Yesterday I read an article by Chad Sakac to which I can’t refrain from commenting. He wrote a very long post, adding a lot of details and trying to justify why XtremIO arrays need a totally disruptive upgrade (with a wipe out of all the data) to move from v2.4 to the new v3.0 software. To me it seems like he is only trying to cover his back.


xtremio-xbrickThe impression that XtremIO is an immature product is totally confirmed and it leaves a lot of space for competitors to comment and build some FUD, probably justified in this case.
Anyhow, the sole impression one gets from this update (fundamental for receiving new features) is that the product is still immature. I mentioned my doubts on the maturity of this product a while back, and then I tried to be more understanding in a recent post considering the efforts EMC is putting in its development. But, I have to admit, a debacle like this was totally unforeseen: after the last meeting at VMworld with the XtremIO team talking about “continuous upgrades”, no one could have imagined anything like this… is “continuous” meant to be a synonym of “disruptive”?

The upgrade

The amount of work put in behind a firmware update of this sort is massive. It means backups of all your data, stopping applications, resetting the system (which also means wiping out all the data!!!), restoring data and restarting the applications. Many things could go wrong and IT people don’t like that, do you?
It could take anywhere from hours to days (or even weeks if you don’t have the right maintenance windows!).
Yes, I can agree that hypervisors have non disruptive storage migration capabilities (like Storage vMotion) but it’s not always the case. What happens if you have only a XtremIO array and it is running mission critical workloads? Where will you temporarily store your active data?

I think it’s totally unacceptable (especially from the most important storage vendor), and I would like to know the reaction of EMC XtremIO customers. BTW, this is not the first time XtremIO applies this kind of disruptive upgrade.

Why it’s important

09-25-guinea-pigImmaturity of a product like this is always a problem for the end user and has its costs. It’s acceptable only if it is well known, you get a better price and the consequences are clear. At the end of the day it’s not bad being a beta tester, it has its advantages sometimes, but being an unaware guinea pig is another thing.