This is an interesting week in storage — there's more to come that I can't share just yet but I can say that I am likely to type the word "mainframe" more this week than I have done in a long time prior! That'll make some older folks very happy as much of the intent of virtualization, convergence and clouds seems to be in line, at least conceptually, with what the mainframe was all about (now, there's a fine IT philosophy discussion to be sure!)
First out of the gate comes EMC. The vendor, probably glad to have something other than the impending Dell deal to talk about, announced a bunch of stuff today. The storage excitement is in two new flash products — a new all-flashVMAX and the much-awaited official arrival of its DSSD.
The specs and general capabilities of both these new products are commendable: VMAX of course builds off of its strong DNA and high-functioning pedigree and is intended to continue VMAX as the vendor's flagship family for now. And, yes, it works for mainframe as well as everything else! DSSD meanwhile is EMC's launch into the uber-scalable/ultra-performance arena. VMAX is all about performance for mission critical apps that require the highest levels of reliability, sophistication and DP (did I mention that there's zDP, an automated snapshot ability for mainframe storage?). DSSD is more a brute performance "Rack Scale" (as EMC calls it) I/O beast aimed to fulfill the kinds of ultra high bandwidth and ultra low latency needs that were not even imagined just a few years ago.
So, kudos on the products themselves; and the headlines will of course scream speed and scale; but there are also real storylines buried beneath the lede I think:
- The continuing (or one might say "pivotal"... no pun intended!) media change from HDD to solid-state for demanding enterprise workloads. This is for the market as much as for EMC.
- The welcome streamlining of acquisition models that EMC has announced here (most software bundled in, with much easier/flatter maintenance) is testimony to both the maturity and standardization across the storage market, as well as something of a more general industry response to the apparent simplicity of cloud models.
- And one cannot overlook EMC's continuing comfort with overlapping products within its portfolio. Of course flash is a media rather than a market (whatever some vendors like to suggest) and so the continuing shift to flash in many places is simply a reflection of that progress and progression. However, EMC has always been — and continues to be — keen to cover any gaps in its portfolio and thereby demand the attention of its target users and make their acquisition and retention just that bit easier.
Whatever a market leader does is always noteworthy; these new products and approaches merely serve to remind us how EMC got to be a leader in the first place. They are compelling, considered, and surrounded by good-old-fashioned EMC razzmatazz (that can almost make you believe that no one else has thought to use flash!)