EMC, VCE announce tighter Vblock integration

Updated EMC management tool-VMware link aims to speed deployment of cloud applications

EMC and the Virtual Computing Environment (VCE) alliance Monday announced that EMC's management tools have been upgraded to more tightly integrate with VMware's vCloud director and vCenter Server tools.

Two-year-old VCE, jointly owned by EMC, Cisco and EMC subsidiary VMware, sells Vblock, which integrates Cisco's Unified Computing System (UCS) servers and networking swithes with EMC storage arrays and VMware virtualization software for public and private cloud services.

The management interface for Vblock, EMC's Ionix Unified Infrastructure Manager/Provisioning (UIM/P), enables automated provisioning capabilities for the Vblock platforms.

In addition to improving integration with the VMware tools, the new UIM/P 3.0 software release also includes a "Elastic Provisioning" feature, which allows server, network and storage resources to be non-disruptively added or removed as needed. Elastic Provisioning increases the speed by up to 50% with which Vblock platforms can be provisioned, said Tom Hayes, senior manager of marketing for EMC Ionix.

Hayes said the tighter integration allows VMware's vCenter Server to automatically discover any new server compute or storage nodes.

"UIM speaks to the element mangers; it speaks to the UCS blades, and it does the same thing for storage and network resources. We're speaking to element management systems," Hayes said. "For example, vCenter Server will simply know that a service now has more capacity and can handle more virtual machines."

With the new UIM/P 3.0 release, provisioning of storage, server and network capacity has been improved by 50% though the use of parallel provisioning processes, Hayes said.

For example, the first release of UIM required that provisioning occur one server blade at a time, then storage nodes could be added one at a time and finally network ports on at a time. The new release allows compute, storage and network capacity to be added simultaneously, he said.

Additionally, UIM/P 3.0 is now integrated with VMware's vCloud Director, a software abstraction layer that resides on top of vCenter and enables the creation of public and private clouds from virtualized hardware resources.

"UIM now takes steps to create a pool of resrouces and feed that into vCloud Director to begin running applications," Hayes said. "Up until now we'd been integrating just with vCenter Server. We've taken that integration to the next level."

For example, Hayes said, if an administrator attempts to decommission a business service, UIM will send out an alert stating that there are virtual machine applications associated with that service if they're still active.

EMC Ionix UIM/P 3.0 will be generally available in the fourth quarter of this year.

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian, or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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