Breakfast with ECS: Can Your Business Survive a Data Center Outage?

Nikhil Joshi

Nikhil Joshi

Consultant Product Manager at EMC

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.

Back in 2003, Google published its Breakfast with ECSvision for a scale-out, resilient, petabyte scale filesystem called the Google File System. This inspired the creation of an open-source alternative called Hadoop Distributed Filesystem (HDFS), which has been a catalyst for Hadoop’s phenomenal growth in the past few years.

With Hadoop’s increased enterprise adoption, there is greater need to protect business critical datasets in Hadoop clusters. This is motivated in large part by compliance, regulation, data protection and business continuity planning.

In this blog, the first in a series about the Hadoop ecosystem and ECS, let us talk about the need for disaster recovery and geo-capabilities and provide a glimpse into EMC Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS)’s unique position to address this.

State of the Union
Traditionally, HDFS provides robust protection against disk failures, node failures and rack failures. The mechanisms to protect data against entire datacenter failures and outages leave much to be desired. The distcp tool built-in to the Hadoop distribution has been the foundation for most Hadoop vendor backup and recovery solutions. Distcp is a tool to perform inter-cluster data transfer usually to a passive back-up cluster. It initiates periodic, recurring MapReduce jobs to move datasets over, which results in inconsistent views of data and consumes compute resources on the source cluster. Implementing this scheme becomes exponentially more challenging when more than 2 sites are involved!

Enter ECS
ECS provides a cloud-scale, geo-distributed, software-defined object-based storage platform that is perfect for unstructured data, Big Data applications and Data Lakes. ECS offers all the cost advantages of the public cloud running on commodity infrastructure while also providing enterprise reliability, availability and serviceability.

ECS features an unstructured storage engine that supports multiple-protocol access on the same data. (via protocols like Amazon S3, OpenStack Swift, EMC Atmos, Centera CAS, Hadoop HDFS, etc.) and in the near future, File protocols such as NFS.

ECS delivers an HDFS service that provides a comprehensive storage backend for Hadoop analytics clusters. ECS HDFS exposes itself to Hadoop as a Hadoop Compatible File System or HCFS as it is known in the Hadoop community. Using a drop-in client on the Hadoop compute nodes, organizations can extend existing Hadoop queries and applications to unstructured data in ECS to gain new business insights without the need of ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) process to move the data to a dedicated cluster.

Read the White Paper on the way ECS can be used to support the Hadoop analytics workflow for your organization

Geo-Distributed Hadoop Storage and Disaster Recovery with EMC ECS
ECS has been architected from the ground-up to operate across geographically distributed deployments as a single, coherent system. This makes it an enterprise-hardened, vendor-agnostic Hadoop storage platform capable of multi-site analytics, disaster recovery and continuous availability.

Traditional Hadoop backup strategies using active-passive clusters lead to under-utilized, standby, read-only resources on the backup cluster. Multiple geographically distributed ECS deployments can be configured as an active-active system; capable of simultaneous read and write access to the same set of data while ensuring strong consistency. The operational word being ‘strong!’ Applications see the same view of data via any replicated ECS site, regardless of where the data was last written!

ECS’s geo-replication ensures that the data is protected against site failures and disasters. ECS gives customers the option to link geographically dispersed systems and bi-directionally replicate data among these sites across WAN. Several smart strategies such as geo-caching are used to reduce WAN traffic for data access.

That leads to the next natural question: If data is replicated to multiple sites, will I incur a large storage overhead? In order to reduce the number of copies in a multi-site deployment, ECS implements a data chunk contraction model, which dramatically reduces storage overhead in multi-site ECS environments. In fact, storage efficiency increases as more sites are added for geo-replication!

ECS’s geo federation capability manages a geographically distributed environment as a single logical resource. Dense storage from servers in multiple sites can be pooled and presented as a large consumable repository for Hadoop analytics. The obvious benefits are ease of management and the ability to use resources from multiple data centers efficiently and transparently.

It is imperative for business continuity to have the ability to detect and automatically handle temporary site/networks failures. During a temporary site outage (TSO), ECS reverts to an eventual consistency model while still allowing read access to the data on all sites.

Global Namespace

Check out the Top Reasons handout to see the many benefits of Hadoop & ECS  

Long story short…
Enterprises need the ability to gather and reason over the soaring quantities of information across the globe. ECS provides the globally distributed storage infrastructure for Hadoop while enabling continuous availability, greater resource utilization and consistency.

In future blog posts, we will discuss ECS’s Big Data Analytics capabilities in more detail while providing some real-world use cases.

Stay tuned!

Try ECS today for free for non-production use by visiting  You can also take our product for a test drive with our developer portal – quickly create a cloud storage service account and upload your content.

6 key principles for designing a cloud storage platform

Varun Chhabra

Varun Chhabra

Director of Product Marketing, Advanced Software Division at EMC

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

By now, all of you have read dozens (or hundreds) of articles discussing how the technology world is changing faster than ever before, so I’m not going to bore you with another lengthy pontification on that topic. This change does, however, make it very challenging for leaders in organizations to decide where to make technology investments. After all, today’s mainstream products could be consigned to the garbage heap in a few years, having been unable to keep up with new, always evolving demands.

Here at EMC, this concern has played a big part in the creation of our cloud storage platform, ECS (Elastic Cloud Storage).The ECS team has been working hard over the last few years to perfectly align the design principles of the platform to be able to meet the demands of third platform applications, not just today, but tomorrow as well.  In this short video Shashwat Srivastav, Vice President of ECS Engineering walks us through the six main design principles for ECS:

Try ECS for FREE and let EMC help transition your organization to be ready for the 3rd platform.

Data Lake 2.0: Edge to Core to Cloud

Suresh Sathyamurthy

Suresh Sathyamurthy

Sr. Director, Product Marketing & Communications

Welcome to Data Lake 2.0!

Expand the Data LakeEMC has just announced three new products — EMC  IsilonSD Edge, Isilon OneFS.Next (the future version of the Isilon OneFS operating system), and Isilon CloudPools—that combine to enable you to expand your data lake to enterprise edge locations (e.g., remote and branch offices) and the cloud while strengthening the data lake at the core data center.

This new edge-to-core-cloud approach offers new opportunities for you to harness the power of a data lake to increase efficiency, cut costs, improve data protection, and get more value from your data assets.

Opportunities at the Edge
Businesses with networks of remote or branch offices often have challenges managing and protecting data generated at these locations. Data at edge locations is growing. A recent ESG study1 showed that 68% of organizations now have more than 10 TB of data per branch office as compared to just 23% in 2011. Edge locations are often inefficient islands of storage with inconsistent data protection practices. Compounding the problem, IT resources at these locations are typically very limited. Data at the edge is also generally outside the business data lake; this means it can’t easily be incorporated into data analytics projects.

Isilon SD EdgeEMC IsilonSD Edge is designed to address these challenges and offers key advantages for businesses with edge locations. EMC IsilonSD is a new family of Software-Defined Storage products that leverages the power of EMC Isilon scale-out NAS and the Isilon OneFS operating system. IsilonSD Edge is the first offering of the IsilonSD family and provides Software-Defined Storage solutions specifically for edge locations. IsilonSD Edge runs on commodity hardware (x86 servers) in a VMware ESX environment.

IsilonSD Edge will be offered in two versions: a ‘free and frictionless’ download for non-production use and a licensed version for production use. Designed to simplify data and storage management at the edge, IsilonSD Edge scales to 36 TB of storage capacity in a single installation. Importantly, IsilonSD Edge allows you to consolidate data to the core data center and thereby extend the data lake to include edge locations. It also increases data protection at the edge by automatically replicating data to the core.

Opportunities at the Core
A data lake offers many advantages for organizations across a wide range of industries. By consolidating file-based, unstructured data on EMC Isilon—the #1 scale-out NAS storage platform in the industry—you can eliminate costly storage silos, simplify management, increase data protection, and get more value from your data assets. With built-in multi-protocol capabilities, Isilon storage solutions can support a wide range of traditional and next-generation applications on a single platform. This includes powerful Big Data analytics that can help your organization gain insight and identify new opportunities to accelerate your business. The new Isilon OneFS.Next operating system extends these benefits by offering enterprise-grade continuous service for the data center with nondisruptive upgrade capabilities, enabling the new Data Lake 2.0 edge-to-core-cloud approach.

Opportunities at the Cloud
Nearly all businesses today are looking to leverage the cloud to cut costs, simplify IT management, and gain virtually limitless storage capacity. But the question for many is how to integrate their on-premise storage infrastructure with the cloud. The new Isilon CloudPools software addresses this need. CloudPools provides policy-based, automated tiering that lets you to seamlessly integrate with the cloud as an additional storage tier from the Isilon cluster at your data center. This allows you to address rapid data growth and optimize data center storage resources by using the cloud as a highly economical storage tier with massive storage capacity for cold or frozen data that is rarely used or accessed. In this way, more valuable on-premise storage resources may be used for more active data and applications. Another key advantage is that the movement of this data is transparent to users and applications.

Cloudpools 2With CloudPools, you can select from a number of public cloud services, including Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure, or use a private cloud based on EMC Elastic Cloud Storage. To secure data that is archived in the cloud, CloudPools encrypts data that is transmitted from the Isilon cluster at the core data center to the cloud storage service. This data remains encrypted in the cloud until it is retrieved and returned to the Isilon cluster at the data center.

Tips to Get Started
EMC IsilonSD Edge, Isilon CloudPools, and Isilon OneFS.Next will all be available in early 2016. In the meantime, you’ll want to have your team become more familiar with these new products and learn more about the advantages that Data Lake 2.0 can provide your organization. A great way to get started is to visit our website. If you have any questions, be sure to contact your local EMC sales representative or authorized EMC reseller.

We look forward to hearing about your success!

Source: ESG Research Report, Remote Office/Branch Office Technology Trends, May 2015.

Why DNA Sequencing Eclipses the Moon Landing

Sanjay Joshi

Sanjay Joshi

CTO, Healthcare & Life-Sciences at EMC

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Many of us are familiar with Neil Armstrong’s famous statement, marking one of mankind’s greatest scientific achievements of the 20th century.

Forward to the 21st century and that statement still holds true. This time, for a scientific accomplishment that we believe eclipses the moon landing: the completion of the Human Genome Project (HGP). Here’s why.

DNATo give you an idea of the project’s magnitude, it took 13 years and some 18 countries to identify between 20,000 to 25,000 genes, and determine the sequences of 3 billion chemical base pairs that make up the human DNA – according to Explorable. While there are recent studies that dispute this figure and have pegged the count of human genes at under 20,000, the point here is: The large scale collaboration efforts to complete this project is to ultimately achieve one thing, and that is to rid the world of the tyranny of disease.

Even Hollywood’s in on It

No, this isn’t a zombie apocalypse waiting to happen, of a biological experiment gone wrong like you’ve seen in The Walking Dead or World War Z. On the contrary, it is a pivotal breakthrough in mankind’s existence that has lead to the discovery of disease genes, paving the way for genetic tests and biotechnology-based products.

Citing a CNN story, we’re sure some of you have heard of Angelina Jolie’s double mastectomy in 2013 and how she had her ovaries removed in March 2015. But why? Genetic testing revealed that she was a carrier of the breast- and ovarian-cancer gene, BRCA1. A decision, though hard, that would reduce her cancer risk by a great deal.

Revving DNA Sequencing

The rise of DNA sequencing can be partially credited to a stark drop in the cost of whole genome sequencing, from US$100 million per human genome to between US$1,000 and US$3,000 today. Of course, we do need to consider the cost of analysis after genetic testing is completed, and that number can stretch to US$20,000. But that brings me to my point. Affordability for all-not just Hollywood celebrities. Affordability is a dream for scientists in this field. For one, they can now stretch funding budgets to take on more experimental risks and beef up their sequencing activities, pushing boundaries and gathering more research data that could lead to new discoveries.

That being said, we should all be aware that DNA sequencing functions on two engines: storage and speed. Its simple. Without enough space to store research data and the adequate speed to process this data, scientists have little means to glean insights.

Take for example, SciGenom Labs (SciGenom), a company based in Cochin, India. SciGenom focuses on molecular diagnostics, cancer treatment, and metagenomics. Prior to adopting an EMC Isilon X200 scale-out storage platform, it encountered performance reduction corresponding to storage expansion that adversely impacted the speed at which the analysis of large-scale biological data sets could be completed.

Post EMC Isilon, project tasks completion are now 40 percent faster. The lab expects to achieve reductions in the workflow times associated with analyzing, annotating, and understanding the terabytes of data generated every day by the sequencing machines.

Says Saneesh Chembakasseri, IT Manager at SciGenom Labs, “The key reason for moving to Isilon scale-out storage was to increase the performance and speed of analyzing raw data generated by DNA sequencing machines. There is no better choice in the market than EMC Isilon in providing both the needed scalability and performance for meeting the demands of DNA sequencing.”

Read the SciGenom Case Study to learn more.

Being Nimble Now a Reality

18 countries. Can you imagine the kind of coordination that went into HGP? To minimize miscommunication and mistakes, sequencing workflows not only had to be established way in advance. They also had to be nimble to adapt to changes. The only way to do so was to store and share findings seamlessly, even with massive quantities of data being exchanged. The same applies today to follow-on DNA sequencing initiatives.

Malaysia Genome Institute is another establishment that has embraced the strengths of EMC Isilon. Engaged in comparative genomics and genetics, structure and synthetic biology, computational and systems biology, and metabolic engineering, MGI has sequencing machines delivering 1 gigabyte per second of throughput. Putting it in perspective, that is an astounding 1 terabyte in under 17 minutes. MGI uses the Illumina HiSeq 2000 and Illumina MiSeq sequencing platforms for DNA sequencing, whole genome sequencing, whole transcriptome sequencing, and targeted resequencing

“The way we analyze Big Data can require millions of inputs at the same time. This involves transferring data back and forth between the storage and high-performance computing cluster. EMC can comfortably handle the high throughput required within the analysis,” says Mohd. Noor Mat Isa, Head of Genome Technology and Innovation at MGI.

Read the MGI Case Study to learn more.

A Healthier Future

The National Human Genome Research Institute discusses how individualized DNA analysis based on each person’s genome will lead to a very powerful form of predictive, personalized, participatory and preventive medicine, with the ability to learn about the risks of future illness – as seen with Angelina Jolie.

With this understanding, a new generation of more effective and precise drugs can be developed as compared to the one-size-fits-all versions available today. On how fast these breakthroughs will happen, we do not yet know. But for certain, storage and processing speed of Big Data lies at the heart of progress in the next few leaps for mankind.

Thoughts from the road: OTT Media Delivery Trends

Tom "TV" Burns

Tom "TV" Burns

CTO, Media & Entertainment at EMC

In my recent article, “Get Ready for Changes in Media and Entertainment”, I riffed on a number of imminent technological and cultural phenomena such as automation, UHD/4K, security and the application of analytics to the media and entertainment industry.

Now I’m back from a pre-IBCMedia OTT leadership summit in Amsterdam, where I took part in a great discussion of OTT business models, during which I compared OTT to a gold rush: content providers in a hits-driven industry competing for nuggets of viewer attention. All the panelists agreed that existing media companies have to re-tool their workflow and infrastructure in order to stay competitive.

There are a lot of new contenders and it’s certain that we are still in the early days of OTT delivery, with ad-supported (AVOD) and subscriber-supported (SVOD) as two of the more successful business models to date. With all this activity in the market, the future of media delivery will be decided sooner than later as large and small content providers settle on their strategy.

I don’t think the workflow versus business model dichotomy is the problem, it’s actually an opportunity. In customer meetings, I advise media companies to profile their content and subscriber base first, and then choose a suitable distribution platform. That way, they can hedge their bets if they own or create multiple types of programming. It seems like the millennials are quickly moving in one direction and, as I keep saying, and as soon as the parents’ generation can navigate the OTT interfaces (or someone builds a better one) the majority of viewers will switch to on demand video.

Marching with the OpenStack community innovations

Sam Grocott

Sam Grocott

Senior Vice President, Marketing & Product Management at EMC ETD

I am thrilled to be a part of the EMC engine that develops products and services that accelerates the journey to cloud computing; helping our customers to store, manage, protect and analyze their most valuable asset information — in a more agile, trusted and cost-efficient way. Combining our efforts with OpenStack- the fastest growing open source community in the world, we are proud to support technologies like Swift, Cinder, Manila in our flagship products Elastic Cloud Storage, ScaleIO and Isilon.  Our commitment to open source does not end with mere opening up CoprHD, at OpenStack Tokyo we are stepping up the game by showing how the community and users can get more from the  technologies we have heavily invested in the past few years.

From pushing the performance envelope for block storage as will be demonstrated by Randy Bias  in the battle of the titans; a healthy discussion on the impact containers will have on OpenStack with Joshua Bernstein; storage orchestration  to a demonstration of building your own elastic cloud storage with ECS, we cover a wide range of top-of-mind topics.

We believe that customers need choice and options in developing and deploying IT for their business needs, whether it is through adopting reference architectures or deploying fully functional enterprise grade products that support open API and protocols. Whether you want to do it yourself; leverage our partners Mirantis, Cannonical, Redhat or simply use turnkey products with native support for technologies, we have an option for you. We take this further by developing plugins to take advantage of your existing investments in EMC products like ScaleIO or deploy high availability clusters.

In addition, the EMC {Code} team is tasked with making EMC relevant to the Open Source community by contributing and participating is essential open source projects. The team tackles many complex problems, everything from application persistence with containers, to twelve factor application development just to mention a few.

I see a lot of momentum and continued drive in the community innovation to help our customers with their IT transformation. We invite you to talk to us at our booth- P1 or schedule an appointment with your account exec to discuss industry trends  or take a peek under the covers of new and upcoming software in ScaleIO, ECS or Project Caspian in a whisper suite.

Breakfast with ECS: “The Internet of Things (IoT) Part 2 – Disrupt or be Disrupted”

Chris Kanthan

Chris Kanthan

Senior Technical Marketing Manager at EMC

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

In this second installment of the Internet of Things, we are going to focus on the IoT architecture.  The IoT architecture consists of 4 main layers – devices, networks and gateways, management and application.  Let’s take a look into each of these layers in more detail.

Devices Layer: IOT DevicesThis layer is comprised of sensors, actuators, RFID etc. Sensors are used to detect and transmit data regarding location, movement, temperature, humidity and more. Sensors are typically powered by batteries that can last for months or even years. Ideally, sensors will have unique IPv6 addresses for identification and communication. IPv6 uses a 128-bit address schema and thus can allow 228 or 340 trillion trillion trillion devices!

RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification) tags are sensors that are commonly used to track objects in logistics and transportation. RFID chips are typically passive – they don’t have batteries but draw power from the RFID reader using built-in antennas8.

NFC is a unique version of RFID where the devices have to be very close to each other, in the order of few centimeters. If you ever used Apple Pay or Google Wallet, you have used NFC.

Check out the EMC Elastic Cloud Storage infographic here.

Networks and Gateways: IoT often requires unique networks and protocols in order to deal with devices that have limited power and need to wirelessly transmit data over a very short range.

In a typical IoT environment, there is a WPAN (Wireless Personal Area Network) that connects the IoT devices. Apart from Wi-Fi or cellular networks, this layer can also use protocols such as Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), Zigbee or 6LowPAN – all of which fall under IEEE 802.15.4 specification. BLE, also called Bluetooth Smart uses less than half the energy as the standard Bluetooth protocol. Zigbee is better than Bluetooth in situations where hundreds or thousands of devices have to be managed in a WPAN. Zigbee can also drastically extend battery life by using sleep mode in devices. 6LowPAN is a long acronym that stands for IPv6 for Low power Personal Are Network.  6LowPAN9 is a newer technology that allows individual devices to have IPv6 addresses, and thus enables the devices to directly communicate with the internet.

IoT vendors use many other protocols, including proprietary ones, which is a huge challenge in operation and management. As the IoT industry matures, these problems will go away because of standardization and better interoperability. Gateways sit in between the internet and the WPAN. They aggregate and filter the data from various devices and send it to the cloud. They also protect the IoT devices from intruders. Star, P2P, Mesh and Cluster Tree are some of the network topologies that are used to connect the devices. The appropriate topology is chosen based on the communication protocol and the overall architecture.

Management Layer: This layer includes the cloud storage platform to store data and software tools to manage, monitor and secure the IoT devices and network. The cloud platform may need to be flexible enough to handle not only HTTP but also other protocols such as MQTT and CoAP – lightweight, open standard protocols for small devices10. Other functions of this layer can include billing, data mining, in-memory analytics, predictive analytics, access control, encryption, business rules management (BRM), and business process management (BPM).

Applications layer: The applications provide the interface and tools to the end user whose needs may vary widely. The application may be a website where a doctor logs in to check the status of his elderly patients who are monitored by wearable devices; it may be a smartphone app that someone uses to turn on the thermostat at home; or it may be an insurance company that uses a SaaS application to run queries on driving habits of customers with connected cars. There are many companies such as Xively and ThingWorkx that offer IoT platforms to enable quick development of applications.


IoT has already started to make an impact in almost every aspect of the economy – consumer electronics, home appliances, healthcare, retail, logistics, transportation, surveillance, industrial control, agriculture, and environment are just a few examples where smart devices are bringing about a consequential paradigm shift. All these extraordinary changes also mean incredible opportunities for technology companies, whether they make low-cost devices, provide massively scalable cloud platforms, or create IoT applications and platforms.  Let EMC help position your company to successfully ride the wave of IoT by visiting


Breakfast with ECS: “The Internet of Things (IoT) Part 1 – Disrupt or be Disrupted”

Chris Kanthan

Chris Kanthan

Senior Technical Marketing Manager at EMC

When the World Wide WebBreakfast with ECS exploded onto the scene in the 1990s and became a
household word, the internet was viewed as the Internet of People – a new tool to access information or to simply communicate with one another. However, that internet of people is now going through a monumental transformation and becoming an Internet of Things (IoT) – a network of tens or even hundreds of billions of smart devices and sensors in which each member has a unique identifier such as an IP address, can gather meaningful data around its environment, and then send that data over the internet without requiring human intervention.

The Market

So how big is the IoT market and who is getting into the game? IDC estimates1 that the IoT market will grow to be $1.7 trillion (not a typo!) by 2020 when there could be more than 30 billion connected “things”. The potential is so huge that companies across every imaginable sector are jumping head-first into IoT. Cloud platform vendors obviously see a huge opportunity, since all the data from the billions of devices add up to vast amounts of storage requirements. Software vendors focusing on big data, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and real-time analytics are in big demand to help companies make smart and quick decisions using the deluge of data. Creative hardware companies are making incredibly tiny devices and sensors that make it all possible. Let’s take a look at a few examples of some contemporary IoT companies and products.

Examples of IoT Companies and Products

Consider Fitbit, a popular wearable device with 10 million active users. It can continuously gather data, store it and seamlessly sync it – when a connection is available – with more capable devices such as smartphones. From there, the data is sent to the cloud which can be accessed by the user anytime, anywhere. One of the requirements of IoT is low-power wireless communication between devices within short distances, since many devices and sensors are very small and thus don’t have enough battery or electrical power. The wearable market’s potential is quickly expanding into smart clothes2, smart shoes2 and more.

Demand for smart home devices is also rapidly increasing, with about sixty million households in America ready to embrace this new way of living3. Among these devices, smart thermostats and security devices are thought to grab the lion share of the market. If you are wondering what other smart devices and appliances can be sold for a home, consider the fact that connected toothbrush is already a reality4!

Read the top reasons to choose EMC Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS) as your IoT cloud storage platform.

Healthcare is another area where IoT has been eagerly adopted, and the market segment is estimated to hit more than $100 billion in the next five years5. Examples in this vertical include smart pill dispensers that remind patients when to take which pills and also automatically reorder the prescription. There are even ingestible smart pills that ensure that the patient actually took the medicine! When a patient swallows the pill, it sends a notification to a battery-powered wearable patch on the patient’s body which then sends the information to a smartphone6.

Industrial IoT (IIoT) is another hot topic that integrates IoT, big data, machine learning and machine to machine (M2M) communication. IIoT is considered an essential part of Industry 4.0, otherwise dubbed as the “Fourth Industrial Revolution7.”

IoT is a huge opportunity which changes the game by leveling the field for new entrants to disrupt and take share from long established leaders. The theme of digital driven market is “Disrupt or be Disrupted”.  That’s where EMC comes in – EMC has been the leader in data and information infrastructure management for over the past two decades. With the explosion of IoT data being created, organizations need an enormous amount of processing and capacity to stay ahead of the competitive curve.  With Elastic Cloud Storage, EMC provides a cost competitive cloud scale solution which delivers superior agility and object storage performance.  Learn how a winning IoT strategy starts with ECS cloud storage. Check out the video below to see how ECS can ready your organization for the wave of the Internet of Things.

Try ECS today for free for non-production use by visiting

Lights, Camera, Disruption! Heading to Digital Hollywood

Tom "TV" Burns

Tom "TV" Burns

CTO, Media & Entertainment at EMC

Digital Hollywood, oneHollywood of the leading trade conferences in media and entertainment, takes place this week in Marina del Rey. The event hosts top executives in the film, television, music, home video, cable, telecommunications and computer industries. I’m honored to be part of the Oct. 20 panel, “Future of TV – Wall St. Analysts Meet Industry Executives – It’s All About Innovation and Disruption – Chasing the New Normal in the Entertainment & Technology Industries.”

As the media and entertainment industry continues to undergo a rapid transformation in content production, distribution and consumption, the discussion is an opportunity to highlight the impact of new technologies on the future of television and the current business models in place. I look forward to debating this exciting topic with my colleagues and getting their thoughts on what it takes to attract and maintain an audience in this increasingly fragmented marketplace.

If you’re attending the event, please stop by and say hello. If you’re unable to attend, submit your questions in the comments below.

“Live Free or Cry!”…Liberated Data Centers Don’t Cry!

Rodger Burkley

Rodger Burkley

Principal Product Marketing Manager at EMC

Whether you manage a small business; regional office; mid-size enterprise, or full blown enterprise data center with regional/multi-geo sites…data of all types is exploding and costs are increasing steeply. Storage inefficiencies (from innumerable copies, snaps, back-ups and save sets); constant provisioning; data migrations and fork lift upgrades of specialized storage hardware, raw capacity and bandwidth are hemming you in and cramping your style – and data center CAPEX, OPEX and budget. Your hair’s turning white, BP’s up and your spouse or significant other (and the kids and dog/cat) seldom see you.

On top of that, you’re battling vendor lock-in, insidiously escalating shadow IT public cloud usage (and monthly fees) and growing mumbling/grumbling from your less than happy users and SLA clients.  Oh…and, yes, it’s time to go back to the well and ask for even more $$$s as you realize your recently purchased and installed storage array is getting full/utilized at around 50% or so. Time to do a SWAG on how much additional raw storage capacity you’ll be needing over the next couple years and order another sizable array upgrade….and brace yourself for some downtime and tedious data migration(s) and provisions for RAID aggregates, groups, folders and volumes.  Billy Joel’s hit song “Pressure” comes to mind!  Is there a better way to go?  Yes!

Storm Cloud

What can I say, ‘The Cloud’ can be dark and scary as far as your data security is concerned…and it can sneak up on you.

Why not liberate your data center?  Liberate your data center with vendor and hardware neutral commodity based server platforms that monetize your host application servers’ direct attached storage (DAS) for  maximum performance and flexibility.  Also enjoy in the process lower TCO and a new software defined storage architecture that yields true linear capability for compute, storage capacity and throughput.  Liberate your data center with a storage platform that gives you total elasticity to add or remove resources in response to real-world, real-time compute and storage needs with the ability to scale (on the fly, with no down time) to many Petabytes and millions of I/Os per second (IOPS).   So liberate your data center with a software-defined (SDS) server SAN…and EMC’s ScaleIO!

Incidentally, SDS server SANs are optimal for building hyper-scale private, hybrid or public clouds.  Or perfect for building hyper-performance scalable and elastic enterprise storage systems (as in millions of IOPS) for high performance applications (HPAs).  Just start with a minimum of three servers (with DAS of any media type and amount of excess raw storage capacity)…and grow to thousands of nodes with Petabyte scale capacities. Grow at your convenience and need over time – with no disruptions to your operations. Just scale-out with more servers/nodes, repurposed or purpose bought to add to your server SAN..   And scale-up with more DAS devices on those same participating servers. What could be simpler?

The beauty is you won’t miss the extensive upfront planning and justification for additional storage provisioning, forklift upgrades, data migrations, long hours and downtime involved. Just grow in small, ‘baby step’ increments by adding new Flash SSDs and HDDs to existing or new host server local storage….and even create your own storage performance ‘tiers’ (or sub-pools) to match your application or volume’s performance or resource capacity requirements.  Make adjustments to your server SAN cluster using a simple dashboards GUI to monitor system status and enter simple English commands to manage this ‘fluid’ SDS based system.  THIS is the power (and freedom) of software defined platforms. They create an abstraction layer between physical resources and logical management of operations….monitored from a ‘single pane of glass’ application-like software install right on your host server(s).


ScaleIO’s GUI Dashboard monitors your server SAN’s status, performance and operation in real-time — and tells you when (and how fast) it’s rebuilding data (when servers and/or DAS devices are taken off-line for MX or any reason) or auto balancing across participating host servers.  Simple CLI English language inputs adds/removes host servers and storage devices; designate Protection Domains (for multiple tenants/data partitioning); create Server Fault Sets (to increase high availability and/or scheduled MX) and so on ….. ALL ‘on the fly’ with no service disruption or “outage”….leveraging your DAS excess capacity!

How does this all work?  Simply put, a SDS server SAN system pools together disparate, isolated local storage (DAS) from participating host application servers and forms a single, aggregated virtual SAN that grows bigger and faster as you add more host servers and storage devices to it.  Non-traditional storage….that’s what we’re talking about here.  No specialized storage hardware (host bus adapters, hardware arrays, FC switches or extensive racking and thick expensive interconnect cabling need not apply).  Freedom via commodity hardware-based systems and vendor neutral/agnostic storage solutions….  Live free!

Folks, this is what’s driving hyper-converged storage solutions in the storage industry now…for block (structured data) or file data and object data (unstructured data)  storage. What about the Cloud?  Why rent when you can own….cheaply…using familiar commodity based physical or virtualized servers?  Ever look closely at somebody’s (hopefully not yours) monthly usage utility bill from Amazon Web Services, Microsoft’s Azure or Google’s public cloud?  Be prepared for sticker shock from the ‘we charge you for everything’ usage detail and escalating costs as your “user troops break ranks” and create their own shadow IT operation by subscribing to more and more Cloud services and compute and storage capacity.

And with a robust, resilient and fast performing SDS server SAN you can build your OWN private Cloud on premises….and not have to worry about data security or access when relying on the Public Cloud.

EMC’s ScaleIO is an example of “a robust, resilient and fast performing SDS server SAN.”  OK…so I work at EMC.  Just search for “ScaleIO” on the web and you’ll see what I mean.  YouTube videos walk you through this new technology, architecture and SDS product platform too.  If for no other reason, get up to date on this newest emerging technology that is truly liberating data centers with software based, hyper-converged (all application, CPU, networking and storage functions/resources in one HW platform…or “node”) infrastructure.  Skeptical?  Why not try ScaleIO yourself with EMC’s free and frictionless ScaleIO download. Just like that memorable TV ad a few decades back…”Try it, you’ll like it.”…

Sure, other vendors out there are offering similar SDS product solutions…either via pure software only licensing (usually capacity based) or a pre-packaged/bundled “hyper-converged storage appliance” or both forms. ScaleIO is sold in both forms….software or appliance…and that gives you more flexibility as both formats serve their purposes.  You might also have heard about Ceph and “ICE” (Inktank’s Ceph Enterprises distributed commercially by RedHat).   But when you look at ScaleIO’s inherent high performance, ability to scale from 12TB to 16PB raw capacity, dynamic elasticity and flexibility to add or remove nodes, storage devices and servers without any disruption to operations and other quality of service (QoS) features/functionality ScaleIO brings to your datacenter rack(s)….nothing out there comes close.  Bold statement?  Indeed.  But as they say, “an informed buyer is an educated and confident buyer…” :-) (OK…I took some liberties with that saying for sure.)

Does this mean the end to “traditional storage platforms” as we know and (mostly) love them today?  No.  Not hardly.  There will always be a need, use and place for traditional SAN (block), NAS (file) and archival (object/cloud) storage platform products.

The challenge, of course, is in identifying and rationalizing respective use cases, assimilating new technology/architectures and integrating ‘the new and old’ into seamless, efficient deployments that leverage (and monetize) each other’s strengths, specialized features/capabilities and value add that fit YOUR data center and IT needs.   With the storage industry leader like EMC, you’ll be getting all the advice, support, products and solutions (across the entire storage spectrum) to help you take advantage of both newer and traditional storage technologies and value propositions.

In closing, this was definitely an unabashed paid endorsement for EMC’s ScaleIO.  But more importantly, hopefully this post highlights just how much these new SDS server SANs in general are changing the datacenter landscape and freeing IT/MIS CIOs, directors, admins and managers from hardware and vendor lock-in and older, more traditional storage architectures.  It’s happening as you read this….

Want to know more?  Check out @EMCScaleIO on Twitter!   Get on board the emerging storage technology and ScaleIO train.  Live Free…and Don’t Cry!