EMC, reminding the IT world that it is indeed a global corporation, eschewed the standard New York/San Francisco/Las Vegas launch scenarios and staged a media event in Milan, Italy, Sept. 4 to introduce several new products, including a new enterprise cloud storage service and refreshes of its VNX storage arrays.
The company's Project Nile elastic cloud storage platform, which will become a clear competitor to Amazon Web Services and its S3 storage, is aimed at "bringing private cloud control, security and flexibility with the scale, economics and ease-of-use generally associated with the public cloud," Amitabh Srivastam, president of EMC's Advanced Software Division, told eWEEK at a recent briefing.
There's no question that EMC sees an opening in a market that Amazon has dominated without much competition since 2006, when the term "cloud" started being used in IT as much as it is used in weather reporting. IT analyst Eric Lundquist, former eWEEK editor, described Project Nile in this publication Sept. 4 as "public cloud-like, but private-cloud secure ... which is designed to provide rapid storage deployment."
Project Nile: Web-scale Storage Infrastructure
EMC positions Project Nile as the first commercially available, complete, Web-scale storage infrastructure for the data center. Srivastam said it will have a "streamlined and automated user experience" from purchase thorough deployment and consumption. Of course, users will find out how true this all is when it becomes available in the first half of 2014.
Srivastam said the upcoming cloud service will be engineered to enable click-through access to block, file and object storage, depending on a user's workload needs. It will entail all the benefits of a public cloud service--read that AWS--by being designed for massive scale, geo-distribution and elasticity, he said.
Project Nile is pretty open-minded, it turns out. It will support multiple standard APIs, including--surprise!--Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), OpenStack Swift and EMC Atmos. This will enable developers to more easily move applications between on-premise and public cloud environments without the need for costly and time-consuming application rewrites.
"Project Nile will be offered at a very aggressive price point, redefining the economics of on-premise Web-scale storage deployments," Srivastam said. "Project Nile will give IT departments or service providers the ability to deliver easily consumable storage services, similar to those offered by the Web-scale public cloud providers, but with the control security and reliability of a private cloud."
VNX Incorporating More Flash
On the hardware side, EMC's redesigned, midrange-aimed VNX upgrade takes full advantage of the newest and most power-efficient NAND flash and multi-core processors, which come mostly from Intel.
"EMC has redesigned (hardware and software) VNX with flash as the foundational component," storage analyst David Hill of Mesabi Group wrote in a media advisory.
"One of VNX's new major features is Multicore Code Path Optimization (MCx), which helps the system take better advantage of the multi-threading capabilities of Intel's Xeon 5600 Sandy Bridge multi-core CPUs that optimize how flash storage is accessed without the mechanical constraints, such as the movement of read-write heads of HDDs."
ViPR Coming Later This Month
In other Milan-event news, EMC said it is scheduled to deliver its ViPR software-defined storage platform later in September, which is ahead of industry expectations.
Using this new platform, storage admins can manage both their existing storage infrastructure (using the ViPR controller) and the data residing within it (using ViPR data services), enabling them to deploy more automation and create a modern storage architecture for future application deployments, EMC said.
ViPR will work natively with the new EMC VNX unified storage platform, in addition to existing VNX, VMAX, VPLEX, Isilon, RecoverPoint and third-party arrays--including competing NetApp storage.
ViPR's first data service--Object Data Services--will be supported at the time it goes to general availability. ViPR Object Data Services support Amazon S3, OpenStack Swift and Atmos APIs, in addition to enabling enterprises and service providers to store, access and manipulate objects, the company said.