Dell EMC introduces PowerMax, the rebranded next generation of VMAX

Dell EMC also announced that native replication has been added to EMC XtremIO, and a ew entry point X-Brick XtremIO system at up to a 55 per cent lower cost than the previous generation.

LAS VEGAS – At Dell Technologies World here, Dell EMC made a pair of major storage announcements. The splashier one was the announcement of PowerMax, a completely redesigned and updated version of VMAX, built for NVMe, and featuring a new real time machine learning engine. They also announced the addition of native replication to EMC XtremIO, as well as a new entry point X-Brick XtremIO system at up to a 55 per cent lower cost than the previous generation.

“We are introducing the next generation of VMAX, which is now called the PowerMax,” said Sam Grocott, Senior Vice President Marketing, ISG at Dell EMC. “We are modernizing the architecture, which is brand new, and designed from the ground up to be both smart and efficient.”

Grocott said that the architecture had to be redesigned to accommodate the increased use over the past year of next generation applications

“It’s no longer good enough to have these live off on the side,” he said. “PowerMax was built for traditional applications and mission critical applications that will continue to be the hallmark use cases. But it differs from the old VMAX in being able to consolidate these next-generation applications as well –  real time analytics use cases, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, mobile applications and others. And it can do this on a single scale-out platform.”

Being able to handle these workloads requires an unbelievable amount of performance, scalability and security, but the PowerMax is up to that, Grocott said. Dell EMC is claiming that it is now the world’s fastest storage array, with over 50 per cent better response time than the VMAX 950, up to 10 million IOPS, and over 150 GB/s bandwidth. It also has a 3x performance density improvement.

“This is also the industry’s first NVMe-designed system, built from the ground up, to meet its performance requirements going forward,” Grocott said. This includes NVMe-over-fabric [later this year] drives and disk array enclosures. Grocott also emphasized that this had been designed to industry standard requirements, not proprietary ones, like some earlier NVMe products from competitors.

“We also have a real-time machine learning engine that we really think brings autonomous storage to life,” Grocott said. “It lets us place data on right storage media based on information gathered.” The VMAX previously had no machine learning capability.

The PowerMax also dispenses with a limitation of VMAX – the lack of inline dedupe.

“Inline dedupe and enhanced compression up to 5-1 are introduced for the first time in the history of the VMAX line,” Grocott said. “The beauty of the implementation is that there is absolutely no performance impact, and a choice can be made whether to enabled it or not on an application level.”

The PowerMax will come in two models, the 2000 and the 8000, with the former starting with a system as small as a 13 TB system with 10U.

“The old VMAX 950 is not being end-of-lifed,” Grocott added. “Tools will cover the migration between architectures, and we expect the 950 and 250F will concide with PowerMax for quite some time.” You can make a seamless shift from your current array to the PowerMax.

The other major storage announcement involves the XtremIO X2 All-Flash arrays, with two big pieces of news, the addition of native replication and a new entry price point.

The native replication is part of the new XIOS operating system, and meets a major customer request.

“Native replication was a critical feature request from customers,” Grocott said. “This is asynchronous replication that is metadata aware. That means that only changes to the data will be set to the replication target, significantly lowering bandwidth costs, by 75 per cent ore more.”

The other news was the introduction of a new Dell EMC X2 entry model for customers, at up to a 55 per cent lower cost than the previous generation.

“This lower price point allows us to stretch and drive into more midrange midmarket use cases,” Grocott said. VDI will be a particularly important one.