EMC Expands Range of VPlex Storage Systems

VPlex Geo brings disparate storage arrays into a single resource pool and enables petabytes of storage to be made available to production systems over long distances.

LAS VEGAS - EMC is literally going the distance with its Virtual Storage initiative.

The world's largest storage and data-security company on May 10 at EMC World 2011 introduced VPlex Geo, an improvement upon a year-old product that enables terabytes of data inside non-EMC and non-connected storage systems in geographically dispersed data centers to be federated and used as a single pool of virtual storage.

Islands of storage currently have to be located physically within a system to work optimally with processing servers. Even then, as data center managers will attest, large data sets still can take hours or days to move and process.

Add miles of physical distance, which causes latency and additional technical bottlenecks in systems that aren't designed to work together, and a large workload can be brought to its knees in no time.

Today, using virtualization tools from VMware, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and other companies, businesses can move huge server workloads, but they cannot move terabytes of stored data nearly as easily.

That's where EMC's VPlex Geo comes in. The product-available as server-borne software or a physical appliance-brings those disparate storage arrays into a single resource pool and enables petabytes of storage to be made available to production systems over long distances.

The secret sauce is in EMC's lightweight, block-level connector protocol that adds only changes to the data and updates all instances of files wherever they may be.

The VPlex appliances, introduced in May 2010 at EMC World in Boston, were the first products in EMC's Virtual Storage initiative, announced the previous March.

VPlex features Local and Metro editions, depending upon the size of the IT system. VPlex Local enables businesses to move large amounts of storage within a single data center; Metro allows such movement between data centers in distances of about 100 kilometers.

Massive Data Stores Now Available Across Continents

With VPlex Geo, EMC now can enable access to massive data stores between continents with VPlex Geo. "We can easily do 2,600 miles today, which is almost the distance across the United States," Brian Gallagher, president of EMC's Enterprise Storage Division, told reporters at EMC World 2011.

VPlex's still-being-developed Global version will enable movement of these stores throughout the world, Gallagher said.

"When [will it be available]? Let's just say 'later,'" Gallagher said with a smile.

For starters, VPlex Geo can work with basic business applications such as Microsoft SQL and SharePoint, Oracle RAC and SAP in a Hyper-V environment. EMC has lined up a number of other sanctioned applications for this environment.

VPlex does for virtual machines what VMware's VMotion does for servers, enabling them to move them from one place to another-providing new efficiencies without cutting any lifelines. VPlex enables this using a technique called distributed cache coherence, gained through its acquisition of YottaYotta in 2008.

The combination of this technology and global federation eliminates the issues of distance when talking about data, issues such as latency, bandwidth and resiliency.

In the 12 months since these appliances have been available, VPlex also has served to enable enterprises to continue their push to cloud computing, a key part of EMC's message at the show this week.

VPlex Geo is scheduled to be available this summer, Gallagher said. Other VPlex capabilities will become available this quarter, he said.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...