XtremIO X2 – the Fast Path to a Modern VDI Infrastructure

VMworld 2017 kicks off this week in Las Vegas. VMware’s premier thought leadership and education destination for technology professionals. Back in May at Dell EMC World, we proudly introduced XtremIO X2 – the second generation of Dell EMC’s XtremIO All-Flash storage system to help customers modernize their datacenters and transform IT.

Just in time for VMworld, we are excited to announce the general availability of Dell EMC XtremIO X2.  XtremIO X2 is the next generation of the Dell EMC’s purpose-built All-Flash array and provides even more performance, agility, and simplicity. For IT departments deploying a VMware infrastructure, XtremIO X2 automates, modernizes and simplifies management and monitoring with its VMware vSphere plug-in and VMware vRealize Orchestration for VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) environments.


XtremIO X2 delivers extreme performance with consistent sub-millisecond latency as low as 200 microseconds while hosting up to 4,000 virtual desktops. X2 delivers 80% better response times than the previous generation, and this performance is unaffected by boot storms, antivirus scans, suspend/resume operations, application peak demands, user activity, or other demands on the storage array’s resources. With XtremIO, VM cloning for VMware is a control plane operation making it extremely fast by leveraging the hypervisor’s copy offload capabilities like VAAI Copy Offload or X-COPY. In fact, a single XtremIO X2 X-Brick can host up to 4,000 virtual desktops[i] — that’s 1000 desktops per RU resulting in up to 33% lower cost per desktop than the previous generation XtremIO.[ii] The graph below demonstrates 4,000 knowledge workers.  You can also watch a video of this here as well.

LoginVSI benchmark demonstrating 4,000 active Knowledge Workers


XtremIO’s always-on, real-time inline data reduction technology, including deduplication and compression, dramatically reduce the amount of data storage capacity required to support VDI environments. Data deduplication is always inline without affecting performance or consuming capacity.  Thousands of virtual desktops can be deployed with only a few terabytes of flash. Customer data has shown dedupe rates of 10:1 or higher for full clones and 3:1 for linked clones (see below).

What’s also exciting about our X2 announcement at VMWorld is we’ve proven it delivers 25% higher data reduction, 2X more copies per cluster for iCDM, while at the same time 4 X better rack density than the previous generation XtremIO platform.

XtremIO X2 used capacity for 4,000 VMs (full clones)


With its massive I/O performance, virtual desktops running on XtremIO X2 respond instantly and consistently faster than those on physical desktops. This extreme performance ensures that every user is able to get their work done quickly and efficiently.  No more receiving calls about slow response times to mission-critical applications. In fact, XtremIO X2 is 25% faster booting virtual desktops as shown in the results below running identical tests on both XtremIO X2 and the previous generation of XtremIO.[iii]


With XtremIO X2, you can now scale-up as well as scale-out more flexibly. You can start with as few as 18 SSDs with 7TB capacity. Then as your VDI environment grows, you can simply add more SSDs (up to 138TB) to host more desktops on a single X-Brick. Once a single X-Brick reaches maximum desktop hosting capacity, you can then scale-out non-disruptively up to a total of 8 X-Bricks. Leveraging the embedded storage efficiency capabilities, X2 can scale to support up to 5.5PB of effective capacity. This new X2 capability dramatically improves and simplifies VDI deployments making online expansion completely transparent to both your IT applications and users, while also eliminating all storage planning complexity.

XtremIO X2 Scale Up and Scale Out Up to 5.5PB Effective Capacity

X2 has also been designed for higher density to pack more All-Flash capacity in a footprint that is 3X denser than the previous generation, a key improvement for many of our customers:

“As a service provider, the more capacity we can fit into a smaller footprint, the better it is for our business,” said Brady Snodgrass, Storage Architect at First National Technology Solutions.” XtremIO X2’s significantly improved density — with the capability of packing up to 72 SSDs into each X-Brick, nearly 3x the previous model — is a big advantage.”


Finally, XtremIO X2 offers a new HTML 5 management interface making it even simpler for storage administrators to quickly provision and view overall system status. With X2 there are no applications to install and management is done via a common web browser.  Key system metrics are front and center and displayed in an easy-to-read graphical dashboard.  Overall system health, performance and capacity metrics and graphs are right at your fingertips for quick checkups while graphical views of the array hardware and interfaces provide simple visuals for overall system performance.

XtremIO X2 HTML 5 Dashboard

XtremIO X2 management integration with VMware vSphere is just as exciting news for VMworld attendees. Dell EMC Appsync integrates with VMware to easily and natively protect and restore datastores, virtual machines or files within VMs.   VSI integration with Appsync allows iCDM to be managed within vCenter directly.  While point in time recovery is possible using RecoverPoint and VMware SRM. A great demonstration of XtremIO X2 with VMware vSphere and Site Recover Manager integration can be found here.

If you’re already an XtremIO customer, hopefully I’ve piqued your interest in some of the new capabilities in performance, agility and ease-of use.  If you’re not already an XtremIO customer, but run a heavy VMware infrastructure, it’s worth your while checking out how XtremIO X2 can deliver peak results to your organization.  Check out a really great video or head on over to DellEMC.com to learn more about the new XtremIO X2.


[i] Based on Dell EMC internal testing using the LoginVSI VDI workload generator (knowledge worker profile) benchmark test, July 2017.

[ii] Based on Dell EMC internal analysis, July 2017. Actual cost will vary.

[iii] Based on Dell EMC internal testing, July 2017. Actual performance will vary.

Jeff Boudreau

About the Author: Jeff Boudreau

Jeff Boudreau is President of the Infrastructure Solutions Group at Dell Technologies. In this role, Jeff is responsible for a global team of innovators that imagine, design and deliver the ISG portfolio of modern infrastructure—industry-leading solutions that accelerate and enhance data computation, storage, networking and data protection, and are integrated into our converged and hyperconverged offerings. Jeff joined Dell Technologies in 1998 (previously EMC) and has over 25 years of engineering, business management and executive leadership experience in the IT industry. Jeff has held a number of management, operations, and services leadership positions. Most recently, he was President of Dell EMC Storage, responsible for the development and management of a market-leading storage portfolio that helps organizations modernize their data centers, leverage the economics of the cloud and accelerate IT transformation. Prior to that, Jeff was Senior Vice President and General Manager for the Midrange Solutions business, leading the innovative engineering teams that delivered next-generation midrange solutions for managing customer data with less cost, complexity and risk. Jeff completed his undergraduate studies at Wentworth Institute of Technology and received an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Jeff is based in Hopkinton, Massachusetts.