Run your own cloud storage for less, EMC says

The company is launching its Elastic Cloud Storage Appliance, formerly Project Nile, at EMC World

EMC is taking on Amazon's cloud storage service with a private cloud platform it says will cost less to use.

The Elastic Cloud Storage Appliance, launching on Monday at EMC World and delivered by the end of June, is a hyperscale storage system for enterprises to deploy in their own facilities. EMC previewed it last year under the code name Project Nile.

The ECS Appliance is part of a wider move into cloud and so-called software-defined storage by EMC, which is looking beyond traditional storage even as the company and most of its customers continue to rely on dedicated hardware platforms. Also on Monday, EMC is introducing ViPR 2.0, an update to its storage virtualization and management software, while rolling out a data-protection appliance for midsize customers under the Data Domain line.

EMC says the ECS Appliance is as easy to use as public cloud storage and can grow enough to hold exabytes of data just like the big clouds can. Each ECS rack can hold 2.9 petabytes, and an exabyte is 1,000 petabytes. But because ECS is installed in an enterprise's own facilities, the data doesn't leave the premises and the IT department maintains it.

That can relieve headaches around security and availability, EMC says. The company also claims ECS will be less expensive in the long run than paying for capacity on a public cloud. For object storage, the task for which ECS is built, the total cost of ownership can be between 9 percent and 28 percent lower than public cloud storage from Amazon or Google, EMC says. The biggest savings come in large-scale implementations with, for example, 11.5 petabytes of raw storage, it said.

Like public clouds, ECS offers fully automated provisioning and self-service capabilities for quickly bringing up new storage for new applications. Companies can use it to build on their existing private cloud and other storage capacity.

ECS will ship in the second quarter of this year, along with architecture and design services to help customers identify which applications could most benefit from the new platform, the company said. It didn't immediately disclose prices.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

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