Skip to main content
Hitachi Vantara Knowledge

Storage system hardware

Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform 5000 series (VSP 5000 series) storage systems are high-performance, large-capacity, enterprise RAID storage systems that accommodate scalability to meet a wide range of capacity and performance requirements. VSP 5000 series features all-flash and hybrid models that can scale up in capacity and also scale out for performance, allowing for massive consolidation of workloads and providing exceptional performance and efficiency.

Hardware overview

Combining all-flash storage accelerated by NVMe technology and a new multi-node architecture with the proven performance and resiliency of Hitachi VSP technology, VSP 5000 series offers state-of-the-art advances that provide the highest performance and reliability to meet the most demanding requirements.

VSP 5000 series is available in 2-node, 4-node, and 6-node models that support a variety of drives, including NVMe solid-state devices (SSDs), SAS hard disk drives (HDDs), SAS SSDs, and Hitachi flash module drives (FMDs).

  • All-flash arrays

    The VSP 5100 and VSP 5500 AFAs offer industry-leading NVMe flash performance in addition to the proven performance of Hitachi FMDs. VSP 5100 and VSP 5500 provide an all-flash solution that works seamlessly with other Hitachi infrastructure products through common management software and rich automation tools.

  • Hybrid arrays

    The VSP 5100H and VSP 5500H hybrid arrays combine high-speed Hitachi flash drives with data reduction and Hitachi Dynamic Tiering active flash, making it simple to move to all-flash gradually over time.

Storage system architecture

The new multi-node architecture of VSP 5000 series allows scale out and linear performance expansion as storage needs increase. All VSP 5000 series models share the same hardware architecture, differing only in number of nodes, number and types of features (front-end modules, back-end modules), and number and types of drives.

VSP 5000 series is available in the following configurations:

  • VSP 5100: 2-node all-flash array
  • VSP 5100H: 2-node hybrid array
  • VSP 5500: 2-node, 4-node, or 6-node scalable all-flash array
  • VSP 5500H: 2-node, 4-node, or 6-node scalable hybrid array

The redundancy and backup features of VSP 5000 series eliminate all active single points of failure, no matter how unlikely, enabling the storage system to provide the highest level of reliability and data availability. Each node pair features an advanced, multiple-redundancy architecture. All physical and logical elements needed to sustain processing are duplicated within each node pair (front-end modules, back-end modules, and separate, duplicate copies of cache and shared memory contents). In addition, the hosts are connected to each node pair using an alternate path scheme, and the front-end and back-end modules are also split across the nodes within each node pair to provide full backup.

In addition to the high-level of redundancy that this architecture delivers, many of the individual hardware components contain redundant circuits, paths, or processors, enabling the storage system to remain operational in the unlikely event of multiple component failures. Each node in a node pair is powered by its own set of power supplies that can provide power for the entire node pair in the event of power supply failure. Because of this redundancy, a single node pair can sustain even the loss of multiple power supplies and still continue operation.

Hardware components

The VSP 5000 series models are rack-mounted, enterprise-level storage systems supporting all-open, all-mainframe, and multiplatform configurations. The main hardware components are the controller boards, cache memory, cache flash memory, front-end modules, back-end modules, drives, service processor (SVP), and power supplies and batteries.

  • Controller boards

    VSP 5000 series features two 10-core Intel processors on each controller board, providing 25% more core processors than VSP G1x00 and VSP F1500 models. The fabric-acceleration module (also called Hitachi Interconnect Edge or HIE) controls data transfer between the controllers.

  • Cache memory

    VSP 5000 series places all read and write data in cache. The amount of fast-write data in cache is dynamically managed by the cache control algorithms to provide the optimum amount of read and write cache, depending on the workload read and write I/O characteristics. In addition, write data is mirrored until destaged, while read data is not mirrored to use cache more efficiently. All cache memory in VSP 5000 series is nonvolatile and protected by battery backup.

  • Cache flash memory

    The nonvolatile cache flash memory (CFM) contains the cache directory and configuration information for the storage system, and it also backs up the data in cache in the event of an input power failure. Cache flash memory is also duplexed across controllers and is protected by (redundant) battery backup.

  • Front-end modules

    The front-end modules (FEMs) process the commands from the hosts and manage host access to cache. Each FEM feature (pair of boards) contains one type of host channel interface: Fibre Channel, iSCSI (optical), or FICON®. The channel interfaces on each board can transfer data simultaneously and independently. Fibre Channel and FICON® features are available in shortwave (multi-mode) and longwave (single-mode) versions.

  • Back-end modules

    The back-end module (BEM) features, also installed in pairs for redundancy and performance, control the transfer of data between the data drives and cache. VSP 5000 series supports three types of BEM features: standard SAS BEMs, standard NVMe BEMs, and encrypting BEMs. The encrypting BEMs (EBEMs) provide data encryption for both open and mainframe systems. RAID-level intermix (all supported RAID types) is allowed within an array domain (under a BEM pair).

  • Drives

    VSP 5000 series supports a variety of drives, featuring ultra-high-speed-response nonvolatile memory express (NVMe) solid-state devices (SSDs) in addition to serial-attached SCSI (SAS) hard disk drives (HDDs), SAS SSDs, and Hitachi flash module drives (FMDs). Dynamic sparing is performed automatically if needed: spare drives, which can be hot swapped without interrupting data availability, can be configured to replace failed drives automatically, securing the fault-tolerant integrity of the logical drives.

    The drive chassis types for internal drives are:

    • Small-form-factor (SFF) chassis for 2.5-inch (SAS) drives
    • SFF chassis for 2.5-inch NVMe drives
    • Large-form-factor (LFF) chassis for 3.5-inch (SAS) drives
    • FMD chassis for Hitachi FMDs (also SAS)

    Each drive chassis contains enclosure boards and AC-DC power supplies with built-in cooling fans that are implemented in a duplex configuration for redundancy. All drive chassis components can be replaced and added while the storage system is in operation.

    VSP 5000 series also supports a diskless configuration that has external storage only and no internal drives. External storage systems benefit from the data services that VSP 5000 series delivers, including data reduction, metroclustering, and automation.

  • Service processor

    VSP 5000 series includes a service processor (SVP). The SVP, which is integrated into the storage system, is used by authorized Hitachi Vantara personnel to maintain, service, and upgrade the storage system. The SVP collects performance data for hardware components to enable diagnostic testing and analysis and is connected with a service center for remote monitoring and maintenance of the storage system.

  • Power supplies and batteries

    Each controller node is powered by redundant power supplies, with each power supply able to provide power for the entire node, if necessary. The AC power supplied to each node is converted by the AC-DC power supplies to supply DC power to other storage system components. The backup batteries for user data are installed on cache backup modules (BKMF: backup module with fan) attached to the controller boards. If input power is interrupted for more than 20 milliseconds, the controllers use power from the batteries to back up the data in cache as well as the storage system configuration data onto the cache flash memory.