EMC VMAX3 Array Runs Server Apps, Gets Cloud Tiering Via TwinStrata Acquisition

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In a move that could significantly shake up the way data centers are architected, EMC Tuesday updated its flagship VMAX storage solution with new software and a new storage hypervisor that could potentially allow it to run non-storage applications.

EMC, Hopkinton, Mass., also is planning to embed cloud storage access into its VMAX arrays via technology it got from TwinStrata, a provider of cloud tiering technology that EMC Tuesday said it had acquired. Financial details of EMC's acquisition of TwinStrata were not provided.

EMC also updated its EMC Isilon scale-out solution with new performance and scalability capabilities, and added new configurations and data services capabilities to its XtremIO all-flash storage arrays.

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The new EMC VMAX3 now comes with the ability to dynamically allocate up to 384 Intel Ivy Bridge processor cores between different front-end and back-end applications, as well as a new operating system that allows applications to run inside the storage system instead of on a separate server.

The result is a storage solution with the potential to be a very high-end hyper-converged infrastructure, said Jamie Shepard, regional and health systems senior vice president at Lumenate, a Dallas-based solution provider and longtime EMC channel partner.

"The VMAX3 is awesome," Shepard told CRN. "I can use the engines as CPUs and run VMware direct in VMAX, therefore using it as a server."

The enhancements to the VMAX3 would make it possible to leverage VMware's automation technology to use the storage solution CPUs as raw processors, he said.

"This is hyper-converged infrastructure," Shepard said. "Customers could end up buying fewer high-end servers. It provides easy management and the ability to tier data and workloads."

It also points to the future of a new data center architecture where server and storage architectures merge, Shepard said.

"Once EMC's VMAX3 does it, other vendors will follow suit," he said.

Shepard also said that EMC's acquisition of TwinStrata is a huge move given that every major storage vendor and customer is looking for ways to easily migrate storage between private and public cloud storage.

The tying of local on-premise storage to public clouds got its first real start with NetApp's move to add a direct connection between its Data Ontap operating system and Amazon Web Services, and the entire industry is looking to make similar moves, Shepard said.

By adding TwinStrata to VMAX3, EMC is letting customers do cloud tiering directly with the array, Shepard said.

NEXT: VMAX3 Adds Dynamic Virtual Matrix, Hypermax To Run Storage Apps Without Servers

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