Dell-EMC announces VMAX 250F and updates VMAX and Unity code

In HYPERMAX OS, Unity, VMAX 250F, VMAX3, VPLEX by AdministratorLeave a Comment

Dell EMC® announced a new, entry level VMAX® 250F, updated VPLEX hardware and released new VMAX and EMC Unity™ storage software.

New VMAX 250F

The VMAX 250F provides a new entry point into the VMAX AFA family. It comes standard with a single V-Brick (1 engine/11TB flash) and one can add another V-Brick or Flash (11TB) Packs. It comes standard with the VMAX All Flash F software bundle and FX software can be purchased separately.

VMAX 250F has approximately 2X the performance of the former VMAX3 (100K) delivering over 1M IOPS at 200 msec response times. It also supports twice the raw capacity in ½ the rack space of the prior generation VMAX 100K. EMC has also released a new 25-SSD DAE supporting a 12Gb/s SAS interface and new 7.6TB and 15TB SSDs.

New HYPERMAX OS features

All VMAX AFAs now support inline data compression which works at the storage group level and can be used to compress active or existing data. Data compression is no compromise and works with all VMAX advanced data services such as SnapVX™ snapshots, SRDF® replication, eNAS file storage and D@RE secured data storage. VMAX All Flash compression is performance optimized and smart enough to ensure very active data is not compressed until it becomes less active.  With the addition of inline compression, to HYPERMAX OS’s space efficient SnapVX and space reclamation, EMC claims one should be able to achieve a 4:1 storage space efficiency for compressed VMAX AFA data. The new HYPERMAX OS offers cloud-tiering or migration of AFA data to public (VirtuStream) and private (ECS) storage.

HYPERMAX OS also offers a new simpler data migration from VMAX1 and VMAX2 systems to VMAX3 and VMAX AFA storage. The older systems need to be on Enginuity™ 5876 microcode. The new migration takes 65% fewer steps, can migrate live application data without downtime, and can even revert back to the older storage, non-disruptively in the event of a problem.

HYPERMAX OS SRDF/Metro can now make use of a virtual witness through a VM. Previously, the witness had to be operating on a spare VMAX. Also SRDF/Metro now supports 3-site Extended DR which uses an SRDF/A(synch) replica to an out of region DR site.

Next gen VPLEX VS6

EMC is releasing a new VPLEX® for their continuous availability, data mobility, and storage virtualization solution which has 2X the IOPS at 1/3rd the response time of the prior VPLEX. Also the new VPLEX now supports up to 12K Volumes.

EMC Unity OS enhancements

Unity systems now get block storage inline data compression for LUNs, which can compress existing data and supports all Unity data services. Unity block data compression applies to data where sufficient space savings are available. When used in conjunction with thin provisioning and snapshots, one should be able to achieve up to a 4:1 storage space efficiency.

Cloud tiering for file data is also now available from Unity storage. Unity cloud-tiering supports Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure as well as VirtuStream. Cloud tiering is policy based  and can be activated based on  time, filer properties, location or a combinations therof. Cloud data is stubbed on Unity systems and there is 0 license cost for Unity cloud tiering.

Moreover, Unity now offers seamless migration from VNX1 and VNX2 storage to Unity systems. Unity data migration doesn’t use any 3rd party tools, supports FC, iSCSI, NFS and in the future, CIFS/SMB data, is able to migrate LUNs, filesystems, quotas, ACLS and exports. Unity data migration is transparent for file data applications.

CloudIQ a new, SaaS storage management solution is also available. With CloudIQ, one can monitor your Unity storage with an operational dashboard, provide pro-active Unity storage health monitoring/remediation and perform predictive analytics for Unity storage.


Inline compression for VMAX AFA data and Unity block storage is a welcome addition. Implementing compression for any data storage impacts system meta-data and IO response times. EMC did not discuss performance impacts on their call but it often takes some time to get this right. As such, EMC is being conservative on what data to use with inline compression. There may be more compression related enhancements overtime.

Cloud tiering for file storage is relatively straightforward. Doing so for block storage is another matter. How VMAX cloud tiering for block data works was not discussed in any detail but I would be very interested in how this will perform and the impacts on host applications accessing cloud-tiered blocks

[This storage announcement dispatch was originally sent out to our newsletter subscribers in October of 2016.  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. Also we have recently updated (May 2019) our SAN Storage Buying Guide so if you are interested in purchasing block or primary storage, please checkout our Buying Guide available for sale on our website. ]  


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

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