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EMC conference opens with VMAX, Data Domain upgrades

Headlines: On the opening day of EMC World 2012, the storage vendor launched upgrades throughout its storage platform portfolio, led by a new VMAX array.

Storage channel news roundup for May 22 to 28, 2012

EMC conference opens with VMAX, Data Domain upgrades 

EMC World 2012 opened in Las Vegas last week with a massive product launch, as EMC made upgrades to its VMAX, VNX, Isilon, Data Domain and Atmos platforms. The EMC conference, drawing an estimated 10,000 customers, also focused on software and channel programs to help facilitate building storage clouds.

The initial EMC conference announcements swept across most of the company product lines -- but many of the launches were incremental additions to existing products and services.

EMC's new VMAX 40K high-end enterprise SAN array was the most significant product rollout. As reported earlier this month, the 40K is the largest system in the VMAX family, with a maximum of 40 PB of usable capacity. Other enhancements to the VMAX platform include new configurations with 2.5-inch SAS and enterprise multi-level cell (eMLC) flash drives and a new version of the Enginuity operating software that runs across all VMAX configurations.

Check out the full story on EMC's upgrades to VMAX and Data Domain.

EMC sees bright future for hybrid SSD, cloud models 

EMC executives say their strategies for flash and cloud storage are similar. They see hybrid SSD and clouds becoming prevalent and want to provide the flexibility to go in any direction. Or as CEO Joe Tucci put it, "Anybody who tells you it's a one-size-fits-all world is just missing the boat."

For flash storage, that means offering the technology in memory, the server, as solid-state drives (SSDs) alongside hard drives, flash appliances connected to the server and all-flash storage arrays.  For cloud, it means supporting private and public clouds and the ability to use both types together in a hybrid setup. EMC outlined its vision for hybrid SSD and hybrid cloud projects early last week as EMC World 2012 kicked off.

However, the company didn't give many details on its "Project Thunder" PCIe-card-based solid-state storage appliance or XtremIO all-flash array acquisition during keynotes and press sessions last Monday. EMC Chief Operating Officer Pat Gelsinger said Thunder is going into its customer betas and the XtremIO all-flash array -- now called "Project X" -- is entering pre-beta phase and will not be generally available until 2013.

Read this story on startup SolidFire's all-flash system aimed at cloud storage providers.

EMC Data Domain backup: Addition by subtraction? 

EMC last week launched a bigger, faster Data Domain data deduplication disk backup box and Avamar 6.1 with greater application support at EMC World 2012. But the vendor failed to announce that it is discontinuing its Data Domain Global Deduplication Array (GDA) and Data Domain Archiver products.

Aside from dropping Data Domain GDA and Archiver, EMC also quietly added LTO tape support for Avamar while boasting at the EMC World conference that it has helped more than 1,000 customers go tapeless for backups.

EMC claims the DD990 can backup up to 31 TB per hour with DD Boost software and 15 TB per hour with Symantec OST. It can store up to 13 PB of usable capacity. That compares with 14.7 TB per hour with DD Boost, 8.1 TB per hour with OST and 2.9 PB of usable capacity with the previously largest Data Domain box, the DD890.

Read about EMC's channel-only Data Domain backup dedupe appliance.

iWave Software adds quick provisioning to Storage Automator 

iWave Software last week launched the latest release of its iWave Storage Automator software, which does end-to-end storage provisioning, including matching the application needs to the correct storage tier, array, device group, device type and data path.

The biggest addition to iWave Storage Automator 6 is the capability to allocate correct block or file storage and configure the fabric and the host via the iWave Storage Execution Engine.

Through a Web-based iWave Storage Service Portal, the iWave software automatically matches the application requirements with the best available storage according to disk type, and then provisions the storage while also notifying the end-user and updating the configuration management database (CMD) and chargeback information.

Check out the full story on the addition of quick provisioning to iWave's Storage Automator.

EMC World 2012 Wrap: Sneak peeks at Projects X and Thunder

EMC was stingy with details of its pet flash projects during most of EMC World 2012, but it offered glimpses of early versions of "Project X" and "Project Thunder" last Tuesday during Chief Marketing Officer Jeremy Burton's keynote on future technologies.

Senior Editor Andrew Burton called up XtremIO's product manager vice president, Josh Goldstein, for a quick demo of what EMC is calling Project X – XtremIO's all-flash array. Goldstein showed how the flash array scales out by adding nodes for "unlimited IOPS," said it takes only 20 seconds to provision 1 PB of data, and claimed a single node can produce 150,000 write IOPS and more than 300,000 read IOPS. He said it can handle a mixed load of reads and writes at 180,000 IOPS. Goldstein said the product is made up of commodity components to keep the price down. EMC execs say Project X is entering pre-beta deployments and will not be generally available until next year.

Read more details on EMC's early versions of Project X and Project Thunder.

Hitachi Data Systems, EMC divided about federation

EMC's new Federated Tiered Storage (FTS) for VMAX arrays allows customers to run other EMC platforms or competing storage systems behind VMAX, much like Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) has virtualized arrays for years behind its Universal Storage Platform (USP) and current Virtual Storage Platform (VSP) systems.

Not surprisingly, EMC claims its virtualization features go beyond those of Hitachi's, and HDS claims EMC is off base with those claims.

Brian Gallagher, EMC president of enterprise storage, made the case for EMC's virtualization last Monday during the opening day of EMC World.

Check out the rest of the blog post on the division between EMC and HDS about federation.

Syncplicity customers hope for enterprise cloud file sharing features from EMC 

Syncplicity customers greeted the news of EMC's acquisition of the cloud file management company with the expectation that the product will receive more enterprise-level features.

EMC entered the online file sharing market by announcing the Syncplicity acquisition last Monday at the end of the opening day of the annual EMC conference. The purchase price for the cloud file sharing company was small enough that EMC did not have to disclose it.

"We've talked about this internally, and one thing we can be positive about is the product will take on a more mature feel to it," said Brandon Gage, senior vice president of technology at Newport Beach, Calif.-based Capital Financial Advisors LLC, a Syncplicity customer. "We are expecting a more mature roadmap coming out from a mature company. I expect the product will be more a la carte and it will get broader so we can pick and choose what we need."

Check out this story of the availability of Syncplicity's software to channel partners.

Public cloud architecture, TwinStrata help one company avoid upgrade 

After flirting with the possibility of running out of space on his company's file servers every year, recreational developer Russell Lands' IT director, Cliffe Grappe, knew he had to make a change. His options were to add an expensive storage array or turn to a public storage cloud.

The cloud was a cheaper and easier option for the Alexander City, Ala., company. It was also the unproven option. So Grappe took advantage of TwinStrata's free 1 TB virtual CloudArray offer for Veeam Backup & Replication  in order to test a public cloud architecture. After running a CloudArray gateway for six weeks without a performance hit, he upgraded to the full service.

Read the full case study on Russell Lands and then find out the difference between public, private and hybrid cloud storage in this tip.

HP's 3PAR passes EVA in sales

Hewlett-Packard's storage team maintains it remains committed to the EVA midrange platform and continues to upgrade the product. But you have to wonder how long that commitment will remain as the company faces restructuring and EVA sales keep dropping while 3PAR's soar.

HP CEO Meg Whitman characterized HP's storage as "a tale of two cities" during the company's earnings call last Wednesday. "3PAR continued to gain strong traction in the marketplace, growing more than 100 percent year over year," she said. "At the same time, tape and EVA are declining. This is an anticipated product transition, and we're effectively managing the shift to our next-generation storage arrays."

Read the full blog post on the status of HP's 3PAR and EVA sales.

Vblock architecture gains new configuration; VCE integrates EMC data protection apps 

VCE, the Virtual Computing Environment company created by VMware, Cisco and EMC, last week announced a new Vblock infrastructure package along with new software support for its converged storage/compute/network product line. The Vblock architecture product announcements were made by VCE chairman Michael Capellas at the EMC World conference in Las Vegas.

The new Vblock Series 700 Model LX integrated package extends the current VCE product line at its higher end, fitting in between the current Series 300 just below the 700MX series. It includes an EMC VMAX 10K storage array and Cisco UCS M2 blade servers, which are built around Intel Xeon E7 processors. Networking is also provided by Cisco, with its Nexus and MDS switching integrated in the rack. The 700LX supports VMware vSphere 5.

VCE also announced that Vblock infrastructure packages will now work with EMC VPLEX technology, which makes it possible to move applications and workloads among the Vblock member systems in geographically dispersed pools. EMC says this technology provides for easy application sharing and load balancing.

See the rest of the story on VCE Vblock's new configuration.

Virtual WAN optimization proves less taxing on firm's VDI environment 

To keep its virtual desktops functioning at high performance during its peak season, tax preparation firm SurePrep decided virtual WAN optimization would be the best way to share resources in service centers across the globe.

SurePrep's IT needs are unusual, because its resources are dedicated to making everything run flawlessly during a short period when tax season is in full swing.

"Our peak season is five days a year," said Will Hosek, SurePrep's vice president of information technology.

Hosek said SurePrep goes from about 50 servers during most of the year to more than 100 during tax season. The Newport Beach, Calif., company has a 200-seat service center in Irvine, Calif., and another 200-seat center in Mumbai, India. Both service centers run virtual desktops with Wyse Technology Inc.'s Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP)-based thin clients.

Get tips on how to support storage in a VDI environment in this podcast.

NetApp keeps flash plans under wraps

Like EMC, NetApp executives say they expect to offer flash in many areas of their storage systems. But NetApp so far only sells flash as a cache in storage arrays (Flash Cache), and solid state drives (SSDs) that can complement hard drives in a hybrid approach.

EMC has a VFCache server-side PCIe card, and its roadmap includes a PCIe-based shared storage appliance and all-flash array -- all pieces NetApp lacks. And while EMC predicts a hybrid implementation of SSD and hard drives in the same system will be the most popular, NetApp maintains Flash Cache is the best way to go. NetApp is also more guarded about its flash roadmap than EMC.

Check out how flash cache can improve storage performance in this tip.

Additional storage news

Check out last week's storage channel news roundup.

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