Can EMC 'Redefine Possible' for Enterprise Clients?
EMC's new and enhanced XtremIO, VMAX and Isilon solutions should deliver just the sort of benefits the company envisions, helping customers seamlessly support existing legacy applications while preparing their way to a cloud-defined future. Just as importantly, though, these offerings also are likely to deliver analogous benefits to EMC, which has redefined itself as a next-gen cloud vendor.
There's no shortage of utopian visions in the IT industry, but the journey to cloud computing that some folks espouse makes the trip to Shangri-La look like a simple walk in the park. Why so? Because, like it or not, even in the best circumstances businesses must continue to support legacy applications and systems while they are adopting next-gen technologies.
EMC understands that issue from the ground up, but the company also believes customers can support legacy solutions in ways that will prepare them for a seamless transition to private, public and hybrid cloud. In fact, EMC recently announced new and updated XtremIO, VMAX and Isilon systems (along with an overlay of ViPR management solutions) that offer three approaches for achieving just that end.
3 Steps Along the Cloud Path
XtremIO Flash-based arrays support the highest levels of critical application and data performance, but EMC rightly notes that this should be considered in light of providing consistent, predictable, superior support no matter what the workload. Every organization employs business-critical applications that demand top line performance, and the flexible new XtremIO features developed by EMC, including the Starter X-Brick entry-level system, larger scale-out configurations, and up to 4X better in-line compression, mean that these solutions can be effectively adapted for and adopted by virtually any storage customer.
EMC's VMAX is already the industry's preeminent enterprise storage system, and the company has made significant changes to what its now calls the "VMAX Family." Those enhancements allow VMAX to act as a data services platform for agilely and flexibly supporting applications deployed internally or in public clouds, and determining where best to run specific workloads. Since the improvements include lowering TCO by 50 percent while boosting overall performance by up to 3X over previous-generation solutions, it is clear why EMC considers VMAX Family a superb solution for customers' existing and future challenges.
Isilon long has been EMC's solution for businesses that require exceptionally robust scale-out commodity NAS to support vast quantities of unstructured data and applications. They include high-profile customers in media and entertainment, financial services and life sciences. The new Isilon enhancements include two new platforms that effectively double performance, along with SmartFlash flash cache capabilities for next-gen protocols and (along with Pivotal) native integration of HDFS for Big Data analytics. These signal notable steps forward for Isilon and scale-out NAS customers, but what's particularly intriguing is the platform's support for what EMC calls "enterprise-grade Data Lakes" capable of storing and managing vast quantities and varieties of information, along with supporting related applications.
Cloud-Defined Vision Taking Shape
What will EMC's new solutions look like in real world business scenarios? A cogent picture can be found in the new, related announcements by VCE. By leveraging new technology extensions for Isilon and XtremIO, VCE will offer Vblock Systems with Isilon for scale-out VDI and Hadoop analytics. The company will integrate and support these as options for both new and existing Vblock Systems, bringing the VCE Experience to customers deploying scale-out VDI and enterprise data lakes. The new solutions are expected to be available fore order in Q3 2014 (Isilon) and Q4 2104 (XtremIO).
However, while VCE is likely to profit from the improvements EMC has made to these platforms, XtremIO and Isilon customers also stand to gain considerably by having access to VCE's converged infrastructure solutions.
The company's Vblocks aren't simply amalgams of best-of-breed technologies from VCE's partner owners (EMC, Cisco and VMware). Instead, they are deeply integrated, highly functional, individual products that are designed to support customers' specific needs with automated, component level updates, lifecycle management services, and end-to-end vendor accountability. Those features have allowed VCE to establish firm market and technical leadership, and satisfy a growing number of enterprise clients.
Overall, these latest EMC announcements find the company operating at or near the top of its game. The new and enhanced XtremIO, VMAX and Isilon solutions should deliver just the sort of benefits EMC envisions, helping customers seamlessly support existing legacy applications while preparing their way to a cloud-defined future.
Just as importantly, though, these offerings also are likely to deliver analogous benefits to EMC. Though the company remains the industry's leading enterprise storage systems specialist, by dint of hard work, critical development investments and imaginative acquisitions, it has redefined itself as an insightful vendor of innovative, next-generation cloud services and solutions. The new XtremIO, VMAX and Isilon offerings prove that EMC's journey not only has succeeded, but continues apace.