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Symmetrix: The Journey of 20 Years

December 15th, 2009 6 comments

!! CHECK OUT THE VIDEO: Journey of the Symmetrix !!

So this year will mark the history of the Symmetrix products, 20 years since its inception and the Symmetrix has come long ways. Initially released in 1990, today’s Symmetrix does not come any close to what the product was 20 years ago. The underlying code (Enginuity) is what drives and gives the Symmetrix its personality.

Symmetrix was a compute / storage beast 20 years ago and so it is today.

This post includes the video “Journey of the Symmetrix”  (20 years in the making) created exclusively for this blog post.

To read more about the Symmetrix

Symmetrix Deepdive

Symmetrix product is considered a Flagship product and possibly has the largest share in the Enterprise Storage – Compute market today.

Here is a video I have put together showing my love for the Symmetrix Product. It starts with the Symm that was invented 20 years ago to this last generation Symmetrix V-Max.

Viewable in HD

Some other details on the Symmetrix include generation of the product, some facts, Enginuity code levels and model numbers.

The 8 Generations of Symmetrix

  • First Generation: 1990
  • Second Generation: 1992
  • Symmetrix 3.0: 1994
  • Symmetrix 4.0: 1996
  • Symmetrix 4.8: 1998
  • Symmetrix 5.0: 2000
  • Symmetrix 5.5: 2001
  • Symmetrix DMX (Generation 6.0): 2003
  • Symmetrix DMX-2 (Generation 6.5): 2004
  • Symmetrix DMX-3 (Generation 7.0): 2005
  • Symmetrix DMX-4 (Generation 7.5): 2007
  • Symmetrix V-Max (Generation 8.0): 2009

There are various models within each generation of the Symmetrix and these models have different characteristics. Follow the deepdive section to read more about it.

Some other facts of the Symmetrix include:

  • Introduced in 1990
  • 8th Generation Symmetrix available in the market today
  • 450 Patents
  • Introduction of the first every ICDA: Integrated Cache Disk array
  • First system to support both Mainframe and Open systems environment
  • SRDF Support introduced in 1994 (first in the market)
  • RSF Supported introduced in 1992 (first in the market)
  • BCV support introduced in 1997 (first in the market)
  • In-the-Box Tiering only offered through Symmetrix (DMX-4 onwards), can support FLASH, Fibre and SATA drives
  • Symmetrix (DMX-4) is worlds first PB enterprise system
  • Symmetrix (V-Max) is worlds first multi PB enterprise system
  • USD 3 Billion invested in Symmetrix Multi-vendor Interoperability Matrix support
  • 800 Speed Gurus supporting the Symmetrix Performance and configurations for optimizing environments.

Enginuity Code Levels

  • First Generation: Unknown
  • Second Generation: Unknown
  • Symmetrix 3.0: 50xx, 51xx
  • Symmetrix 4.0: 5265, 5266
  • Symmetrix 4.8: 5266, 5267
  • Symmetrix 5.0: 5567, 5568
  • Symmetrix 5.5: 5568
  • Symmetrix DMX (Generation 6.0): 5669, 5670, 5671
  • Symmetrix DMX-2 (Generation 6.5): 5670, 5671
  • Symmetrix DMX-3 (Generation 7.0): 5771, 5772
  • Symmetrix DMX-4 (Generation 7.5): 5772, 5773
  • Symmetrix V-Max (Generation 8.0): 5874

Symmetrix Models

  • First Generation: 4200
  • Second Generation: 4400, 4800
  • Symmetrix 3.0: 3100/5100, 3200/5200, 3500/5500
  • Symmetrix 4.0: 3330/5330, 3430/5430, 3700/5700
  • Symmetrix 4.8: 3630/5630, 3830/5830, 3930/5930
  • Symmetrix 5.0: 8130, 8430, 8730
  • Symmetrix 5.5: 8230, 8530, 8830
  • Symmetrix DMX (Generation 6.0): DMX800, DMX1000, DMX1000-P, DMX2000, DMX2000-P, DMX3000-3
  • Symmetrix DMX-2 (Generation 6.5): DMX801, DMX1000-M2, DMX1000-P2, DMX2000-M2, DMX2000-P2, DMX2000-M2-3, DMX3000-M2-3
  • Symmetrix DMX-3 (Generation 7.0): DMX3-950, DMX3
  • Symmetrix DMX-4 (Generation 7.5): DMX4-950, DMX4
  • Symmetrix V-Max (Generation 8.0): V-Max SE, V-Max

Disclaimers

I have not been awarded a free V-Max or DMX-4 for my basement. I do not personally own a V-Max or a DMX-4.

As you can see, this post shows my love for the Symmetrix technology and sort of my tribute to the 20 years of Symmetrix technology advancement.

After all, FAST makes a debut

December 8th, 2009 4 comments

So EMC has proved critics like me wrong and have introduced EMC FAST (Fully Automated Storage Tiering) as an offering in Dec 2009. There were many skeptics like me that saw this product release being stalled because of various reasons, here.

FAST (Fully Automated Storage Tiering)

FAST (Fully Automated Storage Tiering)

Truly this was one of the most awaited products of 2009 from EMC after the initial announcement by EMC back in April 2009 along with the release of Symmetrix V-Max.

I have dedicated a separate deep-dive section for EMC FAST on the StorageNerve Blog, here

Along with FAST, EMC has also introduced some new enhancements to the EMC Symmetrix V-Max, Clariion CX4 and Celerra NS platforms. Currently FAST will be available on the above 3 platforms at debut and will provide automated storage tiering “in-the-box” for Symmetrix V-Max, “in-the-box” for Clariion CX4 and “out-of-box” for Celerra NS platforms.

As expected EMC has not made this feature free but rather offers a pricing model based on bundled software. FAST will be an available feature within ATSM: Advanced Tiering Storage Management bundle and will be charged based on RAW Capacity of the Array (Symmetrix, Clariion and Celerra)

FAST will not be supported on EMC DMX-4 and Clariion CX3. In essence FAST is only compatible with EMC Symmetrix V-Max Enginuity Microcode 5874.xxx.xxx and Clariion CX4 Flarecode Release 29.

FAST is a software only feature and integrates with existing hardware / software on the associated platforms.

The following are some of the features FAST will support at GA on the EMC Symmetrix V-Max, Clariion CX4 and Celerra NS platforms.

EMC Symmetrix V-Max

Symmetrix V-Max Data Movement

Symmetrix V-Max Data Movement

  • Volume / LUN based data movement (Automated Storage Tiering) for open systems and CKD – mainframe volumes.
  • Management of FAST through Symmetrix Management Console or SymCLI
  • Data Movement can be accomplished between FLASH, fibre channel and SATA drives within the V-Max platform. Data can move in any direction and on any type of the drives based on policy.
  • Data movement within a single frame or serial number only.
  • FAST suite can be purchased as a standalone software suite but will be available at a discounted price based on a bundled option with Symmetrix Optimizer, DCP: Dynamic Cache Partitioning and SPC: Symmetrix Priority Controls.
  • Symmetrix Performance Analyzer will be required for FAST to operate on Symmetrix V-Max platform. (Based on the comment from Barry Burke below, Symmetrix Performance Analyzer is not required for FAST to operate on the Symmetrix V-Max platform.

EMC Clariion CX4

Clariion CX4 Data Movement

Clariion CX4 Data Movement

  • LUN based data movement (Automated Storage Tiering)
  • Management of FAST will be enabled through CLI only. Not supported as an integrated part of Navisphere today.
  • Will work with Flarecode Release 29 (Clariion CX4) only.
  • Unlike the Symmetrix, the automated data movement will only be supported between fibre channel drives to FLASH or fibre channel drives to SATA. There is no automation related to data movement from FLASH to fibre channel or FLASH to SATA or SATA to FLASH or SATA to fibre Channel drives.
  • Data movement within a single frame or serial number only.
  • FAST suite can be purchased as a standalone software suite but will be available at a discounted price based on bundled option with Navisphere Analyzer and NQSM: Navisphere Quality Service Manager.
  • Navisphere Analyzer is required for FAST to operate.

EMC Celerra platform

Celerra in the box data movement

Celerra in the box data movement

Celerra in the box and out of box data movement

Celerra out of box data movement

  • File based data movement (Automated Storage Tiering)
  • Management of FAST can be accomplished through Rainfinity file management appliance GUI or CLI. Customers also have an option to purchase Rainfinity File management/VE (Virtual Appliance), which has some limitations.
  • Data movement can be enabled to another tier “in-the-box” or to another Celerra or Centera or Atmos.
  • Celerra FAST is most interesting as it enables out the system data movement, like to another Celerra or Centera or Atmos.
  • FAST suite can be purchased as a standalone software suite but will be available at a discounted price based on a bundled option with Rainfinity File Management Appliance or Rainfinity File Management /VE.

Based on EMC heat index charts, a before and after picture of a FAST implementation would look like this.

FAST Implementation

FAST Implementation

A FAST implementation video

Here is a post, back from August 2009 on Gestalt IT describing how EMC’s Unified Storage vision and federation may work. It is good to see, some of those things come to fruition now, and at least FAST with Celerra proves it.

Stay tuned for a series of FAST posts over the next few days talking about various other topics and how FAST plays within those areas.

FAST, miles and miles away!!!

December 3rd, 2009 9 comments

Fully Automated Storage Tiering (FAST)

Fully Automated Storage Tiering (FAST)

April 2009, that is when we heard about FAST (Fully Automated Storage Tiering). The hype around FAST is now built; we have all seen a 2 min demo of the product at Vmworld 2009. The industry, the analysts, the bloggers and EMC are all talking about it. EMC has promised this will be an exciting product and could help better integrate and federate EMC products of the future.

But, where is FAST today?

Initially FAST v1 was set to release late Q3 or early Q4. We are almost at the end of Q4. The announcement of FAST came in April 2009 with the release of EMC Symmetrix V-Max systems. The product was announced pre GA. Here is a blog post by Barry Burke (FAST: Fully Automated Storage Tiering) indicating a Q4 release date, but after all FAST is nowhere to be found.

It seems FAST probably got shuffled somewhere in the scheduling, product marketing, technology design and development or ?. A product talked about, written about but rather un-visible at this point. Here is a blog post from Chuck Hollis (Peering into the Storage Crystal Ball) indicating FAST v1 may now not be available until early 2010.

With a 2010 GA date, FAST will be a 9 to 11 month early announcement product technology that was sold and is being sold with the V-Max without an actual product.

FAST v1 will be available for the Symmetrix V-Max platform and then eventually for the Clariion and Celerra platforms. FAST v2 is due to be released in late Q2 2010.

Is EMC trying to bring some additional functionality from FAST v2 to FAST v1 since current test customers are probably not excited about FAST v1. It seems everyone in the industry is looking forward to FAST v2 and the features it may bring together with it. At this point, there is really a lack of excitement around FAST v1. Is FAST in any sort of legal battle today, which is causing additional delays, Chris Evans at The Storage Architect Blog has discussed the topic in the past.

At this point is FAST v1 something that should eventually be combined with FAST v2 before GA. Question remains, do we really need FAST v1 at this stage or can we wait for FAST v2. Will organizations skip the implementation of FAST v1 and directly go to FAST v2. Is the product being delayed intentionally, so the gap between FAST v1 and FAST v2 implementation becomes narrow and customers can rather jump to FAST v2 without FAST v1.

Well anyways, FAST is now over-over-due, 8 months into the announcement, but no product. Along with FAST v1 in early 2010, we will see a new version of Enginuity Code for the Symmetrix V-Max and some other expected enhancements around V-Max.

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Some interesting links to dig more about FAST technology and its functionality.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/09/22/emc_fast/

http://gestaltit.com/all/tech/storage/stephen/emc-vmax-fast-coming-december/

http://wikibon.org/wiki/v/Peeling_the_Onion_on_EMCs_VMax

http://storagenerve.com/2009/10/20/policy-policy-policy/

http://gestaltit.com/featured/top/gestalt/emc-unified-platform-storage-tiering/

Note: The dates in this blog post are totally based on announcements happened so far and future time lines are based on some industry buzz around FAST. Its impossible to know the exact dates of any product releases without an NDA.

Enhancements to EMC Symmetrix V-Max Systems coming!!

October 14th, 2009 No comments

Enhancements to EMC Symmetrix V-Max system is possibly around the corner (FY09 Q4).

FAST (Fully Automated Storage Tiering) is due this quarter and will be one of the most awaited software release in the enterprise storage space by EMC.

Bundled together with FAST, possibly a new microcode version the enables FAST (its associated features) and other expected enhancements.

Though this will be a major software release and functionality upgrade, I don’t think this would qualify as a 2nd generation EMC Symmetrix V-Max system.

But fully expect EMC to release its FAST v2 and V-Max G2 somewhere around Mid year 2010.


Here are a few new features to possibly expect on the EMC Symmetrix V-Max Systems this quarter.

1. Introduction of FAST v1, which should allow automated data movement within a single Symmetrix V-Max system. Here are some features of FAST as discussed on GestaltIT and by Barry Burke (TSA) on his blog.

2. FAST v1 data movement should possibly be policy driven around factors like time (how old is the data), SLA (promised SLA’s), Tier (from Tier 0 to Tier 1 to Tier 2) and possibly I/O or IOPS based.

3. FAST v1 should allow automated policy based data movement or prompt a user for manual intervention for data movement.

4. Do not expect FAST v1 to come for free, it will possibly be licensed based on the total number of TB’s in the storage subsystem.

5. Expect some integration between the IONIX platform and FAST v1 and possibly some very tight integration with future releases of FAST and IONIX.

6. Expect FAST and IONIX to integrate very tightly with Atmos through API’s and policies. We should expect to see this with FAST v2 and not with FAST v1.

7. So when does EMC retire Symmetrix Optimizer, with FAST v1 probably not, with FAST v2 probably yes.

8. 2TB SATA II drives will be introduced (According to a Keynote from Joe Tucci in NYC), though Joe Tucci didn’t mention what platforms the 2TB SATA II drives will be available on, it seems the V-Max upgrade would be the most logical platform.

9. The 2TB SATA II drive upgrade should make the V-Max 4 PB total storage (2400 drives x 2TB), possibly the single largest storage subsystem at an enterprise level.

10. RapidIO speed upgrade from 2.5 Gbps to 4 Gbps (interconnects between the engines) upgraded either through MBIE (new processors) and / or through microcode upgrades. Edit 10/15/2009 – 12:50 PM: Not sure currently the technology that EMC uses for RapidIO, since Parallel RapidIO supports 250 Mhz to 1Ghz clocking speeds while Serial RapidIO supports 1.25Ghz to 3Ghz.

11. Drive connect speed upgrade from 4 Gbps to 8 Gbps

12. FC and FICON (Host Connects) port speeds upgrade from 4 Gbps to 8 Gbps

13. Interconnect between two separate Symmetrix V-Max Systems (8 Engines each per system) expanding into possibly 16 or 32 (max) engines. The more I think about this concept, the more it makes me feel that there are no added benefits of this architecture, rather it will add more complexities with data management and higher latency. We may not see anything related to interconnects in this upgrade, but remember how the V-Max was initially marketed with having hundreds of engines and millions of IOPS, the only way to achieve that vision is through interconnects. The longer the distance, the more latency with cache and I/O. If Interconnets end up making in this release, limitation on the distance between two Symmetrix V-Max system bays would be around 100 feet.

14. To the point above, another way of possibly connecting these systems could merely be federation through external policy based engines. Ed Saipetch and myself have speculated that concept on GestaltIT.

15. With the use of larger drive size, possibly expect a cache upgrade. Currently the Symmetrix V-Max supports 1TB total cache (512GB usable), which may get upgraded to 2TB total cache (1024 GB usable).

16. New possible microcode version 5875 that will help bring features like FAST, SATA II drives and additional cache into the Symmetrix V-Max.

17. Processors: 4 x Quad Core Intel processors on V-Max engines may not get an upgrade in this release, it should possibly be with FAST v2 as a midlife enhancement next year.

18. Further enhancements related to FCoE support.

19. Upgrade of iSCSI interface on Symmetrix V-Max engines from 1GB to 10GB (is now available with the Clariion CX4 platforms).

20. Really do not expect this to happen, but imagine RapidIO interconnects change to FCoE. Really not sure what made EMC to go with RapidIO instead of Infiniband 40 Gbps (which most of the storage industry folks think is dead) or FCoE with Engine interconnects, but if the engineers at EMC thought of RapidIO as a means to connect the V-Max engines, there has to be a reason behind it. Edit 10/15/2009 12:50 PM: Enginuity more or less doesn’t care about the underlying switching technology, making a switch from RapidIO to FCoE or Infiniband can be accomplished without a lot of pains. Though for customers already invested into RapidIO technology (with existing V-Max systems), it might be offline time to change the underlying fabric, which in most cases is unacceptable.

21. Virtual Provisioning on Virtual LUNs which is currently not supported with the existing generation of Microcode on V-Max systems.

22. Atmos currently is running as a beta release and we should expect a market release this Quarter. Should we expect to see an integration between V-Max and Atmos. I am not sure of any integration today.

23. A very interesting feature to have in the EMC Symmetrix V-Max would be system partitioning, where you can run half the V-Max engines at a certain Microcode level with a certain set of features and other half can be treated as a completely separate system with its own identity (almost like a Mainframe environment). Shouldn’t this be a feature of a modular storage array.

24. Symmetrix Management Console (SMC) and Vmware integration (like VMware aware Navisphere and Navisphere aware VMware). There is already quite a bit of support related to VMware in SMC for provisioning and allocation.

25. Also a much tighter integration between IONIX, FAST, SMC, Navisphere and Atmos may after all be the secret sauce, which would enable workflow, dataflow and importantly automation. Though do not expect this integration now, something to look forward for the next year.

Summary

Though I am still a bit confused on where FAST will physically sit.

FAST v1 can merely be a feature integrated within the Microcode, configurable & driven through policy within the Symmetrix Management Console.

FAST v2 (Sometime Mid 2010) will support in-box and out-of-box (eg: Symmetrix to Clariion to Celerra to Centera) data movement through policy engine.

Ed Saipetch and myself have speculated on GestaltIT on how that may work. Though after some thoughts, I do believe a policy engine can merely be a VM or a vAPP sitting outside the physical storage system in the Storage environment.

To promote the sales of the EMC Symmetrix V-Max systems, Barry Burke in his blog post talks about Open Replicator, Open Migrator and SRDF / DM (Data mobility) are now available at no cost for customers purchasing a new EMC Symmetrix V-Max system, these are some of the incentives that EMC is offering and further promoting the sales of its latest generation Symmetrix technology.

It remains to be seen the path of success FAST will carve for Symmetrix V-Max systems.