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Is ScaleIO EMC’s Next VMware?

On its face, lately acquisition of ScaleIO appears fairly easy. The corporate mentioned the deal will additional strengthen its Flash portfolio by combining ScaleIO’s extremely scalable server software program with PCIe Flash card options, like EMC XtremSF.

Is ScaleIO EMC’s Next VMware?

ScaleIO will function throughout the EMC Flash Product Division, turning into an integral a part of the XtremSW Suite, which is designed to assist clients higher make the most of and handle server-based PCIe Flash storage.

Even EMC president and COO David Goulden centered on this facet of the deal by noting the corporate’s dedication “to providing our clients and companions selection of their Flash deployments.” Nevertheless, a more in-depth have a look at ScaleIO and the improvements it presents suggests the deal may have further implications.

That nearer look was enabled, partially, by a follow-up briefing for IT analysts with Barry Ader, vp of product administration and product advertising for EMC’s Flash Merchandise Division, and David Nicholson, the division’s chief evangelist. The extra particulars they supplied point out the deal is prone to broadly influence EMC’s enterprise, not simply its Flash-related efforts.

ScaleIO – No Flash within the Pan

Understanding that conclusion requires some further context. In essence, ScaleIO’s Elastic Converged Storage is a software program answer that enables storage drives connected to bodily and digital utility server nodes to be pooled, managed and aggregated as a unified digital SAN.

That implies that storage will be simply disassociated from the system it’s immediately connected to, making it as flexibly ubiquitous as CPUs and RAM are in virtualized server infrastructures.

Nevertheless, the parallel structure of ScaleIO’s Elastic Converged Storage extends these advantages additional, permitting efficiency to scale linearly and thus eliminating the influence of I/O bottlenecks on utility efficiency.

In different phrases, storage efficiency is decoupled from capability, and the ScaleIO answer can also be massively scalable. The corporate’s clients have efficiently deployed Elastic Converged Storage options throughout lots of of nodes, and Ader and Nicholson famous that EMC testing has demonstrated the expertise can scale into 1000’s of nodes.

That is all spectacular stuff, however the potential influence of ScaleIO past the world of Flash grew to become clear in three particulars famous through the briefing:

  • that Elastic Converged Storage can incorporate all of the drives connected to or related to utility servers, together with SSDs, PCIes and HDDs;
  • that ScaleIO is platform-agnostic and will be put in on any x86- or ARM-based server {hardware} working Purple Hat and CentOS Linux. Plus, help for Microsoft Home windows Server is deliberate for later in 2013;
  • that the expertise can be utilized in virtualized environments, together with cloud infrastructures, because it helps hypervisors, together with VMware’s ESX, Microsoft’s Hyper-V and Xen variants.

In different phrases, ScaleIO will definitely improve EMC’s homegrown platforms, however it might probably additionally add important worth to most any scale-out IT infrastructure, together with rising ARM-based methods.

In consequence, it may be pitched as an add-on answer for the choices of scale-out server distributors — a lot of whom are additionally EMC opponents — in addition to extra expansive methods, together with software-defined knowledge facilities and converged IT infrastructures.

In different phrases, ScaleIO’s improvements prolong far past the comparatively slender confines of Flash.

Is ScaleIO the Next VMware?

Almost a decade in the past, EMC’s acquisition of VMware confused some IT observers who could not think about what a storage vendor may presumably need or do with a server-centric expertise. The brief reply is that VMware supplied EMC the means to develop far past its storage roots.

Plus, mixed with the persevering with success of x86-based applied sciences in enterprise purposes and knowledge facilities of each kind, VMware must be thought to be one of many major enablers of cloud and different extremely virtualized computing processes.

VMware wasn’t merely a technological coup, although. What contributed mightily to the acquisition’s success was the worth the corporate supplied agnostically to EMC’s server and system vendor companions, in addition to to myriad channel communities. Put merely, VMware was an answer most IT clients may love and, regardless of gamers like Microsoft and Citrix stepping up their virtualization recreation, tens of 1000’s nonetheless do.

ScaleIO’s advantages are related in kind and dynamic to VMware. Like VMware, the corporate involves EMC with a strong roster of consumers, together with SAP, CheckPoint and Colt. Like VMware, ScaleIO’s choices are vendor-agnostic, and can be utilized throughout a variety of scale-out {hardware} and OS environments. Like VMware, ScaleIO’s comparatively slender tactical focus portends a far broader and deeper future strategic affect.

Last Evaluation

That mentioned, the 2 corporations usually are not solely analogous, nor are the markets they inhabit. In 2004, VMware’s chief virtualization competitors got here from proprietary Unix and mainframe applied sciences, and the ascent of x86 in enterprise knowledge facilities was in its early levels.

Flash storage is all over the place in the present day, and a number of other corporations are transferring apace with options much like ScaleIO’s (like StorVirtual), in addition to broader software-defined knowledge middle applied sciences and converged infrastructure options.

Nevertheless, system distributors, together with main x86 gamers, are additionally embracing vertically built-in software program stacks that appear designed to lock in clients as successfully as any proprietary scale-up system. This method makes nice sense from an IT enterprise perspective, since software program usually delivers far larger margins than commodity {hardware}.

Vendor lock-in is anathema for many enterprise clients, although, particularly those who have seen this film earlier than, together with its all-too predictable, restrictive ending. Given the selection between proprietary merchandise and an agnostic answer like ScaleIO’s, which might prolong and unlock worth throughout a whole scale-out IT infrastructure, it is doubtless clients will select the latter course.

So will ScaleIO be EMC’s and the IT market’s subsequent VMware? Perhaps so. In the intervening time, it is doubtless the acquisition ought to considerably develop the worth of EMC’s Flash options and the XtremSW portfolio. EMC’s use instances for these options — virtualization; VDI; databases and HPC; and goal markets, together with service suppliers and MSPs — are workable and properly chosen.

Whether or not ScaleIO ever emulates VMware is anybody’s guess. For now, the corporate has supplied EMC an answer that many shoppers and companions will wish to have for their very own good, and that opponents must have lest they be left behind.
Is ScaleIO EMC's Next VMware?


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