In its messaging, EMC took a cue from Oracle when it staged one of the most extensive product launches in its 32-year history, unveiling a total of 41 new products.
Deep beneath a glitzy New York City product launch Jan. 18 that
included a couple of nonsensical stunts -- 26 people cramming into a
Mini Cooper and a daredevil motorcyle jumper flying over 40 side-by-side
storage racks in Miami, Fla. -- EMC revealed one all-important fact:
The company has finally written new storage software that
eventually will replace all the now-creaky code that was first written
more than two decades ago.
A number of EMC customers have confided to eWEEK during the past few
years that this change has been needed for a long, long time.
In its messaging, EMC took a cue from Oracle when it staged one of the
most extensive product launches in its 32-year history, unveiling a
total of 41 new products. It focused on the same "We're the fastest"
claim that Oracle uses when selling the key attributes of its database
and application servers.
Whether EMC is or isn't "the fastest," of course, depends upon each IT
system and workloads deployed. But the company has, in fact, increased
the horsepower in its arrays with new, cooler-running multi-core
processors and solid-state disk options, enhanced throughput, and added that
new, leaner code that has been needed for so long.
"On the data protection side, 'fast' is still critical, because you are
dealing with a fixed amount of time in your backup slot, which is a big
issue because of data growth," storage analyst Brian Babineau, vice
president of Research and Analyst Services at Enterprise Strategy
Group, told eWEEK.
"You cannot change the fact that there's 24 hours in a day, and you
can't change the fact that your information is growing rapidly. The
only thing you can do is make your stuff faster so you can deal with those
Data Domain unveils Archiver
In summary, EMC introduced: 1) a new line of low-end storage servers
aimed at SMBs called VNX and VNXe, which eventually will replace the
company's old Clariion and Celerra products; 2) new software for its
Symmetrix VMAX systems; 3) an upgraded version of the Data Domain
backup packages; 4) its first EMC-branded Isilon "big data" array; and
5) and an all-new Data Domain
EMC President, CEO and Chairman Joe Tucci told the live and Webcast
audience at the company's event that the company has come a
long way during its generation-plus in business. Tucci reminded
everyone that Symmetrix -- which was introduced in 1990 -- was EMC's
first-ever storage array, and that it held "a whopping" 24GB of data on
"Now, and this is the first time I've seen this, they're actually
measuring information in zettabytes," Tucci said. "So you might ask,
what's a zettabyte look like? Everybody knows a terabyte, a trillion
[bytes]; everybody knows a gigabyte -- a billion [bytes]. A zettabyte
is a billion trillion, or a trillion billion, depending upon how you
want to look at it. But it's a 1 with 21 zeroes after it. It's a
tremendous amount of information."
EMC is approaching the new storage world from both ends: the high
end, or "Big Data," as it has for years, and, more recently from the
small-to-medium-size business end -- most specifically with the new
line of storage devices the company introduced at the New York event.
Like Oracle, EMC is challenging IBM and Hewlett-Packard in the high-end
storage market and HP, Dell, NetApp and many others on the midrange
and SMB side.
Quick facts on the new products
Here are some quick facts on the new products. eWEEK will examine these in more detail in a separate article:
--The new VNX and VNXe storage systems, designed specifically for SMBs
and offered through EMC partners, features a starting price of about
$10,000. EMC says the machines can be configured in a few minutes using a wizard
interface to provision e-mail boxes and storage allotments, storage
targets, access controls, and other policies for up to hundreds of
e-mail users. EMC insisted that no advanced IT experience is necessary
to install, provision and maintain this system; a live demonstration
at the event illustrated this.
--The new EMC Symmetrix VMAX software is leaner and quicker and capable
of supporting petabytes of information and up to a whopping 5 million
virtual machines, EMC Chief Operating Officer Pat Gelsinger said. Among the new features are an advanced version of
EMC's two-year-old FAST (fully automated storage tiering) software that
automatically optimizes an array based on data usage; new server
virtualization, security and federation capabilities; and new operating
software that doubles system performance with no hardware upgrade
--The new Isilon OneFS arrays, the first to come out since EMC's
acquisition of the Seattle-based company last fall, handle up to 10PB
of data in a single file system. Isilon machines are used
by media companies for high-definition video rendering and for
scientific labs for massive data-set projects.
--The new high-performance versions of the EMC Data Domain
deduplication storage system that Gelsinger
said are "seven times faster than our closest competitor" [thanks
mostly to new software and faster chips], and the new Data Domain
Archiver. "The Archiver simply means that you can simply do away with
any kind of tape archiving," Gelsinger said.
About those stunts ...
By the way, the Mini Cooper stunt, performed by a lot of small people in a Connecticut-based dance troupe called
, was done on stage before the live audience in New York. A
representative of the Guinness Book of World Records observed,
sanctioning it as a legitimate world record for "Most Number of People
to Get Inside a Mini Cooper and Stay There for at Least Five Seconds," or
The storage analogy was somewhat apparent: A lot of content
can be crammed into a small space.
In a parallel event in Miami and shown on live video, daredevil
motorcyclist Bubba Blackwell revved up his Harley-Davidson XR7, sped up
a ramp, and vaulted over 40 EMC Symmetrix racks to a safe landing on a
The storage analogy was lost on many observers.