VMUG Lab Storage

I wanted to start my series of blog posts about the Omaha-Area VMUG lab infrastructure with the base of the infrastructure (or any virtual infrastructure): the storage.

We were lucky enough to work out a deal with EMC to let us borrow a couple of Clariion arrays. Specifically they are CX4-120 arrays.  Not that impressive you say?  What if I told you they were configured with six 200GB Enterprise Flash Drives (EFD) (see the first photo)?  Now do I have your attention?

Anecdote: I had an EMC sales rep ask me why I don’t have the face plates on our devices.  I told him it was because I care more about geeking out about the devices than about marketing the devices.

To summarize, we have two CX4-120s with about 1TB of usable EFD storage.  Both arrays have EMC’s mirroring software, MirrorView enabled so we can replicate between the two arrays (for the SRM lab).

The array consists of three distinct parts: the standby power supplies (SPS), which act as power distribution, but also contain batteries to allow for a graceful shutdown of the array should a loss of power occur; the storage processor enclosure (SPE), which contains the storage processors (SPs) (some may call these the controllers) and I/O modules (including fiber and iSCSI connectivity); and the disk array enclosure (DAE), which contains up to 15 drives (the first five of which contain the operating system for the array).  More technical details can be found here.

I would love to post a comparison of the HP EVAs that my company is used to dealing with (see the next picture with an EVA below and above the CX4 in our rack), but I have to admit to not knowing enough about either array to do such a comparison justice.  Not to mention the fact that I’d be comparing an array with EFDs to one with mostly 10k disks.  So, I’ll just discuss my experiences with the CX4 for what they are, not as a comparison to the EVA (sorry EMC).


The racking of the equipment wasn’t terribly complicated and was easily figured out using the enclosed quick start guide, though there is a mess of cables required to get all the pieces properly connected (see the next photo).

At this stage, we have only racked, cabled and powered on these two arrays, so I can’t judge performance yet.  That’s it for now, but keep a look out for a future post where I will hopefully be gushing on how awesome performance is on this array.