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Data can be in two places at the same time

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EMC's array-virtualising and federating VPLEX product now supports vMotion workload flow between active-active data centres up to 200km (a little over 125 miles) apart, twice as far as before.

VPLEX is a box, running the Geosynchrony OS, that sits on front of an array and communicates with another VPLEX box sitting in front of a second array and enables them to federate and work together. Customers can access a single version of data at the two locations. They can also move applications, data and VSphere virtual machines non-disruptively between the two arrays. On top of that VPLEX can also virtualise third-party arrays.

The two arrays can be in the same data centre, and until now, could be in different ones up to 100km apart when in an active-active relationship. However, the farther apart two data centres are, the better placed they are for disaster recovery. VPLEX Metro now supports two data centres up to 200km apart with a 10ms round-trip latency. EMC says that this ensures "that updated VMware vSphere vMotion data can be in two places at the same time during a move — with twice the distance as before."

EMC has also devised VPLEX Metro Express Edition that combines VPLEX with RecoverPoint continuous data protection software, and says this "enables mission-critical availability between two data centres.

A third part of EMC's announcement is that VPLEX and RecoverPoint can automatically load balancing WANs to improve network availability and utilisation, "through support for EMC RAPIDPath technology, which transforms VPLEX and RecoverPoint WAN connectivity from active-passive to active-active." It means that the network connectivity between two VPLEX locations can continue across a link failure. In that situation VPLEX will route traffic over a second link without breaking network connectivity or requiring a WAN failover process to take place.

EMC implies that the two VPLEX boxes can be in a hybrid cloud, with one in an enterprise data centre and the other in a public cloud data centre. This could be a chicken-and-egg scenario though. Public cloud service providers won't take up VPLEX to provide active failover to the public cloud from private cloud data centres using VPLEX until they see lots of private cloud data centres using VPLEX, and vice versa.

It might be the case that someone in EMC is thinking of Hopkinton itself providing a public cloud data centre, probably with partners, to provide a VPLEX-front-ended public cloud data centre facility to be the active:active fall-back for private cloud data centres using VPLEX. ®

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