Damn! EMC/Dell Can Tell a Mean Flash Story

Everyone loves a good story. Turns out we have a vendor in the storage industry that is amazing at telling stories. Indeed, they’ve built an entire industry on selling their stories ... even when there is direct evidence to the contrary.


Everyone loves a good story. It doesn’t matter what language you speak or what culture you’re from, a good story captures imagination and an emotional investment that is often impossible to walk away from. Think about all the movies we watch. It doesn’t matter if it’s an award winning movie or not as long as the story means something to you, you will remember it. When you have invested yourself in a story you develop an emotional attachment to it. Upon questioning, you summon your best logic to defend it—and quite frankly, as many times as not, it’s backwards logic. That’s what stories do to us. They make logic and truth far less important. The only thing that matters is that the story touched us and moreover, made sense.

Turns out we have a vendor in the storage industry, EMC (now having merged with Dell) that is amazing at telling stories. I don’t have my tongue in my cheek even. It’s enviable. And it’s A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! They’ve built an entire industry on selling their stories. They’re well spoken, well positioned, and relevant. They blend their own technical values into these stories and people buy in, even when there is direct evidence to the contrary, we believe their stories.

Those who would point to EMC’s VNX SPC-1 or VMAX SPC-2 results as evidence would see that under scrutiny those numbers do not compare to HPE 3PAR’s. Oh but the stories EMC tells…

I get it. Those stories invoke feelings of comfort in the way of job security. They may even fill you with an expectation of a learned skill. Ever hear the expression, “No one’s ever been fired for buying EMC.”? I know that expression started with IBM but it’s evolved to EMC and I think it might be true. Maybe no one has ever been fired for buying EMC. But no one gets promoted for buying it either.

What’s HPE’s story?

Our story starts with two guys in a garage back in the 1930’s…Have I lost you? Yeah.

That story doesn’t resonate in 2016. If there’s two guys in your garage these days, they’re probably doing something they shouldn’t be.

But that is how our story began. A story that is at the very heart of the entrepreneurial spirit; but old it is. Two men, focused on creating life changing technology. A company born on the basic principle that talent and perseverance will create technologies that will make the world a better place. This is another way to look at what HP (before we added the “E”) actually stands for: Helping People.

By the ‘80’s & ’90’s HP was “THE” (all caps) technology company. Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard had not only started a leadership company but had created a culture that many other companies had aspired to.

In 2005 Steve Jobs, Apple’s founder, delivered a commencement speech at Stanford’s graduation. In that speech he told the story of his dismissal from Apple. He had lost his focus and the company suffered prompting the board to make change in leadership. He was devastated. And he reached out to Dave Packard to apologize for letting him down as an entrepreneur. Here is a man that lost everything and he turned to his heroes to apologize. That is the company, the legacy, of HP.

Okay, so maybe the ‘1990’s & early 2000’s weren’t so great. I don’t want to mention any names but I think we all know that 2 of our former leaders did more to focus on moving stock prices than actually holding to the principles of Bill and Dave.

Then a really funny thing happened. Just when HP was a company in search of a vision, a visionary product became its flagship. A new leader, equally of vision, identified the issues of our past. She recognized we were off track and she wielded her mighty hammer and said “We’re too big and cumbersome and it’s in the way of our ability to execute. We need to ensure our ability to deliver the same high standards that our customers have come to expect. The industry expects us to be the leader they need. They need us to be THE Technology Company.” ß Okay so those are my words but it’s what I picture Meg saying.

By becoming two equal and independently focused companies we can continue to raise the bar and lead each of our respective industries in the way the world needs us to. No longer are we HP. Now, we’re HPE—Helping People Everywhere.

And while we may get frustrated with the higher standards we’re held to, and while we may offer alternative perspectives, we do recognize it is fair. We should be held to a higher standard. That’s because we are THE Technology Company and we own those higher standards. We will continue to deliver because that’s what we do.

Leading the way, story or no

HPE 3PAR StoreServ’s consistent growth of the storage platform is proof-positive that we are a big player in changing the market landscape. I personally believe that you could make a compelling case that almost every single flash vendor out there is an imitation of HPE 3PAR StoreServ in some way shape or form. All you have to do is think about the basic tenants of Flash technology today:

-        Performance. 3PAR made SPC-1 benchmarking cool by running a series of SPC-1 test that no one could match prior to 2010

-        Data Reduction. 3PAR Storage was the pioneer of Thin Provisioning. The 3PAR architecture evolved by adding dedupe with arguably the best individual deduplication ratios in the industry. (Compression is coming and it’s going to blow you guys away. I promise.)

-        Wear Endurance. Okay it’s getting redundant. We literally made “wide stripe” artistic.

We told the world that One OS is important. We told the world that Flash, while awesome, is still just media. The basic requirements of Tier 1 Storage have not changed:

  • Performance
  • Availability
  • Replication
  • Data Services

We held up a very bright light to the competition and showed that only one storage array is both “All Flash” and “Tier 1”. HPE 3PAR StoreServ.

EMC’s latest technology story

So while we’re on the topic of storytelling, EMC is about ready to tell us another story! They’re telling us their new “all-flash data center” with multiple all-flash offerings story. “No the VMAX & VNX will not be replaced by XtremIO! We are releasing ‘all flash’ versions because we believe in the transformation to an all flash data center!” Okay really? We’ve been using that headline for years.

Besides the actual numbers that show HPE 3PAR StoreServ is the #1 FC attached storage product on the market, EMCs announcement of their new flash story shows us that our Flash storage vision was the right vision and they seem to be jumping on board.

So let me get this straight, they used our story as a place to start creating their story, but their story involves a whole slew of different characters to keep track of, each with complex personality traits. How are we supposed to keep track of which system goes where?

The End.

Want to read more blogs in this series, and learn more about our all-flash 3PAR StoreServ storage systems designed to accelerate business and simplify IT? Please view these additional resources:

Vish Mulchand’s blog
Manish Goel’s blog
And read more about all flash

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