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August 20, 2008



Whoa there, Cap'n. SSD drives have been preannounced but are not available on the CX4. Soon, but not yet.

The technology is very viable and brings in to question why anyone would spend money on 15K FC/SAS. Also, does this negate the majority of the business market for 22K RPM drives, if they ever get reliable enough for the enterprise?

I've yet to see some good arguments around server-based RAM vs storage-based SSDs. I don't think there's a clear answer either way and I've heard them both, but not one that I could subscribe to.

Chuck Hollis

Hi mgbrit ---

I apologize regarding the pre-announce vs. shipping distinction. You may be right, but I know customers who have them, and sometimes I miss the precise status at any point in time.

Lots of moving pieces here at EMC.

Regarding the 22k drive question -- yes, interesting -- but my first thought when I heard about this was -- is this about as relevant as a faster tape drive?

I think we'll see flash both in servers and storage arrays, much like we see with disk drives today.

I did not accept the mooted premise that all uses of flash in servers were inherently great, and all uses of flash in storage arrays were inherently wrong, or that flash only made sense as a "cache" for a traditional disk drive.

And I'd think you might be inclined to agree with me.

Calvin Zito

Hi Chuck,

Your depth of understanding on storage topics is most impressive but I don't think you're a mind reader.

You've made a couple of comments not only in this post but in your previous ones suggesting that you know what competitors like HP will be doing. These comments do nothing to help the credibility of you or your company. Specifically, the comments I'd call out and my response are:

1. From this post: "For 2008 (and perhaps a decent part of 2009), it now looks like we're the only game in town -- at least for the time being."
>> I'm not really sure what you're saying here (for 2008, for part of 2009 at least for the time being???) but since we don't have you under a non-disclosure agreement, I can't provide specifics other than to say your information is wrong. Since you aren't shipping solid state with the CX yet, sounds like you can't claim "for the time being".

2. From your June 4 post: "...just about every storage vendor has had to significantly re-prioritize their roadmap, and figure out what they're gonna do about EFDs." (Enterprise Flash Drives)
>> I've asked everyone I can find at HP who knows our roadmaps and I can't find anyone who has briefed you on our plans around solid state technology. I can also tell you that the comments that Dave D made about SSD replacing fibre channel in 2010 didn't have HP rushing to re-prioritize our roadmap.

If you or your readers are interested in HP's view of solid state technology (versus your Carnac The Magnificent imitation), they can watch a short video that talks about it at http://h30431.www3.hp.com/?fr_story=1d62307e12719ec592505e59cd84f10c3fe68d95&rf=bm

I'd like to see you stick to what you know instead of speaking for the rest of the storage vendors. Maybe you should try a Joe Friday imitation (just the facts) instead of Carnac.



Chuck Hollis

Well, I'd stick to the facts, but HP really hasn't provided any, so I do have to admit I have to improvise a bit ...

And, of course, if you had briefed me, then I would have had to sign an NDA, and then I legally couldn't have written anything about what I knew, right?

No, I'm not going to fall into that trap! That'd take all the fun out of it.

May I be so bold as to make a gentle suggestion for my esteemed colleagues at HP regarding this and similar topics?

Let's face it, you've had quite a while to sort out your story and positioning on this topic. This stuff has been in the marketplace for a while, hasn't it?

During this time, I have to say, it looks like your company has had its challenges in assembling a consistent story between its server group, its storage group, and other HP spokespeople.

Maybe my mind-reading trick doesn't work so well when the subject is in an apparent state of confusion ...

I think the answer here is simple. If you'd like to clear things up, simply tell people what your plans might be, and there'd be no need to hide behind NDAs, et. al.

Now that you mention it, I'm kind of glad I *wasn't* briefed ...

Thanks for writing!

Chuck Hollis

Hey everyone, go follow the link supplied above -- you just *have* to see the HP corporate message on solid state technologies!!

It made my day! I haven't laughed this hard in a while!

If you're in the bowels of the industry like many of us are, this may be the most entertaining 4 minutes you'll have this week!

Oh, BTW, the last four minutes of the video seem to be dead air.

Is there a message here that I'm missing? :-)

Calvin Zito

Chuck -

I'm sure by EMC's standards, the video is dead air. But we know that tape is dead by that same standard, right? ;-)

The point of the video that you missed is that HP is taking a systems view of Solid State Technology. It's not just an external array technology but a server and storage technology and EMC can only address part of that equation.

You'll have to stay tuned to get the details.

Thanks for stopping by our StorageWorks blog.

Chuck Hollis

I have to admit, it's good solid FUD.

Just for fun, imagine if I substituted the phrase "disk drives" in your statement, e.g.:

"HP is taking a systems view of Disk Drive Technology. It's not just an external array technology but a server and storage technology and EMC can only address part of the equation"

Because that's how customers now are thinking of it: flash as a potential replacement for disk.

Best of luck!

Calvin Zito

My point exactly. Customers with ProLiant servers can move their disk drives from the server into an MSA giving them an easy transition from DAS to SAN - just move the drives from the ProLiant into the MSA and they are up and running.

This is in fact how customers look at it - they want an easy way to move from DAS to SAN and they get that with HP.

All the best Chuck!

Stephen DiSchino

I have to admit I love reading your blog. I have been looking for positions with EMC in the Boston area here and I cam across your site. Great insight at the latest technology. I agree that flash is absolutely ready and the fact that Intel is backing it aside from these smaller names like M-tron and sub divisions; we could see some real potential in the server market. I would be curious to see how the numbers compare to current top of the line offerings along the measures of sustained read and write speeds and random access times. Either way, no moving parts is a huge plus and step in the right direction. Hopefully one day the hard drive won't be a bottleneck anymore.

Chuck Hollis

I am curious on this as well, as I've been eyeing SLC-based flash for my home PC, although not at $1000 per drive :-)

Practically speaking, though, the I/O characteristics of an enterprise flash drive are rather dependent on the array they're used in. For example, the DMX has large cache and rather unique algorithms, so we tend to talk in terms of application-level results, rather than low-level metrics.

Glad someone is reading and enjoying ... thanks!

Chuck Hollis

OK, everyone, you've got to see the latest from IBM -- they took the SVC, stuffed it with a bunch of flash, and are crowing loudly about the results.

Of course, it's not really a product, you know ...


Funny thing about IBM these days regarding their storage business: they don't announce products, but they seem to announce things that aren't really products.

Weirder and weirder, I tell you ...

Barry Whyte

So how many DMX quadrants would be needed to sustain > 1M 4K IOPs, at a 70/30 mix, you'd need at least 100 STEC drives runing absolutely flat out... with a backend storage system that could also manage the same IOPs. Oh and keep it under 1ms response time, without using cache...

How much floor space would that take up? An entire data-center? or the 1.5 EIA racks we used...

As for announcements, all will become clear...

Worried are we? It seems like it - yet again we've got you all talking about us, rather than yourselves... just adds to the suspense :)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Chuck Hollis

  • Chuck Hollis
    SVP, Oracle Converged Infrastructure Systems

    Chuck now works for Oracle, and is now deeply embroiled in IT infrastructure.

    Previously, he was with VMware for 2 years, and EMC for 18 years before that, most of them great.

    He enjoys speaking to customer and industry audiences about a variety of technology topics, and -- of course -- enjoys blogging.

    Chuck lives in Vero Beach, FL with his wife and four dogs when he's not traveling. In his spare time, Chuck is working on his second career as an aging rock musician.

    Warning: do not ever buy him a drink when there is a piano nearby.

    Note: these are my personal views, and aren't reviewed or approved by my employer.
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