The VNX5000 systems takes the place of the Clariion CX4-480, CX4-240, CX4-120 and Clariion AX4 and Celerra NS-480 and NS-120 storage systems. It holds from 75 to 500 drives and up to 1 petabyte of capacity.
EMC claimed its new VNX line is the only storage system in the market that offers automated file and block sub-LUN tiering using its FAST technology. NetApp claimed EMC has simply wrapped "sheet metal" around the Clariion and Celerra hardware and that the underlying operating systems are still disparate.
"If this is a dark controller in a box and you can migrate data between the data stores, it's not that interesting. Customers are looking for a single, homogeneous storage pool that they can carve up via block and NAS protocols," said Patrick Rogers, NetApp's vice president of product marketing.
VNX includes both Clariion's Flare and Celerra's Dart operating systems, but EMC was not forthcoming with whether those systems have been integrated or required some form of translation engine. According to Mark Peters, an analyst with market research firm ESG, EMC's OSes remain separate and disparate.
"I think the bigger story is the fact that, irrespective of how they're doing it, the whole marketplace will do a unified discussion," Peters said, referring to the unification of SAN and NAS protocols on a single array.
ESG analyst Brian Babineau said EMC must prove its unified storage claims.
"EMC has some checked some boxes and NetApp has checked some boxes [on an IT manager's needs list], but at the end of the day, having the ability to connect all workloads, maintain performance and not worry about which disk drives your data is on is what matters," he said. "Are we going to get into battles as to what makes a system truly unified? Yes."
Peters added that a more significant change for EMC is that it's targeting low-end channel resellers through its Velocity partner program, which it has not done previously to this extent. EMC's Gelsinger said the company plans on bringing "thousands" of new reseller partners into the program and accelerating the training cycle for salespeople from weeks or months to days.
"Think about EMC. You'd never think of them as being in low-end cost leadership," he said. "The extent into which they're going into that area of the channel will have a significant impact on the industry."
EMC VMAX revamp
In another part of the presentation punctuated with showmanship, EMC announced it was updating its highest end array, the VMAX Symmetrix array. The announcement included a live video stream of motorcycle stuntman Bubba Blackwell jumping a Harley Davidson over 40 EMC VMAX arrays in the parking lot of a dealership in Miami.
Geslinger said EMC has added 55 new features to the VMAX array and doubled its performance. The VMAX can scale from 48 to 2,400 drives and 2 petabytes of capacity. The VMAX now has the ability to encrypt data natively on its drives and perform key management down to a single disk via EMC's RSA software.
The array also now offers live migration of data between arrays, allowing seamless hardware upgrades. For example, an IT shop could install a new VMAX array, configure it and then allow its existing VMAX array to migrate current data onto the new array without disrupting service.
Like the VNX arrays, the VMAX now has the updated FAST VP software, which allows it to allocate storage on the fly from virtual storage pools. EMC, however, was short on details about other new features on the box, and spokespersons were unavailable to comment at deadline.
EMC also announced the first rebranded, clustered NAS products from its purchase of Isilon Systems last month. EMC announced S, X and NL series of Isilon arrays, or nodes, as the company calls them.