VMAX3 Hypervisor Comes to Life with eNAS


At the exciting VMAX3 launch earlier this year, EMC announced many revolutionary capabilities designed to jump-start IT transformation and help customers redefine their traditional IT infrastructures. Among the new features launched in July was the innovative VMAX3 Hypervisor, offering unique possibilities for deploying high value services on EMC’s leading mission critical, converged platform. The first data service to run in the VMAX3 Hypervisor, which is now available, is called embedded NAS or eNAS.

Let’s do a quick refresh of the VMAX3 Hypervisor before diving into eNAS. VMAX3 arrays introduced the industry’s first open storage and hypervisor converged operating system called HYPERMAX OS. HYPERMAX OS features a real-time, non-disruptive storage hypervisor that manages and protects embedded services by extending VMAX high availability and resiliency to services that traditionally run external to the array. It also provides direct access to powerful VMAX3 hardware resources to maximize performance. The embedded hypervisor eliminates external hardware, reduces networking requirements, delivers higher levels of availability, and lowers latency. The hypervisor can be non-disruptively upgraded.


Now let’s explore key elements of eNAS and itemize the benefits resulting from running block and file “unified” services on VMAX3.


VMAX3 unified arrays enable customers to consolidate islands of block and file storage, simplify management, and reduce deployment costs by up to 33%. So how does it work? Embedded NAS uses the hypervisor to create and run a set of virtual machines on VMAX3 controllers. These virtual machines host two major elements of eNAS: software data movers and control stations. These virtual elements are distributed across the VMAX3 system to evenly consume VMAX3 resources for both performance and capacity. All VMAX3 block and file resources are fully redundant and are managed through the intuitive Unisphere management interface.

So does eNAS really leverage key elements of the robust VMAX3 feature set? Absolutely, eNAS extends the value of VMAX3 to file storage by enabling customers to use vital enterprise features such as service level provisioning, Host I/O Limits, FAST technology, and Unisphere management for both block and file storage.


This all sounds great but what’s the primary deployment model for VMAX3 running eNAS? The primary customer deployment model for VMAX3 unified is one that requires hyper consolidation for block storage (the traditional VMAX use case) combined with mission critical RAS for file. Businesses are finding that traditional NAS uses cases like, home directories, file sharing (engineering and business applications), running Oracle® on NFS, VMware® on NFS, Microsoft® SQL on SMB 3.0, and Windows server consolidation are now becoming increasingly important to their business and demand the mission critical data services and RAS that VMAX3 delivers.

What are customers saying about VMAX3 with eNAS? Higher levels of consolidation and reduced storage management overhead are among the top benefits expected from running eNAS on VMAX3. Customers are also excited about EMC’s roadmap to add additional embedded services to further increase IT efficiency, reduce management complexity, and optimize hybrid cloud integration.

IDC recently published their own independent TCO findings that validated the savings we project with eNAS. Check it out for yourself to see just how much VMAX could save you when you deploy it for your mission critical file environment.

“IT organizations can realize significant TCO savings, in addition to a reduction in rack space by hyper-consolidating their data management and access infrastructure on VMAX3. Key benefits include: streamlined multi-protocol services, lower infrastructure hardware costs, reduced management overhead, reduced associated environmental drag, reduced time to “first IO” (installation overhead), improved availability” (IDC TCO study).

The figure below is from IDC’s TCO study, published December, 2014.


Stay tuned for the next exciting embedded data service to ship with VMAX3 arrays in 2015. If you have your own idea for the perfect embedded service for VMAX3 or just want to comment on this blog, please send your thoughts to me at [email protected].

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