EMC plans VMAXe vBlocks

EMC plans create vBlocks around its new VMAXe storage array, says Brian E Gallagher, President of the company’s Enterprise Storage Division.

EMC is working on vBlocks based on its new VMAXe arrays, and Brian E Gallagher, President of the company’s Enterprise Storage Division wants them developed as fast as possible.

The VMAXe is a slightly scaled-down version of EMC’s flagship array the Symmetrix VMAX and was launched last week.

Speaking exclusively to SearchStorage ANZ last week while visiting Australia for a “TC conference,” an EMC internal sales education event, Gallagher said the new array is designed to help EMC address markets where it was struggling to compete.


“These ‘e’ products – e is for ‘Entry’ - are designed to hit markets where we have not been doing very well,” he said. The company’s first ‘e’ product, the low-end VNXe array is, he said “meeting its expectations.” Gallager said he expects the VMAXe to do so too, in part because it will suit buyers in the Asia Pacific Region, a territory where EMC feels it needs new products to reach the same level of market share it has achieved elsewhere.

“We have 70% of the high-end market share in the USA and 54% worldwide. We have 33% in China – we’re not sure if we’ve been managed to that level.”

“We’ve looked at parts of Asia and asked why aren’t we are at the same market share. Part of it is the model but it is also the product. That drove us to create VMAXe and we expect very good results in Asia. We think the regional in general is a huge growth opportunity for us.”

VMAXe will help EMC, he said, especially when sold as part of vBlocks, the pre-configured stack of virtualised storage, network and computing sold by the VMware, Ciso and EMC VCE alliance. Gallagher feels service providers in the region will appreciate vBlocks based on VMAXe, as organisations look for trusted providers of data centre facilities that offer comparable flexibility to public cloud providers, but greater opportunity for dedicated services and customised SLAs.

“Lots of our customers have built clouds but the trust factor is not there to take it to a public cloud provider. But they will turn it over to a top-tier service provider if they know it is safe. They can’t do it all in their own data centres but service providers can bring them what they need.”

Gallagher is therefore hustling to speed the creation of the new vBlocks.

“We would like vBlocks based on VMAXe tomorrow,” Gallagher said. “We are working with our friends at VCE and expect it in the next twelve months and we are optimising to be faster than that. I would like to see it as early as the beginning of next year.” Gallagher said he is also responsible for EMC’s storage clustering vPlex technology and said he expects it will appear in vBlocks based on VMAXe.


Gallagher’s visit to Australia came just two days after VMware launched its vSphere storage appliance (VSA), a virtual array to support VMware. IBRS analyst Kevin McIsaac hailed VSA as a game-changer that will eventually supplant mid-range arrays, a position Gallagher refuted.

“Across all our products there is value that we bring in copy services, in automated tiering, in replication both local and remote. Mid-tier arrays still bring that value to the enterprise,” Gallagher said. “

“I think VSA is geared towards small business. Will it ultimately scale? Yes: everything scales over time. But I think if you look at storage there has been this idea storage will be commoditised. Ultimately all things do to one degree or another. But the problems we solve still need pretty sophisticated engineering and with this automated data placement, it takes intelligence to do that. We have six years of analytics about how applications access data. We have petabytes of trace data to analyse.”

Gallagher also feels that large virtual arrays may not be the best configuration for applications.

“All of those things [our arrays do] take compute cycles. The challenges of doing that in the virtual world is that you are leveraging compute cycles for the application and compute cycles for managing information. Arrays provide useful separation,” he said. “But if you are in a small environment there is no reason a VSA device would not fit your purpose for that environment.”

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