EMC adds VMAX Cloud Edition for private clouds, providers

EMC relaunches VMAX Service Provider as VMAX Cloud Edition, broadens target to include companies that want to build private storage clouds.

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EMC Corp. today launched VMAX Cloud Edition for service providers and organizations that want to build private storage clouds. The product consists of a VMAX enterprise storage array and a Web portal that delivers preconfigured service levels for multi-tenancy, storage metering, reporting, chargeback and automated provisioning.

The system service is a relaunch of EMC's VMAX Service Provider, which was introduced last year specifically so service providers could deploy enterprise-level cloud services quickly. Colin Bailey, EMC's director of VMAX product marketing, said the vendor also received interest from enterprises looking to build private clouds, so it expanded the platform. "Some higher-end midmarket customers were interested in delivering storage this way," he said.

VMAX Cloud Edition's Web portal integrates with VMAX through RESTful application programming interfaces, and replaces the Unisphere management interface for traditional VMAX arrays. VMAX customers cannot add the portal to an array, however: They would need to buy a new unit for the Cloud Edition.

VMAX Cloud Edition fills a role that's different from the role of EMC Atmos, which is designed on object-based storage and competes with Amazon.com's cloud services. The Cloud Edition focuses on mission-critical block-based services. Preconfigured templates applied to specific applications adjust performance and capacity based on demand.

The Cloud Edition includes service levels -- bronze, silver, gold, platinum and diamond -- for each application. The portal automates such tasks as provisioning and deleting storage, creating logical unit numbers, or LUNs, and expanding volumes accordingly to allow users to self-provision storage. A single VMAX Cloud Edition array can scale from 50 TB to 10 PB.

"It's a flexible model, so you can change the software and allow for easier provisioning, billing, metering and multi-tenancy," said Mark Peters, senior analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group. "The user chooses the features, and the type of capacity and performance are delivered. You are buying 'by the slice,' and EMC will adjust it based on demand. EMC will adjust the performance and capacity of VMAX so it meets the demands of all the IT users underneath."

VMAX Cloud Edition is flexible enough to scale to about 1,000 tenants for midmarket customers, and up to 250,000 for service providers. The Cloud Edition also added capabilities for business continuity and support for Symmetrix Remote Data Facility replication.

Examples of bronze-level use cases are archiving, file and print servers, and application development and testing. The silver option supports data warehousing, messaging and collaboration applications, as well as less-critical virtual machine applications. The gold option is for mainstream business applications, while the platinum option is for mission-critical online transaction processing and enterprise resource planning applications. The diamond option has the highest performance, and is for critical applications.

EMC hasn't released pricing details yet, but the product will be generally available March 7.

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