Hands on with the new EMC VNX5400

This week I was onsite with a customer setting up their new virtualization environment and got to play with a couple of the new EMC VNX5400’s. I wont go through all the marketing stuff as there are plenty of places you can go look at that, but let’s take a look at I unboxed.

Looking at the back of the DPE, its pretty easy to see some major differences if you are used to the VNX5300. First instead of on board ports they now use SLIC modules just like the data movers in a unified system do. Also the huge orange knob is new. After some tinkering I found that it is used to remove the top module, which contains the battery backup unit on the left (its the small square box on both SP’s) as well as the power supply and the back-end bus connectors.


Next up is a view of the front. It looks much like a VNX5300/5100 with the 2.5″ drives however instead of a plain metal spacer under the drives we now have fans which sit in front of the CPU modules (ie the brains of the san). Which means that the SP’s now are removed through the front of the unit, not the rear.


Ok now for a closer look at the rear of the “A” side.  (remember for a bigger version just click any of the photos) If you look at the top middle of the photo you see two small square connectors, these are the new back end bus ports. Before the cables that connected the shelves together were the same size on both ends, but now the cable that goes from the DPE to the first shelf on both bus 0 and bus 1 will require a special cable with this smaller end. (See the next two pictures for a close up of this cable). And in the picture directly below you can see this system is configured with only a single 4 port 8Gb Fiber Channel module.


One view of the new bus cable.


And another.


Ok so next up is the power supply and cable for the front face plate light…. if you dont install this the system will fail to be awesome (im kidding of course). But yeah, this little guy gets plugged into the rail (yes the rail holding the DPE into the rack) and feeds power to the front face plate to you get the bad ass blue light seen in the next picture.


Front face plates after receiving power from above power supply and cable.


Lastly I wanted to leave you with some better pictures and stuff, but I could not find any visio stencils, all I could find were some pictures from the Chinese EMC forums. I included them in the gallery below. Stay tuned, I will post performance numbers of this system as well, but in another post.




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15 Responses to "Hands on with the new EMC VNX5400"

  1. Out of interest, did your battery backups also come with the single bit of metal to sit them on? – I.e. Hardly a proper rack mount for them. Seems to just rely on having two in at all times.

    I really wish EMC would spend a little more on the locks for these things too, the latches to remove the faceplates on the old models (CX4 era) were awful and now the locks on the VNX’s are pretty fragile.

  2. the new VNX5400’s no longer have SPS’s like your talking about… they have small BBU modules that slide into the actual 3u DPE enclosure… no more extra 1u (flimsy metal tray)

    but yes… the vnx5300’s that that small metal tray that is just sheet metal. However i believe there are some supports that you can install in them if you only have one battery… but personally for 492$ list price id buy the extra battery so the array doesnt go into write through mode if one were to fail.

  3. Hi, nice info. We just got our unified delivered and it will be installed the coming week. Did you have the time to benchmark anything?

    I see you have some SSD’s in, are they used for FAST Cache or just tiering?

  4. i typically will always use SSD’s as fast cache unless there are a bunch of them, or an app that requires a tier of them.

    I did get some time to benchmark it, and on the VMware IOAnalyzer Max IOps test (with 16 IOAnalyzers running) i got back 148k IOps one time, and over 340k the first time. However with other tests the results were more realistic with numbers in the 4-8k range for tests that were doing r/w and random

  5. Hi Justin, great post.

    We recently purchased a VNX 5400 for use with Citrix XenServer 6.2. Setup so far has been a nightmare due to incredibly POOR PERFORMANCE over iSCSI (especially when reading data).

    CITRIX USERS BEWARE – after several weeks, EMC and Citrix have come to the realization that their solutions are simply not compatible over iSCSI. EMC requests that with the VNX 5400 that “delayed ACK” is turned off – we have seen performance improvement when this is done with a Windows physical server connected to the VNX. However, XenServer does not include this capability in their feature set and is unable/unwilling to include it in their custom Linux kernel at this time.

    We are currently working with EMC and our vendor on converting to Fibre Channel. Other options would be to convert our infrastructure to VMware or Hyper-V.

    EMC still lists XenServer on their VNX compatibility list. Citrix still lists the VNX on their XenServer compatibility list. But the new generation VNX is NOT compatible via iSCSI.

  6. Hi Sid and Justin,

    I´ve also drawn the conclusion that delayed ack really needs to be turned off for ESXi (tested with 5.1 only). We see dramatically better performance when turned off, not only sequential but also random. And most interestingly all the latency/hickup issues seems to have gone away.

    Using 10GBe for SP uplinks and 1GBe for servers. HP ProCurve 2920 with flowcontrol and jumbo frames activated.


  7. hi
    can i ask you a question about vnx 5800 ?
    i have a VNX5800 , after upgrade OE , a problem occured to me.

    SPA IP :
    SPB IP :

    i can ping and access into the SPB but the SPA IP Address is gone 🙁
    i directly connect into tt , reboot sp , plug and unplug the io controller but no diffrecnt

    can u helmp me on this ?

  8. Great website!

    Very useful pics as I am having installs abroad and cant physically be there but just imagine things, now I got a better sense of the VNX5400.

    If possible could you share if you have migrated from CX to VNX?


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