EMC's Major Product Launch: From Entry-Level To Enterprise Storage

EMC's Biggest Launch In Years

EMC on Tuesday made its biggest product launches in years, with a special focus on its new VNX/VNXe family of SMB storage appliances backed by plans to expand its solution provider base by thousands of partners.

The VNX/VNXe launch gives EMC the opportunity to grow its share of the SMB storage market, a market where the company has dabbled but not really been focused, said EMC Chairman, CEO, and President Joe Tucci.

"(SMB) is a huge market, whether it is another 25 or 30 percent potentially. Something in that order probably, potentially, where we haven't been," Tucci said. "When we enter a market we try to become number one. That would be significant for EMC."

Replacing Clariion, Celerra Lines With Unified Storage

EMC's new VNX family is the first complete SMB and midrange line from the vendor to feature unified storage, in which block (SAN), file (NAS) and direct-attach storage can be done with a single array.

The VNX appliances, which are slated to replace EMC'sClariion SAN and Celerra NAS appliances with a single unified storage appliance, scale to over 1,000 hard drives for a capacity of up to 2 petabytes per system.

They feature new Intel Xeon 5600 multi-core processors to give them three times the performance of EMC's current Clariion and Celerra appliances, and leverage SSDs and EMC's FAST (Fully Automated Storage Tiering) technology to automatically migrate data from the SSDs to hard drives when the data is accessed less frequently.

VNXe: Going For The "S" In SMB

EMC also introduced an entry-level version of the VNX, dubbed the VNXe, which scales to up to 120 2-TB nearline SAS hard drives.

The VNXe appliances can be configured with SSDs for extra performance, and come with an iSCSI host. It fits in a 2U or 3U enclosure, and features no single point of failure.

List price starts at under $10,000, which includes six hard drives, EMC's Unisphere management software, file-based dedupe, snap shot capabilities, and support for CIFS, NFS and iSCSI storage.

Mobile Demo For VNXe

In order to help generate buzz for its VNXe, EMC has put together a mobile demo program involving a global fleet of 21 MINI Coopers outfitted with EMC branding and a VNXe in the trunk.

With this program, the driver can pull up to a customer location, pop open the trunk and conduct a demo using an iPad right there on the spot.

Recruiting Thousands Of New Partners

To take its entry-level VNXe line to market, EMC plans to recruit several thousand new solution providers who will sign on initially to sell the VNXe but who EMC hopes will eventually grow into its Velocity Partner Program, said Gregg Ambulos, vice president of worldwide global channel operations for the vendor.

EMC wants to make it easy for new solution providers to work with the VNXe. The company is offering a simple on-line portal for signing up, specifying which distributor it wants to use, and take a short on-line training course, Ambulos said.

"Conceivably, we can get someone in, up, and selling within three hours," he said. "It's awesome."

Expanding Unisphere Management Software For New SMB Push

EMC enhanced its Unisphere software for automated and centralized management of storage infrastructures to work with its new VNX and VNXe appliances.

The new version provides the VNXe series with best practice wizards to provision storage in virtualized environments with Microsoft Exchange in under two minutes, jargon-free interface for capacity planning and monitoring, and single-click access to an online support community.

For the VNX, Unisphere offers support for file, block and object storage. It also includes FAST VP (Fully Automated Storage Tiering with Virtual Pools) for dynamically tuning application workloads, and supports replication for major Oracle and Microsoft applications.

New High-Performance Data Domain Dedupe

EMC expanded its Data Domain line of deduplication appliances with its new Global Deduplication Array (GDA), which incorporates two of EMC's new Data Domain DD890 controllers. The two DD890 controllers each have their own storage capacity, which in the GDA is linked as a single pool of storage.

The GDA has a logical capacity (post-dedupe) of up to 28.5 petabytes, and features performance of 26.3 TBs per hour, or seven times that of IBM's ProtectTIER dedupe system, according to EMC. The GDA supports EMC's Data Domain Virtual Tape Library option, as well as several top backup applications including Tivoli TSM.

Combining Dedupe Backup And Archiving In One Appliance

Also new is EMC's Data Domain Archiver, which EMC is calling the industry's first storage system for both backup and long-term archiving.

The Data Domain Archiver provides a way for customers to combine the backup and archiving functions and cut the need for tape for long-term archiving. It works by moving data which customers specify for archiving to a separate storage box. As the archive box gets filled, it becomes "sealed" for fault isolation with all the needed metadata so that the data can be read in the future.

Squeezing More Performance From Symmetrix VMAX

EMC also enhanced its Symmetrix VMAX array with new capabilities, including a new version of its FAST VP (Fully Automated Storage Tiering with Virtual Pools) architecture, which the company said increases application performance by 40 percent while cutting the costs by 40 percent by requiring fewer disks and less power.

Also new is the ability to scale to up to 5 million virtual machines on a single VMAX, the ability to technology refreshes with zero application downtime, and new Intel Xeon processor technology to double the performance compared to previous models.

EMC wants to extend the VMAX line and is promising to pay its partners coop funds around for sales of the storage line for the first time.