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Breakfast with ECS: Most Wanted Cloud Storage Feature Series – Part 5: Superior Economics

Diana Gao

Diana Gao

Senior Product Marketing Manager at EMC² ECS
Diana Gao

Welcome to another edition of Breakfast with ECS, a series where we take a look at issues related to cloud storage and ECS (Elastic Cloud Storage), EMC’s cloud-scale object storage platform.

Hello folks!

Breakfast wtih ECSGlad to have you back on this ECS feature series journey.

In the previous blog of this series, we discussed ECS’ enterprise-class features. In this blog, we’ll discuss why ECS has superior economics.

Entering the public cloud is simple. But as the data you store in the public cloud reaches a certain scale, it becomes simply expensive. You have to pay for every single time you touch your data – you must pay someone else a small fee to store your data, and another fee each time to index it, like it, share it, download it or even to just plain look at it.

With ECS, you’ll forget about the struggles of the unpredictable storage costs and data sovereignty concerns. It is that dream storage that you are looking for – a storage solution that you can have complete control over and a storage solution that you can own affordably.

Check out the video below and see how ECS’ story gets better as you scale.

While this video concludes the ECS feature series, it’s not the end of the ECS journey. Keep an eye on this space for more yummy breakfast to come!

View all ECS feature videos:
ECS Feature Video: Overview
ECS Feature Video: Multi-purpose
ECS Feature Video: Smart
ECS Feature Video: Enterprise Class
ECS Feature Video: Economics

A Co-Design of Hardware and Software: Part 2 – The Safest Place in Flash for your Data

Donald Wake

Donald Wake

Consultant Technical Marketing Engineer at EMC | DSSD
Donald Wake

DSSD D5 leapfrogs the competition 

We’ve already seen how DSSD D5 leapfrogs the competition by delivering extreme performance and the lowest possible latency in a single solution.  But that’s just part of the story. DSSD D5 also represents a quantum leap in reliability and resilience.

Jeff BonwickRealizing the full potential of Flash memory

The DSSD D5 Hardware and Software were co-designed from the beginning to extract the maximum performance and usable life possible from Flash memory.

Jeff explains in his video how the DSSD D5 architecture works to: limit memory wear, deal with flash performance degradation over time, ensure data retention and constantly protect data at the data fragment level.
To accomplish all of this the DSSD D5 offers a system of integrated enterprise level data protection features such as:

  • Flash Physics Control: A flash management algorithm that adjusts the way we interact with flash cells in real-time based on a database of flash usage
  • Space-Time Garbage Collection: Reduces write amplification, optimizes data cleanup, wear leveling and ensures data retention with a real-time smart algorithm
  • EMC DSSD Cubic RAID. This breakthrough technology required years of work by some of the greatest minds in the industry. Jeff Bonwick, co-founder and CTO of EMC DSSD, explains it brilliantly in a just few minutes. Because that’s the way Jeff rolls. Hint: Think Sudoku.

As you’ll see, DSSD Cubic RAID blows past both traditional and multi-dimensional RAID 6 technology with two amazing innovations:

  • Parity of the Parity – or Intersection Parity that enables the DSSD D5 software to handle much more complex failure scenarios within the 18,000+ NAND die used to store data
  • Interlocking RAID dimensions. So, where three intersecting failures in rows and columns of fragments of data would cause other schemas to lose data, Cubic RAID recovers the data

Makes sense yet? If not, Jeff Bonwick will explain.

News Informs, Animated News Empowers

Yasir Yousuff

Yasir Yousuff

Sr. Director, Global Geo Marketing at EMC Emerging Technologies Division

Animated NewsNews not only informs us of what’s happening around the world. Its investigative nature enhances our system of checks and balances, uncovering wrongdoings and deep-rooted conspiracies that undermine the very integral values of modern civil society.

No, we’re not here to discuss Mossack Fonseca, though its recent revelations do lend a certain credibility to what we plan to talk about.

Did you catch Disney’s latest animation film, Zootopia? For the benefit of those who didn’t, it tells the story of a rabbit police officer and red fox con artist working together to uncover a conspiracy involving the mysterious disappearance of predator civilians. Not many have realized this, but the movie’s ability to explain the concept of a conspiracy to adolescents is something to marvel at.

This makes you wonder about the storytelling power of animation, and whether it could further enhance our understanding of everyday news. Forget erudite commentary understood only by a handful. Think vernacular language, and its mass appeal.

From Cinema to News Screen

Famous animated films like Zootopia, Inside Out, Kung Fu Panda and Toy Story can take years to create. So is it even possible to produce one in a matter of hours just in time for the evening news? One company can: Next Media Animation (NMA).

Based in Taipei, NMA is currently the world’s fastest 3D computer animation studio best known for its signature reenactment videos that reimagine news stories on a humorous and visual level; especially for stories that lack video footage or visual reports. The numbers speak for themselves: 60 to 80 original animated news reenactments every 24 hours, two-hour turnarounds for each animated reenactment, 35 million monthly views, 156 countries.

Unbeknownst to many, animation is a storage intensive process which requires a massive amount of bandwidth. Companies like NMA exceed its storage capacity every week! Is this sustainable in the long run? Of course not. Much has changed since NMA deployed a highly scalable storage solution featuring an EMC Isilon S200 series with 10 nodes – delivering eight gigabytes per second throughput, alongside an EMC Isilon X400 series with four nodes dedicated to 3D rendering.

“We can meet our own two-hour production time easily with the help of the EMC storage platform. The scalability and performance of Isilon, configured with Autodesk Maya 3D software, helps our teams deliver high quality content while gaining a competitive advantage over other studios that might take two weeks to produce an animated story,” explains Peter Pang, IT Director at Next Media Animation.

When it comes to reporting news, timeliness is a no-brainer. Yet at times, the focus on speed can overshadow that of reliability. Consider the scenario of car-road interaction. You can have the fastest sports car in the world but if the road is badly maintained and filled with potholes, all that potential horsepower would come to naught. NMA relies on EMC Isilon SnapshotIQ for continuous data backup across the storage platform to ensure a smooth road ahead with zero operational interruptions.

Read the Next Media Animation Case Study to learn more.

A Definitive Heavier Load

A decade ago, High Definition (HD) revolutionized the element of detail on screens which we take for granted today. And with it, the quality of animation film features. Try watching Pixar’s first Toy Story on a conventional DVD, and then Inside Out on Blu-ray. The difference is startling.

If you thought we’ve reached the pinnacle of screen definition, you couldn’t be more wrong. A decade later, we are witnessing the emergence of 4K Ultra HD TVs (a.k.a. UHD TVs). According to techradar, 4K TVs deliver four times as much detail as 1080p Full HD. Putting it in greater detail, that’s eight million pixels versus two million pixels.

While the adoption of 4K broadcasting standards amongst stations is still nascent, I believe it’s only a matter of time before they do so – driven by increased consumer purchases of UHD TV consoles.

Encompass Digital Media is one company that has already readied itself for this future demand. The Singapore-based broadcast specialist is currently a host to popular sports broadcasters and television networks, offering both HD and 4K services, including fixed teleport and remote satellite uplink transmissions for backhaul, production, and origination services.

Like NMA, they rely on EMC scale-out storage to ensure there are no gaps in content delivery to their video playout servers.

“It is a given that we provide 24/7 services with 100 percent uptime for all our customers. It does not matter how big our files are, the Isilon solution enables us to meet our customer service expectations without fail,” says Aaron Shaw, Senior Vice President, Operations and Engineering at Encompass.

Read the Encompass Digital Media Case Study to learn more.

ECS for OpenStack is a ‘swifter’ route to enterprise-grade persistent storage

Nisha Narasimhan

Nisha Narasimhan

Principal Product Manager at EMC Emerging Technologies Division

A vast majority of our enterprise customers continue to ask us about using EMC Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS) with their OpenStack infrastructure – and how easy it would be to use ECS as a drop-in replacement for OpenStack’s object storage, Swift. The good news is that, with the release of ECS 2.2.1, ECS integration for OpenStack just got easier – as I’ll explain.

OpenStack Swift is great to get started with OpenStack. However, as you move out of proof-of-concept (POC) into larger production environments, the platform weaknesses swiftly show up – keeping costs under control while maintaining compliance- typical enterprise grade features in a persistent storage system at scale is very difficult.

OpenStack Swift has gaps to address to be truly enterprise-ready

OpenStack Swift falls short of being a true enterprise-grade production-ready solution. It is not simple to scale out to thousands of nodes, has limited erasure coding support, and performance for both large and small data objects is not on par with commercial object storage offerings.

Further, as you grow across sites you will require ‘strong’ data consistency – to ensure that changes to a dataset in one location are immediately reflected in the copies of the dataset in other locations. OpenStack Swift provides only ‘eventual’ data consistency – which can leave your applications struggling to handle synchronization across multiple sites.

OpenStack Swift purely focuses on accessing objects via the Swift protocol leaving out other protocols in use by applications today. For example, if you want to analyze your data using Hadoop, you will first need to move your data from OpenStack into a separate HDFS cluster – which will cost your time, resources and datacenter space. Similarly NFS access to OpenStack Swift can only be achieved via external NFS Gateways.

An enterprise-grade object storage for OpenStack

ECS is a cloud-scale object storage platform. It is an attractive drop-in replacement for OpenStack Swift – with its ability to handle massive scale, production-grade performance for objects (large or small), built-in metadata search capabilities, multi-protocol access on the same data (object via Swift API or S3, NFS and HDFS for in-place Hadoop analytics), multi-tenancy, and active-active geo-distribution with strong consistency.

With the release of ECS 2.2.1, featuring ‘ECS Swift’, you can now easily provision and use ECS object storage from OpenStack.

Seamlessly integrate ECS into your OpenStack environment

In OpenStack deployments, identity and access management is handled by OpenStack Keystone. To enable integration with OpenStack, ECS 2.2.1 offers native support for interop with Keystone v3.0.

Out of the box, ECS can now register itself with Keystone, and use Keystone to authorize ECS Swift service requests. This integration also enables Keystone to be the ‘single source of truth’ with respect to user identities, eliminating the need for duplication of identities in ECS.

The behind-the-scenes interaction between ECS and OpenStack Keystone works as follows: if you are an OpenStack user, when you authenticate to Keystone, it will present digital credentials explaining who you are. Keystone verifies your identity and presents you with a Keystone token. You then make a request to the ECS Swift service with this token. To serve the request, ECS forwards the token to Keystone for token authorization, and ensures that you are authorized to perform the requested action, prior to rendering the request.

 

ECS Intergration with OpenStack

Keystone integration allows ECS to be a drop in replacement for OpenStack Swift. But our plans don’t stop here! With upcoming releases we will continue to enhance ECS for tighter integration with OpenStack (support for Manila File Services and support for OpenStack metadata search) – so keep watching this space.

EMC ECS software is available to download now and try free.

Learn more about object storage with EMC ECS.

Rack-Scale Flash Converged Infrastructure

Rahul Pradhan

Rahul Pradhan

Product Management, Emerging Technologies at EMC² DSSD
Rahul Pradhan

Latest posts by Rahul Pradhan (see all)

These are exciting times to be part of EMC and DSSD for anyone who is passionate about working on cutting-edge, innovative technologies that deliver real business value to customers. Earlier this year – on leap day – DSSD launched an innovative Rack-Scale Flash product that broke all storage performance records and led to the creation of a new product category of Rack-Scale Flash for addressing ultra high-performance low latency use cases. With an innovative co-design of hardware and software, DSSD blurs the distinction between memory and persistent storage. This represents a new class of storage that offers the best of networked storage (shared access, enterprise reliability, and availability) and direct attached server storage (high performance, low latency) without the drawbacks of either approach. Applications can now have access to extremely large data sets at near memory speeds. This will significantly accelerate existing applications while opening up the possibilities for real-time analytics on larger in-flight data sets which weren’t previously possible.

Rack Scale Flash

Since the DSSD product launch, one of the top requests we hear from a lot of our customers as they start deploying Rack-scale Flash in production – is to consume it as a converged infrastructure that is engineered, validated, tested, managed and supported as an integrated system. This isn’t a surprise to us here at EMC since we have the leading converged infrastructure brand (VCE) in the world as part of EMC’s Converged Platform Division. Analysts predict that Converged Infrastructure is the direction that the majority of  IT infrastructure will be consumed as in the future.

In response to the customer demand and market trends, the teams at VCE and DSSD came together to engineer the industry’s first Rack-Scale Flash (RSF) converged infrastructure product on the market and today we announced a VxRack System with DSSD built for high-performance databases and data warehouses. As with all VCE converged systems, it will be engineered, manufactured, managed and supported as a single product.

Some of the highlights of the system include –

  • Industry’s first Rack-Scale Flash converged infrastructure system that delivers near memory like performance for dense shared flash that can be pooled and consumed by a rack of servers.
  • The world’s fastest all-flash converged system comprising of industry standard dense compute and high-performance networking connected to DSSD’s Rack-Scale Flash platform.
  • The system offers an aggregate of up to 288 compute cores with 2TB of RAM, up to 3.2 Tb/s of network switching capacity and up to 144TB of ultra-dense flash storage that delivers 10 Million IOPS, 100 GB/s of bandwidth at less than 100 microseconds of latency all in less than 20 RU which is less than half the size of other competitive all-flash solutions. The ability to stripe two DSSD D5 systems together for increased performance (2X the IOPS, bandwidth, and capacity) will also be available as part of the converged infrastructure offering.

Rack Scale CI System

The Rack Scale Flash Converged Infrastructure system is built to address customer challenges with current infrastructure for high-performance databases and data warehouses. We are experiencing an unprecedented growth in the number of users, devices and data due to trends in social, mobile and the Internet of Things. This is offering businesses a unique opportunity to gain insights and customer intimacy by analyzing this variety and volume of data from disparate data sources in real-time. However, this also puts a significant burden on the underlying infrastructure. Today, customers employ several workarounds in order to analyze the data – ranging from analyzing a smaller data set to reducing the scope of the analysis to splitting data across multiple data marts – all of which results in suboptimal processing and impacts decision making.

With EMC’s Rack Scale Flash Converged Infrastructure customers can significantly accelerate transactional workloads, shorten the Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) process and make Data Warehouses run faster while reducing operational expenses by consolidating different analytical and transactional workloads on one storage device. The high performance of the system across all vectors (Bandwidth, IOPS, Latency) and its density (compute and storage) makes it the best platform available for both transactional and data warehousing workloads.  It will enable customers to analyze more data in real-time, produce faster results to drive business decisions while providing consistent service levels at all times.  Some example use cases include – real-time business dashboards, large order processing systems, risk analytics and fraud detection, credit card transaction processing etc.

Rack Scale Converged Infrastructure

The product will be generally available later this year, in multiple configurations offering customers the flexibility to start small and grow as needed. It can be deployed as a standalone converged infrastructure or as an extension to existing VCE systems and will be managed by the same management software that VCE customers love and are familiar with. All components of the system will be tested, pre-installed, cabled and racked ready to be deployed in the customer environment. This will result in a faster time to deployment while dramatically reducing time to analysis and results. All databases and applications can be deployed as is on the RSF CI system and will run faster without any need for modifications of the application or rewrites of queries and stored procedures.

With this announcement, EMC customers now have a choice of deploying their Rack-Scale Flash platform either as a ‘do-it-yourself’ system based on our published server and network compatibility matrix or as an engineered Rack-Scale Flash converged infrastructure that will combine the unprecedented performance, reliability and flexibility of the DSSD Rack-Scale Flash architecture with VCE’s integrated management and support portfolio for increased system availability, reliability, and productivity.

DSSD Hero Numbers

Breakfast with ECS: Most Wanted Cloud Storage Feature Series – Part 4: Enterprise Class

Diana Gao

Diana Gao

Senior Product Marketing Manager at EMC² ECS
Diana Gao

Welcome to another edition of Breakfast with ECS, a series where we take a look at issues related to cloud storage and ECS (Elastic Cloud Storage), EMC’s cloud-scale object storage platform.

Hello folks!

Welcome back to ECS feature series!Breakfast with ECS Enterprise

In the previous blog of this series, we discussed ECS’ smart capabilities. In this blog, we’ll discuss how ECS is built to serve the needs of enterprises.

When selecting a cloud storage vendor, enterprises have many questions: Is this cloud built for scale? Is it secure? Is it able to handle the different business applications needed for long term business growth? Will it simplify my operational management? We at EMC were thinking these exact things when we introduced ECS.  How can ECS improve your data privacy, manageability and operation efficiency?

Watch the video below and find out the answers.

ECS is enterprise-grade yet has incredibly low storage overhead, and is capable of storing nearly 4 PB of data in a single rack. Stay tuned for the next blog discussing more about ECS’ economical capabilities. Yes! You don’t want to miss it.

Additional resources:

IABM Selects EMC as a Game Changer for Storage at NAB Show

Tom "TV" Burns

Tom "TV" Burns

CTO, Media & Entertainment at EMC

Hello from the NAB Show in Las Vegas! It’s been a terrific couple of days so far and the team is having a great time connecting with our customers, partners, prospects and others in the broadcast and media technology community.

game_changer_logo_for_web_bannerWe’ve got some exciting news to share from the show – the International Association of Broadcasting Manufacturers (IABM) presented EMC with the 2016 Game Changer Award in the storage category for Isilon CloudPools and IsilonSD Edge. These new products help media organizations integrate cloud storage into their current workflows and easily enable new remote office productions.

The media industry is built on change, and today the media business of creation and delivery is no exception. As higher resolution formats and new delivery methods create turbulence in the industry, media professionals are looking for best-of-breed technology that will future-proof their workflows and transform their business to meet tomorrow’s needs.

From day one, EMC has thought differently about the media industry: we’ve always believed in challenging the status quo of how storage is used in creation, processing and delivery of media. With Isilon storage we’ve done that by creating simple, easy to manage, high performance, and cost-effective tiers of storage that are all in one flexible pool.  A single pool of storage lets artists and editors easily share assets across the workflow, while providing a single point of storage management throughout the life cycle of the storage infrastructure.

EMC Isilon SD Edge graphic

Perhaps more importantly, from the ground up, we’ve future-proofed our products by design. The Isilon storage platform can be incrementally and modularly grown as business needs change or technology requires component replacement. There’s no need to acquire the infrastructure today based on predictions of what will happen in the next three years—simply grow the storage system in increments that follow business cycles. If a portion of the infrastructure is no longer cost-effective, gradually replace those portions with new technology—seamlessly and cost-effectively.

The judging panel of 40 independent industry professionals described the products as “a development of a well-established professional, high performance media storage system [that] enables a hybrid approach in migrating to cloud-based storage.”

This Game Changer award is a testament to our team’s dedication and hard work to provide thousands of organizations in the media and entertainment industries the most effective storage solutions. From all of us at EMC, we want to extend our thanks and appreciation to the IABM for this recognition.

Breakfast with ECS: Most Wanted Cloud Storage Feature Series – Part 2: Multi-Purpose

Diana Gao

Diana Gao

Senior Product Marketing Manager at EMC² ECS
Diana Gao

BreakfastWelcome to another edition of Breakfast with ECS, a series where we take a look at issues related to cloud storage and ECS (Elastic Cloud Storage), EMC’s cloud-scale object storage platform.

Hello folks!

Glad to have you back to this educational journey of Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS) features.

In the previous blog of this series, you learned the market trend and why Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS) is one storage solution that can cater to all of your needs. From this blog, you’ll learn more about the specific features that make ECS so awesome.

As traditional systems capture and store data based on data type, they have to manage different silos of data. While they give you consistency and speed, trying to manage these pools of data is like facilitating a conversation where no one speaks the same language. It’s a path to some serious complexity.

So, here we are! ECS is the one single shared storage that supports billions of files of all types and talks multiple “languages”, such as Amazon S3, OpenStack Swift, HDFS and NFS.

Check out today’s video below to learn more about ECS’ multi-purpose capabilities.

ECS is not only designed for multi-purpose, it is also “smart”. Check back for the upcoming blog introducing ECS’ smart features.

Additional resources:

Breakfast with ECS: ECS and Centera – Optimizing the Data Archive

Welcome to another edition of Breakfast with ECS, a series where we take a look at issues related to cloud storage and ECS (Elastic Cloud Storage), EMC’s cloud-scale storage platform.

Breakfast wtih ECSWhen Centera was introduced in 2002, it promised long term storage of a company’s archives with an architecture that completely separated the application access method from the storage infrastructure.  From the beginning, EMC has always promised to maintain the Centera data, the APIs that are used to access it, and the applications that have integrated to those APIs, with the full knowledge that the lifecycle of the Centera data would exceed the lifecycle of any individual HW or SW platform.  The Centera SW architecture has fulfilled this promise across multiple hardware generations and across multiple disk drive variants, and with ECS 2.2, the promise is being extended even across SW architectures.

Why a new architecture?

The state of the industry has changed dramatically from when Centera was originally designed and built.  Scale-out, distributed storage accessed via an IP network is no longer a novel concept, and increases in network speeds, CPU power, disk density, and memory sizes mean that the Centera model of a small number of disks per node is no longer economically feasible.

ECS is a new software architecture which was designed from the ground up to meet the needs of the modern data center, and with the ECS 2.2 release, it not only has full support for the Centera API, it has built in capabilities to automatically index and migrate content from a Centera cluster to the ECS, all in a non-disruptive fashion, maintaining full application access throughout the process.

But ECS does far more than just support the Centera use cases, ECS adds additional capabilities and efficiencies to the storage of Centera data and can even apply these to enhance the value of existing Centera data, as well as newly written data.  These capabilities include:

  • Erasure coding protection for all data, including clips, in addition to a greater variety of choice in the protection scheme to best meet the needs of the individual situation. ECS can protect data with 20% or 33% overhead and can apply this protection equally for large and small objects, all the way down to 4 node systems, for far better storage efficiencies than Centera.
  • Protection against multiple disk failures. While Centera offered protection only against single disk failures, ECS protects against the simultaneous failure of 2 disks (20% overhead) or 4 disks (33% overhead).
  • With the introduction of Data at Rest Encryption in ECS 2.2, ECS can automatically and transparently encrypt data before storing it, adding an additional level of protection for your most sensitive data.
  • ECS provides site failure protection for less than 2x the original data size in a three or more site environment, unlike Centera which would need minimally 2.3x (4x if using mirroring) data storage for a similar level of protection.
  • ECS offers far denser configurations, with up to 60 drives per node, for far more economical data storage than Centera.

In addition, ECS preserves Centera’s compliance capabilities, including fixed retention periods and retention classes, allowing all Basic, GE, and CE+ data from Centera to be safely migrated to ECS.

Read the Top Reasons Handout on why you should choose EMC Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS) for archiving.

How do I move from Centera to ECS?

There are two ways to start leveraging the benefits of ECS for Centera customers – either by leveraging an external migration tool, of which there are several choices available now, or by leveraging the built-in transformation capabilities in ECS 2.2.

The transformation capabilities of ECS 2.2 fully automate the migration process – the Centera is added to the ECS cluster and the application directs its reads and writes to the ECS – the ECS enumerates the Centera, creates an ECS-based index for that content, migrates the content, then performs a final reconciliation to validate that all data has been correctly migrated.  The entire process is fully automated, driven by ECS, and transparent to the application.

Of course, ECS is capable of supporting workloads far different than the typical Centera workload.  ECS is suited for modern S3 or Swift based applications, for analytics workloads, for web-based application storage, for Internet of Things applications, and much more.  ECS 2.2 brings the benefits of a modern software architecture to the existing Centera data while simultaneously supporting modern application workloads and allowing a single software/hardware environment to satisfy the full set of scalable storage needs.

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