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EMC VxRack Neutrino Nodes launched for OpenStack cloud storage

EMC adds VCE VxRack System 1000 Neutrino Nodes for enterprises eyeing 'third platform' applications that run natively in the cloud.

LAS VEGAS -- EMC is adopting the same strategy for its storage clouds that it has for storage products: It's better to have overlap than a gap.

There were three new storage cloud-related launches at EMC World 2016 this week. EMC brought out the Virtustream Storage Cloud on Monday, and on Tuesday, the vendor added Neutrino Nodes for VCE VxRack and Native Hybrid Cloud.

The Virtustream cloud is a public storage cloud used as a long-term retention tier with EMC storage and data protection products. The other two are software-defined storage for building private clouds packaged with VCE VxRack System 1000 hyper-converged hardware.

VCE VxRack System 1000 with Neutrino Nodes targets IT shops looking to build infrastructure and platform as a service deployments. VCE VxRack System 1000 arrays run EMC ScaleIO storage software and integrate software-defined networking, as well as physical networking, with Cisco spine-and-leaf networking fabric.

Neutrino refers to specialized software code that EMC developed as part of its Project Caspian initiative previewed a year ago. Neutrino code allows push-button deployment of OpenStack nodes running on VxRack arrays.

The OpenStack Neutrino Nodes are expected to be generally available in July. EMC executives said they will add VxRack Systems with Neutrino Nodes for Apache Hadoop big data clusters and VMware Photon Platform in 2017.

Neutrino demo at EMC World 2016

Colin Davitian of EMC demonstrates the Neutrino UI.

Neutrino adds a third category of software-defined storage to the VxRack System 1000 Series. The series includes Flex Nodes for traditional workloads and VMware SDDC nodes that incorporate VMware vSphere Enterprise, VMware Virtual SAN, VMware NSX, VMware vCenter Server and the VMware vRealize Suite.

Are all these cloud-building platforms necessary? Greg Schulz, founder of IT advisory firm Server StorageIO in Stillwater, Minn., said VxRack System 1000 gives customers a choice in how they choose to deploy cloud storage.

"EMC is putting the different building blocks out there that you, as the customer, will define," he said. "With all the talk around software-defined, EMC is letting you 'software-define' your storage software, your choice of cloud, your hardware and our data infrastructure. It's kind of like Burger King: They let you have the cloud your way."

Neutrino Nodes are for organizations looking to build and run third-platform Web-scale applications hosted in open source clouds, said Jonathan Siegal, a vice president of product marketing for EMC's converged platforms group.

The VCE VxRack Neutrino Nodes ultimately provide customers with a simple and low-risk way to get an OpenStack infrastructure service to market.
Jonathan Siegalvice president of product marketing, EMC

"The VCE VxRack Neutrino Nodes ultimately provide customers with a simple and low-risk way to get an OpenStack infrastructure service to market. Developers are relying on open source to run production applications, but it typically several takes months to build. Once they have VxRack System 1000 up and running, you can provision it in less than an hour," Siegal said.

Customers start with a minimum of four Neutrino Nodes and can scale the system to hundreds of nodes by adding VxRack rack-scale storage. The starting list price for a minimum VxRack cluster is $300,000.

Chad Sakac, president of EMC's converged platforms, called Neutrino "a turnkey stack optimized for cloud-native workloads. They're not focused on resiliency, but focused on elasticity. It takes OpenStack and makes it turnkey and delivered as a full-blown engineered system for EMC. Photon and Hadoop are coming right behind it."

Sakac said Native Hybrid Cloud was developed for use cases where another EMC cloud product, Enterprise Hybrid Cloud, did not fit.

"Two years ago, we started to discover that some customers were saying, 'We view building cloud data paths as different. Both the development cycle and infrastructure are different, and we need to think about that,'" Sakac said. "They would reject things like Enterprise Hybrid Cloud for those use cases."

He said those companies would often try for a year or more to build their own clouds based on OpenStack, Mesos or Hadoop, but failed because they had trouble attracting and keeping engineers with those skills. "We realized there was an opportunity for us to build a highly curated developers' platform that focuses on that demand," he added.

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