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Rethink Storage Gets a New Home in 2015

Posted by Jamie Doherty | Author Info

Jan 14, 2015 9:00:00 AM

As the strategist, coordinator, and executor of this blog from inception, it is bittersweet that I write this entry with some big news to share.  One year ago this week we launched Rethink Storage.  The idea of this blog was to give the members of the Advanced Software team at EMC a voice so they could share their product and industry expertise with our customers, partners, brand advocates, potential customers, and everyone in-between.  As you know things change quickly in the technology industry, bringing me to the point of this blog.

Our engineers have created advanced software products so cutting edge that they are considered emerging technologies here at EMC and to the industry.  Starting today, Rethink Storage will have a new look, name, and web home.  The new name is the Emerging Technologies Blog and it will transform into this futuristic look:

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Topics: Software Defined Storage, third platform, VMware, ViPR, Object Storage, OpenStack, storage management, Service Assurance, EMC, Elastic Cloud Storage

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

Three Key Observations From the Gartner Data Center, Infrastructure and Operations Management Conference

Posted by Brian Lett | Author Info

Dec 22, 2014 9:55:18 AM

I was fortunate enough to be part of the team that supported the EMC presence at the recent Gartner Data Center, Infrastructure and Operations Management Conference in Las Vegas earlier this month. Lots of hard work (briefings, meetings, staffing the expo booth) but also a great opportunity to speak with users and customers, as well as garner some interesting insights from the Gartner analyst-presented sessions.

 So what were some of the key themes I observed? First, the software-defined data center is moving a lot closer to reality for a lot of attendees. Key technologies such as software-defined storage and software-defined networking have moved for most from the “I’ll keep my eyes on it” bucket in 2014 into the “I’ve got to do something about this in 2015” bucket. That’s no surprise to our team; we’ve been observing a lot of the same behavior in our interactions with customers at places like executive briefings and user-group meetings. And it helped drive a lot of the insights we presented in our event-sponsor session on“Making the Software-Defined Data Center a Reality for Your Business,” in which the need for automation, especially at the management and monitoring level, was emphasized as a critical requirement to delivering on the promise of the software-defined data center.

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Topics: Software Defined Storage, software-defined data center, ViPR, ScaleIO, storage management, Service Provider, Gartner Data Center Conference

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

You Think You Know Cloud Storage Gateways? Sync Again

Posted by Jeff Denworth | Author Info

Nov 10, 2014 9:00:00 AM

*The following is a guest blog post, written by Jeff Denworth of CTERA

The cloud storage gateway market was particularly hot this summer, having experienced a flood of investment topping over $100M in both likely and unlikely places. CTERA was one vendor at the center of it all – as a provider of a cloud storage services platform that enables users to deploy cloud storage gateways, enterprise file sync and share and endpoint backup services from the private and virtual private cloud of their choice. CTERA alone secured $25 million in June, but we were not alone - our friend, EMC, for example, also got into the game by acquiring TwinStrata’s block storage caching gateway for their VMAX division. Fueled by customer demand and added investment, the cloud gateway market is undeniably hot, hot, hot! IT research analyst firm MarketsAndMarkets estimates that the Cloud Storage Gateway market will continue to grow at an average rate of 55% until 2019, representing a $5B market by that time.

Why cloud gateways, you ask? Well, there’s a variety of reasons.

  • By harnessing commodity storage technology and smart scalable software in the data center, new public and private cloud storage is redefining data center economics for primary storage and disaster recovery.
  • WAN bandwidth is now robust enough to where offices can now move substantial amounts of data to and from remote data centers using deduplication and compression to optimize efficiency and performance.
  • The combination of these two factors is enabling organizations to modernize how they deploy storage at the edge and eliminate some of the pains that customers had with managing storage across a dispersed enterprise.

As customers rush to find more modern solutions for branch office storage, they quickly learn that there are many approaches to cloud storage gateways. To reduce the confusion, I’ll try to illustrate the differences here in this blog.

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Topics: Software Defined Storage, third platform, ViPR, ECS Appliance, hybrid cloud, CTERA

ViPR Interactive Demo: Your Software-Defined Storage Playground

Posted by Hoc Phan | Author Info

Oct 27, 2014 9:00:00 AM

Since the announcement and release of EMC ViPR, you have probably seen many demos for the product. All are good and serve the purpose they were initially intended for, whether it was product training, live data use cases, or customer demos. However, all of those tools require a fairly significant footprint in order to be able to run them. What if you could experience the power of ViPR in a lightweight delivery? Now you can!

Introducing the ViPR Interactive Demo!
The beauty of the ViPR interactive demo is that it can be run on your laptop or tablet with a minimal tax on connectivity and storage. You don’t need to make a special request to access it, only then to be placed in queue for days. The data in the environment is sanitized directly from our two virtual data centers (both multi-million dollar investments). Leveraging an HTML5 front end and focusing on a select set of high priority customer use cases, this demo gives you the flexibility to improvise on your own or follow a scripted story line.

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Topics: Software Defined Storage, ViPR, storage management

We Liked Data Before it was Big

Posted by George Hamilton | Author Info

Oct 15, 2014 9:00:00 AM

“I liked data before it was big” is a sign hanging on a wall in one of our EMC offices (I scoured my LinkedIn feed to find the picture again to no avail). I love what that sign conveys. Here at EMC, we’ve always been about data; storage is just the means to keep, access, protect and use it. In my mind, EMC does not just tackle storage problems; we solve data management challenges. Big Data is the latest data management challenge. That’s why EMC is so excited to be at Hadoop World to showcase our storage and data management solutions for Big Data.

The quote on the front page of the Strata+Hadoop World web page reads, “Big data is at the foundation of all the megatrends happening today”. Hard to argue with that assessment. I’d only add that storage and data management are the foundation for Big Data. So, by transitive relationship, this means storage and data management are the foundation of all the megatrends happening today. If this sounds like hubris, take a look at what IT decision makers identified as their most important factors when evaluating storage for Big Data ( scale 1-5, 1 = Essential to 5= Unimportant).

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Topics: Software Defined Storage, ViPR, HADOOP, Big Data, Hadoop World, Isilon

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Posted by Gayatri Aryan | Author Info

Oct 13, 2014 9:00:00 AM

You know the old saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words”, well it’s true and even more so in highly virtualized environments.  Simply put, the ViPR SRM topology maps are just that.  The topology maps give you a pictorial depiction of an end-to-end relationship to provide storage administrators with the visibility they need to manage a complex, heterogeneous storage environment.  Consider a host for example, the topology map for which, in a single view, gives you an ability to traverse from the host, to its ports, to the fabric(s) it is connected to, all the way to the storage system.

There is more to this picture though.  It really becomes a navigation tool with the association of categories (outlined in red above).   Upon selection of the host, what is presented on the right hand side is the list of reports available for that device type (in this case the host).  As you select a different object (switch or array for example), a list of reports available for that device will be made available.  In essence, you get an ability to stay in the context of the object you started with while poking around the connected devices.

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Topics: Software Defined Storage, storage resource management, third platform, ViPR