New EMC Virtual Matrix Architecture Good News for Virtual Data Center Storage Scalability

EMC today unveiled a new approach to high-end data storage with an innovative new architecture purpose-built to support virtual data centers. EMC also announced the first storage system based on this architecture, which will serve as a cornerstone of virtual computing infrastructures that are transforming the technology landscape.

The new EMC Virtual Matrix Architecture integrates industry-standard components with EMC Symmetrix capabilities to deliver massive scalability - enabling systems that scale to hundreds of thousands of terabytes of storage and tens of millions of IOPS (input/output per second) supporting hundreds of thousands of VMware and other virtual machines in a single federated storage infrastructure. It is the first storage architecture that combines the performance and efficiency of a scale-up architecture and the cost-effective flexibility of a scale-out architecture. It was designed and built from the ground up to break the physical boundaries of data center storage, incorporates automation to simplify storage management, enables resources to be scaled on demand and uses less energy per terabyte of data stored than traditional high-end storage systems.

Full details about the new architecture and new systems are available here.

The first storage system based on this innovative new architecture is the EMC Symmetrix V-Max system, which is available immediately. It is the world’s largest high-end storage array and uses multi-core processors to lower power costs and improve IOPS per dollar. Combined with the latest generation Enterprise Flash, Fibre Channel and SATA drives, the Symmetrix V-Max system allows users to cost effectively meet the widest range of storage requirements for high performance and high capacity in a single system. It joins the market-leading EMC Symmetrix DMX-4 system and expands EMC’s high-end portfolio. Together they represent the two newest high-end storage architectures on the market today.

The high-availability Symmetrix V-Max Engine at the center of the new system is a flexible building block that features multiple redundant Quad-core Intel(R) Xeon(R) processors with up to 128 GB (gigabytes) of memory and up to 16 host and 16 drive channel connections. The Virtual Matrix Architecture allows Symmetrix V-Max Engines to interconnect and share resources. This enables a Symmetrix V-Max system to scale to 1024 GB (gigabytes) of global memory, with twice as many front-end and back-end connections compared to the industry-leading Symmetrix DMX-4 systems. The ability to interconnect and share resources to easily and linearly scale out is a key customer requirement as virtual machines and applications are dynamically added and shifted.

The Symmetrix V-Max system provides more than three times the performance, twice the connectivity and three times more usable capacity than Symmetrix DMX-4 systems and uses significantly less power per terabyte and per IOP. As part of EMC’s Early Adopter Program, more than 30 of the new systems have already been shipped to customers with some of the world’s largest data centers, including EMC’s own state-of-the-art production data center.

New Automated Management Tools

In virtualized environments, there are significant benefits to consistent and rapid provisioning of storage to multiple physical servers and server clusters. The Symmetrix V-Max system automates storage provisioning, reducing the time and complexity of provisioning by 95 percent. Integration with numerous VMware features enables both server and storage resources to be provisioned on demand, with centralized management, reporting and control. In addition, EMC ControlCenter(R) support for both the Symmetrix V-Max storage system and VMware will increase visibility and automate reporting across the virtual server and storage environments.

In tiered storage environments, Symmetrix V-Max systems enable data to be non-disruptively relocated to different storage tiers and RAID protections, including ultra- high performing Enterprise Flash Drives, traditional Fibre Channel disk drives and high-capacity SATA disk drives based on business requirements. The Virtual Matrix Architecture allows customers to relocate more data in less time and with less impact to overall performance than any competitor, while also maintaining local and remote replication activities to ensure continuous protection for today’s “24 by forever” data centers.

EMC also announced Fully Automated Storage Tiering (“FAST”), its innovative automation technology. Leveraging the Virtual Matrix Architecture’s unprecedented data relocation capabilities, FAST will automate the movement of data across multiple storage tiers based upon business policies, predictive models and real-time access patterns. This will further accelerate the adoption of Enterprise Flash Drives by enabling customers to more effectively leverage Flash performance together with the cost-effective capacities of SATA hard drives for improved return on investment and lower total cost of ownership. This new technology will be available on Symmetrix V-Max systems later this year.

The New Symmetrix V-Max Tiered Storage System

The first new Symmetrix model based on the Virtual Matrix Architecture is the Symmetrix V-Max storage system, the world’s largest high-end storage array, featuring:

  • Up to 128 Intel Xeon processor cores
  • Up to 1 TB (terabyte) of global memory
  • Fibre Channel/FICON/Gigabit Ethernet/iSCSI connectivity
  • Latest generation Flash/Fibre Channel/SATA drive support
  • Scale to 2,400 drives
  • Maximum usable, protected capacity of 2 PBs (petabytes)

Accelerated Data Migrations For Improved Efficiency and Agility

To help customers take advantage of the full capabilities of the new Virtual Matrix Architecture, EMC Global Services introduced a new EMC Migration Suite of tools and services to accelerate migration processes and execute migrations to the new architecture up to 50 percent faster and more efficiently. The EMC Migration Suite leverages comprehensive and unique best practices and EMC E-Lab(TM) interoperability testing to minimize risk, time and complexity.

EMC Proven Solutions for Major Data Center Applications

The unique features of the Symmetrix V-Max systems provide customers with new efficient ways to address the needs of their most critical data center applications, including those from Microsoft, Oracle and SAP. EMC has an initial set of EMC Proven Solutions that help accelerate implementation of VMware, Microsoft, and Oracle applications with Symmetrix V-Max systems, with additional solutions under development. These documented best practices and services from industry experts take advantage of the full capabilities of the new Virtual Matrix Architecture to maximize resources at the lowest possible cost.

Innovative Financing Options

EMC Global Financial Services offers innovative financing options for Symmetrix V-Max systems that can help customers further lower their total cost of ownership.

The Symmetrix V-Max system is generally available today.

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I'm a blogger, entrepreneur, conference organizer, social media consultant, startup advisor and allround web addict, based in Belgium, Europe. I'm a writer at TechCrunch and managing editor of Virtualization.com.

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