EMC To Release 'Project Lightning' Flash Cache Soon

EMC this week provided a peek at some of its product plans for 2012, including its soon-to-be-released "Project Lightning" Flash-based server-side storage accelerator.

The look ahead at upcoming new product introductions and enhancements came during a Tuesday financial analyst conference call during which EMC record revenue and profit for its fourth quarter and full-year 2011.

EMC Chairman and CEO Joe Tucci said that his company plans to release its Project Lightning to the market within the next two weeks. EMC's Project Lightning, which it first discussed last May at the EMC World conference, is a PCIe Flash memory-based server cache targeting the running of applications which require the highest-performance storage as part of a tiered storage architecture.

Project Lightning will be fully integrated as part of EMC's Fully Automated Storage Tiering (FAST) technology, Tucci said.

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With Project Lightning, EMC will be the new vendor in a PCIe Flash memory storage market currently dominated by such companies as Fusion-io.

Tucci said Project Lightning will be formally integrated with EMC's Fully Automated Storage Tiering (FAST) architecture.

Keith Norbie, vice president of sales at Nexus Information Systems, a Minnetonka, Minn.-based solution provider and EMC partner, said that EMC is using Project Lightning to try to move more of the compute resources for storage to the CPU, and not abstract those resources through the storage array.

"Unlike Fusion-io products, Project Lightning is an extension of EMC's FAST technology, Norbie said. "That means FAST can be extended from the server to the cloud."

Jamie Shepard, executive vice president of technology solutions at ICI, a Marlborough, Mass.-based solution provider and EMC partner, said he is looking forward to EMC releasing Project Lightning.

"It will be great to get the performance away from spinning disk and into Flash memory," Shepard said. "This will also help with VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) bootstorms."

Other plans for 2012, Tucci said, including relaunching its VNXe entry-level storage line; increasing in the software capabilities across its new VNX midmarket storage family; improving the software capabilities, scalability, and performance of its enterprise VMAX line; increasing the software capability and performance for its Data Domain and Avamar lines; and refreshing its Isilon scalable NAS line with increased performance, scalability, and virtualization support.

Tucci also said that EMC this year also plans to enhance the security management and data protection capabilities of its RSA security line and add new functionality across all its VMware product families.

Shepard is also looking forward to the enhancements to RSA, which has become an important part of ICI's business. "We're doing more with RSA for customers," he said. "It's not just security for accessing the cloud, it's also helping locking data down when it's on the cloud."