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EMC adds 8gig Fibre Channel and deleted space reclaim

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EMC has made its high-end Symmetrix V-Max thinner and faster. It's added 8Gbit/s Fibre Channel and deleted space reclaim features to make it use its capacity more efficiently and get data in and out faster.

The Fibre Channel upgrade doubles link speed from 4 to 8Gbit/s and EMC has also announced 8Gbit/s mainframe FICON links and 8Gbit/s SRDF (Symmetrix Remote Data Facility). It has added support for the mainframe zHPF (z mainframe High Performance FICON) protocol which EMC says streamlines the FICON architecture to reduce I/O overhead and improve mainframe performance.

IBM added this to its DS8000 arrays in October last year, saying that its improvements could double performance on a DS8000 FICON port. However, realistic production workloads would see a 10 - 30 per cent improvement in utilisation.

EMC is following 3PAR, IBM and HDS in adding support for zero space reclaimation. It says: "The zero space reclamation feature – through EMC Virtual Provisioning software – reclaims unused capacity from virtually provisioned volumes which might exist after migrating from thick volumes to thin volumes using migration utilities such as the Symmetrix Migration Package."

Zero space reclamation will also recover contiguous data blocks containing all zeros, meaning better space recovery for sparse databases and file systems. EMC's virtual provisioning can now automatically redistribute allocated data blocks as pools are extended with additional capacity, "ensuring the optimal benefits of wide-striping".

There are new replication facilities: by using EMC's TimeFinder/Clone Software, customers can have "thick to thin" cloning on Symmetrix V-Max. This form of replication copies only written data tracks from standard volumes to smaller thinly-provisioned volumes. Zero space reclamation can be applied to the clones to recover all-zero data blocks. Thin volumes can also be replicated to standard volumes, extending their mobility into and out of thin pools.

EMC has also introduced capacity-optimised V-Max configurations for customers who don't need maximum I/O performance. Instead of 5- to 8-engine V-Max configurations, customers can specify a 2-engine configuration that scales to 1,200 drives and 4-engine one scaling to 2,400 drives. This saves on cost. Unlike the V-Max arrays these fatter Symms go slower.

All software enhancements, configurations and the new 8Gbit/s connectivity announced today are available immediately for the Symm V-Max. ®

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