EMC 08Jul2014 Mega-launch VMAX3, Isilon and XtremIO updates

In 10TB X-Brick, Isilon, S210, Uncategorized, VMAX3, VMAX3 100K, VMAX3 200K, VMAX3 400K, X410, XtremIO by AdministratorLeave a Comment

³³EMC recently held their mega-launch in Europe where they announced some significant enhancements to their VMAX, Isilon and XtremIO storage families.

New VMAX3 hardware

EMC introduced their new VMAX3 storage family that includes the VMAX 100K, 200K and 400K storage systems, which have substantially increased the computational power of VMAX storage. The VMAX3 uses the latest PCIe Gen 3 and Intel IvyBridge processors with up to 12 compute cores per chip and for the VMAX 400K this means 384 compute cores in a single storage system. Front-end interfaces include up to 32-16Gbps FC and 32-8Gbps FC ports for block or SRDF (8Gbps FC only) IO and 32-10GbE and 32-1GbE for SRDF IO. Note there is no FICON support available at GA but EMC expects to release this within one year after GA. The VMAX 200K and 400K supports up to 2TB of DRAM cache per engine while the VMAX 100K can have up to 1TB of DRAM cache per engine. The 100K supports two engines, the 200K supports 4 engines and the 400K supports 8 engines.

The VMAX3 systems also include their new Dynamic Virtual Matrix architecture, with dual redundant, Infiniband interconnect fabrics operating at 56Gbps per port. The new interconnect provides 350GB/sec, 700GB/sec or 1400GB/sec of matrix bandwidth for the VMAX 100K, 200K or 400K respectively.

The new storage also uses 6 Gbps SAS drive interconnects with high-density disk array enclosures (60-3.5” drives or 120-2.5” drives) that supplies up to 720-2.5” drives or 360-3.5” drives per bay. Drive bays can be located up to 25 meters away from the first system bay. The maximum capacity of the three systems is 496TB, 2.0PB or 4.0PB with 1440, 2880 or 5760 drives per system.

New VMAX3 performance

Not a lot of information was released on performance of the new storage but EMC stated that their new systems have 3X the performance of previous generation VMAX storage.  EMC also indicated that a single rack could offer up to 1.7M IOPS.

New VMAX3 HYPERMAX software functionality

The new HYPERMAX storage O/S provides embeddable data services that can take advantage of the greater amount of compute capability inside the VMAX3 storage. EMC showed the possibility of VMAX3 running Unisphere, ViPR, and RecoverPoint. As an example, EMC recently acquired TwinStrata, a cloud gateway company, and EMC plans to implement TwinStrata functionality inside VMAX3 to provide hyperscale level, cloud storage backends. Given all the new external data services, each VMAX3 compute core can now independently execute backend, frontend or data services functionality and the allocation of cores to functionality can be dynamically changed, on demand to service different workloads.

HYPERMAX also supports SnapVX with up to 245 active snapshots per source volume for large-scale deployments. Furthermore, another new VMAX3 feature, EMC ProtectPoint can be used to backup your VMAX3 data directly to Data Domain storage without having to move data in and out of a host, sort of like NDMP for block storage to Data Domain.

Finally, HYPERMAX also offers service level management, where admins can define different classes of storage characteristics, such as diamond, platinum and gold and provision this storage to applications with just one click. HYPERMAX functionality automatically manages system resources to meet the storage class SLAs.

New Isilon enhancements

EMC announced two new system platforms: the S210 with double the file IOPS per node targeted at highly transactional workloads and the X410 with 70% faster data throughput per node optimized for high throughput workloads. Further, Isilon added new SmartFlash functionality that uses SSDs as cache and can be configured with up to a PB of globally coherent SSD caching per cluster. EMC Isilon now supports SMB 3.0 multi-channel, HDFS 2.3 and for the first time, a native OpenStack SWIFT object storage access protocol. Isilon will now be offered in a VCE hyper-converged configuration for VDI with XtremIO.

New XtremIO enhancements

EMC has released new half size X-Bricks, which can now start with as little as 5TB of storage and grow online, to a full 10TB of SSD storage. Moreover, XtremIO has released new software release with always-on, software-based inline data compression, data at rest encryption and writeable snapshots.


The VMAX3 new hardware and software is significant but having all that compute power in one storage system makes one wonder just where EMC is going. As a start, moving external data services into VMAX3 probably makes sense but there’s more compute here than needed for just that.

Isilon hardware has been due for an update for some time now and the new OpenStack SWIFT access protocol is a good addition. We will have to see how the new systems and SmartFlash perform on SPECsfs though. XtremIO seems to be finalizing its roll out of data services functionality and with deduplication and the new inline compression, EMC claims an average 6:1 reduction in data footprint which should bring the price of effective capacity down another significant notch. But we need to see how XtremIO performs on some benchmarks with dedupe and compression before we render a final verdict.

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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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