ViPR: The Harmony Remote for Your Data Center

I find myself speaking more and more about ViPR with customers and partners.  The common thing amongst everyone is a general misunderstanding of what ViPR does for them.  In this post I will walk through my talk track which uses a simple analogy that I think we can all at some level relate back to our lives.

Data growth is explosive with the budgets for maintaining that growth staying the same or shrinking. Not only is data growing but we are seeing all sorts of new data types like Hadoop and Object along side of traditional File and Block.  IDC labels the next generation of applications as Platform 3.  This next platform demands infrastructure agility that most enterprise environments cannot provide.  At a storage only perspective you start to see the picture below with many storage platforms, vendors, and each with its own element managers.  This complexity drives the cost up nearly as fast as the data growth itself.



This leads to an example you can hopefully relate to.  I have a home theater that consists of many components – a TV, VCR (kidding!), Surround Receiver, DVD, Roku, Home Theater PC, and a cable box.  home theaterWhat happens when I want to watch cable TV or a DVD or even better when my wife wants to watch any of the above?  There are a series of steps that must be performed in a certain order otherwise I might have audio but missing the video or vice versa.  There are many remotes that we juggle to control each device and you must jump between each one to hit the buttons in the proper order.


My wife has never enjoyed this feature of our TV room.  Believe it or not, she does not like tinkering with the electronics like I do.  She just wants to watch House Hunters and does not care that the audio comes out in hi-def surround sound with 1080p quality through HDMI source 2.  A common scene at our house after wrestling with remote controls is below… This may be a slight exaggeration as she is pretty accommodating of my technology snafus.  For the purpose of this post, you may imagine IT is the guy and the biz is the wife.  🙂

D@mN home theater There is a solution.  First, you can get a universal remote to consolidate all remotes down to one.

universal remote

This is great for giving one point of control but you still need to understand which buttons to press in which order to get everything to work properly.  If you go away for a week you will likely forget the order and maybe make a tragic mistake that gets in between you and Breaking Bad.  This error at home is easy to overlook, but what about in IT?

You were only thinking Harmony Remote because it is in the title.  harmonyYes, the answer is a Logitech Harmony Remote which not only consolidates all remotes down to one by abstracting the control away from the individual components, it also has powerful built-in macros that trigger events to happen automatically in the same specific order every single time.

Happy wife, happy life.  Need I say more?

happy wife, happy life


ViPR Controller software (get it for FREE, no hardware required) is a universal remote control that abstracts the control plane of the underlying heterogenous storage arrays providing a single ridiculously simple management interface.  ViPR is also an automation engine that handles all tasks automagically for storage management – provisioning, replication, expansion, zoning, mounting a volume, snaps/clones, creating distributed VPLEX volumes across metro distances, RecoverPoint journals/source/target, and more.  All of this out of the box without any need to write custom scripts.  All accessible through a self-service web interface or REST APIs.  Powerful.  Did I mention we just launched it as FREE for non-production?

ViPR slide


Consequently, IT transforms from labor intensive and slow processes to immediate access to low cost, elastic compute, storage & network infrastructure.  This is just scratching the surface of ViPR’s capabilities.  This is really exciting stuff and further makes my decision to become part of the EMC Advanced Software Division a clear win.  Those of you that are along for this ride and leveraging these automation and orchestration tools are building a killer resume.  Enjoy!  Come back for more soon on these other transformational functionalities:

  • Chargeback/Showback
  • Self-Service
  • Data Services – Object and Hadoop on your existing storage infrastructure.
  • Commodity storage
  • Project Nile
  • A fast installation guide for ViPR

Update 1/28/14: I just learned that @keithnorbie presented a similar concept at VMworld 2013 titled “How SDDC is like a harmony remote” for a vBrownbag session.  I guess it is true, great minds think alike. Check it out.