|Having misfired its original
entry into the enterprise flash market in 2008 - EMC has in recent years managed
to accumulate credible industry leading proprietary IP and product lines in 2 of
the 5 main storage box segments - which will satisfy projected enterprise
storage needs in the post HDD era.|
Dell buys EMC - the SSD
view (October 13, 2015 )
EMC is the world's leading
developer and provider of information infrastructure technology and solutions
that enable organizations of all sizes to transform the way they compete and
create value from their information.
- editor mentions in StorageSearch.com and
EMC's SSD page
|Editor:- September 30, 2015 - EMC was
#20 in the
Q2 2015 edition of
Top SSD Companies List
which is researched and published by StorageSearch.com|
|articles related to where EMC operates in the
acquisitions in the SSD
fast can your SSD run backwards?
Auto-tuning SSD Accelerated
Pools of storage
fault tolerant SSD arrays market
hidden segments in the enterprise for rackmount SSDs
EMC... ours is better - can you take these AFA startups seriously?
who in SSD? - by
editor - April 2013|
To understand EMC's position in the SSD market
today you have to understand that - like many other leading enterprise
companies at the time - and
similar reasons - EMC failed to understand that what was happening in the
SSD market in the period 2003 to 2010 was significantly different to
For this and other reasons EMC wasn't engaged
at all in several significant SSD market transitions:- such as the switch
away from RAM SSDs to
the dominance of
flash SSDs in the enterprise, and neither did it play any active role in
the firm establishment of the
PCIe SSD market.
When EMC did start to react to customer demand for SSD arrays - its first SSD
systems in the modern era - launched in
2008 - fell
far below the performance
standards which had already been set by leading companies (at the time) in the
rackmount SSD market.
from its many early mistakes - which included walking away from the opportunity
to become one of Fusion-io's
first enterprise oem customers - EMC has - in the past several years - slowly
pieced together a business plan which has enabled it to operate adequately
within the SSD market as an
licensee and acquirer of raw SSD drives from a variety of primary sources
(listed in the article below).
While presenting to the world the
confident image that it will assimilate SSDs in the same way as it has other
past storage technologies - EMC has - like a duck paddling desperately
fast underwater - been rushing around behind the scenes to assemble a
credible sounding software and architecture strategy framework to pitch to its
customers as EMC's SSD vision for the future.
If the SSD market had
been a less disruptive market - then EMC's wrong footedness would have been more
damaging to its business prospects. But due to the anarchic state of the
SSD software market -
in which there was a
a gaping vacuum
of leadership from the anticipated sources even as late as 2012 - EMC -
despite not having a developed SSD product line of its own - was in fact in no
worse a state than many of the other companies it was used to competing with.
Here below is an earlier and longer version of my SSD market oriented
analysis of EMC - from May 2012 - followed by a timeline of key SSD related
activities re EMC
EMC is 1 of more than 100 companies in the
rackmount SSD market.
It also engages in these market segments:-
FC SAN SSDs,
HA SSDs and
of the leading SSD companies I talk to - which compete with EMC - are happy that
for many years EMC was a non-participant, and then a follower and integrator
of externally sourced SSD hardware rather than a leader in SSD architecture.
Uncompetitive SSD solutions from EMC were good for them.
Nevertheless - that doesn't stop many of these self same companies having wished
at one time or another than EMC would become a volume customer of their products
- or maybe even
acquire them. (EMC
acquired XtremIO - in
SSD market has grown
bigger - EMC has been under increasing pressure to do something more
significant in the SSD market. As predicted EMC has been slowly solving its
SSD weaknesses and gaps using a combination of
licensing and acquisition - overlayed by promises of significant
SSD software in the
future. There was no big-bang quick-fix available that would work any better.
has oemed SSDs
from many leading SSD makers including:-
EMC formed a
flash business unit in May 2011 - but it wasn't until February 2012 that
the company launched its first PCIe SSD based products (Project Lightning)
which uses PCIe SSDs sourced from
info about EMC take a look at the links above and
- editor mentions in StorageSearch.com.
I currently talk to more
than 300 makers of SSDs and another 100 or so companies which are
closely enmeshed around the SSD ecosphere - which are all profiled here on
the mouse site.
I learn about new SSD companies every day, including
many in stealth mode. If you're interested in the growing
big picture of
the SSD market canvass - StorageSearch will help you along the way. Many
SSD company CEOs read our site too - and say they value our thought leading SSD
content - even when we say something that's not always comfortable to hear. I
hope you'll find it it useful too.
introduced SSD storage for the mini-computer market, which was the
hottest part of the server market at that time. EMC's SSDs were 20x faster
than the then available hard disks. But market forces and losses led to EMC
exiting the "memory enhancement" business soon after.|
... ...21 years later:- EMC
the SSD market in January 2008
- with rackmount arrays populated by
flash SSDs from
In October 2010
- Samsung said it is
shipping 200GB 3.5"
SATA SLC SSDs to EMC.
Sequential R/W speeds are 260MB/s and 245MB/s respectively. R/W
47,000 and 29,000. The new Samsung SSDs have an 'end-to-end
function and encryption.
- EMC revealed it had
shipped 10 petabytes of SSD storage in 2010. To put that into context:- it's
equivalent to 10% of the enterprise SSD capacity shipped in the same
Driven partners and 2/3 of the enterprise SSD capacity shipped in the same
period by Fusion-io.
Most of EMC's flash in that period was SLC - whereas most of the flash shipped
by the other named vendors (and their channel partners) was lower cost MLC.
There are differences - see
are MLC SSDs Ever
Safe in Enterprise Apps? - for more about that.
In May 2011 -
it has created a flash business unit and will enter the
PCIe SSD market later
this year. The company indicated that its run rate of shipping flash storage
array capacity in 2011 is approximately 3x the level it had achieved in
its new PCIe SSD based product line - VFCache - which as widely reported last
month - leverages hardware designed by
LSI and incorporates
it has acquired XtremIO
In March 2013 -
EMC said it was sampling
flash arrays which are designed and managed using the
controller architecture based on leveraging IP from its
it has agreed to acquire yet another
company - called ScaleIO.
- EMC launched a
legal suit against Pure
Storage alledging that former EMC personnel had taken with them detailed
customer related market information.
In July 2014 -
EMC was named by
IT Brand Pulse as
"Innovation Leader" in the categories of
appliances and also flash
system management software.
In January 2015 -
EMC said that its XtremIO
would be the fastest product they've ever done that hits a billion dollars a
year in revenue.
does PCIe SSD launch|
|Editor:- February 6, 2012 - EMC today
its new PCIe SSD based product line - which as widely reported last month -
leverages hardware designed by LSI. |
you'd expect - EMC say they plan to do a lot of things to support this with
their wrap around software protection (high availability, data integrity,
reliability, and disaster recovery) and
auto tiering / SSD ASAP.
And in the future they're going to do things even faster. Nothing to get
excited about then - unless you are a supplier to EMC.
EMC would like
to suggest that it was the first company to offer flash SSDs in an enterprise
storage array Their press release said - "VFCache is the latest in a line
of enterprise flash innovation firsts, beginning in 2008 when EMC was the first
to integrate flash drives into an enterprise storage array."
an idiosyncratic reinterpretation of
In the interests of accuracy I would rewrite that to say - "EMC was
the 1st company to ship lonely flash drives in an EMC branded enterprise
storage array (which consisted mostly of hard drives)."
I guess you can count
STEC as a loser -
because having been EMC's original flash SSD supplier (in other form factors)
they may have had some hopes that their late-to-market new PCIe SSD might get
its tires kicked.
I'm only saying this - because otherwise I'll get a
load of emails asking what I think - but in my view it would be a mistake to
count Fusion-io as a
loser in this.
FIO is the company which did most to establish PCIe
SSDs as a recognized and disruptive force in the enterprise market - and a year
ago upset EMC by disclosing it had shipped significantly more of its fast
ioDrive flash SSD capacity into the enterprise than EMC had done with its slower
STEC kind - despite EMC having had the prior advantage of a legacy tied
I heard recently from someone who is no longer with the
company - that as you might expect for a fledgling company developing oem
opportunities - many years ago Fusion-io offered its PCIe SSDs as an oem
platform to EMC. Apparently EMC evaluated the ioDrive and poked around the
issue for months - but EMC was - at that time - "clueless" about the
potential of the SSD market couldn't understand what to do with it.
|EMC acquires DSSD|
|Editor:- May 5, 2014 - EMC has acquired a stealth
mode rackmount SSD company - DSSD
- it was announced
Products based on the new DSSD architecture are expected to be
available in 2015.
Editor's comments:- an informative and
entertaining article about this can be seen on
sounds like the DSSD product will implement a large directly addressable (by
PCIe) memory space - based on a transparent
RAM cache flash
scheme and will offer latencies similar to
SSDs - but with the capacity difference being that you can pack more
capacity into a box than in a bunch of DDR3 DIMMs.
It hearkens back to
the original big shared memory in a box connected by PCIe of
Violin's first product
- the Violin 1010 Memory
Appliance - which was launched back in 2007.
Although that was
pure RAM - and
enterprise users in those days weren't as
educated as they
are today. That meant Violin had to go back and redesign the product to include
a fibre-channel front end -
to make it fit in with the market idea of what an enterprise SSD box should
really look like. And that product also came in at the tail end of the
RAM SSD market - in the
year before new flash
controller architectures enabled SSD makers (including Violin) to displace
low to mid range SSD boxes with pure flash.
And before Violin's product
- in 1994 - Texas Memory
Systems was shipping a product called the SAM-2000 (Shared Access Memory) -
which enabled a bunch of different computers (even with different OS and
internal busses) to share the same memory at low microsend latencies and bus
There's an argument for saying that Violin already offers
something similar now to what EMC hopes to ship next year - in the shape of
Flash Array (WFA). Except that the 1st generation WFA uses GbE as the server
clustering fabric. But my guess is that it would be easy for Violin to offer
other variations with lower internal latency - to connect the CPUs to its
- if they thought enough customers would buy it.
IBM can already do
something similar (to Violin) with its X6 architecture.
limitations in IBM's technology are that the 1st generation of eXFlash DIMMs
(designed by SanDisk
and Diablo) are greedy
when it comes to power consumption. That means legacy server motherboards
don't have enough current capacity routed to the DIMMs to enable you to fill
them all with these modules. That's easy to change, however by adding more
copper in the motherboards and increasing the air flow in the box.
EMC offers the DSSD as a product which is unbundled from the brand of server -
then it might find a niche market for it.
But there are so many
different ways of tackling the same problem (such as enabling
PCIe SSD fabric from
storage, not to mention what's the PCIe interface for in
Skyera's new box)
that it may already be a crowded market by the time EMC has anything to ship.
Are you ready to
rethink enterprise RAM?
|EMC's flash educational
|Editor:- I've been saying for years that any
simple analysis - like my enterprise
silos model - makes it clear why no single flash product (or supplier)
can economically satisfy all requirements.|
first idea is graphically encapsulated in a video
by EMC which they call "FLASH in a flash."
also introduces a smart and almost apologetic way of positioning
hard drive based
storage - as being for applications which can "tolerate multi
That's clever - because they know most
of you already have these HDD systems, and EMC is best known for these slower
rotating storage systems. That's how they get you to lower your guard by
introducing the familiar.
The 2nd half of the video - which is not so
good as a general flash video - suggests that EMC is the best supplier to look
at because it's got 25 years experience in storage.
In my view that
argument doesn't logically follow.
Experience in something that's
different is irrelevant. It's like suggesting that breeding horses would
have made Ford
better at designing engines.
Nice try by EMC marketing at subtle SSD
sales sophistry by linking irrelevant concepts though.
|EMC samples XtremIO flash
|Editor:- March 5, 2013 - EMC today
new models of PCIe
SSDs which the company claims offer nearly 60% better
TCO than (unnamed
competitors) due to new levels of
half - height, half - length PCIe SSDs are currently available in
2.2TB, while SLC models upto 1.4TB will ship in the 2nd quarter.
also said it's sampling flash
arrays which are designed and
using the big
SSD controller architecture based on leveraging IP from its acquisition
comments:- the industry has been anticipating flash SSDs which use
XtremIO's RAID busting
Details are sketchy right now - but the
from throwing away the old drive array design rulebook and starting again with
a flash foundation while at the same time having control of the complete
SSD software stack can
be impressive - as I learned last year talking to Rado Danilak
CEO of another leading company taking this approach -
we expect EMC's flash array pricing to plunge down to Skyera levels?
will never happen - because EMC's business carries the legacy burden of too
many hard drives and too many old suits.
But what we could see
instead - is EMC's flash arrays coming down to a price point where the
customer pain is low enough to delay many of them from switching away to
other flash. Which means EMC could still have a future in the