EMC says most of its customers “unaware of ... ease of use improvements to” CLARiiON, Symmetrix

In a competitive intelligence document analyzing its strengths and weaknesses compared to 3Par, EMC dismisses its rival’s thin provisioning and scalability, but also admits to poor communication with customers


Most EMC customers are “unaware of the dramtatic [EMC’s spelling mistake] ease of use improvements around CX4 and V-Max,” according to an EMC document called “Competitive Précis (CliffsNotes) for Partners: Messaging, Limitations, Strengths vs. Major Storage Vendors”.

Dated April 2010, the document seems authentic – SearchStorage ANZ has checked links in the document and they connect to EMC resources for partners, customers and staff.

The document goes on to address EMC’s position compared to 3Par, and takes on the latter vendor’s claim that “management costs can be reduced by 90% relative to ‘traditional’ arrays” by pointing out its own improved management features which, the company says, mean “3PAR systems are not easier to use than EMC systems.”

The document also takes a dig at 3Par, saying that while the company was “first to market with thin provisioning, most storage vendors are offering equivalent capabilities with thin provisioning.”

EMC also says that 3Par’s ‘Thin-Built-In’ messaging “is actually not ‘built-in.’ It requires careful coordination with host software (Windows Server 2008, VERITAS File System) to work,” then points out that EMC can do the same thing with its PowerPath Migration Enabler and Open Replicator / Sparse Volumes.

The document goes on to analyse 3Par’s technical limitations, which it says includes:

  • No Flash or 1TB SATA drive support

o    3PAR’s “tierless” storage approach leads to performance plateaus. This means that 3PAR hits a certain performance point and stays flat.

o    Forces customers to add more drives which in turn undermines 3PAR’s TCO claims

  • 3PAR designed for large pools / wide-striping using no or few tiers

o    EMC can configure large pools for wide-striping as well—no advantage for 3PAR

  • No pro-active sparing to avoid performance penalty and risk during re-build

o    3PAR claims faster rebuilds but EMC avoids rebuilds altogether in most cases

  • No RAID6

o    3PAR only offers RAID 0, 1, and 5. How will 3PAR handle multiple drive failure?

  • 3-lane PCI-X controller node architecture

o    Prevents ability to upgrade to faster front-end connectivity (8Gb FC, 10GbE, 10Gb FCoE)

  • No 5-9s Availability

o    No RAID 6, no proactive sparing

o    Increased risk of data loss and performance penalty during rebuild

Another advantage EMC believes it possesses is size, as the document says 3Par possesses only 170 engineers and is therefore slow to develop products, citing the fact that  it took the latter company  “… six years to upgrade its platform from S-Models (announced 2002) to T-Models (announced 2008)” as a sign of 3Par’s poor ability to develop new products.

EMC also feels 3Par's decision to outsource support may have backfired, saying the results are “Spotty … in terms of guaranteeing consistent support coverage & quality ...”.


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