This morning at 11:00 EST EMC announced significant updates to two of the product suites that are key to their Software Defined Data Center strategy. One of these products has a long pedigree behind it and represents the current evolution of that history. The other is still the "new kid on the block" but shows great promise in helping deliver on the promise of Storage as a Service (and beyond).


I'll take these two products one at a time and focus mainly on what's new and why it is important. I'm not here to sell anyone anything... I just want to pick out the important pieces and highlight them so others can decide for themselves what is right and useful.


SRM Suite v3.0


Although ViPR has great promise, SRM Suite offers the update I'm most excited about. This version of the suite finally pulls together the disparate pieces I've been asking about tying together for a few years now. The suite contains three major components which have now been much more tightly integrated than ever before: ProSphere, Watch4Net, and Storage Configuration Advisor


The original core of SRM suite can actually be found pre-ProSphere with the original ControlCenter. Over the years though ControlCenter was outpaced by the growth of data centers and storage and was redesigned from the ground up into ProSphere. ProSphere in turn took and evolutionary leap ahead with EMC's aquisition of and integration into the early SRM Suite of Watch4Net. Storage Configuration Advisor has been around since the later ControlCenter days as well, but always as a stand alone product. This continued through the early ProSphere and SRM Suite days.


No more!


With the release of SRM Suite v3.0 EMC has finally pulled the full package together into a single architecture and tied the components together to share resources and information. A single discovery process, a single point of gathering and maintaining data on your environment, and a single user interface into your infrastructure.


Another major change to the suite is the redesign of the way you interact with the information gathered. The "old" way of interacting was focused on the objects and infrastructure and then drilling down to get what you want. The new method of interaction is primarily task focused. There were challenges with the old device/object model when you wanted to look at data across multiple device types and see them correlated together. The new design allows you to choose the type of task you want to accomplish and perform that task across an entire set of related object much more easily. End to end views with relationships mapped throughout are more the norm in v3.0 than previously.


Having said that, I have yet to see this in full blown action with my own hands driving to determine if it's as good as it looks and sounds. Any good demo should always work smoothly if driven by an experienced presenter :-)


So, to hit the highest level points of advantage with SRM Suite v3.0:


  • Full integration of ProSphere, Watch4Net, & Storage Configuration Advisor into a single consolidate package/architecture
  • Use-Case driven UI instead of object/device driven design
  • New platform/product tie ins: ViPR, DPA, VI Virtual Wisdom
  • Host data enhancements: PowerPath metrics and host capacity utilization monitoring, trending, and alerting


There is a lot more to it than just that, but we can talk about more detail once I get my hands on the product and see where it really delivers. For now I'm excited most about the tight integration of Storage Configuration Advisor into the core suite. The rest is great, but that was my number one ask for several years now!


ViPR v1.1


As I mentioned earlier, ViPR is the "new kid on the block" in this announcement. ViPR v1.0 was announced officially at EMC World 2013. At that time I got to participate in a more intimate EMC Elect meetup with some of the key players in the design and launch of ViPR. Now we see it go from v1.0 to v1.1 and there aren't any massive updates here to excite me (personally). What does excite me is that after the better part of a year I suspect there are a lot of fixes and minor tweaks and enhancements over the initial launch version. I'm not sure if it is ready (and compelling) enough for a full on deployment into our production data centers yet, but some of that has to do more with processes that it could change and the fact that we don't have a convenient lab environment for testing it out. ViPR is capable of automating a lot of the storage provisioning work, but I would let a brand new Storage Admin loose on a big provisioning job day one without supervision either *lol*


The biggest change I see with the v1.1 release is the addition of HDFS to Object as a data service that can be virtualized on top of ViPR. Because this isn't something that we need in OUR data center TODAY (who knows what tomorrow will bring) it doesn't mean a lot to me personally. It does show potential for the future though as EMC continues to develop the Data Services layer. One of the interesting things that really did catch my attention was a future target of supporting the Centera CAS APIs through the Object Data Service layer. So potentially you could virtualize some File capacity through ViPR and present a Centera CAS API to an application to store object data without deploying another Centera. That's assuming I'm interpreting that correctly, but I'll be keeping an eye on that.


Wrapping up


There is a lot more content in the actual launch announcements for these two products, but I prefer to stick to the stuff that means the most to me (and that I understand best). I'll let someone else go into detail on things like the addition of HDFS to the ViPR stack... hopefully someone who knows more about that topic :-)


I'll be happy to take questions on anything related to this, but there is also an Ask the Expert discussion tying in to this launch. That's probably a better place for detailed questions to get answered by those who know this stuff inside out.


     Ask the Expert: Mind the Gap - A Technical Discussion on the Journey to the Third Platform