Fusion-IO debuts small business-focused hybrid Flash array


Fusion-io is cementing its move downstream with the release of an SME-focused hybrid storage product that combines Flash technology with high capacity disk drives.

The firm's Fusion ioControl product is based on the technology the firm gained through its acquisition of hybrid storage appliance maker NexGen storage in April 2013.

Prior to the acquisition, NexGen already used the Flash-based storage vendor's ioMemory technology to create SME-focused hybrid storage appliances containing standard disk drives.

This, the company claimed, allowed NexGen to transform x86 server platforms into systems that boast the same kind of performance as an all-flash storage array.

At the time, the vendor also said the acquisition would help it make further inroads into the SMB market, despite Flash technology traditionally being viewed as the preserve of the enterprise because of its high cost.

Speaking to IT Pro, Chris McCall, vice president of the ioControl product line, said this is an issue the company has been able to side step because of the hybrid nature of the appliance.

Starting prices for the appliances begin at $55,000 for the 16TB, $88,000 for the 32TB and $108,000 for the 48TB arrays. "These are all starting prices, and users can scale from there," said McCall said.

He was also keen to stress the product is aimed at SMEs with at least 100 employees that already have some form of datacentre capacity they rely on to carry out "heavy duty IT", rather than one man bands.

Even so, the company has had to adapt the products to make them as easy as possible for SMEs to use, McCall explained.

"This market has very different characteristics and needs than the big scale-out server deployments in enterprise database acceleration [where Fusion-io's products are typically used]," McCall said.

"SMEs tend to think more around simple management, because there are only a few IT guys that have to manage the technology for everybody. They can't just focus on one app, which presents a number of management challenges."

Rather than use a Flash-based array to speed up the running of a particular application, iOControl is aimed at SMEs that might want to run large chunks of their infrastructure on the technology.

Particularly companies that need to ramp up the performance of their server or desktop virtualisation deployments.

The product is being released in UK and Europe this week through the firm's tranche of channel partners.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.