A day after announcing an “excellent quarter and end to 2013”, including outperforming the industry and 11% year-over-year Q4 revenue growth (up 7% for the year), EMC is announcing a completely redesigned Storage Resource Management (SRM) Suite (version 3.0), as well as enhancements to its ViPR Software-Defined Storage platform (V1.1). The formal announcements – both products are already shipping – underscore the underlying elements of storage and what enterprise, mid-market and service-provider customers are looking for, said Chris Ratcliffe, VP of Marketing, EMC Advanced Software Division.
“We’re the storage leaders for a reason,” he said, including listening to its customers. These needs came down to three things: lower operating expenses; more choice; and a bridge between today and tomorrow’s storage needs.
“Data growth is absolutely out of control for everybody. This is a great thing for EMC because people want to buy storage, but it creates a ton of problems.”
Ratcliffe said the company shipped an exabyte during its first 20 years, but that accelerated to a year, a quarter and now in a month. He said they had one customer order that took 86 pallets and a half-dozen trucks. “OpEx is growing in line with their data and that is an unsustainable model.”
Lowering OpEx has become a business imperative, he said. EMC customers are seeing data growing at 80-90% per year, and 70% routinely.
The second need is choice. “I want complete freedom of choice in what platforms I choose. Doing it for EMC alone isn’t enough.” Customers want to have the option of purchasing from other vendors, he said.
Finally, there is the requirement to help customers bridge the gap between the enterprise they have today, the 2nd Platform computing, and the 3rd Platform computing – the IT destination designed for cloud, mobility, social networking and Big Data.
ViPR, which was announced in May and started shipping in October, “isn’t some half-baked plan with minimal functionality or numerous to-be-determined (TBD) features,” stated analyst Charles King, Pund-IT. “Instead, ViPR should deliver significant value out of the box and even more over time as additional features come online. We are particularly impressed by the new platform’s ease of use and simplified data access features, the absence of which can create thorny problems for storage owners and administrators.”
Back then Ratcliffe told IT Trends & Analysis the demand is there for software-defined storage and EMC thinks they have solved it. “We are the 800-pound gorilla in storage and if we don’t do it, who will?”
Talking about yesterday’s financial results, David Goulden, CEO of EMC Information Infrastructure and EMC’s Chief Financial Officer, said the company is better equipped than anyone else to help customers bridge the gap as they transition from the second to the third platform, with technologies like ViPR. “ViPR got off to a very strong start in Q4, having amassed almost three times the number of customers originally targeted for the quarter. No other storage solution on the market today can help customers bridge from the second to the third platform the way ViPR can – with a simple, extensible and open architecture that substantially lowers the costs associated with existing environments while accommodating new ones.”
Ratcliffe said the first step the company took with ViPR was to reduce OpEx. “The other thing we did was support platforms beyond EMC.”
Today’s ViPR announcements include enhancing the object capabilities with a Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) Data Service and support for the EMC Symmetrix Remote Data Facility (SRDF). In addition, ViPR is free for download.
In last week’s outlook for storage, Ashish Nadkarni, a research director in IDC’s Storage Systems research practice, predicted that commercial SDS revenue will cross $1.8 B by 2015, and that Software/Systems that manage storage systems are back in business. He said this seems odd having gone through a painfully long ordeal of storage resource management platforms and software solutions only a few years ago, but cited EMC and ViPR as an example that the storage industry just does not want to give up this lucrative market segment.
“Bottom line is that storage is no longer an all-inclusive entity – the complexities that it has created in the data center into means that storage (systems) that manage (storage) systems are making a comeback. Looks like the dreams of the original authors of pNFS are coming true – the time for “real” separation of control and data planes has come – and I’ll leave it at that.”
Although Gartner’s numbers are a year old, it put SRM spending at a compound annual growth rate of 5%, or under $1B per year, or substantially less than the runaway data storage growth and rising imperative to do more with less. IDC’s Q3 storage software report, released in mid-December, found that sales inched up just 1.5% year-over-year, with data protection & recovery software (5.3% to $1.32 billion) and storage & device management software (3.7% to $672 million) the two major sources of growth, and EMC (25.2%) holding a sizable lead over the next two contenders, IBM (15.1%), and Symantec (14%).
Storage Resource Management Suite 3.0 is an all new product from the ground up, said Ratcliffe. “The biggest change we’ve made is in the user interface.” It also includes a library of standard reports, installs faster, and uses less resources.
Like ViPR, the new SRM is intended for the multi-vendor storage world. “If you’re a non-EMC customer (i.e. IBM, HP or NetApp), or mixed environment, the beauty is you get the same view… across the entire storage infrastructure.”
Where SRM is about deep visibility and monitoring., ViPR is really about active management, said Ratcliffe. They can work separately, but work well together, he added.
Initial feedback from SRM 3.0 beta customers has been extremely positive. “A major retailer said this is 1,000 times better than the other products we have here from EMC and your competitors.” Another ViPR and VMware customer put in SRM and it works seamlessly.
Under The Hood
Storage Resource Management (SRM) Suite (version 3.0) capabilities include:
-deep insight and visualization for managing multi-vendor storage environments through a simplified, common user interface;
-seamless integration with ViPR so that customers have one management framework that transcends both their traditional and software-defined environments; and,
-support for EMC Data Protection Advisor, enabling replication and analysis capabilities across the entire infrastructure to ensure that data can be protected and recovered across any application environments while maintaining compliance with data replication policies
ViPR Software-Defined Storage platform (version 1.1) enhancements and updates include:
-enhancing the object capabilities of ViPR with a Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) Data Service; customers can now deploy HDFS across existing files from any ViPR supported platforms, turning existing storage infrastructure into a Big Data Repository and extending Hadoop analytics to all ViPR-managed data;
-support for the EMC Symmetrix Remote Data Facility (SRDF), delivering remote replication in mission-critical environments under ViPR management; and,
-ViPR is free for download.