EMC targets the scale-out datacentre with ViPR

EMC announces the ViPR software platform to provide a simpler way for cloud service providers and large enterprises to manage highly scalable, heterogeneous storage.

EMC today launched software to make it easier for cloud platform providers and large enterprises to manage highly scalable storage arrays.

EMC ViPR, announced at EMC World 2013 in Las Vegas today, is designed to provide a simpler way of managing virtual storage spread over a heterogeneous mix of storage arrays. ViPR, which will be available in the second half of this year, will offer a single view of EMC VMAX, VNX, Isilon and Atmos storage, as well as third party and commodity arrays.

The EMC ViPR Controller virtualises the underlying storage infrastructure, allowing different storage arrays to be managed as a single pooled resource. This single view of heterogeneous arrays allows IT ops staff to manage common tasks, such as storage provisioning or migration, without having to use different management interfaces to configure each type of array.

ViPR allows pools of storage to be carved up for consumption by applications. For this task, ViPR provides a self-service portal so application owners can browse the storage service catalog and provision service resources best suited for their needs.

The software platform decouples its handling of data stored in a storage infrastructure, the data plane, from the underlying storage infrastructure, the control plane - allowing the control plane to manage the underlying storage arrays using policy-based automation.

EMC says ViPR is designed to lets businesses decide, based on the application workload, what the suitable performance, quality of service and cost characteristics should be. The ViPR platform scales out as devices and data grows with no single point of failure and aims to provide an entirely self-managing and self-provisioning environment.

The software platform is targeted at serving the needs of cloud service providers and large enterprises looking after highly scalable datacentres.

EMC's breakdown of its ViPR software platform. Photo: Nick Heath / ZDNet

"With the unveiling of ViPR, EMC is sending a clear message that the combination of arrays with a powerful software layer is unbeatable in terms of speed and simplicity," Vernon Turner, Senior Vice President, Infrastructure Research Group, IDC said in a statement.

"Customers want to extract more value from their storage investments while scaling back on management."

ViPR can be managed using VMware software, "Microsoft environments" and from OpenStack. EMC ViPR will use VMware APIs to simply appear as an array within VMware vSphere. In addition, the ViPR Controller will integrate with the overarching VMware management and orchestration tool vCloud Automation Center, as well as vCenter Operations Manager.

ViPR works with block, file and object storage, and provides the ability to view objects as files, offering file access performance with less of the latency inherent to object storage.

The ViPR Object Data Services will make data stored on arrays available via Amazon S3 and OpenStack Swift compatible REST APIs, as well as via the Hadoop Distributed File System access methods — making ViPR compatible with software applications written to these APIs.

ViPR is being described by EMC as 'software-defined storage', complementing EMC subsidiary VMware's ESX server virtualisation and VMware Nicira networking virtualisation to create what it calls the 'software-defined datacentre'.

ZDNet attended EMC World as a guest of EMC.