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Fujitsu makes biggest Eternus even bigger

Dual controller array with ambition

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Fujitsu is taking on EMC's VMAX, saying its series 2 DX8700 storage array extends modular array technology into the monolithic array space.

Typically, monolithic arrays like EMC's VMAX and HDS's VSP have multiple controllers linked to many, many drive enclosures by a high-speed internal interconnect fabric, such as VMAX' virtual matrix. Modular arrays generally have fewer drive enclosures, two controllers and FCAL or SAS links from them to the drive enclosures.

Fujitsu says its DX8700 S2 "rewrites the rules by making the leap from monolithic to modular architecture", although it says nothing about any internal fabric linking the controllers to the drive shelves and, indeed, there isn't one.

Fujitsu updated its entry-level and mid-range dual-controller Eternus arrays with an S2 generation in May, with thin provisioning, internal 6gig SAS connectivity, 10gigE and FCoE support. Auto-tiering was promised by the end of the year.

The Eternus high-end arrays used to be two in number; the DX8400 with a maximum of four controllers and up to 1,020 drives, and the DX8700 with eight controllers and up to 2,760 disk or solid state drives (SSD). Now there is just the DX8700 and it has been given the S2 makeover. It still has a maximum of eight controllers, starting from a dual controller base configuration, but can support up to 3,072 SAS 2.5-inch or 1,536 3.5-inch drives.

The maximum raw capacity is 4.6PB with a logical capacity of 3.6PB, using 3TB 3.5-inch drives. We expect 4TB drive support is there ready for the anticipated arrival of such drives.

The controller modules and drive enclosures can now be loaded into 19-inch racks, and the DX8700 S2 can use drive enclosures from other DX product family members. Data can be automatically tiered across different drive types with a Flexible Data Management function. A separate Eternus SF Storage Cruiser module monitors data access frequency and optimises data placement on, for example, SSD, online disk and nearline disk storage tiers.

Fujitsu says that various applications' data can be matched to different storage qualities of service, using the drive tiers.

Data throughput has increased threefold with the S2 compared to the original DX8700. A Bind-In-Cache feature, using GSM/RAIDmgr software to designate the target data area, can ensure data is in cache memory for faster reads and writes. Back-end connectivity is via 32 pairs of four-lane x 6 Gbit/s SAS buses (SAS 2.0 Wide).

There are 32 front end ports for host connectivity per controller with 8Gbit/s FIbre Channel and 10GbitE available.

The company is licensing DX software with fixed prices according to the number of controllers used – and not by capacity levels. A self-encrypting disk drive option is available. RAID levels 0, 1, 1+0, 5, 5+0, and 6 are available. There can be up to 32,768 snapshots.

Other data protection features include redundant system components, data copying and replication to an external system, with more information available here.

The DX8700 S2 will be available in February next year on a worldwide basis, with pricing varied by configuration and country. ®

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