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Enterprise Computing: The New USP – A Dreary Storage Cluster?

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Well, I truly hope not.  Let me just explain what I’m talking about and things may become a bit clearer.

HDS have started their viral marketing for an announcement being made on 27th May.  Claus Mikkelsen’s latest blog entry asks us to guess what the announcement will be, based on an acronym of REGRADES OUR CLASSY TREAT.

So, I think the answer being searched for is STORAGE ARRAYS CLUSTERED or CLUSTERED STORAGE ARRAYS,, depending how you want to put it – however the title of this post is my favourite alternative…

So let’s try and guess what HDS are going to announce.  Looking back to when the USP was originally released, it was (and still is) sold on the concept of virtualising external storage, turning the USP, NSC55, USP-V and USP-VM into a storage controller, presenting cheaper storage products if they resided in the USP.  Whilst this was great (and HDS extolled the virtues of how UVM could fix all our migration problems) there was one flaw – once you’ve virtualised using the USP, how to you non-disruptively get the USP out?  I heard talk about ways in which multiple USPs could be clustered together to overcome this, but never saw it in practice.  So, with this new release, is HDS finally solving the problem?

There are only two enterprise/monolithic products worth discussing, Symmetrix/DMX and USP/XP.  The USP is running behind the latest EMC release, the V-Max, on a number of fronts:

  • Scalability – the V-Max now offers up to 8 nodes and 2400 drives.  USP still sits at 1152.
  • Tiering – DMX and V-Max offer larger SSD drives – 200 & 400GB.
  • Performance – V-Max will offer FAST for better dynamic data placement.
  • Replication – V-Max implements new replication devices for disk-less three site replication.

So I’m really hoping HDS will give EMC something to worry about including:

  • Better Scalability – let’s have more than 1152 drives, we’ve been needing more than this for a while.  Let’s have flexible clusters to grow arrays as required.
  • Dynamic Data Placement - let’s have something better than Volume Migrator.  Start thinking of data at the sub-LUN level.
  • Dynamic Array Replacement – make it easy to remove one array, migrate external storage to another without impact.

Even better, announce something I’ve not even thought of and surprise us all.

Anyone got a suggestion as to what it should be called?  USP-VC, USP-C?

About Chris M Evans

Chris M Evans has worked in the technology industry since 1987, starting as a systems programmer on the IBM mainframe platform, while retaining an interest in storage. After working abroad, he co-founded an Internet-based music distribution company during the .com era, returning to consultancy in the new millennium. In 2009 Chris co-founded Langton Blue Ltd (www.langtonblue.com), a boutique consultancy firm focused on delivering business benefit through efficient technology deployments. Chris writes a popular blog at http://blog.architecting.it, attends many conferences and invitation-only events and can be found providing regular industry contributions through Twitter (@chrismevans) and other social media outlets.
  • http://blogs.rupturedmonkey.com Nigel

    How about USP V-max :-P

    Based on the DLB thing at http://bit.ly/189Uzc (I assume Dynamic Load Balance), I’d always thought it would be USP V DLB. Let hope thats just the factory name though.

  • Bert Ho

    Does V-max FAST work similarly as USP-V’s Tiered Storage Manager?

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  • soikki

    Have you not noticed that V-Max’s “tiering” seems to be flawed: you cannot migrate data even between “normal” volumes and dp-volumes in the same array… Not to even talk about migrating data between different arrays. Also, the box is locked for a while when you want to migrate data (in several occasions). Read emc’s whitepaper “Best practices for nondisruptive tiering via emc symmetrix virtual lun” and tell me if the above is true or not.

    Isn’t this a bigger problem with tiering, than the fact that in v-max you can currently have bigger ssd’s? And with current FAST, I don’t see anything dynamic about it.

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  • Chris Evans

    USP-V Max it is! :-)

    Chris

  • Chris Evans

    I think there will be two versions – FAST for LUNs – which will be akin to Optimiser of today and similar to what Tiered Storage Manager can offer. Next year (2010 some time) EMC will bring FAST for blocks – so individual blocks of a LUN can be moved between tiers. That’s the real killer app…

    Chris

  • Chris Evans

    Soikki,

    Thanks for the tip, I’ll have a look.

    Chris

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