EMC World Opener: EMC Elastic Cloud Storage, ViPR 2.0

EMC on Monday unveiled a new cloud storage platform, the EMC Elastic Cloud Storage appliance, it claims offers the flexibility and scalability of public cloud storage with the control and security of private clouds.

The company also unveiled ViPR 2.0, the second-generation of its ViPR software-defined storage technology with expanded block and object storage capabilities and new integration with third-party storage.

These and other additions to EMC's storage line, including a new Data Domain backup solution and a new entry-level version of its VNXe series arrays, were introduced as part of the opening to the EMC World Conference, held this week in Las Vegas.

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The introduction of EMC Elastic Cloud Storage and ViPR 2.0, both of which include object storage, come on top of other EMC platforms, including the EMC Atmos public cloud storage platform, EMC Isilon and EMC VNX2, said Keith Norbie, director of server, virtualization and storage for the Eastern U.S. for Technology Integration Group (TIG), a San Diego-based solution provider and EMC partner.

It is not yet sure how EMC will position its variety of platforms to support object storage, Norbie said.

"Do we need that many platforms?" he said. "Will customers be able to understand how they are positioned? That's where channel partners like TIG can excel, to show customers the right solution."

EMC has so far provided little in terms of details of its new storage offerings, and is expected to provide further information during sessions and meetings at EMC World this week.

The EMC Elastic Cloud Storage, or ECS, appliance is a way to build private storage cloud infrastructures with the agility and flexibility of public clouds, but with a 9 percent to 28 percent lower TCO (total cost of ownership) than Amazon and Google public clouds, EMC said.

It is a modular, scale-out solution that allows up to 2.9 petabytes of capacity to be configured in a single rack, but which scales to multiple exabytes of capacity. EMC, however, has yet to release details of the hardware and software underpinning that capacity other than to promise self-service capabilities, fully automated provisioning and next-generation application data services.

To help customers get started with the new EMC Elastic Cloud Storage, EMC also introduced new architecture and design services to help customers identify which application workloads are best suited for the appliance, and to configure their infrastructures to get the best impact from the new technology.

Both the EMC Elastic Cloud Storage and the related services are slated to be available in the second quarter of 2014.

NEXT: ViPR 2.0 Software-Defined Storage Technology

Also new Monday from EMC is ViPR 2.0, the second generation of the ViPR software-defined storage technology, which EMC unveiled in 2013.

ViPR abstracts the functionality and underlying capabilities of customers' storage infrastructures into a large pool of virtual storage. It separates the storage control plane, which manages storage array functions, such as discovery and provisioning, from the data plane, which are the advanced data services that run on the arrays.

EMC said this separation simplifies management of multiple intelligent arrays by using their underlying intelligence in an automated fashion based on customer policies.

New with ViPR 2.0 is support for commodity drives in addition to the support it previously had for object storage and HDFS (Hadoop File System) implementations, and its block data services based on EMC's ScaleIO technology.

Also new is multisite support, which allows ViPR Object Data Services to span multiple locations and offer geo-replication and geo-distribution capabilities for increased efficiency and performance, and to make it more useful for customers with compliance requirements, EMC said.

While ViPR initially natively pooled storage from EMC and rival NetApp's intelligent storage arrays into a software-defined level, ViPR 2.0 now adds native support for arrays from rival Hitachi Data Systems.

ViPR 2.0 also supports pooling storage capacity from Dell, Hewlett-Packard and IBM storage arrays via an OpenStack Cinder plug-in, EMC said.

While ViPR is touted as a software-defined storage offering, the use of OpenStack Cinder is sort of like a translator needing a translator, Norbie said.

ViPR, as a software-defined offering, needs the capability to talk with non-EMC storage, Norbie said. "But what if an implementation does not have OpenStack?" he said. "The key is, no one has a fully baked solution yet. The question is how to define 'fully baked.' We're in the game of framing this all now."

ViPR 2.0 is slated to be available in the second quarter of 2014.