Happy Birthday XtremIO!

Today is a big day for XtremIO.  It marks one full year since we began general availability shipments.  Saying we’ve accomplished a lot in that year would be quite the understatement.  XtremIO’s first year was record breaking to say the least.  We’ll explore that in a moment, but I’d like to begin with an anecdote.

People often ask me how I became involved with XtremIO.  I’ll spare the details of the entire story, but the part that matters is that I spent several days in Israel with XtremIO’s founders and key engineers grilling them about the product and its architecture before I accepted the job.  During that visit, it became clear to me that XtremIO was like a secret weapon.  I knew that whoever controlled this technology would have a significant advantage and that it would forever change how IT delivers value and ultimately how businesses run.  EMC subsequently realized the same thing and acquired XtremIO in 2012.

XtremIO wasn’t the first all-flash array in the market.  In fact, others had a head start ranging from 18 months to over a decade.  If you only think about XtremIO categorically, you might think it is just a late entrant and decide our success is due to EMC’s size and scale.  But if you have experienced XtremIO first-hand, then you know that the array brings far more to the table than amazing levels of consistent and predictable low-latency performance.  You know that XtremIO is changing the dynamics of the virtual data center, dramatically simplifying and improving the way complex application environments are provisioned, and allowing workload consolidation on an unprecedented scale.

In other words, XtremIO is enabling EMC customers to do things that simply have not been possible in the past, and that are not possible with other products on the market.  Customers using XtremIO are leveraging secret weapon technology in their data center and many have realized that by doing so they are creating a sustainable competitive advantage in their business.  That’s powerful stuff.  And that realization has powered XtremIO to be the fastest growing product ever at EMC, and one of the fastest growing products in history.  Here are some fun facts about XtremIO achieved in only our first year on the market:

  • XtremIO powers a staggering 30% of the top 200 companies on the Fortune 500.  And nearly 20% of the entire Fortune 500 use XtremIO.  Big business recognizes the immense value XtremIO brings, but XtremIO has also been wildly successful in the mid-market, even among cost-conscious customers such as state and local government and higher education.  You don’t have to be a multi-billion dollar corporation to reap a huge ROI with XtremIO.


  • XtremIO is the #1 requested product in EMC’s Executive Briefing Centers.  Word is spreading fast about what customers are achieving with XtremIO and it is driving CIOs, application owners, and infrastructure teams to come and learn more.
  • In Q3’14, EMC announced that XtremIO had exceeded a $500M annualized run rate – in only its third full quarter of availability!  EMC also mentioned that XtremIO’s win rate is over 90%.  XtremIO now has over 75 million-dollar or more customers.  The growth and stickiness of the product is simply staggering.  This led Raymond James & Associates, in their October 21st, 2014 report entitled “2015 Storage Outlook” to say, “XtremIO is on track to do over $300 million in revenue after its late 2013 launch, which should position EMC at number one in 2014.”
  • Nearly a third of XtremIO business is with customers who are new to EMC.  Customers who never purchased from EMC in the past are doing so today because XtremIO’s benefits are so substantial they can’t be ignored.
  • XtremIO is deployed in 46 countries around the globe.  Fun fact:  There are 189-196 countries (believe it or not this varies by who is counting), meaning XtremIO is in about a quarter of them.
  • XtremIO’s growth trajectory is faster than any other EMC Federation product, ever.  It’s substantially faster than Isilon, Data Domain, and VMware, each of which is a billion dollar or more business that has been incredibly successful.  Finding examples of any IT product in history growing at XtremIO’s rate has proven challenging.

 XtremIO Growth

XtremIO’s revenue growth rate is exceeding other wildly successful products in EMC’s portfolio.

  • Noted industry blogger, Stephen Foskett recently wrote, “This is why it’s not shocking that XtremIO has apparently racked up twice as many sales this year than every other ‘all-flash’ array combined. You read that right: XtremIO has outsold the entire alleged all-flash array market by a wide margin.” [bold type is Stephen’s, not ours]
  • The 451 Group reported that XtremIO took the number one position on TheInfoPro’s Wave 18 Storage Technology Heat Index. The index denotes how ‘hot’ or desirable a particular technology has become. XtremIO allowed EMC to secure the title of most selected vendor for production use of all-flash arrays.  Read about it here.

That’s quite a list for a one year old.  Across the board, industry analysts are predicting that XtremIO will be the #1 all-flash array in market share when 2014 is tallied.  This position was achieved in less than a year, against products that were in the market for years before XtremIO began shipping.


That’s only possible with real and tangible technology differentiation, such as:

  • Simplicity.  XtremIO is inherently balanced, meaning there is no up-front configuration or tuning required to achieve peak performance, nor does the array need to constantly re-balance itself to maintain performance over time.  XtremIO’s innovative content-based architecture ensures everything is balanced the moment it enters the array.
  • Linear scale-out.  XtremIO arrays start small (but incredibly fast) and scale-out to 12 N-way active controllers (currently, and this will increase in future releases), allowing the system to deliver unprecedented levels of performance.  XtremIO customers no longer worry about the storage array being a bottleneck.  Instead, they’re re-thinking their applications and server infrastructure so that they can fully harness the power XtremIO delivers.  XtremIO’s performance levels enable workloads that were never possible before, and workload consolidation on a massive scale, vastly simplifying data center operations.
  • 100% always-on, always inline data services.  XtremIO has a rich set of data services, but more importantly they operate inline, all the time.  This leads to consistent and predictable performance as the array is always processing operations like thin provisioning, deduplication, compression, and encryption on every I/O as it is processed.  There’s never the uncertainty of batch or post-processing, and latency is rock solid.
  • Software-centric architecture.  The magic of XtremIO is in the array software, not the hardware design.  This has allowed us to rapidly roll out new features and dramatically improve performance in our software updates – all on the arrays our customers already own.
  • In-memory metadata.  This helps XtremIO arrays perform the same regardless of the workload.  It doesn’t matter if the I/O pattern is random or sequential, on a small volume or large volume, with locality of reference or none at all.  Performance remains consistent and predictable.  But best of all, metadata heavy operations like VM cloning and snapshots are processed at blazing memory speeds, allowing XtremIO arrays to power incredibly dynamic virtual data centers and create instant full-speed copies of large data sets.  What were once resource intensive brute-force operations (and remain so on other all-flash arrays) are now handled instantly and elegantly.

Other all-flash array vendors like to compare their products to spinning disk.  There’s no magic in that.  Of course flash is faster than disk.  XtremIO didn’t set out to prove that.  XtremIO had a vision of how random-access technology such as flash could be leveraged to transform data services and deliver them at full speed, all the time, in a graceful, consistent, and predictable manner.  XtremIO saw a way to make data centers more fluid, agile, and powerful.  XtremIO customers have realized this and increasingly are using XtremIO not only to solve performance problems, but also to simplify and scale their operations.  That’s what’s propelling our growth and success; its what separates XtremIO from other all-flash arrays, and it’s what drives us to keep delivering on our vision for the solid-state data center.  In short, it has vaulted XtremIO to the top of a highly competitive market in record time.

Happy Birthday XtremIO!

About the Author: Dell Technologies