“Check your email ;)”. That was the first Twitter DM I read one sleepy morning in June. It’ll suffice to say, a minute later I was wide awake: I was chosen to represent the EMC Elect at the EMC “Redefine Possible” MegaLaunch event in London (UK)! I knew about these launch events because my colleague Rob attended one last year in Milan. Excitement started building and a couple of hours later I figured out I wasn’t going alone…
I found out that Roy Mikes, a fellow EMC Elect and Dutchman, was also heading to London on the 8th of July. That couldn’t be a coincidence! A quick chat with him and some emails with the travel agency later and everything was in order. I’ve been to London before for training with EMC Education, so no surprises there. While waiting at the gate to board the plane, the funniest thing was a couple getting up to border control, waving and mouthing a “Hi!” to the official and just walking straight on past the booth. You could see them thinking “Oh don’t mind us, kind sir! You can get back to your iPhone; we travel this airport all the time, we know the way!”. It took the official half a second to call them back and then thoroughly inspect their IDs and us the better part of the flight to stop laughing.
Landing at LCY, a driver was waiting for us (holding a sign with our names, -1 for the bucket list!). The hotel was close to the Tower of London, which in turn was close to… the Tour de France! In England you ask? Yes, apparently! After dropping our bags in the hotel we had an hour to kill and walked out the front door: 100 meters later we ran into a massive crowd. A short wait and some rain later a lot of cyclists raced by. If you blink slowly you’ll miss it, as you can (not) see in the picture I took… :/
By the time we returned to the hotel the rest of the EMC Elect had or were arriving. Apart from me and Roy the EMC Elect were represented by Sean Thulin, Andrew Miller, David Ring, Stephen Foskett and Rob Peglar. Some of them I already met during EMCWorld or interacted with on Twitter or via email, so it was pretty awesome to meet them in real life for a chat and dinner. Which was precisely what we did; head out to dinner. Unfortunately not everyone could attend, but we would see them a bit later anyway during the welcome reception.
— Roy Mikes (@teovmy) July 7, 2014
July 8th: Megalaunch #RedefinePossible
On the big day everyone (EMC Elect, analysts & journalists) gathered for breakfast and Q/A with the various executives. Each exec had a minute or two to explain the big changes in the product they represented and why these changes “redefined the possible”. Plus a brief anouncement was made regarding the TwinStrata acquisition EMC made the night before. TwinStrata is a cloud gateway company, expanding your local SAN into the cloud. See Andrew Miller’s excellent summary of the Q&A.
#RedefinePossible was the hashtag for the day: something that previously was impossible or hard to accomplish was made substantially easier/better/faster. After these intros and a round of questions everyone headed to the bus and the main event. Of course the Elect are used to marching (we did so in the soaring heat in Vegas), so we chose alternative transportation… The event itself is mind blowing. It’s apparent in everything you see that a lot of time and effort has been put into making it just right. From the full scale anchor desk with live interviews, to the presentation room and the presentation themselves, the magic tricks, the decorations, catering… The rest of the world was able to watch the big presentation live, only a couple of seconds behind on the real event. Truly a magnificent and humbling experience for me; a couple of years back I was reading the blogs and watching the product launches from my desk and now I got to be part of one! The big announcement circled around three main EMC products:
- VMAX3: new models (100k, 200k, 400k), ProtectPoint (direct backup to protection storage), Dynamic vMatrix (efficient CPU utilization based on workload) and the HyperMax OS. My colleague Rob Koper wrote an extensive post about that if you want to learn more.
- Isilon: new, faster nodes, SmartFlash for up to 1PB of flash cache, SMB3.0 multichannel support and a whole lot more.
- XtremIO: larger 6 X-Brick configurations and new, always on, always inline data services like compression and encryption. Read Dave Ring’s post for more info.
Afterwards we interviewed both a customer (VocaLink, the payments operator in the UK handling all the financial transactions in the country) and Dan Cobb, VP and CTO of Flash at EMC. This offered a good view in both the customer and EMC perspective on the new announcements made during that day. One of the big announcements was the VMAX3 with the automated performance management using SLOs. Especially with dynamic workloads, juggling storage resources and workload demands can be a time consuming task.
Offloading this task from the admin to the CPUs in the storage system seems like a no-brainer. Except it turns out the VocaLink workload is so predictable, they can perfectly size it manually and adjust the configuration as the workload grows. Lets see if they can still optimize their current environment with ProtectPoint and other new features!
As with regards to the flash division; lots of new, game changing applications of flash are just around the corner. As you might remember, EMC announced another acquisition during EMC World 2014 (DSSD), so keep your eyes peeled for solutions like top-of-rack flash…
An amazing experience, and EMC did their best to live up to the hashtag in redefining the possible. Watch the recording and keep your eyes peeled for more announcements in the near future!
Disclaimer: Even though EMC paid for the flights and hotel in London, everything I post is of my own accord. Some of the pictures are © Sean Thulin.