Improvements to XtremIO with X2

Paris Fraser

by Paris Fraser

The customers have spoken and Dell EMC listened!

Dell EMC announced the next generation XtremIO, the X2, at Dell EMC World. The first generation XtremIO is a great platform with unmatched performance and space efficiency. However, there are some drawbacks.  Upgrade costs, form factor, and cabling to name a few. Dell EMC has addressed these issues with X2 and are now able to deliver a superior product with a significantly lower TCO to the customer.

What’s new with XtremIO?

Let’s take a look at some of the improvements in the X2:

Improved Scalability
  • The X1 was built as a scale out architecture, so if you needed to add capacity you would have to add the controllers and 25 drives. This is great for performance, but not the most cost-effective way to scale a solution.
  • The new X2 is designed as a scale out and SCALE UP The new denser drive enclosure holds 72 drives versus the 25 drives that the X1 supported. The X2 can start with as little as 18 drives and scale up in increments of only 6 drives. The X2 scales up from 7 TB to 138 TB per X-Brick and can scale out from 1 to 8 X-Bricks. X-Bricks can be added in any increments (odd or even), alleviating a major X1 customer complaint.


  • The BBUs have been removed and replaced with PCIe NVRAM
  • Increased reliability
  • Smaller form factor
  • Reduced cabling
  • Provides the ability to add an odd number of X-Bricks
New User Interface
  • HTML5 based – No more Java!
  • Intuitive drill downs and navigation
  • Guided workflows
  • Enhanced reporting
Cost Savings
  • Up to 1/3 of the Price of the X1 for $/GB (effective capacity)
  • Higher density
  • Higher data reduction
  • Better scaling economics
Improved Storage Efficiency
  • 4:1 Guarantee achieved using technologies like inline compression, thin provisioning, inline dedupe, and XVC snapshots
  • See Dell EMC’s website for more details and the program terms and conditions
  • 20% fewer cables than the X1
  • New cable harness – It may not sound like much, but it was very challenging to make the X1 look “neat” from a cabling perspective. As you can see below the harness makes a big difference



More Performance
  • Software driven IO improvements
  • Hardware upgrades: NVRAM, faster CPUs, and more cores
  • Increased IB bandwidth
  • 16 Gb FC
Native replication is on the roadmap and will be available soon

As you can see Dell EMC has made significant improvements to the XtremIO platform, addressing the pitfalls of the first generation while also improving performance and efficiency.  With all of these enhancements, we think this is a great platform for anyone considering the move to all-flash!