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What matters in midrange storage? And does VNX2 measure up?


I write this piece on the plane travelling to one of my favourite cities: Rome. It just so happens that this is the very same country in which EMC has chosen to launch its new mid-range VNX2 platform, albeit in Milan.  Given that the storage midmarket is the central battleground of our industry, I thought it would be an interesting conversation for this week.


Same old…?

I remember selling Clariion storage systems when I was working as a sales rep for Sequent in the early days of Symmetric Multi-Processing (remember that?). Then EMC bought Data General and the Clariion platform (later to become the VNX). Now EMC has evolved the system into the VNX2. Looking at the data sheet it appears (on the face of it) that there is a radical departure: new code base, faster this, better that… However, a bit more scrutiny reveals that we have another dose of the “same old architecture disease”– a nasty storage ailment that continues to deny customers a real step forward L


So what matters in midrange storage?

The answer here is that midsized businesses now want exactly what high end storage customers already have: massive scalability, blistering performance, business continuity and operational simplicity – all at an affordable price. The VNX2 is playing catch-up in this space and could actually be a risky option with so much new code being introduced. It is almost three years (!) since HP invested in a next-gen architecture, and it has since been evolved for the high-end market, high performance applications (Flash) and midrange environments. The HP 3PAR StoreServ platform brings customers a single, operational architecture for all requirements – if you go to the “market leader” you will get three architectural answers to these questions…actually four because the new VNX is not backward compatible!


The performance myth

It is also worth being cautious about performance. If I was a VNX-1 customer I would be very disappointed to see the dramatic comparison between old and new platforms. Claims of one million IOPs are, frankly, unproven. They also demonstrate the performance limitations of the previous generation many customers may only just have invested in.  We’ll see if the EMC folks follow up with a proper industry benchmark to verify their claims, in a similar way to the SPC benchmark results achieved by 3PAR.


On the plus side, HP 3PAR remains the fastest growing storage platform in the market today – based on the evidence above, I see nothing challenging that for some time!


For more on this topic, please check out the recent blog post by HPStorageGuy Calvin Zito: EMC's VNX2 circus. Calvin shares what other storage industry bloggers are saying about VNX2.



You can find me on Twitter @ChrisJohnsonHP if you wish to comment...

nate | ‎09-20-2013 04:33 AM

EMC must've done something right, they managed to get everyone talking about them........what's that old saying again..? any press is good press? something like that I can't remember.


While I'm here may I ask that HP go out and buy one of these VNX boxes and put it through it's paces, and demonstrate to the world what it is (or is not) capable of. Look at what NetApp did to the EMC CX-3 on SPC-1 for a good example. You guys got the $$$ - spend some of it!!



(3PAR customer since 2006 - now struggling to buy a 7000-series 3PAR for Europe but HP's apparent recent process changes have resulted in multi week long lead times simply to get a quote - that won't stop me though).

Dennis | ‎11-15-2013 07:22 AM

good aticle guys.

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