EMC VMAXe Is A Scaled-Down Version Of VMAX For Cloud Storage

Storage vendor EMC has introduced the VMAXe storage architecture platform for its Symmetric line of storage systems. VMAXe is a smaller-footprint version of EMC's existing VMAX architecture for virtual cloud and mission-critical IT environments. VMAXe, which stands for Virtual Matrix Architecture, offers easier installation, configuration and management, and is targeted at smaller enterprises that may have limited storage expertise on their IT staffs.

July 18, 2011

2 Min Read
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Storage vendor EMC has introduced the VMAXe storage architecture platform for its Symmetric line of storage systems. VMAXe is a smaller-footprint version of EMC's existing VMAX architecture for virtual cloud and mission-critical IT environments. VMAXe, which stands for Virtual Matrix Architecture, offers easier installation, configuration and management, and is targeted at smaller enterprises that may have limited storage expertise on their IT staffs.

The VMAXe system can scale up to four Engines, an EMC term for its central processing unit, based on Intel multicore processors, and can scale up to 960 disk and flash storage drives. The entry-level VMAXe, with one Engine, has a starting price of $200,000, says Fidelma Russo, VP in the EMC enterprise storage division.

"There is a class of customers who want the availability characteristics of the VMAX architecture but want to deploy it for applications where they may not have the need for the scale of a VMAX," Russo says. "They [still] want to deploy applications faster into the cloud and support highly virtualized environments."

The VMAXe offering addresses two pain points for enterprises, Russo says. First is the complexity around deploying large, consolidated infrastructure and high-end storage, especially in an environment where companies use large amounts of virtualization technology. Second is the growing demand for high availability, particularly with increasingly global operations that need to be available 24/7/365. And because VMAXe is integrated with the Symmetrix line, which has been around for 20 years, "we basically have a trusted infrastructure that you can put your business on,” she says.

Comparing VMAXe to the VMAX platform indicates the market segment the new line is targeted for, says Charles King, president and principal analyst at Pund-IT, a tech research firm. King notes that the "full-blown" VMAX line scales up to 2,400 drives, versus the VMAXe’s 960.King identifies three discreet customer types for which he thinks the VMAXe is intended: small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) looking for scale out, multicontroller storage performance or higher levels of reliability, availability and serviceability (RAS) than midrange and unified storage systems deliver; companies in rapidly expanding domestic and international markets where flexible, scalable and cost-effective enterprise storage systems can provide a competitive edge; and organizations adopting virtualized and cloud computing environments.

The VMAXe would be a good place to start for some of these companies because it is smaller than the VMAX system, but can grow with demand, King says:"There are going to be companies in fast-growing markets where they can literally start small and grow big over time."

While EMC is generally regarded as the storage leader because its legacy is in storage, it faces competition from other major players that, with recent acquisitions, have entered the high-end storage market. These include IBM, with its XIV, HP, with 3Par, and Dell, with Compellent, he says.

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