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Vault Drives on the New EMC VNX Arrays

Let me preface this blog by stating the following information is not all original. I am simply passing
through some of the information on from one of my contacts at EMC. Normally I wouldnt plagurize like
this but the information is important and you should be at least aware of some of the changes with the
new VNX line.
Any of you familiar with EMC arrays such as the Clariion CX4 or Celerra NS lines are or should be very
familiar with EMCs usage and implementation of the Vault. The Vault is where the OS for the array
lives. In the case of Clariion and Celerra we are talking about the FLARE and DART code that enables the
array to do its thing. Up until now this has always been the 1st 5 drives in the array Drive Slots 0 4.
These disks were setup as a 4+1 R5 Raid Group on which the FLARE/DART took up a small about of space
on each drive. The remaining space could be used just not for any high I/O loads. Drive size was up to
you but pretty much any drive size/type would work.
One of the first things I noticed when building my first VNX solution in EMCs configuration tool what that
the Vault drive choices were much different than before. For the VNX5100 youre forced to choose 6
drives for the Vault and for the VNX5300 its 8 drives. In reality the Vault on these arrays only uses 4
drives to store the OS code. The reason why according to what Ive heard its to give the array a better
price point given what Ive seen so far . this holds to be true.
So say you have 300 GB drives in the first shelf, total of 6 drives. The useable capacity in first 4 (0-3)
drives = 300 GB 192 GB => 108 GB. Drives 4, 5 useable capacity is full 300 GB, green box shows
useable capacity:

This space can be used two ways:

(a) You can use the available space on the first 4 drives for a stand-alone RG or NAS/Block Pool. For
example: RAID 5 (3+1) will give you ~324 GB usable AND use the remaining drives as another RG or part
of a pool. There is no space wastage in this case.
(b) You can create a RG that spans across all the 6 drives as shown by the black square going across all 6
drives. This gives widest stripe configuration for RAID Group *but* you only get 108 GB of space from all
6 drives and 192 GB on the drive 4 and 5 is wasted. (I dont recommend this).
(c) For larger systems assign the extra 2 or 4 drives as hot spares, or as buffer space for when the
customer needs to add storage in case they wait until they are 98% full to order it.
So as you can see the vault requirements have shrunk from 5 drives to 4 drives but then got jacked up to
6 drives or 8 drives hey.. makes sense to me. Basically just plan to use the extra drives as part of
another storage pool or raid group or just use them as hot spares.

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