EMC’s new VNXe3200: Come Fly with Me

I am very excited to write about the new VNXe3200 which brings a new level of power and flexibility to EMC’s entry level VNXe system, while retaining its simplicity for non-storage experts.

KittyHawk was a fitting codename we used for EMC’s 3rd generation VNXe platform – which flies at an altitude further up from any VNXe you may have seen before – yet remains simple and affordable at prices starting under $12,000 US list price.

So let’s jump right in and take a quick fly-by of the important features, shall we?

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The VNXe3200 has many new features from larger VNX models:

  • FAST Suite (autotiering and SSD caching)
  • Fibre Channel Support
  • MCx Multicore Optimization
  • VMware support: VAAI, VASA
  • Microsoft support: SMB3 support, ODX support, on array SMI-S provider, NPIV

The VNXe3200 also has features which aren’t on larger VNX models – mostly features focused on the IT generalist.

  • A revised configuration wizard that lets you setup NAS or SAN in under 15 minutes
  • Unified Snapshots for file and block with new LUN groups (for grouping databases and logs together as an example)
  • New system metrics for simple performance collection and charting
  • Expanded EMC Connect Proactive Support ecosystem to help resolve issues 5X faster

And the hardware got a makeover too.

  • Compared to a VNXe3150, the VNXe3200 has upgraded processors, MCx multicore optimization, and a bump in system memory from 8GB to 48GB!
  • Like VNXe3150, we support SSD, SAS, and large NL-SAS drives, but the VNXe3200 now supports FAST Suite – FAST VP autotiering and FAST Cache to easily add up to an overall 3X performance boost over the VNXe3150.
  • We’ve expanded protocol and connectivity options from Ethernet only to Ethernet and Fibre Channel and support file and block protocols – iSCSI, FC, NFS, CIFS (including SMB3).

There’s far too much to say in a single blog post about all of the goodness around the new VNXe3200 – but that’s some more information to get you started.

Here’s some more links to check out:

Provisioning EMC Storage for Windows 4X Faster with ESI

The EMC Storage Integrator for Windows was made to simplify and automate many of the mundane tasks associated with provisioning storage in a Windows environment. It is a free download and comes complete with a simple MMC interface as well as PowerShell commandlets, SharePoint provisioning wizards, and System Center plugins for Ops Manager and Orchestrator. Good stuff here.

Is a SAN Better, Cheaper, and More Secure Than Office 365?

SAN’s – especially SAN’s from market leader EMC – are always under attack from companies wishing to cash in on a piece of the rising data growth across all industries and market segments.

  • Some say DAS is best.
  • Some say keep the storage in the servers.
  • Some say you should build your own shared array.

But when it comes to Microsoft environments, it often helps to have independent experts investigate the matter to get a fresh perspective.

In a recent study, Wikibon determined that a shared storage infrastructure (powered by EMC’s next generation VNX2 storage systems) can match the prices offered by Office 365 public cloud and offer more capabilities, more security, and more control.

This, however, assumes a completely consolidated approach for deploying multiple mixed workloads such as Exchange, SharePoint, SQL Server, Lync – where the VNX2 really shines.   We use FAST VP, FAST Cache, and a combination of drive types to achieve the best balance of performance and cost.

Are you looking for more information about deploying Microsoft applications on VNX?    Definitely check here for the most recent best practices guides!

Also check out my recent webinar I did with James Baldwin who leads our Proven Solutions EMC/Microsoft engineering team.  We had a lot of fun doing this one, hope you enjoy it.

Building a Microsoft Azure Private Cloud – Powered by EMC VNX Storage

Recently EMC held a Microsoft Summit, where a lot of the Microsoft savvy engineers and business folks within EMC get together to share their stories and lessons learned.

One of the highlights of these sessions is always the work of Txomin Barturen -who is our resident Microsoft expert in EMC’s Office of the CTO.

His blog can be found here:  http://datatothepeople.wordpress.com/
(Bookmark it, and look for videos and blog posts soon to follow)

This year his session focused on our work within Microsoft Hyper-V, Microsoft System Center, Private Clouds and the powerful Azure Pack for Windows.

Sure, everyone knows about EMC’s affinity towards VMware (EMC’s VNX was rated best storage for VMware 3 years in a row), but many don’t know how focused we are on Hyper-V and helping customers power their Microsoft Cloud.

EMC is committed to becoming the best storage for private clouds for enterprises and service providers who wish to deploy private and/or public clouds for their customers – on VMware or Hyper-V.

Evidence of EMC’s Microsoft Private Cloud Work

To get to this stage, we’ve had to do a lot of work.

And beyond our engineering ability, we also showcased our agility.

  • VNX was the first storage platform to support SMB 3.0 (VNX & VNXe)
  • VNX was the first storage platform to demonstrate ODX (TechEd 2012)
  • Our Elab aggressively submits Windows Logo certifications (EMC currently has the most Windows 2012 R2 certs)

Where do you find these materials? 

We’ve built Microsoft Private Cloud (Proven) solutions on VNXe, VNX & VMAX leveraging SMI-S / PowerShell that can be found and delivered through EMC’s VSPEX program or as part of our Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track solutions (which are Microsoft validated, ready-to-run reference architectures).  You can find more about this work here.

Getting to a More Agile Cloud

Txomin’s presentation talked about how customers want all that an Azure Public Cloud model offers in terms of agility and management but without the loss of control (a on-premises cloud deployment).  They want to offer *-as-a-Service models, elastic scale, a self-service model for tenants, but without the SLA risks that are out of IT control when deploying on a full private cloud.

The Middle Ground:  The Azure Pack for Windows

Microsoft is putting together some really interesting cloud management software with Azure Pack for Windows.  The Azure Pack for Windows is a free downloadable set of services that offer the same interface as the Azure public cloud option, but provide more control for companies who are not willing to deploy on the public cloud for reasons due to performance, reliability, security, and compliance concerns.

azure-cloud

Since we’ve done all of the baseline private cloud work, now we can use these as a foundation for building a Microsoft Private Cloud on-premises with a VNX storage platform using the new Azure Pack for Windows.

Built atop the new Windows Server 2012 R2 platform, the Windows Azure Pack (WAP) enables public-cloud like management and services without the risk.   This layers right on top of EMC’s Windows Fast Track & Private Cloud offerings without any additional technology required.

Although it offers a limited subset of services, we expect that Microsoft will introduce more service as customers adopt this new model.

One of the first use cases Microsoft is focusing on is the service providers who want better management for their Microsoft clouds.   This will allow for new integrations and capabilities that weren’t previously available.   IT staff can treat business units as Tenants, offer pre-configured solutions via Gallery, enable self-service management by tenants (delegated Admin).  They can also view utilization and reporting available through System Center/3rd party integrations which are fully extensible through Operations Manager, Orchestrator and Virtual Machine Manager.

This is truly the future of Microsoft’s virtualization Strategy and EMC is right there to enable customers to build the best, most reliable, secure, manageable private cloud.

But what about Data Protection?

Well, our colleagues in the Backup and Recovery Systems division of EMC are no slackers.  They saw the same trends and are eager to help customers stay protected as they move to the cloud.

In this demo Alex Almeida, Sr. Technical Marketing Manager for EMC’s Backup and Recovery Systems demonstrates how the EMC Data Protection Suite provides full support for Windows Azure Private Cloud Backup and Recovery:

So let me correct my statement…  EMC is right there to enable customers to build the best, most reliable, secure, manageable private cloud – AND PROTECT IT.

EMC’s Next Generation VNX Arrives!

VNX5800_so_300dpiFinally the big day is here.  The next generation VNX models are now available and shipping. 

We’ve got a big launch day that started at 11am Milan Italy time. We’ve partnered with Lotus to provide a speed / agility theme and also have a limited edition VNX Lotus bezel available for the 5400.

Press Releases include:

New EMC Storage Arrays, Systems & Software-Defined Storage Speed IT Transformation

New EMC VNX Shatters the Definition and Economics of Midrange Storage

EMC Transforms EMC VSPEX Proven Infrastructure, Supports 2x More Virtual Machines at Same Price

EMC Announces Availability of ViPR Software-Defined Storage Platform

These 2 “search links” will provide insight into how the announcement is progressing throughout the day.

Articles   Videos

Some people I know who are going to have a lot to say include:

Eric Herzog

Chad Sakac

Jeremy Burton

Even if you aren’t on Twitter a lot, it’s going to be one of those days where it will be a lot of fun to stay tuned.

#emc #SpeedtoLead

VNX Data Protection Ask the Experts
I will be answering questions in a VNX Data Protection Ask the Experts Session / online forum Sept 4th – Sept 19th.  Sign up for email updates and ask away!

How to Follow VMworld from your Couch

vOdgeball

The VMworld effect?

This week is VMworld and if you are in IT, it’s likely that you might be hearing about it in some way.  There are tweets, press releases, pictures of grown men dressed up like bunnies, and people that you forgot about that are suddenly professing their love for the software defined datacenter on LinkedIn.  Yes, this is the VMworld effect and admit it – you want to be there!

So how do you find out about all the new tech goodies without missing a beat – all from your desk or couch?

The easy way is to simply follow Chad Sakac -  Blog  YouTube  Twitter.

He’s now running Presales for EMC and he’s still the core “voice” for VMware virtualization at EMC.  He gets access to top secret previews of new technology like no one other person at EMC.  Did you know he also has a huge datacenter 2 miles beneath his house on a glacier up there in Canada?  He doesn’t, I made that up.  But he does have a lot of EMC storage in his house!

One of the coolest demos I saw on his YouTube channel was this one which shows “vSphere Replication on steroids” using a beta version of RecoverPoint which supports VM-Level Granularity.  This is something that I know our customers have been asking about, and it was great to see the wraps finally come off of this one.

VMworld 2013: VM-Granular replication with EMC Recoverpoint/VE

 

Another thing to check out is the latest video from Fred Nix and gang. Stay for the Chad and Nick Weaver cameo at the end.

VMware Still Dominant, Hyper-V Gaining Ground

The results from Wikibon’s Multi-Hypervisor study are back, and there’s a good amount of data that you can dig into.

For virtualization trends the survey provides evidence that virtualization will continue to grow (percentage of virtualized servers is predicted to grow from 69% today to 84% in two years time).   Also the survey indicates that many companies experiment with multi-hypervisor strategies, but 55% predict to move to a single hypervisor in 18 months.

The three big takeaways for me include:

1. VMware is still the dominant hypervisor with growth leveling off.

  • VMware was perceived to be dominant in functionality and all workload types were being run in production under VMware.
  • There is continued movement towards VMware (of the installations with a single hypervisor in 18 months time, two-thirds would be VMware).

2. Hyper-V is becoming good enough for many use cases and growing fast.

  • Like many enterprise Microsoft products, the 3rd release is the game changer.  Hyper-V V3 (Windows 2012) is really gaining momentum in the small-mid section of the market.
  • Planned adoption was measured in the survey results – Of the installations with a single hypervisor in 18 months time, one-third would be Hyper-V.
  • But the features need to be there – ODX support an essential requirement for storage arrays for Microsoft environments (VNX was first to market here by the way)

3. EMC VNX continues to lead in virtualization integration.

  • EMC VNX had the most VMware integration of all the storage arrays analyzed and led in the overall group, the block-only group, and the file-only group.
  • EMC had a clean sweep of the block-only group, with the VNX, VMAX 10K and VMAX 20-40K in first, second, and third place.

But like I said, there’s a lot to dig into if you like data and colorful charts including:

  1. A storage array/VMware integration feature matrix showing each vendor and the VMware integration they provide (thumbnail above)
  2. A VMware Storage Integration Assessment by Vendor Array (leads to a score).
  3. Advice for peers regarding hypervisor strategy – good advice in here.

Check out the full results on the Wikibon blog post here.