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You’ve no doubt heard about the revolutionary new VNX Series announced today during an around-the-world, 24-hour live broadcast from Milan Italy (here’s a link to view the broadcast), but you may be wondering how exactly this will benefit Australian businesses.


No organisation can ignore the fact that data volumes are increasing.  The IDC “Digital Universe Study” predicted that from 2012 to 2020 data will grow by 14x, and it’s clear that businesses will require a high performing, cost effective way to store and access it – that’s what we’re here to talk about. Australian organisations need a storage solution far superior to what they’ve had previously, and one that will meet the needs of tomorrow as well as today.


So how do you build midrange storage that can deliver up-to thousands of virtual machines per array, supporting mixed application workloads while keeping costs down?


On the server side, Intel is driving performance with multi-core technology. Our challenge was to design a storage solution that exploits multi-core technology to unlock the full power of flash while leveraging the cost benefits of near-line disk drive capacities.


One approach has been to add flash drives to a traditional HDD based array. While this approach has delivered some benefits, the much more comprehensive and correct approach is a clean sheet design that’s optimised for flash and adds HDDs. This provides the best of all worlds - highest performance, lowest latency and lowest $/GB.  This is exactly what we did with the new VNX. We also developed MCx (dynamic multicore optimisation) software that distributes all VNX data services across all cores—up to 32. This takes full advantage of the latest Intel multi-core technology. 


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Let’s look at the results…


NAS Performance

A new SPECsfs2008 nfs result was just published for a VNX8000 system resulting in 580,796 Ops/Sec (Overall Response Time = 0.78 msec). Compare this to the previous result of 497,623 Ops/Sec (Overall Response Time = 0.96 msec) using a VNX VG8 gateway with four arrays. What is significant is that the new VNX systems beat the old number with a single array – which is really what an end user would purchase…with a dramatic reduction in overall latency.

These file performance improvements are especially important for transactional NAS applications - VMware over NFS, Hyper-V over CIFS, Oracle over NFS - that require high-performance transactions at the lowest latency. The new VNX system has reduced NAS latency by up to 60 per cent.


Virtualisation Performance


Virtualisation performance is also critical for midrange storage. This is especially important in Australia and New Zealand as it is claimed we have a higher percentage of organisations with virtualised infrastructure than anywhere in the world. 


The previous generation of VNX systems supported 1,100 VMs—the new VNX system supports 6,600 VMs—a 6X improvement. But performance is only part of the story.  According to a recent Wikibon study on VMware storage integration, the VNX was named #1 in VMware integration in each of the three categories – general, block-only and file storage – for the 3rd year in a row.


Mixed Workload Performance


A recent Demartek study showed the new VNX running a virtualised mixed workload of SQL OLTP and Oracle OLTP with a total of over 735K IOs/sec.  The VNX system also delivered over 300K SQL IOPs concurrently with over 10GB/s bandwidth for Oracle data warehousing.  In addition the study shows how the addition of XtremSW Cache 2.0 improved performance with 31 per cent more IOPS, and more importantly, 65 per cent lower latency.


These powerful new arrays are available today, and are supported by EMC VSPEX (and the soon to be announced VCE vBlock systems). With this technology, Australian organisations can easily meet their mid-range storage requirements today and into the future.


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