On EMC’s conference call this morning officially launching the CX4, storage division president Dave Donatelli told analysts that SSDs will also be qualified for Celerra NAS systems over the next six months. The CX4-960 will support SSDs in October, and Symmetrix DMX systems are already available with SSDs.
Despite more and more common features, Donatelli said speculation about a merger of product lines given the multiple overlaps between Celerra, Clariion and Symmetrix is “due to a profound lack of understanding” in the market. “The Symmetrix has 24 boards,” he said. “If you lose a whole board, you lose 1/24th of your performance.” Clariion is a two-board system.
But that hasn’t stopped people from asking this question of EMC. Industry analysts, Wall Street analysts, users…especially the users – a few told me they weren’t sure which way to go between some EMC platforms going forward. A Wall Street analyst asked Donatelli on the conference call today about whether EMC plans to consolidate software and hardware platforms “the way NetApp has.” That had to hurt.
There have been rumors about the CX and Symmetrix DMX merging, communicating, and generally coming together, for years. I remember one rumor that the CX and DMX would be able to share data with the release of ECC 6. Obviously that one never came to fruition. But EMC did standardize hardware components such as disk shelves between the CX and DMX for manufacturing efficiencies a few years ago. And the capacity points, replication and management features have been getting closer and closer together.
“It’s a running joke, every time we update Symmetrix, we get the question about what’s going to happen to Clariion, and every time we update Clariion, we ask what’s going to happen to Symmetrix. We keep making Clariion bigger and Symmetrix smaller,” Donatelli said. But he didn’t say why.
That’s the thing. EMC’s not going to come out and say, “Yes, we’re merging our primary storage products the same way we’re planning to merge our backup products, so please don’t buy anything we have out currently in anticipation of something to come.” So no matter how vociferous their denials that this might be the case, for some in the industry, their actions are speaking louder than their words.