EMC’s VPLEX is a very powerful tool whether it’s deployed in a Local, Metro, or Geo configuration. What everyone always seems to talk about is the benefits of the VPLEX Metro configuration to the data center. To this point, it is a big benefit. You could have an entire data center go offline yet if you’ve deployed VPLEX Metro and mirrored everything, you could have everything continue running on the other data center. It would be possible for no one to even notice that one of the sites went offline.
The below picture shows an overview of what a VPLEX Metro configuration would look like.
From my professional experience, what no one seems to talk about is the benefits of VPLEX Local. Even if you have a single array, say a CX3-40, a VPLEX Local installation will one day help you. The key is to have it installed!
The below picture shows an overview of what a VPLEX Local configuration would look like.
So… why do I like VPLEX Local so much even if you only have a single array? Well, let’s address why it’s not going to help you.
It will NOT provide any additional redundancy to your infrastructure even if you set up everything properly. This is another thing to configure so there is always the chance of setting it up improperly.[framed_box]
What are the benefits I see from having a VPLEX Local installation?[/framed_box]
- It has a large cache that sits in-between the host and the array.
- If you don’t have a DR location currently yet will have one in the future, you have more options on how to get data to the DR site. You can do VPLEX Geo, Metro, or use RecoverPoint with VPLEX.
- If you want to mirror your array and have array failover capability within the same datacenter, you already have the VPLEX setup and won’t have to reconfigure anything.
- It is a single point to connect all of your hosts as the VPLEX acts as storage to host and acts as a host to storage. If you have more than one array you don’t have to worry about connecting your hosts to different storage array vendors and getting the connection settings correct. You simply have one place to do it all.
- One of the biggest reasons (as if the above reasons weren’t enough) is that you never have to take down time for a migration again. If you read this and weren’t excited then you haven’t done as many migrations as I have. They’re long. Planning takes weeks as migrating itself takes weeks or months. You have to have a lot of people involved and downtime is required. Downtime is usually a long process as it is not completed in just one night, but more like four to six hours one night every week for three months!
Usually the cutovers happen on Friday or Saturday night and nobody wants to do this. Occasionally things don’t go as planned and you don’t get as much done as you anticipated or there was a setback. The setbacks could be related to any systems no working properly or to something like a key employee forgetting they had to attend a wedding that weekend so you have to push off that weeks migration. I’ve seen it all.
Migrations are complicated and they cost a lot of money to hire someone to do it. As much as you trust your employees how often do they do migrations, once every four years? Wouldn’t you rather have the peace of mind paying someone else who does this professionally? You will need to hire someone that does migrations often and they don’t come cheap.[framed_box]
How does having a VPLEX Local fix this?[/framed_box]
Let’s assume you already have it installed, running, and your hosts have storage presented from it (as you should). The next step is for you to buy a new array, configure the array then present the new storage to the VPLEX. After this you go to the VPLEX and you mirror everything from the old array to the new array. Once that is done you take away the original leg of the mirror (old array) and you’re done. No down time, hardly any planning and no one has to work late from your company. You also save a ton of money as you don’t have to pay someone else to do it for you.