By Kyle Christopher

EMC released new VNX models a few weeks ago at VMworld. This may raise a lot of questions for you if you’re an EMC user. Let’s answer some of those questions.

1. What is VNX2?

The "new VNX" as named by EMC, is a recently released series of models that enhance the existing VNX product line. These models include the 5200, 5400, 5600, 5800, 7600, and 8000—all “even-numbered” products as opposed to the existing models: 5100, 5300, 5500, 5700, and 7500.

2. Besides the model numbers, is there anything substantially “new” about VNX2?

Yes. The existing VNX models were a more iterative update to the CX4 product line, whereas the VNX2 models are a complete rebuild from the ground up. There is a new Operating Environment (OE), command-line interface, and so forth. And there are a number of new features previously unavailable for EMC storage arrays.

3. I just upgraded to a VNX model—and now the new ones are out! Does this mean I just wasted a whole lot of money?

Absolutely not! VNX storage arrays, new and old, are some of the best systems on the midrange market today. They have tremendous value. In addition, VNX2 models support existing VNX Disk Array Enclosures (DAEs) and cabling, which greatly preserves your investment.

4. VNX2 literature seems to highlight its optimization for Solid-State Disk drives (SSDs), does this mean that the CX4, Celerra, and existing VNX models are not able to fully utilize SSDs?

No. SSDs have been available for previous product lines for some time. In fact, they have been a huge asset to many mature storage environments as workloads have become less predictable and more erratic in their IO load. SSDs are a great add-on to just about any storage system, new or old.

5. What can you tell me about the storage processors in VNX2?

Great question. Each model now includes two storage processors. These range in memory per processor, from 16 GB on the lower-end systems up to 126 GB on the VNX8000. CPU cores have a range from four on lower models to 16 on on the VNX8000. The VNX2 arrays support CIFS, NFS and pNFS for file storage and 8 Gbps Fibre Channel, iSCSI and Fibre Channel over Ethernet for block storage.

6. What drives are supported with VNX2?

Customers have lots of choices here whether you choose SAS or SSD drives. As far as SAS, you can choose from among 300, 600 and 900 GB SAS drives or 1 TB, 2 TB and 3 TB (NL) SAS hard drives.

On the SSD side, you have 100, 200 and 400 GB enterprise multi-level cell SSDs in storage pools. VNX2 systems also use 100 and 200 GB single-level cell SSDs for Fully Automated Storage Tiering (FAST) Cache.

7. What’s this I hear about an all-flash array?

It’s true that the VNX7600-F is an all-flash array that scales to 400 TB of capacity. However, it remains to be seen as to whether this is a wise investment right now. You can usually get the speed you need by adding faster drives to your current system, depending what that system is, of course. The point is, if you’re not sure whether you’re ready to invest big money in an all-flash array, there are still lots of great options for you.

8. I’m already a VNX, CLARiiON or Celerra user. Does VNX2 mean support is ending for my devices?

No. EMC will likely continue to support your devices for at least another 3 years. You have time if you’re considering an upgrade to the VNX2. You should also consider third-party support options, which offer a lot more flexibility when support is ending on your storage arrays. Third-party support is also a great idea if you’re looking to manage all your arrays under one simple contract.

9. Do I need to migrate everything?

The answer is: It depends on the problem you’re trying to solve. If you’re trying to solve a performance problem, VNX2 could solve that outright. Do you have a speed problem? Again, VNX2 could solve your problem if you need a faster storage array. VNX2 supports flash architectures, which will dramatically increase your speed, but it will also cost more until flash prices drop. You’ll know if you need a faster version based on your specific requirements. Reliant Technology can help you if you’re having trouble determining whether your environment is optimized for speed.

10. How can Reliant help me decide if VNX2 is the right fit?

Any way you look at it, you’re probably going to need additional capacity because of the rate at which data stores are increasing.

  • One option is to buy the brand new equipment if it’s available.

  • Another popular option is to add a temporary solution by renting, or trading for, additional drives for as long as you need. This can help you conserve your capital expense (CAPEX) budget until you’re ready to buy new. Rent what you need until you’re ready to upgrade.

  • Consider purchasing pre-owned hardware, which will allow you to have additional capacity indefinitely.

  • Consider selling your legacy storage. Reliant Technology will buy your legacy hardware. You can recover cash resources that will effectively allow you to save overhead costs on the new system.Reliant can help you decide whether VNX2 is right for you. CONTACT US for a complimentary assessment of your storage environment. This will arm you with the tools you need to find the perfect storage solution for your environment.



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