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EMC exec flags up FAST 2 and FCoE

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EMC's eagerly-awaited FAST 2 automated data movement is coming to CLARiiON and Celerra arrays today, together with FCoE and improved VMware vCenter integration.

CMO Jeremy Burton mentioned these things at Everything Channel's XChange Conference yesterday, also saying CLARiiON and Celerra arrays had more than 60 integration points with VMware's vCenter, enabling VMware admins to manage the arrays better and faster than before, with fewer clicks needed for the deeper levels of integration.

He said that a software enhancement would add FCoE (Fibre Channel over Ethernet) to both CLARiiON and Celerra arrays.

It has been confirmed by an EMC source that these things are part of the new CLARiiON operating system release, FLARE v30, with FAST 2 (Fully Automated Storage Tiering v2) added to it, the version of FAST that moves data automatically between storage tiers in smaller pieces - 1GB pieces - than a whole LUN (Logical UNit).

Burton said: "We can now be very, very granular with how we move data around." The payoff here is that expensive flash storage in an array can now be populated with just the hot, active data in a LUN and not the entire data set, meaning you don't need so much of the expensive stuff.

FAST Cache, the ability to have solid state drives as a top fast tier of storage in arrays, is also coming to CLARiiON and Celerra, and FAST 2 is needed to enable more affordable use to be made of it. The drive capacity in the arrays is added to a storage pool and LUNs created from the pool with the array software decide where to place the data, on which available tier of hard disk drive and SSD capacity, based on algorithms geared to detecting the access needs for particular pieces of data based on its age and activity level.

For FAST 2 to work a minimum of two storage tiers are needed with uniform drive spin speed, as FAST 2 does not seem to take spin speed into account in its calculations. The use of SSD storage (FAST Cache) is not a requirement, although its use will be much improved with FAST 2.

Existing users need to create a storage pool with new disks or freed-up space from the existing disks, and then they can migrate their LUNS to the pool.

We understand that FAST 2 needs CX4 storage processors with earlier ones not supporting it.

EMC is behind the curve here, as 3PAR, Compellent and IBM already have sub-LUN automated data movement. EMC said FAST 2 and FAST Cache were coming to CLARiiON and Celerra arrays in May and today is the day they arrive. ®

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