EMC VMAX Cloud Edition Speeds Storage Service Delivery

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What if you could get proven enterprise-class storage in cloud-ready configurations?

IT infrastructure is acquired to meet the demands of the business it supports. For years the approach has been either turnkey involving mostly the purchase of server resources to support specific applications augmented by storage or a la carte with IT purchasing compute, networking, and storage technology from preferred vendors to launch new applications.

More recently, the time-to-market for new applications and services has shrunk, driving organizations to new ways to acquire and deploy complex technologies to meet accelerated delivery needs. For the cloud era, EMC has adapted its industry-leading Symmetrix VMAX to meet a storage consumption need for high-performance, enterprise cloud storage on-demand.

Today, EMC introduced VMAX Cloud Edition: a self-service, enterprise-class cloud storage delivery platform that accelerates time-to-value for enterprises and service providers building private, hybrid, or public clouds. VMAX Cloud Edition applies the single-SKU approach to infrastructure to provide predefined storage service-levels for customers that require a multi-tenant, “as-a-service” delivery platform. EMC VMAX Cloud Edition provides pre-packaged classes-of-services with predictable performance at predictable price-points.

Cloud-Era Storage Challenges

Enterprises and service providers alike are moving to cloud models adding “as-a-service” to existing virtualized environments so that IT can operate as a private, internal service provider to the business, whether fulfilled through internal data centers, external service providers, or a combination of the two approaches. Though conventional IT spending has declined, spending on private cloud deployments is growing at a 16.2% CAGR (compounded annual growth rate), while spending by cloud service providers is growing at a 15.3% CAGR (IDC Research Notes #237171 October 2012; #238428 December 2012). The three (3) basic challenges driving this move to cloud, and what it means for storage, include:

  • Need for business agility: Enterprises and service providers need to respond to market changes and opportunities more quickly to compete. As I have stated in a prior post about addressing multiple storage challenges in the cloud, however, the distributed, multi-vendor storage environments common to data centers can impede change. It commonly takes days, weeks, or even months to provision or change service levels for storage that supports mission-critical applications. With the ability to create compute-level virtual machines in no time, virtualization administrators need to also provide immediate self-service storage access to users with the performance levels they need on-demand.
  • High IT operational costs: Organizations need to operate at the same or less funding levels. For storage, the lengthy provisioning process required for sophisticated storage systems increases operational costs attributable to storage planning, architecting, and configuration for IT organizations typically working with flat or decreasing budgets. Additionally, hiring, training, and maintaining specialized staff for complex storage systems can add to these costs too. Storage-related costs need to be brought more in-line with IT organizations’ funding realities.
  • Lack of departmental accountability: As enterprises look to cloud service models and technologies to get there, a new challenge arises in how to manage new capabilities, including faster, easier-to-access storage. The business agility advantages of an “as-a-service” model can get unwieldy quickly without a mechanism for user accountability and resource consumption. Departmental chargeback systems integrated with internal billing systems or even a show-back capability reporting on actual use of a period of time can promote sensible consumption of IT resources, including storage, that must be justified based on business need (much like my mobile show-back email telling me of my monthly cell phone usage here at EMC).

Proven, Enterprise-Class Storage for Cloud

To meet the basic challenges described above, in particular for storage, cloud models require a self-service storage capability that enables business units, application owners, and developers (i.e. tenants) to make their own choices for storage and storage service levels in a pay-for-use model. Multi-tenant, enterprise-class storage is needed to fulfill the varied service levels required by enterprises and their providers. This cloud-ready storage has to include the capability for each tenant to control their portion of the storage, and for IT and their providers to capture tenant-level cost and usage information to chargeback for storage used.

EMC VMAX Cloud Edition provides cloud-ready storage with the enterprise-class performance benefits expected of EMC Symmetrix technology but without the complexity—and at manageable price points. These storage systems are offered in predefined, fixed-priced packages that make adding storage capacity predictable and easy to plan. EMC VMAX Cloud Edition:

  • Improves business agility:  These pre-packaged enterprise-class storage systems are available at different service levels to meet the needs of the business. It uses a self-service portal to enable tenants to select and change their storage resources without needing vendor or storage-specific skills. Additionally, integration with existing orchestration stacks through REST APIs eases the presentation of different classes-of-services in this self-service portal for IT.
  • Reduces operational costs:  VMAX Cloud Edition automates the storage management tasks required to provide storage on-demand.  It also minimizes the steps and time needed to service tenant requests for new storage or changes in service levels. Additionally, this automation reduces the operational burden on IT and cloud services provider for developing new ‘as-a-service’ offerings.
  • Accelerates cloud deployments: Built-in multi-tenant metering and chargeback reporting make departments accountable for their storage use. Integration with existing billing systems through REST APIs also eases deployment for cloud service providers. Cloud storage is available at set prices in pre-configured service levels (e.g. diamond, platinum, etc.) making adding capacity as simple as rolling a new array onto the data center floor and plugging it into the network.

VMAX Cloud Edition builds on the EMC VMAX Service Provider offering announced at EMC World last year. New capabilities include diamond service (for a total of 14 different service levels), local replication, encryption, and the ability to manage multiple systems at multiple locations in a single pane of glass, as well as the ability to change service-levels in real-time.

Positioned for the Software-Defined Data Center

Cloud models are evolving in the software-defined data center, with common storage management in a control plane above physical storage resources. EMC VMAX Cloud Edition provides an alternative to acquiring and adding storage in the software-defined model with pre-packaged configurations that use a common self-service portal; itself an off-premise, EMC automated service delivery and preconfigured service-level definitions offering that ties together all VMAX Cloud Edition storage systems in a single pane of glass.

Enterprises and service providers still get the benefit of EMC Symmetrix VMAX technology with VMAX Cloud Edition but without having to create their own classes-of-services and self-service portals. It is good to know you have choices for storage service delivery in a fast-paced world.

About the Author: Mark Prahl

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