We have long noted that NetApp is a software company that wraps hardware around its software. While this is an intentional over simplification, it makes the point that NetApp’s primary value add is ONTAP (their OS/Filesystem).
This wasn’t noted about EMC, partly because it owns VMware and partly due to ignorance. But EMC may be no different from NetApp in this respect. EMC has unbundled their VNX software from their hardware. Read about it here.
Such a move is dramatic. It opens the way for complete commoditization of hardware. It is not clear how this will shake up the industry. Hopefully, it leads to healthy competition resulting in lower prices and greater choices for consumers. Of course that is not EMC’s motivation. It may be reactive because they feel the sun is setting on enterprise SAN (and NAS) and this is the best way for VNX to remain relevant.