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Top dog EMC: Clear off, hybrid upstarts, VNX2 is a million-IOPS monster

Rockies update should also give Dell, HDS, HP, IBM and NetApp the fear

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Exclusive EMC is developing a follow-on VNX storage array that will combine flash and disk drive storage in a hybrid arrangement and deliver a million IOPS of performance. It will run a Rockies update of the VNX operating environment software, Flare and Dart.

This information comes from accounts of EMC World presentations earlier this year and from EMC job advertisements.

VNX is EMC's dual-controller enterprise storage array that combines the previous CLARiiON block storage array and Celerra filer in one system running the CLARiion Flare and Dart operating systems as two separate environments. The entry-level VNXe array runs the two sets of functionalities inside a single operating environment.

Next year EMC will deliver VNX2 and VNX2e arrays with an updated version of the system software codenamed Rockies.

The first source for this is a blog by Virtual Geek aka EMC's Chad Sakac, VP of VMware technology. The blog said this about the Rockies software release:

While I think that for IaaS purposes, creating logical isolation at the infrastructure layer is silly (use virtual datacenter constructs in vCloud Director for CPU/Mem pools, network pools, and datastore pools), there are cases where either for administrative purposes, or because there is no “abstraction layer” (like vCloud Director) above the storage stack where this it is useful to be able to create many virtual instances of NFS/SMB servers on a single platform.

While this feature has more coming (targeted for Inyo – the very close next major VNX software release; and then even more for Rockies, the major release after that) – using the GA (General Availability) VNX software today, you can create VDMs for NFS.

A Norwegian media outlet Digi.no wrote about material gleaned from EMC World too, and said, courtesy of Google Translate:

Today VNX systems offer 200 000 I/O operations per second (IOPS) and a total bandwidth of up to 12 gigabytes per second. EMC envisions that "VNX2" will [deliver] one million IOPS and 28 gigabytes per second, and … double capacity [sic] from 4 petabytes to 16 petabytes.

Our third source is EMC itself, again; this time via a job ad for a Principal Software Engineer:

Principal Software Engineer (89906BR) Hopkinton, Massachusetts Core Scaling - The core scaling product area for VNX2 and VNX2e includes our latest technology that forms the foundation for symmetric active/active performance, data protection, scalability, and availability in our hybrid storage arrays. We are seeking development engineers who are excited and passionate about developing high quality, scalable, system level storage software. We are seeking software development engineers with experience in some of the areas listed below;
  • Proven experience developing multi-core system software
  • Proven experience with object oriented design and development
  • Practical experience with operating system internals, device drivers, and performance-analysis on Linux or Windows.
  • Practical experience with software development processes and tools, including agile/scrum methodologies.
  • Experience or understanding of DRAM or Solid State caching technologies and techniques
  • Experience or understanding of RAID techniques or highly-available system/storage architectures
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, with solid experience writing specifications
  • Highly motivated, with ability to ramp up quickly on SW/HW architectures
  • Fluency in C and/or C++ programming

It all adds up to a pretty clear picture of coming VNX2 and VNX2e hybrid flask/disk drive arrays, delivering up to 1 million IOPS with a bandwidth of 28GB/sec and capackity up to 16PB. This is going to overlap the low-end VMAX, unless that gets boosted as well. It will give Dell, HDS, HP, IBM and NetApp something to think about as well as providing an EMC response to hybrid array startups like Nimble Storage and Tegile. Expect it to be available next year. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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