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ViPR Controller – Can One Ring Rule Them All?

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After using ViPR in the lab and running it through a series of real world scenarios, I can honestly say that this is as close to the ‘One Ring’ that I’ve seen come from the EMC portfolio.  If you’re looking for a way to fully leverage the EMC portfolio – this is it.

For those not yet indoctrinated, EMC’s ViPR (and Open Source CoprHD) is a management tool layering above multi party storage, networking and compute that allows you to automate standard tasks like provisioning of storage and compute, expansion of storage, VMware host and cluster provisioning, and lots of other operations.  It is an easy, in the can solution for Service Catalog and infrastructure tasks.

From an admin’s perspective it simplifies things greatly.  Just in my lab I’ve had to expand volumes for SQL benchmarks and use cases, provision volumes, hosts, etc.  In my multivendor lab I can use it to provision volumes whether they are EMC, NetApp, Hitachi, etc.  I can provision bare metal hosts and applications dynamically with a few clicks.  Need to add a Z drive to a Windows host?  A simple order form completes and I have no need to log into the storage infrastructure, zone anything, or even connect to Windows to scan for the storage and format the drive.  Everything happens automagically.  Not to belabor a marketing phrase, but this is the power of the portfolio.

Lots of companies are offering flash solutions.  Who is offering a complete out of the box service catalog that enables rich provisioning services in a multi-tenant or multi line of business environment?  EMC.  If you’re looking for an all flash array, my advice is to consider not where it will take you but where it can take you.  All flash arrays can make things faster, but the technology is mature enough now from every vendor that we need to ask, “what comes next?  How do I move my strategic vision forward?”

The answer, at least to me, is that if it doesn’t get me closer to my strategic initiatives — lower OPEX, improved organizational efficiency, users empowered to easily consume IT resources rather than shopping in the shadow IT world — then all flash arrays are not a significant benefit.  With technologies such as ViPR and CoprHD you can use flash as an enabler for your strategic vision, not just a solution for a very tactical performance problem.  I can’t tell you how many customers have chosen EMC all-flash platforms solely for the ViPR functionality and vision.  Yes, third party storage is supported.  But a company with the vision to realize that the average customer is multi-vendor and build tools to help them move their strategic vision forward even when not a completely EMC shop is clearly the thought leader in the space.  Kudos to the ViPR team on putting together a comprehensive multi-vendor solution for EMC customers of every size.

I’ve attached a short demo.  ViPR is available from EMC in high availability configurations with support, or via GitHub in Open Source.

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