Archive for the ‘ECS’ Category

Galaxy: A Workflow Management System for Modern Life Sciences Research

Nathan Bott

Healthcare Solutions Architect at EMC

Am I a life scientist or an IT data manager? That’s the question many researchers are asking themselves in today’s data-driven life sciences organizations.

Whether it is a bench scientist analyzing a genomic sequence or an M.D. exploring biomarkers and a patient’s genomic variants to develop a personalized treatment, researchers are spending a great amount of time searching for, accessing, manipulating, analyzing, and visualizing data.

Organizations supporting such research efforts are trying to make it easier to perform these tasks without the user needing extensive IT expertise and skills. This mission is not easy.

Focus on the data

Modern life sciences data analysis requirements are vastly different than they were just a handful of years ago.

In the past, once data was created, it was stored, analyzed soon after, and then archived to tape or another long-term medium. Today, not only is more data is being generated, but also the need to re-analyze that data means that it must be retained where it can be easily accessed for longer periods.

Additionally, today’s research is much more collaborative and multi-disciplinary. As a result, organizations must provide an easy way for researchers to access data, ensure that results are reproducible, and provide transparency to ensure best practices are used and that procedures adhere to regulatory mandates.

More analytics and collaboration represent areas where The Galaxy Project (also known as just Galaxy) can help. Galaxy is a scientific workflow, data integration, and data and analysis persistence and publishing platform designed to help make computational biology accessible to research scientists that do not have computer programming experience.

Galaxy is generally used as a general bioinformatics workflow management system that automatically tracks and manages data while providing support for capturing the context and intent of computational methods.

Organizations have several ways to make use of Galaxy. They include:

Free public instance: The Galaxy Main instance is available as a free public service at UseGalaxy.org. This is the Galaxy Project’s primary production Galaxy instance and is useful for sharing or publishing data and methods with colleagues for routine analysis or with the larger scientific community for publications.

Anyone can use the public servers, with or without an account. (With an account, data quotas are increased and full functionality across sessions opens up, such as naming, saving, sharing, and publishing Galaxy-defined objects).

Publicly available instances: Many other Galaxy servers besides Main have been made publicly available by the Galaxy community. Specifically, a number of institutions have installed Galaxy and have made those installations either accessible to individual researchers or open to certain organizations or communities.

For example, the Centre de Bioinformatique de Bordeaux offers a general purpose Galaxy instance that includes EMBOSS (a software analysis package for molecular biology) and fibronectin (diversity analysis of synthetic libraries of a Fibronectin domain). Biomina offers a general purpose Galaxy instance that includes most standard tools for DNA/RNA sequencing, plus extra tools for panel resequencing, variant annotation, and some tools for Illumina SNP array analysis.

A list of the publically available installations of Galaxy can be found here.

Do-it-yourself: Organizations also have the choice of deploying their own Galaxy installations. There are two options: an organization can install a local instance of Galaxy (more information on setting up a local instance of Galaxy can be found here), or Galaxy can be deployed to the cloud. The Galaxy Project supports CloudMan, a software package that provides a common interface to different cloud infrastructures.

How it works

Architecturally, Galaxy is a modular python-based web application that provides a data abstracting layer to integrate with various storage platforms. This allows researchers to access data on a variety of storage back-ends like standard direct attached storage, S3 object-based cloud storage, storage management systems like iRODs (the Integrated Rule-Oriented Data System), or a distributed file system.

For example, a Galaxy implementation might use object-based storage such as that provided by Dell EMC Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS). ECS is a software-defined, cloud-scale, object storage platform that combines that cost advantages of commodity infrastructure with the reliability, availability, and serviceability of traditional storage arrays.

With ECS, any organization can deliver scalable and simple public cloud services with the reliability and control of a private-cloud infrastructure.

ECS provides comprehensive protocol support, like S3 or Swift, for unstructured workloads on a single, cloud-scale storage platform. This would allow the user of a Galaxy implementation to easily access data stored on such cloud storage platforms.

With ECS, organizations can easily manage a globally distributed storage infrastructure under a single global namespace with anywhere access to content. ECS features a flexible software-defined architecture that is layered to promote limitless scalability. Each layer is completely abstracted and independently scalable with high availability and no single points of failure.

Get first access to our Life Sciences Solutions

You can test drive Dell EMC ECS by registering for an account and getting access to our APIs by visiting https://portal.ecstestdrive.com/

Or you can download the Dell EMC ECS Community Edition here and try it for FREE in your own environment with no time limit for non-production use

Examining TCO for Object Storage in the Media and Entertainment Industry

The cloud has changed everything for the media and entertainment industry when it comes to storage. The economies of scale that cloud-based storage can support has transformed the way that media organizations archive multi-petabyte amounts of media.

Tape-based multi-petabyte archives present a number of challenges, including a host of implementation of maintenance issues. Data stored on tape is not accessible until the specific tape is located, loaded onto a tape drive, and then positioned to the proper location on the tape. Then there is the factor of the physical footprint of the library frame, and real estate required for frame expansions – tape libraries are huge. This becomes all the more problematic in densely populated, major media hubs such as Hollywood, Vancouver and New York.

At first, the public cloud seemed like a good alternative to tape, providing lower storage costs. But while it’s cheaper to store content in the public cloud, you must also factor in the high costs associated with data retrieval, which can be prohibitive given data egress fees. The public cloud also requires moving your entire media archive library to the cloud and giving up the freedom to use the applications of your choice. Suddenly the lower initial costs of the public cloud can be wrapped up in a significantly larger price to pay.

Object storage is emerging as a viable option that offers media companies a number of benefits and efficiencies that the public cloud and tape-based archives simply cannot provide. In fact, object storage is rapidly becoming mandatory for applications that must manage large, constantly growing repositories of media for long-term retention.

Dell EMC Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS) blends next-generation object storage with traditional storage features that offer the media and entertainment world an on-premises cloud storage platform that is cost-competitive with multi-petabyte type libraries. ECS not only simplifies the archive infrastructure, it enables critical new cloud-enabled workflows not possible with a legacy tape library.

Instant Availability of Content

The greatest benefit of object storage for media and entertainment companies is the instant availability of their media content – you can’t access media on tape without a planned and scheduled retrieval from a robotic tape library. For a broadcast company, the delay in data availability could result in a missed air date, advertiser revenue loss, and legal fees.

With instant access to their entire archives, a whole new world of possibilities opens up for content creators. Archives aren’t often considered when it comes to content creation – the process of accessing media content has historically been difficult and the process of obtaining data often takes far too long. However, with instant access to archived media, archives can effectively become monetized, rather than just sitting around on tape in a dark closet gathering dust and being wasted. Being able to access all of your media content at any time allows rapid deployment of new workflows and new revenue opportunities. Further, with object storage, engineering resources that were focused on tape library maintenance can be re-focused on new projects.

Operational Efficiencies

Object storage can also offer increased operational efficiencies – eliminating annual maintenance costs, as one example. One of the biggest – and least predictable – expenses with operating a tape library is maintenance. Errors on a tape library are commonplace, drive failures and downtime to fix issues can impact deadlines and cause data availability issues that can require valuable engineering time and result in lost revenue.

Going Hot and Cold: Consolidation and Prioritization

Public cloud storage services can enable users to move cold or inactive content off of tier 1 storage for archiving, but concerns around security, compliance, vendor-lock and unpredictable costs still remain a concern.  Cold content can still deliver value and ESC allows organizations to monetize this data and provide an active-archive with the same scalability and low costs benefits, but without the lack of IT agility and reliability concerns.

ECS allows organizations to consolidate their backup and archive storage requirements into a single platform. It can replace tape archives for long-term retention and near-line purposes, and surpass public cloud service for backup.

In the video below, Dell EMC’s Tom Burns and Manuvir Das offer some additional perspective on how the media and entertainment industry can benefit from object storage: 

Stay current with Media & Entertainment industry trends

Dispelling Common Misperceptions About Cloud-Based Storage Architectures

As the media and entertainment industry moves to 4K resolution and virtual/augmented content formats, the storage and archive requirements for media content has grown exponentially. But while storage requirements continue to skyrocket, industry revenue has not grown accordingly – and M&E organizations are finding themselves challenged to “do more with less.” More organizations are looking to leverage the cost efficiencies, scalability and flexibility that cloud storage can offer, but many remain apprehensive about taking the plunge.

To be clear, in this post when we talk about “the cloud,” we’re talking cloud architectures, versus the public cloud provided by vendors such as Microsoft, AWS and Google, among others. Unlike public clouds, cloud architectures can be used completely within your facility if desired and they are designed with infinite scalability and ease of access in mind.

There are a number of misperceptions about moving data to cloud architectures that are (wait for it) clouding people’s judgment. It’s time we busted some of the bigger myths and misperceptions out there about cloud storage.

Myth #1: I’ll have to learn a whole new interface – false! Dell EMC’s Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS) employs a tiered system, where it sits under a file system – in our case, Isilon. For organizations already deploying Isilon SAN or NAS storage platforms, the workflows stay exactly as they were, as does users’ interface to the file system.

This tiered approach helps companies to “do more with less” by allowing them to free up primary storage and consolidate resources. By tiering down “cold,” inactive data to ECS, you can better optimize your tier-one higher performance storage and drive down costs.

Myth #2: My data won’t be safe in the cloud – false! ECS features a geo-efficient architecture that stores, distributes and protects data both locally and geographically, eliminating any single point of failure and providing a seamless failover from site to site with no impact to business. Further, even though the data within ECS is distributed, it’s still a secure, private environment so users won’t run into scenarios where anyone can access information without the right credentials.

Myth #3: Collaboration and access is going to be negatively impacted – false! If you look at the VFX industry, for example, teams are frequently spread across the world and working across time zones on a 24/7 basis. ECS enables global teams to work on the same piece of data at the same time from one system – it’s true collaboration. ECS’s multi-site, active-active architecture and universal accessibility enables anywhere access to content from any application or device.

Myth #4: Moving to the cloud is an all-or-nothing approach – false! ECS can be deployed when your organization is ready for it – whether that’s in a month, or six months, or a year. We realize a lot of operations personnel like to “see” their data and know first-hand that it’s there. We get that. But as things evolve, it’s likely that organizations will face pressure to take at least some of the data offsite. With ECS, you can still keep your data in the data center and, when the time is right to take your data off-site, Dell EMC can work with your organization to move your infrastructure to a hosted facility or a co-lo where you can continue to access your data just as you did when it was on-premise. ECS is available in a variety of form factors that can be deployed and expanded incrementally, so you can choose the right size for your immediate needs and project growth.

Because it is designed with “limitless scale” in mind, ECS eliminates concerns and worries of running out of storage, it can meet the needs for today’s M&E organizations, as well as those in the future simply by adding additional storage, just as you used to do with tapes.

Hopefully we’ve been able to bust a few of the myths around adopting a cloud-based storage architecture. This video featuring Dell EMC’s Tom Burns and Manuvir Das can offer additional insight into ECS’s tiered approach and how media organizations can begin seeing benefits from day one.

Stay current with Media & Entertainment industry trends here or listen to Broadcast Workflows webcast recording.

The Next Element for IT Service Providers in the Digital Age

Diana Gao

Senior Product Marketing Manager at EMC² ECS

Digital technology has disrupted large swaths of the economy and is generating huge amount of data, where the average backup hovers at around a petabyte. Not all organizations can cope up with this data deluge and look to service providers for storage and protection. Many service providers provide tape-based backup and archiving services. Despite their best efforts to innovate, data volumes always seem to grow faster, pushing the boundaries of tape capacity.

Today, companies of all sizes still use tape to store business information, but now it is more for cold storage than for data that needs to be accessed frequently. While tape as a low cost and reliable storage option is ideal for data not being accessed often, maintaining multiple versions of software and legacy infrastructure can put a burden on already taxed resources. These challenges come at a cost including software licenses, maintenance, and a waste of technical resources that could be spent on other more important initiatives to help drive business innovation. As a service provider, you need a secure and compliant data storage option that will enable you to sell more value added services.

As reported in Tech Target, a Storage magazine Purchasing Intention survey showed that the trend away from tape continues – 76% of IT professionals see their use of tape as a backup format either declining or staying the same.

Some service providers are considering offering cloud-based backup-as-a-service without causing any security concerns for their customers. Others are looking for a solution that combines the benefits of faster data access along with the cost advantages of tape.

More than a few service providers have discovered an ideal solution that covers all of these benefits: Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS) object storage platform. As a highly scalable, multi-tenant, multi-protocol object storage system, ECS is the perfect platform that helps service providers to better meet their service-level-agreement (SLA) commitments to customers by offering highly resilient, reliable and low-cost storage services with enterprise-class security.

Iron Mountain® Incorporated (NYSE: IRM), a leading provider of storage and information management services, is one of those who have discovered this solution. In additional to its traditional tape-based storage-as-a-service, it partnered with Dell EMC to provide a cost-effective, scalable and modern Cloud Archive as a part of their services portfolio. Designed to scale as the volume of data grows with ECS as the backend storage platform, the Cloud Archive solution is ideal for organizations needing offsite, pay-as-you-use archival storage with near-infinite scalability.

“Our customers trust that we know where the data is by having those cloud-based solutions in our datacenters. It gives them a peace of mind where they know where their data is at rest.” said Eileen Sweeney, SVP Data Management at Iron Mountain.

Watch the video below to hear more about how Iron Mountain uses ECS to modernize its storage management services for 95% of Fortune 1000 companies. 

You’ll find the full rundown of Iron Mountain Cloud Archive solution with ECS here.

Planning on getting away to Barcelona for Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2017? Stop by at VMWare Stand at Hall 3, Stand 3K10 to meet with Dell EMC experts!

Unwrapping Machine Learning

Ashvin Naik

Cloud Infrastructure Marketing at Dell EMC

In a recent IDC spending guide titled Worldwide cognitive systems and artificial intelligence spending guide,   some fantastic numbers were thrown out in terms of opportunity and growth 50+ % CAGR, Verticals pouring in billions of dollars on cognitive systems. One of the key components of cognitive systems is Machine Learning.

According to wikipedia Machine Learning is a subfield of computer science that gives the computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed. Just these two pieces of information were enough to get me interested in the field.

After hours of daily  searching, digging through inane babble and noise across the internet, the understanding of how machines can learn evaded me for weeks, until I hit a jackpot. A source, that should not be named pointed me to a “secure by obscurity” share that had the exact and valuable insights on machine learning. It was so simple, elegant and completely made sense to me.

Machine Learning was not all noise, it worked on a very simple principle. Imagine, there is a pattern in this world that can be used to forecast or predict a behavior of any entity. There is no mathematical notation available to describe the pattern, but if you have the data that can be used to plot the pattern, you can use Machine Learning to model it.  Now, this may sound like a whole lot of mumbo jumbo but allow me to break it down in simple terms.

Machine learning can be used to understand patterns so you can forecast or predict anything provided

  • You are certain there is a pattern
  • You do not have a mathematical model to describe the pattern
  • You have the data to try to figure out the pattern.

Viola, this makes so much sense already. If you have data, know there is a pattern but don’t know what that is, you can use machine learning to find it out. The applications for this are endless from natural language processing, speech to text to predictive analytics. The most important is forecasting- something we do not give enough credit these days. The Most critical component of Machine Learning is Data – you should have the data. If you do not have data, you cannot find the pattern.

As a cloud storage professional, this is a huge insight. You should have data. Pristine, raw data coming from the systems that generate it- sort of like a tip from the horses mouth. I know exactly where my products fit in. We are able to ingest, store, protect and expose the data for any purposes in the native format complete with the metadata all through one system.

We have customers in the automobile industry leveraging our multi-protocol cloud storage across 2300 locations in Europe capturing data from cars on the roads. They are using proprietary Machine Learning systems to look for patterns in how their customers- the car owners use their products in the real world to predict the parameters of designing better, reliable and efficient cars. We have customers in the life-sciences business saving lives by looking at the patterns of efficacy and effective therapies for terminal diseases. Our customers in retail are using Machine Learning to detect fraud and protect their customers. This goes on and on and on.

I personally do not know the details of how they make it happen, but this is the world of the third platform. There are so many possibilities and opportunities ahead if only we have the data. Talk to us and we can help you capture, store and secure your data so you can transform humanity for the better.

 

Learn more about how Dell EMC Elastic Cloud Storage can fit into your Machine Learning Infrastructure

 

 

Digital Transformation with Radical Simplicity

Corey O'Connor

Senior Product Marketing Manager at Dell EMC² ETD

Digital Transformation with Radical Simplicity

Welcome to another edition of the Emerging Technologies ECS blog series, where we discuss topics related to cloud storage and ECS (Elastic Cloud Storage), Dell EMC’s cloud-scale storage platform.

The Inflection Point

It’s no surprise that unstructured data continues to grow exponentially year over year and doesn’t show signs of slowing down anytime soon. Some organizations are left managing this data with traditional storage infrastructure which is not only very expensive, but does not scale at the rate in which the data is growing.  IT budgets continue to remain flat or grow at an ungenerous rate of about 5% annually and capital expenses tend to double almost every year for most organizations.  The other pressing issue is the requirement of somehow maintaining the same (if not better) level of service with fewer resources as data growth continues to strain storage infrastructure.  This type of trend is not sustainable and if certain organizations do not transform their business then they will struggle without question.  We know what you’re thinking – wouldn’t it be great if the world’s largest provider of data storage systems created a cost effective, cloud-scale solution to solve this enterprise level challenge?

Dell EMC’s Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS)

Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS) is Dell EMC’s 3rd generation object-based storage system that provides the ability to:

  • Consolidate primary storage resources and elevate ROI
  • Modernize traditional and legacy applicationsfor better storage utilization
  • Accelerate cloud native applications to deliver new business value

ECS delivers a multipurpose platform that satisfies a variety of different use cases and plugs in perfectly to almost any existing Dell EMC investment(s). ECS singlehandedly simplifies management, increases agility, and most importantly – lowers costs.  At scale, ECS is undoubtedly one of the most cost effective solutions available in the market today.  In fact, analyst Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) recently conducted a survey that shows ECS provides a 60% or greater cost advantage compared to other leading public cloud providers.   

ECS extends the cloud to primary storage and allows you to free up your infrastructure through Dell EMC cloud-enabled solutions (e.g. CloudPools, CloudBoost, CloudArray, etc.).  Customers have the ability to seamlessly tier colder, inactive workloads from existing primary storage investments (e.g. Isilon, VMAX Series, VPLEX, VNX Series, Vx Series, Data Domain, Data Protection Suite, etc.) to ECS.  This resource consolidation eliminates the need to purchase additional, more expensive platforms and better utilizes the infrastructure you have in your storage environment today.

An object-based platform like ECS can drastically increase responsiveness and better secure data when you compare it to that of a traditional NAS system.  Data is protected using erasure coding and the chunks of data are then geo-distributed across all nodes within the system providing instant read/write access from any location.  Strong consistency semantics ensures only the most recent copy of data is accessed simplifying application development efforts.  A geo-caching capability further enhances responsiveness through intelligent system recognition of access patterns which minimizes WAN traffic and improves system latency.

ECS provides simple and easy access to applications through a single global namespace.  This makes it easy for developers not having to deal with complex NFS file systems – they can focus on app development and not the operations and implementation details behind it.   By modernizing traditional applications into an object store, users get fast and easy provisioning, direct access to content over the web via HTTP, global accessibility through a single namespace, and the absolute best utilization of storage resources in the datacenter.

Cloud-native applications take full advantage of a cloud system framework.  ECS’ architecture is completely software defined with total abstraction from the north and southbound allowing compute and storage resources to scale independently from each other.  Everything within ECS is containerized and there are no hardware dependencies or the need to re-code, re-tool or reconfigure applications as ECS provides multi-protocol support. This allows developers to innovate and deliver their applications to market at a much quicker rate.

Bridging the Gap

Enterprises and cloud service providers alike can leverage ECS as a way to fund their ‘digital transformation’ as traditional, line-of-business applications go into decline and cloud-native apps begin to surge over the next decade.  ECS bridges the gap between Platform 2 (traditional) and Platform 3 (next-gen) applications on a single storage system.  Not only can ECS easily handle the extraordinary amount of unstructured data that’s growing, but as a multi-purpose platform it can serve up all the many different workloads you currently manage today and ready your organization for what the future throws at you.

Follow Dell EMC

Categories

Archives

Connect with us on Twitter