EMC Storage 101

We recently hired some new account exectives from various fields.  I know from experience that trying to learn and understand all the different products the EMC alone represents can be a daunting task.  In an effort to help I tried to create a high level overview/cheatsheets for our people that would help non-technical folks get up to speed more quickly and have an easy reference resource.  As I thought about it I realized that many of our blogs involve varying degrees of mostly technical information.  So I figured why not post some of the basics out there for people new to shared storage or EMC.

EMC Storage


–          SAN – Storage Area Network

  • Clariion is EMC’s SAN product
  • Provides storage for servers

–          NAS – Network Attached Storage

  • Celerra is EMC’s NAS product
  • Also called Unified storage
  • NAS adds file server type functionality to a SAN.
    • Instead of having dedicated file servers you can use the Celerra/NAS to manage and store files directly on the array.

–          DAS – Direct Attached Storage

  • Think of this as a stand-alone server where data is stored directly on drives in that server.

ISCSI vs Fibre Channel Network or “Fabric”

–          ISCSI

  • Uses standard computer Ethernet cables.  All traffic runs across this type of cable.
  • Easy to implement because you can use existing cabling and switches that most companies already have.  Dedicated switches are generally recommended.
  • Servers can use existing network cards to connect into the ISCI network.

 –          Fibre Channel

  • Uses fiber optic cables to transfer data between the servers and the storage array.
  • Requires special fibre switches and cabling
  • Typically more expensive and requires additional technical knowledge
  • Faster than ISCSI in most cases
  • Servers require special network cards called Host Bus Adapters (HBA’s).
  • Typically you will find Fibre Channel infrastructure in larger environments.


–          CIFS is a file share protocol for Windows servers

  • You may hear it called a “CIFS Share”
  • When you map a drive on your Windows laptop to your home drive – that’s a “CIFS Share”

–          NFS is a file share protocol for UNIX/LINUX servers

  • You may hear it called a “NFS Mount”


EMC Clariion

–          Hardware Components

  • Storage Processor (SP)
    • 2 in each array.
    • Do all of the moving of data to and from the disks
  • Standby Power Supply (SPS)
    • Usually 2 in each array.
    • Provides battery power to the storage processors and the first 5 disks in case of a power failure.
  • Disk Array Enclosure (DAE)
    • The enclosure(s) that the actual disk drives fit into.
    • Sometimes called “shelves”.
    • Each one holds 15 disks (12 for the AX4)
  • Disk Drives
    • 3 Types of drives
      • SATA
        • Slower performance but higher capacity.
        • 80 IOPS or less per drive
        • 1TB or 2TB each
        • 5400 RPM or 7200 RPM  – Slower RPM = Slower Performance
        • Commonly used for backup to disk, archiving or file shares
        • Fibre Channel (FC)
          • High Performance
          • 10,000 RPM (140 IOPS) or 15,000 RPM (180 IOPS)
          • 146GB, 300GB, 450GB and 600GB sizes
          • Enterprise Flash Drive (EFD)
            • Super high performance
            • 2500 IOPS per drive
            • 73GB, 200GB and 400GB sizes
            • Good for high activity apps and databases
            • Very expensive
      • SATA drives and FC drives cannot be used in the same DAE.  So if you wanted 10 FC drives and 10 SATA drives you would need 2 DAE’s
      • FC and EFD can exist in the same DAE.

–          Software Components

  • SnapView
    • Enables the taking of snapshots on the Clariion
    • We usually add this to every array
  • MirrorView
    • Only required when replicating from one Clariion to another
    • 2 versions:
      • MirrorView /A (Asynchronous) – data is replicated in batches
        • Used when there is limited bandwidth or long distances
        • The DR array will be several seconds, minutes or hours “behind” the Production array.
        • MirroView /S (Synchronous) – data is replicated in real-time.
          • The Production and DR arrays are always identical
          • Requires fast connections between sites

EMC Celerra

–          Hardware Components

  • ** The guts of a Celerra are a Clariion so all the components listed above are also part of the Celerra.  There are a few additional components to the Celerra**
  • Datamovers (DM) – also called X-Blades or Blades
    • At least 2 in each Celerra.
    • Think of these as file servers that are built into the Celerra
    • Allow you to create and manage CIFS and NFS file shares
  • Management Console
    • 1 per Celerra
    • Basically just a small server like device used to administer the array.

–          Software Components

  • Celerra Replicator
    • Only required when replicating from one Celerra to another

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