EMC’s 2014 MegaLaunch - a Tour de Force? (Includes Video)

Last week EMC held the fourth of what it has now established as its “MegaLaunches.” The scale of the events that surround these launches is consistent with the range of announcements that are included. EMC has never been a company that can be accused of being backwards about coming forwards, but even its most vociferous critics and ardent competitors would – albeit no doubt reluctantly! – have to concede that the substance that was delivered to the market last week had some real weight and value. Of course with so much to cover and comment upon it’s hard to do justice in one blog: however, with the help of my colleagues Terri McClure and Jason Buffington, I hope that this video blog will do a darned fine job of not only covering the announcement highlights but also giving you a flavor of the event. While the video itself is longer than we usually produce, I would – with all due humility – commend it to you as a great overview, as I think it feels way shorter than its 8 minute run time.

All of us will be adding more detailed analysis over the coming days and weeks. For instance, Terri McClure has already put out an insightful take on emc-opens-the-cloud-gateway-with-twinstrata-acquisition/index.html" target="_blank">EMC’s TwinStrata purchase in her blog.

I am planning another commentary blog (with maybe just a touch of color too!) to give some thoughts on news that is not covered in much detail here, such as XtremIO, ViPR, and ECS. Then, in another week or two I will also post a compilation video of interviews conducted at the London event with Barry Ader (regarding the VMAX3 news), Sam Grocott (on Isilon’s new capabilities) and Josh Goldstein (on XtremIO’s significant feature upgrades).

For now, I hope you find the video summary interesting, useful, and engaging. Oh, and the title? Partly a rhetorical question, and partly a not-to-be-missed chance in an SEO-dominated world to get a pun included (the Tour de France went through London on the day preceding EMC’s event).

Video Transcript

Mark: What you're looking at here is the old Billingsgate Market in Central London, in the city. Now, EMC's been to some interesting places for its MegaLaunches. This is number four, Redefining the Possible, as they say. Let's go and see what's inside.

Terri: EMC had a ton of announcements this week at their MegaLaunch 2014. My colleagues are going to cover some of them, so let me just focus on the Isilon side of the equation today. Isilon really announced four things. They announced an expanded number of connectivity options with OpenStack Swift, and HDFS 2.3, as well as SMB multi-channel support. They announced to a couple of new hardware platforms. They announced flash as cache. And they announced some new solution bundles to make it easier for people to consume their solutions.

And that was a lot just on the Isilon front. So you can imagine, we're pretty much overwhelmed. But what do the Isilon announcements really mean? They mean that EMC's executing on its enterprise data lake strategy. To support an enterprise data lake that gives you one copy of data that can be leveraged multiple ways, you need to have all of these different ways of supporting the different types of applications and more importantly, the different types of workload. They've increased their addressable market and they've given users an option to support more different types of workloads to enable them the economies of scale of being able to consolidate on the enterprise data platform.

Mark: From my perspective - primary storage - it's always big news when an industry leader like EMC makes an announcement. At this event, the main announcement was VMAX3. I'm going to give you three things to talk about. The first is that like the TARDIS and Doctor Who that was a big theme at this event, there's a lot more now behind or in this box than you might realize. A great new list of functions, specifications have all gone up. Everything from better snaps, and InfiniBand, and HYPERMAX Operating Systems, and so on and so forth, lots more functionality.

The other thing was new news and it's not really directly to do with this box - other than it's connected to it - is EMC's acquisition of a company called TwinStrata, a cloud gateway company. That now means that the control and the abilities of VMAX can include external cloud. That's a big win if you're looking to manage your overall data in an intelligent and economic fashion.

And the last thing is, I'm going to use a different phrase, EMC talks about SLAs, but really this is MBO, management by objective. You use the operating system to explain what you want from certain applications, what workloads need what sort of performance, you tell that to the box, the box does its magic, you manage by objectives. Those three things, I think, are very important and pertinent as we grow this market, and as EMC looks to cement its leadership.

Jason: I'm here inside of a TARDIS in London, at EMC's launch event. If you're Doctor Who fan, you know that there's a fine line between science fiction and science fact. Well, in terms of data protection, what if you could do backups without actually doing backups? And in the case of EMC, what they're talking about is a product called ProtectPoint. And what ProtectPoint does is it says, "What if you could do backups without a backup infrastructure? Without backup agents, without backup servers, etc.?" Instead, now, the data is going to go form snapshots inside of VMAX production storage directly to EMC Data Domain and protection storage.

Now, what this is going to do for folks is, basically, give them the benefits of backup and recovery without all the extra infrastructure that goes along with that. It's not that far different from what Oracle DBAs have been doing with RMAN going directly to Data Domain, or for that matter, with unstructured file data going into Isilon instead.

The trick though is that that means that the storage admin and the backup admin, both of their roles have to evolve. The storage admin is now going to be responsible for things like defining backup as well as invoking restores, and yet the data protection manager, or what used to be the backup admin, they still have to be responsible for making sure the data protection still happens from a regulatory compliance perspective and just from an operational readiness perspective. Both roles have to change, but before either one could do that, the technology underneath had to be there. ProtectPoint is another step on that journey. Congratulations, EMC.

Mark: So with all the high tech discussions and all the announcements from EMC, there are obviously plenty of other distractions around London. I might be just a little bit biased, I happen to think it's the greatest city in the world. Look at all these historical fascination behind me. And of course, EMC, meanwhile, is talking about the future. But there's one other thing I want to mention, they were good enough to lay on the Tour de France while we were here.

Mark: I also managed to get just a minute with Jonathan Martin, who is the new CMO of EMC. I asked him to talk about the relevance of today in terms... not so much of the products, but at the market and what EMC hope to achieve with today. I also asked him then to summarize - for somebody who wasn't here - what's the one key take away he'd want someone who wasn't able to attend the event to know.

Jonathan: Everyone's talked for many, many years about how do you reduce cost in your existing application farm to allow you to go invest in new applications. We got a bunch of new releases today to go focus on helping people hyper consolidate their traditional application state to help them drive much more performant workloads in certain environments. But also allow them to bridge to new applications and allow them to go deliver things like data lake technology with the Isilon products and those kind of things. So really, really exciting, good mix of products across the existing applications and new application environments and I believe this has tremendous implications for the second half of the year.

So probably the big takeaway for today is a bunch of compelling technologies for both private and public cloud environments. We believe the future really is a hybrid one and the products and technologies that we've delivered today really are going to help people accelerate the journey to the hybrid cloud.

Mark: So there you have it. Hopefully useful summary of what was a very busy event. I've come to sit down and it was a lot to take in.

Topics: Storage IT Infrastructure Data Protection