EMC ViPR Adds More Bite to Software-Defined Storage

By Drew Robb

At EMC World this week in Las Vegas, EMC just threw its weight behind the much hyped software-defined storage movement.

“Our customers today have data centers which are increasingly going software defined,” said Amitabh Srivastava, president of EMC’s newly created Advanced Software Division.

He said that the company has announced ViPR, which is said to provide the ability to manage storage infrastructure and the data residing within it. The ViPR controller uses the underlying storage infrastructure for traditional workloads, but can also provision ViPR Object Data Services by accessing them via Amazon S3 or Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) APIs.

Srivastava stressed that ViPR Object Data Services integrate with OpenStack and can be run against enterprise or commodity storage. And courtesy of the strong relationship with VMware, ViPR integrates tightly with VMware’s Software Defined Data Center.

“ViPR is lightweight and runs in a virtual application (vApp),” said Srivastava. “This is a strategic product for EMC and our Advanced Storage Division has been mainly built around it.”

This cloud application can abstract storage into one pool for a centralized point of management and control. The user can create virtual storage arrays and implement policies to automate storage.

For example, ViPR instances can run on 200 EMC Symmetrix DMXs, 50 VMax and 50 Isilon units, providing a mix of block and file storage. Srivastava said any file-based storage under ViPR is given object capability.

“The emerging storage environment is object based,” said Srivastava. “In the past, there was no way to convert file-based systems to object storage.”

Those with most interest in this capability are likely to be media companies with multiple providers giving them huge amounts of images and video. With ViPR in operation, the data doesn’t need to be moved from one system to the other as it can be centralized and managed.

“Object storage is great for millions of photos or files, and it is the preferred way for storing them,” said Srivastava.

This is only the first of the ViPR services and more are coming soon. Analytics (i.e., being able to analyze data without having to move it into an appliance) is on the immediate horizon.

This article was originally published on May 06, 2013