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VMAX makes a Re-Debut with lots of enhancements


With the recent buzz from EMC about #EMCBreaksRecords on Twitter, Facebook and many other Social Media avenues it was pretty visible that EMC has been secretly preparing for one of the biggest announcements that was made today.

Along with FAST VP and upgrades on the VMAX, EMC also announced the much-anticipated unified storage platform VNX. The VNX strategy was very visible at EMC atleast for the past year and was overdue for a release.

FAST, FAST VP…

We have been talking about FAST for quite a few years now, atleast 1 year and 9 months. Here comes a new version for FAST on VMAX known as FAST VP (Fully Automated Storage Tiering Virtual Pools), which was released today at the big event in NYC. Next as we know would be FAST to the FULLEST (possibly incorporating VPLEX solution to move data across different subsystems).

All new features wrapped around in Enginuity 5875, this release is considered as one of the most aggressive code releases by EMC for the Symmetrix platform.

By the way, if you didn’t know, Symmetrix is now more than 20 years old, probably the longest living brands in the Storage world – still alive – and kicking a**. Here is a blog post talking about the 20-year history of Symmetrix.

http://storagenerve.com/2009/12/15/symmetrix-the-journey-of-20-years/

Some highlights of Enginuity 5875 include

  • FAST VP (Virtual Pools) – SUB LUN Tiering
  • DARE (RSA based Encryption technology) added natively
  • VSI (Virtual Storage Integrator)
  • Addition of 10GB SRDF and iSCSI Directors
  • FLM (Federated Live Migration)
  • VAAI Support
  • ZPR or Zero Page Reclaim

There are some great posts already out by EMC Bloggers and many other independent bloggers around VMAX, FAST VP and the enhancements to VMAX platform. So I am not going to recreate the wheel here.

Barry Burke has pushed out some very interesting posts on the features wrapped around in Enginuity 5875. This post talks about some featured enhancements to the VMAX platform, customer benefits around migration, sub lun tiering, encryption, VAAI support, etc.

http://thestorageanarchist.typepad.com/weblog/2011/01/3017-vmax-2011-edition-powerful-trusted-smartest.html

Few other interesting posts here by Barry on FAST VP and how it works in customer environments.

A few questions / comments / observations on FAST VP

  • As I understand, VMAX Systems will need to be at Enginuity 5875 code level before you qualify for FAST VP, not a big deal (for some).
  • You need licenses for FAST VP.
  • Policies for FAST VP are configured from the SMC?
  • If you are already a FAST customer on VMAX and want to migrate to FAST VP, I suspect the licensing will change with this new feature.
  • As a customer of FAST today, migrating to FAST VP for sub lun level tiering, may require you to reanalyze your business requirements associated with virtual pools.
  • FAST policies today can be migrated to FAST VP policies, like the time of day, IOPS, etc?
  • FAST configuration for VMAX was typically done by the Professional Services Group. I am suspecting the same is true for FAST VP.
  • Tier Advisor is required to perform analysis in your environment is only available through EMC pre and post sales folks.
  • Though the native functionality of FAST VP is built within the Enginuity code, the activity and logic is driven from the service processor of the Symmetrix system, again suspecting SMC is doing this work? Also suspecting without the SP being functional, FAST VP policies do not get updated and the process dies.
  • Do not know, the extent size 768KB on a VMAX is functionally and operationally any advantageous compared to a 42MB extent.
  • FAST VP policies seem to be very granular.
  • Once FAST VP is setup on Virtual Pools in a Storage Group, additional of any other Virtual Pools would require the customer to analyze the new Pools (using Tier Advisor) before setting policies.

http://thestorageanarchist.typepad.com/weblog/2011/01/3018-fast-vpworlds-smartest-storage-tiering-part-1.html#more

http://thestorageanarchist.typepad.com/weblog/2011/01/3019-fast-vp-worlds-smartest-storage-tiering-part-2.html#more

The above posts from Barry are quite detailed and informative, if you are into Symmetrix technology, highly recommend reading it.

Discovered the blog by Itzikr from EMC Israel about 2 weeks ago

Itzikr talks in detail about Enginuity 5875, support for VAAI, VMware integration and FAST VP.

http://itzikr.wordpress.com/2011/01/17/emc-symmetrix-vmax-enginuity-5875-fast-vp-vaai-making-the-best-array-even-better/

And as usual a very informative and lengthy post from Chuck Hollis on VMAX platform.

http://chucksblog.emc.com/chucks_blog/2011/01/symmetrix-vmax-gets-even-smarter.html#more

A Video Stream from Wikibon covering today’s announcement from EMC. The first few mins of the video talk about Symmetrix VMAX FAST VP.

http://www.justin.tv/wikibon/b/277797896

And lastly, one of my favorite posts from Nigel Poulton talking about FAST VP from late December.

http://blog.nigelpoulton.com/vmax-comes-of-age/

Enjoy reading the above posts!! Courteous comments welcome. Again thanks for visiting and reading the blog.

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  • http://thestorageanarchist.com the storage anarchist

    Devang’s FAST VP questions answered:

    * FAST VP requires Enginuity 5875, an non-disrutptive upgrade provided for all VMAX arrays under warranty

    * FAST VP is licensed separately, or as part of the new Tiered Storage Management bundle

    * Policies for FAST VP are configured from SMC or CLI.

    * FAST VP is licensed separately from FAST V1

    * As a customer of FAST today, migrating to FAST VP for sub lun level tiering, may require you to reanalyze your business requirements associated with virtual pools.

    * FAST VP policies are different than FAST V1

    * Both FAST and FAST VP policies can be configured by the storage admin, professional services are optional.

    * Tier Advisor is required to perform analysis in your environment is only available through EMC pre and post sales folks.- at present.

    * The a new process on the service processor analyzes historical workload metadata and defines the “move threshholds” that the Enginuiity microcode uses to decide what to move when. If the SP stops working, FAST VP continues to function usng the most recent “move thresholds.”

    * Smaller=Better – less data relocated, more “zero” space reclaimed

    * FAST VP policies are very granular.

    * There is no requirement to analyze pools or tiers before incorporating them into a FAST VP policy

  • http://storagenerve.com storagenerve

    Thank you Barry, great feedback on the questions, helps understand the process involved in implementing FAST VP and it surely looks quite simple today.

    Cheers
    Devang