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EMC introduces x86-based Symmetrix array for cloud storage

V-Max controller can automate data transfers between tiers based on use

April 14, 2009 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - EMC Corp. today unveiled a high-end Symmetrix storage array that is based on Intel Corp.'s x86 quad-core processors and integrates VMware's APIs to automate the provisioning of storage for virtual machines across multiple tiers of disk drives, from solid-state to SATA.

The new V-Max array, with its Symmetrix Virtual Matrix Architecture, scales to 2 petabytes of usable capacity within a single chassis and offers three times the performance of the current Symmetrix DMX-4 array.

EMC said that its use of industry-standard processors and VMware's hypervisor enables the system to scale up to hundreds of thousands of terabytes of storage and tens of millions of I/O operations per second supporting hundreds of thousands of VMware and other virtual machines in a single, pooled storage infrastructure.

"This is the most significant change to the Symmetrix architecture since we introduced it 18 years ago," said Barb Robidoux, vice president of storage product marketing at EMC.

Not only can the Symmetrix V-Max virtualize disk storage within the array, but it can also cobble together multiple chassis and manage them as if from a single pool of storage. The array can automate the provisioning of data across solid-state disks, Fibre Channel and Serial ATA drives within a single frame.

Robidoux said the V-Max array is not an upgrade for the current Symmetrix DMX-4 array but an entirely new architecture created from the Symmetrix line to address virtualized data centers. "This is purpose-built for virtual data centers," she said. "You can think of this as the infrastructure for the private cloud. This is about your critical transactional business-critical applications."

Benjamin Woo, vice president of research firm IDC's enterprise storage systems research group, agreed the V-Max is nothing like past iterations of Symmetrix arrays because EMC is leaving its proprietary hardware behind and embracing the concept of a virtualized data center. "You want to allocate storage, server and network resources in an any-to-any type of environment, and that's what the V-Max is designed to do. In the future, you'll be able to make multiple Symmetrixes look like one," he said.

EMC's also announced its Fully Automated Storage Tiering (FAST) tool, which automates the movement of data across multiple storage tiers of disk drives based on business policies, predictive models and real-time access patterns. "The machine classifies the data based on how active it is," said Bob Wambach, senior director of storage product marketing at EMC.

Wambach said the V-Max array also uses 20% less power per terabyte than the current EMC DMX-4 Symmetrix array, through reduced power and cooling requirements via Intel's multicore processor and the system's new chassis. VMware's integration with the new array enables both server and storage resources to be provisioned on demand, with centralized management, reporting and control. In addition, the system comes with EMC ControlCenter for management of both the Symmetrix V-Max storage system and VMware in order to increase visibility and automate reporting across the virtual server and storage environments.

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