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EMC VPLEX Federates Storage Within And Among Data Centers

This morning at EMC World Boston, EMC announced a new product line: VPLEX storage federation appliances. The appliances federate storage both among arrays in a local data center and between data centers. EMC says VPLEX will work with storage arrays from multiple vendors. EMC is launching two versions of VLPEX today: VPLEX Local and VPLEX Metro. VPLEX Local aggregates multiple arrays in a data center to create virtualized storage pools. VPLEX Metro lets administrators link arrays at data centers within 100 kilometers to federate storage.

VPLEX Local lets administrators pool storage resources from multiple arrays within a data center. It can also move data from one physical storage system to another, similar to the way VMotion lets VMs move from one physical server to another. The VPLEX Local is delivered as an appliance-based engine. Each engine has two redundant directors. Each director has 16 Fibre Channel ports for connecting to storage subsystems and hosts. VPLEX Local can be deployed with a single engine, or in clusters of two or four engines. Brian Gallagher, EMC's president of the Storage Virtualization Product Group, speaking at EMC World, says the VPLEX Local is "good for data migration, moving data to new machines, or simple management within the data center."

VPLEX Metro lets administrators move storage and workloads from one data center to another within a range of approximately 100 kilometers (or about 62 miles). The company says VPLEX Metro will let applications share data in real-time between two storage repositories to balance workloads, or relocate data from one storage domain to another in the event of an emergency. "You can combine VPLEX with VMotion to move and relocate VMs, apps and the associated information with those apps," says Gallagher. "Customers can run Oracle or Microsoft apps in one data center and move them to another data center."

EMC also mentioned VPLEX Geo and Global, forthcoming editions of the VPLEX family that will enable data sharing and relocation across much greater distances, such as from one end of the country to the other, or among different continents. VPLEX Geo is expected to be launched in 2011. The VPLEX technology only works with block-based devices, so it won't support file- and object-based storage systems. A command line and a GUI are available to manage the VPLEX.

The VPLEX product line is intended to promote the growth of private clouds, in which enterprises can pool resources both within a single data center and among multiple data centers. Gallagher mentioned several times that the VPLEX family will operate with heterogeneous storage systems, but he didn't specify any vendors at the announcement this morning. Pricing starts at $77,000 for the VPLEX Local.