Partners See Big Enterprise Opportunity With New EMC All-Flash VMAX And DSSD

Partners say two new all-flash solutions introduced by EMC on Monday will help boost business with existing customers, start conversations with new customers and accelerate business after EMC merges with Dell.

"Both solutions mean we can go back to our customers and discuss how these higher-performing solutions can address key business drivers," said Bob Olwig, vice president of business strategy at St. Louis-based World Wide Technology Inc.

Saying it would move to all-flash for all future primary storage solutions, EMC rolled out an all-flash version of its flagship VMAX array, and the DSSD D5, a high-performance, all-flash rack-scale solution for data-intensive applications. EMC CEO Joe Tucci hinted in January that VMAX would be retooled around all-flash technology.

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"DSSD in particular is a game changer, given its speed," Olwig said. "It'll allow us to have conversations with customers we haven’t had before." Olwig said there's a big opportunity for partners to sell the all-flash DSSD solution as certain enterprises begin to adopt the technology more broadly.

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"Areas like faster transaction processing for a bank, or ensuring that medical records are retrieved quickly, or analyzing vast amounts of industrial sensor data to reduce critical component failures or improve product yields" are all ripe for a solution like all-flash DSSD, Olwig said.

Michael Thomaschewski, director of infrastructure at EMC partner Long View Systems, Calgary, Alberta, said the new all-flash VMAX solution presents significant upside for the channel.

"The demand for all-flash storage is growing, especially as cost continues to fall and capacities of flash drives continue to grow," Thomaschewski said. "I would say that today, 80 percent of all arrays we sell have flash, and about 20 percent of them are all-flash solutions."

The all-flash VMAX solution, Thomaschewski said, "closes a gap in the enterprise market space for EMC in the area of highly available all-flash storage. VMAX also has a number of enterprise features which were lacking in their XtremIO solution."

Earlier this month, Dell brought VMAX back to its price list after an absence of about five years. Dell and EMC had a reseller agreement in place from 2001 to 2011, but that arrangement soured when Dell began acquiring storage companies. Partners also said the prospect of bringing all-flash VMAX and DSSD into the Dell fold when it completes its acquisition of EMC this year is intriguing.

The new products are "proof that the EMC and Dell merger is not slowing down their innovation," Olwig said, and they allow WWT to "broaden our portfolio and allow us to work hand in hand with the Dell and EMC field teams to jointly solve customer challenges."

"They're continuing to move in the right direction, and we're looking forward to the combination of the two companies," said Stephen Monteros, vice president of development at Dell and EMC partner Sigmanet of Ontario, Calif. "It is certainly going to be a business accelerator when the acquisition is complete."

The new products amount to a virtual goodbye to spinning-disk-based storage: EMC says all future primary storage products it offers will be all-flash, and that spinning disk will be relegated to bulk storage and archive.

EMC says all-flash VMAX is the first all-flash storage array to support block, file, open and mainframe access. In a statement, the company said VMAX "is moving beyond spinning disk" with two models: VMAX 450 and VMAX 850, which carry up to four and up to eight engines, respectively.

All-flash VMAX can scale up to 4 petabytes of capacity and more than 4 million IOPS.

DSSD D5 is an ultra-high performance option for big data and other enterprise applications that require infrastructure able to leverage data growth, data velocity and variety for business and customer needs.

DSSD D5 will do 10 million IOPS, and has up to 100 GB of bandwidth and 144 TB of raw storage in five rack units, EMC said.