ISE Total Cost of Ownership

Intelligent Storage Elements (ISEs) offer the lowest TCO in the storage industry!

X-IO’s Intelligent Storage Elements are engineered to deliver the best-available total cost of ownership (TCO) in the storage industry — minimizing the consumption of rack and floor space, energy (in the form of power and cooling) and personnel costs associated with the administration and servicing of storage arrays.

The ISE is purpose-built to provide the performance that virtual desktop and server infrastructure, online transaction process, business intelligence, and cloud computing environments require, while utilizing a fraction of the rack space and energy of traditional storage solutions. X-IO customers experience not only a lower acquisition cost than the competition, but also benefit from long-term savings in operating expenses, over a useful ISE lifecycle that, at six years, is more than twice that of other enterprise storage arrays.

Evaluating a storage solution based solely on acquisition cost, only tells part of the story. Other factors need to be considered when determining how much it will truly cost for an organization to implement an effective solution.

What is the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for storage and how does it apply to a datacenter? The explanation can be simple when planning for ever-growing storage environments. TCO is more than one data point…

When you implement X-IO ISE storage solutions, you’ll experience unsurpassed innovation for today’s data centers and cloud environments. But don’t just take our word for it. See how X-IO out performed the competition and read the results yourself.


First order cost

ISEs outperform systems 10x more expensive, in operation

The first-order cost of any storage array is the actual cost of acquisition—an important metric to consider when purchasing storage equipment, certainly. But, over a five- or six-year operating life, acquisition costs are less than half of the total costs of owning and using enterprise storage.


Achieving high performance from traditional storage solutions requires LOTS of disk drives. This approach results in capacity that can’t be used (or there will be a performance penalty). Often the cost is evaluated in “cost per terabyte,” but at X-IO, we know that you’re really interested in the “cost per usable terabyte.” In addition to the basic price, be sure to consider warranty support in your initial cost assessment, and know your costs up front. Storage vendors typically provide a 3-year warranty and often use the purchase price as the basis to determine warranty costs—which can be up to 20% of the purchase price—a substantial increase to your base price.


5-Yr-Warranty_120pxOur ISE solutions provide an ideal balance of price, performance, capacity and reliability—unmatched in the industry.Based upon technology originally developed by Seagate Technologies (the largest manufacturer of hard drives in the world), the Intelligent Storage Element (ISE) fundamentally changed the economics of SSD/HDD-based solutions. By re-engineering how HDDs operate, the ISE provides 2x to 10x the performance over traditional storage systems for ½ to ¼ of the cost.

X-IO’s ISE technology includes the industry’s only 5-year standard hardware warranty—at no additional cost. X-IO’s innovative storage design sets the bar for traditional storage in a way that means more for less. ISE delivers record breaking results for an unmatched value that results in:

  • A “frame-free” storage array design that scales linearly when managed by operating systems, hypervisors and DBMSs, and that can be aggregated behind third-party SAN controllers, in environments where those are required
  • No need for controller-based frames of storage that have shelf limitations and add to the expense
  • Reduced power and cooling requirements

Second-order cost

ISEs radically reduce space and energy requirements

Electricity_Price_Rise_Diagram-150x150The next concept to consider is second-order cost—the cost to install and operate something for a defined period of time. Items that fall into this category include:

  • Direct and Indirect energy consumption (power for storage and HVAC)
  • Real estate costs (rack and floor space)
  • Administrative expense (Full-time employees/TB of storage)
  • Failure-event costs (material, man-hours)
  • Warranty costs
  • Maintenance costs


Whether you are in a co-located datacenter, running a large enterprise, or starting a cloud business, second-order costs will eat at your bottom line. Commodity disk shelves — the heart of traditional enterprise storage arrays — suffer from restricted airflow and consume kilowatts of power, driving up operational costs as you scale. In a co-located datacenter, every rack (and rack unit) has a cost associated with them and that cost will increase as your enterprise grows. The need for increased capacity and performance, combined with an often inefficient use of storage, sub-optimizes datacenter ROI.


ISE technology delivers increased density and a reduced rack space footprint because it is possible to do more with less. Plus it is scalable so you can always buy only what you need and when you need it.

Large systems require careful planning, and additional growth capacity must be considered to ensure that rack space is available when needed. With ISE, you’ll obtain 3x the performance in less space. What does that mean to you?

  • Low direct power consumption—a maximum of 700 watts of power per 3U of rack space
  • HDD solutions experience up to 38.4 TB of self-healing storage in just 3U of rack space
  • An SSD accelerated solution will provide 21 TB of storage and over 60,000 IOPs in just 3U of rack space
  • Never over-provision to achieve required performance
  • Reduce rack space using ISE storage solutions for better ROI on your real estate investment
  • Reduce or eliminate the need for SAN controllers and excess support equipment

Third-order cost

ISEs scale infinitely – no forklift upgrades…ever

ISE provides the ability to grow with the infrastructure that you have today, in small increments, with mixed generations of ISEs, with no forklift upgrades or wholesale replacements. Ever.

Unlike traditional enterprise storage arrays, which are frame-based, and which therefore have to be replaced, at some point, with a larger, more performant frame, ISEs are frame-free storage modules, designed to scale infinitely in a software-defined storage (SDS) environment. And, unlike upstart hybrid storage vendors, whose products have limited top-end capacity and performance, ISE storage architectures don’t top out. You can scale your ISE pools as and when you need to do so, and they can be as large as your workloads require.

Beyond conversion costs, there are other third-order costs that are consequential expenses, and that you need to assess when integration a new storage array into an existing environment. Items that fall into this category include:

  • Real estate
  • Automation integration
  • Dedicated high capacity power feeds
  • Other infrastructure that must be in place to implement new solutions
  • Personnel training


Data center growth might require require additional facility space, the upgrade of a generator and/or an increased power capacity, or even technical training for engineering staff. Plus generator power can run up to 20% more than traditional power which impacts your second-order cost.


ISE technology will deliver expense reductions by increasing density and reducing the rack space footprint, making a much more efficient use of physical space. In addition, with ISE technology, the power and cooling capacities of your datacenter are not stressed like they would be with the technology used by traditional storage vendors. When all management is based upon an open ReST-based API, integration goes well beyond basic “scripting” and can be programmatically integrated into management operations.

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