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Hybrid Flash Array and the Future of Storage – inside EMC’s VNX series

22nd December 2015

EMC VNX 7500

As a leading provider of IT Services and Solutions, Blue Chip prides itself on the ability to be able to bring the latest technologies to their clients. EMC’s VNX series, dubbed "Next Generation Storage", is the ideal combination of the performance of flash, with the cost-effectiveness of disk. The need for flexible, affordable storage systems that can change alongside a business is increasing, and EMC’s Hybrid Flash Array family can step up to provide Enterprise-class performance with an affordable price tag. EMC’s VNX series offers two methods of data storage and access – FAST Cache and FAST VP – with the benefits of each technology depending on their desired usage and on the size of the workload. Whilst they share many performance advantages, FAST Cache and FAST VP are two very different technologies, and therefore can be utilised in different ways. The main difference is the way in which the data is accessed; FAST VP Data is moved between different storage tiers based on statistics collected over a period of time, whilst FAST Cache copies data from HDDs to flash drives when they get accessed frequently.

Workloads which remain steady are often best suited to FAST VP, which excels at managing data at rest. This solution is primarily designed to improve ease of use and reduce costs whilst improving performance, and is ideal for storage of vast amounts of data; data is archived securely whilst making information required on a regular basis easily and more quickly available. The movement of data can be scheduled or manually activated, and is best used when workload pattern changes are predictable and relatively low. Conversely, for a lightning-speed response during peaks in workloads which vary, FAST Cache is the perfect choice. Critical applications which may suddenly require large amounts of data to be immediately available would utilise FAST Cache, storing the information temporarily on SSD whilst it is needed. This can greatly improve the performance of the HDD when the workload changes are unpredictable.

Blue Chip have already found that this forward-thinking approach to data storage have benefited a number of high-profile clients, including Sunseeker and Jet2.com, who both have Fast Cache systems in place. In particular, Jet2.com often experience high levels of website traffic during their adverts during prime time television shows, and so must have a fast and reliable service that can easily meet these demands. It is clear that in the fast-changing world of information technology, our storage systems must also adapt to meet demand.

For more information about EMC’s VNX Flash Array series, please contact Blue Chip on enquiries@bluechip.com.

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