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ViPR is Our Answer to Software-defined Storage: Amitabh Srivastava, EMC

Radhika Nallayam | April 29, 2014
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.

EMC may be against creating hardware lock-ins, but will ViPR not create some sort of a 'software lock-in' eventually. The management layer is the stickiest of all.

Srivastava: EMC is not a defensive player, but more of an offensive player. Our focus is to solve the problem. If NetApp's arrays are better for the customer, ViPR will support them. But the reason EMC is not playing defensive is because EMC sells the best arrays. In this environment, EMC lets its customer decide which system suits them. In fact, EMC has done a few things to avoid software lock-in. The APIs that connect the multi-vendor arrays are open; so anyone can take any array and can plug it into ViPR. Similarly, the APIs that connect to the multiple management systems — whether it is VMware or OpenStack — have been left open. We have even completed the work to integrate it with VMware and Openstack. The APIs on which a developer can add new capabilities are also open. ViPR is as open as it can be.

Can a customer download and use ViPR?

Srivastava: Yes. Though the product will be starting to be shipped soon, the ecosystem of the product is still under trial phase. So customers can download it for free from EMC website for non-commercial use. Apart from working with large enterprises and customers, EMC is also trying to develop an ecosystem around it. So we are working with a lot of large SIs, partners and start-ups to innovate on our platform.

So is ViPR your single answer for SDS?

Srivastava: Yes, ViPR and the new software capabilities that we keep adding in software over a period of time. EMC believes that ViPR is our SDS.

You recently mentioned that 2014 is going to be the year of SDS and software defined everything. Isn't it a bit too early for this technology to become mainstream?

Srivastava: If we look at the three components — compute, network and storage — of automation, it's pretty evident that server virtualization and Software-defined networking (SDN) are far more matured as compared to software-defined storage. With that, the word 'software-defined' became a buzz word and a marketing jargon. Everyone started saying that everything that they were doing is SD. Everyone is coming up with their own spin to it. Customers got inundated by all this. But I believe customers will eventually be made to sit up and take notice of SDS, as the data is growing at a phenomenal rate.

Most of your competitors talks about SDS. NetApp, for instance, has its Clustered ONTAP at the centre of their SD strategy. They even claim that they have done SDS year before you developed ViPR.


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