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VMware, EMC release new virtual storage, smaller VMAX array

VMware's vSphere Storage Appliance pools multiple servers' internal disk to form a SAN

July 14, 2011 03:44 PM ET

Computerworld - In conjunction with VMware's release of its next generation cloud operating system, vSphere 5, EMC this week announced new vSphere Storage Appliance (VSA) software and a smaller version of its top-end VMAX storage array. The VSA software pools internal disk capacity on physical servers to create a storage area network (SAN).

EMC's new version of its highest-end Symmetrix VMAX, the VMAXe storage system, is designed for deployment in private virtualized cloud environments.

The VMAX was EMC's first enterprise-class storage system built on Intel's x86 quad-core processors and integrated with VMware's APIs to automate the provisioning of storage for virtual machines across multiple tiers of disk drives, from solid-state to Serial ATA (SATA). That system scales to eight controllers and 2 petabytes of usable capacity within a single chassis.

The new VMAXe is aimed at mid-sized to lower enterprise-class companies and scales to four controllers and 960 drives for up to 1.3PB of capacity. Each controller can manage from 24 to 240 drives with up to 96GB of cache. Each storage bay holds up to 180 drives that can be any combination of 450GB 15,000 rpm Fibre Channel drives, 600GB 10,000 rpm Fibre Channel drives, 2TB 7,200rpm SATA drives and 200GB SSDs.

The VMAXe
The VMAXe array

The VMAXe has up to 64 external, front-end ports for connectivity to application servers. The array has built-in open, local and remote replication support for EMC and non-EMC systems, which enables easy migrations, the company said.

The VMAXe is aimed at organizations with limited storage expertise and IT resources. It features a new hardware design for a smaller footprint - a 19-in. wide rack -- and has built-in software for fast installation, configuration and management. EMC states that the array can be set up and running in just four hours.

"The Symmetrix VMAXe is a compelling expansion of EMC's portfolio and meets the requirements of a new breed of customer, especially those in new and emerging markets around the world whose storage environment got bigger than they ever thought it would," said Terri McClure, an analyst with market research firm ESG. "EMC is meeting changing market conditions and requirements by making high-end storage capabilities, previously only available to larger data centers, available to everyone."

Hermie Cloete, a systems architect with EMC customer Duke Energy, said in a statement that the VMAXe provides his company with the flexibility to provide high-end capabilities in its lower-tier service level offering to business units, "as we look to expand our virtualization and private cloud infrastructure."

The VMAXe, like its larger predecessor, comes with software to manage virtual computing environments, including the EMC Symmetrix Management Console and Performance Analyzer, a web GUI and real-time dashboard views and EMC PowerPath SE, an automated I/O path failover software.



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