I feel sorry for EMC’s marketers: they have to make 10-20 year old technology seem au courant. It’s an uphill battle, but that’s why they get the big bucks.

The latest effort to perfume the pig – hold still, dammit! – is EMC Unity. In a piece that – and this is a sincere compliment – rivals the best writing of “wealth creation systems” websites and late night infomercials, EMC’s Chad Sakac, goes on and on about Unity, the VNX successor.

VNX is huge for EMC
Tucci is trying to keep the wheels on until the Dell acquisition closes. Sakac makes it clear that Unity is critical to the effort:

EMC VNX has an installed base that is well, well north of 100,000 deployed arrays. It has been the most successful EMC platform to date in terms of the number of people and customers, and VNX brings more net new customers to EMC than anything else we do – even as it became increasingly aged.

Bolding added.

Mr. Sakac’s piece makes other interesting points.

  • There’s a lot of new code in Unity, and as he rightly points out, it takes a long time to harden code, even with a staged introduction of several pieces. In my experience the hardest bugs are the interactions between modules, not within modules.
  • There’s no PCIe/NVMe interconnect support. That’s the future, not FC or SAS.
  • This is old-school scale-up storage: forklifts forever!

No mention of RAID HDD rebuild times, but assume days for the latest large capacity drives. Naive buyers won’t know what that means – which may explain who is buying these arrays.

The StorageMojo take
The bottom line here is that even the re-engineered VNX/Unity is aimed at customers who are still heavily invested in legacy technology – or who don’t know what that means. EMC’s – and every legacy array vendor’s problem – is that cheap flash IOPS has destroyed the value of years of array controller optimizations for hard drives.

I divide storage arrays into two groups: legacy, developed before 2000; and modern, developed since 2000. As Mr. Sakac makes clear, EMC remains heavily invested in – and dependent upon – legacy architectures.

External storage isn’t going away, but major vendors can no longer ignore the fact that the most important storage is often internal, where bandwidth is cheap and latency lower, such as in-memory databases. That’s why Tucci is selling EMC to Dell – and why Dell is paying way too much for rapidly depreciating assets.

Courteous comments welcome, of course.