Tuesday, April 14, 2009

EMC V-Max: Locked (in) and loaded

April 14, 2009 – EMC’s announcement today of its Virtual Matrix Architecture and Symmetrix V-Max systems certainly didn’t lack hyperbole. EMC chairman, president and CEO Joe Tucci called it the most significant Symmetrix innovation since EMC debuted the platform 18 years ago.

Not surprisingly, Hitachi Data Systems vice president and CTO Hu Yoshida was quick to weigh in on EMC’s announcement in his “Don’t Confuse Symmetrix V-Max with Storage Virtualization” blog (even though EMC didn’t in fact equate V-Max with storage virtualization). Referring to the V-Max as “just another big monolithic storage system,” Yoshida makes the point that V-Max is as locked in as vendor lock-in gets. Not only can you not put other vendors’ disk arrays in the Virtual Matrix Architecture, you can’t even put EMC’s Clariion or DMX arrays in it. Which was a good springboard for Yoshida to sing the praises of HDS’ USP V system, which virtualizes heterogeneous storage platforms.

Not that anybody expected EMC to embrace heterogeneity in its new architecture.

Even the analyst community couldn’t resist hyperbole in covering this announcement. For example, Pund-IT Research’s Charles King and the Mesabi Group’s David Hill wrote that the Virtual Matrix Architecture and V-Max systems “are likely to incite a tectonic shift in the enterprise storage market” and that the improvements (relative to DMX-4) “range from the simply impressive to the seriously jaw-dropping.”

And, sending me agoogling, King and Hill noted that the Symmetrix V-Max systems are “based on highly integrated ‘layers,’ resulting in a delectably enterprise-class equivalent of a Sachertorte.”

In the past, every time EMC made a momentous move (say with the acquisitions of Documentum, RSA and VMware), I questioned their strategy and even predicted that some of their acquisition follies would end in failure. I was always wrong.

I quit nay-saying the Hopkinton honchos a long time ago. Sure, there are a few chinks in their armor, but they have more arrows in their quiver than a few of their competitors combined.

The V-Max systems and Virtual Matrix Architecture will no doubt prove successful, despite the vendor lock-in and the starting price of $250,000 – not exactly the antidote for what’s ailing the IT economy (although the systems do provide a lot more bang for the buck than DMX-4s; e.g., 3x the performance, 3x more capacity and 2x the connectivity).

The architecture may not be storage virtualization per se, but it will play well in huge server virtualization environments, particularly in managed service provider environments trying to capitalize on cloud-based computing/storage/virtualization.

For EMC exec Chuck Hollis’ blog on the announcement, see “Symmetrix V-Max: Storage Architecture Redefined.” It’s biased, but interesting.

1 comment:

Eric said...

While our industry is ailing, our customers, the business, still are moving forward with initiatives. It's just now that we're much more deliberate in our actions and think twice about making a plunge. Now, with that said, $250k was the "list price" on the V-Max SE. The true price we know will exceed this in a configured solution, but what will that compare to in respect to CX4 and DMX4 offerings, that will truly show us the seriousness of this offering in these times...

Now that in mind, the business that I report to, while in a shaky industry, is still having to seriously make decisions to purchase to enable it to transform with the times. That said, there are large amounts of new feature sets that make this offering quite attractive and make it compelling to make the jump. We've been traditionally a mid-tier shop, but this now makes us stop and reconsider our decision.

As for Hu, he's always all over the place. I would like to see what his comments are after the dust settles a bit and the knee-jerk reactions start subsiding. I also recommend that he reads what's out there before commenting, maybe the old "write the email, save it to the drafts folder and return later" practice is something he aught to try.