Back To The Future: VMAX or vSAN MAX?

Back To The Future: VMAX or vSAN MAX?

Abstract futuristic data center aisle view

Anyone else confused by VMware calling their new disaggregated storage vSAN MAX? This could be seen as a homage, an indiscretion, or a shot across the bow. Should storage folks laugh or cry?

For those storage youngsters out there who might not remember, here is a link to a little history of the EMC (then Dell/EMC) flagship mainframe-class SAN that started out named Symmetrix. Versions of this big SAN were named DMX, VMAX, and PowerMax over time. VMAX all-flash versions are still currently in the online DELL/EMC catalog. And yes, people attach VMAX storage to VM’s in VMware environments, so you can have VMware VMAX solutions

We expect VMware to soon become part of Broadcom. I can’t help but wonder if naming what’s basically a new-again large vSAN cluster (i.e., disaggregated!?) after the old flagship DELL/EMC VMAX SAN is someone’s idea of an insider joke. Maybe someone in product management that knows they are leaving VMware soon and wanted to drop a little easter egg into the marketing stream?

I’d think Dell might call out some copyright infringement, if nothing else. I can’t imagine they’d feel they should let VMware get away with this very-close naming infringement. Or maybe they are waiting to sue Broadcom after the deal closes. Who knows, maybe there is some back-room deal between Dell and Broadcom yet to emerge?

Clearly with the name vSAN MAX, VMware wants to invoke the huge storage capability, performance and reliability of the legacy VMAX. vSAN MAX seems designed for PB use cases and could be an interesting new generation solution for large storage use cases like AI and aggregated enterprise data (but probably not an alternative/replacement for VMAX use cases). In any case, if you are at all confused by the difference in technologies here and want to compare vSAN MAX to VMAX functionally, we’d be happy to help!