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EMC Boosts/Enhances VCE Vblock Provisioning

EMC's Ionix UIM/Provisioning software is getting a facelift for the VCE Vblock platform. The Virtual Computing Environment coalition of Cisco, EMC and VMware is targeting the data center with pre-packaged, pre-validated solutions that combine virtualization, networking, computing, storage, security and management technologies called Vblocks. Unified Infrastructure Manager 3.0, which will ship early next month, is software designed to simplify the transition from physical to virtual to private cloud infrastructures. The 2.0 beta was announced in September 2010 and featured the addition of storage.V2.1, which was rolled out in May and enables single-click, end-to-end Vblock resource provisioning that is 80% more efficient and 5 times faster than other methods.

The combination of Vblocks and unified management address two of the biggest issues facing data centers, says EMC. Vblocks are put together in the factory and are plug and play, which eliminates a number of headaches. UIM brings the management of everything together under a single pane of glass, which VCE is calling "single-click simple."

The upcoming release of UIM/P builds on this simplicity with Elastic Provisioning, which enables on-demand and non-disruptive addition or removal of blades, VLANS or other infrastructure component resources. Deployment is faster with a virtual appliance capability that EMC says accelerates the time to value. In addition to integration with the latest VMware vCloud Director and VMware vSphere 5 support for a Zero-Touch Infrastructure solution for virtual data centers, there is also expanded VMware vCenter Server integration with the ability to detect running VMs and prevent unintended shutdowns and enhanced automation with UIM/Operations. UIM/Operations manages availability of Vblock Platforms to provide "no discovery needed" topology views on physical, virtual and logical layers being managed.

EMC says 3.0 takes Vblock platform management to the next level. The common threads running through all of these new capabilities are increased speed to service, compliance maintenance, and reduction of management time and human error through automation. The other big plus of the new release is that provisioning is up to 50% faster than the previous version.

Of the several significant improvements, the elastic provisioning features with which UIM can now support addition/deletion of infrastructure components associated with higher-level services with no interruption to the application layer is probably the most compelling, says Jim Frey, managing research director, Enterprise Management Associates. "This is getting closer and closer to something of a holy grail for virtualized/cloud environments that so far has been difficult to achieve without huge investments in management software integration and multisystem task orchestration."

In addition to the two times improvement in overall provisioning performance--faster is always better in that department--Frey says the Ionix team has also kept pace with updates in the underlying components that make up Vblocks. "A great example is integration with VMware’s vCloud Director, taking advantage of the new Virtual Data Center features that can span multiple instances of vCenter servers."

While he considers the new release more of an evolutionary step, building on and extending existing capabilities, he says that if the level of interest and sales volume to date is any indication of success, you have to believe they have found a largely unmet need in the marketplace.

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