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March 09, 2011


Enrico Signoretti

Dear Chuck,
I think that no one has already comment this post because uncommentable!
are you so desperate?


michael pennie

Called the 866 # 2-3 weeks to get get informaton on the VNXe. Left a message. Never heard back.
Called again today. Gave some secretary basic name & address info. She cut me off during the call transfer. Hard to take you seriously

Pong head

Dear Mcdonalds customers, If you haven't eaten at burger king lately, you should know that our burgers have 25% more meat.

Hello... Make the burger taste better and customers will line up. If they don't, change chefs instead of making him make a larger burger!

Chuck Hollis

Sorry, Enrico, that I was not immediately available to approve your comment. I get a lot of spam, so everything requires approval from me.

Yes, Enrico, I'm very desperate. Right you are ...

-- Chuck

Chuck Hollis

Hi Michael - which 888 number did you call? And, if you spoke to a secretary, that's not how we handle inbound requests for our products. Doesn't sound right to me.

If you'll give me a number (DM me at @chuckhollis) on Twiiter, I'll make sure someone gets back to you ASAP.

-- Chuck

Jim Baydell

What a great post on modern day history. Seriously your tech dates from the 1990s and even the stec drive u use isn't theirs. Baydell matricite. I wasnt alive when the dinosaurs died but I guess you sound like it was. Great time machine.

Chuck Hollis


I guess that is why the internet was invented -- so people like you could offer up comments like this to share with us all.

-- Chuck

Bob Daniel

Hi Chuck,
I'd like to hear your thoughts on Netapps biggest acquisition ever.

While the Netapp record on acquisitions is dismal,(Netcache, Decrue, Topio come to mind) this one might work because the CEO has run both companies. And Netapp finally has a legitimate "Block" story, a hole in their line up that they have been trying to plug for years.

I'd like you to blog on what this means to EMC and what it means to the industry (If anything)

Your thoughts?

Chuck Hollis

Hi Bob:

I've refrained from commentary as there's been plenty of good commentary already out there. And, since I work for a competitor, it's sort of assumed that I'd be generally negative on the proposed acquisition.

I guess a good starting point would be the definition of "success". If you take the term to mean "grow the acquired business, enter new markets, create synergies with existing businesses", I have to say I would be extremely skeptical.

NetApp is a "one product, one religion" sort of company. Past acquisitions have proven that -- no matter how good something looks on paper -- NetApp's NIH (not invented here) culture spells certain doom for just about everything they acquire.

More to the point, the Engenio acquisition puts their fundamental beliefs regarding storage up for discussion. Up to now, NetApp's stance was that WAFL was good enough for the majority of workloads. Now they're reconsidering their religion in a very visible way.

If Tom runs Engenio as a completely separate company, perhaps it will do well. However, that doesn't get NetApp the synergies that investors are looking for. Trying to force those synergies will likely be a distriaction to a good portion of NetApp's existing storage business.

I'm speaking from a bit of experience here. At the end of the 1990s, EMC was essentially a one-product storage company (e.g. Symmetrix), and we acquired Data General's CLARiiON business.

It took many years -- and more than a few organizational changes -- before the true synergies of that acquisition emerged.

-- Chuck


I respectfully disagree and will explain why using fact, logic and a trusted third party survey, below;

Case in point;
"EMC Has Great Customer Support"...it's just that we THINK we're significantly better.

Note the emphasis I have put on what EMC "THINK" and then read on for a different, factual perspective of what customer CIO's "THINK";

Let's take a look at an factual survey, the CIO Insight Vendor Value Ratings;

Critical points to note;
1) Article rates 5 out of 5 stars from a completely public internet audience. Approx. 12000 votes when I last looked. This is probably as credible as it gets on the wild west of the internet. Pretty hard to get 5 stars across such a large sample size.
2) The survey is conducted across a broad range of CIO's from a broad range of organisations. They even publish the exact methodology of how the survey was conducted. More credibility.
3) EMC doesn't rate a mention in the top 5 of ANY category. Apology, they do get #5 in the Hardware category. Behind the likes of NetApp (#1), HP and many others. Fact.
4) Specifically for the "Top Vendors for DELIVERING REQUIRED SUPPORT" category, Cisco, NetApp and TrendMicro rounded out the top 3. Fact.
5) When it comes to meeting SLA's --> NetApp, Cisco and Webex (Cisco) round out the top 3. Fact.

Now, you may (reasonably) argue that "past performance is no guarantee of future returns" as Chuck did in a recent blog comment in response to Marc Farley; http://chucksblog.emc.com/chucks_blog/2011/03/storage-market-evolution-the-longer-view.html

If you care to take a look back previous CIO Insight Vendor Value ratings, you may find that the past performance of EMC was not particularly stellar. With the benefit of this 20/20 hindsight, we could (reasonably) conclude that the "past performance trend for EMC strongly correlates with the statistically measured performance of the future".

I hope that EMC's rounds of new marketing investments pay off! (Paraphrasing Chuck Hollis)

PS - Chuck, please post this comment. It is both factual and interesting. Definately adding value to the discussion for the benefit of your customers and the industry.


Chuck Hollis

Dear Aaron:

I would have posted your comment had you bothered to identify yourself -- email, affiliation, etc.

-- Chuck


Affiliation: Self-employed. Investor, gardener, proud father of 3. I take an interest in IT market trends and the comments of folks such as yourself as I have significant funds invested in the IT industry. Thus I do have a significant vested interest and as such my comments are completely biased by self-interest. As for storage technology specifically, I am really a novice compared to an industry heavyweight such as yourself.

Chuck Hollis

Hi Aaron:

I undertand the point you're trying to make, but your evidence is relatively worthless in my opinion.

Why? Real (and meaningful) surveys are painstaking and expensive undertakings, usually far beyond the resources of a tech webzine.

Most of these publications take the easy way out -- they send out a bunch of emails to some list, and hope that people fill in their survey. Or they put up a form on their website, and invite passerby to fill something in.

Any potential responses tend to come from people who have the time and inclination to fill out a survey. I don't know about you, but I don't have the time and inclination to fill out surveys for random tech publications.

Many IT professionals feel the same way.

I tend to discard any survey where no investment was made in having trained professionals available to interview respondents and validate any information stated: role, vendors in use, etc. I also tend to discard surveys that do not share the questions asked (as is the case here), or how the survey enforced accurate and meaningful sampling.

Not that anyone would ever misrepresent anything on an anonymous internet survey.

Well constructed and meaningful surveys require careful design and execution by a team of professionals. It's an expensive undertaking. I routinely see far-higher quality surveys from financial analysts, industry analysts and organizations such as the TSIA.

You'd get a much better picture from any of those, I'd offer.

Also please note that we (as vendors) routinely invest in high-quality surveys to better understand our current support capabilities and how to make them better.

At some point, I'll probably gather up the relevant data for EMC's support organizations, and make a post of it. Given your comments, I probably should include a healthy segment on minimal requirements for methodologies as well.

You're welcome to make any conclusion you like, but I'd suggest you'd start with meaningful data.

Especially if you're investing your own hard-earned income.

-- Chuck


Again, I respectfully disagree.

First, you are saying that the survey is flawed because it is anonymous and therefore cannot be trusted. Possible, but unlikely across the large sample size and the long history of the survey. Careful, alot of the people that answered that survey are your customers.

Second, you are saying that the ~12000 folks that voted the report 5 stars are anonymous and also cannot be trusted. Or, all of the voters exercising poor judgement. Possible, but even more unlikely. Careful, even more of those folks are likely to be your customers.
Let us suppose the "untrusted crowd" proposition is true and see where it ultimately leads => Most, if not all, web-based "trusted voting" systems must therefore be fundamentally flawed in the same way. Ebay seems to work. Amazon works. The Apple App store has been pretty reliable in helping me (and millions of others) choose apps. These are all based on the same principle - Open, anonymous, internet voters. (As an aside, isn't the stockmarket operating on a similar mechanism?) You may try to tell us that these examples are different. Perhaps exceptions or outliers to the the "Chuck" rule. But I don't think you will present an case that you truly believe.

Third, you are suggesting that only professional experts, with expert methodologies can produce high quality surveys that can be trusted to achieve a positive outcome for a customer. Can you present any independent research to support this claim? There are plenty of high-quality statistically correct expert surveys across many fields that present completely contradictory results. So which one do we choose to trust? More often than not, it is the group of professionals that our peers rate highest and "trust". Sound familiar?

Fourth, I took a look at the TSIA support excellence awards and EMC certainly has achieved Hall of Fame Status. Good for you. One key point to note, so have your key competitors. The same ones that EMC claim to be better than. Thanks for pointing me to this, but I don't interpret a point of difference.

I strongly encourage you to go ahead with presenting the data from EMC's support organisations. I advise you to extend that survey to encompass all the other headline claims made in the original post. Publish the methodology that was used. If you believe yours is better, then you should be fine with providing significant detail into how it was conducted. Significantly more than the CIO Insight surveys must be provided because you clearly don't put faith in their mechanism being robust enough. In order to make this trusted, all of this could then be submitted for review by your peers and customers.

Then, I suggest repeat this same process annually (quarterly?) until the peer community decides that your methodology can be trusted.

To paraphrase you again Chuck - you are welcome to make any conclusion you like, but I'd suggest you start backing your headline claims with meaningful data and let your peers decide if it can be trusted.

I enjoy our discussions.

Chuck Hollis

Dear JWS

Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

If you would be so kind as to identify yourself and provide some context (role, affiliation, background, etc.) I'd like to post it.

I don't post anonymous comments.

-- Chuck

Vaughn Stewart


I'd suggest the excessive number of references to NetApp (cited 12 times in the blog and in your comments) actually falsifies the premise of the post. If NetApp truly offered products, solutions, integrations, etc that truly are inferior to EMC, then there would be no reason for EMC to attempt to dissuade customers from using NetApp. The inferior offerings would relegate NetApp to a status of ‘not worth your time.’

NetApp is growing faster in the storage market than EMC, and the aggressive growth rate is significantly higher with VMware installations. Thus as the number of virtualized data center increases, there’s a correlating decrease in EMC’s market share.

You can't publicly agree with me, but you and I know what's going on in the market.

While I love your passion and wouldn’t want to compete with anyone else, I believe Virtualization Changes Everything including storage market share leaders!

Vaughn Stewart

Chuck Hollis

Hi Vaughn

I'll publish your comment, but I think you're way off base -- as typical.

I think going back and forth with you is a complete waste of time. You never seem to bring any useful or interesting to the table. Just the usual (tiresome) NetApp hype -- none of it based on facts.

So -- lets look at the publicly available facts, shall we?

Fact #1 -- Storage Market Growth Rates

According to IDC, EMC has gained more points of market share in the last few years than NetApp. So, if you're interested in measuring "fastest growing" in absolute (vs. relative), EMC would be the fastest growing. Even in the NAS category :)

If you prefer the relative measure, last time I checked, Nexanta was the fastest growing in terms of relative share (off the smallest base). I haven't seen the Gartner numbers, but I think they'd be the same.

Feel free to publish any data from a recognized industry analyst (IDC preferred) that might counter my statements.

Email surveys from free computer magazines don't count :)

Fact #2 -- Presence in virtualized environments

Every industry analyst survey shows EMC #1 in the storage market, no matter how you cut it.

I know you've read Chad's blog religiously, so you've seen the multiple surveys that put EMC #1 in terms of market share in virtualized environments.

The more customers go to virtualization, the better we seem to do. I'd hope so, give our investment in VMware.

The facts show just the opposite of your claims. Most surveys show NetApp way, way back in the pack in terms of market share in virtualized environments. We've shared our data -- have you published *ANYTHING* to back up your claim about doing well in virtualized environments?

And, for the love of God, please don't try and intimidate that "we both know what's going on in the market". You're just being weird now.

Best of luck with your most recent acquisition.

-- Chuck

Aaron Skogsberg


I wanted to post a recent email requesting my participation in a survey which again shows the "process" of participation. If they send this survey to multiple NetApp employees or EMC employees for that matter, you can see how the data can get skewed? I/We should be exempt for participating because we have a bias. Surely everyone can agree that you can't hold much weight to these non-industry recognized or validated surveys? See below.

Storage Solutions Survey 2011

Hi Aaron,
Last week, I sent an e-mail regarding our storage solutions survey -- a brief multiple choice survey. I hope I included you on my last message to participate, but if I missed you, I wanted to ensure you received the invitation to participate and enter to win a $100 Amazon.com gift card.
You can take the survey here.

To enter to win our prize, click here to take our survey today, before the survey closes.
Thank you in advance for your participation!
All the best,


Chuck Hollis

Hi Aaron:

I think just about everyone gets regularly hit up with "fill out a survey, win a prize!" types of offers. They're just part of the noisy email spam that we all deal with.

The vexing part is when a vendor actually considers the results meaningful and worth promoting.

If you think about it, the survey results will be sharply skewed to people who have the time and inclination to respond. And, of course, there's absolutely no way to check on the authenticity of the answers.

Fortunately, there is far better data available out there for people who go looking for it. Unfortunately for many vendors it doesn't cast them in a favorable light, hence the desire to use more of a tabloid approach.

Thanks for sharing!

-- Chuck

John Smith

I know this is an old post, but thought it worth commenting on how things have changed in a year. A client of mine purchased an EMC VNXe system about a year ago. With the recent operating environment update to 2.2.0, the system has been totally crippled. The new protection storage space requirements result in a raw 15.6TB system with only about 4TB of usable production storage for iSCSI data. While I don't know firsthand that this is worse than NetApp, I would be extremely surprised if it is not. We're talking about a 75% overhead just for the privilege of taking snapshots even on thin-provisioned storage.

I'm not affiliated with any storage vendor, but you can bet that I am looking for more efficient use of resources than that. :)

-- John

Chuck Hollis

Hi John

Something's very wrong with what your acquaintance is doing.

Please have them contact either their EMC partner or EMC directly as soon as possible so we can get them going in the right direction.


-- Chuck

John Smith

Unfortunately EMC has been consulted directly on this already several times (we didn't believe it the first time we were told) and it has been confirmed that this is the new reality with the VNXe line. IMHO, no longer a viable alternative for block-level iSCSI storage if you want to be able to perform snapshots.

The problem...when provisioning storage you need to reserve protection space at a minimum of 105% of the production data storage volume. That is a guaranteed 50%+ overhead plus the standard overhead from RAID (which may vary depending upon the RAID level chosen).

-- John


Hi John -

You hit a common misconception that needs a quick clarification here.

Space utilization is a function of the protocol, not the VNXe. Any sort of snapshot feature on iSCSI is going to take up at least a full copy + metadata. It's a block-level protocol, which makes it a blackbox to any file-level space savings you get with snapshot data protection. That's as much in our control as gravity. Now if your peer uses NFS - a file-level protocol - the VNXe I believe defaults to the very reasonable 30% protection space.

Also, I have to throw it out there that OE 2.2 is hugely impressive from my vantage point.

We baked in an ESRS service that's just a checkbox away from connecting you securely to support, made it even easier to deploy in ROBO environments and released Unisphere Remote to manage all of the systems in a single pane of glass. I don't want to get too preachy: you can start to see how epic the scale of engineering is here. Drop me a line @mjbrender if you'd like more details - I worked on that code release in my last role.


Mickey Baker

Matt wrote "Any sort of snapshot feature on iSCSI is going to take up at least a full copy + metadata."

"Any sort?"

You've forgotten thinly provisioned LUNs or deduped LUNs, which save the user storage even before the snapshot. LUNs take up fewer blocks, so LUNs + snapshots on NetApp routinely take up less overall storage than the LUN itself on other vendor's gear.

There are those pesky NetApp features again, just when you thought you had some logic going.


I'm not a celebrity storage guy. I just work for NetApp.

Matt Brender

Mickey, No apologies necessary on either side - there's nothing pesky about stating what's true.

You did however put the kart well ahead of the metaphorical horse for the sake of argument. Let's take a step back to the point.

I explained the difference between what storage looks like on disk as a block protocol rather than a file protocol. That understanding is a fundamental differentiation worth making before aiming for points off the checklist of who supports what checkboxes.

Let's teach basic geometry before we rip into vendor calculus.

And for those playing the home game, EMC products also have thin and dedupe options at hand.



Thank you all ... I get to learn so many technical and non technical things here ...
Chuck, I visit your blog once a week at least ... Only because of.these discussions
I am just a end user ... But I respect netapp emc and Hitachi ...
It just seems to be a never ending war of tech lords on who is better and who is not .... It gives us consumers a good opportunity to understand and align our investment
I have 3 small wishes ... May be useless for you all intellectual techs

1-) I wish Htachi starts to do the same level of marketing as EMC.
2- ) I wish netapp makes a small NAS / block storage box like Iomega for home and low budgeted business ...no one does unified better then netapp ontap Period.....I want one or two for home ... I have Iomega and love it but netapp as well please.
3 -) I wish emc stop bragging as to have invented most of.the storage technologies....no offense to emc ... I like the company but sometimes they.. phrase it in a way as if they were the first to introduce this or that .. guys u r great
people ... Wish u all the best.

Thank you chuck for bringing wealth of information via your blog

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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