EMC is easily the largest enterprise storage player on the planet, with more worldwide storage revenue than its two closest competitors (IBM and NetApp) combined. But no matter how popular EMC's high-end Symmetrix and VNX product lines have been with large customers, EMC was rarely considered a great choice for the small-to-midsize-business sector.
All that changed with the release of the VNXe series early last year. Though the VNXe is based on many of the same concepts as the larger VNX, it's more than a pared-down knockoff of the must-have features found in its big brother. Instead, the VNXe is a multiprotocol, virtualized implementation of the file and block-level storage engines of the VNX. Through virtualization, EMC found an innovative way to deliver enterprise-class functionality and performance in an small-business-sized package and at a small-business price.
[ Also on InfoWorld: Download the Server Virtualization Deep Dive Report. | Read Matt Prigge's Information Overload blog. | Subscribe to InfoWorld's storage newsletter and stay on top of the latest info. ]
The VNXe in the lab
In testing the VNXe line, my goal was to replicate the experience of an IT generalist after buying a new array for use in a virtualization environment. Though the VNXe has been popular in a range of different roles (such as a replicated branch office storage solution or even as storage for embedded industrial hardware), the sweet spot for the VNXe is most certainly the small to midsize business. For many of the small businesses that may consider buying a VNXe, this will be their first experience with shared, centralized storage of any kind. Thus, the ease and simplicity of installing and growing the system is paramount.
The configuration I was provided included a dual-controller VNXe 3100 equipped with six 300GB 15,000-rpm SAS disks. I was also provided with a separately boxed set of six 1TB 7,200-rpm NL-SAS drives to serve as a growth platform. As many small to midsize business buying their first shared storage have a parallel interest in leveraging the clustering functionality found in many virtualization hypervisors, the bulk of my testing was performed on a trio of HP ProLiant DL385 G7 servers loaded with embedded VMware vSphere 5.0.
Read on for the full details, and see the short sidebar, "EMC VNXe 3100 performance check," for the results of my simple performance tests. As the resulting scorecard shows, I found the EMC VNXe 3100 to be a solid entry-level array -- one that I would recommend to anyone charged with single-handedly running a small shop on a limited budget. The VNXe offers a wide range of performance and availability features that are clearly derived from EMC's long experience delivering storage to large enterprise, and the Unisphere for VNXe management interface is incredibly easy to use. Any IT generalist will find Unisphere simple to navigate and get what they need, though (as always) that very simplicity may be a source of frustration for admins with more storage experience.
|Test Center Scorecard|
|EMC VNXe 3100||9||9||9||8||9||10|
Having trouble installing and setting up Win10? You aren’t alone. Here are many of the most common...
Picking an Android phone can be difficult, but we're here to help. These are the top Android phones you...
Confidence in our power over machines also makes us guilty of hoping to bend reality to our code
Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Sponsored by Intel
With new hardware hacking devices, it's absurdly easy to attack organizations through the USB port of...
Android provides a model for Apple to use in iOS, and Apple has an option for CarPlay that should get...
Not only is data integration an afterthought in most cloud migrations, it's usually addressed with...
The budding language with Ruby's syntax and written in Go is aimed at microservices development