EMC, NetApp Embrace Virtual Data Centers

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Data storage rivals EMC (NYSE: EMC) and NetApp (NASDAQ: NTAP) today rolled out new storage technologies for virtual and cloud environments.

NetApp unveiled its long-awaited Data ONTAP 8.0 operating system and a framework for cloud computing environments, while EMC boosted data protection for VMware (NYSE: VMW) environments, but said it won’t offer native FCoE support in its storage arrays until next year.

NetApp Gets Cloudy

NetApp’s Data ONTAP 8.0 combines the virtualization, multi-tenancy and data protection features of ONTAP 7G with the clustered file system capabilities of ONTAP GX. The new OS will be available as a download next month and generally available by the end of the year, and it’s free for current users.

NetApp views Data ONTAP 8 as central to its vision of a cloud computing infrastructure. Patrick Rogers, NetApp’s vice president of solutions marketing, called cloud computing “the next evolutionary change that’s going to hit data centers around the world.”

NetApp defines the cloud as “IT delivered as a service,” whether internal or external.

The new OS includes features for transparent data mobility, secure multi-tenancy for multiple applications on a unified infrastructure, greater storage efficiency and utilization, scalability, automation, virtualization, 64-bit aggregates and improved data protection and continuity.

NetApp also introduced or refreshed a number of technologies designed to advance its cloud vision.

Data Motion lets enterprises move data non-disruptively across storage systems with no application downtime, a feature NetApp claims is unique in the industry.

The Performance Acceleration Module II builds on the flash-based caching offering to boost performance without the need for SSDs. Rogers said the PAM module can give users “Fibre Channel performance with SATAdrives.”

NetApp’s Dynamic Data Center (NDDC) solution gives customers a service-oriented infrastructure (SOI) and management framework for turning compute, network and storage resources into an IT service delivery model.

And finally, NetApp also introduced the DS4243 disk shelf, a SAS/SATA disk subsystem that packs 24TB in a 4U space.

EMC Clariion Ready for VMware

EMC, meanwhile, retooled its Clariion CX4 arrays to better protect server virtualization environments.

Ruya Atac-Barrett, EMC’s director of Clariion product marketing, cited a March Goldman Sachs survey that found disaster recovery and business continuity and cost reduction were higher IT spending priorities than server virtualization as evidence that users have begun using server virtualization in mission-critical environments as a way to save money, and thus want to better protect those applications.

To meet that growing need, EMC is adding new features like virtualization-aware EMC Navisphere Manager software, 10Gb iSCSI and 8Gb Fibre Channel connectivity, and new data protection and replication capabilities through EMC RecoverPoint and Replication Manager software.

EMC partner Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) will offer the new Clariion features — and Dell added that drive spin-down will also be a new feature of the arrays.

EMC said 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.”

The software can identify root causes of virtual machine performance problems, optimize capacity utilization and automatically discover and maintain relationships between logical and physical resources.

The new connectivity options allow users to mix and match 1Gb and 10Gb iSCSI and 4Gb and 8Gb FC, and users can upgrade online. However, EMC doesn’t plan to offer native FCoE support until next year — a feature recently unveiled by NetApp. EMC offers FCoE switches and CNAs from the likes of Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO), Brocade (NASDAQ: BRCD), QLogic (NASDAQ: QLGC) and Emulex (NYSE: ELX), but native support in storage arrays will have to wait until next year.

EMC doesn’t see FCoE catching on with customers until next year.

Atac-Barrett said EMC doesn’t see FCoE catching on with customers until next year, but added that the company will be keeping an eye on the market to see if it develops sooner.

EMC also increased scalability for VMware environments, allowing up to eight times more virtual machines to attach to a single Clariion storage system.

RecoverPoint also gets an overhaul for virtual environments, managing replicated storage for virtualized and physical servers from a single view. The solution has been integrated with VMware vCenter for automated virtual machine replication management. It can identify unprotected virtual machines, issue automated alerts, and offers both synchronous and asynchronous remote replication.

And Replication Manager offers instant image-level recovery of virtual machines, allowing VM-level recovery within a VMware ESX Server environment.

EMC will showcase the new offerings at next week’s VMworld show.

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Paul Shread
Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for Time.com, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.

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