« Thoughts On "The State Of The CIO" | Main | Symmetrix V-Max: A New Paradigm For Storage Virtualization? »

April 14, 2009



What can the DMX-4 do that the V-MAX cannot? Or another way why might someone today buy a DMX-4 instead of a V-Max?

Are you just giving the V-MAX some burn in time so people become more confident in the system before the older DMX(and Clariion?) architecture goes away entirely?

Does the V-MAX use Intel CPUs entirely for data movement or are there a bunch of ASICs in there too(outside of the ASICs on the HBAs).

Certainly sounds like an impressive system, though probably way outside my price range, just finished a storage migration project, and what we have today will suit us for quite a while.

Chuck Hollis

Hi Nate

Technically speaking, there's no feature or capability degradation from DMX-4 to V-Max.

Right now, the DMX-4 is at the top of its game and compares well to offerings from competitors. No real reason to shoot it anytime soon if customers still want it.

CLARiiON is *not* going away -- different design point, different set of starting assumptions.

To the best of my knowledge, there are custom ASICs or FPGAs on the V-Max only for the implementation of the Virtual Matrix.

Otherwise, industry-standard hardware throughout.

Thanks for your kind thoughts ...!

-- Chuck

Alexei Sapozhkov

Why didn't you mention IBM XIV as an Hi-End storage? I think the Grid technology that has been implemented into XIV is much more scalable than EMC V-Max that gives just 8-node cluster like IBM SVC.

Chuck Hollis

Hi Alexi

External to IBM, the XIV is seen pretty much as a joke in the storage industry these days. Forget high-end, people are wondering if it's basically competent as a mid-tier array.

I could go down a long list of architectural features present in modern high-end storage that are missing in XIV's architecture.

But that wouldn't be any fun.

-- Chuck

Alexei Sapozhkov

Hi Chuck, I'm just curious of this long list of features that differentiates hi-end from all other stuff. Is it top secret of EMC or you can share it with me?

Kirill Ponomarev

Chuck, my personal view of what EMC is now doing is takingover HDS strategy, doing "bigger and faster" without providing some kind of innovations and new views on storage perspective.

I wouldn't put XIV and V-Max on the same line, because it seems like comparing bananas and apples.

But for me personally - V-Max is interesting solution, but it is not the product which would explode the storage markt with some interesting innovations.


Yes, Chuck!

Please, go down with "long list of architectural" ""features"", but remember that software outside features and options cannot be the "architectural" ones.

You know, progressive storage community is very interested in such statements like "there are only EMC and HDS hi-ends exist" and very confused with no definite replies and explanations.

BR, Denis

Chuck Hollis

Sure, every storage vendor would love to claim that their product is "high end" or "enterprise class" or similar.

But claiming it and being it are two different things, no?

So, in general, most storage architects would agree that high-end storage has some common attributes:

- multi-controller architecture (not dual controller -- sorry, 8000)
- large, global shared caches (sorry, XIV)
- powerful local and remote replication (sorry, XIV)
- ability to manage multiple QoS (sorry XIV and to a certain extent 8000)
- 24x7xForever uptime (sorry, XIV)
- ability to incur multiple component failures and still run (sorry, again)

I would suggest that those of you who work for IBM look outside your company and get a good sense in how the storage market is working these days.

Best regards --

Alexei Sapozhkov

Chuck, thank you very much.

That was interesting discussion but I don't agree with your point about shared cache or whatever shared resource because in this case the firmware is getting more complex and becomes the real hot spot and eats up all system resources. Also your comments about XIV for the 24x7 forever uptime and resistance to the component failures are incorrect because XIV has N+1 architecture and resilient to the failure of any unit in the system.

And finally, the real life when looking outside depends on sales and technical guys.

Best regards, I wish you gook luck.

Nikhil Bagalkotkar

--------- you may choose not to post this on the site however I would be interested in your response --------

Hi Chuck,
I was going through your post on the Enterprise class storage. And found a few inconsistencies

- multi-controller architecture (not dual controller -- sorry, 8000).
Does this really matter when the controllers under consideration are Enterprise class servers configured in a HA cluster supporting concurrent firmware updates. More over I believe these servers perform primarily cache management while the RAID calculations is done via the IO modules itself giving much more scalability and room to increase performance.

- large, global shared caches (sorry, XIV)
By this logic even the Vmax doesnot fit into the Enterprise storage category. Having a Large Cache might simplify the management algorithm however it does limit the cache that can be inserted into a system.

- powerful local and remote replication (sorry, XIV)
Updated XIV does offer Sync and Async modes of mirroring :)

- 24x7xForever uptime (sorry, XIV)
XIV's data distribution algorithm (unlike conventional RAID) ensures the vulnerability window for the system upon drive failure or expansion failure is extremely low (less than 30 minutes incase of drive failures) and the effect of a drive failure on the entire systems performance is negligible. While on the other hand the conventional RAID systems show substantial degradation of performance on drive failures

- ability to incur multiple component failures and still run (sorry, again)
XIV's data distribution algorithm (unlike conventional RAID) ensures the vulnerability window for the system upon drive failure or expansion failure is extremely low (less than 30 minutes incase of drive failures) and the effect of failure on the entire systems performance is negligible. While on the other hand the conventional RAID systems show substantial degradation of performance.

However some components of XIV which redefine enterprise class are
1. No additional licenses to be purchased for any functionality( point in time copy or replication or multipathing or ...)
2. Automatic data migration from older systems to XIV
3. An energy footprint which is at least half that of any other enterprise class storage of similar capacity and performance characteristics
4. Point in time copies that use redirect on write technology, thus ensuring that no OLTP freeze is required.

(at the end of the day TCO sells more than any other tech spec)

to explain it further some one has put an interesting video on youtube

Chuck Hollis

Nikhil, while I appreciate your sincerity, I really don't want to have a pointless debate with an employee of XIV/IBM.

Regardless of any architectural discussion, the XIV team has so far failed to deliver a credible offering in the marketplace.

Your stuff doesn't do what you say it can do. That's a big problem, in my book.

Show the industry that you can execute, and then we'll get into the discussion. Otherwise, it's a complete waste of time.

-- Chuck

Yiushun Ho

It's not, Chuck. Revenue generated by XIV in 2009 was 140 times of that in 2007. Around 60% of XIV customers were ex-EMC users. What do you say, Chuck?

Ask your salesmen to show some of their lost cases, and then we'll get into THE discussion. Otherwise it's a complete waste of time.

Chuck Hollis

Hello Yiushin

First, congratulations on the very timely response to this post from last April :-)

The "140x" claim might be based on a very small numeric base. How many XIV units were "sold" (vs. given away) in 2007? Perhaps three? Maybe six? When you get to tens of thousands of units, we can have a more serious conversation.

Given that most enterprises buy storage from EMC (as well as other vendors), I would presume that the majority of any sales you might make would go to companies that use (or have used) EMC products at some time.

It'd be pretty hard to sell a storage array to a decent-sized company that hasn't used EMC products at some time. Although they do exist. And let's not forget that most companies own storage products from more than one vendor.

I'm more than happy to discuss anything you'd like. But you'll have to bring a bit more substance than the laughable distortions you've brought here.

Best wishes ...

-- Chuck



I agree IBM was the founder for all these, but now a days its EMC show.


Your experience is exactly what the iPad haters overlook, what many newcomers to the iPad soon discover and how I explain what the iPad is to those who ask me about mine.

For all the iPad lacks or the restrictions that it may impose on the user when compared to say a netbook, you will soon discover that the iPad with 5 different people will use those iPad differently. The iPad becomes something personal to those five people unlike a laptop or desktop which just doesn’t have any personality.

With the iPad you will start doing the things you really should be doing from your desktop or laptop but it's too much of a chore! The iPad just brings it all together in a more fun and natural way than any other computer.
It's the personal experience each person enjoys!!

Sure, the iPad isn't a replacement for your desktop/laptop but the strange this is you start using the others less and less. The iPad is quietly becoming the main computer of use and the tablet is the next new evolution of the computer once you break the old PC mentality.

What's great about the iPad is how people are using the technology and that's key in the adoption rate. If you really use the iPad, you will keep using it more in ways you don't use your regular computer. Tap, Tap, Tap.


its really good to introduce v-max, its going to rock

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.
Enter your Email:
Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

General Housekeeping

  • Frequency of Updates
    I try and write something new 1-2 times per week; less if I'm travelling, more if I'm in the office. Hopefully you'll find the frequency about right!
  • Comments and Feedback
    All courteous comments welcome. TypePad occasionally puts comments into the spam folder, but I'll fish them out. Thanks!