There are quite a few EMC VNX technology terms floating around out there that sometimes seem to be misused or confused. So we decided to put together a list of the 9 most common EMC VNX terms we hear, and define each of them. Our hope is that this will get everyone level-set on the terminology and help to educate and empower you to talk about VNX technology as you deliver expertise and service for your business.

1. Block Storage - VNX systems can be built to service block-only data traffic networks. Common block protocols are Fibre Channel (FC) and iSCSI. This type of VNX would usually attach to a Storage Area Network (SAN) as opposed to a Local Area Network (LAN). Each block is given an identifier by which it is stored and retrieved. Because of how block storage operates, it is ideal for storing a variety of applications that require consistently high performance.

2. Unified Storage - VNX Unified Systems service the block data as well as networks that use file protocols like NFC and CIFS. This part of the VNX is commonly connected to a Local Area Network (LAN). At the same time, a unified storage system can enable the storage of file data and handle the block-based input and output of enterprise applications. Unified Storage is also referred to as multiprotocol storage (or simply SAN + NAS together).

3. Unisphere Service Manager (USM) - This is a desktop application that allows you to manage your VNX storage system hardware and software and provide storage-system information to your service provider. USM replaced the old Navisphere Service Taskbar (NST).

4. FLARE - This is the custom Windows OS of the VNX. The FLARE (Fibre Logic Array Runtime Environment) code level is used to determine: (1) the generation of storage; (2) which major OS release the system is running; and (3) which patches and upgrades have been applied.

5. Fully Automated Storage Tiering (FAST) - The FAST suite is EMC's term for storage tiering, which is simply moving active data to high performance drives and moving inactive data to high capacity drives in order to increase efficiency. It is very common to see data reside on three tiers of storage in a VNX system: (1) An all Flash or SSD tier; (2) a middle tier with 15K or 10K drives; and (3) a high capacity tier of 7.2K drives.

6. FAST CACHE - Fast cache is another option in the FAST suite. Fast Cache uses SSD drives to increase the cache of the system itself, similar to bumping up the memory. This process is great for accelerating performance to handle unexpected spikes in workload.

7. SPcollects - This is the common term for gathering the log files for a VNX system. They are usually large zip files filled with many spreadsheet tabs pulled from the storage array. These files are sent to your support provider so they can evaluate the health of your system.

8. Storage Processor Enclosure (SPE) & Disk Processor Enclosure (DPE) - SPE is a head unit (meaning 2 storage processors that are the brains of the unit) with no drives inside the enclosure, and generally only appear on larger EMC systems. DPE is what contains the storage processor and the first tray of disks, or “vault drives”. The DPE houses all of the things related to block-level protocols.

9. Disk Array Enclosure (DAE) - A DAE is a drive shelf that connects directly to an SPE. These can also be used as expansions for a variety of EMC products.

We hope this list provided you with some clarity into the world of EMC VNX terminology. If you have questions, or need information or a quote to find a VNX or other EMC solution for your storage environment, please reach out to Reliant Technology via chat, email, or phone.