This page is the wiki home for a white paper that describes the Dell™ PowerVault™ NX1950, Dell/EMC AX150i, Dell/EMC CX3-20c, and Dell/EMC CX3-40c Internet SCSI (iSCSI) storage arrays, shows how to use them with VMware, and gives some relative performance data. The complete paper with all the details is linked and a summary and highlights of the paper are included directly on this page.

Discussion and questions about the paper can be written in the threads area at the bottom of this page.

Primary gifDell iSCSI Storage for VMware White Paper Virtualization Whitepapers - The Dell TechCenter

White Paper Executive Summary

New iSCSI storage arrays from Dell provide cost-effective, easy-to-deploy shared storage solutions for applications like the VMware® Infrastructure 3 server virtualization software. In this paper, features and performance of the Dell PowerVault NX1950, the Dell/EMC CX3 line of Fibre Channel/iSCSI combination storage arrays, and the Dell/EMC AX150i are compared, instructions for using with VMware are given, and recommendations are made when to use which.

White Paper Highlights


  • The Dell iSCSI Storage Arrays
    • The PowerVault NX1950
      • The Dell PowerVault NX1950 is an integrated solution that provides both block-level application data through iSCSI as well as file data through the standard Ethernet network protocols—NFS (for Linux) and CIFS (for Windows). The PowerVault NX1950 High Availability model consists of two clustered 1 rack unit (1U), two-socket servers running Microsoft® Windows® Unified Data Storage Server 2003 (WUDSS), connected through Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) to a PowerVault MD3000 disk array with redundant embedded RAID controllers containing a total of 1 GB cache. WUDSS provides an integrated console for storage system management. The PowerVault NX1950 offers customers an attractive entry point into storage virtualization. With this unified storage solution, small and mid-sized businesses and remote offices have the opportunity to both consolidate file data and virtualize application data in one device. The PowerVault NX1950 comes integrated with a PowerVault MD3000 disk array and can be expanded to allow for future growth with up to two PowerVault MD1000 Disk Expansion Enclosures (with up to 15 drives each). For this test, a configuration with fifteen 146 GB, 15K rpm SAS drives was used.
    • The Dell/EMC FC/iSCSI Arrays
      • The Dell/EMC CX3 FC/iSCSI arrays provide both end-to-end 4 Gb/s Fibre Channel and iSCSI storage area network (SAN) capability. The line includes the CX3-10c, CX3-20c, and CX3-40c. Each array includes two redundant storage processors and a standby power supply to enable the use of write cache on the storage processors. Management is provided by Navisphere®, part of an extended suite of EMC management and backup tools. While both the FC and iSCSI ports of an array may be used at the same time, a given host can connect to an array through only one of these protocols at a time. This study tested the CX3-20c and the CX3-40c, both with one DAE4P disk array with fifteen 73 GB, 15K rpm drives.
    • The Dell/EMC AX150i
      • Positioned as an entry-level storage array within the Dell/EMC line, the Dell/EMC AX150i can house two storage processors and twelve 3.5-inch Serial ATA II drives in a single 2U rack enclosure. iSCSI connectivity is provided through four 1 Gb/s Ethernet ports. The dual storage processor system contains 1 GB of mirrored cache, which uses an uninterruptible power supply to enable the write cache. Navisphere Express, a simplified version of Navisphere, manages the array. The system used in the test was a dual-storage processor system with twelve 250 GB, 7.2K rpm drives.
  • VMware and iSCSI - see here for complete instructions on using VMware with Dell iSCSI storage arrays.
  • Performance Results using MS SQL Server® 2005 DVD Store Test - see white paper for details.

iSCSI Storage Array Performance