Dell EMC move to lock in ScaleIO VSAN clients

Dell EMC vending machine with servers inside

Posted on Tuesday, March 6, 2018

When Dell EMC acquired Israeli virtual storage specialist ScaleIO, existing customers were concerned it would spell an end to vendor-agnostic VSANs. Dell EMC shocked most of the IT industry however, by agreeing to stick with the “open” approach taken by ScaleIO.

All that has changed in recent days though. A change in strategy means that in future, ScaleIO will only be available inside Dell EMC VXRack FLEX hyper converged systems.

Why does this matter? The genius of ScaleIO has been its vendor-agnostic infrastructure requirements. Historically clients have been able to build hugely scalable virtual storage area networks using commodity hardware.

Bad for Dell EMC, worse for ScaleIO customers

For a company that makes its fortune selling (expensive) hardware, ScaleIO is a major problem. And endorsing a platform that encourages clients to buy far cheaper generic storage (or redeploy post warranty assets) to underpin VSANs is typically considered a bad strategic move.

Eager to make a decent return on their ScaleIO investment, ending this openness makes sense. Every generic hardware deployment is a potential loss for Dell EMC’s shareholders.

The good news is that Dell EMC has pledged to support existing ScaleIO software-only customers – for now anyway. And now it has been integrated into the VXRack FLEX hyper converged range, continued development of the product is guaranteed.

The bad news is that new customers will not be able to join the low-cost, virtual storage revolution using ScaleIO. Worse still, Dell EMC’s decision appears to be yet another power play designed to encourage vendor lock-in, which means that businesses lose even more control of their data center strategy.

Once again, your business weighs up the benefits and risks of virtual storage – and whether ScaleIO and increased vendor lock-in remains a viable option. In the meantime, contact CDS to assess your existing storage strategy and how post warranty maintenance can help you regain control of your data center.