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EMC borgs VMAX and VNX: Arrays in a merger, no new storage bed

VNXMAX and DPAD? It's all change at Hopkinton

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EMC has re-organised itself internally with a momentous change: the high-end VMAX block array and mid-range unified file and block storage VNX array businesses are being combined in a single organisation run by VMAX king Brian Gallager.

It looks like it will still be called the Enterprise Storage Division.

Rich Napolitano, who ran the Unified Storage division, is off doing something entrepreneurial inside EMC on an infrastructure project with a one- to three-year time frame. It’s based on a Cashmere project he initiated and is aimed at multi-cloud environments.

The idea, according to EMC head marketeer Jeremy Burton, is to have VMAX and VNX use more common platform components. Some hardware commonality already exists but VMAX could well use file access software from VNX rather than its existing NAS gateway.

The two separate product ranges will survive, there being no intention to combine them in some kind of VNXMAX product.

Brian Gallagher loses VPLEX and RecoverPoint, two products managed by VP Beth Phalen. These move across to Guy Churchward’s Backup and Recovery Systems (BRS) division, which gets renamed DPAD - Data Protection and Availability Division.

EMC President and COO David Goulden blogs about the changes here. This is what he wrote about DPAD: ”This team will better position us to deliver data protection as a set of software-defined services on top of ViPR and provide a solid foundation for 'Trust' in the Cloud.“

What do we think? The context we see is the great big potential XtremIO elephant in the room. If it develops into EMC’s mainstream storage offering for shared performance data then the need for both VMAX and VNX to offer the fastest possible access to performance data will slowly diminish and they will increasingly become bulk data storage vaults with, how shall we put it, fast nearline access to vast amounts of data.

Having more common functionality could well save cost and improve functionality on one or both platforms.

The movement of VPLEX and RecoverPoint to BRS can be seen as a balancing move, preventing Brian Gallagher’s Enterprise Storage Division becoming too big and unwieldy.

Any XtremIO array move to be the standard performance data storage array inside EMC will take several years to play out. We are bound to see another major VMAX refresh and continued VNX developments.

For outsiders the only tangible changes we will see are business card title changes but, inside EMC, the direction and focus of Enterprise and unified storage, and of BRS, VPLEX and RecoverPoint, the new DPAD, have both subtly changed with the resuts playing out over the next few years. ®

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