Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Redefining Entry-Level Storage

I recently attended a briefing for the EMC Elect on the new VNXe system. EMC is bringing enterprise-class storage capabilities to the small and medium-size businesses. The new VNXe3200 system provides affordable pricing, simple integration, and efficient data storage in a flash optimized hybrid VNX storage system. 

The VNXe3200 has efficiency features, which are important to all size business. These features help lower the overall cost of your data center infrastructure, which is important when using show-back to provide cost transparency to your business partners. The VNXe3200 hybrid system will lower the overall cost per IOPS and GB by leveraging just a small amount of flash and using the FAST Suite. The system was not only re-architected to support flash drives, it was optimized for flash by automating and auto-tiering data into and out of flash drives based on hot spot recognition. It also boasts up to a 50% reduction in capacity requirements by exploiting advanced capabilities like thin provisioning and file dedupe.

Additionally, EMC has added MCx, Fibre Channel support, and enhanced software functionality like security and compliance, monitoring and reporting, and snapshots for no additional cost.

Although MCx is not new to EMC storage systems, it is new to the VNXe3200 system, MCx multicore optimized 2.2 Ghz processors delivers 3x the performance of a VNXe3150. One of EMC's beta customers reported they were able to boot 100 virtual desktops in 3 minutes without a specialized setup.

Storage has always been a constraint in adoption of VDI in small to medium-size organizations that wanted to take advantage of centralized desktop management, faster provisioning, and securing the desktop information in the data center. With the enterprise-class features in the new VNXe3200 system, it redefines the entry point for adopting a VDI solution by bringing down the price.

Internally, the system has expanded RAID options, dynamic/automatic hot sparing, drive mobility, and new unified snapshots which are simple, space-efficient, and they have a very simple interface for scheduling and deleting snapshots, which ensures you always have the right copy available and don't accidentally create to many snapshots.

The VNXe3200 is the first array to support the new VPLEX Virtual Edition, which is targeted at iSCSI ESX environments. It is a powerful capability, which allows users to deploy stretched clusters over distances for higher levels of availability. It delivers application and data availability over synchronous distances to support VMware high availability and VMware fault tolerance for mission-critical and business-critical applications. EMC VPLEX Virtual Edition deploys as a set of hardware-independent, virtual appliances on your existing VMware ESXi infrastructure and it is managed through VMware vSphere. 

EMC Unisphere is simple, organized, and provides intuitive controls over the VNXe storage system. Information is consolidated and visible through a single lens which simplifies the process of managing storage. The main Dashboard offers System Information, System Capacity Storage Pools, Common Tasks, and System Alerts.

Under System, you can configure disks, create storage pools, and monitor the overall system health. Under System, select the System Capacity option and click on the Utilization History View for the system allocation. Again, very intituitive and it provides a visual depiction of the utilization of your storage system.

Support for customers is built right into the product, if you click on the Support button on the Unisphere console you get how to videos, online training, community forums, technical advisories, downloads, dial-home, and live chat.

Unisphere's new approach to storage management fosters simplicity, flexibility, and automation. It supplies storage administrators with task-based controls, customizable dashboards, and single-click access to real-time support tools and online customer communities. 

The VSPEX configuration provided by EMC for the VNXe3200 system is recommend to support 125 virtual machines that are a baseline 25 IOPS and 100 GB of storage. Unfortunately, I haven't met a data center that has a single standard virtual machine configuration, so it will be dependent on your specific configuration.

I definitely recommend checking out the new VNXe3200 system! It provides enterprise-class features on an entry level system.
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