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EMC Partners Ride Upgrade Cycle

During day two at EMC World, I focused more on some of the partners that augment and enhance EMC's product lines. I didn't get enough time to do all of the labs I wanted, nor attend many sessions. But what I saw, I liked.

VCE, the joint venture among VMware, Cisco, and EMC, took the opportunity to highlight new feature enhancements to its Vblock architecture through integration with EMC's VPLEX, which federates storage across multiple locations. VCE also support EMC's Avamar, Data Domain, and RecoverPoint products, all of which overlap somewhat in functionality, meaning Vblock customers can choose the data protection suite that fits a particular application's needs.

Given that the products are tested and supported by VCE, if there's a problem, there's one call to make. That's exactly what VCE CEO Michael Capellas says differentiates VCE from competitors' private cloud offerings. "You should not confuse individual components which come from a single company with integration," he explained at EMC World. "Other reference architectures tell you how to build it. Just because you bought a reference architecture doesn't mean that you have integrated products. If you have a problem, you call VCE and we take ownership."

I got a chance to sit down with Eric Herzog, SVP for product management and marketing of the unified storage division at EMC, who was excited about flash storage and the possibilities that tiering offers organizations. By utilizing an average of 5% of a storage system as flash, the array can offer two to three times better performance using flash. Traditionally, adding more I/Ops meant adding more disks to an array, and the progression was largely linear. Flash can substantially increase performance without adding more disks. That means less power draw, and less space to hold the drives.

He said the biggest hurdle he sees is educating storage admins both in organizations and EMC's channel partners that, even though flash drives are far more expensive per unit than disk drives, to achieve equivalent performance, judicious use of flash plus disk can significantly reduce the overall system cost because you need far fewer disks. I suspect you'll be hearing a lot more about flash from EMC in the coming year.

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