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Invista in YottaYotta clothing?

by Hu Yoshida on Mar 29, 2010

Last week  the Register’s Chris Mellor covered EMC’s intention to propose  “unified storage/server systems  that span the globe and function as a single virtual resource pool, using YottaYotta technology” as announced by Pat Gelsinger, EMC’s president and COO of Information Infrastructure Products group.

Those who were in the storage business during and after the dot com phase at the turn of the century, remember the dozens of startups that were trying to leverage the introduction of Storage Area Networking with storage virtualization appliances. EMC also entered the market with a storage virtualization appliance called Invista. None of these storage virtualization appliances received any measure of market acceptance due to scalability and complexity issues. Very few of these startups survived and those that survived did so by transforming into a device migration, replication, or deduplication appliance. YottaYotta was one of those that did not survive.

While YottaYotta’s value proposition was different in that they  proposed distributed caching technology for WAN based storage technologies, essentially they were an appliance sitting between the servers and the storage where they did the provisioning of the storage. The difference was that an appliance had to be in each distributed site and they all had to be kept in synch which added to the issues of complexity and scalability.

Since YottaYotta did the provisioning you could use any commodity storage on the backend. However since it did the provisioning of storage it eliminated the ability for the backend storage to do other functions like point in time copies, tiering, replication, and thin provisioning. It is not clear how a YottaYotta like appliance can also do functions like thin provisioning

Mellor comments that other EMC executives appeared to be dumbstruck during the analyst briefing when Gelsinger brought up YottaYotta. I can see how that could raise questions about other data distribution solutions from EMC. What happened to Invista? Is EMC going to reinvent Invista as a YottaYotta appliance?  How does this impact DMX multi-data center replication, or Atmos multitenant distributed cloud storage, or VMax? The announcement slides for VMax showed VMax nodes distributed around the globe using RapidIO switch connectivity. However, the first implementation of VMAX is with a copper RapidIO switch whose limited distance only supports a distribution of 8 nodes stacked in one frame.

I was not aware that EMC had a president and COO for each product group. I wonder if all these data distribution products are in the same product group.

Chuck Hollis posted a very lengthy blog on the virtues of virtual storage which is independent of location as well as physical media. Many of the claims were very reminiscent of the YottaYotta, distributed cache, press releases of the past.

It is expected that all this will be made clear at EMC World in May. Until then, maybe you should hold off buying that expensive DMX or VMAX. If this is really virtual storage as Chuck describes it, you might be able to buy lower cost commodity storage instead.

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Comments (2 )

Oscar Rojas F on 21 Apr 2010 at 10:21 am


This time you nailed it.

Your post asks the right questions. Concise and clever.

Wasn’t their virtualization strategy based on outbound stuff integrated with split path capabilities at the SAN level? How is YY going to be a match on this?

I don’t get it.

Hu Yoshida on 23 Apr 2010 at 2:52 pm

Thanks, Oscar, glad you agree

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