Storage Soup

Apr 14 2009   5:37PM GMT

EMC V-Max: V stands for bigger

Dave Raffo Dave Raffo Profile: Dave Raffo


Long before today’s official launch, just about anybody who cares about enterprise storage knew EMC would roll out its new Symmetrix system today during a series of webcasts. Yet EMC never used the word Symmetrix in all its hype about the launch. According to EMC, it was all about the “virtual data center of the future.”

So now we know the new Symmetrix is the V-Max – or virtual matrix – and not the DMX-5. But what makes this a system for the virtual world and the DMX-4 for the “physical world” as EMC’s storage division president Dave Donatelli puts it?

EMC CEO Joe Tucci likens the new Sym to a block-storage version of the objet-based Atmos system EMC rolled out last year. In other words, it’s an internal cloud storage system, which is a new way of saying virtualized storage.

According to EMC, V-Max is a storage virtualization system because it makes all its storage look like one pool, it can automatically migrate data between systems and arrays, and simplifies management with features such as thin provisioning and clustered nodes.

But the biggest difference between V-Max and other systems is really size and scale.
The virtualization features in V-Max aren’t new to the industry. 3PAR’s InServ systems support clustering of eight controllers. Compellent Technologies has software for moving data between solid state and hard drives, and Atrato will have it in a few weeks. Hitachi Data Systems has supported pooled storage in its arrays – and other vendors’ arrays – for years. But EMC says none of those systems scale to the level of V-Max or perform as fast. And that goes for the DMX-4, too.

When asked how it would be positioned against the DMX-4, Donatelli said the V-Max “has up to three times the capacity of DMX-4, and up to three times the performance. Clearly this will take over the high end of the product line.”

So, if you’re considering a V-Max, ask yourself if you need a bigger faster system with a bigger price tag. That’s easier than trying to decide if your data center resides in the virtual or physical world.

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