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6 minute readQ&A. The New EMC VNX Is Out. What Does That Mean For Me?

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 the “new” VNX?

The new VNX 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 the new VNX?

Yes. The existing VNX models were a more iterative update to the CX4 product line, whereas the new VNX 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, new VNX models support existing VNX Disk Array Enclosures (DAEs) and cabling, which greatly preserves your investment.

4. The new VNX 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 the new VNX?

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 new VNX 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 the new VNX?

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. The new VNX 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 the new VNX 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 new VNX. 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, the new VNX could solve that outright. Do you have a speed problem? Again, the new VNX could solve your problem if you need a faster storage array. The new VNX 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 the new VNX 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 the new VNX 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.

Reliant can help you decide whether the new VNX 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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Reid Smith-Vaniz

by Reid Smith-Vaniz

Reid is the founder and CEO of Reliant Technology and for 14 years has pursued his mission to remove the pain associated with maintaining IT infrastructure. Reid writes on common challenges related to maintaining, servicing, tracking, budgeting, and upgrading technology.

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About Reliant Technology

As Data Center and storage experts, Reliant Technology is available to provide consultations and solutions to your server backup needs. Our experienced engineers and IT specialists are ready to help you determine the best option for your Data Center. If you have a topic you would like to see discussed, or if you would like to submit an article for possible publication, please, get in touch with us.