EMC World 2013 sees launch of software-defined storage ecosystem

EMC unveiled its new storage defined storage platform called ViPR at its EMC World event in Las Vegas and hails it as the first of its kind.

The announcement comes as the buzz surrounding anything software-defined (including data centres and networks) keeps growing and EMC promises that being able to manage both the storage infrastructure (otherwise known as the Control Plane) and the data residing within it (the Data plane) will provide with many of the benefits associated with the “software-defined” paradigm.

The key message though is that customers will be able to treat the CP and the DP as two separate entities and in EMC’s own words, allowing the Control Plane to “manage the underlying intelligence of the storage arrays through policy-based automation”. This is a step change from treating virtualisation as a traditional, uniform storage unit.

The Control Plane, or in EMC’s lingo, the ViPR controller, acts like a remote control that allows the customer to perform complicated tasks via a dashboard or self-service portal that delivers a directory of storage resources available. The analogy used EMC is that of the operating system on a traditional computer.

Just like the latter is now smart enough to detect hardware resources and use them when needed (e.g. GPU compute of a graphics card), the ViPR controller can discover storage (as a discrete computing resource), create virtual storage pools and link them to the application requesting them.

As for EMC’s ViPR data service (aka the Data Plane) which is scheduled to be launched in the second half of 2013, it will treat objects as files, removing a layer of complexity and improving file access performance, making it a great partner for Amazon’s S3 and HDFS (Hadoop Distributed File System).

As expected, it will also support EMC Isilon, EMC Atmos and EMV VNX legacy arrays as well as other rival/third party arrays and, perhaps more importantly, commodity software.

Picture courtesy of EMC