Way back at VMworld 2008 NetApp announced our 50% storage savings guarantee for virtual data centers. This guarantee basically stated that running VMware on NetApp would reduce one’s storage requirements by half and if we did not, the remaining storage was on us.
At the time these storage savings were powered by our block-level data deduplication and thin provisioning of LUNs and volumes and was specifically targeted for VMware and later Hyper-V deployments.
As we approach the two year anniversary of the guarantee I’d like to share that we have added a number of new technical innovations around storage savings technologies such as deduplicated and compressed replication, dedupe-aware cache, storage reclamation of deleted data trapped within guest file systems (i.e. NTFS formatted LUNs and VMDKs), etc.
I can also share that we have tens of thousands of customers running their clouds on NetApp and the average installation achieves 50%-70% storage savings with virtual servers and 90%+ with virtual desktops.
We were very flattered in 2009 when VMware established a 50% guarantee. While not a storage guarantee per se; I’m pretty sure that VMware’s program was a smashing success (and probably didn’t require any guarantee).
Today it seems that storage savings guarantees are still relevant in the decision making process when considering storage for cloud depoyments. I suggest as such as EMC has established a similar guarantee program.
EMC guarantees 20% storage savings. That’s correct 20%. Now before you react with “A 20% guarantee is weak!” Allow me to elaborate on the guarantee.
EMC has stated that their technology will reduce the storage requirements for any dataset residing on a competitor’s storage platform by 20% with no stipulations or caveats. If EMC cannot meet this goal, the customer receives the additional required storage at no-cost.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
Are you a storage expert? Most of my readers state they are not; most are administrators of virtual infrastructures or cloud architectures. How does one discern where the rubber meets the road, particularly in an area where one may not have subject matter expertise?
If you are not a storage expert, or even if you think you are, allow me to help educate you to better understand the EMC 20% storage savings guarantee.
I am about to share technical details and information that some may prefer to not openly discuss. Some will label this practice as ‘information sharing’ while others will label it as ‘negative positioning’. I’ll allow you to decide based on the content and context of this post.
If any information posted is incorrect, please provide public references and I will correct any errors within 8 hours of being notified.
Begin Myth Busting
I’ve compiled the following chart of storage savings technologies available from NetApp & EMC on their storage arrays designed to serve production datasets.
I’m very confident in the accuracy of the content contained within this chart. I hope that I have educated you on the storage savings technologies, where, and how they are available on arrays from NetApp and EMC. I believe I have demonstrated NetApp’s commanding advantage in storage savings technologies over the offerings from EMC. If you’d like to read more on storage savings technologies please refer to the blog post: Data Compression, Deduplication, & Single Instance Storage
With the information shared in the chart, which of these two options seems more plausible?
- EMC, with less storage savings capabilities can reduce a storage footprint by 20% greater than what is possible with NetApp technology
- The 20% storage savings guarantee doesn’t appear to be much more than a marketing campaign
Wrapping up this post
There’s been a fair amount of bantering by the storage industry around the storage savings and storage savings guarantees. If a representative of a storage company attempts to persuade you or your companies purchasing department that all storage savings technologies accomplish the same goal; then I’d suggest that you request a new technical sales engineer.
With what I have shared, what are your thoughts on storage savings and guarantees?