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April 14, 2009

1.055: symmetrix v-max - a revolutionary evolution

Overtake the future. This is the second in a series of posts on EMC's Overtake the future launch on 14 April 2009.

but first, a bit of nostalgia

For over 18 years, Symmetrix has been the very definition of enterprise storage - even as that definition itself has changed over time.

The first Symmetrix array was built as an alternative to expensive IBM mainframe storage at a time when data centers were largely still centralized and mainframe-based. In the mid-1990's, EMC added Open Systems support to Symmetrix, allowing a single array to support multiple different servers and bringing the cost-benefits of storage consolidation to a broader market.


Read on…

symmetrix v-max and the virtual data center

More recently, IT has begun transitioning to the virtual server computing model, as customers strive to improve resource utilization while driving down the complexity and operating costs of the infrastructure. Symmetrix V-Max has been intentionally designed for this new market – the era of the Virtual Data Center (or the Private Cloud, if you prefer).

As the world will learn today, V-Max's integration with (and its parallels to) virtual server technologies is intentional and strategic.

And for customers not yet ready to move into the virtual world with Symmetrix V-Max, EMC will continue to offer and enhance the Symmetrix DMX4, so there's no pressure to switch to V-Max until customers are ready.

meet the newest member of the symmetrix family

SymmetrixVMax_thumb12The first thing you'll probably notice about the new Symmetrix V-Max is the packaging – and specifically the glossy-black panel with the blazing blue LED light bar that underscores the name Symmetrix on every door. The design team had a lot of fun blending the modern gloss-black look of today's popular personal communications devices with the image of stability and security that customers expect from Symmetrix.

I think they did very well.

In fact, the picture hardly does justice to the powerful first impression you get from seeing the packaging in real-life – especially for a full-blown 2400 drive, 11 cabinet configuration. So…I created this little bootleg video of one of the development systems in the labs so you could get a better idea for yourself:

Symmetrix V-Max in its Native Habitat
(Click here if you cannot see the video player)

Of course, this is a lab system, so you'd normally not have cables hanging out the back. Here, the rear doors have been removed and the cable management system isn't in place – in the real world, things would be much more tidy. But you get the idea – this is one big array.

I'll be back later today with more insights and perspectives on the new Symmetrix V-Max…I just thought it might be fun to start at the beginning!


In closing, I can't resist the observation that I doubt anyone saw the significance and scope of today's announcement coming. Given all the predictions that this was going to be just the DMX 5 (or DMX V), or perhaps a new cloud offering, I actually think today’s launch will be/is a bigger surprise to the world than last year’s thoroughly unexpected introduction of Enterprise Flash Drives.

I mean, seriously, did anybody out there (other than those briefed under NDA) really expect that EMC would overhaul the Symmetrix this radically? Is there anyone who would have bet that the New Symmetrix would be built of industry standard components on top of a Scale-Out architecture – while still maintaining compatibility for the installed base? Or that EMC was actually developing software to leverage flash drives as anything more than just another tier? (More on that later today).

Heck - would anyone have believed a month ago that EMC even intended to do all this, much less that they'd been working on it for several years?

I suspect not.

In fact, after years of competitive complacency built upon their near-incessant assertions that EMC had stopped innovating, I suspect that there are more than a few competitors scrambling today to figure out just how EMC could possibly have pulled this off, right under their noses.

In short, I am sure that many competitors and wanna-bees today will realize that they have totally underestimated EMC.

Again. And again. And AGAIN…



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So I had my appendix out over Easter (real bummer of a weekend) and while recovering have watched everything on my Sky+ box and was looking down the barrell of having to watch day time TV.

So thanks a million to EMC for giving me something interesting to get my teeth into while Im couch-bound and recovering. If theres enough interesting stuff out there I might just see if I can lengthen out my recovery so I can read and digest everything.

Sounds interesting and thanks again!

And there was me thinking you gys were just gunna OEM the USP V


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I am unabashedly an employee of EMC, but the opinions expressed here are entirely my own. I am a blogger who works at EMC, not an EMC blogger. This is my blog, and not EMC's. Content published here is not read or approved in advance by EMC and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of EMC.

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