Today, August 25th, 2009, EMC announced additions to its midrange storage products that expand its manageability, flexibility, recoverability and performance in VMware environments. Highlights include:

  • VMware-aware Navisphere Manager software that will automatically discover and maintain relationships between the logical and physical, providing a comprehensive view coupled with EMC Storage Viewer for CLARiiON, a free downloadable VMware vCenter software plug-in.
  • 10Gb/s iSCSI and 8Gb/s Fibre Channel (FC) native UltraFlex connectivity options with online upgrades that facilitate VM consolidation
  • Enhanced data protection and replication capabilities with RecoverPoint and Replication Manager software. Now VMware-aware, these products provide one view of physical and virtual protection, integrate with vCenter server, show the replication status of each VM, provide instant, one-click image-level recovery and create consistent VM image replicas using point-in-time snapshots.
  • An EMC Proven Solution kit that is enabled by CLARiiON CX4 and VMware vSphere 4 to help customers take full advantage of these new capabilities. A Solution Blueprint is now available to provide a detailed technical overview and best practice for consolidating mission critical applications through virtualization.

With this announcement, EMC has raised the competitive bar for its midrange competitors in virtualized environments. Interestingly, EMC did not go as far as NetApp which lets VM administrators view and provision storage directly through a single interface. EMC claims its customers don’t want this – perhaps reflecting a larger enterprise customer influence versus SMB. That said, there is a continuing feature/function battle between the two companies.

Moreover, EMC did not mention Hyper-V or Citrix in this announcement. Granted, EMC owns 80% of VMware, but EMC’s big midrange storage partner, Dell, could use these same enhancements for virtualized environments other that VMware.

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Press Release:

EMC Expands Midrange Storage Leadership in VMware Environments

New Virtualization-Aware Management, Data Protection and Replication Capabilities Provide Customers with Key Enablers for Building Virtual Information Infrastructures

HOPKINTON, MAAugust 25, 2009 – EMC Corporation (NYSE: EMC), the world leader in information infrastructure solutions, today further expanded its midrange storage leadership by unveiling new virtualization-aware features for EMC® CLARiiON® CX4 networked storage systems. Today EMC continues to extend its lead over other midrange storage offerings with simplified management, higher levels of storage consolidation, and integrated data protection and business continuity for VMware environments with new offerings including:

  • Virtualization-aware EMC Navisphere® Manager software
  • 10Gb/s iSCSI and 8Gb/s Fibre Channel (FC) native UltraFlex® connectivity options
  • Data protection and replication capabilities with EMC RecoverPoint and EMC Replication Manager software
  • These new features are key enablers for customers building private clouds and the ‘fully virtualized’ information infrastructure.

    The management complexities associated with virtual environments are increasing as information continues to double every eighteen months.* The biggest challenge storage administrators face in virtualized environments is finding which virtual machines are consuming which storage resources. EMC is the first storage vendor to address this requirement with native capabilities that automate the management, discovery and reporting of virtual machines so that both storage and server administrators can work together to better manage and report on resource use in virtual and physical environments.

    Enhanced and Simplified End-to-End Management of Virtual Server Environments

    Virtualization-aware Navisphere Manager simplifies the toughest and most time consuming storage administration tasks by integrating with VMware vCenter APIs and correlating virtual machines and their storage resources—a first among native storage platform management interfaces. It enables customers to:

  • Make common tasks orders of magnitude faster and easier, such as identifying root cause of virtual machine performance problems and optimizing capacity utilization. For instance, the discovery and reporting of VMware environments and mapping to the backend storage of a 10 VMware ESX server environment can go from 200 screens to 2 screens—a 100X improvement in productivity for both the storage and VMware administrators.
  • Automatically discover and maintain relationships between the logical and physical, providing a comprehensive view that enables customers to do in minutes what previously took hours. This capability coupled with EMC Storage Viewer for CLARiiON, a free downloadable VMware vCenter software plug-in give virtual machine and storage administrators a common language when it comes to solving the toughest storage challenges in VMware environments.
  • Higher Levels of Storage Consolidation for VMware Environments

    As the bandwidth requirements of virtualized environments increase, state-of-the-art connectivity becomes paramount. To help VMware customers satisfy these needs, EMC is delivering 10Gb/s iSCSI and 8Gb/s FC UltraFlex connectivity options on CLARiiON CX4 storage systems. With its unique UltraFlex technology, EMC enables customers to:

  • Mix 1Gb/s iSCSI, 4Gb/s FC, 8Gb/s FC and 10Gb/s iSCSI in a single system—and the new ability to upgrade to either 10Gb/s iSCSI or 8Gb/s FC online. EMC is the only storage vendor offering this online upgrade capability for both protocols.
  • Ensure “future ready,” easy integration of technologies, such as Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), planned for next year, which complements EMC’s current Connectrix FCoE switch solutions.
  • EMC also increased scalability for VMware environments, enabling customers to attach up to eight-times more virtual machines to a single CLARiiON storage system—providing unmatched scalability and flexibility. The powerful combination of added bandwidth, ease-of-use, and the ability to support thousands of virtual servers is especially important to VMware customers because it significantly increases efficiencies by driving higher levels of consolidation onto a single array.

    Integrated Data Protection and Business Continuity for Virtualized Environments

    As customers move toward virtualizing their critical applications, their need for robust disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity (BC) solutions for site and system level protection become critical. The new virtualization-aware RecoverPoint enables customers to:

  • Manage replicated storage for virtualized and physical servers from a single view. It is the only solution integrated with VMware vCenter for automated virtual machine replication management.
  • Identify unprotected virtual machines, while improving proactive management of the environment via automatic alerts, particularly in CLARiiON environments.
  • Maintain performance and protection without the need for additional bandwidth with both synchronous and asynchronous remote replication. This new capability gives customers the best of both synchronous and asynchronous replication with zero data loss during normal synchronous operations and appropriate performance levels with ensured data protection via asynchronous replication during I/O spikes.
  • Additionally, a new version of Replication Manager provides instant image-level recovery of virtual machines for stronger data protection and tighter recovery objectives. It enables customers to:

  • Protect their entire virtual machine environment and provide simplified, point-and-click recovery of virtual machines to accelerate recovery time objectives (RTO).
  • Achieve virtual machine level recovery within a VMware ESX Server environment, significantly reducing impact to production.
  • Today, EMC also introduced an EMC Proven Solution that is enabled by CLARiiON CX4 and VMware vSphere 4 to help customers take full advantage of these new capabilities. A Solution Blueprint is now available to provide a detailed technical overview and best practice for consolidating mission critical applications through virtualization. This solution leverages the virtualization-aware capabilities of Navisphere Manager for improved usability, identifying the intersection of physical and virtual assets. This solution satisfies the demanding performance requirements of critical applications leveraging the load-balancing of PowerPath/Virtual Edition. Overall, this solution enables the consolidation of these mission critical applications for a better return on investment for IT infrastructure.

    Organizations worldwide are using CLARiiON CX4 storage systems in VMware environments with the new virtualization-aware management, data protection and replication technologies, as well as advanced energy efficiency technologies such as automated disk spin-down and virtual provisioning (also known as thin provisioning) to lower their costs and improve service levels.

    Argeweb, headquartered in the Netherlands, is one of the fastest growing providers of domain registration and Web hosting services, including server hosting, online backup, and hosted exchange.

    “Argeweb has achieved significant cost savings and productivity improvement since deploying virtualization-aware Navisphere Manager on CLARiiON. The solution simplifies the management of our virtual and information infrastructures,” said Ruben van der Zwan, IT Manager at Argeweb. “The high availability and scalability of CLARiiON storage systems ensure that all our important customer data is available at all times. We’ve also seen considerable cost savings as a result of the automated spin-down functionality available on CLARiiON, reducing the power consumption associated with idle storage to a fraction of what it was.”

    Boston Medical Center is a private, not for profit, 626-licensed bed academic medical center. The hospital is the primary teaching affiliate for Boston University School of Medicine. Emphasizing community-based care, Boston Medical Center with its mission to provide consistently accessible health services to all is the largest safety net hospital in New England. BMC provides a full spectrum of pediatric and adult care services from primary to family medicine advanced specialty care and has the largest 24-hour Level 1 trauma center in New England.

    “Boston Medical Center was challenged with the management complexities inherent to virtual environments—namely a lack of visibility into our storage utilization, challenges with reporting, and a need for proactive alerts,” said Joe Pesaturo, Storage Architect at Boston Medical Center. “Our CLARiiON storage system with virtualization-aware Navisphere Manager now provides us with detailed views of our virtual machines and automatically monitors our storage utilization. Additionally, CLARiiON UltraFlex technology has dramatically simplified management and lowered our costs, allowing us to tier applications within a single frame by leveraging FC, iSCSI, and storage virtual provisioning software for imaging applications.”

    Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, a full-service law firm with more than 600 attorneys in locations across the United States and an affiliate in London, is using virtualization-aware Navisphere Manager and energy efficiency technologies, such as disk spin-down.

    “The CLARiiON storage environment, armed with Navisphere Manager and spin-down functionality, helped our organization more easily and cost-effectively manage our information and virtual infrastructures,” said Alexander Diaz, Enterprise Development Manager at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP. “Spin-down helped us lower costs associated with our litigation and backup environments, where we have large volumes of data that are less frequently accessed. Navisphere Manager allows us to better manage the allocation of storage to virtual machines on our VMware platform from a centralized console.”

    “Customers with virtual server environments consistently tell us they have three main requirements—reduce costs, simplify management, and maximize existing investments,” said Barbara Robidoux, Vice President, Enterprise Storage Division at EMC. “The dynamic nature of server virtualization has changed the IT infrastructure. The tools customers use to manage these infrastructures must also change so that customers can achieve maximum impact and benefit of virtualization. These new capabilities continue EMC’s clear leadership as the only storage provider delivering key enablers for the data centers—and private clouds—of the future, today.”

    The new offerings will be showcased at VMworld 2009 at the EMC Booth inside the Moscone Center in San Francisco from Aug. 31 to Sept. 3, 2009.

    Availability

    EMC offers 8Gb/s FC today, and will offer 10Gb/s iSCSI on CLARiiON networked storage systems in the third quarter of 2009 (this is in addition to the current offering of 8Gb/s FC and 10Gb/s iSCSI on Celerra® unified storage systems). Virtualization-aware Navisphere Manager and the new version of RecoverPoint are currently available worldwide. Replication Manager will be available in the third quarter of 2009. All solutions are available through EMC, its Velocity2 Program Partners and Velocity2 Authorized Services Network (ASN) Partners. It is also being offered by Dell.

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    Nick Allen (8 Posts)

    Nick is a veteran storage industry guru with more than 40 years' experience in information technology who now consults on best practices in information storage at The Tod Point Group which he founded. Previously, Nick spent 20 years with Gartner Inc. as Vice President and Research Director where he focused on information storage, storage networking and storage management. Prior to Gartner, he was a senior management consultant specializing in system planning, capacity and storage performance management. Previously, he worked in IT management, operating systems, and business and scientific applications. He also brings his storage expertise to bear at Wikibon.

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