Dell EMC Says Goodbye to the VMAX Product Range

Servers falling into a hole

Posted on Friday, May 4, 2018

The annual Dell Technologies World conference rarely contains any huge surprises, but VMAX customers were in for a (minor) shock. In an early briefing session, Sam Grocott, senior vice president of marketing for the infrastructure solutions group, announced the imminent retirement of the VMAX product family. 

A rebranding of the high-end platform

As Grocott revealed more details, however, it quickly became apparent that this was more of a rebranding exercise than a complete withdrawal of the VMAX product line. “We’re modernizing the VMAX architecture, introducing a brand-new design from the ground up,” attendees were told.

The replacement storage platform will be called “PowerMax” and offers significant performance benefits over VMAX arrays. As well as handling traditional mission-critical database and ERP workloads, PowerMax has also been engineered to support modern workloads that are “sensitive to microsecond latencies.”

A huge performance boost for Dell EMC storage customers

The new PowerMax systems are seriously impressive. Grocott has promised 10 million IOPS per second– a 50% improvement on the top end VMAX equivalent. The system is also capable of delivering more than 150 gigabytes per second– a 300% performance density improvement.

It’s not just hardware that has received a boost either. The PowerMax software platform offers real-time machine learning that uses predictive analytics and pattern recognition to maximize performance. Unlike most new AI deployments, PowerMax promises to be “pre-trained” by drawing storage intelligence from existing VMAX3 and VMAX installations– approximately 425 billion data sets used by Dell EMC’s customers.

The PowerMax AI will ensure that data is saved on the most appropriate storage media according to its purpose. And because the process is automated, PowerMax deployments are less resource-intensive, delivering benefits much more quickly. 

Good news for on-site storage

The PowerMax announcement shows that Dell EMC still believes that on-site storage has a future. The VMAX range may have reached the end of the road– but PowerMax is a more than worthy successor for processor-hungry workloads. 

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