EMCworld Announcements

There were quite a number of interesting announcements at EMCworld this year. The most important is that the Dell-EMC merger is on track to complete its reorganization as Dell Technologies. Dell Technologies will join the ranks of the largest hardware and software vendors worldwide. EMC also announced several new hardware options and software services, and gave adoption rates for services started last year. All in all, EMC had a very good year. Further, while VMware, Pivotal, and RSA were absent from the show’s keynotes, making more time to discuss the merger, they were far from absent from the show floor.

The big discussion points at EMCworld were the merger of the EMC core with Dell to form Dell EMC, which includes RSA and Virtustream; RSA is not a separate entity from EMC, nor is Virtustream. Lacking was discussion about Pivotal and VMware, which are separate from the EMC core. The merger of EMC2 with Dell will form Dell Technologies.

Dell Technologies may not be the largest of companies by employee count, but it will have a massive number of products to combine. Here is a chart of employee counts from a quick set of web searches. Sizewise, Dell Technologies’ only real competitors are HPE and IBM. Product-wise, there are many competitors.

Company # of Employees
IBM 386,558
HPE 240,000
Dell EMC ~178,800
Dell Technologies ~198,000
Oracle 135,070

Dell and EMC will need to merge some product lines, but surprisingly, there is not much overlap between the companies. One area acknowledged was storage. What will happen to lower-end storage is unknown at this time. However, higher-end storage from EMC will stay around, as it dovetails with Dell’s current storage story.

There is also a slew of software products to consider for data protection, resource management, etc. What will fall out of Dell or EMC is still unknown. Perhaps they will be spun out as separate entities or merged into other parts of Dell Technologies. The EMC Converged Environment team (formerly VCE) looks to be going strong. It announced several products, including:

  • VxRail: Four sled configurations with all flash and versions with a mix of flash and spinning disk.
  • VxRack with Neutrino nodes for OpenStack deployment: This announcement dovetails nicely with the “OpenStack anywhere” concept we encountered at OpenStack Summit. Neutrino nodes are fairly unique nodes that can be used to run any workload you would run in a cloud, whether using OpenStack, Hadoop, VMware Photon, Pivotal Cloud Foundry, or VMware vSphere. I would hazard to guess Neutrino can be used to deploy a bare-metal cloud as well.

There was a new storage solution aimed entirely at the mid- to low-end market, a sped-up VNX called Unity. The goal is to tie Unity storage nodes with either VxRack or VxRail nodes. With the new open-source options available such as CoprHD and RackHD, it is possible to join storage with Neutrino nodes or even VxRail nodes to form a streamlined software-defined data center. Neutrino nodes can also keep themselves upgraded, which is a very important aspect of security and a countermeasure to configuration drift. How that impacts the applications running within the nodes depends on whether or not the application is distributed, or on which hypervisor is in use. Rolling upgrades can move workloads between nodes with vMotion.

The RancherRackHD, and REX-Ray demo was slick and demonstrated how Neutrino nodes can be used to deploy containers and connect directly to persistent storage. In the demo, ScaleIO was used, but any persistent storage can be used. This aids container technologies quite a bit. EMC has embraced open source to bring older infrastructure components such as storage and racks of nodes into the container world.

Between CoprHD, RackHD, and REX-Ray, quite a set of tools is brewing, created by EMC for use by anyone with REX-Ray. Containers can now be connected easily to persistent storage, which will be extremely helpful as an increasing number of applications embrace containers.

The real question as EMC and Dell merge becomes what will happen to EMC’s open-source management tools for EMC hardware and other infrastructures. Will Dell drop open source, or embrace it? My hope is that Dell Technologies embraces open source.

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