EMC's federated storage to change thinking on data centres

EMC's federated storage to change thinking on data centres

VPlex launch looks to solve latency issues for long distance backup

EMC has taken the wraps off its federated storage concept with the announcement of two new products. EMC president and COO Pat Gelsinger announced the availability later this year of VPlex Local and VPlex Metro

Rivals, however, are lining up to take a kick at EMC's new V-Plex strategy even before the first products have made it out of the factory.

The concept of VPlex was announced earlier this year when Gelsinger said that the company was set to shake up the storage market by abolishing the geographical constraints of data centre location by solving some of the latency issues, associated with geographically distant data centres.

Speaking at the EMC World conference, Gelsinger said that the new VPlex concept would be a key enabler for the private cloud would mean that distance would no longer be a barrier but an asset to exploited; for example, companies would be able to exploit cheaper night-time energy prices. VPlex would ultimately allow enterprises to shift data over geographically dispersed areas, meaning that they would be able to adopt new business methods and implement a new disaster recovery regime.

The company has launched two products in the range: VPlex Local and VPlex Metro. The former offers data mobility between storage systems (both EMC and non-EMC) within the same data centre, while VPlex Metro offers communications between data centres up to 100km apart. Both products offer applications in different locations to share data volumes, enabling companies to balance their resources or implemement disaster recovery plans.

Rivals such as NetApp and HDS have been quick to dismiss the concept saying that there's nothing particularly new. In a blog, HDS's Michael Hay pointed out that HDS had been sharing storage resources across data centres for some time. " Federated clustering is something that Hitachi can already do," he said.

Sebastian Darrington, EMEA business manager & product specialist for EMC, said, however, that EMC's offering went further than that. "We've had competitors say that they can do this already - and they can for the first two VPlex products that have been released but we go further than that. He said that the company's customers were ready to bite their hands off for the new products but pointed out that the more eye-catching members of the VPlex range were yet to be launched.

He said that the forthcoming VPlex Geo and VPlex Global would be the products that will really shake up the market. "It's VPlex Geo that will offer data sharing between data centres on different continents and VPlex Global that will allow data sharing across multiple sites."

Darrington said that the company had solved some of the latency problems that have hindered such approaches in the past. " That's a lot of secret sauce. But basically we're running a copy of the data of the both sites."

He said that the new products would come into their own in technology such as VMware's VMotion when customers will be able to move between data centres without going offline. "You can do that now," he said, "but it will be about 60 times faster with VPlex."

VPlex Local and Metro are available now, with VPlex Geo to be available in 2011, with VPlex Global available after that, Darrington wouldn't be drawn on a launch date.

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