EMC takes to the cloud at EMC World 2011

The storage company announced a bevy of cloud-friendly announcements to better integrate its storage products with public, private and hybrid cloud architecture

EMC, one of the world's largest storage vendors to the enterprise, made a variety of hardware and software announcements at EMC World 2011 that expand on the integration of its core product ranges with the cloud.

The announcement on Wednesday of a mobile user interface for the Apple iPad and other tablets in the future topped off a conference defined by EMC's push into the cloud. The company also moved its globally accessible storage Atmos product into a second version, announced a crossover software product between VNX storage systems and Google Search Appliances, and introduced a Cloud Tiering Appliance to connect VNX storage to private or service-provider clouds.

The company also released its VPlex Geo update for allowing data sharing across distances of up to 3,000 miles; boosted native support for cloud-friendly network protocols in its Symmetrix VMAX storage; and updated its Ionix infrastructure management software for better public, private and hybrid cloud support.

"The cloud is the biggest and most disruptive change yet we've seen in the IT industry," EMC chief executive Joe Tucci announced at the start of the event on Monday. "It's massive change equalling massive opportunity... this is the new layering of IT."

VNX family

EMC's VNX family of products supports unified storage at the block, file and object level and is designed to work well with virtualised applications. At the event, EMC announced the Cloud Tiering Appliance, which makes it possible to link VNX storage pools to private or service-provider clouds based on Atmos. This means that rarely accessed data can be sent to the cloud via EMC's Fully Automated Storage Tiering Suite (Fast), freeing up more expensive storage space on the hardware for more regularly accessed data.

The cloud is the biggest and most disruptive change yet we've seen in the IT industry. It's massive change equalling massive opportunity... this is the new layering of IT.

– Joe Tucci, EMC

The VNX products also gained a software connector that allows them to link with the Google Search Appliance (GSA) and have their stored data indexed and made searchable via the familiar Google interface. The product will automatically tell the GSA when data stored on the VNX platform changes, allowing it to update and re-index in real time.

VMAX Symmetrix, which is the high-end storage family that sits above the VNX range, gained native support for the Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) protocol, which allows the storage-tailored Fibre Channel protocol to be run through more common Ethernet protocols.

The second generation of Atmos, which is EMC's globally scalable storage system, was also announced. Atmos 2.0 is five times faster and 65 percent more efficient than its predecessor, EMC said. It will be able to connect through to Amazon's scalable storage cloud (S3) via an interoperability API, due to launch in beta form in the second half of 2011, which will allow the lines between Atmos and public clouds to blur. Additionally, EMC announced a new SDK for Atmos that adds support for Apple iOS and Centera-integrated applications.


VPlex, which is a system for virtualising datacentre storage across local, metro, continental and global areas, received its anticipated VPlex Geo update, which allows storage to be scaled up to distances of around 2,600 miles via the use of active/active storage.

This makes it possible to replicate data asynchronously between two datacentres that can be thousands of miles apart. Asynchronous replication allows data to be written to two separate datacentres without them needing to keep in chronological step with each other, reducing latency but with the possibility of data loss.

Ionix Unified Infrastructure Manager, which is a management system for Vblocks — infrastructure comprising Cisco and EMC hardware with virtualisation from VMware — has been updated to better support Cisco's Unified Computing System (UCS) manager software. It gains an expanded API that allows storage provisioning to be initiated by external management systems.

Separately, EMC also tinged its Greenplum Data Computing Appliances with the cloud by announcing integration between Greenplum's database management environment and the open-source data processing, management and NoSQL-specialist Hadoop platform.

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