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
|7 articles related to where EMC operates in
the SSD market:-|
roadmap to the Petabyte
for big SSD architecture
Auto-tuning SSD Accelerated
Pools of storage
fault tolerant SSD arrays market
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.
2011 - 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 period by
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
In February 2012 -
its new PCIe SSD based product line - VFCache - which as widely reported last
month - leverages hardware designed by
LSI and incorporates
In May 2012 -
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 acquires XtremIO|
|Editor:- May 10, 2012 - EMC today
it has acquired XtremIO
Editor's comments:- XtremIO was a vendor of
which included dedupe
and management of the storage drives in the array using proprietary array
technology which the company said was much more efficient than
RAID - while also
supporting high performance and fast
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'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
|Nimbus blog seems fixated
on EMC's XtremIO|
|Editor:- December 6, 2012 - when it comes to
blogs written by SSD vendors - there's a huge variation in the frequency and
quality of publishing content - even among leading SSD companies.|
had noticed during the 2nd half of this year that
the blog written by
Nimbus's CEO, Thomas Isakovich
- never changed.
For over 6 months it was stuck in a time warp of
May 2012 -
commenting on EMC's
acquisition of XtremIO.
I got an email this morning saying Tom had written
my surprise when I looked and found it was fixed on exactly the same core
topic - but from a different angle - in which he critiques the scalability
and efficiency of XtremIO's architecture. (His timing was apparently prompted
by earlier blogs this week by Robin
Harris who interpreted a recently published
(elements of which it now seems may have been misunderstood) with EMC's Chuck Hollis - none of which I had
read before today - because I don't expect to see SSD thought leadership to
come from that direction (EMC).
Which isn't news to regular
readers. But if you've missed the last
of my SSD ramblings and want me to clarify this stance - it's simply because
EMC's response to the SSD business model - in the modern SSD era - has been
reactive and therefore has been pragmatically weighted towards
engineering and software integration - which if you know the company's
history - looks a lot like what they were doing since the
1990s too and which was a
very successful business strategy for them. When all the hardware components
are the same for everyone (as they were for 20 years in the
HDD array market) then
it's the software and services which make the enterprise difference. We haven't
got to that level of stasis yet in SSD hardware (and are nowhere close to
fossilization) - which is
one of the
reasons that leadership in the
SSD software market is
still up for grabs too.
Going back to
Nimbus's new blog -
Thomas Isakovich says - "There
are numerous limitations with the XtremIO design."
past is any guide to the future in this respect - then that link - which is to
the home page of Nimbus's blog - rather than a permalink for that specific post
- may still be stuck in that groove in another 6 months time too.
my mind - when SSD vendors compare their products to those from EMC - it's
almost as regressive as