Enabling The Green and Virtual Data Center

Greg Schulz

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EMCworld 2016 Getting Started on Dell EMC

EMCworld 2016 Getting Started on Dell EMC

EMCworld 2016 Getting Started on Dell EMC

server storage I/O trends

It's the first morning of EMCworld 2016 here in Las Vegas with some items already announced today, and more in the wings. One of the underlying themes and discussions besides what's new or who's doing what, is that this is for all practical purpose the last EMCworld with the upcoming Dell acquisition. What's not clear is will there be a renamed and repackaged Dell/EMCworld?

With current EMC President Jeremy Burton who used to be the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at EMC slated to become the CMO across all of Dell, my bet is that there will be some type of new event picking up and moving to a new level of where EMCworld and Dellworld have been. More on the future of EMC and Dell in future posts, however for now, lets see what has unfolded so far today.

Today's EMCworld theme is modernize the data center which means a mix of hardware, software and services announcements spanning physical, virtual, cloud among others (e.g. how do you want your servers, storage and data infrastructure wrapped). While the themes are still EMC as the Dell acquisition has yet to be completed, however there is a Dell presence, including Michael Dell here in person (more on Dell later).

The first wave of announcements include:

  • Unity All Flash Array (AFA) for small, entry-level environments
  • EMC Enterprise Copy Data Management software tools portfolio
  • ViPR Version 3.0 Controller
  • Virtustream global hyper-scale Storage Cloud for data protection and cloud native object
  • MyService360

  • Datadomain virtual edition and long-term archive

What About The Dell Deal

Michael Dell who is here at EMCworld announced on the main stage that Dell Technologies will be the name of the families of business. This family of business includes the joint Dell, EMC, VMware, Pivotal, Secureworks, RSA and Virtustream. The Dell client focused business will be called Dell leveraging that Brand, while the new joint Dell and EMC enterprise business will be called Dell EMC leveraging both of those brands. As a reminder, the Dell servers business unit will be moving into the existing EMC business as part of the enterprise business unit.

Lets move onto the technology announcements from today.

Unity AFA (and Hybrid)

The new Unity all flash array (AFA) is a dual controller storage system optimized for Nonvolatile Memory (NVM) flash SSD, with unified (block and file) access. EMC is positioning Unity as an entry-level AFA starting around $18K USD for a 2U solutions (much capacity that includes is not yet known, more on that in a future post). As well as having a low entry cost, EMC is positioning Unity for a broad, mass market, volume distribution that can be leveraged by their partners, including Dell. More on Unity in future posts. While Unity is new and modern, it comes from the same group who has created the VNXe leveraging that knowledge and skills base.

Note that Unity is positioned for small, mid-sized, remote office branch office (ROBO), departmental and specialized AFA situations, where EMC NVMe based DSSD D5 is positioned for higher-end shared direct attached server flash, while XtremIO and VMAX also positioned for higher-end, higher performance and workload consolidation scenarios.

  • Simple, flexible, easy to use in a 2U packaging that scale up to 80TB of NVM flash SSD storage
  • Scalable up to 3PB of storage for larger expanded configurations
  • Affordable ($18K USD starting price, $10K entry-level hybrid)
  • Modern AFA storage for entry, small, mid-sized, workgroup, departments and specialized environments
  • Unified file, block, and VMware VVOL support for storage access
  • Also available in hybrid, as well as software defined virtual and converged configurations
  • Higher performance (EMC indicates 300,000 IOPs) for given entry-level systems
  • Available in all-flash array, hybrid array, software-defined and converged configurations
  • Native controller based encryption with synchronous and asynchronous replication
  • VMware VASA 2.0, VAAI, VVols and VMware integration
  • Tight integration with EMC Data Protection portfolio tools

Read more about Unity here.

Copy Data Management

Enterprise Copy Data Management (eCDM) spans data copies from data protection including backup, BC, DR as well as for operational, analytics, test, dev, devops among other uses. Another term is Enterprise Copy Data Analytics (eCDA) which includes monitoring and management along with insight, awareness and of course analytics. These new offerings and initiatives tie together various capabilities across storage platforms and software defined storage management. Watch for more activity in and around eCDM and general copy data management. Read more here.

ViPR Controller 3.0

ViPR controller enhancements build on previous announcements, include automation as well as fail over with native replication to a standby ViPR controller. Note that there can actually be two standby controllers that are synchronized asynchronous with software built-in to ViPR. This means that there is no need for RecoverPoint or other products to do the replication of the ViPR controllers. To be clear, this is for high availability of the ViPR controllers themselves and not a replacement for HA or replication of upper layer applications, storage servers or underlying storage services. Also note that ViPR is available via open source (CoprHD via Github here). Read more here.


MyService360 is a cloud based dashboard and data infrastructure monitoring management platform. Read more here.

Virtustream Storage Cloud

Viutustream cloud services and software tools compliments EMC (and others) storage systems as back-end for cool, cold or other bulk data storage needs. Focus is to sell primary storage to customers, then leverage back-end public cloud services for backup, archive, copy data management and other applications. This also means that the Virtustream storage cloud is not just for data protection such as archiving, backup, BC, DR it's also for other big fast data including cloud and object native applications. Does this mean Virtustream is an alternative to other cloud and object storage services such as AWS S3, Google GCS among others? Yup. Read more here.

Where To Learn More

What This All Means

With the announcement of Unity and impending Dell deal, some of you might (or should) have a Dejavu moment of over a decade or so ago when Dell and EMC entered into OEM agreement around the then Clariion mid range storage arrays (e.g. predecessors of VNX and VNXe). Unity is being designed as a high performance, easy to use, flexible, scalable, cost-effective storage solutions for a broad high-volume sales and distribution channel market.

What does Unity mean for EMC VNX and VNXe as well as XtremIO? Unity will position near where the VNXe has been positioned, along with some of the competing solutions from Dell among others. There might be some overlap with other EMC solutions, however if executed properly, Unity should open up some new markets, perhaps at the hands of some of the newer popular startups that only offer AFA vs. hybrids. Likewise I would expect Unity to appear in future converged solutions such as those via the EMC Converged business unit (e.g. VCE).

Even with the upcoming Dell acquisition and integration, EMC continues to evolve and innovate in many areas.

Watch for more announcements later today and throughout the week

Ok, nuff said


Greg Schulz - Author Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press) and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier)
twitter @storageio

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Greg Schulz is founder of the Server and StorageIO (StorageIO) Group, an IT industry analyst and consultancy firm. Greg has worked with various server operating systems along with storage and networking software tools, hardware and services. Greg has worked as a programmer, systems administrator, disaster recovery consultant, and storage and capacity planner for various IT organizations. He has worked for various vendors before joining an industry analyst firm and later forming StorageIO.

In addition to his analyst and consulting research duties, Schulz has published over a thousand articles, tips, reports and white papers and is a sought after popular speaker at events around the world. Greg is also author of the books Resilient Storage Network (Elsevier) and The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC). His blog is at www.storageioblog.com and he can also be found on twitter @storageio.