prioritize (or not) the performance. StorTrends arrays also include a robust set of enterprise-ready data services and the ability to scale up with additional disk enclosures.
The biggest selling point of the 3500i is its availability in both hybrid and full SSD configurations as well as the inclusion of both SSD Caching and Tiering functionality in the same array, which is unique in the hybrid storage market as most only do caching or only tiering. AMI offers a variety of configurations for the 3500i, the typical accelerated configuration using four SSDs for tiering and two for caching. The array supports multiple HDD tiers as well, letting users opt for performance or capacity oriented configurations. Of course with an expansion shelf they could tune for both, taking advantage of capacity and performance HDDs with the rapid flash layer on top. For those that need ever more performance, the 3500i may be configured entirely with flash, forgoing the caching and tiering entirely.
While high-performance storage is certainly compelling, where many arrays fall down is on the data services side. AMI has done well to mitigate much of that concern with the inclusion of a host of enterprise features. These are highlighted by support for snapshots, thin provisioning, replication, WAN data services and archiving with deduplication. The system supports RAID 5, 6, 10, 50 and 60 and is managed via an easy to use web-based GUI. For those who want to take full advantage of the SSDs inside, the StorTrends supports an optional 10GbE card.
Worth noting is StorTrends is the data storage division of AMI, American Megatrends. AMI has been in business since 1985 and has over 1,300 employees worldwide. While not known as a storage leader, they do have nearly 1,200 systems in the field and have been quietly going about their business for the last several years. AMI has very strong balance sheet, which helps both on the innovation and support side, as many buyers have concerns about the viability of the company they're buying from when taking a step away from the typical Tier 1 storage vendors. They also have a deep history in RAID architecture to go with 114 StorTrends patents, to form a rich technical base.
Our StorTrends 3500i configuration includes SSD cache: 200GB (200GB SSDs x 2 RAID1), SSD tier: 1.6TB usable (800GB SSDs x 4 RAID10) and HDD tier 10TB usable (2TB HDDs x 10 RAID10) and optional 10GbE. This configuration carries a list price of $87,999.
To read the complete storage review report, please visit: http://www.storagereview.com/ami_stortrends_3500i_hybrid_array_review
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