EMC is giving away ScaleIO for free. ScaleIO is EMC’s Server SAN product. It’s a rapidly growing category. Wikibon’s Stu Miniman just led a session at Interop (slides here) talking about the impact of Server SANs growth on traditional storage arrays. The short of it is that Server SAN is eating away at traditional storage arrays. First, what is ScaleIO and what does it mean that EMC is giving away ScaleIO.
ScaleIO is part of EMCs hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) story. ScaleIO is a x86 storage provider. Similar to solutions such as VSAN, Springpath and Maxta – ScaleIO can build a clustered virtual storage array based on local storage of x86 servers. These x86 servers can also run hypervisors. The result is a “hyper” converged platform for both compute and storage. As part of EMC owned VCE’s expansion into HCI, EMC is bundling ScaleIO. The VCE product is called VxRack. VxRack is based on VMware’s EVO: Rack HCI architecture.
From a practical perspective, EMC has caused a price war for test and development Server SAN workloads. The base product is being given away with community support. ScaleIO is still closed source so going into production without paid support isn’t a real option. However, this eats away at revenue for both EMC and competitors for the lower workloads.
Software is eating the world. The EMC move validates that the long-term role of traditional arrays will be diminished. Couple this with the announcement that EMC has open sourced the code to their cross-platform SDS solution ViPR it’s clear that EMC is beginning to pivot. These are very bold moves by EMC. I have to be honest; I haven’t been this excited about news coming out of EMC in a while.