My expectations for EMC world were pretty clear coming to Las Vegas for the first time for this 15,000-attendee convention. I expected to hear about the new products that were going to be released concert with the keynotes from the event, and exciting innovations and improvements to the existing product platform. Specifically, I was focused on the new VNX platform, and expected the VNX 2.0 to be a big theme of the event. Although it’s Wednesday morning as I write this, I can honestly say that my first EMC World has shown me a different side of EMC.
So far, there have been three big announcements in my opinion. First, ViPR. A software defined storage solution build upon the existing mature storage platform of VNX, Isilon, and VMAX, as well as other commodity storage platforms ( obviously with a few less features). When the product was announced in the keynote, it was explained as two key components, a control plane and a data plane. The control plane is pretty straightforward, it primarily consists of a unified management, monitoring, and reporting platform across all solutions, with an element of automation to drive direct end-user (or it service request via web interface) access to provision and manage storage. Exposing these bits of functionality then allow integration to other platforms such as VMware in a unique and abstracted way as opposed to allowing direct access to LUN provisioning capabilities.
The data plane is then an incredibly interesting and powerful component of the overall ViPR solution. While the standard VNX unified access model has been oriented around Block and File access to the storage array, ViPR extends those capabilities by including access for Object-Level (via OpenStack standards, as well as Atmos for an open community-extensible platform) as well as HDFS exposure for BigData Solutions. The added bonus of these different exposure mechanisms that makes them unique however is the fact that no migration or copy of data is required to expose the same data set through different mechanisms. For instance, have a file that needs to be shared on your local file server, go for it. Same file needs to be exposed for object access to be picked up by Syncplicity, just enable object access for availability of the data. This has immense capabilities and changes the way that storage and the data stored is accessed and controlled.
EMC has also focused on Software, and the use of software to drive application results. This couldn’t be more apparent than the recent creation of Pivotal, and the investment that EMC has made putting seasoned veteran leadership at the helm, with a solid platform of products. The Pivotal organization was discussed mostly in marketing theory, and it sounds like EMC has some great ideas around the integration of the products that make up the pivotal suite in order to truly drive integration and potentially make big waves in the application space. Many of these products (in my opinion) were on the shelf at VMware and not being integrated. It’ll be interesting to see if the marketing can make it to a final product, and how it will be adopted by the community at large.
And finally, no I didn’t get to see the VNX 2.0, but I did get to see some of the ideas that were going into it in this morning’s keynote. I saw the MCx product for parallelism on CPU cores to drive 1 Million IOPS at <1ms latency! Across 96 flash drives, that was probably the most impressive unit that I’ve seen all week. The real question here is when is it available, but unfortunately we didn’t get any dates. In addition, EMC has a virtual VNX product created that is deployable in the public or private cloud. Workflow possibilities here are pretty interesting, effectually being able to spin up a VNX at Verizon Terramark, and manage it through your centralized Unisphere implementation. Replication and data migration is possible between the units, really enforcing a solid product set even where the hardware implementation might not be feasible. And finally, the new VNX seems to be very oriented around running software on the storage processors themselves, to avoid bolt-on appliances. We saw a demo this morning of Antivirus and RecoverPoint both installed directly onto a VNX and able to be configured. With this ability to go into an “App-Store” and quickly install applications onto the storage platform, there are certainly great opportunities.
Will keep blogging on anything else that I can find while I’m here, and am certainly looking forward to the Mega Launch (coming soon hopefully).