Dell EMC VPLEX™ provides an architecture for enterprise-class data mobility and continuous availability by using intelligent cache to provide distributed data protection. VPLEX addresses two distinct use cases:

Data mobility: The ability to move application and data across different storage installations, within the same data center, across a campus, or within a geographical region.

Continuous availability: The ability to create a continuously available storage infrastructure across the same varied geographies with unmatched resiliency.

VPLEX enables the connectivity to heterogeneous storage arrays providing seamless data mobility and the ability to manage storage provisioned from multiple heterogeneous arrays from a single interface within a data center. Data mobility and mirroring are supported across different array types and vendors, including PowerStore.

What is VPLEX?

VPLEX is an excellent platform if you would like to deliver application availability and data mobility. It can virtualize underlying volumes from all DellEMC block storage products but also many other 3rd party storage systems. The whole list of supported storages you can find here (DellEMC Support Account is needed to view VPLEX Simple Support Matrix).

What will VPLEX provide to my infrastructure? Continuous application availability and data mobility.

Dell EMC VPLEX maximizes the returns on investments in all-flash infrastructure or hybrid arrays by providing continuous availability to business-critical workloads. VPLEX also creates a flexible storage architecture that gives IT teams the agility they need to respond to rapid business and technology changes while maximizing asset utilization across active-active datacenters.

As always, first things first. We should always start at the Product Support Page, where you will find all the vital information about the product. I am referring in this article also to other essential docs allowing you to jump into desired information quickly.

VPLEX VS6 Support Page

VPLEX Overview and General Best Practice

VPLEX GeoSynchrony 6.2 Product Guide

VPLEX GeoSynchrony 6.2 Administration Guide

Unisphere for VPLEX Online Help

VPLEX VS6 Specification sheet

VPLEX can be deployed with RecoverPoint, usually ending up with MetroPoint functionality, but about that, I would like to write a separate article later. More details about interoperability with RecoverPoint you will find here.

What is DellEMC saying about VPLEX?

This question we can quickly answer, once you open the VPLEX Product Guide, you will know a lot about VPLEX. Let me copy for you VPLEX Overview from the guide.

Dell EMC VPLEX federates data that is located on heterogeneous storage arrays to create dynamic, distributed and highly available data centers.

Use VPLEX to:

Move data non-disruptively between Dell EMC and other third-party storage arrays without any downtime for the host.

VPLEX moves data transparently and the virtual volumes retain the same identities and the same access points to the host. There is no need to reconfigure the host.

Protect data in the event of disasters or failure of components in your data centers.

With VPLEX, you can withstand failures of storage arrays, cluster components, an entire site failure, or loss of communication between sites (when two clusters are deployed) and still keep applications and data online and available. With VPLEX, you can transform the delivery of IT to a flexible, efficient, reliable, and resilient service

VPLEX Active-Active Data Access

VPLEX addresses these two primary IT needs:

Mobility:

VPLEX moves applications and data between different storage installations:

  • Within the same data center or across a campus (VPLEX Local)
  • Within a geographical region (VPLEX Metro)

Availability:

VPLEX creates high-availability storage infrastructure across these same varied geographies with unmatched resiliency. VPLEX offers the following unique innovations and advantages:

  • VPLEX distributed/federated virtual storage enables new models of application and Data Mobility.
    • VPLEX is optimized for virtual server platforms (VMware ESX, Hyper-V, Oracle Virtual Machine, AIX VIOS).
    • VPLEX can streamline or accelerate transparent workload relocation over distances, including moving virtual machines.
  • Size VPLEX to meet your current needs. Grow VPLEX as your needs grow.
    • A VPLEX cluster includes one, two, or four engines.
    • Add an engine to an operating VPLEX cluster without interrupting service. Add a second cluster to an operating VPLEX cluster without interrupting service.
    • The scalable architecture of VPLEX ensures maximum availability, fault tolerance, and performance.
  • Every engine in a VPLEX cluster can access all the virtual volumes presented by VPLEX.
    • Every engine in a VPLEX cluster can access all the physical storage connected to VPLEX.
  • In a Metro configuration, VPLEX AccessAnywhere provides cache-consistent active-active access to data across two VPLEX clusters.

VPLEX pools the storage resources in multiple data centers so that the data can be accessed anywhere. With VPLEX, you can:

  • Provide continuous availability and workload mobility.
  • Replace your tedious data movement and technology refresh processes with VPLEX’s patented simple, frictionless two-way data exchange between locations.
  • Create an active-active configuration for the active use of resources at both sites.
  • Provide instant access to data between data centers. VPLEX allows simple, frictionless two-way data exchange between locations.
  • Combine VPLEX with virtual servers to enable private and hybrid cloud computing.

VPLEX have two different family: Local and Metro, Local is for single cluster deployment inside single DC, while Metro is intended for minimum 2 site deployments with active-active access for read and write in both sites simultaneously.

Typical deployment model for VPLEX

Two family of VPLEX: Local and Metro

I have heard a lot of great stories during my work in the field in DellEMC. We have customers that were doing billing system migrations from DC1 to DC2 without any disruption to their business and without sacrificing performance or latency for their application.

Do you have a critical Oracle DB? Please read this solution paper for an additional example of possible VPLEX use case DellEMC VPLEX and Oracle Extended Real Application Cluster (RAC) provide true disaster avoidance solution.




VPLEX can be deployed as Local, Metro, or Metro combined with RecoverPoint creating together MetroPoint solution

VPLEX Cluster Configuration

VPLEX allow you to do a scale-out single cluster up to “Quad” config (4x VPLEX VS6 engine) with distributed cache and satisfying performance for most demanding workloads that also requires the most advanced protection and availability.

Use cases

VPLEX Local – you can create highly available volumes across different storages in the environment for business continuity, migrations, and any other purpose where you would like to achieve maximum availability inside a single datacenter or move data without disruption.

VPLEX Metro – you can create highly available volumes spread across two DCs with active-active read and write access – this is a severe differentiator if we would look at our competition. Active-Active R/W access makes from VPLEX top counterpart for any midrange product on the market. Still, it is true that with our storage products VPLEX is integrated to deliver streamlined management for reduced complexity in environments that are very simple and require operational simplicity from the point of administration (e.g., VIAS, AppSync Integration).

If you would like to know more about VPLEX you can always get in touch with me or your local contact within DellEMC.

Sources used for this article: DellEMC site and basic VPLEX documents.