Amitabh Srivastava, president for EMC's Advanced Software Division is the man behind the storage giant's much-talked about software-defined storage (SDS) initiatives. He talks in detail about EMC's ViPR and why SDS has been wrongly-defined so far.
You were the brains behind EMC's game-changing product, ViPR. What led to the development of this product?
Srivastava: We started our work around ViPR way back in 2011. Customer feedback was at the core of our effort. There were three important things that enterprise customers were looking at. Lowering the opex was one of their top-most priority. Enterprises today manage their data in silos, which makes the operational expenses directly proportional to the data growth, and therefore it's not a sustainable model. Secondly customers wanted more choices, in terms of getting the best of breed products to maximize the efficiency. Last but not least, most of the customers are looking at transitioning to what we call the 'platform 3'. If we go by the IDC definitions, Platform 1 was the era of mainframe, platform 2 was the era of PCs, and the client-server model. The recent 'platform 3' is the new age of cloud, social and big data. That is exactly where the industry is today and the enterprises are trying to move to. This shift from platform 2 to 3 is a very challenging phase for the enterprises. ViPR was the outcome of our efforts to solve all these customer issues in one shot.
How has been its uptake so far?
Srivastava: ViPR is a product that was built from scratch and was GA'd (generally available) on September 27, 2013 so that customers can use it and take a first-hand experience. We have sold this to customers from the largest enterprises, which would include financial institutions, service providers and others. It's been a quarter since the product was released and we have almost doubled what we had targeted for.
One of the key highlights of this product is its ability to work in heterogeneous, multi-vendor environments. What was the rationale behind it?
Srivastava: We know that real environment is going to be a combination of EMC hardware, non-EMC hardware and commodity hardware. EMC is not imagining the real world to be 'all EMC'. Enterprises are always going to go for multi-vendor support and environment. Hence we decided that ViPR should support NetApp, Hitachi and EMC among others. This year EMC is planning to support commodity hardware as well. Besides, customers want choice. If the customer wants to buy an array made by our competing vendor, he has the freedom to buy that even if they have bought ViPR. They wouldn't want to be stuck with EMC arrays. No customer would want to be in that fix; hence ViPR gives them the choice.
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