EMC Goes on the Storage Offensive

Mike Vizard
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Top 10 Storage and Networking Trends for 2014

Assailed by new and existing competitors at a time when storage technology as a whole is rapidly evolving, EMC today went on the offensive across multiple storage fronts.

The storage category leader announced today the acquisition of TwinStrata, a provider of heterogeneous cloud storage gateway appliances. The company also launched new classes of VMAX storage arrays and XtremIO all-flash arrays along with an upgrade to the EMC Isilon OneFS file system. In addition, EMC also announced that it is now shipping version 2.0 of its ViPR storage controller and an EMC ECS hyperscale storage system based on ViPR.

Jeremy Burton, president of EMC Products, Marketing and Solutions, says that as the amount of diversity increases in storage environments, customers are looking to EMC to provide a higher level of abstraction to allow them to manage data as a true service regardless of where it’s stored. The ViPR storage controller is a major step in that direction because it enables IT organizations to apply a number of differentiated policies to govern access to data.

Burton says the latest version of VMAX furthers that strategy by giving customers access to a “consolidation monster” that makes use of a hypervisor and storage operating system, known as HYPERMAX OS, on the storage system to allow customers to dynamically access 384 processing cores. Based on faster Intel processors, with additional Flash cache and larger disk drives, the latest VMAX systems are three times faster than the previous VMAX generation of systems and they cut the total cost of ownership by 50 percent.

Meanwhile, the latest version of Isilon OneFS is designed to make it easier to manage data lakes that span multiple systems, including data residing in the Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS). The latest version adds a SmartFlash cache that can be applied to up to 1 petabyte of data storage in an Isilon network attached storage (NAS) system. EMC also announced an Isilon S210 series, which is capable of delivering up to 3.75 million IOPs and an Isilon X410 series that is optimized for storage environments that need as much as 70 percent more overall data throughput.

In addition, EMC announced that it has partnered with Pivotal, a subsidiary company, to create a Data Lake Hadoop Bundle based on the Big Data analytics technologies marketed by Pivotal.

Finally, EMC’s new all-Flash XtremIO 3.0 storage array creates a new 5TB entry-level configuration along with a 20TB configuration that can be scaled out up to six “bricks” using as many as 12 controllers. EMC has added new inline compression technologies. For example, this technology would allow 90TB of usable Flash capacity to effectively provide 540TB of storage. EMC has also added an in-memory snapshot capability that makes it simpler and faster to copy data, while also encrypting all data stored on the array.


In 2015, Burton notes that EMC plans to extend its portfolio of all-Flash arrays following the recent acquisition of DSSD, a startup company working on new interfaces for integrating Flash technologies with servers.

The ultimate goal, says Burton, is to give customers access to the full arsenal of storage technologies needed by a modern enterprise from a single vendor, which makes all these technologies easier to manage in concert.

Burton notes that more storage-related applications will also start to be run directly on the array. There’s no reason for backup processes, for example, to have to be run on a server, says Burton.

As storage continues to evolve, data management in the enterprise is rapidly evolving. In a world where massive amounts of data can be stored almost anywhere, the real challenge facing IT organizations is where to store a particular data set based on application performance requirements and the security requirement associated with that particular set of data. The degree to which IT organizations can succeed will be directly related to their ability to master all the nuances of modern data management both inside and outside of the cloud.



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