Monday, 14 January 2008

EMC Stretches DMX Both Ways

EMC made two DMX-4 announcements today. At the top end, the first details solid state drives which replace standard spinning HDDs. At the bottom end the second announces new 1TB SATA-II drives (and other miscellaneous stuff).

The solid state hard drive (or as Chuck Hollis describes it, the enterprise flash drive), isn't just a small 1-2GB device; this is a real replacement for 73GB or 146GB drives and will apparently slot right into a standard HDD bay. Assuming drive support is identical to standard HDDs, then it should be possible to create hypers from the drive(s) and present them to many separate hosts. I see this as significantly better than products such as Tera-RamSan. Firstly, the EMC device is more compact, second and most important, it integrates with the existing array, meaning better compatibility, support for existing functionality such as SRDF and TimeFinder and therefore more consistency.

Obviously a real issue will be cost versus standard HDDs, however I think there will be plenty of takers. Every large organisation has one or more application which needs more storage horsepower and the tradeoff between rewriting the application, purchasing more hardware or using SSD HDDs in DMX will make the latter option very appealing. Hopefully as time goes on, the cost of SSD drives will reduce significantly (think of how expensive SD cards used to be) and SSD technology will be more attractive to a wider audience.

Naturally the blog spin masters at EMC have been active; here's just a selection of the links I found:

Nothing yet from The Storage Anarchist though. Give it time...

The second announcement covered availability of 1TB for DMX-4. Fair play to EMC, they are offering storage technology across the spectrum of speeds and capacities, all in a single box. I still need to think through the implications of having even more choice in one array, not least of which is the impact on my design methodologies!

Oh and the second announcement re-announced thin provisioning for DMX-4. But everyone else is already doing that already. :-)


the storage anarchist said...

My post is now up.

And I don't think "everyone" is doing Thin Provisioning already - at least, Big Blue apparently thinks the market for TP doesn't exist for the DS8000.

Then again, from what I've seen, they may be right - I can't seem to find a market for the DS8000 either!

Stephen said...

The mainframe guru at work was not impressed today when I started talking about the EMC SSD's. He said they have had them for the mainframe for sometime. He also said SSD have been around for 20 odd years. I am not going to dispute this person as he has been around for an awful long time and knows his stuff (but I do know a lot more about Linux on Z series and UNIX in general..he he he). So, if this is correct, then umm.. err.. what next. I raised the issue about current infrastructure not really being able to cope with such super quick devices. I think it is a good thing that it has been released as it is more mainstream and should get everyone else interested.


BruceNorikane said...


the mainframe guru is correct. RAM SSD's were available on the MF 20 years ago.

In fact, an SSD was EMC's first enterprise class product. The Symmetrix was an extension of the SSD, as customers wanted some disk behind the SSD. The RAM SSD became the Symm's big cache.