According to Gallagher, a storage administrator who has excess storage capacity at one data center with a VPLEX Metro appliance can link into another data center and utilize that capacity. For example, an EMC Clariion array with additional capacity in one data center can be accessed by another Clariion array in another data center up to 100km away as primary storage for an application server.
Gallagher said the VPLEX appliance can also leverage management applications on EMC storage arrays. For example, a VPLEX appliance could use EMC's fully automated storage tiering (FAST) technology, which identifies data sets at the volume level to be automatically moved between storage tiers.
The VPLEX Metro has been qualified for use with VMware Vmotion for migration of virtual machines between VMware vSphere clusters for Microsoft, SAP, and Oracle applications. The appliance also supports Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V and Live Migration, allowing it to migrate those virtual machines, as well.
Eventually, Tucci said, EMC's cloud technology will allow administrators to manage all their storage, regardless of the data center in which it resides, with the same management software and provision capacity to business groups, offering them whatever level of storage performance they need for a given application.
Each VPLEX appliance comes with one to four controller boards with two quad-core processors. Each controller has 64GB of cache and 32 8Gbit/sec. Fibre Channel ports.
Two VPLEX Metro appliances can be clustered to support up to 16,000 virtual data volumes, the company said. The appliance also supports Oracle VM 2.2, Oracle EnterpriseLinux , Red Hat Linux, and Windows and EMC's PowerPath, which allows automatic load balancing and network path failover.
Gallagher said EMC is in talks with other storage companies to allow their boxes to replicate data between data centers through shared APIs, as well. "We've tested hundreds of SAN-server combinations," he said. But EMC's strategy also includes trying to establish standardized specifications, much like the Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-S), which allows storage management applications to communicate and manage multivendor storage devices.
While EMC's VPLEX comes as an appliance, the company said it will eventually embed the application's asynchronous data replication capabilities in all of its storage product lines.
EMC plans two more versions of VPLEX next year: VPLEX Geo, which will allow synchronous data replication between data centers anywhere in the world, and VPLEX Global, which will allow multiple data centers within a broader region to be seen by applications as a single, virtual data center.
"You can envision many smaller data centers linking together to form one large data center," Gallagher said. "Now you can envision doing things like moving thousands of virtual machines across thousands of miles."
Pricing for the VPLEX Local starts at $77,000. EMC is also offering an SaaS model, which starts at $26,000.
Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld . Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
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