In my TechRepublic posts about hardware — which include write-ups about Dell M1000e-based blade servers, EMC’s AX4 SAN, and EqualLogic PS200E — the products have always belonged to my employer or the manufacturer who sent me a review version but never to me… until now. The EMC VNXe 3300 storage array I’m writing about was given to me by EMC to use in my home lab.

To say that I’m excited about my shiny new storage array would be an understatement, and it’s through sheer force of will that I have yet to fire up the unit. I want to make sure to share the experience — the good and the bad — with TechRepublic readers.

Details about the VNXe 3300

A single VNXe 3300 chassis supports up to 15 drives. In a full configuration comprised of multiple arrays, up to 120 drives are supported with up to 240 TB of raw capacity when using 2 TB NL SAS drives. The VNXe 3300 that was given to me contains 15 x 300 GB 15K RPM SAS disks for a total of 4.5 TB of raw capacity. That’s plenty of space and certainly plenty of IOPS.

Each VNXe 3300 controller (there are two) has four 1 Gb Ethernet ports for IP connectivity, as well as a quad core Xeon processor and 12 GB of RAM. The back of the VNXe 3300 has a couple of additional slots for the insertion of what EMC calls FlexIO modules, which expand the device’s connectivity options. You can choose to install additional 1 Gb ports (via a 4 port module), or you can opt to move to the fast lane by installing 10 GbE modules. The VNXe 3300 I was given includes 4 x 10 GbE ports; each management module includes a dual port 10 Gbe module in one of each module’s two FlexIO ports. Figure A shows what each management module looks like on the back of a VNXe 3300.
Figure A

A drawn image on a VNXe 3300 management module (Credit: EMC)

Figure B, Figure C, and Figure D are photos of my VNXe 3300. Figure B shows the entire back of the device and both management modules and 10 GbE uplink modules. Figure C shows the front of the device and all 15 drives, while Figure D zooms in to give you a bit of detail on the drives.
Figure B

The back of my VNXe 3300 (Credit: Scott Lowe)

Figure C

The front of my VNXe 3300 (Credit: Scott Lowe)

Figure D

A close up of the drives (Credit: Scott Lowe)

Pricing for the VNXe line starts at around $10,000.


With the VNX/VNXe series, EMC has also made a number of software suites available. The base VNXe 3300 unit includes the following suites:

  • Unisphere. Unisphere replaced EMC’s older Navisphere management suite and is significantly more streamlined and task-focused. You’ll see Unisphere in action in the next part of this series.
  • VNX CIFS. The VNXe provides file and block level storage. The CIFS software suite provides the ability for the VNXe 3300 to host Windows shares directly without having to stand up a Windows file server.
  • VNX NFS. Likewise, the VNXe can host NFS shares to support UNIX and Linux environments as well.
  • Local Protection Suite/Snapshots. Snapshots provide a layer of protection that can’t be beat. Take a picture of the current stored data and have the ability to revert to this copy in the event of a problem.

EMC also makes available a number of optional software suites, allowing customers to pick and choose what they need:

  • Remote Protection Suite (External Replication). Provides block and file replication for data stored on the array. Replicate information to an array in a backup data center, for example.
  • Application Protection Suite (Replication Manager). Automates the replication of consistent copies of Exchange, SQL Server, SharePoint, and Oracle to ensure successful recovery.
  • Security and Compliance Suite (VNX Event Enabler, VNX File Level Retention). In organizations that require strict compliance, use this software suite to achieve that goal.

Stay tuned

In my next column about the VNXe 3300, I’ll go into detail about setting up the device and making it run.