The whole storage world already knows about the next big announcement EMC planned for january the 18th, they are sending invitations (might be referred to as SPAM), doing web advertising, tweets, etc. to get the attention for what they call the “record breaking” event.

not really a piece of news

The most important part of the announcement will likely be about the evolution of their two midrange storage families (Clariion SANs and Celerra NASs) in a single products line called VNX.

All customers (and partners) are waiting for this upgrade since ages but the party was partially ruined from the leak of information in the last week: read here and here.

Some bloggers already posted their comments on the new products shooting out their first impressions, and you know how aggressive can be a blogger whenever he can use first hand information to write a post. You can find some comments from indipendent and vendor’s bloggers (here, here and here).

the good news

From Celerra customers point of view VNX is a step forward in terms of speed and reliability: more CPU, more RAM, SAS backend, everything an EMC customer expects from an upgrade!

There are migrations paths from the old models to the new ones too, but it’s not clear if these are only commercial upgrades: what will happen to your old FC and SATA disks and/or controllers? will old CX/NS customers benefit from the new software releases in the future? Is it possible to add a VNX head on top of an old CX? and so on. many questions need answers but we need to wait until January 18th to worry about it.

the bad news

EMC is running after NetApp. Every piece of the new VNX offering is designed to compete against NetApp! similar naming (but with higher numbers), similar configurations, similar software bundles. It sounds a bit ridiculous to me because they inherentely imply that NetApp is the reference product for the market and EMC is trying to catch with them!

where is the news?

From my point of view I don’t see any news (nor innovation) in VNX. VNX architecture seems to be identical to the old Celerra, the only new piece of news is adopting SAS as the backend protocol, VNX is still a bunch of boxes wired together with the same complexity we already know.

SAS backend is better than FC but it was already adopted from all other vendors, and many of them grant a smoother migration allowing to mix them!

Set aside hardware, you can’t spot any architectural innovation in the software field too (old copy-on-write snapshots, old constraints and limitations), no block level deduplication, and so on.

I can’t see new interesting features apart pNFS (pNFS isn’t bad indeed, but it’s in direct competition -and overlaps- with the recent acquired ISILON products) and, at the moment, is far less important than other features.

Then a question comes to my mind is: “what is the difference between an EMC celerra and EMC VNX?”... I also posted it on quora, still waiting for an answer.

other news ?

I’m sure the leaked news we are talking about are just a part of the EMC announcements, at least I hope it for them.

disclaimer: I work for an italian NetApp VAR. I don’t own neither NetApp nor EMC stocks. Opinion expressed above are solely my own and personal.