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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

Flight Attendants and the Internet of Things: Prepare for Landing

Posted by Mark A. O'Connell | Author Info

Oct 20, 2014 9:00:00 AM

In an earlier post, I talked about the Internet of Things and how this will transform both the storage industry and our use of storage. In this blog, I'll explore some possible ramifications of the Internet of Things in a real world setting, see how the Internet of Things will drive new storage requirements, and will demand new forms of storage. For this example, I'll take the case of an airport as well as the passenger’s experience at an airport - examined from the perspective of the passenger, the airlines, and the stores found in the airport.

To start, imagine the passenger experience at an airport. If I were the passenger, what would I want to know about as I land?  For my itinerary, I want to know the gate where my connecting flight leaves, how long it will take me to get there, and the best route to take to get to this gate. Most likely, I’ll want to know where the nearest restroom is en route to my next gate. Depending on how long I have between connections and the time of day, I may want to know where I can get a cup of coffee, a beer, a meal, a magazine or book, or where the nearest airline lounge is located. If I were at the end of my flight, I would want to know where the rental car desk is located (if I have rented a car), otherwise I'd want to know where the nearest taxi stand is along with the projected wait for a taxi.

For the airline, what would they want to know?  As an immediate need (for a particular flight), how far away are the passengers who need to board - and how many more passengers will be able to board if they hold the flight for five or ten minutes? For deplaning passengers, which ones have tight connections and can they be allowed to exit first? How many carts should be at the gate to transport passengers? For long term needs, how can the assignment of flights to gates be optimized based on connection time, number of passengers making the connection, and the like?

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Topics: Big Data, Internet of Things, 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

It Takes a Village or Sometimes Just an Online Community…

Posted by Jamie Doherty | Author Info

Oct 9, 2014 9:00:00 AM

We have all been to one type of industry trade show or another in our careers. The focus of these events is usually product or solution education, activities and sweepstakes that drive attendees to the tradeshow floor, big after hours networking parties, and, of course, the announcement of what the next big industry trend will be. Sound familiar?

Have you ever stopped to think about how all that information gets socialized? In the past, you would have read about it in an industry trade magazine, an analyst report, a press release perhaps, or sometimes you might receive an email inviting you to attend yet another live or virtual event on the subject. You may also belong to an industry specific organization that has monthly meetings where the new trends are featured as the topics for discussion.

Not anymore! The world has changed and on top of all of these traditional communication methods, you now have to consider the huge impact of social media. We hear the announcement of a new trend and that trend immediately gets tweeted and retweeted right from the second it is announced. If enough buzz is generated, a few blogs are written about the subject, which are then tweeted and again retweeted. Starting to see the pattern?

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Topics: Software Defined Storage, VMware, ViPR, VMworld, Cisco, EMC, VMUG

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."

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Topics: Software Defined Storage, third platform, ViPR

EMC is Always Listening to Their Customers!

Posted by Shawn Murphy | Author Info

Oct 1, 2014 9:00:00 AM

Let’s look at a familiar situation. You call a support center for assistance with a product or service - maybe it’s for your cable or even for your dishwasher. You mention to the support representative “this would be a lot easier if…” and they dutifully agree with you and promise to take down your information. Shortly after that call, you receive a survey. Where does that information go? Does it get sent to a manager or disappear into a black hole? After all, these are the people you count on to champion your idea.

You don’t need to worry about your EMC product feedback ending up in a black hole. EMC’s Total Customer Experience (TCE) program has built a long-term strategy which optimizes our programs and strategic relationships, enabling us to improve customer value. The ongoing feedback we receive and analyze enables us to continually implement targeted action plans that align with your input. The action plans are built on real-world feedback and produce impactful and measureable results that directly benefit our customers and partners.

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Topics: ViPR, storage management

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.

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

What ViPR SRM Can Show You About a VPLEX Environment

Posted by Gary Roberts | Author Info

Sep 22, 2014 9:00:00 AM

VPLEX is EMC’s premier storage virtualization solution. While VPLEX greatly simplifies everyday storage management, storage virtualization has presented storage administrators with new challenges in areas such as reporting, performance troubleshooting and chargeback. In ViPR SRM, new capabilities enable you to peer under the virtualization layer to understand what’s actually going on in a virtualized environment. In a VPLEX environment, ViPR SRM enables a storage administrator to understand how storage capacity is being used, and who is using it to understand end-to-end relationships from host to storage and to verify that VPLEX is configured according to best practices.

For example, a challenge for a storage administrator is to understand, overall, how storage is being used - how much for traditional block or file, how much is virtualized, how much is free, and so forth. New to ViPR SRM, a unified enterprise capacity dashboard shows total storage capacity for the environment in one place, and how it is used. The dashboard includes a view of usable capacity (top middle view), with a bar indicating how much is used for virtual storage. Note that the virtual storage is actually based on physical block storage; so ViPR SRM carefully ensures that this block storage is not counted twice in the enterprise dashboard.

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Topics: Software Defined Storage, storage resource management, ViPR, Virtual Environments, storage management, VPLEX

Crowd Sourcing to Find the Winners from VMworld 2014

Posted by Ilya Leybovitch | Author Info

Sep 15, 2014 9:00:00 AM

What do Virtual Volumes, 3D VDI graphics, OpenStack and multidimensional thumb wresting have in common? They are some of the things the alumni of VMworld 2014 got to experience in San Francisco last month. By the numbers, there were more than 230 vendors vying to get their message heard by the over 22,000 show attendees. That’s a lot of noise to filter through, but being a data scientist and somewhat of a detective, let me share what vendors got my attention and why.

The week of VMworld was the closest I’ve ever come to experiencing what it feels like inside a beehive set on fire. From the warm San Francisco mornings to the windy evenings, everyone from IT engineers dressed in jeans to line-of-business managers wearing off-the-rack suits rushed around five downtown blocks to get to:

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Topics: Software Defined Storage, VMware, flash, VMworld, hybrid cloud