A few weeks ago I wrote about the EMC VNXe, a new storage array platform targeted at the Small & Medium Business (SMB) market. Another one of the many products announced at the same time is the EMC VNX, the bigger brother to the VNXe. The VNX is EMC’s latest generation of the mid-tier array providing five 9 availability and an impressive list of features including data compression, FAST (Fully Automated Storage Tiering) VP storage tiering, FAST cache and data protection. The VNX is a truly unified array with support for Fibre Channel, iSCSI and NAS protocols and support for SAS harddrives as well as Enterprise Fast Drives (EFDs) for workloads that need instantaneous response times. Oh yeah and the new architecture is 3x faster while being offered at an affordable price point.
EMC recently released several new whitepapers testing Microsoft solutions virtualized with Hyper-V on the EMC VNX array. This includes a Hyper-V VNXe Deployment Guide, a Hyper-V with SQL Server performance guide and a Hyper-V with Sharepoint 2010 and Metaloigix StoragePoint Reference Architecture Whitepaper. This blog post will be the first in a series spread over the next several weeks highlighting some of these whitepapers as well as others as they become available.
The Sharepoint document entitled Externalizing Large SharePoint 2010 Objects with EMC VNX Series and MetaLogix StoragePoint takes a look at using the EMC VNX array to hold active SharePoint data as well as BLOB storage for aged data. With many large SharePoint farms, a large portion of data is stored as unstructured binary data streams also known as BLOBs. Considering SharePoint relies on SQL Server and SQL Server is not the most efficient option for storing BLOB data (SQL is more efficient at storing structured relational data), taking this data out of SQL Server and storing it on another portion of the array has many benefits. Some of these benefits include freeing up space on tier 1 storage drives and storing this aged data on a more cost effective solution using storage tiering. Additional benefits to this method includes applying technologies like compression, encryption and snapshot based backups of this data for better space utilization, increased security and better data protection.
While understanding how to configure a BLOB storage solution is addressed, this Reference Architecture also covers how to design the VNX storage for SharePoint to ensure performance and space requirements are also met for the most recent and frequently accessed data. Here is an image showing the overall infrastructure used in the solution: