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What's the difference between EMC VNX series and ViPR?

Brien Posey explains how two of EMC's virtual storage products work and for what use cases they work best.

EMC's VNX family is a collection of hardware appliances. The VNXe appliances are geared toward smaller organizations, while the regular VNX series arrays are marketed to midsize and enterprise-class organizations.

VNX series arrays include support for up to 1,000 drives and offer both file and block functionality. NFS, CIFS and pNFS protocols are supported for file-level functionality, while block-level storage can make use of the FC, FCoE and iSCSI protocols. VNX appliances make use of 6 Gigabit per second SAS backend infrastructure, PCI Expresss Gen 2 I/O modules and Intel Xeon 5600 multi-core processors.

So what about virtual VNX? Well, the EMC VNX series is a hardware-based storage solution. It is, however, possible to run a virtualized EMC VNX instance. You would have to provide your own storage hardware and there is a bit of a learning curve associated with getting the virtualized environment up and running.

The most important thing to understand about virtualized VNX deployments is that they are not intended for use in production environments. A virtualized VNX instance will be slower than a physical VNX appliance and the EMC VNX VAS only supports NFS (EMC Celerra supports NFS and iSCSI). Also, because virtual VNX is designed for lab environments, you are probably not going to be able to get support for it.

In contrast, EMC ViPR Controller is designed for use in production environments. It is a vendor-neutral, open source platform for storage management. The ViPR software can automate storage provisioning and reclamation tasks while treating your storage hardware as a pool of resources.

EMC ViPR works with EMC and third-party storage platforms and can manage any block level storage that supports the OpenStack Cinder Driver.

In other words, both virtual VNX and ViPR allow for storage management, but only ViPR is intended for use in production.

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