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EMC Enterprise Storage Updates

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EMC Enterprise Storage Updates


EMC have made a couple of big announcements over the last few weeks, specifically in regards to their flagship enterprise storage product, the VMAX.

First out of the rank was the announcement of the new lineup of VMAXs. There are 3 new models, which are positioned as follows.

The 100K is the ‘entry’ level array, directly replacing the 10K. Each engine comes with two controllers sporting dual hex-core Xeon processors. With the array supporting up to two engines, we’re looking at up to 48 cores of processing goodness.

The 200K replaces the 20K, comes with dual 8-core Xeon processors per controller (two controllers per engine), and supports up to 4 engines for 128 cores of processing.

At the high end the 400K replaces the 40K, comes with dual 12-core Xeon processors per controller (2 per engine), and supports up to 8 engines for a total of 384 cores.

All engines support up to 2TB of cache memory, with all internal communication via 56Gbps InfiniBand connections.

From a capacity perspective, the 100K can have two disk enclosures attached, while the 400K can have up to eight with a mix of 2.5 and 3.5 inch drives. Just to be confusing, the 200K can have up to four enclosures, though if you’re looking at mixing drives between 2.5 and 3.5, you’re apparently back to being limited to two enclosures. Hopefully this is not a fundamental design flaw, and can be rectified in future. On the plus side, each drive enclosure can have up to 120 drives dependent on configuration.

To manage the new range, EMC have released an Ingenuity replacement, the HYPERMAX OS. This purports to be the industry’s “first open storage and hypervisor converged operating system 1. This new OS internally manages services that are traditionally run externally to the array. Of note is that this also includes ‘Linux-based Apps’. Will we be able to run our Docker apps directly from the array?

EMC ProtectPoint is a new capability that integrates the new VMAX directly with Data Domain storage. Native direct backups without the need for external applications are rarely a bad idea, provided recovery and reporting is efficient and reliable.

The other news of note is EMCs acquisition of TwinStrata, specifically around its cloud storage gateway technology. CloudArray is a caching appliance that automatically replicates or migrates any data placed onto it into the cloud, based upon defined policies. It supports the use of both private and public cloud, including Amazon S3.

With the acquisition, EMC and TwinStrata are looking to integrate the appliance directly into the HYPERMAX OS on the VMAX. This would effectively turn ‘the cloud’ into just another tier of storage, guided by placement policies defined within the VMAX.

Combined, these announcements certainly provide an interesting picture for the future of the enterprise storage market.

“1”: http://www.emc.com/collateral/hardware/data-sheet/h13219-vmax3-ds.pdf

August 2014

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