EMC 2013Sep04 updates VNX storage product family

In Dell EMC, VNX, VNX 5200, VNX 5400, VNX 5600, VNX 5800, VNX 7600, VNX 8000, VSPEXby AdministratorLeave a Comment

EMC® recently updated their VNX® product family with a new line of storage systems.

EMC VNX success

EMC has sold over 71,000 VNX systems since introduction in January of 2011 and have shipped over 4100PB of storage on VNX, with more than 235,000 SSDs. Over 60% of all VNX systems ship with flash and EMC has over 600 VNX customers with a PB or more of VNX storage.

EMC VNX enhancements

The focus for this VNX product update was speed. Specifically,

  • More firepower with faster Intel Sandy Bridge processing cores and software enhancements to take better advantage of Intel’s multicore CPUs.
  • Better storage efficiency with block-level dedupe, lower cost storage with MLC flash SSDs and 256MB granularity for FAST VP data tiering.
  • Better availability with Active-Active, dual controller support and new virtual data movers (VDMs) for CIFS/SMB and NFS file system containers.
  • Lower TCO with Hyper-V deployments over CIFS/SMB and a new Unisphere Management Suite to improve operational productivity.

Although EMC was one of the first to introduce SSDs into enterprise storage they had not fully optimized their hardware or IO path to take advantage of SSD speed. All that changes with today’s VNX upgrades. For example, the maximum CPU cores supported previously was 12, new VNX storage can support up to 32 cores; the maximum PCI bus lanes was 60, new VNX systems support up to 160 PCI lanes; and the maximum PCIe slots was 11, new VNX storage supports up to 22 PCIe card slots.

EMC developed multi-core optimization software, they call MCx. Previous generation systems used static allocation of tasks to cores but with MCx, tasks are dynamically allocated, so any core can do any storage system task. At EMC World, Rich Napolitano, President, USD, demo-ed a beta version of MCx using 16 cores and as IO activity increased one could see all active processing cores becoming busier, until they all reached saturation somewhere between 80% to 90% CPU busy.

With all the new changes, block IO response times have been reduced by 70% and IOPS by 4X over the previous generation systems. The new generation VNX product family can now scale from 240K IOPS to 1.1M IOPS and now supports up to 30GB/second of storage bandwidth. Further, the new VNX systems support up to 4X more NFS transactions per second with a 60% better NFS transaction response time.

From an application perspective, the new VNX systems support more than 4X the virtual machines of older VNX systems and thousands of users on a single VNX system. Further, the new VNX systems offer up to 4X more Oracle transactions per second than previous VNX systems.

Two storage processors supply VNX block services and VNX file services are provided by one or more X-Blades. The specifications for the six new VNX models are displayed below.

Block VNX5200 VNX5400 VNX5600 VNX5800 VNX7600 VNX8000
Capacity

375TB

750TB

1500TB

2250TB

3000TB

4500TB (3PB@GA)

Disks

125

250

500

750

1000

1500 (1K@GA)

FAST cache

0.6TB

1TB

2TB

3TB

4.2TB

4.2TB

UltraFlex

6

8

10

10

10

22

8Gbs FC

24

32

40

40

40

72

10GbE iSCSI

12

16

20

20

20

36

Cache

32GB

32GB

48GB

64GB

128GB

256GB

Cores

8

8

8

12

16

32

File            
X-Blades

2

2

2

3

4

8

Cache

12GB

12GB

24GB

24GB

48GB

48GB

UltraFlex

6

6

6

8

8

10

10GbE

8

8

8

12

16

32

Pricing for the new VNX systems is at a slight premium (~10%) over the previous generation VNX models. But with 3X to 4X better performance available from the new systems, it’s a bargain.

Significance

We are not as impressed by the IOPS improvements as the reduction in block and file IO latencies. Reducing an already optimized IO path through a storage system is a hard to do. Faster hardware helps, but taking advantage of its increased speed is not easy. Latency reductions were no-doubt measured with significant portions of FAST Cache and SSDs but response time improvements probably also should apply to cached IO just as well. All VNX customers should be happy to see the improved response times and the increase in IOPS is just icing on the cake.

EMC’s new VNX line will be included in a refresh of the VSPEX product family as well as new VCE Vblock systems. This is a major upgrade to EMC’s entire VNX product line and one that’s long been anticipated.  

[This storage announcement summary was originally sent out to our newsletter subscribers in September of 2013.  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. Dispatches are posted to our website at least a quarter or more after they are sent to our subscribers, so if you are interested in current storage announcement and/or storage performance results please consider signing up for our newsletter.]  

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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