During EMC World 2016 that has ended a couple of days ago in Vegas, EMC unveiled a brand new product named “Unity”.
So, what is Unity about?
Unity is a modern, scalable, simple and affordable Unified storage array that targets the mid-range storage market. It is a Block and File 2U storage solutions that supports the traditional storage protocols:
- SAN: FC & iSCSI
- NAS: NFS, CIFS, FTP and SFTP
Regarding the architecture, it has a new linux-based architecture that was designed for flash and optimized for workload application and virtualized environments.
Unity supports 3D NAND TLC drives and the latest Intel processors to provide the greatest performance.
The new array comes in three configurations and four different models that can scale up to a total of 3 PB:
– All-Flash series: Unity 300F, Unity 400F, Unity 500F and Unity 600F
– Hybrid Series: Unity 300, Unity 400, Unity 500 and Unity 600
– Unity VSA (Virtual Storage Appliance)
But what Unity has more than VNX and where does it fit in the market.
Unity is a solution that completes EMC’s mid-range storage array portfolio. It is not here to replace the VNX Series like many people may think but rather to offer a new refreshed product to customers, that was optimized for Flash but also for a better integration into Virtualization and Cloud environments.
Many applications such as Microsoft Exchange, SQL server, SAP or Oracle can benefit from Unity’s architecture that can provide great performance even under heavy workload.
To manage the new array, EMC has improved Unisphere that comes now in a full HTML5 interface that is very simple to use and more convenient than the Unisphere we find within VNX arrays.
The “All Flash” Unity model can scale up to 1.6 PB (usable) and supports file and block environments, point-in-time snapshots, synchronous and asynchronous replication, built-in encryption, tiering to the cloud and deep ecosystem integration with VMware, Microsoft and OpenStack.
The Hybrid model does the same except that it can scale up to 3 PB (usable) but more is to come.
Now let’s talk a bit about the Virtual Storage Appliance of Unity: “Unity VSA“.
Unity VSA is a Virtual Storage Appliance that can be easily deployed on a VMware ESXi server.
It can be an interesting choice for people looking for a Software Define Storage solution and need to minimize hardware cost.
Unity VSA can scales up to 50 TB and benefits of interesting features available in a full package that will let you do the below:
- Set up for NAS or SAN in just a few minutes using the Unisphere wizards
- Allow VMware administrators to manage storage from within VMware vCenterTM
- Protect data locally with unified point-in-time snapshots
- Replicate data remotely to other instances of UnityVSA or to other Unity purpose-built storage arrays
- Optimize performance, efficiency, and simplify storage management with automated-tiering through EMC Fully-Automated Storage Tiering Virtual Pools (FAST VP)
- Administrate the storage array using the same HTML-5 based Unisphere as Unity purpose-built storage arrays.
You have the possibility to test Unity VSA for free by downloading the “Community Edition” on EMC website.
Unity includes also a lot of feature and software that come as a standard for some of them such as Local and Remote Replication.
And.. how much does it cost ?
Well, the price is pretty attractive as it starts at $10k for the Hybride configuration and $18K for the All-flash version, which is quite interesting for a brand new storage array optimized for flash.
Furthermore, Unity is now part of the vBlock 350 Series, so if you were planning to acquire a vBlock with VNX as a storage, you may think twice and consider Unity as a better option and a better investment as well.
Also, a simulator is available here to show you briefly how Unity works and gives you a hands-on experience.
Well, I think Unity is a great product that has a bright future ahead. I believe EMC has done things right by launching that new solution that is affordable for the mid-range market and in a small form-factor (2U) to facilitate implementation and integration.
I’m pretty sure we’re gonna hear a lot about Unity in the coming weeks. Well done EMC!
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