Home Business IT Business Telecommunications EMC claims world’s first software-defined storage platform

EMC claims world’s first software-defined storage platform

EMC's ViPR software defined storage platform means "you can build a web-scale data centre without hiring 1000 PhDs," according to executive vice president product operations Jeremy Burton.

ViPR initially comprises two parts: ViPR Controller and ViPR Data Services.

ViPR Controller works across EMC's VMAX, VNX and Isilon storage products, as well as third-party storage arrays and commodity storage devices.

Mr Burton drew an analogy with the way a single universal remote control can take the place of separate remotes for each device in a loungeroom. Unified control through ViPR Controller makes storage operations more efficient, productive and reliable.

ViPR Controller creates storage pools from heterogeneous or homogeneous storage devices, and then those pools can be carved into virtual storage arrays, much like the way virtualisation allows physical servers to be pooled and then divded among multiple virtual machines, explained Amitabh Srivastava (pictured above), president of EMC's advanced storage division ("the brains behind the ViPR project" according to Mr Burton)..

The other part of the announcement was ViPR Data Services, which allows existing storage devices to handle new data types such as object storage and HPFS.

Traditionally, making data accessible via (eg) HDFS as well as traditional block or file mechanisms would mean copying it between dissimilar devices, but this can be difficult as "data has gravity" so moving large amounts of data can be difficult and expensive, explained Mr Srivastava.

ViPR Data Services achieves this without copying the data, and it also preserves the properties of the underlying devices (such as low latency). ViPR Object Data Services provide Amazon S3 and OpenStack Swift compatible REST APIs and HDFS access methods.

Thus ViPR handles both the data path and the control path, but in a decoupled manner so organisations can take advantage of one or both functions.

Although EMC traditionally builds its products with enterprise customers in mind, ViPR was "built first and foremost for service providers," said Mr Burton.

ViPR will go into general availability during the second half of 2013, Mr Srivastava said.

"With the unveiling of ViPR, EMC is sending a clear message that the combination of arrays with a powerful software layer is unbeatable in terms of speed and simplicity," said IDC infrastructure research group senior vice president Vernon Turner,

Customers want to extract more value from their storage investments while scaling back on management, and ViPR meets these needs while embracing open architecture and catering to all arrays.”

Disclosure: The writer attended EMC World as the guest of the company.

Photo credit: EMC.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.