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EMC Clusters New Storage Systems for Virtual Data Centers

Symmetrix V-Max raises the high-end with new architecture designed to support hundreds of petabytes, thousands of virtual servers, and millions of IOPS, EMC says

By Paul Travis

EMC is taking on the challenge of the virtual data center with a new storage system and architecture that's designed to support the booming trend to virtualize servers, storage, and networking resources in order to use them in a more flexible manner to accommodate the real-time demands of business processes and applications. The Symmetrix V-Max introduced on Tuesday raises the bar for high-end storage and offers three times the usable capacity, twice the connectivity, and three times the performance of the company's current top-of-the-line Symmetric, the DMX-4, which will continue to be offered, the company says.

The V-Max was purpose-built for virtual data centers and can provide the performance and efficiency of scale-up architectures and the lower cost of scale-out architectures with a new approach to high-end storage using industry-standard components, according to EMC. A large cluster can scale to hundreds of petabytes of storage, and handle thousands of virtual servers and process millions of I/Os per second. It uses multi-core processors and enterprise flash, Fibre Channel, and SATA drives to provide tiered storage, and later this year EMC plans to release FAST, or Fully Automated Storage Tiering, to automate the movement of data between tiers.

EMC chairman and CEO Joe Tucci said in a Webcast for reporters, analysts, and IT managers that the system "is the most significant Symmetrix innovation since we first introduced the product 18 years ago." He said IT managers can use the V-Max and VMware's Virtual Data Center Operating System to build internal cloud-based virtual systems that are more dynamic and efficient than current systems. "This is the most advanced storage system in the IT industry," he said. EMC promoted the announcement in advance with the theme "Overtake the Future" and said that more than 10,000 people registered to hear Tucci's presentation.

EMC's announcement came a month after networking leader Cisco announced its plans for virtualized data centers and its entry into the blade server market. EMC is a partner with Cisco and together with virtualization leader VMware, partially owned by EMC, the three vendors are pushing a new vision and technology architecture for virtual data centers for large enterprises. "EMC, Cisco and VMware are on record that we share a common vision and our roadmaps are interlocked. VMware is making the server layer fluid so you can quickly and easily add and move resources around. Cisco is doing the same thing at the network layer. EMC is doing it for the storage layer," said Barb Robidoux, vice president for storage product marketing at EMC.

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