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EMC World 2009: Day 1 – Is DMX The Last Monolithic Array?

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As I  sit here at the start of EMC World Day 1, I’m pondering over some of the conversations of last night.  The direction EMC are taking with V-Max, the Atmos product and Clariion makes me wonder if DMX could be classed as the last of the (EMC) monolithic storage arrays.

So, here’s the thinking.  DMX arrays started to use the DAE (Disk Array Enclosure), previously deployed on Clariion.  Atmos uses this as well.  So effectively these three devices all use a common disk shelf technology.  With the release of V-Max, EMC have moved away from the monolithic design of DMX and to a more modular, node-based controller architecture using Intel processors.  So other than software, doesn’t that make all three storage arrays effectively the same product?

It’s About The Software Stupid

Perhaps EMC are making good on their promise of being a software company.  Make the hardware a commodity and put all the investment into the software.  After all, there’s no margin in hardware any more, or so we’re told.  

Here’s another thing to ponder.  If V-Max is going to be node-based, do all of those nodes have to be running Enginuity?  How easy would it be to flip some of them into Atmos mode, Clariion mode, or even turn them into a virtual tape library?  Perhaps you wouldn’t do that within a local cluster, but the option is there (and the intention from what EMC are implying) to move to geographically dispersed clusters.

With the V-Max architecture, all of a sudden the opportunities open up.

About Chris M Evans

Chris M Evans has worked in the technology industry since 1987, starting as a systems programmer on the IBM mainframe platform, while retaining an interest in storage. After working abroad, he co-founded an Internet-based music distribution company during the .com era, returning to consultancy in the new millennium. In 2009 Chris co-founded Langton Blue Ltd (www.langtonblue.com), a boutique consultancy firm focused on delivering business benefit through efficient technology deployments. Chris writes a popular blog at http://blog.architecting.it, attends many conferences and invitation-only events and can be found providing regular industry contributions through Twitter (@chrismevans) and other social media outlets.
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