So EMC have finally announced VMAX Cloud Edition; a VMAX iteration that has little to do with technology and everything to do with the way that EMC want us to consume storage. I could bitch about the stupid branding but too many people are expecting that!
Firstly, and in many ways the most important part of the announcement is around the cost model; EMC have moved to a linear cost model; in the past, purchasing a storage array had a relatively large front-loaded cost in that you have to purchase the controllers etc; this meant that your cost per terabyte was high to start with, it then declined and the potentially rose again as you added more controllers and then declined again.
This led to a storage-hugging attitude; that’s my storage array and you can’t use it. A linear cost model allows IT to provide the Business with a fixed cost per terabyte whether you were the first to use it or last to use it. This allows us to move to a consumption and charging model that is closer to that of Amazon and the Cloud providers.
It is fair to point out that actually EMC and other vendors already have various ways to doing this already but they could be complex and used financial tools to enable.
Secondly, EMC are utilising a RESTful API to allow storage to be allocated programmatically from a service catalogue. There are also methods of metering and charging back for storage utilisation. Along with an easy to use portal; the consumption model continues to move to an on-demand model. If you work in IT and are not comfortable with this, you are in for a rough ride for quite some time.
Thirdly, the cost models that I have seen are very aggressive; EMC want to push this model and this technology. If you want to purchase 50Tbs and beyond and you want it on EMC, I can’t see why you would buy any other block storage from EMC. It is almost as if EMC are forcing VNX into a SMB niche. In fact, if EMC can hit some of the price-points I’ve had hinted at; everyone is in a race to the bottom. It could be a Google vs Amazon price-battle.
Fourthly and probably obviously; EMC are likely to be shipping more capacity than an end-user requires, allowing them to grow with minimal disruption. If I was EMC, I’d ship quite a lot of extra capacity and allow a customer to burst into at no charge for a fair proportion of the year. Burst capacity often turns into bought capacity; our storage requirements are rarely temporary and quickly temporary becomes permanent. Storage procurement is never zipless; it always has long term consequences but if EMC can make it look and feel zipless…
I’m expecting EMC also to move to a similar model for the Isilon storage as well; it is well suited to this sort of model. And yet again, this leaves VNX in an interesting position.
Out in the cold, with a tiny frozen hand….dying of consumption.