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Everything You Need to Know About EMC's Elastic Cloud Storage Solution & More!

Posted by Jamie Doherty | Author Info

Jan 5, 2015 9:03:20 AM

You may have heard of ECS Appliance - EMC’s turnkey, software-defined cloud storage platform.  This was the big announcement from EMC’s Advanced Software team at EMC World 2014.  If you were at that event and visited the Advanced Software booth you had the opportunity to visit what we referred to as “the ECS Petting Zoo."  This petting zoo was an opportunity to pull out the guts of the ECS Appliance and get a 1x1 walkthrough of the inner workings with the team that built it.  It was such a popular exhibit at the event, even our own Joe Tucci, Chairman and CEO, and David Goulden, CEO of Information Infrastructure, stopped by for a personal show and tell.

      

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Topics: Software Defined Storage, 3rd Platform, Elastic Cloud Storage

Hard or Soft Storage? That is the Question and the Answer

Posted by Rodger Burkley | Author Info

Dec 15, 2014 9:00:00 AM

There’s lots of press these days on Software-Defined Storage (SDS), Software-Defined Data Centers (SDDC), Server SAN’s, software-only virtual SANs, hyper-converged storage servers, storage appliances and the like. We’ve all been inundated with this new technology and architectural terms by bloggers, marketing mavens, PR, tradeshow signage, consultants, analysts, technology pundits and CEOs of new start-ups. As a blogger and marketing guy, I plead doubly guilty. But the emergence of SDS systems and SDDCs is real and timely. Definitions and differences, however, can be a tiny bit murky and confusing.

This enabling technology is coming to market just in time as today’s modern data centers, servers, storage arrays and even network/comm fabrics are getting more and more overtaxed and saturated with mega-scale data I/O transfers and operations of all types with all kind of data formats (i.e., file, object, HDFS, block, S3, etc.). When you add in the line of business commitments for SLA adherence, data security/integrity, compliance, TCO, upgrades, migrations, control/management, provisioning and the raw growth in data volume (growing by at least 50% a year) IT directors and administrators are getting prolonged headaches.

Against this backdrop, it’s no wonder that lately I’m getting asked a lot to clarify the difference between converged storage appliances, hyper-converged/hyper scale-out storage server clusters, and pure software-defined storage systems. So I wanted to make an attempt to provide a high level distinction between a storage hardware appliance and pure software-defined (i.e., shrink wrapped software) storage system, while also providing some considerations of choosing one over the other. In fact, architectural and functional differences are somewhat blurred. So it’s mostly about packaging…but not entirely.

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Topics: Software Defined Storage, 3rd Platform, third platform, storage management

Third Party Array Support in ViPR Through OpenStack

Posted by Parashurham Hallur | Author Info

Nov 24, 2014 9:00:00 AM

OpenStack, the truly open cloud operating system, has been evolving since 2010. Since its inception, there have been many projects contributing to the growth of the OpenStack ecosystem. One of them, project code name “Cinder,” provides block storage capability. Any vendor who would like to enable block storage capability for their proprietary storage system is developing the Cinder plugin or Cinder driver. Here is the list of vendors who have developed the Cinder plugin.

EMC ViPR – the first software-defined storage platform of its kind – has been in the news since 2013 and is continuously adding new features to keep it ahead of the competition. A distinguishing feature of ViPR is its ability to support multi-vendor storage systems. In order to extend support for many new storage vendors, ViPR is always looking to enhance its support matrix by adding new storage systems to the support list. Traditionally, adding new storage systems to the list means that EMC, as well as third party vendors are writing new native drivers. This requires a lot of man hours and effort. But what if they could leverage what exists already and save a lot of the time and effort? That would make a lot of sense, right?

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Topics: Software Defined Storage, 3rd Platform, ViPR, OpenStack, storage management

Energize Your Cloud

Posted by Rodger Burkley | Author Info

Nov 17, 2014 9:00:00 AM

You’ve been hearing a lot about cloud computing these days. If the many definitions of the Cloud seem a tad abstract and esoteric - you’re not alone. Go to any IT tradeshow or consulting conference and you’ll see liberal references and pictures of the Cloud. Many messages are often mixed with cloud enabling technologies like Software-defined Storage (SDS), hyper-converged/hyper-scalable virtual Server SANs, and the many different flavors of Flash. Let’s not forget vendor messages around Big Data, Virtualization and 2nd to 3rd Platform transformation to Mobile Computing. It’s no wonder they call it the Cloud – it’s anything but clear!

Whatever it is you are trying to do with your cloud, whatever use case you are trying to solve, it is likely that SDS, Flash, and ultimately software defined data center (SDDC) platforms will be the key building blocks. Why? As performance requirements of cloud computing overtax the max performance limits of traditional spinning media, silicon based NAND Flash with no moving parts bridges the I/O performance gap between today’s hyper fast CPUs/Cores and much slower spinning media (i.e., 3,500 IOPs/SSD vs 150 IOPS/HDD at system level, respectively). A purely software-defined and implemented control and data services application forms an independent, de-coupled abstraction layer from the underlying physical layer of storage hardware resources. SDS is optimally designed for use in today’s modern heterogeneous, multi-vendor, and multi-hardware platform environment. SDS and the greater overarching SDDC umbrella platforms like ViPR and the ECS Appliance truly make centralized management of the storage infrastructure more flexible, easier to deploy, and simpler to manage. This provides a centrally managed control/access point among disparate physical devices/resources in the process plus the side benefits of hardware agnosticism and vendor independence. Who doesn’t like an easy button?

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Topics: Software Defined Storage, 3rd Platform, third platform, hybrid cloud, cloud storage

Accelerating Storage ROI with Storage Resource Management

Posted by Kevin Gray | Author Info

Nov 3, 2014 9:00:00 AM

Enterprise IT organizations are increasingly being called upon to help their companies drive revenue growth by processing and managing new data sources that increase business intelligence and enhance customer engagement. As a result, many of these organizations are experiencing data growth rates in excess of 20% to 60% per year. In addition, in order to improve efficiency, organizations are adopting virtualization and software-defined architectures that increase business agility and flexibility. By abstracting the hardware infrastructure, virtualization technology may obscure the relationships between application services and the underlying physical resources they consume. These new abstraction layers may make it difficult to optimize resources to meet service levels while controlling escalating storage costs.

While storage resource management (SRM) solutions have been around for over a decade, many enterprises are increasingly depending on SRM to gain insight into where and how capacity is being consumed. Storage resource management helps these organizations control costs as the size of their infrastructure grows. Understanding how SRM can help your business is essential to getting the most out of your investments in SRM and your storage infrastructure.

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Topics: storage resource management, 3rd Platform, third platform, ViPR, Big Data

Zero Growth Storage: Coming to Your MBOs Soon

Posted by Rich Simmons | Author Info

Sep 5, 2014 9:00:00 AM

I heard an interesting comment the other day from a Product Management friend of mine. He was talking about a recent customer briefing he was giving where the customer’s main goal was zero growth storage. That may sound like an odd goal given that we have all seen the leading analysts’ charts on data growth: up and to the right! So it seems counter intuitive that you would be able to hold storage growth flat. That was my initial reaction, but then I started thinking, “Well, how would you go about doing that?”

I admit there was Corona involved as I pondered this more, but really given the stuff that we as an industry have accomplished, we should be able to at least come close right? I mean if my local golf course can send me a text offering to book me a tee time in the next 45 min because it’s slow right now, we should be able to figure out where the under/over-utilized storage devices are in our environment without resorting to spreadsheets and tiger teams.

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Topics: storage resource management, 3rd Platform, ViPR, storage management

Past is Prologue: What 1990s Technology Tells us about Today's Cloud Competitive Landscape

Posted by George Hamilton | Author Info

Jul 28, 2014 9:00:00 AM

Last week, Amazon launched Zocalo, an enterprise file sync and share service. The press chatter has been all about how Amazon is now competing with Box and Dropbox. Dropbox also happens to be an Amazon Web Services S3 customer. This is not the first time Amazon has released a new service that competes against its own customers. Nasuni, Engine Yard, Heroku, OpenShift and MongoDB are just a few technology vendors with whom Amazon can partner/host and compete. This is not that unusual in the era of more open architectures and “co-opetition.” However, with this recent announcement, I couldn’t help but think back to when proprietary hooks and vendor lock-in were common and more explicit. What have we learned and what does it portend for the future of cloud computing and services?


I love just about anything that has to do with American history – even recent history. I’m a sucker for a good retrospective. So I was psyched last week when the National Geographic channel debuted, “The 90s, The Last Great Decade?”, the follow up to their successful retrospective on the 1980s, “The 80’s: The Decade that made Us”. I guess all of us like nostalgia to some extent. We enjoy looking back at the horrible fashion choices we made; the hairstyles, the music, the movies, and everything pop culture. But one of the things I like best is seeing how far technology has evolved. And more importantly, what we learned from how things used to be. Past is prologue and the evolution of technology decades ago can be a harbinger of things to come.
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Topics: Software Defined Storage, 3rd Platform, ViPR, ECS Appliance

Storage Transformation Demands New Thinking (When it Comes to Software-Defined Storage, if it Walks like a Duck and Quacks like a Duck, It Still Might be a Pig!)

Posted by Rich Simmons | Author Info

Jul 21, 2014 9:00:00 AM

We live in interesting times right now in the storage business. What was once considered a “boring” sector of IT is now hot again. We have new vendors entering the market at a furious pace, trying to gain position in all-flash, flash attach, and software-defined storage. Additionally, we also have traditional storage incumbents looking to box out the new entrants through different combinations of product re-brand, acquisition and/or partnerships.

The new vendor entrants are the most fun to watch in my opinion. Unencumbered by installed bases, or legacy technology (or politics!) they are free to try new approaches to long-standing issues and roadblocks that always emerge as technology matures. Some new players have truly unique and interesting solutions; others have only marketing spin. 

Watching some of the traditional storage vendors try to counter these new offerings is generally quite amusing, and in some cases just plain sad. They trot out technology that has been around for years declaring it to be Software-Defined, and Cloud ready or whatever they think will make them most relevant. The most common response I see is the re-brand. You know the drill: product XYZ was our storage virtualization/storage OS product for years, but now it’s called product ZYX and it’s software-defined storage because we dropped the hardware requirement! So it’s now Software-Defined Storage (SDS)?

It all just serves to remind me why I work where I do. One of the great things about working for EMC is the company’s ability to blend both the innovation and enthusiasm of a startup with our traditional storage business. My group, the Advanced Software Division is a great example of this. EMC looked out over the storage landscape some years ago and made a pretty bold bet. They did not choose to re-purpose and re-brand existing technology. Rather they went outside the box (literally outside the company walls) and hired Amitabh Srivastava to build it from the ground up. Now Amitabh was building cloud storage in his last gig, so he has been in on this SDS, cloud ready stuff for a while. EMC was listening to our customers tell us they needed a new approach, and that’s what we went out and did, starting from scratch to develop a solution that could help customers transition to the next storage generation.
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Topics: Software Defined Storage, 3rd Platform, software-defined data center, HDFS, OpenStack

EMC World 2014, An Advanced Software Perspective

Posted by Mark A. O'Connell | Author Info

Jul 14, 2014 9:00:00 AM

EMC World 2014 took place in early May 2014 and it was made clear that the world of storage is changing, driven by industry-wide trends larger than any single company. In a time of great change, companies can be left behind, branding yesterday's technologies as today's answers, or companies can adapt, break out of their comfort zone, and do the hard work of rethinking their offerings and delivering new products to meet today's (and tomorrow's) challenges.

EMC World 2014 showed exactly what path EMC is taking.

The week opened with a keynote from Joe Tucci, CEO of EMC, where he clearly laid out the upcoming storage challenge - a 10x growth in storage consumption over the next seven years (from 4.4 to 44 Zettabytes), with a corresponding 5x growth in storage managed per administrator by the end of the decade. The conclusion is clear - without increasing intelligence in the storage and storage management arenas, together with increased automation and self-managing storage arrays, we will drown in a vast sea of underutilized or useless data.

Joe Tucci, CEO of EMC viewing an ECS Appliance demo at the Advanced Software Division Booth at EMC World 2014

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Topics: Software Defined Storage, 3rd Platform

EMC Has the Industry’s Strongest Software-Defined Storage Portfolio, AND, It Just Got A Lot Stronger

Posted by Christopher Ratcliffe | Author Info

Jul 8, 2014 5:30:00 AM

Since the announcement of ViPR 1.0 at EMC World 2013, it’s been a non-stop flurry of activity here at EMC and the last month has been no exception. We announced one all-new product and three significant updates to existing products at EMC World 2014, all of which shipped in the last few weeks of June. With the general availability of the ECS Appliance (Powered by ViPR), ViPR 2.0, ViPR SRM 3.5 and Service Assurance Suite 9.3 we have strengthened our Software-defined Storage portfolio and brought public-cloud hyperscale capabilities and economics to everyone.

These are some pretty strong claims and it would be easy to dismiss them as standard marketing hyperbole as, let’s be honest, pretty much every storage sales guy or startup is probably saying the same thing to their customers. The difference with EMC is that at this point, these are all-new products. We haven’t just taken the marketing hype around Software-defined Storage and applied it to a bunch of existing platforms. We’ve built two truly differentiated Software-defined Storage platforms from the ground up and applied a lot of what we learned during the process to significantly enhance our existing products.
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Topics: Software Defined Storage, storage resource management, 3rd Platform, ViPR, ScaleIO, ECS Appliance