Storage BLOG-OFF: HP's Johnson squares up to EMC's Chad Sakac

To all-flash or not to all-flash? That is the question

Comment An HP exec has taken exception to an EMC president’s blog about all-flash arrays.

EMC’s Chad Sakac blogged that:

AFAs are not right (at least not yet) for workloads that require "classic enterprise array" data services like huge at scale replication (think tens of thousands of objects replicated, extreme replication topologies, active remote copies, thousands to tens of thousands of consistency groups). There are no AFAs that support this (yet).

This got the goat of HP’s Chris Johnson, EMEA veep and general manager for the firm's Storage Division, who counter-blogged:

[Chad comments] that flash arrays do not have the full set of enterprise features. And this is the dialogue from the self-proclaimed market share leader. Wow… To put the record straight, Chad… I know a flash platform that delivers:
  • Massive performance lift to all applications
  • Cost economics below fast spinning disks
  • Fully proven and operational enterprise data centre features

We’ll note that EMC’s XtremIO all-flash array (AFA) does not have many data services – that’s Chad’s point – whereas AFAs which are built inside an existing disk drive array system inherit that drive array’s data management services. The two prime examples are HP’s 3PAR 7450, which has access to all 3PAR data management services, and its XP7, OEM’ed from Hitachi, which can be all-flash and use all the XP data management services.

HDS has its VSP G1000, using the technology on which the XP7 is based, and it in all-flash guise, using Hitachi’s Accelerated Flash (HAF) modules, gets access to all the VSP data services.

EMC might say that it is worth its customers buying XtremIO arrays because of the extra price/performance compared to a VMAX or VNX disk-based array, even though they forego access to VMAX/VNX data services.

HP and HDS say you can have the AFA price/performance and enterprise-class data services with their AFA architecture. That’s Chris Jones’ point. It wouldn’t be hard to understand both HDS and HP customers endorsing his point of view wholeheartedly.

However, EMC VMAX and VNX customers appear to be endorsing EMC’s point of view instead, possibly because it is easier for them to embrace XtremIO, even with a VPLEX or ViPR front end, than it is for them to bring a 3PAR 7450, all-flash XP7 or VSP G1000 on board with their data services. ®

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