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Unity Architecture – Part I Search … 

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February 1, 2017 Last year, Dell EMC announced Unity midrange storage array at SAN Enthusiast
EMC Storage EMC World. Unity is based on VNXe architecture and does not 197 likes

dell emc unity, emc unity, replace the higher model of VNX2, i.e. VNX8000. This post takes a
io modules in unity, io
closer look at Unity to understand its hardware components, design,
modules supproted by Like Page Share
unity, maximum capacity and the software. It is a two-part series. Part I is all about Unity
of unity, maximum dives in hardware and part II  talks about software architecture of unity. Be the first of your friends to like this
unity, maximum lun size
supported by unity,
maximum luns per unity, There are three variants in Unity, Unity Hybrid, Unity All Flash and Unity
maximum supported
VSA. The models are Unity 300/300F, 400/400F, 500/500F, 600/600F.
drives by unity, unity, unity
le system limit, unity Model with “F” at the end is all ash (only SSD’s) and the other one is a
maximum memory, unity hybrid storage system (Flash + Spinning disks). Unity VSA is a virtual
processor model, unity
appliance that can be deployed on vSphere.  Now let us take a look at some
storage array, unity vs VNX3
of the important speci cations of these models,

Speci cations

The speci cations listed here is for a system that runs on Unity OE 4.1 aka
Falcon.

Unity Unity Unity Unity


300/300F 400/400F 500/500F 600/600F

2 x Intel 2 x Intel 8- 2 x Intel


2 x Intel 12-
Processor 6-core, core, 10-core,
core, 2.5GHz
1.6GHz 2.4GHz 2.6GHz

Memory (Both SP) 48 GB 96 GB 128 GB 256 GB

Minimum/Maxim
5/150 5/250 5/500 5/1000
um drives

Maximum raw
2.34 PBs 3.91 PBs 7.81 PBs 9.77 PBs
capacity*

Max IO modules 4 4 4 4

Max number of 20 30 40 100

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pools

Max LUN Size 256 TB 256 TB 256 TB 256 TB

Max File System


64 TB 64 TB 64 TB 64 TB
Size

Max LUNs per


1,000 1,500 2,000 6,000
array

*Maximum raw capacity may vary.

Supported disks

Unity Hybrid

 SSD's

200GB, 400GB, 800GB, 1.6TB, 3.2TB 

 Spinning disk drives

600GB (10K/15K), 1.2TB 10K, 1.8TB 10K, 2TB 7.2K, 4TB 7.2K, 6TB 7.2K 

Unity All Flash

 SSD's

400GB, 800GB, 1.6TB, 3.2TB, 3.84TB, 7.68TB, 15.36TB

Solid state drives used in Unity are of eMLC and TLC type and the disks
highlighted in bold are 1 WPD (write per day) disks.

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Disk Processor Enclosure (DPE)

DPE holds storage processor (SP), IO modules and disks. Two variants of
DPE is available,

25 Drive DPE that can hold 2.5″ disks (Available for hybrid and all ash
array)
15 Drive DPE that can hold 3.5″ disks (Only available for hybrid array)

As seen in the table, SP in the respective model will have a di erent CPU
model and a variable amount of memory. Both types of DPE will occupy 2U
when mounted on a rack. The rst four drives in Unity is DPE is called
system drives. These drives contain Unity OE (Operating Environment).
Remaining space in these drives can be used for storage pools. A minimum
number of disks that are required to initialize system is 5. On the rear side of
the DPE we have, 2x Storage Processor (1&2 on image) , 4x onboard
converged network ports (Optical/Twinax) (3), 4x onboard 10 GbE Base-T
RJ45 ports (4), 2x power supplies (5), IO module slots (6), 4x SAS port for
backend connection (7), a management port and a service port (8). Here is
the picture of DPE,

Disk processor Enclosure. Image source: emc.com

The onboard Converged Network Adapter (CNA) can be con gured for
16/8/4/2 Gbps Fiber Channel SFP’s (multimode and single mode) or 10 GbE
optical using SFP+ and Twinax. The other 2 on-board port on an SP is 10
GbE Base-T. All these onboard ports can be con gured for Block (FC/iSCSI)
or File IO (NFS/CIFS). And in each SP there is a management port (to access
Unisphere) and a service port (service use or engineering use).

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Each SP can have two IO modules installed to expand front end host
connection. IO module installed on SPA should match what is installed on
SPB respective slot. There cannot be a miss match. Following are the IO
modules that Unity supports,

 4 port 16GB Fiber Channel


 10GbE Base-T
 1GbE Base-T
 2 port 10GbE Optical (SFP+ and Twinax)
 4 port 10GbE Optical (SFP+ and Twinax)
 12Gb SAS for backend expansion (Only for Unity 500 and 600)

Unity supports Active Twinax cables only and no support for Passive
Twinax.

Protections space for cache (No Vault)

In the case of storage processor failure, the cache contents are dumped into
M.2 SSD that resides inside each SP. If cabinet loses power, Unity SP
contains an inbuilt battery backup unit (BBU) that can power the SP long
enough to dump cache contents into M.2 SSD. Cache content is restored to
respective SP cache when power is restored or SP is replaced. The M.2 SSD
also contains Unity OE boot image.

Disk Array Enclosure (DPE)

The DAE holds drives and the number of DAE that a model supports will
vary. Please refer to the speci cation table in the post to know the
maximum DAE that a system will support. There are two variants of DAE,

 25 Drive DAE that can hold 2.5″ disks (2U)


 15 Drive DAE that can hold 3.5″ disks (3U)

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On the rear side, each DAE has 4 SAS ports (marked as A & B) for DPE to DAE
and DAE to DAE connection. The ports need mini-SAS HD connectors. Here
are the images of 15 & 25 drive DAE,

15 drive DAE. Image source: emc.com

15 drive DAE. Image source: emc.com

That’s all about Unity hardware. In the next post, we will take a closer look
at software in Unity. Stay tuned! Click here to read part II.

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

Also published on Medium.

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