Free as in speech or free as in beer ?

I read the Storage Anarchist’s (Barry Burke) post on free migrations. EMC is giving away some other software (after Virtual Provisioning) to help customers in migrations (i suppose  it’s intended only for migrations to DMXs and V-MAXs), it’s a nice present, of course, but i have some doubts about it….

First off all I’m curious about the software maintenance: is it free too? or can i decide to have it or not? Because if the customers are forced to pay maintenance fee for this free utilities the cost isn’t zero.

Then i would ask if this is a reaction to one of the latest announcements from NetApp (DataMotion) or, next to be released, similar features by other vendors (i.e. Live Volumes from Compellent). These new important features will help customers to do host transparent migrations, workload rebalancing and more within the GUI (or CLI) and without pains!!! Automated migrations of LUNs/volumes are very important to cut TCO and they are the consequence of Automated Tiered Storage. Indeed, these features (automated live migrations + automated tiered storage coupled), in a near feature, will permit to scale horizontally with cheap standard storage systems!!!!! In the same way standard and cheap hardware have changed the computing landscape and permitting new cloud computing scenarios, we can do intriguing thoughts about it!

In the same post I read: “Yet another way that EMC is helping to reduce the TCO….” What??? TCA is not TCO!!!

EMC is releasing functionalities for free because other (next generation storage) vendors have these features implemented in their DNA and EMC is seeing declining sales because the high TCAs and TCOs of their solutions. The TCA is simple to solve…. EMC is lowering its margins and cut the CAPEX for customers, i see deep discounts every day from EMC! But TCO is another thing!

To cut TCO costs is very hard! TCO is driven by a lot of factors ranging from power consumption to ease of use, implementations of features and so on. TCO is measured in years opposed to the one shoot TCA!

An example? Wide striping is no more an option it is a must! To implement a fully viable wide striping with EMC you need to buy Virtual provisioning (now free) but the implementation of wide striping and virtual provisioning are more complex than those of other vendors: you can’t migrate automagically from fat to thin! you need to buy more disks (or a new shiny V-MAX 😉 ), enable TP on these disks and migrate LUNs (so you need migrations utilities… now free!) WOW! if I add professional services, training and time…. at least, free isn’t properly free!!!

This simple example is usable for every new feature from EMC… read this too!!

Comments are very welcome, of course !


PS: Update, @storagebod told that “Free migrations pack” isn’t a response to “live migration products” of other vendors, but it was planned before.

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