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EMC: No need to swallow an array - just breathe in our storage cloud

VMAX more about pricing than tech

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Storagebod So EMC has finally announced the VMAX Cloud Edition: which according to this blogger is an iteration that has little to do with technology and everything to do with the way that EMC wants us to consume storage.

Firstly, let's discuss the cost model - in many ways the most important part of the announcement. EMC has now moved to a linear cost model. In the past, purchasing a storage array had a relatively large front-loaded cost in that you have to purchase the controllers etc. This meant that your cost per terabyte was high to start with, then it declined, then it potentially rises again if you add more controllers before declining again.

This has led to a storage-hugging attitude: that’s my storage array and you can’t use it. But a linear cost model allows IT to provide the business with a fixed cost per terabyte - whether you were the first to use it or last to use it. This allows us to move to a consumption and charging model that is closer to that of Amazon and the cloud services providers.

It is fair to point out that actually EMC and other vendors already have various ways of doing this - but they can be complex and require financial tools.

Secondly, EMC is utilising a RESTful API to allow storage to be allocated programmatically from a service catalogue. There are also methods of metering and charging consumers for storage use. Along with an easy-to-use portal, the consumption model continues to move to an on-demand model. If you work in IT and are not comfortable with consuming everything on-demand, you are in for a rough ride for quite some time.

Thirdly, the cost models that I have seen are very aggressive: EMC wants to push this model and this technology. If you want to purchase 50TB and beyond and you want it on EMC, I can’t see why you would buy any other block storage from EMC. It is almost as if EMC is forcing VNX into the small and medium biz niche. In fact, if EMC can hit some of the price-points I’ve heard hints about, everyone will be in a race to the bottom. It could be a Google vs Amazon price battle.

Fourthly and probably obviously, EMC is likely to be shipping more capacity than an end-user requires, allowing them to grow with minimal disruption. If I was EMC, I’d ship quite a lot of extra capacity and allow a customer to burst in at no charge for a fair proportion of the year. Burst capacity often turns into bought capacity; our storage requirements are rarely temporary and quickly temporary becomes permanent. Storage procurement is never zipless - it always has long term consequences - but if EMC can make it look and feel zipless...

I’m also expecting EMC to move to a similar model for the Isilon storage as well - it is well-suited to this sort of model. And yet again, this leaves VNX out in the cold... ®

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