Flynn: EMC is the data centre ‘bottleneck’

Boxing gloves

EMC's hold on the storage market has led to a "bottleneck" in the industry many companies are finding it hard to break out of.

This was the belief of David Flynn, chief executive of Fusion IO, who met with IT Pro today to vent his frustrations.

He claimed NAND flash was a key component of storage, but the way EMC was trying to use it was too expensive and didn't offer enough performance.

"EMC are still so focused on their storage boxes," he said. "Yes, they can [upgrade them with flash] and offer you twice the performance, but they will charge four times as much."

By putting SSDs into the storage boxes EMC are trying to push an elephant through a straw.

There is no question in the storage industry that NAND Flash is the future for high performance, but the debate of where the technology should sit within the system rages between the two firms.

EMC has attempted to move it to the storage array, putting SSDs into its portfolio to speed up the read/write process. However, Fusion IO, has invented a new way of plugging flash straight into the memory.

By putting one of its ioDrives straight into the server, it removes barriers between the processor and traditional storage arrays, meaning the server can act as primary storage and access applications even faster.

"By putting SSDs into the storage boxes EMC are trying to push an elephant through a straw," said Flynn. "We are right next to the processor and don't rely on networking or [other hardware] performance."

He claimed the openness of the Fusion IO technology and its compatibility with other vendors meant end users only had to buy the one component, rather than hefty hardware in the back-end, which EMC is known for.

"For every $10 EMC costs, we can give you 1,000 times faster performance and cost just $1," added Flynn.

"EMC cannot afford to do it [Fusion IO's] way because they would lose thousands of dollars."

EMC do offer a caching technology for servers called VFCache, allowing a cached version of data to be stored before heading to the storage. However, the CEO said it didn't compete with the number of terabytes its own Fusion IO directCache could offer.

EMC still holds the number one spot in market share when it comes to storage. However, Fusion IO has the likes of Apple and Facebook on its customer lists, both of which is worked together with to get the product just right for their internal systems, and has Steve "Woz" Wozniak backing the firm as its chief scientist.

Flynn revealed there would be more products and market opportunities from his company next month just before EMC has its own annual conference but his company "didn't need to sell boxes" to give great storage capabilities.

"It is not about the hardware in the big boxes anymore," he concluded. "It's about elements of hardware working together with software to give the end user the best performance, as well as the best price."

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.