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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.