EMC Adds Virtualization, 10GbE, FCoE To Clariion Arrays

The company on Tuesday also said it is expanding its UltraFlex line of connectivity modules for its Clariion arrays with the addition of 10-Gbit Ethernet and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) modules.

The new enhancements to EMC's Navisphere and RecoverPoint are aimed at helping solution providers and their customers with feet in both the storage and the virtualized infrastructure worlds, said Ruya Atac-Barrett, director of Clariion product marketing.

"With these, partners will be able to clearly articulate how they can solve customer problems related to storage and virtualization," Atac-Barrett said.

EMC has been adding the ability to interface natively with VMware to its Clariion and Symmetrix array software, but in many cases the ability to understand performance issues still requires a large amount of manual processing before having enough information with which to take action, Atac-Barrett said.

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"Solving the issue on the VMware side is not enough," she said. "We also need to solve it on the storage side."

To that end, EMC is adding virtualization awareness to its EMC Navisphere Management Suite, which is software for managing, discovering, monitoring and configuring EMC Clariion arrays.

This gives Navisphere the ability to automatically create reports on the latest virtual-to-physical mapping, and export the data automatically to the Microsoft Excel or the CSV (comma-separated value) formats in seconds.

Those reports also are automatically updated, Atac-Barrett said. "So as a storage admin, you know you have the latest data on which to take action," she said.

EMC also is adding virtualization awareness to its RecoverPoint continuous data protection and continuous remote replication software.

With the enhancement, RecoverPoint can provide instant image-level recovery for virtual machines in the same fashion it now does for physical arrays, Atac-Barrett said. "So you can now instantly restore virtual machines back to production," she said.

RecoverPoint now also features the ability to dynamically switch between synchronous and asynchronous replication modes. The feature allows RecoverPoint to automatically switch from high-performance synchronous replication to lower-speed asynchronous replication and back in order to handle spikes in bandwidth use without disrupting the data replication, she said.

On the hardware side, EMC is adding to its UltraFlex technology, which provides its Clariion arrays with the ability to be upgraded as new storage connectivity solutions become available.

EMC has been shipping 1-Gbit iSCSI and 4-Gbit Fibre Channel UltraFlex modules for some time, and started shipping 8-Gbit Fibre Channel modules last quarter, Atac-Barrett said. The company plans to make 10-Gbit Ethernet modules available this quarter, and plans to follow it with the introduction of FCoE modules next year, she said.

Customers need accurate information on their IT infrastructures and how they change, and automating the process in virtual environments in the Navisphere enhancements is a good move for EMC, said Keith Norbie, vice president of sales at Nexus Information Systems, a Minnetonka, Minn.-based solution provider and EMC partner.

"Any automation EMC can do to reduce complexity is what customers want," Norbie said.

The additions to EMC's UltraFlex technology also are welcome, especially as customers are moving quickly to adopt 10-Gbit Ethernet technology, Norbie said.

The release of an FCoE module next year will not be too late, as adoption of FCoE technology by customers has been slow. "Next year seems right, as more FCoE products should come to market by then," he said.

Norbie compared the adoption of FCoE to the adoption in the U.S. of the metric system.

"Like the metric system, it makes sense," he said. "There's not a lot of adoption. But there's a lot of interest. We also saw it with VMware virtual desktop technology. There was interest in it a year-and-a-half ago, but only now are we starting to see rapid acceleration of proofs of concept."