Dell EMC releases new VMAX, XtremIO & Unity storage

In Unity 350F/450F/550F&650F, VMAX3 950F, XtremIO X2 by AdministratorLeave a Comment

At Dell EMC® World 2017 this past month, the Dell EMC Storage Division announced new VMAX 950F AFA, Unity AFA product family, and XtremIO X2 storage systems among other announcements like the SC Series and all-new Isilon not covered in this report.

New VMAX 950F storage

The new VMAX 950F extends the VMAX all flash family with a larger, faster system that supports open systems block and file, mainframe and IBM I. The new VMAX supplies up to 6.7M IO/s for random read hit and offers a 350msec response time with 6 nines availability. Dell EMC says the VMAX 950F is 4X faster than the nearest competitor.

The 950F can be configured with from 1 to 8 Vbricks, which use 18-core, Intel Xeon E5-2697-v4 CPUs and provide 72 cores/Vbrick or 576 cores/system. VMAX 950F Vbricks can be configured with 1TB or 2TB of cache for up to 16TB in an 8 Vbrick VMAX 950F. VMAX 950F SSDS range from 960GB to 15.4TB in capacity and a 950F can have up to 1920 drives in RAID 5 (7+1) or RAID 6 (14+2), providing a max capacity of 4.4PB effective.

The VMAX 950F backend is connected to Vbricks via 6Gbps SAS. For host ports, the VMAX 950F offers up to 6 (or 8 with mainframe), frontend IO modules each with 4 8Gbps FC, 4 16Gbps FC, 4 10GbE, 4 1GbE, or 4 16Gbs FICON ports.

New Unity all flash product family

Dell EMC Unity All Flash product family includes the 350F, 450F, 550F and 650F storage systems. All Dell EMC Unity All Flash storage comes in a 2U controller enclosure with 25 2.5” drives and provide up to 500TB of effective capacity in a highly dense, 80-drive tray/3U footprint as well as being non-disruptively upgradeable by swapping out control module canisters. Dell EMC claims the new Unity arrays take just 10 minutes to install – 33% faster than previous Unity systems. Some select hardware specifications:

  • Unity 350F has a 6-core CPU per controller and up to 96GB of cache per array and can support up to 150 SSDs for a max capacity of 2.4PB;
  • Unity 450F has an 10-core CPU per controller and up to 128GB of cache per array and can support up to 250 SSDs for a max capacity of 4PB;
  • Unity 550F has a 14-core (2.0 GHz) CPU per controller and up to 256GB of cache per array and can support up to 500 SSDs for a max capacity of 8PB; and
  • Unity 650F has a 14-core (2.4 GHz) CPU per controller and up to 512GB of cache per array and can support up to 1000 SSDs for a max capacity of 16PB.

Dell EMC Unity All Flash use SSDs that range from 400GB to 15.4TB in capacity and backend access is over 12Gbs SAS. Unity AFA offers RAID 0, 1, 5 & 6 with a minimum of 6 SSDs. Unity AFA front end connections are all the same across the product family and provide a maximum of 24 host ports of which at most 20 can be 4, 8 or 16Gbps FC, or all 24 can be 1GbE or 10GbE ports.

Dell EMC offers Cloud IQ, a cloud-based SaaS storage analytics service for Dell EMC Unity All Flash and hybrid storage. Cloud IQ monitors, analyzes and displays the health of all Unity storage systems in the data center and provides a health score to indicate the overall system “wellness”. There were other Unity software enhancements including AppSync iCDM, external KMIP, larger file systems, and more.

XtremIO X2 storage

The new XtremIO X2 has a new Xbrick design, with more scalability, better small files IO performance, and enhanced data reduction. XtremIO X2 now scales out from 1 to 2, 3, or 4 Xbrick clusters which scale linearly in performance (220K IO/s/Xbrick [70:30 8K IO]), from 220K TO 880K IO/s, at 0.5msec average latency and from 6GB/s to 24GB/s in bandwidth. The new XtremIO X2 can also be scaled up by adding more SSDs to an Xbrick Each X2 Xbrick can be configured from 18 up to 72 SSDs, in increments of 6 SSDs.

X2 Xbricks come in two sizes: X2-S and X2-R, X2-S is a smaller capacity version slated for high IO density applications and X2-R is a larger capacity version for most other use cases. XtremIO X2-R maximum raw capacity is 138.2TB, 276.5TB, 414.7TB and 553TB for the 1-4 Xbrick configurations, with the X2-S maximums about 1/5th smaller and effective capacity for all Xbricks is about 4.6X raw capacity. For frontend ports, all X2 Xbricks support 4 16Gbps FC ports and from 4 to 8 10GbE ports.

XtremIO X2 is built for workloads that benefit from deduplication and integrated copy data management (iCDM) for large-scale snapshots, such as VDI and development/test use cases. XIOS 6.0 software improves small block IO, providing 80% better response time for VDI. Also, X2 provides higher data reduction for 2x more copies per cluster.


This clearly represents a complete refresh of the Dell EMC Unity product line, major addition to the VMAX product line and a new generation of XtremIO. Dell EMC also announced a new All Flash Storage Efficiency Guarantee promising 4 times the usable capacity on all their all flash arrays.

There were more storage announcements at Dell EMC World, including the new SC5020 entry-midrange block storage, Isilon All Flash, Data Domain Cloud DR, and others. Although Day 1’s keynote was on servers, HCI and company integration, the expo floor and the rest of the technical conference was manily focused on storage, HCI/CI and data protection. Company names may change, but storage remains a critical focus.

[This storage announcement dispatch was originally sent out to our newsletter subscribers in May of 2017.  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 file primary storage, please checkout any of our Buying Guides available for sale on our website. ]  

Silverton Consulting, Inc., is a U.S.-based Storage, Strategy & Systems consulting firm offering products and services to the data storage community

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