Rethink-Storage-Hubspot-Banner.png

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:

Read More

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

Read More

Topics: Software Defined Storage, 3rd Platform, third platform, 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?

Read More

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.

Read More

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

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.

Read More

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

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.

Read More

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

A Look Back Forward: IT Visions, Miscues, and True Transformations (Said Simply: Ken Olsen Was Right After All!)

Posted by Rodger Burkley | Author Info

Oct 6, 2014 9:00:00 AM

Once upon a time, ‘parsecs’ ago in high tech time, there was a computer giant homegrown in the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts founded by an engineering and entrepreneur genius. I’m referring to (of course) Digital Equipment Corporation (aka “DEC”) and wunderkind founder, CEO, President, and paternalistic ‘gentle giant’ Ken Olsen. Not familiar? Not surprising, especially since upstart Compaq Computer ended up buying DEC back in early 1998 (only later to be subsumed by HP). Besides, even in its PDP and VAX heyday, DEC was pretty ‘low profile’ and mostly an OEM channel vendor. But one really has to look hard in today’s high tech world and IT data centers to find any substantial technology, system, platform computing style or application that Digital didn’t have some impact upon, either directly or indirectly. For starters, have you ever heard of StorageWorks, Alpha, Workstations, Alta Vista, Ethernet or RDB? I was lucky to be there on the tip of the high tech spear back in the 80s and 90s. I was a proud “Deccie” and a dedicated/loyal one of Ken’s minions like all the rest at DEC. Ken was among other things a true visionary and also “low profile."

Read More

Topics: Software Defined Storage, third platform, ViPR

Software-Defined Storage Goes Way Beyond Storage Virtualization

Posted by Yoram Ramberg | Author Info

Sep 29, 2014 9:00:00 AM

I’ve been reading and talking to folks about software-defined-storage (SDS) and software-defined-everything and found out that we often use the terms ‘SDS’ and ‘virtual storage’ interchangeably. This doesn’t sound right. It is useful to distinguish between these terms as they are better used for two distinct concepts. Let me see if I can offer a better real world definition, or at least description, for these terms.

Storage virtualization is typically used to describe an abstraction of storage technology. The latter may be a storage array, which, via virtualization, appears to us as several arrays, each with its unique LUNs. The opposite is also conceivable: manifest a single block space by virtualizing a set of arrays. So, if you’re running an application that performs block I/O, it can talk to the virtual array as if it were a physical box, with its addresses, controllers, and redundancy. Virtualization helps to make an efficient use of the underlying hardware. Instead of managing actual boxes with various capricious demands and hard limits, look at them as if they were well behaved units of your own specification. Under the covers, your virtual storage SAN maps to actual physical storage but the complexities of the latter are conveniently hidden. Good.

Read More

Topics: Software Defined Storage, third platform, software-defined data center, ViPR

Services Unavailable, Unattainable, or Just Unidentified?

Posted by Jason Huff | Author Info

Apr 21, 2014 9:00:00 AM

Software-defined Storage (SDS) is coming to a data center near you!

By the time you read this, it’s already happening. EMC is using innovative software and hardware offerings such as ViPR, Isilon, Atmos and others to bring SDS to reality today. Utilizing this framework of technologies, EMC is allowing customers to provide the elastic capacity that customers are looking for to respond to existing demands. These challenges actually provide the opportunity today for customers to meet and fulfill the requirements of the 2nd Platform and begin the transformation to the 3rd Platform.

Addressing customers existing needs is the first step to offering services that internal customers and business partners need. By defining these services, whether it’s as simple as provisioning new LUNs to VM Hosts or Windows Hosts or as complex as providing them the ability to create or restore their own snapshots via VPLEX, IT can begin to transform itself into an internal service provider and ultimately a business partner.

EMC, VMware and VCE can do this today. However, the culture of IT departments is the greatest obstacle in this process. Changing the mindset to which we’ve all become accustomed can be a difficult road. But the greatest benefits come at the end of that road, through lower costs and higher satisfaction rates of customers and employees. Simplification through automation is the fastest means to working smarter and not harder.
Read More

Topics: Software Defined Storage, third platform, VMware, ViPR

Accelerating and De-risking Your Journey to the 3rd Platform

Posted by Jason Cowie | Author Info

Feb 24, 2014 9:00:00 AM

With software-defined data centers transforming the way IT is delivering services, enterprise management vendors have struggled to keep up with the paradigm shift from managing individual elements to managing IT services.  Modern, on-demand services deployed across highly virtualized and cloud-based infrastructures require radically different management approaches to ensure a predictable quality of service.  Recently, in his Mind the Gap keynote speech in London, Amitabh Srivastava described EMC’s strategy for helping customers make this transition while “bridging the gap” between traditional client/server (2nd Platform) and cloud (3rd Platform) computing environments with a robust set of management and automation capabilities.

Read More

Topics: Software Defined Storage, storage resource management, third platform, software-defined data center, ViPR