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EMC VPLEX enables virtual storage over long distances

New technology will allow virtual storage across multiple data centres hundreds of miles apart

EMC VPLEX enables virtual storage over long distances
VPLEX will change the way data centres are designed and managed, says Gelsinger.

EMC has launched new technology that it says will enable virtual storage to be extended over long distances, to allow new models of distributed data centres and cloud computing.

The VPLEX technology will allow companies to non-disruptively move thousands of virtual machines and large volumes of data over distances of thousands of miles, allowing companies to use computer facilities in more cost effective, or disaster resilient locations, and to pool the capacity of multiple data centres.

The company says that VPLEX will enable the movement and processing of data on an intercontinental basis, with implications for cloud computing.

"VPLEX is groundbreaking technology and that will change the way data centres are designed and managed.  It's a core component of EMC's virtual storage vision and will do to storage what server virtualization has done to computing and will provide game changing levels of efficiency and flexibility. The ability to share, move and access large amounts of data regardless of location is a key element of the journey to the private cloud," said Patrick Gelsinger, president and COO, EMC Information Infrastructure Products.

"VPLEX technology will enable follow-the-sun computing, the relocating of workloads to low-cost energy regions or moving them out of the way of approaching storms - in general, IT environments will be more dynamic and flexible than ever before," he added.

A key component of VPLEX is the federation of distributed storage arrays, which transparently pools the resources of multiple storage systems, locally and over distance, and allows them to work together. Federated storage is not only more efficient than its physical predecessors; it also allows IT organizations to aggregate separate data centres and service providers into a single virtual data centre, with federation of compute and storage resources together that can be managed as a single resource.

The first products to use VPLEX are EMC's VPLEX Local and VPLEX Metro which are designed to operate within a single site or data centre, and on multiple sites up to 100km apart respectively.

Both solutions are built on high-availability VPLEX Engines, with two separate VPLEX Directors, each featuring high performance multi-core Intel Xeon processors, 32GB intelligent cache pools and 8 Gb/s fibre channel host and array connections. VPLEX Local is capable of supporting up to 8,000 virtualized storage volumes, while VPLEX Metro can support up to 16,000 virtualized storage volumes, located within two separate VPLEX clusters, which can be up to 100km apart, with a 5ms round-trip response time maximum.

Future launches planned for 2011 will include VPLEX Geo, which will enable asynchronous federation of VPLEX clusters over cross-continental distances, and VPLEX Global, which will enable distributed concurrent data access and workload relocations across multiple global locations over both synchronous and asynchronous distances.

While the solutions are designed to be customer-installable, EMC has also introduced design, assessment and implementation services to support them.

EMC is also using the technology itself to develop its own private cloud, according to Jon Peirce, vice president of Global IT Infrastructure and Services, EMC.

"EMC is on its own journey to the private cloud with its internal infrastructure and VPLEX is helping us accelerate it. The improved agility, utilization and availability we're seeing with our SANs as a result is similar to what we experienced with our servers when we implemented VMWare vSphere. Our installation of VPLEX took less than four hours and we were installed, configured and totally operational. Going forward, the geographic federation capabilities of VPLEX will enable a whole host of optimization strategies that have never before been possible with our data centres around the world," he said.

The VPLEX technology will compete to some extent with existing solutions such as NetApp's FlexCache, which can stretch clusters over a distance. Patrick Rogers, vice president of Solutions and Alliances, NetApp commented: "NetApp is already at the forefront of this evolution with our existing and proven FlexCache technology combined with our best-of-breed technology partner ecosystem. What sets NetApp apart is our ability to deliver these capabilities through a single, unified platform instead of forcing customers to leverage disparate architectures that requires an entirely new set of processes, tools and training."


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