EMC Unveils New VMAX, IBM i Support for FAST Technology
May 22, 2012 Alex Woodie
EMC yesterday announced that it now supports IBM i with its FAST VP (Fully Automated Storage Tiering for Virtual Pools) technology, which enables data inside EMC arrays to be automatically moved between traditional disk and solid state disk (SSD) for the best bang for the storage buck. Among the many other announcements made at the annual EMC World extravaganza was the Symmetrix VMAX 40k, a hulking beast of a SAN that immediately becomes the largest and fastest disk array in the world.
As data ages, it typically becomes less valuable to an organization. Because of this, organizations have historically moved data to slower and cheaper forms of storage–from the fastest disk to the slowest disk and eventually to tape or “the cloud”–as the data ages and changes in value.
This is essentially the work that EMC developed its FAST software to perform. FAST collects performance data from Symmetrix resources and uses a series of algorithms to predict what value a data set has to an organization, how often it will be needed, and how quickly the organization will want it. Based on this, FAST moves the data to a “thin storage pool” within the Symmetrix (VMAX array that’s outfitted with different drive technology–the fastest Flash-based SSDs, the mid-grade Fibre Channel drives, or the slower SATA-based drives. EMC says this approach maintains data protection and service levels, and eliminates the trade-offs that organizations typically have to make between capacity and performance.
FAST VP support for IBM i and z/OS was added with version 5876 of Enginuity, the operating system used by Symmetrix. FAST VP support is only offered on IBM i with DMAX, EMC’s high-end array, and not the midrange arrays. EMC says that, prior to this release, performance scalability was limited by support for only 15K RPM devices.
Part and parcel of the IBM i and z/OS support for FAST VP is support for “virtual provisioning” of IBM i and z/OS data within Symmetrix. According to EMC, virtual provisioning enables organizations to boost storage resource utilization, increase performance, and eliminate the practice of over-provisioning “by allowing more storage to be presented to an application than is physically available,” the company says in a white paper. Enginuity 5876 also brings support for virtual LUN (VLUN) migration in IBM i and z/OS environments.
EMC also launched the Symmetrix VMAX 40K, which supports up to 4 PB of usable capacity, twice the amount supported by the original VMAX. The 40K can be outfitted with 3,200 2.5-inch drives or 2,000 3.5-inch drives, including the new 2.5-inch eMLC (Multi-Level Cell) Flash drive that EMC also announced yesterday. These new 2.5-inch MLCs, which are only available on the 40K “high-density” option, offer the same performance, reliability, and life expectancy of the 3.5-inch SLC Flash drives, but at a cheaper price.
The 40K is powered by up to 32 six-core Intel Xeon “Westmere” processors running at 2.8 GHz and 2 TB of mirrored (1 TB usable) and ECC-protected DDR3 memory. The 40K backplane features a super fast Gen 2 PCIe bus and a “quad virtual matrix” storage architecture. That means the 40K has twice the throughput of the original VMAX 20K, which features a Gen 1 PCIe bus and “dual virtual matrix” storage architecture.
EMC also unveiled its Federated Tiered Storage (FTS) technology on the VMAX 40K and 20K arrays. FTS allows organizations to consolidate heterogeneous storage devices underneath the protective umbrella of VMAX. The software enables the consolidated storage to access VMAX features, including FAST VP and EMC’s SRDF and TimeFinder business continuity solutions. However, FTS is only available in open environments, and not IBM i or z/OS, EMC says.
Enginuity 5876 also introduces new resiliency features, including support for Symmetrix Remote Distance Facility (SRDF) replication for volumes of data under a FAST VP policy; the introduction of TimeFinder VP Snap; and enhancements to its RecoverPoint software.
EMC also announced the Data Domain DD990 deduplication storage system. The vendor claims the DD990 has 65 PB of logical capacity and 31 TB per hour of backup throughput, giving it the capacity to back up 248 TB over eight hours. This is more than six times faster and three times as much capacity as its nearest competitor, EMC claims.