EMC adds 8Gbps Fibre Channel, FICON support to Symmetrix V-Max

By Kevin Komiega

-- EMC has added new features to its high-end Symmetrix V-Max systems for the second time is as many weeks with the announcement of 8Gbps Fibre Channel host and FICON connectivity, new thin provisioning features and replication enhancements.

The Symmetrix V-Max now supports 8Gbps Fibre Channel host connectivity for both mainframe and open systems environments. EMC claims support for 8Gbps speeds will provide V-Max customers double the available I/O performance. In addition, V-Max supports the mainframe zHPF protocol for improved I/O overhead and performance for mainframes.

EMC has also made advances in the area of capacity utilization through the application of its EMC Virtual Provisioning software and its zero space reclamation feature, which reclaims unused capacity from virtually provisioned volumes. Zero space reclamation recovers contiguous data blocks containing all zeros to free up unused physical capacity. Virtual Provisioning automatically redistributes allocated data blocks as storage pools grow in size.

Thin provisioning and zero space reclamation are also making their way into EMC's TimeFinder/Clone Software. Symmetrix V-Max enables thick-to-thin cloning, replicating standard volumes to smaller thinly-provisioned volumes by copying only written tracks. Zero space reclamation can be applied to the clones to recover all-zero data blocks and thin volumes can also be replicated to standard volumes.

Rounding out the V-Max upgrades, EMC is now offering two new V-Max configurations – a 2-engine configuration that scales to 1200 drives and 4-engine configuration scaling to 2400 drives. Fewer V-Max engines lower the cost of entry for customers, according to EMC.

The V-Max upgrades come on the heels of last week's release of fully automated storage tiering (FAST) technology for use across all of EMC's primary storage platforms, including V-Max.

The FAST software automates the movement of data across multiple storage tiers based upon business policies, predictive models and real-time access patterns.

EMC hopes the FAST feature will further accelerate the adoption of flash drives by letting users more effectively mix the performance of flash drives with Fibre Channel and SATA drives.

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This article was originally published on December 17, 2009