EMC CLARiiON Cx4 integrated thin provisioning

virtualizationWe just upgraded to the new EMC CLARiiON Cx4 from the Cx3 over the weekend. The technician who arrived had done a good job: in about seven hours, the SAN was fully functional and we were back in business. We took this downtime to do some patching on host systems. The Cx4 has 8Gb fiber ports as compared to the Cx3 4Gb ports; however we could not use the 8Gb modules as the NAS, an EMC NS40g, contains code that is not 100% compatible with the Cx4 fiber module code. We will run it all on the 4Gb/s fiber modules for now until the NAS code catches up, and then the 8Gb modules will be installed. This is not a problem, as the 4Gb modules are still very fast and provide sufficient throughput for our electronic health records system (EHR).

One useful improvement about the Cx4 is the addition of thin pools – one can create RAID groups that use minimal storage and can expand dynamically when the need for more storage arises. See the white paper from EMC on virtual (thin) provisioning here.

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