EMC’s DSSD hiring is exploding

by Robin Harris on Wednesday, 18 February, 2015

DSSD, the Valley startup acquired by EMC last year (see EMC goes all in with DSSD) is continuing to hire at an accelerating rate. Informed sources put the current DSSD team at 160 heads with plans to grow it to 800 over the next year.

This is a program in a hurry. Hiring such numbers in the very tight Silicon Valley job market today is expensive, where even new graduates command 6 figures – and need it to afford an apartment with only one roommate.

But given that VMAX needs a low latency backend to replace the uncompetitive VMAX disk infrastructure, the rush is understandable. Rotating media is no longer competitive with flash for enterprise applications and VMAX is feeling the heat.

DSSD is looking for hardware, datapath, firmware, management software and storage appliance software engineers. The jobs are in Menlo Park, a very nice and expensive place to live.

The StorageMojo take
DSSD has some very smart people behind it, including the ZFS crew and Andy Bechtolsheim. But the hiring plans suggest that integrating DSSD with VMAX is a much bigger job than originally expected.

That shouldn’t be a surprise. Besides the problem of building extremely high performance and highly reliable storage – a really hard problem even for experienced teams – lots of the disk-focused optimizations in current VMAX code will have to be surgically removed to achieve a significant VMAX speedup.

EMC will have to show customers significant performance boosts if they hope to earn higher margins on the refreshed all-flash VMAX. Excising decades of disk-oriented cruft is key and non-trivial.

Competitors touting IOPS today need to analyze EMC’s likely marketing direction with the new VMAX. Of course they’ll continue to push the “data services platform” line, but latency is the intended performance proof point.

Engineering schedules only slip one way. While EMC will tout “early access” – beta – programs late this year, don’t expect to see commercial shipments until mid-2016.

But once EMC gets it out the door, expect a full-on marketing onslaught for a flash-enhanced VMAX value proposition. With cloud providers taking significant enterprise storage capacity, EMC will be hungry for market share anywhere they can get it.

Courteous comments welcome, of course.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Kevin Stay February 19, 2015 at 7:47 am

Were I shopping for something in full on tier 1 land EMC today does not even get an RFP. Yeah, I would be looking to vastly improve latency, but that still takes a back seat to absolute reliability and the full on enterprise “data suite” with a vault solid production grade track record.

There are some great up and comers, but when betting the farm today in a fortune 1000 and up sized business VSP and 3PAR 10k are the only two getting dance card slots. HDS might even be the only invitee to the party simply to avoid having to do business with the nightmare HP has become. I love the platform (3PAR) but I am growing to truly hate the company I used to sole source everything with.

G February 21, 2015 at 9:22 pm

Good luck with those hiring numbers. I’d tend to doubt your source. Growing that fast is going to make the code base a CF in no time, but I doubt it would be possible in the first place.

Mark March 2, 2015 at 1:38 pm

“Besides the problem of building extremely high performance and highly reliable storage – a really hard problem even for experienced teams … ”

That really sums up why the idea of Software Defined Storage as DIY storage on commodity x86-based storage servers is such a pipe dream, other than small environments without enterprise reliability requirements. Granted, VMAX has to be able to to connect to IBM Mainframes, provide true BCV capability, and provide synchronous replication.

That said, VMAX+DSSD as the new EMC high-end puts XtremIO solidly in the mid-tier, with Isilon providing dense HDD based storage. Whither VNX?

Robin Harris March 6, 2015 at 8:02 pm


Can’t agree with the pipe dream comment. The web-scale players have been doing it for years. Nutanix, growing like a weed, is a pure software company that sells it software integrated with commodity hardware, as do others.

Do agree that VNX and disk-based VMAX have no future. Flash for primary storage; scale-out object storage for active archives and backups; end of story. File servers? Hmm-m-m.


Reid Smith-Vaniz March 11, 2015 at 5:27 pm


Here is some hiring data that you might have seen:

which directs here….

Hiring 800 people would be no small feat…. 37 are posted, but they may be hiring multiples of each…..

John Other John March 18, 2015 at 2:11 pm

I guess regarding G’s comment one could get the surprise of a career and discover they hired that many review test and documenting writers to compliment the primary programming team.

True mission critical efforts don’t have very many primary programmers but deep support.

Brian April 13, 2015 at 9:30 am

Good analysis on what to expect from them in terms of growth.

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