EMC VNX / VNXe

calvinj

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I know this is a new product that hasn't shipped yet, but has anybody else sat through and looked over this product? We had a call with a vendor that we go through & an EMC rep today and it looks to be a promising product. We currently have a md3000i that we are looking to relocate and will be putting a new SAN in our HQ location. Thoughts on this new VNX / VNXe line? I mostly ask here because this would be used with our VMware servers we have
 
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Haven't had any exposure to it, but I know the company I work for is excited about it. They're sending me to training for it soon.
 

calvinj

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Let me know how it goes. If it's cost effective we could see ourselves going this route
 

ManateeMatt

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We are looking to get one of the VNXe3300 soon (as in all I'm missing is the Array). The software options look really good for to expand it into a larger scale (remote replication along with other things). The range of disks is nice (300GB, 600GB 15k SAS 1 and 2 TB 7.2k NRSAS drives and 100GB flash drive). The biggest thing I feel its missing is the FAST system (fast cache, and fast auto tiering)
 

NetJunkie

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I sell these so I'm very familiar. They are the new iterations of EMC arrays (replacing both the NS/NX and AX4/CX4) platforms. What questions do you have? Very good arrays.
 

calvinj

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NetJunkie... I have your typical questions. Never seen or used an EMC product. Wanting to make sure that if the cost comes back in our price range that it's going to be a good SAN to invest in. Since this is a new line for EMC are there bugs. Anything we should know specifically about it?

Could you give me quick run down of what you think of it as a user and not a salesman? I would love to bypass some of the sales hype and crap for real world experience with these units
 

RiDDLeRThC

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:( and we just bought both an AX4 and a CX4. We had to get this project rolling and couldn't wait.
 

NetJunkie

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The VNX and VNXe are the latest generation commercial market arrays from EMC. They are evolutions of the previous CX4 and NS. Bugs should be minimal. The storage processors still run the FLARE operating system. The data movers for NFS/CIFS still run the DART operating system. So that is pretty much the same. The big changes are: moving from a 4Gb fibre channel back-end loop to 3-channel 6Gb SAS. That gives several times the back-end loop speed. You get faster CPUs and more memory/cache on the storage processors. No more fibre channel drives...just SAS, NL-SAS (SATA), and EFD (enterprise flash drives). Now can use 2.5" (25 disk shelves) drives now...along with the traditional 3.5" (15 disk shelves).

The VNXe is an "entry" level SAN. More simplified configuration GUI and lower expandability..but cheap. They've greatly simplified and discounted the software licenses for many things.

If you get a quote for one let me know. I can sanity check it for you. If I were back on the customer side I'd have no concern recommending these arrays for my own use. Fast. Solid. Robust and EMC has amazing support.
 

scamp

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If your looking at a single enclosure loaded with drives you are looking around 17k(Your vendor may be less or more) for 12 15k*600gb drives, and dual controllers for the 3100 and 3 years NBD parts and 24 hour support. That is very competitive price wise with the dell MD3200i or IBM DS3500 with similar support option. The MD3200i is a substantial upgrade over your 3000i and with 12 600GB drives you are probably going to be around 20k from Dell without snapshots but without discounting so figure around the same price. Adding enclosures/drives is about the same price for all the units in this price range. Compared with the IBM/Dell units you are getting the added bonus of Snapshotting, CFS/NFS and compression/deduplication(File level so not as good as NetApp block level) which are fairly big bonuses for being in the same price range. Expandability is a wash but software features are worlds better on the EMC. The EMC looks tough to beat on paper but once the units are shipping in a week or 2 there should be a fair number of more informed opinions. I haven't really looked at the 3300 as it was too much power for the small implementation I looked at but its pricing makes it just as competitive.
 

calvinj

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Not sure if your needs are great in the iops department, but the VNX5300 really had our eye with the 4 onboard iSCSI ports. Sounds like it's a good solid unit. I just need to see what the partner we talked with comes back for a final price tag. If anybody gets one of these and can do a little write up about it that would be awesome.
 

scamp

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Not sure how soon the 5300 is shipping but I should have the 3100 in the next couple of weeks if the sales reps are to be believed. It only has 2 ports per controller but can be upgraded to 6 for about 800 bucks a controller. With only having a dozen disks I don't think I need the extra ports but when I get a second shelf I'd probably add them then.
 

calvinj

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I'm not sure what our sales guys will come back with honestly. We told them we want a comparable unit hardware wise to a PowerVault md3220i (Hardware NOT software)
 

NetJunkie

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Not sure if your needs are great in the iops department, but the VNX5300 really had our eye with the 4 onboard iSCSI ports. Sounds like it's a good solid unit. I just need to see what the partner we talked with comes back for a final price tag. If anybody gets one of these and can do a little write up about it that would be awesome.

The VNX5300 is a good deal..they discount it heavier than the larger arrays (5500 and up). Not just the base array but disks as well so it's a good bit cheaper than the 5500.
 

calvinj

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The VNX5300 is a good deal..they discount it heavier than the larger arrays (5500 and up). Not just the base array but disks as well so it's a good bit cheaper than the 5500.

hmm.. nice to know. Don't know if we need the 4 ports per controller, but were all geeks here, the more the better :D
 

calvinj

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Only if I can send you the bill ;)

10g is probably over kill for our needs anyways
 

calvinj

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We've got our config and got pricing now has anybody that has already purchased them got theirs in yet? I'm anxious to know what people have to say
 

calvinj

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We got our final config all sorted out. Just need to commit to it. I can't wait to see how everyone that gets one likes them
 

jenuster

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We got our final config all sorted out. Just need to commit to it. I can't wait to see how everyone that gets one likes them

I am a looking at the major SAN vendors for one of my clients. I am still getting the quote from EMC but it seems like for every little thing you need an extra license which increases the costs. I like the Dell Equlaogic series--very simple, no extra licensing schemes--you buy the equipment and it just works. Unfortunately, they are not scalable. If you want to add more drives you need to buy a NEW SAN. I am looking at NetApp's as well which has some interesting technology especially the way their SAN takes snapshots as well as RAID DP.

I will post again once we make a decision. But if anyone has reccomendations please state them so.
 
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Netapp and EMC VNX are probably your two best options. You doing iSCSI, nfs, or FC? My company could get you a quote, too.
 

NetJunkie

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I am a looking at the major SAN vendors for one of my clients. I am still getting the quote from EMC but it seems like for every little thing you need an extra license which increases the costs. I like the Dell Equlaogic series--very simple, no extra licensing schemes--you buy the equipment and it just works. Unfortunately, they are not scalable. If you want to add more drives you need to buy a NEW SAN. I am looking at NetApp's as well which has some interesting technology especially the way their SAN takes snapshots as well as RAID DP.

I will post again once we make a decision. But if anyone has reccomendations please state them so.

All of those SANs do snapshots. For EMC if you go VNXe it's pretty much all-in for licensing. Don't be fooled, the other guys charge you licenses they just try and hide it. EMC doesn't. NetApp likes to claim it's "all included", it isn't. The problem with EqualLogic is that as you add capacity you rebuy all that intelligence and licensing every time. The first EQL looks cheap...price out scaling it against a VNXe (or dare I say NetApp). It doesn't hold up.

If you're looking at EQL then the VNXe should work just fine....but be more expandable, faster, and more capable later.
 

jenuster

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All of those SANs do snapshots. For EMC if you go VNXe it's pretty much all-in for licensing. Don't be fooled, the other guys charge you licenses they just try and hide it. EMC doesn't. NetApp likes to claim it's "all included", it isn't. The problem with EqualLogic is that as you add capacity you rebuy all that intelligence and licensing every time. The first EQL looks cheap...price out scaling it against a VNXe (or dare I say NetApp). It doesn't hold up.

If you're looking at EQL then the VNXe should work just fine....but be more expandable, faster, and more capable later.

Thanks. Agreed with the EQL. I forgot to mention that the client currently has a EQL and they were running out of space, which is the exact reason why we are looking for other vendors. With the snapshots I actually meant the way the NetAPP does it, from my research it doesnt take a traditional copy on write snapshot but rather allocates a new block and adjusts the pointers (this way taking tons of snapshots wont significantly impact performance)
 

NetJunkie

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Thanks. Agreed with the EQL. I forgot to mention that the client currently has a EQL and they were running out of space, which is the exact reason why we are looking for other vendors. With the snapshots I actually meant the way the NetAPP does it, from my research it doesnt take a traditional copy on write snapshot but rather allocates a new block and adjusts the pointers (this way taking tons of snapshots wont significantly impact performance)

Note on the snapshots. The way EMC and NetApp do snaps is different...and the results are different. On a NetApp they use the WAFL (Write Anywhere File Layout) filesystem...basically the array streams data to the disks as it's written to where ever on the disk the drive heads are. Makes it fast to do writes..for a while at least. They do snapshots in a similar way. So let's say you have production data all written nicely in a row on the NetApp. You then take a snapshot. As you change that production data it writes the new blocks where ever it can quickly, leaving the old data in the original spot. It updates the file and snapshot pointers. So what happens? First, you get very good performance on the snapshots. Reading/writing to a NetApp snap is faster than EMC. Second, your production data performance degrades over time, if you keep snaps around. It doesn't rewrite the production blocks..it writes the changes to where ever it can quickly, so over time that production data is no longer sequential.

EMC uses Copy on First Write. You have a production LUN with all your data in a nice row. You take a snap. You then change a bock. The EMC reads in the original block, then writes it to where ever you tell it to store snaps (more on this in a sec). It then replaces the original block with the update data. So, first, snaps performance isn't as good as NetApp. Second, production data stays fast.

So they both have advantages and disadvantages...what I find is that most customers want their prod data to stay fast and not worry as much about snap performance. If you want a really fast snap you should be doing a clone anyway. One last thing, since NetApp writes data where it can you end up with your snaps on the same disks as the prod data. With EMC I can put snaps on another tier of disk, like SATA.
 

calvinj

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Well we jumped on the EMC bandwagon today. We wound up with the 3100. I can't wait to get this in and get it going.
 

jenuster

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Netjunkie thanks for the thorough explanation.

Calvinj, the EMC interface looks great as well (Navisphere?). I was thoroughly impressed by that.
 

calvinj

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We just got it ordered yesterday. From the Youtube video's that EMC provided me Uni sphere looks pretty easy to get use to honestly
 

marty9876

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What size companies (employees or revenue) do you see moving to SAN environments from DAS/NAS storage?

Just curious if you have a sense for when companies typically move into these technologies.
 

NetJunkie

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What size companies (employees or revenue) do you see moving to SAN environments from DAS/NAS storage?

Just curious if you have a sense for when companies typically move into these technologies.

All depends on your apps. I have small companies with a LOT of data..just due to their business model. Once you go clustering or virtualization it's pretty much a requirement to go SAN/NAS. It also makes a lot of sense in non-virtual environments. Better storage utilization, better performance options, better management, far easier replication for DR, etc.
 

Vader

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The price point now makes it much easier for SMB to start leveraging real enterprise-class technology.

I can see this system would be great for the medical offices..etc seeing that all medical records must be converted to a digital format mandated by the fed.

One thing we have a lot of in my area are Doctors and Hospitals.
 

calvinj

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The last consulting gig I had it varied from small 50 people shops to 150 people shops and of all industries. Like NetJunkie said it is more dependant on the applications you are running at your place.

The company i work for now is a small manufacturing company that employee's 65-70 people in one location and another 35-40 in across the US. I would say at least 85-90% of our environment is housed in ESXi 4.1. We need the SAN space for vmotion and ha. Honestly I can see our environment go 95+ % virtualized over the next 2-3 years.
 

calvinj

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One thing we have a lot of in my area are Doctors and Hospitals.

And some vendors taking advantage of it because of t hey know these drs need the drive space. Know of a place that wound up with a 42u rack full of disk when they probably needed 4u maybe 6u's worth of drives for everything
 

scamp

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I got trolled by emc and a coworker today on the 3100 I ordered. Get a call from an office mate that a box from emc is there. Drive to the datacenter and find a small box with a big emc logo on it containing 4 power cords. Next time I'll ask for dimmensions and weights.
 

scamp

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I'm fairly certain it has shipped to me. I went through one of the largest VAR's around and it's been invoiced already. I've never had the vendor invoice me for something that hasn't shipped. I'll call next week if it doesn't show up tomorrow but I can't imagine EMC overnights power cords to people that didn't pay for shipping when the unit they ordered is going to be back ordered. Stranger things have happened to me though.
 

NetJunkie

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I'm fairly certain it has shipped to me. I went through one of the largest VAR's around and it's been invoiced already. I've never had the vendor invoice me for something that hasn't shipped. I'll call next week if it doesn't show up tomorrow but I can't imagine EMC overnights power cords to people that didn't pay for shipping when the unit they ordered is going to be back ordered. Stranger things have happened to me though.

It very well may have shipped..but they just started a couple days ago and there was a big backlog of orders. The VNXe line may not be as backed up...that I'm not sure. But the VAR really has no idea if it's shipped. These aren't stocked items by anyone. They all come direct out of EMC and most of these will be out of the plant in Apex, NC. I've seen power cables and rack kits show up weeks before the rest of the gear hit.

So...it may be there today but don't be surprised if it's two weeks or more. Cisco is the worst. I've had customers waiting months on some pieces of gear. Luckily, most of that is over and everything is shipping in a more reasonable time frame. If you order EMC gear at the end of December you'll sometimes have it in 2 days as they get it off their dock to recognize the revenue. They build up a large supply in anticipation.
 

AceXsmurF

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I get asked for recommendations all day for simple no frills storage that 'just works' and is scalable all the time from prospective customers of the company I work for.

Two good choices that you should check out would be:
jetstor.com
and
iqstor.com

I have had personal experience with both, and have recommended both to prospective and current customers and have had nothing but good things to hear back from them. Just make sure the storage fits your needs. Both companies are very easy to work with and know where they do an do not fit. The other good thing is that they are much much cheaper than any of the 'big names' and both have been around for quite some time.
 
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