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EMC World: Storage News Wrap-Up

EMC announces upgrades to Symmetrix VMAX, VNX, Isilon, Data Domain, Isilon storage arrays and appliances, and new management software at EMC World 2012.

EMC unveiled a raft of product updates Monday at EMC World 2012 in Las Vegas, putting it well on its way toward the 42 announcements it intends to make at the show. Highlights included high-end Symmetrix VMAX storage arrays, a VNX midrange storage system, an Isilon scale-out network attached storage (NAS) appliance, and Data Domain and Avamar deduplication and backup appliances. The company also introduced new or enhanced management and application management software.

Symmetrix VMAX

The company launched three new Symmetrix VMAX storage arrays: the flagship VMAX 40K, the VMAX 20K, and the VMAX 10K. The largest of these arrays, the VMAX 40K with a scalability of 4 petabytes, is designed for hyper-consolidated environments seen in enterprise data centers and cloud environments. According to EMC's claims, it stores 60% more data than the Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform and 74% more than the IBM System Storage DS8000. The VMAX 20K replaces the present VMAX and the 10K replaces the VMAXe.

[ Learn more about what to expect at EMC World, straight from the company's CEO. See EMC's Gelsinger Talks Cloud Storage, Pricing Pressure. ]

Unique to the VMAX 40K is that the engine bays can be separated by as much as 82 feet in a data center or across two floors.

In addition, EMC has added new software capabilities to the VMAX platform. Its new Enginuity 5876 operating system includes federated tiered storage, which allows EMC or non-EMC storage arrays to be virtualized behind a VMAX and extends to legacy arrays features such as virtual pools (VP), Symmetrix Remote Data Facility (SRDF), and RecoverPoint replication. Enginuity 5876 also includes Unisphere management of the VMAX platform; Fully Automated Storage Tiering for Virtual Pools (FAST VP) automated tiering for IBM i and System Z platforms; integration of RecoverPoint; FAST VP tiering for the company's SRDF replication; and Federated Live Migration (FLM) cluster support.

RecoverPoint, which allows local and remote replication with point-in-time recovery, has also been adapted for use with the VMAX arrays. RecoverPoint splitter software makes a copy of a written block and sends it on to its destination as part of a recovery log, thus enabling faster performance.

The ProSphere cloud management software has also been integrated with VMAX to provide management of storage, server, and network resources and report on host capacity use and FAST VP.

From a hardware standpoint, a VMAX 40K can support as many as 3,200 2.5-inch drives or 2,000 3.5-inch drives. The VMAX 20K can support up to 2.06 PB comprised of 2,400 drives, and the 10K can have 1,080 drives for scalability to 1.5 PB. All VMAX arrays also use 2.5-inch enterprise multi-level cell (MLC) solid state drives.

The VMAX 40K has as many as 32 2.8-GHz Intel Xeon six-core processors and 2 TB of mirrored DDR3 DRAM. It uses serial-attached SCSI (SAS) drives and 2.5-inch enterprise MLC (eMLC) solid-state drives. It contains as many as eight controllers.

Mid-Range VNX

EMC also announced an entry-level VNXe 3150 storage array that provides both file and block-level storage, and three pieces of software for its VNX family of products.

EMC claims that it is selling one VNX a minute, and 60% of the VNX arrays sold are shipping with flash memory. The VNXe uses a quad-core processor and can monitor other instances of VNXe systems from the new Unisphere Remote interface. Further, VNX storage pool enhancements allow the mix and matching of RAID sets and the writing of as many as 256 snapshots per logical unit number (LUN) or as many as 32,000 per system.

The company's VNX Analytics Suite provides storage analytics that storage administrators can take action from. It is based on VMware vCenter Operations Management Suite and has storage intelligence built-in for FAST VP and FAST Cache. The new VNX Connector allows integration between VNX storage systems and VMware vCenter Operations Management Suite to provide a single view of the IT infrastructure. AppSync provides self-service data protection for applications. These integrations are expected to be available in the second half of this year.

EMC has also rolled out new software for the VNX storage platform. AppSync, which is designed for virtualized applications, allows storage administrators, virtual machine admins, or IT generalists to create data protection processes that are driven by service level agreements. In AppSync, a storage admin creates a service catalog that contains the different data protection options. Server, Exchange, or other admins can use them to protect the data and storage under their domain.

The company introduced the X400 storage module, which provides more than 15 PBs of storage in a single file system or volume. When clustered, it creates a 13.8-TB coherent cache.

EMC also previewed the next generation of its Isilon OneFS scale-out NAS operating system, dubbed Mavericks. It will offer data lockdown for compliance, the ability to snapshot and clone data, remote replication, and greater VMware integration.

For security, Mavericks offers a new role-based access model and authentication zones, in which different instances of Active Directory can gain access to the storage pool. Mavericks will also offer writeable clones, remote automated (rather than manual) replication, and support for VMware's VAAI and VASA APIs.

EMC Data Domain And Avamar

EMC announced updates to its EMC Data Domain and Avamar deduplication and backup and recovery appliances. The company's top-of-the-line Data Domain DD990 scales to 570 TB of usable capacity and can back up 24 TB of data in eight hours. The DD990 ships pre-installed and pre-configured. In addition, DD Boost technology, which offloads compression to either the application or backup server, now includes support for Oracle RMAN, EMC GreenPlum, and Quest Software's vRanger.

The Avamar client-side deduplication adds support for SAP, Sybase, Microsoft SQL Server 2012, and Oracle, as well as enhanced Microsoft Hyper-V virtualization support.

EMC Atmos

The Atmos cloud platform, introduced in 2008, will be upgraded later this year with the Sumatra release. Sumatra will allow 50% performance improvement for large file reads and writes, a three-fold improvement in system-wide visibility with the new Atmos Event Manager, and a reduction in the time that upgrades take. In addition, Atmos will support the Chrome browser and the ability to restrict the users that can upload or download objects.

EMC DataBridge

EMC also announced EMC DataBridge, a new configuration tool that makes it easier for in-house developers to create, publish, and collaborate on IT operations reporting. Using open interfaces, DataBridge consists of three components: Data Bridge Studio, which allows the discovery and provisioning of information sources; DataBridge Apps, which allows individual applets to be created; and DataBridge Dashboard, which allows the creation of reporting applets with views for different audiences.

Deni Connor is founding analyst for Storage Strategies NOW, an industry analyst firm that focuses on storage, virtualization, and servers.

From thin provisioning to replication to federation, virtualization options let you reclaim idle disks, speed recovery, and avoid lock-in. Get the new, all-digital Storage Virtualization Guide issue of Network Computing. (Free registration required.)

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