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Dell EMC VNX – Product Brief

Last updated September 19th, 2019 for minor updates. Concise 13-page overview of the characteristics, architecture, and functionality of Dell EMC VNX. Download the free Product Brief now!


The EMC VNX series are a family of systems that provides unified file and block storage.  The first generation of VNX replaced the CLARiiON and Celerra product line.  The next generation of VNX systems contains a major update to the Storage Processor implementation for block storage.  The second generation VNX increased performance of VNX by 4X over the first generation and added additional capabilities.

The VNX systems provide a wide set of connectivity options for block access and for file access as a NAS system.  There are two different series in the VNX family:  the VNXe targeted as an entry-level storage system and the VNX as a mid-tier system.  Two gateway systems are offered, the VG2 and VG8, which attach to EMC block storage systems and provide NAS functionality.

The VNX series models all consist of the following modular components:

  • One or two standby power systems (SPS) as 1U modules
  • A 2U storage processor enclosure (SPE) for model VNX8000 contains the two storage processors with no disks, while the 3U Disk Processor Enclosure (DPE) for the other models contain the two storage processors with up to 15 3.5” disks or 25 2.5” disks. These models require four disks to be installed to serve as cache vault targets.
  • Disk-array enclosure (DAE) with either 15 3.5” disks or 25 2.5” disks or 60 3.5” disks.
  • 200GB on the first four drives are required for cache vault storage. In the VNX8000 they are the first four drives in the DAE.
  • All components can be housed in the EMC 40U rack or any standard 19-inch rack


The EMC VNX system is targeted for usage in the mid-tier enterprise space for customers who need either a SAN block storage solution, a NAS system or both.  The VNX contains many advanced features and capabilities seen in high end enterprise systems.

  • Characteristics
    • Performance – With specialized processors for block and file, the second generation VNX should have excellent performance in a block and file usage environment. Only marketing performance data has been made available.
    • Availability – As a dual node system for the storage processors and an N-way node system for NAS, the VNX has the high availability characteristics including the failover and failback required of a mid-tier system.
    • Replication for BC/DR – Both asynchronous and synchronous remote replication is available with the RecoverPoint software and VNX Snapshot and MirrorView. Replicator.
    • Notable – Unisphere is a high-value administrative tool with advanced capabilities.
  • Applications
    • The EMC VNX is targeted at applications that use block I/O, file I/O, or both in a combined system.
    • The features of snapshot and remote replication give customers high-end system capabilities. The performance and features allow applications to be deployed in a high availability environment.
  • System environments
    • The EMC VNX is a block storage system accessed using Fibre Channel, Fiber Channel over Ethernet, or iSCSI with standard drivers on host systems and a NAS system with NFS and CIFS support.
  • Deployment and Administration
    • The VNX has been targeted for installation and management by the IT generalist. EMC has included wizards and quick start configurations to allow for simple deployments.
    • The management is through Unisphere with an additional MMC plug-in for NAS usage.
    • EMC has released vSphere plug-ins in addition to other VMware support such as VAAI.

Evaluator Group EvaluScale: Dell EMC VNX – SAN Storage

Evaluator Group product review methodology “EvaluScale” assesses each product within a specific technology area.  The definitions of the criteria and explanations of how products are reviewed can be found in the  Evaluator Series Evaluation Guide. Download the product brief now to view the Evaluscale for this product.

Evaluator Group Opinion: Differentiating elements for Dell EMC VNX

Dell EMC VNX is a unified SAN and NAS system where the file serving function is integral to the system.  Dell EMC has largely replaced the VNX with the Unity system or with the SC system for block only.  Evaluations should refer to the Evaluator Group Product Briefs for those products.

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