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Speeding the Future of Storage: EMC’s Latest Releases

Servers, Storage and Networking | Posted on September 11, 2013

EMC has just unveiled a string of new releases that offer a look into the evolving future of storage, the potential gains of using of Flash, as well as the growth of the “software defined” storage environment and push toward simplified management and control.

Last week’s Speed To Lead event, which took place in Milan – home to the Italian Formula One Grand Prix – was not-coincidentally focused on speed, performance and control.

Of the numerous announcements made during the 24-hour mega launch, these four stuck out as clear game changers.

1. VNX2: Flash and Multicore Optimized

The how, when, and why of using tiered, hybrid storage– incorporating just the right amount of flash for the most crucial, speed-sensitive data – is one of the most-discussed topics in IT today. We’ve blogged previously about how the right mix of flash and HDD media, and automated storage tiering, leads to immense efficiency gains, while keeping $/GB costs to a minimum.

EMC’s biggest announcement last week was certainly the long-anticipated release to market of VNX2, their answer to hybrid storage intended to “shatter the definition and economics of midrange storage”. EMC re-wrote millions of lines of code and updated its hardware, to create the flash-optimized, unified storage arrays. The VNX2 line also boasts multicore code technology (MCx) which replaces the FLARE and DART operating systems. This allows the boxes to fully take advantage of the next generation of Intel multicore CPUs.

VNX Product Family VNX2 unified storage systems: VNX5200, VNX5400, VNX5600, VNX5800, VNX7600, VNX8000 and VNX-F

This offers an incentive to any IT department considering consolidating its storage and file systems to start looking at EMC. VNX2’s optimization of Flash, virtualization and multicore processing significantly assists in daily operations. Starting with application performance and ending with file system management, it’s likely to reduce overall operation costs and the complexity of managing a midtier, or enterprise storage solution.

2. ViPR: Improved control and management

Another big announcement to come from the event was ViPR, EMC’s “Software-Defined Storage Platform.”

With ViPR, customers can manage both their existing storage infrastructure (using the ViPR Controller) and the data residing within it (using ViPR Data Services), enabling you to drive improvements in automation and lay down a modern storage architecture for future application deployments. With its capacity for Object Data Services, as well as its broad range of API and platform support, such as Amazon S3, OpenStackSwift, and Atmos, ViPR gives customers increased control and simpler ways to manage their storage data, with lots of flexibility to choose an underlying platform.

We see this as a big step toward a true, cloud-ready infrastructure, enabling IT teams to deploy applications anywhere, public or private. For IT leaders considering a public cloud or a hybrid cloud solution, ViPR acts as the interface and management tools needed to maintain the control and agility required when working with cloud resources.

3. XtremSW Cache 2.0

EMC also announced the availability of version 2.0 of XtremSW Cache, their intelligent caching software. The new version allows storage admins to extend EMC’s FAST (Fully-Automated Storage Tiering) capabilitues to server flash, significantly improving applicaiton performance with faster reads. Version 2.0 adds several other key features, including the ability to manage XtremSW from Unisphere; tight VNX integration; and expanded interoperability with IBM AIX.

XtremeSW Cache is a fast performing, managed solution for high transaction environments. This refresh brings an updated architecture and more support for OLTP solutions including AIX and Oracle. For hot workloads, you can’t ask for better performance and flexibility.

4. Project Nile: public scale and economics, on the private cloud

EMC also gave a preview of Project Nile, an Elastic Cloud Storage platform, which they say will bring public cloud economics and scale to private clouds. EMC says it will be the first complete, web-scale storage infrastructure for the data center to hit the market.

Project Nile offers users a streamlined, highly-intuitive “click and go” experience, one that could challenge the appeal of Web-based computing services from the likes of Amazon, and other cloud providers. ComputerWorld has even called it a “legitimate alternative” to the public cloud for security-minded companies.

This future project from EMC will give the end-users better control and management over various private and public cloud resources, which will help IT leaders make decisions fasters, get projects closer to market faster and save on operational costs and the waste of IT resources.

Summary of Key Highlights

  • VNX2 offers the same performance as predecessor at one-third the cost, or up to 4X faster performance at a modest premium
  • VNX2’s new OS unlocks the power of multicore processors
  • VNX2 boxes average 5% flash, keeping hardware costs minimal
  • ViPR lets you to manage both storage infrastructure and object data services
  • XstremSW Cache 2.0 software drives down latency; adds greater interoperability
  • Project Nile seeks to reinvent the private cloud with the scale and elasticity of a public cloud
  • A complete round up from EMC of its biggest announcements available here

How does this affect you?

There were a lot of big announcements to come from EMC last week. But you might not be sure where to start, or if/how these new technologies will benefit your operations. To support this technology, you need to have other fundamental components in place such as a virtual workloads, automation, and strong networking configuration to support this type of environment.

Softchoice has a Storage TechCheck assessment designed to give you those answers. It’s a great starting point to assess where you are and provide you a comprehensive roadmap to determine how to best take advantage of these new releases from EMC.

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