Hi, only 1 year has passed since i wrote this post ( https://itzikr.wordpress.com/2013/05/09/reflections-on-emc-world-2013-my-flashy-prespective/ )
and it seems like a lifetime, so much as changed for me both in my personal life and in my working life, while i don’t think my readers are interested in the personal stuff, i wanted to talk about what has changed for us in the EMC XtremIO team.
this blog post doesn’t summarize all the activities we had at EMC World 2014, it’s just my own personal view of the world..
OK, so the baby was born!, back in November 2013 we went GA, while we were in a directed availability mode since April 2013, the product became officially GA only in November and in such a small amount of time, it became the leading AFA product (by capacity & units sold), what it meant to us, by the way, there is a reason i’m using parents photo as the analogy, maybe it’s only me but i find so many commonalities between raising a kid to raising a product.
Anyway.. we were thankful to be a part of the EMC machine, we needed the large amount of sales reps, local support teams etc’ to stand behind the product, it’s like sending your kid to first grade and finding out at the 2nd day he has been identified as a gifted kid, im not saying this to patronize, im saying this in order to try and explain what does the driver feels when he accelerate from 0 to 100 in 3 seconds. it also signaled to everyone that the product is here to stay, it’s catching an hugh momentum in the market and customers are absolutely loving it, the fact that we have returning customers proves it!
speaking about customers, Brian Dougherty from CMA speak about his impression of XtremIO, now that has been running in their environment for some time ..
later on, Wikibon then wrote a great summary of the interview which you can read here:
secondly, we also learned that FLASH is different, it’s not just the architecture, it’s the messaging that we need to bring to the market, look, there are so many storage vendors out there trying to brand their AFA’s as the “best in the market” that is not always easy for customers to truly understand the differences and as such, in this EMC World, we became a bit more aggressive on these points:
at his keynote, david goulden highlighted that fact that Inline data services matter but what did he mean, well, some AFA’s out there are preaching their data services (for example, dedupe) as inline and in many cases, they ARE, what they don’t tell you is that because of their legacy architecture, for example, an active / passive one, they have so much load on a single controller (active / Passive again) that they need to throttle back their data services to an extent it doesn’t work, it’s not off but its not working, so this slide was actually taken as a proof point from a customer that was running a 50-50 R/W workload and in the case where the array was under heavy load, the “other” AFA couldn’t cope with the load but here’s the thing, the load wasn’t syntetic, you are NOT buying an AFA to sit idle, if that’s what you’re doing, you shouldn’t even buy it in the first place, a VNX2 for example will do a much better and a cheaper job for you as a customer and guess what, even a VNX2 has an active/active architecture if you are going with the VNX-F model!! crazy but true
As part of this issue, we started the 1M$ guarantee, we basically are promising our customers, we would never shut down or throttle data services to a point where they do not work, we think that true always-on inline data services should be a part of the CORE architecture and not a feature that is a semi post process, post process in this context is a step backward to ..again, legacy arrays that already exist in the market
Ehud Rokach, our GM (and a truly great person) actually speaks about it here:
and Josh Goldstein (VP of PM) speaks about it here:
for customers who already made the mistake of purchasing the wrong product (hey, it’s not easy to test an AFA and there was no baseline), we are offering a Trade-In program, speaks to your EMC sales rep about this one.
speaking about how to test an AFA, as i mentioned above, it’s not easy, IDC have published a white paper about what to test but it doesn’t show you how to
do it, you can ready more on the IDC WP here: https://itzikr.wordpress.com/2013/06/30/testing-an-all-flash-array/
so what can you do? well, we took the IDC WP a step further and announced a FLASH testing kit appliance, it’s basically using vdbench which is the industry standard for testing performance of your AFA, it’s very easy to work with, it will expose what happens to garbage collection while you are using your AFA and in a nutshell, will show you how your AFA will behave 6 month’s down the road during the POC, i can’t stress this enough, AFA’s are so fundamentally different that you owe to do a due dilligence while testing it, for more info on the AFA testing kit, watch the video below, one of it’s creator, is Miroslav Klivanski which is a super cool / super geeky type of person!
as for the sessions, we had a total of 5 different XtremIO sessions, i had the pleasure to present with Carl Norwich with is a corporate SE in my team around the VDI use case and what is the special sauce XtremIO brings to this use case,
On the stage we had both a partner (Cygate from sweden) and a customer (ITSAM) from sweden sharing their joint journey of migrating from a legacy array to XtremIO, it was a truly such a great story because it involved all the critical elements: an early partner that was trainer on XtremIO and saw the value of it, knew to identify a customer need (they couldnt scale above their intial VDI deployment) and the resolution to the issue which was the migration to XtremIO
the VDI session was absolutely fully packed which again, shows the value and more than this, the awareness of the product in they minds of so many of our customers!
but it wasn’t just the VDI sessions that were packed, every XtremIO session was fully packed, standing room, below you can see Josh Goldstein delivering an XtremIO architecture session, the customer interest is booming!
C.J Desai (our division president also gave it’s first keynote that you can see by clicking the picture above. he went through the progress the product has made since the time it inception the market, one of the interesting (but maybe not that sexy) point that he has made, is that the product resiliency is very very high! (touch wood..) and it’s true, was are so paranoid about stability and that was one of the main decision for the DA phase. he also reveal the VSPEX RA’s that will be introduced later on (H2 2014)
I was fortunate to have a private briefing in front of the EMC Elect team in which together with Tamir Segal, we tried to explain some of the things that we have tried to do with XtremIO and what we are trying to do next, the EMC Elect team are a bunch of very smart people from both withing the EMC walls and outside the EMC walls and getting the feedback from them was very insightful.
like last year, the booth was always full with customers coming over to ask questions and share their experience with the product, it’s unbelievable to see the impact that a single year has made both internally for us at EMC and externally, to our customers
the interesting part?
it’s only the beginning, since the beginning and up until the GA in 2013, it was about building a good foundation, building a true scale-out, active/active, inline always on data services architecture that later on we can lay amazing features on the top, guess what, this year, we are coming with it so stay tuned, we only just began.
in the bigger scheme of things, the industry is going through a tectonic shift, it didn’t surprised me one bit where in every meeting i had with customers behind closed doors, there was a question that keep coming up:
“What’s going on with you guys”??
my answer to this was, we are paranoid, the storage industry was never in such a change and frankly, it’s FUN to be a this stage as oppose to talking and selling the same old story, You (the customer) and us (the vendor) are part of it and thank you for pushing us to change!
as the Imagine Dragons sang:
Welcome To The New Age!