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EMC VNX Storage Refresh Finally Goes Public

EMC finally announced last week what has been one the worst kept secrets in storage–the refreshing of the VNX line. It was announced in Milan and was quite an extravaganza complete with the Lotus Formula 1 team, a limited-edition VNX 5400 Lotus Team F1 storage array, and Lotus Team colors to celebrate the “technology partnership.”

With a barrage of press releases, EMC claims the new VNX arrays “shatter the definition and economics of midrange storage, speed IT transformation, are revolutionary, and deliver unprecedented price-performance.”

So what did EMC announce? The new VNX series a unified storage array, was highly anticipated and includes the new models VNX5200, VNX5400, VNX5600, VNX5800, VNX7600, replacing similar models in former VNX line, a new top of the line VNX8000 and the all flash model VNX-F. EMC also announced new capabilities EMC VSPEX reference architecture, general availability of EMC ViPR Software-Defined Storage platform, EMC XtremSW Cache 2.0 server-flash caching software, and lastly, a preview of “Project Nile”, a Web-scale storage infrastructure for the data center.

The main improvement in the VNX series is EMC MCx, multi-core optimization software that allows the VNX series to finally leverage the multiple cores of the Intel architecture, as well as better utilize the power of flash, and improves performance by up to four times the previous generation, and in terms of price performance costs a third of the previous generation. In addition some of the improvement comes doubling the number of sockets on the controller and moving from the previous Intel processors to the Xeon E5-2600 (Sandy Bridge). However, the new VNX series does not support 16 Gb/s fibre channel connections or 12 Gb/s SAS, which one might have reasonably expected.  The VNX 8000 will support up to 1500 drives.

EMC also announced EMC XtremSW Cache 2.0 server-flash caching software for even lower latency in transactional workloads. The addition of XtremSW Cache 2.0 to a flash-only configuration of the VNX8000 in a SQL Server workload can reduce latency by another 65%.

The VNX 8000 achieved benchmark results of 580,796 SPECsfs2008 nfs Ops/sec with an overall response time of 0.78 milliseconds using a single node. EMC claims the VNX 8000 performs three times faster in transactional NAS applications with 60% faster response time than its predecessor, and more than 735,000 IOPS in Oracle workloads with up to 30 GB/sec of bandwidth.

EMC’s announcement overall came as expected, there was no mention of the XtremeIO all flash product line, which really would have made things interesting. Nothing really earth shattering despite EMC’s claims. Expect similar product refreshes from NetApp and HDS in the spring, with similar performance boosts.  And far more interesting announcements from the multiple up and coming all-flash array makers.

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