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Today, EMC announced the new VNX and VNXe Unified Storage platforms that merge the functionality of, and replaces, EMC’s popular Clariion and Celerra products. VNX is faster, more scalable, more efficient, more flexible, and easier to manage than the platforms it replaces.
Key differences between CX4/NS and VNX:
- VNX replaces the 4gb FC-Arbitrated Loop backend busses with 6gb SAS point-to-point switched backend.
- Fast and Reliable
- VNX supports both 3.5” and 2.5” SAS drives in EFD (SSD), SAS, and NearLine-SAS varieties.
- Flexible and Efficient
- VNX has more cache, more front-end ports, and faster CPUs
- Fast and Flexible
- VNX systems can manage larger FASTCache configurations.
- Fast and Efficient
- VNX builds on the management simplicity enhancements started in EMC Unisphere on CX4/NS by adding application aware provisioning.
- Simple and Efficient
- VNX allows you to start with Block-only or NAS-only and upgrade to Unified later if desired, or start with Unified at deployment.
- Cost Effective and Flexible
- VNX will support advanced data services like deduplication in addition to FASTVP, FASTCache, Block QoS, Compression, and other features already available in Clariion and Celerra.
- Flexible and Efficient
Just as with every manufacturer, newer products take advantage of the latest technologies (faster Intel processors and SAS connectivity in this case,) but that’s only part of the story with VNX.
Earlier, I mentioned Application Aware Provisioning has been added to Unisphere:
Prior to Application Aware Unisphere, if tasked with provisioning storage for Microsoft Exchange (for example), a storage admin would take the mailbox count and size requirements, use best practices and formulas from Microsoft for calculating required IOPS, and then map that data to the storage vendors’ best practices to determine the best disk layout (RAID Type, Size, Speed, quantity, etc). After all that was done, then the actual provisioning of RAID Groups and/or LUNs would be done.
Now with Application Aware Unisphere, the storage admin simply enters the mailbox count and size requirements into Unisphere and the rest is done automatically. EMC has embedded the best practices from Microsoft, VMWare, and EMC into Unisphere and created simple wizards for provisioning Hyper-V, VMWare, NAS, and Microsoft Exchange storage using those best practices.
Combine Unisphere’s Application Aware Provisioning with the already included vCenter integration, and support for VMWare VAAI and you have a broad set of integration from the application layer down through to the storage system for optimum performance, simple and efficient provisioning, and unparalleled visibility. This is especially useful for small to medium sized businesses with small IT departments.
EMC has also simplified licensing of advanced features on VNX. Rather than licensing individual software products based on the exact features you want, VNX has 5 simple Feature Packs plus a few bundle packs. The packs are created based on the overall purpose rather than the feature. ie: Local Protection vs. Snapshots or Clones
- FAST Suite includes FASTVP, FASTCache, Block QoS, and Unisphere Analyzer
- Security and Compliance Pack includes File Level Retention for File and Block Encryption
- Local Protection Pack includes Snapshots for block and file, full copy clones, and RecoverPoint/CDP
- Remote Protection Pack includes Synchronous and Asynchronous replication for block and file as well as RecoverPoint/CRR for near-CDP remote replication of block and.or file data.
- Application Protection Pack extends the application integration by adding Replication Manager for application integrated replication and Data Protection Advisor for SLA based replication monitoring and reporting.
You can also get the Total Protection Pack which includes Local Protection, Remote Protection, and Application Protection packs at a discounted cost or the Total Efficiency Pack which includes all five. That’s it, there are no other software options for VNX/VNXe. Compression and Deduplication are included in the base unit as well as SANCopy. You will also find that the cost of these packs is extremely compelling once you talk with your EMC rep or favorite VAR.
So there you have it — powerful, simple and efficient storage, unified management, extensive data protection features, simplified licensing, and class leading functionality (FASTVP, FASTCache, Integrated CDP, Quality of Service for Block, etc) in a single platform. That’s Unified, That’s EMC VNX.
I didn’t have time to touch on VNXe here but there is even more cool stuff going on there. You can read more about these products here..
WordPress sent me an email with overall stats for 2010 and I thought I’d share a few things I noticed.
First, thank you to all of my readers as well as those who have linked to and otherwise shared my posts with others. I know that many of my peer bloggers have much higher numbers than I, but I still think 22,000 views is pretty respectable.
For 2010, my most popular post was Resiliency vs Redundancy: Using VPLEX for SQL HA. The top 5 posts are listed here..
EMC CLARiiON and Celerra Updates – Defining Unified Storage May 2010
NetApp and EMC: Real world comparisons October 2009
While EMC users benefit from Replication Manager, NetApp users NEED SnapManager June 2010
NetApp and EMC: Replication Management Tools Comparison June 2010
You may notice a theme here. First, Midrange Storage is HOT, and any comparisons between EMC and it’s competitors seem to get more attention compared to most other topics. Note #3 was written in 2009 and it’s the 3rd most viewed post on my blog in 2010. A secondary theme in these top 5 posts might be disaster recovery as well since most of these posts have DR concepts in the content as well.
Looking at search engine results the it looks like emc flare 30, clariion, and mirrorview network qos requirements were the hottest terms. The MirrorView one is pretty specific so I may do some blogging on that topic in the future.
With these stats in mind, I’ll keep working to hone my blogging skills through 2011 and sharing as much real-world information as I can, especially as I work with my customers to implement solutions. One thing I’ll do is try and provide the comparisons people seem to be interested in, but focusing on the advantages of products, while steering clear of negativity as much as possible.
Welcome to 2011! It’s going to be fun!
I came across this press release today from a company that I wasn’t familiar with and immediately wanted more information. Cirtas Systems has announced support for Atmos-based clouds, including AT&T Synaptic Storage. Whenever I see these types of announcements, I read on in hopes of seeing real fiber channel block storage leveraging cloud-based architectures in some way. So far I’ve been a bit disappointed since the closest I’ve seen has been NAS based systems, at best including iSCSI.
Cirtas BlueJet Cloud Storage Controller is pretty interesting in its own right though. It’s essentially an iSCSI storage array with a cache and a small amount of SSD and SAS drives for local storage. Any data beyond the internal 5TB of usable capacity is stored in “the cloud” which can be an onsite Private Cloud (Atmos or Atmos/VE) and/or a Public Cloud hosted by Amazon S3, Iron Mountain, AT&T Synaptic, or any Atmos-based cloud service provider.
The neat thing with BlueJet is that it leverages a ton of the functionality that many storage vendors have been developing recently such as data de-duplication, compression, some kind of block level tiering, and space efficient snapshots to improve performance and reduce the costs of cloud storage. It seems that pretty much all of the local storage (SAS, SSD, and RAM) is used as a tiered cache for hot data. This gives users and applications the sense of local SAN performance even while hosting the majority of data offsite.
While I haven’t seen or used a BlueJet device and can’t make any observations about performance or functionality, I believe this sort of block->cloud approach has pretty significant customer value. It reduces physical datacenter costs for power and cooling, and it presents some rather interesting disaster recovery opportunities.
Similar to how Compellent’s signature feature, tiered block storage, has been added to more traditional storage arrays, I think modified implementations of Cirtas’ technology will inevitably come from the larger players, such as EMC, as a feature in standard storage arrays. If you consider that EMC Unified Storage and EMC Symmetrix VMAX both have large caches and block- level tiering today, it’s not too much of a stretch to integrate Atmos directly into those storage systems as another tier. EMC already does this for NAS with the EMC File Management Appliance.
I can imagine leveraging FASTCache and FASTVP to tier locally for the data that must be onsite for performance and/or compliance reasons and pushing cold/stale blocks off to the cloud. Additionally, adding cloud as a tier to traditional storage arrays allows customers to leverage their existing investment in Storage, FC/FCoE networks, reporting and performance trending tools, extensive replication options available, and the existing support for VMWare APIs like SRM and VAAI.
With this model, replication of data for disaster recovery/avoidance only needs to be done for the onsite data since the cloud data could be accessed from anywhere. At a DR site, a second storage system connects to the same cloud and can access the cold/stale data in the event of a disaster.
Another option would be adding this functionality to virtualization platforms like EMC VPLEX for active/active multi-site access to SAN data, while only needing to store the majority of the company’s data once in the cloud for lower cost. Customers would no longer have to buy double the required capacity to implement a disaster recovery strategy.
I’m eagerly awating the implementation of cloud into traditional block storage and I can see how some vendors will be able to do this easily, while others may not have the architecture to integrate as easily. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
As you’ve no doubt heard, EMC has completed the tender offer to acquire Isilon (www.isilon.com) for a Cajillion dollars (actually ~$2 Billion) and some people are asking why. From where I sit, there are many reasons why EMC would want a company like Isilon, ranging from it’s media-minded customer base, to the technical IP, like scale-out NAS, that sets Isilon apart from the rest.
I was thinking a lot about that technology as I worked on a high-bandwidth NAS project with a customer recently. Isilon’s primary product is an IP-based storage solution that uses commodity based hardware components, combined with their proprietary OneFS Operating System, to deliver scale-out NAS with super simple management and scalability. A single Isilon OneFS based filesystem can scale to over 10PB across hundreds of nodes. Isilon also provides various versions of hardware that can be intermixed to increase performance, capacity, or both depending on customer needs. You don’t necessarily have to add disks to an Isilon cluster to increase performance.
When looking at EMC’s own product line, you’ll find that Atmos delivers similar scale-out clustering for object-based storage, while VMAX does a similar type of scaling for high-end block storage (FC, FCoE, and iSCSI), and Greenplum provides scale-out analytics as well. Line up Isilon’s OneFS, EMC GreenPlum, EMC Atmos, and EMC VMAX, and we can now deliver massive scale-out storage for database, object, file, and block data. With VPLEX and Atmos, EMC also delivers block and object storage federation across distance.
Isilon’s OneFS also has technologies that mirror EMC’s but are implemented in such a way as to leverage the Scale-Out NAS model. Take FlexProtect, for example, which is Isilon’s data protection mechanism (similar to RAID) and allows admins to apply different protection schemes (N+1 ala RAID5, N+2 ala RAID6, N+3, and even N+4 redundancy) on individual files and directories. SmartPools, which is policy based, automatically tiers data at a file level based on read/write activity across different protection types and physical nodes, similar to how FASTVP tiers data at a block level on EMC Unified and VMAX. Both EMC and Isilon realize that all data is not equal.
Rather than just repackage OneFS with an EMC logo (which I’m sure we’ll do at first), I wonder what else can we do with Isilon’s IP…
A recent series of blog posts by Steve Todd (Information Playground) on the topic of a Common Software Execution Environment (See CSX Technology and The Benefits of Component Assembly) got me thinking about deeper integration and how CSX can accelerate that integration.
What if EMC Engineering took the portions of code from Isilon’s OneFS that handle client load-balancing, file-level automated tiering, and flexible protection and turned them into CSX components. Those components could be dropped into Celerra and immediately add Scale-Out NAS to EMC’s existing Unified storage platforms. Or, imagine those components running directly in VMAX engines, providing scale-out NAS simultaneously with scale-out SAN across multiple, massive scale storage systems. Combine the load balancing code and FlexProtect from Isilon with FASTVP in EMC Clariion to provide scale-out SAN in a midrange platform.
We could also reverse the situation and use the compression component that is in Clariion and Celerra, plus federation technology in Atmos, both added to OneFS in order reduce the storage footprint and extend Scale-Out NAS to many sites over any distance. Add a GreenPlum component and suddenly you have a massive analytics cluster that spans multiple sites for data where you need it, when you need it.
The possibilities here really are endless, it will be very interesting to see what happens over the next 12 to 24 months.
Disclaimer: Even though I am an EMC employee, I am in no way involved in the EMC/Isilon acquisition, have no knowledge of future plans and roadmaps with regard to EMC and Isilon, and am not privy to any non-public information about this topic. I am merely expressing my own personal views on this topic.
The more I talk with customers, the more I find that the technical details of how something works is much less important than the business outcome it achieves. When it comes to storage, most customers just want a device that will provide the capacity and performance they need, at a price they can afford–and it better not be too complicated. Pretty much any vendor trying to sell something will attempt to make their solution fit your needs even if they really don’t have the right products. It’s a fact of life, sell what you have. Along these lines, there has been a lot of back and forth between vendors about dedup vs. compression technology and which one solves customer problems best.
After snapshots and thin provisioning, data reduction technology in storage arrays has become a big focus in storage efficiency lately; and there are two primary methods of data reduction — compression and deduplication.
While EMC has been marketing compression technology for block and file data in Celerra, Unified, and Clariion storage systems, NetApp has been marketing deduplication as the technology of choice for block and file storage savings. But which one is the best choice? The short answer is.. it depends. Some data types benefit most from deduplication while others get better savings with compression.
Currently, EMC supports file compression on all EMC Celerra NS20, 40, 80, 120, 480, 960, VG2, and VG8 systems running DART 5.6.47.x+ and block compression on all CX4 based arrays running FLARE30.x+. In all cases, compression is enabled on a volume/LUN level with a simple check box and processing can be paused, resumed, and disabled completely, uncompressing the data if desired. Data is compressed out-of-band and has no impact on writes, with minimal overhead on reads. Any or all LUN(s) and/or Filesystem(s) can be compressed if desired even if they existed prior to upgrading the array to newer code levels.
With the release of OnTap 8.0.1, NetApp has added support for in-line compression within their FAS arrays. It is enabled per-FlexVol and as far as I have been able to determine, cannot be disabled later (I’m sure Vaughn or another NetApp representative will correct me if I’m wrong here.) Compression requires 64-bit aggregates which are new in OnTap 8, so FlexVols that existed prior to an upgrade to 8.x cannot be compressed without a data migration which could be disruptive. Since compression is inline, it creates overhead in the FAS controller and could impact performance of reads and writes to the data.
Vaughn Stewart, of NetApp, expertly blogged today about the new compression feature, including some of the caveats involved, and to me the most interesting part of the post was the following graphic he included showing the space savings of compression vs. dedup for various data types.
Apart from “The Cloud”, “Unified Storage” is the other big buzzword in the storage industry of late. But what exactly is Unified Storage?
Mirriam-Webster defines unify as ”to make into a unit or coherent whole“
So how does this apply to storage systems? If you look at marketing messages by EMC, NetApp, and other vendors you’ll find that they all use the term in different ways in order to fit nicely with the products they have. Based on what I see, there are generally two different approaches.
Single HW/SW Stack Approach:
Some vendors want you to believe that the only way it can be called Unified Storage is if the same physical box and software stack provides all protocols and features, even if management of the single system is not perfectly cohesive.
NetApp’s FAS storage systems are an example of this strategy. A single filer provides all services whether SAN or NAS, IP or FiberChannel. However, a single HA cluster is actually managed as two separate systems, each cluster node is managed independently using independent FilerView instances and there are separate tools (NetApp System Manager, Operations Manager, Provisioning Manager, Protection Manager) that can bring all of the filer heads into one view. Disks are captive to a specific filer head in a cluster and moving disks and/or volumes between filer heads is not seamless.
Single Point of Management Approach:
Others approach it more holistically and figure that as long as the customer manages it as a single system, it qualifies as “Unified”, even if there may be disparate hardware and software components providing the different services. After all, once it’s installed you don’t really go in the datacenter to physically look at the hardware very often.
EMC’s Unified Storage (which is a combination of Celerra NAS and Clariion Block storage systems) is an example of this. In a best-of-breed approach, EMC allows the Clariion backend to do what it does best, block storage via FC or IP, while the Celerra, which is purpose built for NAS, provides CIFS/NFS services while leveraging the disk capacity, processors, cache, and other features of the Clariion as a kind of offload engine. Regardless of which services you use, all parts of the solution are managed from a single Unisphere instance, including other Clariions and/or Celerras in the environment. Unisphere launches from any Clariion or Celerra management port, and regardless of which device you launch it from, all systems are manageable together.
Which approach is better?
I see advantages and disadvantages to both approaches, as a former admin of both NetApp and EMC storage, I feel that while NetApp’s hardware and software stack is unified, their management stack is decidedly un-unified. EMC’s Unified storage is physically “integrated” to work together as a system, but the unifying feature is the management infrastructure built-in with Unisphere.
There are other advantages to EMCs approach as well. For example, if a particular workload seems to hammer the CPUs on the NAS but the backend is not a bottleneck, more Celerra datamovers can be added to take advantage of the same backend disks and improve front end performance. Likewise, the backend can be augmented as needed to improve performance, increase capacity, etc without having to scale up the front end NAS head. With the NetApp approach, if your CPU or cache is stressed, you need to deploy more FAS systems (in pairs for HA) along with any required disks for that new system to store data.
Both approaches work, and both have their merits, but what do customers really want?
In my opinion, most customers don’t really care *how* the hardware works, so long as it DOES WORK, and is easy to manage. In the grand scheme of things, if I, as an admin, can provision, replicate, snapshot, and clone storage across my entire environment, regardless of protocol, from a “single pane of glass”, that is a strong positive.
EMC Unisphere makes it easy to do just that and it launches right from the array with no separate installation or servers required. Unisphere can authenticate against Active Directory or LDAP and has role-based-administration built in. And since Unisphere launches from any Clariion Storage processor or Celerra Control Station, there’s no single point of failure for storage management either.
So what do you think customers want? If you are a customer, what do YOU want?
(Warning: This is a long post…)
You have a critical application that you can’t afford to lose:
So you want to replicate your critical applications because they are, well, critical. And you are looking at the top midrange storage vendors for a solution. NetApp touts awesome efficiency, awesome snapshots, etc while EMC is throwing considerable weight behind it’s 20% Efficiency Guarantee. While EMC guarantees to be 20% more efficient in any unified storage solution, there is perhaps no better scenario than a replication solution to prove it.
I’m going to describe a real-world scenario using Microsoft Exchange as the example application and show why the EMC Unified platform requires less storage, and less WAN bandwidth for replication, while maintaining the same or better application availability vs. a NetApp FAS solution. The example will use a single Microsoft Exchange 2007 SP2 server with ten 100GB mail databases connected via FibreChannel to the storage array. A second storage array exists in a remote site connected via IP to the primary site and a standby Exchange server is attached to that array.
- 100GB per database, 1 database per storage group, 1 storage group per LUN, 130GB LUNs
- 50GB Log LUNs, ensure enough space for extra log creation during maintenance, etc
- 10% change rate per day average
- Nightly backup truncates logs as required
- Best Practices followed by all vendors
- 1500 users (Heavy Users 0.4IOPS), 10% of users leverage Blackberry (BES Server = 4X IOPS per user)
- Approximate IOPS requirement for Exchange: 780IOPS for this server.
- EMC Solution: 2 x EMC Unified Storage systems with SnapView/SANCopy and Replication Manager
- NetApp Solution: 2 x NetApp FAS Storage systems with SnapMirror and SnapManager for Exchange
- RPO: 4 hours (remote site replication update frequency)
Based on those assumptions we have 10 x 130GB DB LUNs and 10 x 50GB Log LUNs and we need approximately 780 host IOPS 50/50 read/write from the backend storage array.
Disk IOPS calculation: (50/50 read/write)
- RAID10, 780 host IOPS translates to 1170 disk IOPS (r+w*2)
- RAID5, 780 host IOPS translates to 1950 disk IOPS (r+w*4)
- RAIDDP is essentially RAID6 so we have about 2730 disk IOPS (r + w*6)
Note: NetApp can create sequential stripes on writes to improve write performance for RAIDDP but that advantage drops significantly as the volumes fill up and free space becomes fragmented which is extremely likely to happen after a few months or less of activity.
Assuming 15K FiberChannel drives can make 180 IOPS with reasonable latencies for a database we’d need:
- RAID10, Database 6.5 disks (round up to 8), using 450GB 15K drives = 1.7TB usable (1 x 4+4)
- RAID5, 10.8 disks for RAID5 (round up to 12), using 300GB 15K drives = 2.8TB usable (2 x 5+1)
- RAID6/DP, 15.1 disks for RAID6 (round up to 16), using 300GB 15K drives = 3.9TB usable (1 x 14+2)
Log writes are highly cachable so we generally need fewer disks; for both the RAID10 and RAID5 EMC options we’ll use a single RAID1 1+1 raid group with 2 x 600GB 15K drives. Since we can’t do RAID1 or RAID10 on NetApp we’ll have to use at least 3 disks (1 data and 2 parity) for the 500GB worth of Log LUNs but we’ll actually need more than that.
Picking a RAID Configuration and Sizing for snapshots:
For EMC, the RAID10 solution uses fewer disks and provides the most appropriate amount of disk space for LUNs vs. the RAID5 solution. With the NetApp solution there really isn’t another alternative so we’ll stick with the 16 disk RAID-DP config. We have loads of free space but we need some of that for snapshots which we’ll see next. We also need to allocate more space to the Log disks for those snapshots.
Since we expect about 10% change per day in the databases (about 10GB per database) we’ll double that to be safe and plan for 20GB of changes per day per LUN (DB and Log).
NetApp arrays store snapshot data in the same volume (FlexVol) as the application data/LUN so you need to size the FlexVol’s and Aggregates appropriately. We need 200GB for the DB LUNs and 200GB for the Log LUNs to cover our daily change rate but we’re doubling that to 400GB each to cover our 2 day contingency. In the case of the DB LUNs the aggregate has more than enough space for the 400GB of snapshot data we are planning for but we need to add 400GB to the Log aggregate as well so we need 4 x 600GB 15K drives to cover the Exchange logs and snapshot data.
EMC Unified arrays store snapshot data for all LUNs in centralized location called the Reserve LUN Pool or RLP. The RLP actually consists of a number of LUNs that can be used and released as needed by snapshot operations occurring across the entire array. The RLP LUNs can be created on any number of disks, using any RAID type to handle various IO loads and sizing an RLP is based on the total change rate of all simultaneously active snapshots across the array. Since we need 400GB of space in the Reserve LUN Pool for one day of changes, we’ll again be safe by doubling that to 800GB which we’ll provide with 6 dedicated 300GB 15K drives in RAID10.
At this point we have 20 disks on the NetApp array and 16 disks on the EMC array. We have loads of free space in the primary database aggregate on the NetApp but we can’t use that free space because it’s sized for the IOPS workload we expect from the Exchange server.
In order to replicate this data to an alternate site, we’ll configure the appropriate tools.
- Install Replication Manager on a server and deploy an agent to each Exchange server
- Configure SANCopy connectivity between the two arrays over the IP ports built-in to each array
- In Replication Manager, Configure a job that quiesces Exchange, then uses SANCopy to incrementally update a copy of the database and log LUNs on the remote array and schedule for every 4 hours using RM’s built in scheduler.
- Install SnapManager for Exchange on each Exchange server
- Configure SnapMirror connectivity betweeen the two arrays over the IP ports built-in to each array
- In SnapManager, Configure a backup job that quiesces Exchange and takes a Snapshot of the Exchange DBs and Logs, then starts a SnapMirror session to replicate the updated FlexVol (including the snapshot) to the remote array. Configure a schedule in Windows Task Manager to run the backup job every 4 hours.
Both the EMC and NetApp solutions run on schedule, create remote copies, and everything runs fine, until...
Tuesday night during the weekly maintenance window, the Exchange admins decide to migrate half of the users from DB1, to DB2 and DB3 and half of the users from DB4, to DB5 and DB6. About 80GB of data is moved (25GB to each of the target DBs.) The transactions logs on DB1 and DB4 jump to almost 50GB, 35GB each on DB2, DB3, DB5, and DB6.
On the NetApp array, the 50GB log LUNs already have about 10GB of snapshot data stored and as the migration is happening, new snapshot data is tracked on all 6 of the affected DB and Log LUNs. The 25GB of new data plus the 10GB of existing data exceeds the 20GB of free space in the FlexVol that each LUN is contained in and guess what… Exchange chokes because it can no longer write to the LUNs.
There are workarounds: First, you enable automatic volume expansion for the FlexVols and automatic Snapshot deletion as a secondary fallback. In the above scenario, the 6 affected FlexVols autoextend to approximately 100GB each equaling 300GB of snapshot data for those 6 LUNs and another 40GB for the remaining 4 LUNs. There is only 60GB free in the aggregate for any additional snapshot data across all 10 LUNs. Now, SnapMirror struggles to update the 1200GB of new data (application data + snapshot data) across the WAN link and as it falls behind more data changes on the production LUNs increasing the amount of snapshot data and the aggregate runs out of space. By default, SnapMirror snapshots are not included in the “automatically delete snapshots” option so Exchange goes down. You can set a flag to allow SnapMirror owned snapshots to be automatically deleted but then you have to resync the databases from scratch. In order to prevent this problem from ever occurring, you need to size the aggregate to handle >100% change meaning more disks.
Consider how the EMC array handles this same scenario using SANCopy. The same changes occur to the databases and approximately 600GB of data is changed across 12 LUNs (6 DB and 6 Log). When the Replication Manager job starts, SANCopy takes a new snapshot of all of the blocks that just changed for purposes of the current update and begins to copy those changed blocks across the WAN.
- SANCopy/Inc is not tracking the changes that occur AS they occur, only while an update is in process so the Reserve LUN Pool is actually empty before the update job starts. If you want additional snapshots on top of the ones used for replication, that will increase the amount of data in the Reserve LUN Pool for tracking changes, but snapshots are created on both arrays independently and the snapshot data is NOT replicated. This nuance allows you to have different snapshot schedules in production vs. disaster recovery for example.
- Because SANCopy/Inc only replicates the blocks that have changed on the production LUNs, NOT the snapshot data, it copies only half of the data across the WAN vs SnapMirror which reduces the time out of sync. This translates to lower WAN utilization AND a better RPO.
- IF an update was occurring when the maintenance took place, the amount of data put in the Reserve LUN pool would be approximately 600GB (leaving 200GB free for more changed data). More efficient use of the Snapshot pool and more flexibility.
- IF the Reserve LUN Pool ran out of space, the SANCopy update would fail but the production LUNs ARE NEVER AFFECTED. Higher availability for the critical application that you devoted time and money to replicate.
- Less spinning disk on the EMC array vs. the NetApp.
EMC has several replication products available that each act differently. I used SANCopy because, combined with Replication Manager, it provides similar functionality to NetApp SnapMirror and SnapManager. MirrorView/Async has the same advantages as SANCopy/Incremental in these scenarios and can replicate Exchange, SQL, and other applications without any host involvement.
Higher Application availability, lower WAN Utilization , Better RPO, Fewer Spinning Disks, without even leveraging advanced features for even better efficiency and performance.
Yesterday, In his blog posted entitled “Myth Busting: Storage Guarantees“, Vaughn Stewart from NetApp blogged about the EMC 20% Guarantee and posted a chart of storage efficiency features from EMC and NetApp platforms to illustrate his point. Chuck Hollis from EMC called it “chartsmithing” in comment but didn’t elaborate specifically on the charts deficiencies. Well allow me to take that ball…
As presented, Vaughn’s chart (below) is technically factual (with one exception which I’ll note), but it plays on the human emotion of Good vs Bad (Green vs Red) by attempting to show more Red on EMC products than there should be.
The first and biggest problem is the chart compares EMC Symmetrix and EMC Clariion dedicated-block storage arrays with NetApp FAS, EMC Celerra, and NetApp vSeries which are all Unified storage systems or gateways. Rather than put n/a or leave the field blank for NAS features on the block-only arrays, the chart shows a resounding and red NO, leading the reader to assume that the feature should be there but somehow EMC left it out.
As far as keeping things factual, some of the EMC and NetApp features in this chart are not necessarily shipping today (very soon though, and since it affects both vendors I’ll allow it here). And I must make a correction with respect to EMC Symmetrix and Space Reclamation, which IS available on Symm today.
I’ve taken the liberty of massaging Vaughn’s chart to provide a more balanced view of the feature comparison. I’ve also added EMC Celerra gateway on Symmetrix to the comparison as well as an additional data point which I felt was important to include.
1.) I removed the block only EMC configuration devices because the NetApp devices in the comparison are Unified systems.
2.) I removed the SAN data row for Single Instance storage because Single Instance (identical file) data reduction technology is inherently NAS related.
3.) Zero Space Reclamation is a feature available in Symmetrix storage. In Clariion, the Compression feature can provide a similar result since zero pages are compressible.
I left the 3 different data reduction techniques as individually listed even though the goal of all of them is to save disk space. Depending on the data types, each method has strengths and weaknesses.
One question, if a bug in OnTap causes a vSeries to lose access to the disk on a Symmetrix during an online Enginuity upgrade, who do you call? How would you know ahead of time if EMC hasn’t validated vSeries on Symmetrix like EMC does with many other operating systems/hosts/applications in eLab?
The goal if my post here really is to show how the same data can be presented in different ways to give readers a different impression. I won’t get into too much as far as technical differences between the products, like how comparing FAS to Symmetrix is like comparing a box truck to a freight train, or how fronting an N+1 loosely coupled clustered, global cached, high-end storage array with a midrange dual-controller gateway for block data might not be in a customer’s best interest.
What do you think?