EMC has spent the first couple of weeks of 2011 building what it hoped was excitement for the "Record Breaking Event" here in New York on Tuesday. After receiving a cardboard broken record via FedEx, and innumerable e-mails, I braved the freezing rain to attend the dog and pony show. Some of the announcements indicate that EMC gets that it has to stop promoting the storage priesthood and make its systems more accessible.
Of course, to get that message I had to sit through the usual corporate cheerleading and cheesy staged demos, complete with a fourth grader controlling a VNXe from his iPad and a bad video showing disk arrays being sold as Audis. (I wonder whose storage that company uses.) When it came to records, EMC execs made some claims about the upgraded Data Domain boxes and V-Max being the "world's fastest," but the true official Guinness world record was set when they pushed a Mini Cooper on stage and had 26 petite members of the Pilobolus Dance Theater cram in for a five count.
They also showed Bubba Blackwell jumping his motorcycle over 8 petabytes of V-Maxes. While they allowed the audience to believe the motorcycle event was live from a Harley-Davidson dealer in Miami, the tape included EMC exec Chad Sakac, who was also at the blogger's dinner Monday night and the event Tuesday.
Of the product announcements, the most interesting to me were the new VNX and VNXe unified storage systems. EMC's earlier Celerra systems used a Clariion block storage back end, with storage processors running EMC's Flare OS and one or more additional controllers running EMC's Unix-derived DART operating system. The controllers, which EMC called data movers, provided iSCSI access, and CIFS and NFS file access, as well as managed the file system.
Compared with systems such as NetApp's, which built block storage on top of the filer, this led to a more complicated management architecture, as admins had to manage two sets of controllers with disparate tools. While the midrange VNX systems still have separate block and file controllers, the management has been integrated into EMC's Unisphere.