IT Central Station is now PeerSpot: Here's why

VMAX [EOL] OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

What is VMAX [EOL]?
Symmetrix VMAX accelerate your transformation to the software-defined data center with the world's most powerful, trusted, and smart family of storage products.

VMAX [EOL] was previously known as Symmetrix VMAX.

VMAX [EOL] Customers
Wentworth-Douglas Hospital, Kindred Healthcare, Cosentry, Sumitomo Life Insurance Company, Shriners, BZWBK
VMAX [EOL] Video

Archived VMAX [EOL] Reviews (more than two years old)

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Ali Yazıcı - PeerSpot reviewer
IT Manager at a financial services firm with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Good performance, interface, and product support
Pros and Cons
  • "The most valuable features are the interface and performance."
  • "I would like to see support for high-availability."

What is our primary use case?

We use this product as part of our storage solution.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are the interface and performance.

Support by EMC for this product is good.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this EMC product for about five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This is a stable storage product.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability has not been an issue for us. We have about 5,000 users including internal ones, those connecting from the internet, mobile, and other channels. At this point, we don't plan on increasing our usage.

How are customer service and support?

The technical support is very good and we are satisfied with it.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Prior to the VMAX, we were using other models by EMC. We switched when they became older and went out of life. This itself is an older product and we may be replacing it at some point with an all-flash storage solution.

I would like to see support for high-availability.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is not complex.

What about the implementation team?

Our in-house team handled implementation and deployment.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Our licensing fees are paid on a yearly basis.

What other advice do I have?

Overall, this is a good product, although I would suggest implementing a proof of concept before buying it.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Senior Systems Engineer at a energy/utilities company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 10
Has easy management and good Enterprise capabilities
Pros and Cons
  • "We have never had a bad experience with it because we never had failures. It has good data availability and the performance is also okay."
  • "The pricing is a bit expensive. That is the reason we are now currently we are looking for other solutions. That's the reason we are looking at AFF and Unity. We are also considering PowerStore."

What is our primary use case?

We use it for a VMware and Exchange environment. 

What is most valuable?

We like VMAX's Enterprise capability. 

We have never had a bad experience with it because we never had failures. It has good data availability and the performance is also okay.

What needs improvement?

The pricing is a bit expensive. That is the reason we are now currently we are looking for other solutions. That's the reason we are looking at AFF and Unity. We are also considering PowerStore. 

They have improved a lot in their last releases. The management is now quite easy. Before it was tedious because people were concerned about the administration tasks and now they made it simple.

In the next release, I would like to see NAS features.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using VMAZ for 10 years because we have multiple products. We have refreshed twice. The last refresh happened four years ago and we are happy with VMAX.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is scalable. We have 7,000 to 8,000 users. 

For IT, our staff run multiple products, there is no single dedicated person for storage. So there isn't one person dedicated to this solution but rather someone who handles a variety of tasks. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have worked with Hitachi and HP products. 

One of the main advantages is that if you compare Enterprise Array it is all the same. They all have the same features. The only difference is support. EMC support is the only differentiator. They have an army of people in support.

How was the initial setup?

Around eight years ago, the setup was complex. They recently changed the solution and management suite. It is now quite easy. We cannot compare it with NetApp or Unity but it is okay. 

Upgrades are seamless and don't cause any interruptions. We don't need an admin guy to do any upgrades unless of course, it is a code upgrade or firmware upgrade. Everything is done by using the gateway. That is another advantage. 

What other advice do I have?

Aim to implement additional features like de-duplication and compression. That should enhance the experience. Focus on unified features. People are now more cost-effective. They want to have one box with multiple features.

I would rate EMC VMAX an eight out of ten. I would like to see more deduplication and compression features in order to make it a ten. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Richard Stephens - PeerSpot reviewer
Senior Systems Engineer at a financial services firm with 201-500 employees
Real User
Resilient storage solution with zero downtime that is easy to implement and has good support
Pros and Cons
  • "This solution is resilient."
  • "The way you configure larger size volumes needs improvement."

What is our primary use case?

We have two data centers and we have VMAX in each one. We use VPlex to replicate data between the two.

What is most valuable?

This solution is resilient. There is zero downtime. 

It's a workhorse.

What needs improvement?

The way you configure larger size volumes needs improvement. Currently, the one that we have is a single volume limit of 240 gigs. If you wanted bigger than that you have to do meta volumes to combine them.

My understanding is the VMAX3 and the PowerMax, did away with that, making it a lot easier to provision storage than in the past.

Scalability with the 2013 version was an area that needed improvement, but they have fixed it with later products.

All of the issues that I am currently facing with this version, for example, being able to create larger volumes and making it easier to manage, have all been implemented in the new versions of this solution.

For how long have I used the solution?

The company had it installed in 2015, which was before I arrived. Personally, I have been working with it for a couple of years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We are trying to scale a vintage VMAX. As far as increasing capacity, it is a real nightmare.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is very good. We had a few problems with it, but that's a rare instance where I have opened a case, other than failed hardware. The support has been very good for this product.

How was the initial setup?

From my understanding, EMC completed the initial set up.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I don't know what the licensing costs are but the support and software are included.

There are additional costs to the standard licensing fee, and it just depends on the package.

What other advice do I have?

The version that we are using is very near to the end of its life. 

We will occasionally do code updates, but it is very difficult to buy disc drives for it anymore. I am not even sure that you can buy capacity upgrades.

It's fairly easy to implement this product.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
JohnBowling - PeerSpot reviewer
IT Manager - Storage & Backup at a healthcare company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 5
Offers seamless data compression and encryption with no impact on performance
Pros and Cons
  • "Deploying, Expanding, and Modifying systems are easier than ever."
  • "I'd like to see improvements where we can scale out an existing array and remove older controllers\drives\etc., within the same subsystem."

What is our primary use case?

We use the VMAX3 All-Flash Subsystem to support our major Production and QA systems. This specific system currently supports approximately three hundred terabytes of data that includes several Oracle, SQL & DB2 Databases, SharePoint, SAP, JDE Systems, ESX, Windows, Unix, Linux, etc. We are planning on expanding the VMAX3 footprint and will likely double utilization within the next few months.

How has it helped my organization?

The VMAX3 is one of a few systems we have that's truly non-disruptive. Upgrades are coordinated, require zero application downtime, and can be completed in a very short window. Everything is truly active-active. Uptime and reliability are critical success factors within our organization.

What is most valuable?

EMC has made remarkable improvements in the overall management simplicity. Deploying, Expanding, and Modifying systems are easier than ever. Other valuable features include:

  • Easy and non-impacting Data-At-Rest Encryption.
  • Comprehensive compression that reduces data consumption utilization while maintaining overall system performance.

What needs improvement?

I'm always interested in ways we can scale out and avoid monolithic migrations from one array to another every four to five years. Yes, there are a ton of easy migration methods, but I'd like to see improvements where we can scale out an existing array and remove older controllers\drives\etc., within the same subsystem.

For how long have I used the solution?

Between one and two years.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We migrated off of an older VMAX 20K, VNX 5700 & an older HDS array.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Consultant at a government with 1,001-5,000 employees
Consultant
Enables users to upgrade and maximize their enterprise data storage capabilities
Pros and Cons
  • "VMAX3 is our main system for storage. All our systems and all our virtualizations are connected to it. In terms of expanding it, we are replacing it with a new system, the PowerMax 2000. So our current VMAX3 platform will be decommissioned soon. We are switching to PowerMax 2000 because we are looking for improved performance. We see it as the best fit for our requirements in terms of the performance and the overall cost."

    What is our primary use case?

    We are a local Dell EMC partner. We are upgrading our storage capacity. Soon we will be moving to PowerMax All-Flash for SAN environments to consolidate block, file, and open storage. This is the solution that we think will help us to increase performance, with regards to our storage requirements.

    How has it helped my organization?

    VMAX3 is our main system for storage. All our systems and all our virtualizations are connected to it. In terms of expanding it, we are replacing it with a new system, the PowerMax 2000 so our current VMAX3 platform will be decommissioned soon.

    We are switching to PowerMax 2000 because we are looking for improved performance. We see it as the best fit for our requirements in terms of the performance and the overall cost.

    What needs improvement?

    Improvements for PowerMax might be tricky since what we already know that what we will receive is enough for us. All of our requirements are supported by the current version of PowerMax that we purchased.

    As far as improvements for VMAX3, it would have been great to have it across all systems.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    Still implementing.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    VMAX3 is stable. We haven't encountered any major issues.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Technical support has been good as far as our support is concerned. Their response time has been good. I'm speaking for both our local support as well as the remote support we have received.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    I've been using VMAX3 for approximately five years now. I use it for all our virtualization needs across all our server environments. We found this tool to be quite valuable. Though soon we will be migrating or should I say upgrading to the PowerMax.

    I think we might still have some HP 3PAR 8400 kicking around as well but it was implemented before my time.

    How was the initial setup?

    The VMAX3 solution has been around four to five years. It was already operational when I arrived at the company.

    I have two storage administrators with me. Both doing the storage and the backup solution. for VMAX3.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    Setup costs include a three-year support contract for PowerMax. The contract comes with renewal of the hardware. We usually renew based on the duration of the contract with our outsourcing partner. Generally, when we make a purchase, we usually purchase the tool with all the necessary specifications and of course, we must pay for all the additional features.

    What other advice do I have?

    The advice I would give to others looking to implement EMC VMAX is to look at it from the costing and support perspective. This is my advice since we don't have that many requirements aside from the tools, overall performance and the cost.

    On a scale from one to ten, 10 being the best, I would give VMAX3 an 8 out of 10.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    PeerSpot user
    Head of Microinformatics at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Real User
    The all-flash feature is great

    What is most valuable?

    I like the many new features, especially the all-flash solution. 

    What needs improvement?

    I would like this solution to integrate the solution that Dell EMC vPlex offers. In addition, I think they should have a better means to test the equipment.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    Three to five years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    We have had no issues with the stability of this solution.

    What was our ROI?

    There is ROI for this product. It is always something I look at when choosing a solution. 

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We looked at HP and Hitachi as other potential solutions. We have two Hitachi subsystems and one Dell EMC subsystem right now. 

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    PeerSpot user
    it_user820140 - PeerSpot reviewer
    ‎Chief Catalyst at ssnc
    User
    It works with our replication technology, which is native replication technology
    Pros and Cons
    • "We have been able to present storage from the VMAX to hosts without any problems."
    • "It works with our replication technology, which is not SRDF, which is native replication technology."
    • "Resilience replication, reporting, and performance need to be improved."

    What is our primary use case?

    Used for our storage with applications that need storage on the SAN. We also use it with RecoverPoint for replication to another site that also uses VMAX storage. We also use it with RecoverPoint for for replication instead of SRDF.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Since using the VMAX that we have had in our organization for many years, after moving from CX4 and prior to that EVA, we have been able to present storage from the VMAX to hosts without any problems. It works with our replication technology, which is not SRDF, which is native replication technology. We use RecoverPoint.

    What is most valuable?

    • Storage
    • Unisphere
    • RecoverPoint
    • Reporting
    • Creating LUNs
    • Reliability
    • Dependability
    • Resilience

      What needs improvement?

      • Ease of use
      • Reporting
      • Performance management
      • Performance
      • Dependability
      • Resilience replication
      • Power

      For how long have I used the solution?

      More than five years.
      Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
      PeerSpot user
      it_user814776 - PeerSpot reviewer
      Principal Infrastructure Architect
      Reseller
      A rock solid foundation to deploy applications which cannot incur a disruption of service
      Pros and Cons
      • "A rock solid foundation to deploy applications which cannot incur a disruption of service."
      • "Better speed to release new features that have become industry standards. EMC created so many standards in the past. Now, it seems they are playing a me-too game and lagging behind in some areas, specifically data reduction."

      What is our primary use case?

      Zero downtime and high performance applications. We support customers with applications that cannot incur unplanned outages.

      How has it helped my organization?

      We have stabilized many environments with VMAX. We have helped people consolidate numerous applications to provide better uptime and performance. 

      What is most valuable?

      Stability: Every environment struggles with something that can cause a disruption to application uptime. VMAX is a rock solid foundation to deploy applications which cannot incur a disruption of service.

      What needs improvement?

      Better speed to release new features that have become industry standards. EMC created so many standards in the past. Now, it seems they are playing a me-too game and lagging behind in some areas, specifically data reduction.

      For how long have I used the solution?

      More than five years.
      Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are a consulting company with resell and delivery capabilities.
      PeerSpot user
      PeerSpot user
      Senior Consultant at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
      Consultant
      Enables dynamic allocation of disk resources, improving data access speed, and application performance by a large extent

      What is most valuable?

      The most significant feature of this product is the FAST and FAST VP. FAST VP allows the array to intelligently manage the access to the data, wherein the data that demands high IOPS is placed into the performance tier. Whereas the data with a low IOPS requirement is placed into the capacity tier and everything happens automatically based on preset thresholds.

      There is also storage tiering, secured access through initiator groups, and storage groups. 

      How has it helped my organization?

      This product has enabled dynamic allocation of disk resources, and at the same time, improved the data access speed and application performance by a large extent.

      What needs improvement?

      Manageability is a bit of a challenge, as the user interface to access the array is not very user-friendly. Many important service consoles, such as the SymmWin is hidden from customer access. Hence, it blocks critical actions, such as failed disk change, etc.

      For how long have I used the solution?

      Three years.

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      No issues encountered with stability.

      What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

      This product can scale massively given its strong underlying infrastructure.

      How are customer service and technical support?

      Technical support is very affirmative and efficient.

      Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

      Yes. Previously, we had an EMC VNX solution. It was good, but was not suitable for large scale enterprise solutions, hence the switch took place. Also, it was a unified storage which was not the requirement in our environment. Therefore, no upgrade to the same product line was done.

      How was the initial setup?

      It was complex, as it was a different platform altogether.

      What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

      This part is taken care by another team, so I can't comment on it.

      Which other solutions did I evaluate?

      Yes, HPE and IBM storage solutions were considered, but VMAX seemed to meet most of our requirements.

      What other advice do I have?

      Planning is very important, as this is a product with great capability. If not used effectively, most of it would be wasted, which would affect the ROI.

      Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
      PeerSpot user
      PeerSpot user
      Independent Analyst and Advisory Consultant at Server StorageIO - www.storageio.com
      Consultant
      EMC VMAX 10K, high-end storage systems stayin alive

      PART I

      EMC has announced an upgrade, refresh or new version of their previously announced Virtual matrix (VMAX) 10,000 (10K), part of the VMAX family of enterprise class storage systems formerly known as DMX (Direct Matrix) and Symmetrix. I will get back to more coverage on the VMAX 10K and other EMC enhancements in a few moments in part two and three of this series.

      Have you heard the industry myth about the demise or outright death of traditional storage systems' This has been particularly the case for high-end enterprise class systems, which by the way which were first, declared dead back in the mid-1990s then at the hands of emerging mid-range storage systems.

      Enterprise class storage systems include EMC VMAX, Fujitsu Eternus DX8700, HDS, HP XP P9000 based on the HDS high-end product (OEM from HDS parent Hitachi Ltd.). Note that some HPers or their fans might argue that the P10000 (formerly known as 3PAR) declared as tier 1.5 should also be on the list; I will leave that up to you to decide.

      Let us not forget the IBM DS8000 series (whose predecessors was known as the ESS and VSS before that); although some IBMers will tell you that XIV should also be in this list. High-end enterprise class storage systems such as those mentioned above are not alone in being declared dead at the hands of new all solid-state devices (SSD) and their startup vendors, or mixed and hybrid-based solutions.

      Some are even declaring dead due to new SSD appliances or systems, and by storage hypervisor or virtual storage array (VSA) the traditional mid-range storage systems that were supposed to have killed off the enterprise systems a decade ago (hmm, DejaVu').

      The mid-range storage systems include among others block (SAN and DAS) and file (NAS) systems from Data Direct Networks (DDN), Dell Complement, EqualLogic and MD series (Netapp Engenio based), EMC VNX and Isilon, Fujitsu Eternus, and HDS HUS mid-range formerly known as AMS. Let us not forget about HP 3PAR or P2000 (DotHill based) or P6000 (EVA which is probably being put out to rest). Then there are the various IBM products (their own and what they OEM from others), NEC, NetApp (FAS and Engenio), Oracle and Starboard (formerly known as Reldata). Note that there are many startups that could be in the above list as well if they were not considering the above to be considered dead, thus causing themselves to also be extinct as well, how ironic ;).

      What are some industry trends that I am seeing'

      • Some vendors and products might be nearing the ends of their useful lives
      • Some vendors, their products and portfolios continue to evolve and expand
      • Some vendors and their products are moving into new or adjacent markets
      • Some vendors are refining where and what to sell when and to who
      • Some vendors are moving up market, some down market
      • Some vendors are moving into new markets, others are moving out of markets
      • Some vendors are declaring others dead to create a new market for their products
      • One size or approach or technology does not fit all needs, avoid treating all the same
      • Leverage multiple tools and technology in creative ways
      • Maximize return on innovation (the new ROI) by using various tools, technologies in ways to boost productivity, effectiveness while removing complexity and cost
      • Realization that cutting cost can result in reduced resiliency, thus look for and remove complexity with benefit of removing costs without compromise
      • Storage arrays are moving into new roles, including as back-end storage for cloud, object and other software stacks running on commodity servers to replace JBOD (DejaVu anyone').

      Keep in mind that there is a difference between industry adoption (what is talked about) and customer deployment (what are actually bought and used). Likewise there is technology based on GQ (looks and image) and G2 (functionality, experience).

      There is also an industry myth that SSD cannot or has not been successful in traditional storage systems which in some cases has been true with some products or vendors. Otoh, some vendors such as EMC, NetApp and Oracle (among others) are having good success with SSD in their storage systems. Some SSD startup vendors have been more successful on both the G2 and GQ front, while some focus on the GQ or image may not be as successful (or at least yet) in the industry adoption vs. customer deployment game.

      For the above mentioned storage systems vendors and products (among others), or at least for most of them there is still have plenty of life in them, granted their role and usage is changing including in some cases being found as back-end storage systems behind servers running virtualization, cloud, object storage and other storage software stacks. Likewise, some of the new and emerging storage systems (hardware, software, valueware, services) and vendors have bright futures while others may end up on the where are they now list.

      Are high-end enterprise class or other storage arrays and systems dead at the hands of new startups, virtual storage appliances (VSA), storage hypervisors, storage virtualization, virtual storage and SSD'

      Are large storage arrays dead at the hands of SSD'
      Have SSDs been unsuccessful with storage arrays (with poll)'

      So what about it, are enterprise or large storage arrays and systems dead'

      Perhaps in some tabloids or industry myths (or that some wish for) or in some customer environments, as well as for some vendors or their products that can be the case.

      However, IMHO for many other environments (and vendors) the answer is no, granted some will continue to evolve from legacy high-end enterprise class storage systems to mid-range or to appliance or VSA or something else.

      There is still life many of the storage systems architectures, platforms and products that have been declared dead for over a decade.

       

      PART II

      Thus on January 14 2013 it is time for a new EMC Virtual Matrix (VMAX) model 10,000 (10K) storage system. EMC has been promoting their January 14 live virtual event for a while now. January significance is that is when (along with May or June) is when many new systems, solutions or upgrades are made on a staggered basis.

      Historically speaking, January and February, along with May and June is when you have seen many of the larger announcements from EMC being made. Case in point, back in February of 2012 VFCache was released, then May (2012) in Las Vegas at EMCworld there were 42 announcements made and others later in the year.

      Click here to see images of the car stuffing or click here to watch a video.

      Let’s not forget back in February of 2012 VFCache was released, and go back to January 2011 there was the record-setting event in New York City complete with 26 people being compressed, deduped, singled instanced, optimized, stacked and tiered into a mini cooper (Coop) automobile (read and view more here).

      Now back to the VMAX 10K enhancements

      As an example of a company, product family and specific storage system model, still being alive is the VMAX 10K. Although this announcement by EMC is VMAX 10K centric, there is also a new version of the Enginuity software (firmware, storage operating system, valueware) that runs across all VMAX based systems including VMAX 20K and VMAX 40K. Read here, here and here and here to learn more about VMAX and Enginuity systems in general.

      Some main themes of this announcement include Tier 1 reliability, availability and serviceability (RAS) storage systems functionality at tier 2 pricing for traditional, virtual and cloud data centers.

      Some other themes of this announcement by EMC:

      • Flexible, scalable and resilient with performance to meet dynamic needs
      • Support private, public and hybrid cloud along with federated storage models
      • Simplified decision-making, acquisition, installation and ongoing management
      • Enable traditional, virtual and cloud workloads
      • Complement its siblings VMAX 40K, 20K and SP (Service Provider) models

      Note that the VMAX SP is a model configured and optimized for easy self-service and private cloud, storage as a service (SaaS), IT as a Service (ITaaS) and public cloud service providers needing multi-tenant capabilities with service catalogs and associated tools.

      So what is new with the VMAX 10K'

      It is twice as fast (per EMC performance results) as earlier VMAX 10K by leveraging faster 2.8GHz Intel westmere vs. earlier 2.5GHz westmere processors. In addition to faster cores, there are more, from 4 to 6 on directors, from 8 to 12 on VMAX 10K engines. The PCIe (Gen 2) IO busses remain unchanged as does the RapidIO interconnect.  RapidIO  used for connecting nodes and engines,  while PCIe is used for adapter and device connectivity. Memory stays the same at up to 128GB of global DRAM cache, along with dual virtual matrix interfaces (how the nodes are connected). Note that there is no increase in the amount of DRAM based cache memory in this new VMAX 10K model.

      This should prompt the question of for traditional cache centric or dependent for performance storage systems such as VMAX, how much are they now CPU and their associated L1 / L2 cache dependent or effective' Also how much has the Enginuity code under the covers been enhanced to leverage the multiple cores and threads thus shifting from being cache memory dependent processor hungry.

      Also new with the updated VMAX 10K include:

      • Support for dense 2.5 inch drives, along with mixed 2.5 inch and 3.5 inch form factor devices with a maximum of 1,560 HDDs. This means support for 2.5 inch 1TB 7,200 RPM SAS HDDs, along with fast SAS HDDs, SLC/MLC and eMLC solid state devices (SSD) also known as electronic flash devices (EFD). Note that with higher density storage configurations, good disk enclosures become more important to counter or prevent the effects of drive vibration, something that leading vendors are paying attention to and so should customers.
      • EMC is also with the VMAX 10K adding support for certain 3rd party racks or cabinets to be used for mounting the product. This means being able to mount the VMAX main system and DAE components into selected cabinets or racks to meet specific customer, colo or other environment needs for increased flexibility.
      • For security, VMAX 10K also supports Data at Rest Encryption or (D@RE) which is implemented within the VMAX platform. All data encrypted on every drive, every drive type (drive independent) within the VMAX platform to avoid performance impacts. AES 256 fixed block encryption with FIPS 140-2 validation (#1610) using embedded or external key management including RSA Key Manager. Note that since the storage system based encryption is done within the VMAX platform or controller, not only is the encrypt / decrypt off-loaded from servers, it also means that any device from SSD to HDD to third-party storage arrays can be encrypted. This is in contrast to drive based approaches such as self encrypting devices (SED) or other full drive encryption approaches. With embedded key management, encryption keys kept and managed within the VMAX system while external mode leverages RSA key management as part of a broader security solution approach.
      • In terms of addressing ease of decision-making and acquisition, EMC has bundled core Enginuity software suite (virtual provisioning, FTS and FLM, DCP (dynamic cache partitioning), host I/O limits, Optimizer/virtual LUN and integrated RecoverPoint splitter). In addition are bundles for optimization (FAST VP, EMC Unisphere for VMAX with heat map and dashboards), availability (TimeFinder for VMAX 10K) and migration (Symmetrix migration suite, Open Replicator, Open Migrator, SRDF/DM, Federated Live Migration). Additional optional software include RecoverPoint CDP, CRR and CLR, Replication Manager, PowerPath, SRDF/S, SRDF/A and SRDF/DM, Storage Configuration Advisor, Open Replicator with Dynamic Mobility and ControlCenter/ProSphere package.

      Who needs a VMAX 10K or where can it be used'

      As the entry-level model of the VMAX family, certain organizations who are growing and looking for an alternative to traditional mid-range storage systems should be a primary opportunity. Assuming the VMAX 10K can sell at tier-2 prices with a focus of tier-1 reliability, feature functionality, and simplification while allowing their channel partners to make some money, then EMC can have success with this product. The challenge however will be helping their direct and channel partner sales organizations to avoid competing with their own products (e.g. high-end VNX) vs. those of others.

      Consolidation of servers with virtualization, along with storage system consolidation to remove complexity in management and costs should be another opportunity with the ability to virtualize third-party storage. I would expect EMC and their channel partners to place the VMAX 10K with its storage virtualization of third-party storage as an alternative to HDS VSP (aka USP/USPV) and the HP XP P9000 (Hitachi based) products, or for block storage needs the NetApp V-Series among others. There could be some scenarios where the VMAX 10K could be positioned as an alternative to the IBM V7000 (SVC based) for virtualizing third-party storage, or for larger environments, some of the software based appliances where there is a scaling with stability (performance, availability, capacity, ease of management, feature functionality) concerns.

      Another area where the VMAX 10K could see action which will fly in the face of some industry thinking is for deployment in new and growing managed service providers (MSP), public cloud, and community clouds (private consortiums) looking for an alternative to open source based, or traditional mid-range solutions. Otoh, I cant wait to hear somebody think outside of both the old and new boxes about how a VMAX 10K could be used beyond traditional applications or functionality. For example filling it up with a few SSDs, and then balance with 1TB 2.5 inch SAS HDD and 3.5 inch 3TB (or larger when available) HDDs as an active archive target leveraging the built-in data compression.

      How about if EMC were to support cloud optimized HDDs such as the Seagate Constellation Cloud Storage (CS) HDDs that were announced late in 2012 as well as the newer enterprise class HDDs for opening up new markets' Also keep in mind that some of the new 2.5 inch SAS 10,000 (10K) HDDs have the same performance capabilities as traditional 3.5 inch 15,000 (15K) RPM drives in a smaller footprint to help drive and support increased density of performance and capacity with improved energy effectiveness.

      How about attaching a VMAX 10K with the right type of cost-effective (aligned to a given scenario) SSD or HDDs or third-party storage to a cluster or grid of servers that are running OpenStack including Swift, CloudStack, Basho Riak CS, Celversafe, Scality, Caringo, Ceph or even EMCs own ATMOS (that supports external storage) for cloud storage or object based storage solutions' Granted that would be thinking outside of the current or new box thinking to move away from RAID based systems in favor or low-cost JBOD storage in servers, however what the heck, let’s think in pragmatic ways.

      Will EMC be able to open new markets and opportunities by making the VMAX and its Enginuity software platform and functionality more accessible and affordable leveraging the VMAX 10K as well as the VMAX SP' Time will tell, after all, I recall back in the mid to late 90s, and then again several times during the 2000s similar questions or conversations not to mention the demise of the large traditional storage systems.

       

      PART III

      In addition to the VMAX 10K specific updates, EMC also announced the release of a new version of their Enginuity storage software (firmware, storage operating system). Enginuity is supported across all VMAX platforms and features the following:

      • Replication enhancements include TimeFinder clone refresh, restore and four site SRDF for the VMAX 10K, along with think or thin support. This capability enables functionality across VMAX 10K, 40K or 20K using synchronous or asynchronous and extends earlier 3 site to 4 site and mix modes. Note that larger VMAX systems had the extended replication feature support with VMAX 10K now on par with those. Note that the VMAX can be enhanced with VPLEX in front of storage systems (local or wide area, in region HA and out of region DR) and RecoverPoint behind the systems supporting bi-synchronous (two-way), synchronous and asynchronous data protection (CDP, replication, snapshots).
      • Unisphere for VMAX 1.5 manages DMX along with VMware VAAI UNMAP and space reclamation, block zero and hardware clone enhancements, IPV6, Microsoft Server 2012 support and VFCache 1.5.
      • Support for mix of 2.5 inch and 3.5 inch DAEs (disk array enclosures) along with new SAS drive support (high-performance and high-capacity, and various flash-based SSD or EFD).
      • The addition of a fourth dynamic tier within FAST for supporting third-party virtualized storage, along with compression of in-active, cold or stale data (manual or automatic) with 2 to 1 data footprint reduction (DFR) ratio. Note that EMC was one of early vendors to put compression into its storage systems on a block LUN basis in the CLARiiON (now VNX) along with NetApp and IBM (via their Storwize acquisition). The new fourth tier also means that third-party storage does not have to be the lowest tier in terms of performance or functionality.
      • Federated Tiered Storage (FTS) is now available on all EMC block storage systems including those with third-party storage attached in virtualization mode (e.g. VMAX). In addition to supporting tiering across its own products, and those of other vendors that have been virtualized when attached to a VMAX, ANSI T10 Data Integrity Field (DIF) is also supported. Read more about T10 DIF here, and here.
      • Front-end performance enhancements with host I/O limits (Quality of Service or QoS) for multi tenant and cloud environments to balance or prioritize IO across ports and users. This feature can balance based on thresholds for IOPS, bandwidth or both from the VMAX. Note that this feature is independent of any operating system based tool, utility, pathing driver or feature such as VMware DRS and Storage I/O control. Storage groups are created and mapped to specific host ports on the VMAX with the QoS performance thresholds applied to meet specific service level requirements or objectives.

      For discussion (or entertainment) purpose, how about the question of if Enginuity qualifies or can be considered as a storage hypervisors (or storage virtualization or virtual storage)' After all, the VMAX is now capable of having third-party storage from other vendors attached to it, something that HDS has done for many years now. For those who feel a storage hypervisor, virtual storage or storage virtualization requires software running on Intel or other commodity based processors, guess what the VMAX uses for CPU processors (granted, you can’t simply download Enginuity software and run on a Dell, HP, IBM, Oracle or SuperMicro server).

      I am guessing some of EMC competitors and their surrogates or others who like to play the storage hypervisor card game will be quick to tell you it is not based on various reasons or product comparisons, however you be the judge.

      Back to the question of if, traditional high-end storage arrays are dead or dying (from part one in this series).

      IMHO as mentioned not yet.

      Granted like other technologies that have been declared dead or dying yet still in use (technology zombies), they continue to be enhanced, finding new customers, or existing customers using them in new ways, their roles are evolving, this still alive.

      For some environments as has been the case over the past decade or so, there will be a continued migration from large legacy enterprise class storage systems to midrange or modular storage arrays with a mix of SSD and HDD. Thus, watch out for having a death grip not letting go of the past, while being careful about flying blind into the future. Do not be scared, be ready, do your homework with clouds, virtualization and traditional physical resources.

      Likewise, there will be the continued migration for some from traditional mid-range class storage arrays to all flash-based appliances. Yet others will continue to leverage all the above in different roles aligned to where their specific features best serve the applications and needs of an organization.

      In the case of high-end storage systems such as EMC VMAX (aka formerly known as DMX and Symmetrix before that) based on its Enginuity software, the hardware platforms will continue to evolve as will the software functionality. This means that these systems will evolve to handling more workloads, as well as moving into new environments from service providers to mid-range organizations where the systems were before out of their reach.

      Smaller environments have grown larger as have their needs for storage systems while higher end solutions have scaled down to meet needs in different markets. What this means is a convergence of where smaller environments have bigger data storage needs and can afford the capabilities of scaled down or Right-sized storage systems such as the VMAX 10K.

      Thus while some of the high-end systems may fade away faster than others, for those that continue to evolve being able to move into different adjacent markets or usage scenarios, they will be around for some time, at least in some environments.

      Avoid confusing what is new and cool falling under industry adoption vs. what is productive and practical for customer deployment. Systems like the VMAX 10K are not for all environments or applications; however, for those who are open to exploring alternative solutions and approaches, it could open new opportunities.

      If there is a high-end storage system platform (e.g. Enginuity) that continues to evolve, re-invent itself in terms of moving into or finding new uses and markets the EMC VMAX would be at or near the top of such list. For the other vendors of high-end storage system that are also evolving, you can have an Atta boy or Atta girl as well to make you feel better, loved and not left out or off of such list. ;)

      Ok, nuff said for now.

      Disclosure: EMC is not a StorageIO client; however, they have been in the past directly and via acquisitions that they have done. I am however a customer of EMC via my Iomega IX4 NAS (I never did get the IX2 that I supposedly won at EMCworld ;) ) that I bought on Amazon.com and indirectly via VMware products that I have, oh, and they did sent me a copy of the new book Human Face of Big Data (read more here).

      Learn more about flash and SSD at http://thessdplace.com and storage performance at http://storageperformance.us

      Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
      PeerSpot user
      it_user234747 - PeerSpot reviewer
      Practice Manager - Cloud, Automation & DevOps at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
      Real User
      Every VMAX requires valid EMC support, even adding one disk or reconfiguring a Front-End port. You cannot do any of this yourself.

      Originally posted at vcdx133.com.

      My VCDX design architecture was based upon the EMC Symmetrix VMAX 20K. I spent a lot of time with EMC SMEs learning everything I could about it. The first step was learning the major building blocks of the VMAX and how it all fits together. The examples I provide below are with the vSphere ESXi host being the consumer of VMAX storage services.

      Be aware that buying a Symmetrix VMAX is like owning a McLaren F1 race car; consider yourself lucky to drive it at the track since everything else must be performed by McLaren. Every VMAX requires valid EMC support, even adding one disk or reconfiguring a Front-End port from iSCSI to FCoE requires an EMC Engineer to generate a “BIN” file to update the VMAX configuration; you cannot do any of this yourself. Furthermore, EMC support is second to none, EMC engineers will visit your site to replace a disk or component before you are even aware that there is a problem (via ESRS – see below).

      The EMC Symmetrix VMAX has the following major components:

      • “UniSphere for VMAX” Management Server provides the GUI to manage the VMAX via Gateway LUNs
      • “EMC Secure Remote Support” (ESRS) is the remote support gateway for EMC products
      • Three models: Symmetrix VMAX 10K, 20K and 40K
      • Flexible configuration – design for Capacity (“Daisy Connect”) or Performance (“Direct Connect”)
      • The Operating System of the Symmetrix VMAX is known as “Enginuity”
      • Two bay types: System Bay and Storage Bay
      • System Bays contain up to 8 Engines (40K supports dual System Bays) with UPS, “Matrix Interface Board Enclosure” (MIBE) and Service Processor with KVM (accessed via RSA token)
      • Each Engine is actually a pair of Directors
      • Each Director has Front-End ports, Back-End ports, CPUs, Global Memory and a Virtual Matrix interface
      • Front-End ports support 4/8/16Gb FC, 1Gb/10Gb iSCSI/Remote Replication, 10GE FCoE and FICON
      • Storage Bays contain Disk Shelves with I/O Modules (IOM) and can scale up to 4 PB (10 Storage Bays)
      • The Disk Shelf IOMs are connected to the System Bay by the “Matrix Interface Board Enclosure” (MIBE). The Directors interconnect via this “Virtual Matrix” as well.
      • Remote replication is achieved with “Symmetrix Remote Data Facility” (SRDF) or RecoverPoint

      The diagram below illustrates an EMC Symmetrix VMAX 20K with two Engines connected to vSphere ESXi hosts via Fiber Channel.

      The EMC Symmetrix VMAX system has many features that are designed to optimise and enhance storage performance whilst being very efficient with the utilised storage. These main features are:

      • Thin Devices (TDEV) – Virtual volumes that are thin provisioned and then bound to a Thin Pool with striping.
      • FAST-VP – Auto-Tiering policies that can be configured to run 24×7.
      • Cache – Provides fast performance by keeping frequently accessed addresses in memory.
      • Compression – LUN Compression can be enabled Thin Pools.

      The physical drives of the VMAX are collected into Disk Groups with the RAID configuration. The Disk Groups are then associated with a Thin Pool. The Thin Pool is the physical manifestation of the storage that is then virtualised through the process of “binding” with each Storage Group.

      Each ESXi Host that requires SAN storage must have the following logical configuration. The linchpin of this configuration is the Mask View, which associates the Storage Group to the Initiator Group and the Port Group. The Initiator Group is merely the definition of the SAN address of the host that wants to connect to the VMAX. The Port Group is the collection VMAX Front End ports that connect to the outside world (FC, iSCSI, FCoE, FICON, SRDF). The Storage Group is the collection of thin provisioned virtual volumes (called TDEVs) that appear as LUNs to the host.

      Until the TDEVs are associated with a Thin Pool, they have no substance and are merely configuration objects. Once associated with a Thin Pool, the storage is then online.

      The Fully Automated Tiering for Virtual Pools (FAST VP) Policy is then applied to the Storage Group and configured to continually run. This optimises the Thin Pool storage by moving storage “hot spots” to faster storage tiers.

      The following EMC products complement the Symmetrix VMAX:

      • EMC PowerPath (for OS), PowerPath/VE (for vSphere ESXi) Multi-Pathing Plugin
      • EMC VPLEX for Stretched Metro Clusters
      • EMC VNX VG8 for NAS Gateway services
      • EMC ViPR for Software Defined Storage

      The diagram below illustrates an ESXi host with PowerPath/VE configured with the “SymmOpt” LB Policy, “Served” Electronic Licence Management, “Rtools” Virtual Appliance and the “VSI” Plugin for vCenter.

      The following sites provide details of the EMC Symmetrix VMAX with VMware vSphere and should be used for additional information:

      Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
      PeerSpot user
      it_user243753 - PeerSpot reviewer
      it_user243753Global Business Alliance Director
      Vendor

      We have EMC VMAX Secure service credential solution of SymmToken. You can maintain vmax by yourself instead of EMC.

      it_user164970 - PeerSpot reviewer
      Manager Storage and Virtualization with 501-1,000 employees
      Vendor
      It’s a great product, the only draw back is you don’t get multiple point in time copies.

      Valuable Features

      Ease of use, stability, reliability and ease of troubleshooting.

      Room for Improvement

      Adding a snapshot function will make this product even better, currently that feature is lacking.

      Use of Solution

      5-7 years.

      Deployment Issues

      No issues.

      Stability Issues

      No issues.

      Scalability Issues

      Scalability has dependency on WAN link speed.

      Customer Service and Technical Support

      Customer Service:

      Excellent.

      Technical Support:

      Excellent.

      Initial Setup

      It was simple.

      Implementation Team

      This was done through a vendor team. EMC professional services have great level of expertise on this product and its setup.

      Other Advice

      It’s a great product, the only draw back is you don’t get multiple point in time copies.

      Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
      PeerSpot user
      PeerSpot user
      Engineer at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
      Consultant
      Powerfull High End Storage Array

      What is most valuable?

      Thin provisionning

      FAST

      Symmetrix Virtual Matrix which give more performance to the VMAX

      How has it helped my organization?

      • Thin provisioning reduces capacity consuming: only the amount of data written to the disk is used, no extra reservation.
      • FAST improves the use of performance disks: hot extents are automatically placed on EFD disks, medium used extents are placed on FC disks and extents which are not used very often are moved to ship disks (SATA)

      For how long have I used the solution?

      1 year

      Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

      We used to use CLARiiON then VNX arrays. VMAX is more scalable and has better performance (gives more IOPS, more front end ports...)

      Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are an EMC partner
      PeerSpot user
      PeerSpot user
      User at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
      Consultant
      Expensive, but we run a big infrastructure of voip services on it and don’t get any complaints of latency or delays.

      What is most valuable?

      Virtual Provisioning, Auto provisioning and FAST VP.

      How has it helped my organization?

      Before VMAX, it was a huge task to provision storage to a host but with VMAX Auto provisioning it has become just a matter of few clicks. The VMAX virtual provisioning feature helps us save cost.

      What needs improvement?

      1) It is still expensive.

      2) Front-end port throughput should be higher than what it is currently.

      3) Restriction on storage and system bay ordering/placement should be gone.

      For how long have I used the solution?

      More than 4 years now.

      What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

      It is the most stable storage product I have worked with.

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      It was deployed by EMC itself. No issues faced.

      What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

      We did not encounter any issues as we had planned expansion well before its deployment but in an environment where scalability was not planned before deployment, storage bay placement/ordering could cause some issues. New VMAX model (40K) sort out this issue by allowing 25 meters spanning between system and storage bay.

      How are customer service and technical support?

      Customer Service:

      It is one of the best support I have worked with.

      Technical Support:

      It is one of the best support I have worked with.

      Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

      No

      How was the initial setup?

      It was setup by EMC itself but its not a straightforward setup. Loads of planning is required to set it correctly.

      What about the implementation team?

      Vendor.

      What other advice do I have?

      If someone is looking for a product that can give the best performance under heavy load then this is the product they must go for. We are running a big infrastructure of voip services on it and we don’t get any complaint of latency of delays from our customers.

      Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: My company is a partner of the vendor.
      PeerSpot user
      it_user2529 - PeerSpot reviewer
      Manager of Data Center at a transportation company with 1,001-5,000 employees
      Vendor
      Resilient, fast, and reliable, but expensive

      Valuable Features:

      Resilience, speed, flexibility, system reliability, refresh strategy

      Room for Improvement:

      Cost of the hardware tends to be high, however, you do get what you pay for.
      Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
      PeerSpot user