I hope many of you read my recent post: Myth Busting: Storage Guarantees wherein I raised questions around the storage savings guarantee from EMC. The basic question is how can they deliver greater storage savings with fewer technical capabilities and use cases than what is available from NetApp. I believe this is a fair question and was hoping for some information sharing.
Now I don’t expect most to be storage experts and to help raise the level of understanding I created the following chart.
As I have in the past, I extended an invitation to EMC to review the chart and to educate the public as to how the storage savings in their guarantee can be accomplished.
Unfortunately the only response (or compliment) the post received was from Chuck Hollis who shared a less than complimentary comment of “chartsmithing” in reference to the accuracy of the contents in the chart.
Honestly, I’m a bit concerned that the technical folks at EMC may have been asked to not engage in technical discussions. It appears as they want to communicate a message ofadvancedstorage technologies are the fundamentally the same from vendor to vendor, yet when asked to elaborate they becomedeafly silent. In my opinion, this behavior is like saying another hypervisor on the market today has the same capabilities as VMware ESXi, and one shouldn’t be concerned with the differences.
As for the lack of dialog, the silence speaks volumes…
The Lone Standout
To my surprise I recently learned of and read the post “Lies, Damn Lies, and Marketing…” from Richard Anderson, an engineer at EMC.
“As presented, Vaughn’s chart (below) is technically factual (with one exception which I’ll note), but it plays on the human emotion of Good vs Bad.”
“As far as keeping things factual, some of the EMC and NetApp features in this chart are not necessarily shipping today (very soon though, and since it affects both vendors I’ll allow it here).”
Houston, We Have Agreement
It is always great to see eye-to-eye with a competitor, however brief the mutual agreement may last.
At this point in the post Richard begins to change the subject of the discussion by modifying the measurement of storage savings technologies available on EMC arrays to one of stating that a SAN array and a unified array are two different types of storage controllers and thus this is an incorrect comparison.
“The first and biggest problem is the chart compares EMC Symmetrix and EMC Clariion dedicated-block storage arrays with NetApp FAS, EMC Celerra, and NetApp vSeries which are all Unified storage systems or gateways. Rather than put n/a or leave the field blank for NAS features on the block-only arrays, the chart shows a resounding and red NO, leading the reader to assume that the feature should be there but somehow EMC left it out.”
Technically speaking, Richard’s point is correct; however, his application of this distinction is unrelated to the topic of storage savings capabilities.
Comparing the storage savings capabilities that are available with SAN deployments CAN be directly compared, such as with a NetApp Unified FAS Array and a Traditional EMC SAN Array. In order to do so one must only look at the SAN capabilities. I believe I have done this in the original chart.
“I’ve taken the liberty of massaging Vaughn’s chart to provide a more balanced view of the feature comparison.”
“The goal if my post here really is to show how the same data can be presented in different ways to give readers a different impression.”
From what is shared I have a two comments. First – Zero Space Reclamation is the ability to reclaim data which has been deleted in a VMDK or LUN but still resides in the guest’s file system. This is not the same capability as compression.
Second – Some of NetApp & EMC’s largest customers have vSeries in front of Symmetrix DMX, Symmetrix VMAX, and Clariion and receive full support from both companies . This statement is simply untrue (but it’s understandable why it’s not promoted).
I do truly desire to have open discussions around technical differences in amicable ways, and I am very appreciative of Richard’s efforts. I believe he has expanded the conversation.
To show my gratitude and willingness to share information I have integrated Richard’s feedback in version 2 of the storage savings capabilities chart and made it easy to understand by separating the features by where they support SAN & NAS.
From the chart it appears that a vendor shouldn’t simply make a claim, like 20% additional storage savings, and when asked to support the claim avoid explaining how the savings are provided. There’s too many holes in the feature set. EMC and NetApp are technologies companies, it is our goal to advance storage technologies and this advancement is only available through open dialog.
Things which may appear similar are not necessarily the same
Stating storage savings technologies are equal between EMC & NetApp is like stating that all hypervisors provide the same functionality as ESX/ESXi.
Such a comparison is somewhat true when considering the hypervisor, we all agree all hypervisors provide the ability to run more than a single system (or guest) on a host. Yet such a statement is myopic in nature and misleading as it leaves out the reasons why customers select a hypervisor (shared infrastructure, app availability, ease of management, etc) and when these features are understood and viewed with greater perspective it becomes clear to see why ESX/ESXi has such a dominance in the market.
Hopefully this post helps raise the level of understanding relative to storage savings capabilities in the market today.
One housekeeping note, whenever I discuss a non-NetApp technology there’s a chance I may have an error. Please note should this happen, it is not intentional. If you find that I have any incorrect info let me know and it will promptly be corrected.