EMC 2012 May 21 EMC World VMAX product announcements

In Enginuity Microcode, Symmetrix, Symmetrix Management Console (SMC), Symmetrix Performance Analyzer, Unisphere, VMAX, VMAX 10K, VMAX 20K, VMAX 40K, VMAX SP by AdministratorLeave a Comment

At EMC World in Las Vegas, EMC® announced new versions of their entire VMAX® series of enterprise storage products, the new products are the VMAX 10K, 20K and 40K storage systems

New VMAX hardware

The VMAX 10K replaces the VMAXe®, the VMAX 20K replaces the current VMAX storage and EMC has introduced an entirely new high-end system, the VMAX 40K.

  • VMAX 40K – 40K engines use a new 6-core Westmere platform, supports 1 to 8 engines, and has up to 256GB of DRAM per engine (2TB max).  The 40K can hold up to 3200 drives or a maximum capacity of 4PB with 128 Frontend ports (FC, FICON, 1GbE, 10GbE, 10Gb/s FCoE, iSCSI).
  • VMAX 20K – also supports 1 to 8 engines, with up to l28GB DRAM per engine (1TB max).  The 20K can hold up to 2400 drives or a maximum capacity of 2PB with 128 Frontend ports (FC, FICON, 1GbE, 10GbE, 10Gb/s FCoE, iSCSI).
  • VMAX 10K – only supports 1 to 4 engines with up to 128GB of DRAM per engine (0.5TB max). The 10K can hold up to 1080 drives or a maximum capacity of 1.5PB with 64 Frontend ports (FC, 1GbE, 10GbE, 10Gb/s FCoE, iSCSI).

The VMAX 40K system can be deployed in a split-bay configuration.  This means that engine bay can be up to 25M from the remaining engine bay, allowing a single VMAX 40K system string to be split over/around data center columns or even across two adjacent floors.  Accordingly, the front blue lights now blink to indicate where service is required.

VMAX now supports both 2.5” and 3.5” disk drives.  In addition, EMC is moving from SLC SSDs to eMLC SSDs to reduce flash costs even further.  EMC stated they have  reduced the customer cost of flash storage by 80% since first introduced.

EMC said that a VMAX 40K was capable of sustaining over 51GB/sec of throughput performance versus competitions 15-16GB/sec or less. (VMAX 40K vs VSP, DS8000, full system configs., maximum sustainable RRH bandwidth with128K Block Size).  For OLTP, VMAX performance is more than 3X the competition.

New VMAX software (Enginuity 5876 code)

Probably the biggest feature with the new code is Federated Storage Tiering or storage virtualization.  With federated tiering, VMAX can now have both internal (EMC storage) and external (EMC or non-EMC) FC storage under the control of a single VMAX system.  In EMC’s case, they can now use external storage as a tier of storage for all VMAX data.  Of course besides FAST and FAST VP, external storage would also enjoy all the other advantages of being under VMAX control such as replication and high data integrity.

In addition, VMAX now supplies a secondary VMAX remote disk mirror with information on the FAST VP movements on the primary storage.  In this way, the secondary system can actually match the data tiering movements occurring on the primary system and then, after takeover, provide performance equivalent to the primary system.  Prior to this feature, it would take some time after take over before a secondary system would match the FAST VP performance of the primary system as all it ever saw before was writes for the data.

VMAX is now fully supported under Unisphere, EMC’s new storage administration software.  Symmetrix® Management Console (SMC) and Symmetrix Performance Analyzer (SPA) are still available and shipped separately but their functionality has now been incorporated into the more graphically oriented Unisphere.

Also, VMAX will support data compression EMC calls FAST SMALL (2H 2012).  With FAST SMALL, data on tier 3, NL-disks can be software compressed.  EMC has been finding that data access has defined and distinct access cycles over its lifetime, i.e., most data is accessed frequently just after creation but exponentially less frequently over time. It’s this less frequently, tier 3 data, that EMC believes can be compressed to save storage capacity to be used elsewhere. As it’s accessed infrequently any compression overhead should not adversely affect performance.

New VMAX SP (VMAX storage-as-a-service)

EMC now supports a new VMAX Service Provider model where customers can take advantage of storage space at designated QOS levels from approved Service Providers.  This transforms the VMAX purchase discussion through SPs to a 100% OpEx discussion.  VMAX SP software will support new functionality for the provider of VMAX SP services.

Announcement significance

Another big refresh of EMC’s enterprise storage line, plenty of new features added to an already rich palette of functionality.  The VMAX SP is an interesting addition and seems to indicate interest in the service provider community for EMC VMAX enterprise storage.

Something about over 50GB/sec that intrigues me, but multi-TB cache also seems hot from my perspective.  Nonetheless, EMC continues to push storage performance on all cylinders, new hardware, software and more memory can all push the envelope. The only question remaining is how high can it go.


[This storage announcement dispatch was originally sent out to our newsletter subscribers in May of 2012.  If you would like to receive this information via email please consider signing up for our free monthly newsletter (see subscription request, above right) and we will send our current issue along with download instructions for this and other reports.]

Silverton Consulting, Inc. is a Storage, Strategy & Systems consulting services company, based in the USA offering products and services to the data storage community.

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