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Dell EMC

Dell EMC, a part of Dell Technologies, enables organizations to modernize, automate and transform their data center using industry-leading converged infrastructure, servers, storage and data protection technologies. This provides a trusted foundation for businesses to transform IT, through the creation of a hybrid cloud, and transform their business through the creation of cloud-native applications and big data solutions. Dell EMC services customers across 180 countries – including 98 percent of the Fortune 500 – with the industry's most comprehensive and innovative portfolio from edge to core to cloud.

See also:- EMC - mentions in and EMC's SSD page

In October 2015 - Dell announced it would acquire EMC. EMC is now called Dell EMC.

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EMC and the Top SSD Companies List by

EMC launched its first flash SSD array based product in January 2008. This was simply a bunch of COTS SSDs in an HDD era RAID box.

EMC first entered the Top SSD Companies in Q3 2010.

Highest rank? - #15 in Q1 2012.

Recent rank? - #21 - in Q4 2016.

articles related to where EMC operates in the SSD market:-

SSD software
the Fastest SSDs
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acquisitions in the SSD market
how fast can your SSD run backwards?
Auto-tuning SSD Accelerated Pools of storage
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Compared to EMC... ours is better - can you take these AFA startups seriously?
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No SSD company is too big to be acquired.

and other big SSD ideas of 2015

EMC mentions in SSD market history
In 1987 EMC 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 re-entered the SSD market in January 2008 - with rackmount arrays populated by flash SSDs from STEC.

In Q3 2010 - EMC entered the Top SSD Companies - researched and published by

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 IOPS are 47,000 and 29,000. The new Samsung SSDs have an 'end-to-end data integrity' function and encryption.

In January 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 SandForce 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. For enterprise flash types (SLC, eMLC etc) and market adoption see sugaring flash for the enterprise, while for petabyte SSD stories - see this way to the petabyte SSD.

In May 2011 - EMC announced 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 2010.

In February 2012 - EMC launched its new PCIe SSD based product line - VFCache - which as widely reported last month - leverages hardware designed by LSI and incorporates SandForce controllers.

In May 2012 - EMC announced it has acquired XtremIO for $430 million

In March 2013 - EMC said it was sampling flash arrays which are designed and managed using the big SSD controller architecture based on leveraging IP from its acquisition of XtremIO.

In July 2013 - EMC announced it has agreed to acquire yet another storage software company - called ScaleIO.

In November 2013 - 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 hybrid storage 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.

In October 2015 - Dell agreed to acquire EMC for $67 billion.

Who's who in SSD?- EMC

by Zsolt Kerekes, 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 for similar reasons - EMC failed to understand that what was happening in the SSD market in the period 2003 to 2010 was significantly different to what had happened before.

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 and efficiency standards which had already been set by leading companies (at the time) in the rackmount SSD market.

Learning 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 integrator, oem. 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, iSCSI SSDs, SSD software, HA SSDs and PCIe SSDs.

Many 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 May 2012).

As the 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 oem deals, 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.

EMC has oemed SSDs from many leading SSD makers including:- STEC, Samsung , HGST, LSI, Micron and Virident.

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 LSI.

For more info about EMC take a look at the links above and EMC - editor mentions in


EMC samples XtremIO flash arrays
Editor:- March 5, 2013 - EMC today announced new models of PCIe SSDs which the company claims offer nearly 60% better TCO than (unnamed competitors) due to new levels of efficiency.

EMC's XtremSF half - height, half - length PCIe SSDs are currently available in eMLC upto 2.2TB, while SLC models upto 1.4TB will ship in the 2nd quarter.

EMC also said it's sampling flash arrays which are designed and managed using the big SSD controller architecture based on leveraging IP from its acquisition of XtremIO.

Editor's comments:- the industry has been anticipating flash SSDs which use XtremIO's RAID busting architecture.

Details are sketchy right now - but the efficiency gains 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 - Skyera.

Can we expect EMC's flash array pricing to plunge down to Skyera levels?

That 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 solid state storage business.

EMC finally does PCIe SSD launch
Editor:- February 6, 2012 - EMC today launched its new PCIe SSD based product line - which as widely reported last month - leverages hardware designed by LSI.

As 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."

That's an idiosyncratic reinterpretation of SSD history. 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)."

losers from this?

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 customer base.

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.

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At the end of 2016 the SSD market reached a dominant technology position where its products defined everything important in the external computing environment. But innovation hadn't stopped and the SSD market had already begun looking inwards towards the memory space and outwards towards capturing data from a wider internet of things.
the Top SSD Companies - Q4 2016
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Dell EMC eols DSSD
Editor:- March 3, 2017 - Dell EMC has end of lifed the DSSD product line (an NVMe array and one of the fastest SSD systems in the market) and the storyline discussed in is the missmatch between Dell's high volume commodity business and this niche HPC storage box.

The warm up to such an ending came in a news story in December 2016 by the Register which revealed the $1 billion gap between the cost of acquiring and developing the product and sales ($6 million).

Editor's comments:- In the short term this is good news for IBM's FlashSystem which is the most mature storage product line in this class.

And it's good news for startups and other specialist SSD companies which engage with the high performance end of the market.

One question I guess about the DSSD product line is that the market which it might have been aimed at 3 years ago doesn't exist any more.

Most computer companies who would be looking for HPC storage of the NVMe array variety are easily able to produce such systems from a competitive market of 2.5" NVMe SSDs. So why pay a premium to EMC or anyone else?

But a more deep rooted problem is that the DSSD is an old fashioned systems designer's prototype implementation of a modern persistent memory box. And the nvm memory changes in recent years (in cell technology and controllernomics tiering) makes the design about as useful as a TTL minicomputer competing with an NMOS microprocessor.

No matter how much cooling or SRAM you pack into a card - the cheapest place to solve latency problems is in the semiconductor chip itself before the data hits the external brake pads of the physical interface to copper.

We're going to see a lot of different permutations of big memory coming into the market. Generally the smaller the box and the closer it is to the applications processor the less waste there is in intersystems latency.

The DSSD approach has been blown away by commodity arrays at the low end of its performance ramge and by genuine memory systems technology advances at the high end.

Storage systems thinking can't compete for performance with semiconductor integrated memory systems architecture.

And here's another angle... Excelero which exited stealth mode this month - whose software just blows away the DSSD scalability while using COTS SSDs.
"At the technology level, the systems we are building through continued evolution are not advancing fast enough to keep up with new workloads and use cases. The reality is that the machines we have today were architected 5 years ago, and ML/DL/AI uses in business are just coming to light, so the industry missed a need."
From the blog - Envisioning Memory Centric Architecture by Robert Hormuth, VP/Fellow and Server CTO - Dell EMC (January 26, 2017)

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Inside EMC's DSSD
EMC DSSD  - what's inside  the boxEditor:- May 5, 2016 - An interesting glimpse inside the box of EMC's DSSD appears in a new article - Up Close And Personal on Tom's IT Pro.

In a comment about SSD controllers - the author Paul Alcorn says that the Flashtec NVMe1032 (from PMC acquired by Microsemi) which is used by EMC in this array also appears in SSDs by OCZ, Memblaze, Samsung and HGST. the article
Dell buys EMC - the SSD view

good for Dell-EMC - long term

good for AFA and hybrid competitors - short term

disruption and changes for SSD suppliers - short term
Editor:- October 13, 2015 - Dell yesterday announced it has agreed to acquire EMC for approximately $67 billion. The acquisition also included EMC's stake in the storage software company VMware - which will remain in public ownership.

Editor's comments:- In the short term this fixes a problem for Dell (its weakness in enterprise storage) and offers a credible way for EMC to adapt to a long term future in which its storage products become more commoditized and accessible to smaller businesses (something which Dell has historically been good at with its server business.)

The competitive landscape in enterprise storage is complex but a long term SSD centric summary goes something like this.

Servers have become a commodity. And there is little or no scope for genuine competitive value differentation options to be offered within the server market. (Being able to offer the same memories or SSDs in servers as everyone else - does not decommodify server product lines BTW.)

In contrast - enterprise storage - which in the HDD and post tape library and post optical storage era (2001 to 2008) had been coasting towards oblivious commoditization - has been temporarily reprieved from that fate (2009 to 2018) by the disruptive impact of SSD memory technologies which enabled the construction of 5 to 6 role differentiated types of new storage boxes which could deliver value to users in ways which were technically unimaginable and unfeasible with classically tiered memory and storage.

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 above storage box segments (which will satisfy projected enterprise storage needs in the post HDD era) meanwhile treading water in the other 3 main box segments (indicating its aspiration to occupy part of those other crowded beachheads if possible).

Assuming all goes well with the acquisition process - the Dell-EMC product line will enable EMC storage to be more competitive in the short term with existing products and to maybe credibly add another notch to the list of product types for which it has aspirations for clear leadership.

But the acute efficiency pressures on the server and storage markets which are emerging from SSD centric software and data architectures will mean that traditional product lines from both vendors will shrink away.

And those lost revenues will stay gone forever. The old ways and the old purchase orders won't be coming back. That's why it's important for both companies to draw in new smaller customers and to nurture them (if possible) into the new sustainable sold state storage and server product lines.

What about impacts for the SSD market?

Anyone who competes with Dell or EMC will - for the next year - have an easier ride - due to the inward focus which sucks away the attention of the talent following such acquisitions.

The SSD market as a whole will continue to supply memory and SSDs to the new company - and probably can look forward to getting more business in 18 months time.

But it won't simply be more of the same. Some SSD vendors may see big changes when Dell EOLs systems and modules which are cannibalistic and compete within the combined product lines.

Related comments:-

"This transaction comes out of weakness, not strength" said Scott Dietzen, CEO - Pure Storage - in his blog Purely Observations on Dell / EMC Deal.

The aptness of that summary made me jealous.

I guessed that Scott Dietzen has probably got some old product planning powerpoints somewhere which could provide many entertaining viewing hours about the competitive landscape analysis which focuses around this old style pair of soon to be married storage competitors.

So my comment to Dietzen's article post on linkedin was this.

re - "This transaction comes out of weakness, not strength" - is a profound understatement. Wish I'd written that.

See also:-
"Clearly we're doing something right...
XtremIO will be the fastest product we've ever done that hits a billion dollars a year."
Chad Sakac, President, Global Systems Engineering at EMC - in his blog - XtremIO 4.0… don't trust people who go negative (January 28, 2015)
EMC's flash educational video
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.
frame from EMC flash ssd video
The first idea is graphically encapsulated in a video by EMC which they call "FLASH in a flash."

This video also introduces a smart and almost apologetic way of positioning hard drive based storage - as being for applications which can "tolerate multi milli-seconds latency".

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 so very 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.
"Will HDD use migrate to SSD? No. It's not exactly like that. In the long term the SSD market will be bigger in revenue than the HDD market ever was."
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