This content is part of the Essential Guide: Best data storage products 2013: Products of the Year
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The ViPR storage virtualization platform, introduced at EMC World 2013, automates provisioning and centralizes management in EMC environments.

Storage Products of the Year 2013 silver winner

EMC Corp. joined the software-defined storage race in September 2013 with the launch of ViPR at the EMC World 2013 conference. ViPR is a storage virtualization platform that automates provisioning and centralizes management in EMC environments. The technology separates the control plane from the data plane. The control plane level allows users to see and manage heterogeneous storage across storage pools through a management interface. At the data plane level, users can take advantage of ViPR's Object Data Service to manage data based on where it resides on the hardware. In this first version of EMC ViPR, there's support for all EMC arrays, some NetApp arrays, and object storage APIs from Amazon S3, EMC Atmos and OpenStack Swift.

While the current version only supports EMC and NetApp arrays, no additional hardware is required. By creating storage pools, it retains the unique features of the storage hardware -- such as snapshots or mirroring -- while automating provisioning and aggregating management for multiple arrays into one self-service portal.


Judges gave EMC ViPR high marks all around, but particularly for innovation, performance and ease of use. They agreed that ViPR has a lot of potential to grow, particularly by extending its third-party support, but for the first version of a management tool in the still-developing software-defined storage class, it's a good bet.

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EMC's ViPR (HDS' VSP, HP's 3PAR direction, Dell's Compellent, et al), all have one objective for their "lastest and greatest": provide new SW layers to control/manage/facilitate data storage on existing disc arrays. Why? Because without the disc array footprints, each would be of the disc array business. Footprints they can’t afford to lose.
Why not just eliminate the disc arrays? Doable?
Yes. Violin Memory. Check them out. Gartner credits Violin Memory as the leader in the flash memory space (Dec, 2012). Their largest customers have eliminated their disc arrays, along with the redundant App & DB servers architected over the last 20+ years, to drive performance.
Violin Memory. Fast. Proven. Simple. Brilliant.
Traditional arrays will not go away... Why? Because any customer that has the need to control the data they store will never go 100% cloud. Don't get me wrong, the cloud is cool and offers many advantages but it is not a replacement to array based storage. So if we follow the cloud paradigm all cloud really does is move the location of the array from end user datacenters to a Cloud Providers datacenter.
Talk to me when it will support mirroring, replication, auto-tiering, etc. $1000/TB for a provisioning tool that can provision a few different arrays does not make sense. As far as I can tell, EMC is planning to leave FAST VP & Protection Suite out of ViPR, which means, that if users want that kind of functionality, they will still need to purchase EMC arrays and those software bundles on each array that wants to leverage those feature sets. Thanks, but no thanks. There are other vendors who are truly building a storage-agnostic management solution. ViPR does not appears to be one of them.