EMC, Intel Team Up as Cisco Rumors Resurface

EMC (NYSE: EMC) and Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) have announced a joint effort to improve the energy efficiency of EMC’s Atmos cloud storage system.

The news comes as rumors of another partnership resurface: Dow Jones and Reuters both reported late last week that EMC’s long-rumored partnership with Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) and VMware (NYSE: VMW) — first reported by Enterprise Storage Forum in August — could be formally announced as soon as this week.

The latest reports say the three companies will offer a new integrated data center product called vBlock, short for a virtual data center block. A joint venture between the three companies will sell and support the product and have its own CEO.

vBlock will apparently combine Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS), EMC’s data storage equipment and VMware’s virtualization technology. According to Reuters, the joint venture will also sell vBlock as a hosted service.

Meanwhile, the EMC-Intel partnership will result in a new, more energy-efficient version of Atmos in the first half of 2010.

EMC’s Atmos is a commodity hardware and software platform used in large-scale deployments to spread data storage across several distributed data centers. Earlier this year, EMC announced a cloud version of Atmos and its first customer, AT&T’s Synaptic pay-as-you-go hosting service.

The biggest step in improved power management will be upgrading the Atmos to more power-efficient Nehalem generation Xeon servers. Other steps include intelligent power management to turn off disks when not in use. The overall strategy is to improve the cost per megawatt of these petabyte-scale storage systems.

It will also be a software solution. Intel’s Node Manager tool works with Nehalem chips to reduce power consumption during idle periods. Also, Data Center Manager software will cap the amount of power drawn by a pool of servers.

Details were scarce and expected to come out as the upgraded Atmos product gets closer to its official release.

Intel also announced the Cloud Builder Program, where it will work with eight software partners — Citrix Systems, VMware, Parallels, Microsoft, Red Hat, Canonical, Univa UD and the Xen consortium — to test various virtualization software workloads across data centers.

As part of the program, software vendors will test their software on large pools of servers with the goal of coming up with ideal configurations that customers can then replicate in their own data centers.

Intel is also pursuing a new server design, what it calls “micro-servers,” that will pack the power of a server onto a card no bigger than a PC video card. With some memory and a Nehalem processor, these “micro-servers” can pack a lot of compute power into a small space, but Intel stressed that it’s just a prototype and has no plans to enter the server business.


Article courtesy of InternetNews.com, with additional reporting by Paul Shread of Enterprise Storage Forum

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