|XtremIO, EMC's first all-flash storage array|
EMC this week provided an update on some of its product lines and plans for the second half of the year, including updates on the release of its XtremIO all-flash storage array and the second generation of its VNX unified storage line.
EMC President and COO David Goulden offered the product line update during EMC's second fiscal quarter 2013 financial conference call.
Among the most-anticipated offerings from EMC is the XtremIO all-flash storage array.
The XtremIO all-flash storage arrays are currently in what EMC calls "directed availability," meaning that it can be sold to customers with certain use cases.
A few solution providers have already sold their first XtremIO solutions.
One of them is EMC partner Lumenate. Jamie Shepard, regional vice president of the Dallas-based solution provider, said his company in the second quarter sold one to a large university, which he declined to name, for a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) project.
The XtremIO sale was driven by a need for performance based on Lumenate's assessment of the university's users and their application requirements, Shepard said.
"The university was originally going to do a bake-off with other all-flash arrays," he said. "But based on our consulting, the application performance metrics, and the fact that we wrote a white paper about XtremIO, the university decided to give us the deal with no bake-off required."
Shepard said several new EMC solutions such as the XtremIO and the VMAX Cloud Edition, the latter of which offers 14 different cloud pricing bands, require solution providers to rethink how they sell high-end solutions.
"EMC technology is forcing us to spend more time with end users and not just focus on the product performance," he said. "We need to know who the end users are, and what they do.
Goulden also said that EMC was on track to release the second generation of its VNX unified SAN-NAS storage solution during the current quarter.
Shepard said that EMC discussed some of the upcoming changes in VNX during May's EMC World conference.
NEXT: Updates on VNX, ViPR, Software-defined Storage
The big change was the removal of the old Flare SAN operating system, a holdover from the company's pre-VNX days, and its replacement with a new Multicore Processing, or MCx, software, Lumenate's Shepard said.
"EMC currently is doing multi-core processing with software intelligence, including in the VNX," he said. "But with Flare, the software might flood one or two cores while the others remain idle. Now the VNX will have more cores and software that can manage them all. VNX now already offers high read speeds. But with the change, it will be better able to handle high write-intensive applications."
EMC has already started partner training on the next-generation VNX, EMC's Goulden said.
Goulden also said that the company is on course for the second-half 2013 release of its ViPR software-defined storage controller.
Goulden said ViPR works with existing EMC arrays, third-party vendor arrays and commodity storage, and it provides the ability to run a variety of data services including object storage, Hadoop File System (HDFS) for big data, and technology from the EMC-VMware joint-venture Pivotal.
"The ViPR controller allows a diverse set of storage arrays to be managed in a standard and automated way," he said. "And the automation the ViPR controller provides drives down IT costs and improves IT availability."
During the analyst question-and-answer period of the second-quarter financial conference call, Goulden was asked about EMC's software-defined storage strategy.
In response, he said that the company's Atmos cloud solution is currently offered as a software-defined storage solution, and that EMC plans to do the same with its ScaleIO technology for managing storage in multiple servers without a SAN, ViPR data servers, and VPLEX storage virtualization technology.
However, Goulden said, rather than EMC abandoning its storage hardware for a software-defined-only approach, the company will give customer a choice.
"The interesting thing is, in the vast majority of cases, I'd say in the vast, vast combination of cases, customers choose to buy both parts of the solution from us because they want the support, they want the integration, they want the qualification that we do."
EMC supports customers who want to run some of EMC's software on their own hardware as much as it can, Goulden said. "But our experience is so far that, given the choice, customers would like to buy the two together."
NEXT: Update on VSPEX Reference ArchitectureEMC's Goulden also provided an update on sales of the company's VSPEX reference architecture.
He said EMC solution providers have sold over 3,600 VSPEX-based systems since it was introduced in April 2012.
"In other words, in less than half the time, we have more systems installed than another less flexible reference architecture that's been on the market for several years. ... With over one-third of the VSPEX systems sold in Q2 alone, this is clearly gaining momentum," he said.
That "less flexible reference architecture" Goulden referred to was likely the joint NetApp-Cisco FlexPod reference architecture.
Brendon Howe, vice president for products and solutions marketing at EMC arch-rival NetApp, said NetApp has previously stated that FlexPod has been implemented in about 2,400 customers in over 45 countries, and that over 900 channel partners worldwide partner on FlexPod.
"I find it interesting that EMC will announce the number of VSPEX systems shipped, but not the number of customers," Howe said.
PUBLISHED JULY 26, 2013