EMC announces new private-cloud appliance

VPLEX launched at EMC World conference

EMC has announced, at its annual EMC World user conference in Boston this week, a private-cloud appliance that allows synchronous replication between storage arrays up to 100km apart.

This includes the applications and virtual machines associated with them.

The EMC VPLEX appliance currently supports only block-level data replication across distance, but EMC says it is aiming to support file and object-based storage eventually. The device is aimed at providing data migration for automated storage provisioning, disaster recovery and business continuity because of its ability to create active remote datacentres, allowing users to automatically fail over from one datacentre to another.

"This is a fundamentally game-changing technology on how storage can be federated," EMC chief executive Joe Tucci said during a keynote speech. "Obviously, this is far more green than the old way of running a datacentre."

Tucci said the company's vision is all about the private and public cloud where, like virtualisation in datacentres and within storage arrays, a layer of abstraction will be created so that where data resides in a physical location will not be visible to the applications using it.

Tucci described EMC's vision as a "federation of resources", where storage capacity and application workloads can dynamically move between datacentres.

The VPLEX comes in two versions: the VPLEX Local, a single 2U (3.5-in high) appliance for replication within a single datacentre between EMC arrays and the VPLEX Metro, which allows two of the boxes synchronous connectivity up to 100km.The 100km distance limit is due more to application limitations than the arrays' physical capability to replicate data, says Brian Gallagher, president of EMC's Symmetrix and Virtualization Product Group.

Gallagher says the VPLEX allows administrators to balance workloads over 100km distances and to automatically fail over between datacentres to avoid disasters.

Eventually, Tucci said, EMC's cloud technology will allow administrators to manage all their storage, regardless of the datacentre in which it resides, with the same management software and provision capacity to business groups, offering them whatever level of storage performance they need for a given application.

While EMC's VPLEX comes as an appliance, the company says it will eventually embed the application's asynchronous data replication capabilities in all of its storage product lines.

EMC plans two more versions of VPLEX next year: VPLEX Geo, which will allow synchronous data replication between datacentres anywhere in the world, and VPLEX Global, which will allow multiple datacentres within a broader region to be seen by applications as a single, virtual datacentre.

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