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Enterprise Computing: Why Buy EMC?

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Here’s an interesting article on Barrons.com which talks about EMC’s future market share and the risk of share being lost from the increasing acceptance of customers to consider technology from “lower cost” competitors.

Enterprise arrays have been successful because they offer high reliability and availability.  This was achieved through monolithic designs of high cost components and a focus on engineering quality.  That was then – now we have much more reliable components – disk drives really don’t fail that often – SATA drives are much more reliable than they ever were.  Reliability and availability can be implemented these days with much lower cost components – almost commodity in fact.  Have a look at this great post from Pete Steege, which references the decline in cost of storage over time.

So once a vendor proves reliability in the real world, the commoditised hardware just needs good management software to reduce the overall cost of ownership.

Will that mean DMX-5 will be more like Clariion?  I guess only time will tell.  What’s for sure is that as disk prices decline and capacities go up, storage becomes more of a commodity and monolithic arrays will become as niche as the mainframe has for servers.

About Chris M Evans

Chris M Evans has worked in the technology industry since 1987, starting as a systems programmer on the IBM mainframe platform, while retaining an interest in storage. After working abroad, he co-founded an Internet-based music distribution company during the .com era, returning to consultancy in the new millennium. In 2009 Chris co-founded Langton Blue Ltd (www.langtonblue.com), a boutique consultancy firm focused on delivering business benefit through efficient technology deployments. Chris writes a popular blog at http://blog.architecting.it, attends many conferences and invitation-only events and can be found providing regular industry contributions through Twitter (@chrismevans) and other social media outlets.
  • matrixstore

    Good Post Chris.

    Storage is only really starting to go through the “commoditisation” process now that servers went through 10 years ago.

    Good news I say.

  • http://powerwindows.wordpress.com Brian

    Nice. You mean, why buy DMX?

    ‘Why buy EMC’ does have better headline power though :)

  • http://www.storagerap.com Marc Farley

    There is no question that mid range storage is growing up both in capacity and capabilities to replace enterprise storage. Look at SSDs – a technology that last year was a premier technology that is now identified with mid range products – even though the cost of them is anything but “mid range”. I think most people understand this shift in one way or another – including EMC, based on their Clariion emphasis the last couple years.

    What’s interesting to me is if there will be an architectural breakthrough with designs having more distributed modularity, as opposed to the monolithic architectures of the leading enterprise storage arrays. I hope so, but I have a vested interest in it, don’t I?

  • http://www.storagenerve.com Devang

    Nice post, I have seen trends from EMC over the past 5 to 7 years with design changes on there products and these days it really seems we are seeing storage turning into commodity….we have seen the transformation of the old Clariions to the new design and further that architecture being pushed into other EMC platforms like Celerra.
    I truly believe with DMX-5, we will see a change in architecture in terms of management, interface, etc….going towards a clariion type approach. Again in these economic times, these cost savings can be passed on to the customers……Here is a post from Feb 2009 that talks about DMX-5 and what we might see in the future….


  • http://media.seagate.com/center/storage-effect Pete Steege

    No doubt – the meaning of “storage system” will continue to change dramatically – relentlessly, continuously. Don’t get too comfortable with any definition of storage for your business.

  • http://blogs.netapp.com/efficiency/ Mike Riley

    Chris – great post. I had a similar line of thought in my post (http://blogs.netapp.com/efficiency/2009/02/technology-does.html). There’s a bit of NetApp marketing in there but shared the same premise as your post. It carried on over at Barry Burke’s blog (http://thestorageanarchist.typepad.com/weblog/2009/02/1042-modular-storage-whats-in-a-name.html) but the commoditization of storage was the basic point and that includes SSDs.

  • Chris Evans


    As the article referred to EMC specifically, I titled it thus. However you’re right – it is more eyecatching the way I wrote it, but DMX is the main product to which I was referring. :-)

  • Chris Evans

    Marc, that is true. Of course I couldn’t comment on the 3Par roadmap, as I haven’t seen it, however I’m sure “you” as a company have thought this all through. It will be interesting to see how market share changes – be ready for the obligatory “But we’re gaining market share” EMC comment…. :-)

  • Chris Evans

    Devang – I read your post – it was mildly annoying – I’d started to write a similar post and yours was much better than mine! :-)

  • Chris Evans

    Thanks Mike

    I’ll check out the links – I’m a bit behind on my RSS reading. Need a holiday to catch up!!

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