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Always Questions

Matt Davis touches on a number of my favourite storage subjects in his post here, so I thought I’d take it and run with it a little bit with some statements and some questions.

Firstly, the storage array is becoming software layered on top of a commodity platform.

Secondly and related, hardware is becoming less of differentiator between the array types from all vendors.

Thirdly, if the only differentiator is software; why really do EMC have VNX and VMAX? Because they do I suspect is the real answer and glomming those two lines together is the job of the next guy.

Fourthly, why do I really pay so much extra for VMAX? What are the relative sizes of the two development teams and is VMAX software so much better? Or is it that to make it really Enterprise, you have to charge more?

Fifthly, could EMC build a multi-head VNX to support block? Could they build a multi-head VNX to support file?

Sixthly, would not the ideal EMC platform be VMAX and Isilon running on the same hardware to provide scale-out block and file? If you feel brave, perhaps run Atmos to support Object as well?

Seventhly, do EMC *really* need Cisco to produce the next generations of vBlock?

A few statements and more questions. I find EMC a fascinating company; there is the appearance of clarity of vision but at times, you have to wonder if there is true clarity of purpose.

Thanks Matt for the inspiration..

One Comment

  1. IMHO the ongoing discussion out there disregards something. When people say hardware will be (or “is” – depending on whom you ask) a commodity and software will be the only differentiator, they tend to argument like hardware falls out of the equation at all. Like magically software can run on air. But that’s not the case. To achieve enterprise-sized workloads with really low latencies, you cannot just run your storage controller software on a tablet pc – let alone a vm on a tablet pc. For example IBM’s SAN Volume Controller – it’s all about the software. It runs on commodity x86 hardware. But to achieve the IOPS and the low latency and equally important: to really be compatible with the whole interop matrix, there is indeed a lot of hardware development, hardware-specific software development and immense amounts of tests necessary. And coming from tech support myself I know how important it is for availability and robustness to be able to rely on the proper hardware and on software dedicated to it. …just my 2 cents

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