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Could VMAX3 possibly be the last incarnation of the Symmetrix that ships?

As an Enterprise Array, it feels done; there is little left to do, arguably this has been the case for some time but the missing feature for VMAX had always been ease of use and simplicity. The little foibles such as the Rule of 17, Hypers, Metas, BCVs vs Clones all added to the mystique/complexity and led to many storage admins believing that we were some kind of special priesthood.

The latest version of VMAX and the rebrand of the Enginuity into HyperMax removes much of this and it finally feels like a modern array…as easy to configure and run as any array from their competitors.

And with this ease of use; it feels like the VMAX is done as an Enterprise Array…there is little more to add. As block array, it is feature complete.

The new NAS functionality will need building upon but apart from this…it’s done.

So this leaves EMC with VNX and VMAX; two products that are very close in features and functionality; one that is cheap and one that is still expensive. So VMAX’s only key differentiator is cost…a Stellar Artois of the storage world.

I can’t help but feel that VNX should have a relatively short future but perhaps EMC will continue to gouge the market with the eye-watering costs that VMAX still attracts. A few years a go; I thought the Clariion team might win out over the Symm team, now I tend to believe that eventually the Symm will win out.

But as it stands, VMAX3 is the best enterprise array that EMC have shipped but arguably it should be the last enterprise array that they ship. The next VMAX version should just be software running on either your hardware or perhaps a common commodity platform that EMC ship with the option of running the storage personality of choice. And at that point; it will become increasingly hard to justify the extra costs that the ‘Enterprise’ array attracts.

This model is radically different to the way they sell today…so moving them into a group with the BURA folks makes sense; these folks are used to selling software and understand that is a different model..well some of them do.

EMC continue to try to re-shape themselves and are desperately trying to change their image; I can see a lot of pain for them over the next few years especially as they move out of the Tucci era.

Could they fail?

Absolutely but we live a world where it is conceivable that anyone of the big IT vendors could fail in the next five years. I don’t think I remember a time when they all looked so vulnerable but as their traditional products move to a state of ‘doneness’; they are all thrashing around looking for the next thing.

And hopefully they won’t get away with simply rebranding the old as new…but they will continue to try.


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