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EMC releases VPlex "active-active" storage

This morning’s big announcement at EMC World is called VPlex, which EMC says will allow for federation of data over geographic distance.

VPlex was first publicly discussed at last year’s VMWorld conference. At the time, EMC officials referred to it as “active-active” storage to support distance VMotion. The key difference between this and metro clusters is cache coherency, enabled by EMC’s acquisition of technology from YottaYotta three years ago. While the stretched array cluster remains locally “array aware” — integrating with EMC FAST, for example — it can propagate data as a distributed pool quickly enough to support running applications being VMotioned over distance.

The VPlex device is an appliance which begins at 1U and can scale up to 4U, with 32 GB cache, two quadcore processors per appliance, and can front any of EMC’s arrays. The goal, according to Pat Gelsinger, President and Chief Operating Officer, EMC Information Infrastructure Products, is to be able to front third-party arrays as well, although Brian Gallagher, President, Symmetrix and Virtualization Product Group, said those third party arrays are not fully supported yet.”

Two separately licensed versions of VPlex are available today — VPlex Local, which covers local data center data migrations, which starts at $77,000 as an up-front fee or $26,000 for subscription-based pricing. VPlex Metro is also becoming available today and will support data over over distances up to 100 km (5 ms latency) using synchronous replication.

In early 2011, officials said, EMC will release VPlex Geo, which will support “thousands of virtual machines over thousands of miles” and asynchronous replication. Finally, VPlex Global, also due out next year, will support multi-site pooling using asynchronous or synchronous replication.

Stay tuned for more on this announcement and other news from the show.