EMC says new Unity all-flash arrays will do big volume in Dell distribution channel

Unity is aimed at the mid-market all-flash segment of the market, under XtremIO, and EMC believes that unlike the VNXe family, this will be a truly successful volume product.

Jeremy Burton 300LAS VEGAS – Today, at the opening of EMC World, EMC announced EMC, a new family of mid-range storage systems intended to provide a true volume play – essentially a beefed-up VNXe which can scale higher in the market in the space below where XtremIO plays.

“It’s always a big deal at EMC World when we announce a new line of storage, because storage still has a special place in our hearts,” said Jeremy Burton, EMC’s President of Products and Marketing. “Unity is a new mid-range architecture that’s going to surprise a lot of people. We kept it quiet and a lot of people didn’t know it was coming.”

EMC Unity provides cloud-like proactive management and monitoring through a modern HTML5 task-oriented interface, with new Proactive Assist capabilities for superior IT control, visibility and automated management. It can deliver up to 300K IOPS – three times the performance of EMC’s previous generation VNX arrays.

“Its nearest cousin is probably the VNXe, but it’s a new product and a new code base,” Burton said. “The same team that built it worked on the VNXe. The difference is that VNXE tapped out at the low end. This can scale to 1000 drives — to 3 PB of flash, with the data services.”

Burton emphasized that Unity is designed as a purpose-built offering for the segment of the market below XtremIO and a new rack-scale flash product being announced tomorrow.

“Unity is our mid-range product here – but we want it all,” Burton said. “To be number one, you need multiple product offerings in different sectors of the market. XtremeIO doesn’t go down much below $100,000. That’s where Unity fits in and we think it will blow peoples mind.”

Pricing is a major mind-blowing feature.

“This is an all-flash array that starts at $USD 18,000 – half the price at what the competition can do today,” Burton said. It can reach the $150,000 range, or even higher. In contrast, XtremeIO starts at around $100,000 and can run up into the millions.

Burton admitted that EMC has never really scored big in the volume market where the VNX products play, because it has been outside their core competency. Unity will be different, he said. Moreover, while Dell will massively expand route to market in this sector, Burton indicated that this product would be strong enough to be successful even without that.

“Unity was absolutely designed and architected as a volume product, and we believed that we could then build out a volume distribution channel to make this successful,” he said. “However, Dell has a pretty good distribution channel already. In the hands of Dell’s distribution channel, I think we can do amazing things.”

Unity is available as a purpose-built all-flash array, and can also be deployed in a hybrid configuration to meet individual business requirements. On the software-defined side, UnityVSA offers the advanced file and block storage and data management features of Unity to be easily deployed as a virtual appliance. On the converged side, VCE Vblock and VxBlock System 350 configurations are orderable immediately.

“We also have some pretty amazing things in the back half of the year that should supplement this lead we have now,” Burton said. This will include additional inline data services.

EMC Unity is available for purchase now.