Introduction to Next Gen Dell EMC Unity

Nearly a year later, Dell EMC has added Next Gen Unity storage systems to its existing Unity portfolio. The new models are Unity 350F, 450F, 550F and 650F. In a nutshell, This year’s Dell EMC Unity release brings in improvements to hardware as well as software i.e. improvements to UnityOE. This post examines new hardware and the new features introduced this year.

Gen2 vs Gen1

In general, the second generation Unity systems have more cores per CPU and memory when compared with the hardware introduced last year. Does that mean there must be an improvement in performance? Yes, the maximum IOPS that the new generation hardware can handle is slightly increased when compared to the older generation. Another important thing to note is that Dell EMC is going all in on All Flash and this year in the Unity product line there is no new introduction of hybrid models (spinning disks + SSD’s). The new Unity models 350F, 450F, 550F and 650F are all Flash and does not support spinning disks. Here is a table that summarizes the improvements.

The look of the hardware remains the same and there is no change in the aesthetics. But on the inside, things have changed so much with the introduction of Unity OE 4.2. Before we jump on to what new in the software, Dell EMC has introduced 80 drive DAE this year. This 80 drive DAE is compatible with all generation hardware. It can work with a Gen1 hybrid, all flash arrays, and Gen2 all flash arrays.

80 Drive DAE

Photo Credit: Dell EMC

The 80 drive DAE is a dense DAE that accommodates eighty 3.5" drives and the drives used in this DAE cannot be used in fifteen drive DAE. The new 80 drive DAE supports connecting to all generation Unity hardware. The backend connection can be x4 lanes SAS or x8 lanes SAS.

If you would like to read about Unity DPE, other DAE types and the internal components of Unity DPE check out my post Unity hardware architecture.

New features in Unity OE 4.2

Unity OE 4.2 release is a major update of this year and here is a list of most notable ones, (click the arrow to expand and read)

Dynamic Pools

This is a new pool technology and it is fundamentally different when compared to the existing storage pool technology.

Thin Clones

Unity OE 4.2 allows cloning the LUN and it leverages the Unity Snapshot technology. Thin clones consumes very less space when compared to traditional clones which inflate to the entire size of an LUN.

Enhancements to Snapshots

Unity now supports Snapshot replication and creation of differential snapshots.

Improvements to system limits

Unity OE 4.2 significantly increases system limits. For example, file system limit if 64 TB is now 256 TB, this means, a single file system can span upto 256 TB.

Inline Compression for File

Inline Compression can be enabled for file resources sucha s SMB and NFS file systems.

SMB migration from VNX to Unity

Unity OE release 4.2 adds the functionality to migrate SMB file systems from VNX1/VNX2 systems to Unity. Earlier only NAS migration from these platforms was supported.

I will be publishing separate posts detailing the most important features of Unity OE release 4.2. Stay tuned!

Disclosure: I work for Dell EMC and this is not a promoted post.

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