Competitive Précis (CliffsNotes): Messaging, Limitations, Strengths vs. Major Storage Vendors
This aim of this Competitive Précis (CliffsNotes) is to communicate the essentials about a competitor—messaging, weaknesses, and comparable EMC strengths—for the major and
selected Tier II storage arrays against which EMC competes.
Should a Playbook exist for a particular competitor or competitor product, a brief summary will
be provided together with a pointer to the PowerLink document. Please note that this document
is constantly changing to reflect competitive activity as well as competitive content that is
created during each quarter.
3PAR InServ F-Series InServ T-Series T-Class
Compellent C20, C30 Compellent
Dell EqualLogic EqualLogic
HP EVA XP24000 (refer to XP24000 (refer to LeftHand
Hitachi USP-V) Hitachi USP-V)
Hitachi AMS USP-V USP-V Hitachi VSP
IBM DS5000, XIV DS8000 SVC XIV and
NetApp FAS2000 & FAS6000 Series V-Series NetApp
Oracle Exadata Exadata
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HP 3PAR (vs. Unified (CX) and Symmetrix)
Click for 3PAR Playbook
3PAR increasingly positions itself as a player in the high end and is trying to move up the value chain. 3PAR CEO David Scott has stated that 3PAR predominantly competes with high-end products (e.g. Symmetrix, USP V and DS8000) and not the mid-tier systems typified by EMC‟s
Unified (CX). The Competitive Group view is that Scott is overstating the truth, but it is important to be aware that 3PAR is, in fact, moving up the food chain and is competing against the Symmetrix as often as it competes against Unified (CX).
From a performance and scalability point of view 3PAR exploits a gap between Symmetrix and Unified (CX). 3PAR prefers to position itself against the Symmetrix because of the cost difference between the Symmetrix and Unified. If you are in a deal positioning a Unified (CX) box 3PAR will actively try to convince the customer that EMC needs to position VMAX for an equivalent comparison. EMC must set the table defining Unified and Symmetrix use cases and capabilities in order to be successful.
Offensive Play—Enterprise Storage: If competing in an Enterprise Opportunity positioning
Symmetrix, the first Offensive Play is to strongly position 3PAR as a mid-tier storage system. 3PAR hardware architecture and software clearly define them as a mid-tier solution. 3PAR lacks enterprise class software functionality, especially remote replication and QOS. Use this play to knock 3PAR out of the game and win.
Offensive Play—3PAR End of Life Product: It has long been expected that 3PAR will be
releasing the V-Class, their next-generation storage system, in Q4 2010. The V-Class will replace the current F and T-Class systems. If a customer buys 3PAR today they will be locked into old technology and will be unable to benefit from technology improvements for the life of their storage system. When 3PAR releases a new generation storage system it is always a fork lift upgrade. This is because the system is built around a custom built ASIC that provides RAID and inter-node communication. This is our strongest offensive play and works well for Symmetrix or Unified.
Offensive Play—EMC Unified Platform: EMC has a definitive Unified Storage Solution, and
3PAR does not. This is a very effective differentiation against 3PAR and sales reps have been using this successfully to knock 3PAR out of deals.
Offensive Play—EMC VMWare Integration: EMC is the leader in VMware integration and has
allocated significant resources to get us on top and to keep us there. While 3PAR has added some VMware integration features, EMC has expanded our existing features and continues to hold a commanding lead in VMware integration, although 3PAR has come out with 3PAR Plug-In for VMWare VCenter and 3PAR Recovery Manager.
Defensive Play—Ease of Use: 3PAR ease of use resonates with customers, especially long-
time Symmetrix customers who have struggled with Symmetrix management. 3PAR states: “Decrease administration time by 90% and eliminate array-specific professional services.”
Before countering 3PAR Claims, you need to demonstrate to customers early in the sales cycle and often to reinforce the message that EMC‟s storage is overall easier to manage.
Defensive Play—Pricing: After doing an apples to apples configuration on pricing, EMC pricing is in the same ballpark as 3PAR. 3PAR often appears a little cheaper because they provide less software, hardware and services in their proposals. If you attempt to sell the customer on the VMAX architecture, 3PAR will promote its multi-node architecture, which will level the pricing playing field.
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Defensive Play—Storage Density: 3PAR aims to win by saying that they have higher storage
density and lower floor space requirements. They say are able to “cut capacity, and SAN,
energy and floor space costs up to 75%. Respond by saying that EMC supports larger SATA drives and larger and faster enterprise Flash Drives, that reduce space, cooling, power and are more effiencent. EMC storage configurations using these drives can achieve greater storage density then 3PAR.
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Dell Compellent (vs. Unified/CX)
； Compellent claims they are the only vendor with 4th generation virtualization of a
storage array making their arrays the easiest of all to use—a true “set and forget.”
; Reality: Compellent built their software on a little known 32 bit kernel from ECOS, an
open source Linux derivative. While EMC was porting from 32 bit to 64 bit,
Compellent came to market with auto-tiering. Now Compellent will need to port all of
its software to 64 bit while EMC is already there. With FAST, FAST Cache,
Unisphere, and a 64 bit base, EMC will race ahead of Compellent.
； Even though Compellent was first to market with automated tiering, called Data
Progression, they have not delivered much innovation since. Their tiers can be SSD,
15K FC, 10K FC, or 7.2K SATA. Data automatically ends up on the right tier keeping the
array constantly optimized without intervention.
; Reality: Most Compellent arrays are sold with just two tiers into SMB. Tiered data
promotions must wait for 4 days while demotions wait for 12 days before moving tiers.
That‟s fine for a static SMB environment but not for a dynamic one. With only a 32
bit kernel, Compellent‟s metadata cannot fit within the 3.0 GB volatile memory that is
shared with user read cache. The result is that paging of metadata rises rapidly as
capacity expands dramatically increasing response times, up to 5X for busy systems.
Additionally, customers find that the migration staging area becomes crammed with
blocks trying to migrate up while other blocks are headed down. Given that migration
must complete within a user-defined window, the result is that migration lags far
behind what‟s intended. EMC offers auto-tiering based on 64 bit kernel with 4 models
that balance cache and capacity so response times are consistent and predictable. ； Like most vendors with thin provisioning, Compellent will claim capacity savings of up to
80% compared to full allocation
; Reality: Compellent does not mention that its efficiency of raw capacity falls below 40%
while Unified (CX4) is above 60%. Moreover, Compellent requires an expansion
license for every software product installed for every increase of 8 disks! Expensive
expansion and poor utilization of raw capacity makes their Thin Provisioning a poor
choice from a TCO perspective.
； Compellent claims its snapshots are unlimited and continuous, i.e. every 15 minutes.
These snaps can then be shipped over to a remote Compellent array where they can be
applied to a remote replica for disaster recovery. A throttle exists to limit link usage.
; Reality: When a snapshot is kicked off during moderate load, the response times can
worsen by10x. A test of OLTP showed baseline response times of 200ms became,
after snaps were initiated, erratic with some taking dozens of minutes to complete.
Their claim of an unlimited number of snaps holds only as long as there is sufficient
disk space not only within its special sub-tiers for snapshots but also for the system‟s
overhead. The first snap will require 100% of source capacity while multiple snaps
eat up 3 times the source‟s original capacity.
； Risk—About 70% of data will migrate to the lowest tier which, if SATA, should be
protected with both RAID6 and proactive sparing. Compellent only recently began to
offer 4+2 RAID6 fixing part of a major data loss risk. While Unified (CX) can prove five
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9s reliability, Compellent makes no mention of its 9s. Their 72-hour cache battery
backup means data loss for extended power outages. The C30 lacks a dedicated cache
mirroring bus so it reserves two of its host ports for cache mirroring to prevent database
corruption from out-of-order writes. This adds to the unstated cost of a Compellent array. ； Efficiency—C30‟s utilization of raw capacity is below 40% when following Best Practices
while Unified (CX4) is above 60%. When accounting for parity, staging areas, hot spares,
and risk mitigation, usable capacity can be below 30% of raw for Compellent, almost 2X
worse. Now, add compression and EMC‟s unified storage could be 4X better.
； Performance—High overhead to maintain metadata bogs down processors. When snaps
are taken during moderate load, response times jump more than 5X and become erratic.
Write cache is limited to 512 MB with only 256MB usable per controller. With no Quality
of Service Manager feature, all applications are treated alike.
； Service and support—limited interoperability testing, qualification, and support. If you
experience a data loss, what will Compellent do for you? All hardware service goes
through a third-party, either DecisionOne or the partner.
; Compellent resists offering service contracts beyond 3 years—push for RFP to
state 4 or 5 years
； Investment protection—all hardware is OEM‟ed and single sourced. Can Compellent
offer data-in-place upgrades if you out-grow your current system? What guarantee will
Compellent offer to migrate from 32 bit base to 64 bit?
； Risk Mitigation—Third-party validated Five 9s reliability with stringent criteria. ； Lowest Cost of Ownership—2X better capacity efficiency, proven Solutions, reference
architectures, and eLab testing ensures fast and reliable solution deployment. ； Ease of Use—Unisphere provides industry leadership for Unified Storage. Be sure to
show a demo. Focus demo on Compression, FAST, FAST Cache, and pools. ； Unified Storage—EMC has full featured, industry leadership, including de-duplication,
compression and advanced volume management. Compellent recently added zNAS
which uses Sun/Oracle‟s ZFS for a NAS gateway. It is OEM‟d from Nexenta. It appears
that Oracle will discontinue support for the open source code that Compellent is using. ； Best Energy Efficiency—High-performance Flash drives provide power savings for IO-
intensive applications plus spin-down for archive and backup data. Flexible RAID 6 (n+2),
n=14 configuration options allows for protection without being forced to RAID 10 with
； VMware Integration—EMC offers broad VMware integration & support giving it best in
class ease of use. Quality of Service is enhanced by combining EMC Unisphere Quality
of Service Manager with VMware Distributed Resource Scheduler. Also, integration with
VAAI, enhanced VMware aware capabilities with end-to-end physical mapping of VMs,
auto registration/discovery of VM‟s and ESX servers, VDI integration with PowerPath
path management, advanced „Google-like‟ search of VMs, and task bar automation and
reporting functions, Full Storage Resource Management support, VMware-consistent
recovery, de-duplication compression for home directories in VDI environments, and
VMware-level mapping of environment via Smarts ADM shows EMC‟s leadership.
； Automated Tiering—EMC Fully Automated Storage Tiering (FAST) provides automated
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； High Performance and Scalability—EMC implements a full 64-bit operating environment
using advanced multi-core Intel architecture and multi-lane PCIe. Compellent‟s 32 bit OS
kernel from Open Source limits its ability to scale. EMC handles dynamic workload
environments with FAST Cache which easily extends system cache to 100s of GBs.
Compellent is limited to only 0.5 GB of write cache (0.25 usable).
； Tier 0 Flexibility—EMC implements multiple sized EFDs with scaling up to 30, 60 or 120
EFD‟s supported array solutions. EFDs can be deployed as either a tier for auto-tiering
(FAST) or as an extension of cache (FAST Cache).
； DR solutions—Superior DR management supports thin to thin replication with dynamic
asynchronous and synchronous heterogeneous replication. RecoverPoint leads the
industry in functionality and integration with VMware. Support for Replication Roles and
Remote Anywhere management to provide fine grained control and access to replication
tasks and faster and more secure remote diagnostics and service delivery. Mirrorview
and SanCopy offer array-based replication and data mobility options. ； Investment Protection—UltraFlex Technology supports FCoE, 8Gb/s FibreChannel and
10GbE iSCSI port support. Also, VLAN tagging provides enhanced connectivity options,
management flexibility, performance and security.
； LUN Shrink and Expand—Supports Windows 2008 LUN shrink for basic, single dynamic,
and spanned dynamic volume (striped disks).
； Security—Enhanced securities with RSA enVision integration.
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Dell EqualLogic vs. Unified (CX)
Click here for the EqualLogic Playbook
EqualLogic offers some enterprise-class features, but it is not a true enterprise solution. These
features claim increased bandwidth performance for critical business applications and self-optimizing performance. While it may appear that EqualLogic offers superior performance and low price, they lack the evidence for some of their TCO claims.
EMC Unified storage offers flexibility in both feature and function that is unmatched by EqualLogic. Throughout this playbook we list features/functions that highlight such flexibility, including:
； The ability to mix drive types and speeds within enclosures
； UltraFlex I/O technology
； Multi-protocol connectivity
Offensive Play—TCO Benefits over EqualLogic: When evaluating TCO, it is important to
consider growth requirements beyond the initial purchase price of a configuration. The flexibility of EMC capacity upgrades allow the user to choose exactly the amount and type of additional storage required. An EqualLogic capacity upgrade forces the user to purchase an entirely new array consisting of only one drive type. In addition, EMC Unified reduces capital and operational expenses by leveraging many new storage efficiency features contained in Flare R30, including: Compression,FAST, FAST Cache and Unisphere management with VMware aware integration. Offensive Play—EMC provides Stronger VMWare Integration: EMC is the #1 choice for
VMware environments. "EMC integrates with VMware vStorage to help customers simplify, optimize, and automate their information infrastructure." Analysis shows that EMC is the clear leader in market share and the primary storage vendor in virtualization environments. Offensive Play: Higher Usable vs. Raw Capacity on our Storage Arrays- EMC stands
behind a claim of "greater usable capacity" with a 20% guarantee. Proceed with caution on this play as EqualLogic has become better at defending against it using questionable benchmark tests. EqualLogic PS Series arrays have a usable/raw ratio of 38% or lower when creating volumes using the recommended default values. EMC Unified arrays generally have usable/raw ratios well over 60%. EMC storage arrays have better usable to raw capacity ratios. This translates into configurations with fewer disks, which reduces costs for equipment, power and cooling, and rack space.
； Defensive Play—EqualLogic-Easy Scalability: Dell will claim that their EqualLogic
cluster based scaling method is easier than alternative methods of scaling “traditional”
storage arrays. Dell Claims that: By clustering controllers, capacity to scale a solution
increases in an easy and efficient manner—every time another EqualLogic PS Series
array needs additional storage for the existing group (cluster), the customer also gets the
additional network bandwidth, storage capacity, and extra processing power needed to
maintain performance levels. EMC offers easy and flexible scalability that is ultimately
less expensive. If additional capacity is required, it is easy to add new disks of different
capacity and types in a granular fashion without purchasing a new array. Unified storage
processors, cache, and ports are appropriately sized by model to manage up to its
maximum number of disks. Individual drives can be added to increase storage capacity
and performance. If one happens to outgrow an initial model, data-in-place upgrades
allow customers to move easily up to the next model.
； Defensive Play—EqualLogic arrays claim lower initial price than EMC Unified Line:
Dell's offering of low capacity configurations provides them an initial price advantage.
Combat this using Offensive Play #1 (TCO) and our configuration flexibility. Also, Dell EMC Confidential 7
claims that: EqualLogic arrays offer powerful enterprise-class features and high levels of
reliability, performance, scalability, and data protection in a simple, capable, cost-
effective storage array. Usually the purchase price favors EMC when the solution
requires three or more EqualLogic arrays in a group. This is true even when EMC pricing
includes the costs for Unisphere Manager, MirrorView, and SnapView software. Note
that if this software is not required, EMC achieves a price advantage in smaller
Defensive Play—EqualLogic Ease of Use over EMC: Dell claims that EqualLogic arrays are
easy to use through simplified management. Yes, "good enough" arrays may be simple to manage when they offer few features. With the new EMC Unisphere software delivers a simple approach to midrange storage management. It has task-based controls, customizable views, flexible reporting, and advanced self-service capabilities. Use this play, along with a demo, to show how Unisphere provides an easy-to-manage interface without sacrificing important features and functionality.
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HP EVA (vs. Unified (CX)
HP EVA Messaging (don’t expect much focus on EV, now that HP bought
； HP EVA is easier to use than Unified (CX)
; Reality: That was true only for provisioning 2 years ago. Today, with Unisphere,
ease of use is clearly with EMC. See the White Board Talk link below for more
information on how to dispel this tactic.
； EVA virtualization is superior to Unified (CX) MetaLUNs
; Reality: For the sophisticated user, Unified (CX) continues to offer MetaLUNs
which provide automatic LUN expansion and enable striping across any number
of spindles on the storage system. MetaLUN re-striping is automated, dynamic,
and easy with Unisphere Task Bar. MetaLUN concatenation is immediate. For
other users, Unified (CX) offers Thin and Thick LUN Pools. EVA may still match
us in provisioning, but that‟s all.
HP EVA Limitations
； Simplistic Management Interface—While EVA is easy to use for initial provisioning and
creating Demand Allocated Snapshots, other functions like creating Thin LUNs, LUN
migration and creating Fully Allocated Snaps are either not available, or more
cumbersome (more screens and clicks) to implement.
； Scaling—EVA scales to only 324 disks and policy memory limits and capacity efficiency
issues due to virtualization and application best practices will further limit the total
addressable capacity of the array.
； Flexibility—Lack of UltraFlex I/O Module features, and true thin provisioning. With a
minimum requirement of 6 and a maximum requirement of 8 EFDs per array, the use of
EFD is cost prohibitive on the low end and limited to scale on the high end if application
requirements dictate the need for large pools of EFD.
； Unified Storage—EVA does not offer a unified storage solution. Also, iSCSI is not native
to the front end array ports and requires an additional MPX-100 (dual for HA) gateway
further increasing complexity, cost and management.
； Many customers assume that dual-controller architectures are pretty much the same and
see little to no advantages of Unified (CX).
； EMC has better TCO and efficiency with array-based virtualization approaches like
FAST and FAST Cache,
； Usable TBs—one of the drawbacks of the EVA is poor capacity utilization. ； Virtual Provisioning—Differences between Unified (CX4) virtual provisioning provides
more immediate TCO benefits than HP EVA DCM LUN Shrink.
； Flash Drives for better performance and energy consumptions per investment dollar.
(HP has announced support for 72GB Flash Drives.) HP requires a dedicated Disk
Group (pool) for their Flash drives. To make their solution more viable they are allowing EMC Confidential 9
the pool size to be only 6 drives. Of the 6 drives the user will still set aside the equivalent
of either 2 (single sparing) or 4 drives (double sparing) within the pool. When taking into
account that snaps will also require reserved space in the pool it becomes clear that
Unified (CX4) Flash implementation results in a better TCO.
One of the most significant advantages of Unified (CX4) over HP EVA is the level of VMware integration making Unified (CX4) the better choice for virtual server environments.
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