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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

EMC Hybrid Cloud for SAP: redefining simplicity with intelligent KPIs monitoring with ViPR SRM

Posted by Tim Nguyen | Author Info

Dec 29, 2014 9:00:00 AM

Back in October 2014, I attended the SAP TechEd && d-code conference in Las Vegas, where SAP boldly talked about the “next steps to deliver innovation in the cloud with the SAP HANA platform” so that customers can truly innovate and simplify their business and development process, and SAP reaffirmed that running SAP HANA in TDI mode continues to gain momentum everywhere as lots of customers are wanting to hear.

During SAP TechEd && d-code Las Vegas, EMC Global Solutions Marketing launched the EMC Hybrid Cloud for SAP Technical Demo Video to supplement the white paper released at VMworld in San Francisco in August (check out my blog post from that event).  This 8-minutes video explains in simple terms how the EMC Hybrid Cloud for SAP (EHC for SAP for short) can be the bridge to the future to enable IT transformation while helping customers redefine simplicity, choice, & agility in deploying SAP landscapes in either on-premises cloud, off-premises cloud, or both.

When people discuss and debate the merits of implementing virtualized SAP environment, in the cloud so to speak, the conversation is often centered around the ease and simplicity of provisioning, for example, a new SAP sandbox or test environment can be stood up in minutes instead of weeks.  But running SAP in the cloud, regardless of it is on-premises, off-premises, or both in a hybrid cloud fashion, provide benefits that go far beyond provisioning!  In fact, the powerful capabilities offered in the areas of monitoring, workload relocation, and multi-tenancy chargeback will soon be the more interesting points to consider and understand!

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Topics: SAP

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

What “Field of Dreams” Can Teach You About IT Projects and IT Operations Management

Posted by Brian Lett | Author Info

Dec 8, 2014 9:00:00 AM

Would you think that the 1989 movie “Field of Dreams” has just as much to do with IT operations as it does with baseball. Remember the backstory? Themovie’s protagonist, Ray Kinsella, is an average and unsuccessful farmer, with regrets about his past. Like many on an IT team who gets struck with a bolt of inspiration – an idea for an IT-related project (a new application or service, probably along the lines of “what if we had a way to…” or “what if we did this:”) – Ray listens to a voice in the night telling him “If you build it, he will come.” He proceeds to plow under his crop, and construct a baseball field in the middle of his Iowa cornfield

 Then Ray’s “project” develops its own momentum – the seemingly now-corporeal ghost of Chicago White Sox outfielder Shoeless Joe Jackson walks out of the cornfield bordering the newly built baseball field, admires everything, thanks Ray for what he’s done, and asks to come back – with “friends.”

 Now Ray on an IT team would have had a similar experience: Someone gets wind he’s been working on a Skunk Works project that, although radical, could be something amazing. Shoeless Joe is like that first test user that becomes the unintentional evangelist, and quickly starts to build a critical mass among users.

 At this stage in the IT project, things are going well: The user base has grown, the old guard (shown in the movie as 1960s anti-establishment author Thomas Mann) at first grudgingly agrees to take a look at the project, then likes what it sees, becomes a strong advocate, and things evolve quickly (maybe even moving to formal alpha testing). In the movie, Shoeless Joe has brought a throng of other now-corporeal ghosts to play baseball once again on Ray’s field (more users, all of whom love the work Ray’s done). And Ray’s wife Annie stands by her man, despite a wave of criticism coming from her brother Mark, the financial advisor and antagonist who absolutely cannot see or understand Ray’s vision, and what he’s done.

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Topics: storage resource management, storage management, Service Assurance, IT Operations

Service Assurance for NFV

Posted by Serge Marokhovsky | Author Info

Dec 1, 2014 9:00:00 AM

There is a growing interest across the telecom industry today with Network Functions Virtualization (NFV). NFV is being evaluated in labs across the world and piloted for production rollout. In particular, larger service providers are steering their strategies around NFV to get in front of the pack and give themselves the agility they lack against the smaller and more aggressive players. A second key driver for NFV is to reduce costs while maintaining carrier class service assurance. With the fast arrival of NFV, are the current OSS & BSS tools in use today going to work in the future when NFV goes mainstream? If so, will they give the operational benefits management is anticipating to achieve with NFV or just keep doing the same thing? Let’s explore the challenges and new opportunities to achieve with service assurance in an NFV environment.

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Topics: storage management, Service Assurance, NFV

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