News / May, 2016

Virtustream Storage Cloud: cloud tiering from EMC arrays and more

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By: Stephen Withers, ITWire

EMC subsidiary Virtustream has thrown its hat into the cloud storage ring with the announcement of Virtustream Storage Cloud.

Founded with the object of allowing traditional enterprise applications such as SAP to be deployed in the cloud (Virtustream Enterprise Cloud is "the best public cloud for mission-critical enterprise applications," according to EMC II CEO David Goulden), Virtustream has diversified into cloud storage.

Virtustream Storage Cloud the resilience and performance required by enterprise applications but at web scale.

Although Virtustream Storage Cloud was publicly launched today, the platform has been in production use by selected customers for several years.

As a result, there is already two exabytes of data in Virtustream Storage Cloud, said EMC II president of products and marketing Jeremy Burton. The significance is that there is an inflection in cost when you get past one exabyte, he explained, so the service is already cost-competitive with other cloud storage systems, he explained.

Burton likened Virtustream Storage Cloud to Apple's iCloud in that it makes the company's various storage systems work better, for example by automatically migrating cold data to the cloud, much like the way iCloud automatically moves an iPhone user's contacts to the cloud.

But it also provides a new way of managing the long-term storage of backups: "It's the new tape vaulting," he said, referring to the way old files used to be copied to tape, and then the reels or cartridges would be physically moved to a vault. "It makes our storage and backup better," said Burton.

EMC plans to provide Virtustream Storage Cloud support in Data Domain and Data Protection Suite (for long-term backup retention); in Vmax, XtremIO and Unity Systems (for tiering data to the cloud), and Isilon (to archive cold data to the cloud using CloudPools policies).

EMC core technology division vice president for data protection cloud Russ Stockdale told iTWirethat an important difference was that enterprise customers expect a choice of clouds. Like AWS S3, Virtustream Storage Cloud is priced from US$0.03 per gigabyte per month, but an important difference is that up to 20% of a customer's subscribed space can be restored at no extra cost. So if an organisation subscribes for 100TB, up to 20TB can be recovered without affecting the bill.

That's a high percentage for cold data, he said; in practice, organisations rarely restore much of it, so the effective price is "at or below" the equivalent AWS srorage, he said.

Virtustream CEO Rodney Rogers said the service is now available from data centres in North America, with centres in Europe (UK, Netherlands, Germany) coming online this month and APAC deployment to follow in the second half of 2016. Support for additional EMC storage systems is also expected.

"Transmission speeds do make a difference," Stockdale told iTWire, and there are also privacy issues that may lead customers to prefer onshore storage.

Virtustream Storage Cloud can also be used independently of EMC storage arrays as a web-scale object storage platform via an AWS-compatible API.

Other features include up to13 x 9s of data durability, good performance with large objects, and resiliency and data integrity that survives a single site failure.

Hybrid enterprise file sync and share provider Syncplicity by Axway has revealed plans to use Virtustream Storage Cloud to help meet its customers’ mobility and security needs.

"We are very excited about our collaboration with Virtustream, offering a complete hybrid EFSS [enterprise file synchronisation and sharing] solution enabling rapid large-scale deployments," said Syncplicity by Axway CEO Jon Huberman.

"The combination of Syncplicity by Axway’s industry-leading hybrid EFSS solution with Virtustream’s highly secure and scalable storage cloud delivers unrivalled mobile access user experience anytime, anywhere and on any device, with the security and data residency compliance demanded by enterprises, while at the same time enabling IT infrastructure digital transformation initiatives and significant cost take out."

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