The VNX2 comes in five models. All of the models can be unified, meaning they can have both File and Block capabilities.
- VNX5400 has up to 250 drives (2.5" and 3.5" Flash, SAS, and NL-SAS) and 1000 GB Fast Cache.
- VNX5600 has up to 500 drives (2.5" and 3.5" Flash, SAS, and NL-SAS) and 2000 GB Fast Cache.
- VNX5800 has up to 750 drives (2.5" and 3.5" Flash, SAS, and NL-SAS) and 3000 GB Fast Cache.
- VNX7600 has up to 1000 drives (2.5" and 3.5" Flash, SAS, and NL-SAS) and 4200 GB Fast Cache.
- VNX8000 has up to 1500 drives (2.5" and 3.5" Flash, SAS, and NL-SAS) and 4200 GB Fast Cache.
The VNX has always come with solution enablers, or software suites, for which you can buy licenses. All VNX arrays have the capability to use these features, but the licenses need to be purchased to enable them. The software suites are:
- VNX Operating Environment (required) – VNX OE for File, VNX OE for Block
- VNX Unisphere Management Suite (required) – Unisphere, Unisphere Remote, Unisphere Analyzer, Unisphere QOS, VNX Monitoring and Reporting
- EMC Storage Analytics for VNX – VMware vCenter Operations Manager for VNX, EMC Adapter for VNX
- VNX Security & Compliance Suite (Part of the Total Efficiency Pack) – VNX Host Encryption, File Level Retention, VNX Event Enabler
- VNX FAST Suite (Part of the Total Efficiency Pack) – FAST Cache, FAST VP
- VNX Local Protection Suite (Part of the Total Efficiency Pack and Total Protection Pack) – SnapSure, SnapView, RecoverPoint SE CDP, VNX Snapshots
- VNX Remote Protection Suite (Part of the Total Efficiency Pack and Total Protection Pack) – Replicator, Mirrorview A/S, RecoverPoint SE CRR
- VNX Application Protection Suite (Part of the Total Efficiency Pack and the Total Protection Pack) – AppSync, Replication Manager, Data Protection Advisor for Replication
During a recent installation of a VNX2, I noticed there are major differences if you're used to the CX series or VNX1. A big one is the way hot spares are used.
In the older versions, you specified a particular disk as your hot spare. For example, if a disk died in a RAID group or storage pool, you knew that Disk 14 in DAE 1 was the hot spare and would become part of that RAID group temporarily. This is no longer the case. There's now a Hot Spare Policy that you need to set up. The administrator is not in control of which disk is chosen. You can pick how many disks to reserve for each disk type, but you can't say which one. Also, these disks remain unused; they are not configured as hot spares until it comes time to use them. Look at how the Hot Spare Policy is set up in Figure A.
Also, the hot spares are no longer temporary. So if a disk fails and one of your unused disks is used as the hot spare, it will stay in that RAID group or storage pool unless you manually take it out. This could mean a few things. If you're using a larger disk as a hot spare, you may lose some of your capacity. Also, if you have configured redundancy based on your shelves and the buses they're on, this might get tricky; you may lose control of that redundancy as well.
A pretty cool feature is that after you create your storage pools, RAID groups, and/or luns, you can use the disks while they are zeroing. In the older arrays, these disks would be unavailable. I don't know if it might run a little slower, but the performance hit would be temporary.
Something to keep in mind is that the new VNX has different power requirements. While the older arrays
could use 110v or 220v and it would auto-detect, the new arrays require
The VNX2 is built to be much faster than any of the earlier arrays. It's still early, so many customers are waiting until the bugs get worked out before purchasing a VNX2.
If you've had any experiences with a VNX2, please describe them in the discussion. I'm curious to hear what people think of this release.
Lauren Malhoit has been in the IT field for over 10 years and has acquired several data center certifications. She's currently a Technology Evangelist for Cisco focusing on ACI and Nexus 9000. She has been writing for a few years for TechRepublic, Tech Pro Research, and VirtualizationAdmin.com. As a Cisco Champion, EMC Elect, VMware vExpert, and PernixPro, Lauren stays involved in the IT community. Lauren has been a delegate for Tech Field Day and has also authored a book called VMware vCenter Operations Manager Essentials.