Posts Tagged ‘block storage’

Dell & EMC Showcase Their Synergies with the All-Flash ScaleIO Ready Node

Jason Brown

Consultant Product Marketing Manager at Dell EMC

scaleioimage1In case you missed it, on September 15th we announced the Dell EMC ScaleIO Ready Node. This announcement highlights months of collaboration between Dell and EMC to combine the best of both worlds – Dell PowerEdge servers and Dell EMC ScaleIO. The ScaleIO Ready Node brings All-Flash capabilities to Software-Defined Storage to enable customers to transform their data centers, making the path to the modern data center easier with Dell EMC:

There are tons of specs and details about the ScaleIO Ready Node which I won’t rehash here. You can check out the data sheet, spec sheet, and FAQ to get all the details you need. What I’d like to highlight are two key points regarding this announcement:

  1. Bringing best of breed EMC software-defined storage and Dell server hardware together
  2. Optimizing All-Flash with SDS

The first point is really important. There’s a reason why Dell spent 500 gazillion dollars on EMC… oh, it was only $67 billion you say? Peanuts then! But seriously, there are obviously a lot of synergies and opportunities between Dell and EMC, and the ScaleIO Ready Node is one of the first examples. Dell builds best-of-breed servers with its PowerEdge line. EMC is a leader in software-defined storage (SDS), with ScaleIO as its block storage offering. And guess what? ScaleIO runs on x86-based industry standard servers! Bringing PowerEdge servers and ScaleIO together was a no-brainer. It’s like peanut butter and jelly. Or mac and cheese. Or even “peas and carrots”*.

But, it’s not as simple or straightforward as you think. A ton of thought and work went into the planning and R&D processes associated with the ScaleIO Ready Node. Yeah, we’ve loaded ScaleIO onto a variety of Dell PowerEdge servers. But it doesn’t stop there. We’ve introduced a system that is pre-configured, pre-validated, and optimized for running ScaleIO. Plus, it comes with “one throat to choke” for procurement and support: Dell EMC.

I can’t emphasize how important that is. When I talk to customers, they get SDS, they understand there can be significant 3-5-year TCO savings, and they absolutely love the performance, scalability, and flexibility of ScaleIO. But, when the rubber meets the road, a majority of customers are not going to buy ScaleIO software and then procure <insert your favorite brand> servers from another vendor (but if they do, I hear Dell has good stuff). So, we’ve simplified the process and enabled faster time-to market by using Dell EMC’s supply chain and services so customers can hit the ground running – while preserving the flexibility which is a huge differentiator for ScaleIO. See what two ScaleIO veterans have to say about this:

The second point is the formal introduction of ScaleIO into the All-Flash (AF) arena. Yeah I know, every product out there has AF capabilities, and yeah, flash is becoming commoditized, and yeah, you could run AF ScaleIO clusters before the ScaleIO Ready Node. Regardless, AF is the way of the future and one of the foundations of the modern data center. So, we’re combining two key foundations to transform your data center – All-Flash and Software-Defined Storage – into a single platform to make it much easier for customers to start their journey to the modern data center.

What’s important about the AF ScaleIO Ready Node is how we optimize flash with SDS. ScaleIO’s architecture is unique and is the key behind unlocking the power of AF. All of the SSD drives within the All-Flash ScaleIO Ready Node work in parallel, eliminating any and all bottlenecks. Each node scaleioimage2participates in IOPS and there’s no cache to get in the way – for reads or writes. The ability to take full advantage of the aggregate performance of all SSDs makes it possible for performance to scale linearly as you add more servers.

Customers have the ability to migrate Tier 1 and Tier 2 application workloads with high-performance requirements to All-Flash ScaleIO Ready Nodes without missing a beat! Check out Dell EMC’s All-Flash page for more details, and if you want to see some guy talking about the All-Flash ScaleIO Ready Node, click here.

We’re extremely excited about the release of the ScaleIO Ready Node. It’s awesome to be one of the first products to be released by Dell Technologies that highlights the synergies between Dell and EMC. With this collaboration, we’re able to bring peace of mind to customers and provide unique product capabilities now and in the future. Please visit the Dell EMC ScaleIO Ready Node page to learn more! #GoBigWinBig

*If you’ve never seen Forrest Gump, go watch it. Now!

OLTP Power With EMC ScaleIO: Software-Defined Block Storage for SAP, Oracle & NoSQL Databases

Jeff Thomas

Global ScaleIO SE Director at EMC²

When it comes to getting the best from today’s enterprise OLTP databases, a powerful storage solution is vital. Let’s explore how EMC ScaleIO software-defined block storage gives DBAs all the performance, scalability and resiliency they demand – while also giving infrastructure managers the flexibility, ease of management and cost-efficiency they need.

You may be running traditional enterprise OLTP (on-line transaction processing) database applications from vendors like Microsoft, Oracle and SAP. Perhaps you’re exploring new in-memory databases like SAP HANA, or the latest scale-out databases based on NoSQL (including Cassandra, MongoDB, CouchDB, Apache HBase and so on).

When it comes to database storage, you may be using a high-performance purpose-built array to make it all work. Or, if you have economies-of-scale issues, that may drive you to building your own system with direct-attached storage (DAS).

But software-defined storage (SDS) now offers a third option that promises the best of both worlds. EMC ScaleIO uses smart software to connect multiple industry-standard x86 servers into a shareable pool of high-performance block storage – creating a server-based virtual SAN. Our customers are increasingly embracing ScaleIO as a next-generation block storage platform for their databases – and here are some great reasons why…

ScaleIO OLTP Databases

Software-Defined Flexibility and Agility

ScaleIO software is agnostic to hardware and hypervisor, running on the x86 server infrastructure most organizations already use. ScaleIO can also be deployed flexibly – in a ‘storage-only’ model where storage and applications are on physically separate servers, or in a ‘hyper-converged’ model where each server hosts both applications and shared storage. ScaleIO’s tiny resource footprint means that running hyper-converged has minimal impact on database performance, making this an increasingly popular option.

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EMC’s Commitment to Everything Software-Defined

Varun Chhabra

Director of Product Marketing, Advanced Software Division at EMC

At EMC, our commitment to creating new solutions for software-defined storage is part of our much larger commitment to supporting the entire software-defined data center infrastructure, in which software, completely abstracted from hardware, enables more adaptive, agile operations. Within the software-defined data center, EMC’s evolving suite of software-defined storage solutions plays an important role in addressing the explosive data growth – both in the volume and variety of data — that poses such a tremendous challenge today. We’ve designed these solutions with features like elastic scale-out to incrementally add storage capacity, open APIs for programmatic flexibility and support for analytics-in-place workloads. With software abstracted from hardware, customers can deploy these and other storage capabilities on the hardware of their choice rather than being locked into a narrow proprietary hardware platform, which means vendor flexibility, lower acquisition costs and more efficient storage provisioning for lower TCO over the long term.

In recent years, EMC has beenCommitment to SDS leading the way in introducing new software-defined storage platforms as well as working to transition our existing industry-leading storage solutions into the software-defined model. We entered the software-defined storage market in 2013 with ViPR Controller, which automates storage provisioning to reduce manual tasks and improve operational efficiency by up to 63%. It delivers storage-as-a-service to consumers, minimizing dependencies on the IT team. Since then, we’ve doubled down on our commitment to providing customers with a comprehensive software-defined storage portfolio. We’ve launched ScaleIO, a server-based storage area network (SAN) with a wide variety of deployment options – available as software on commodity hardware, as an appliance (VxRack™ Node) and as VxRack converged infrastructure from VCE (VxRack Flex System) that can linearly scale performance to thousands of nodes in a single federated cluster. On the cloud/object storage front, we’ve launched Elastic Cloud Storage, or ECS, a software-defined cloud storage platform that is built specifically for web, mobile and cloud applications, designed to run as a software-only solution on existing or commodity hardware. ECS scales effortlessly, and provides benefits such as superior economics and global access associated with the public cloud, while minimizing data residency and compliance risks. Both ScaleIO and ECS are also available for consumption as appliances or as software-only solutions.

Moreover, our software-defined products have very tight integrations with other EMC products. For example, our customers can use ScaleIO in conjunction with EMC XtremCache for flash cache auto-tiering to further accelerate application performance. And those who seek advanced-level protection and recovery for their confidential data can use ScaleIO with EMC RecoverPoint to provide replication and disaster recovery protection in ScaleIO environments.

We also made our EMC Isilon storage family, which has long provided industry-leading scale-out storage for unstructured data, available as a software-only solution. Available now, the Software-defined EMC Isilon (IsilonSD Edge) provides the same ability to manage large and rapidly growing amounts of data in a highly scalable and easy-to-manage way, but with the added benefit of hardware flexibility. Customers can deploy IsilonSD Edge on commodity hardware and easily manage enterprise edge locations including remote and branch offices, replicate the edge data to the core data center and seamlessly tier to private or public clouds.

As our customers move into the new world of software-defined IT, EMC provides a solid base on which to build the scalable, flexible infrastructures that will transform your data centers to meet the future head-on. Our growing portfolio of software-defined storage solutions is a fundamental component of that base, providing a range of scale-out solutions to meet rapidly growing and changing data demands.

To keep up with more EMC SDS information and trends, visit: www.emc.com/sds

 

Inside Out Meets Scale Out-Server SAN

Jason Brown

Consultant Product Marketing Manager at Dell EMC

Having recently seen Pixar’s brilliant animation film Inside Out, I couldn’t help but draw parallels between the five fascinating emotions featured in the film and those that affect an enterprise customer’s buying decision, especially when investing in a technology that is as disruptive as software defined. Inside Out takes a refreshing peek inside the human brain where 5 personified emotions – Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust – live in a control room and drive rational responses. It is interesting to see how these emotions can be applied to the software-defined changes taking place today in the storage industry and how EMC® ScaleIO® fares in this evolving market.

Joy & Sadness: Let’s face it! In anJoy enterprise storage setting, Joy equals big bucks – either earned in gross revenue or in cost savings. Just as Joy acts as the prime driver of the personality in the film, all business decisions are driven by a subliminal urge to maximize profit and/or minimize cost. But sometimes the urge for excessive joy overlooks other subtleties in decision making, such as choosing a free, open source solution over a paid but high-performance alternative. An overemphasis on profit or cost reduction has the tendency of skewing away from the strategic trade-off point that gives the optimal returns for your business. As the film evolves into its third act, Joy eventually realizes that Sadness actually performs the critical function of restoring our emotional balance, a key ingredient for decision making. Likewise, as organizations expand and data requirements in terms of capacity and IOPS explode, CTOs and CIOs have to realize that there’s no single magic bullet for their constantly growing storage problems. No one articulates this more effectively than Randy Bias in his insightful take on the charade of ‘unified storage’. Put simply, if you want high performance and scalability, what you need is not a Swiss army knife, but a solution that is optimized and purpose-built for that specific requirement. ScaleIO, which is designed to deliver optimized performance and scalability from commodity servers, plays that role to a hilt.

AngerAnger: The fiery redhead character stays true to its name, acting as a stimulus whenever it sees injustice being meted out. Like Anger, we all want to be dealt with fairness, especially when dealing with huge enterprise purchases. Imagine the frustration of undergoing fork-lift upgrades for end-of-life hardware, with no intention of utilizing the full rack capacity and not having a choice to use it for any other purpose. ScaleIO keeps Mr. Anger calm and composed with its extremely fair and flexible ‘pay-as-you-grow’ scalability and licensing models. In an industry where choice comes at a premium, ScaleIO enables the flexibility of configurations, empowering IT organizations to build the solution that best fits their application and business needs. To top it all, ScaleIO software not only simplifies the deployment of a fully-architected server SAN, it also eliminates the need for unpleasant, rage-inducing activities like capacity planning and data migrations!

Fear: Like an overanxious anti-virus who lives and  breathes FearMurphy’s Law, Fear is on a constant vigil against potential disasters lurking around the corner. In the world of storage, one often finds Fear steering the control panel of our nervous system in case of mission critical workloads susceptible to unscheduled data outages due to outdated IT infrastructure. Enter ScaleIO – designed to survive the unplanned and unpredictable. It maintains uninterrupted I/O operations with its automatic data rebalance / rebuild capabilities across the cluster, and non-disruptive upgrade support. An ESG Lab validation report confirmed that a ScaleIO failure test in the “worst-case” scenario would easily put Mr. Fear permanently and uncharacteristically at ease.

DisgustDisgust: Disgust comes across as someone with really high standards and refuses to lower them. In other words, she can’t stand mediocrity. There are enterprises that are pioneers and market leaders in their own fields and like to maintain that position. They are hard to impress and have high expectations when choosing technology partners. You need to be the best in your product/service category in order to do business with them. When it comes to scale-out, server SAN block storage, ScaleIO is just that. With a tested scalability of over a thousand servers, an eye-popping ten million plus IOPS, and up to 60% better TCO than traditional SAN, ScaleIO is just the kind of technology with whom Disgust won’t mind letting her hair down for a change.

So, with EMC ScaleIO passing the Inside Out test in my books, it’s time for you to download your Free & Frictionless copy of the software and tell us how your control panel reacts!

 

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

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 GUI

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!

ScaleIO: Focusing on Total Customer Experience

Jason Sturgeon

ScaleIO Product Manager at EMC

Latest posts by Jason Sturgeon (see all)

Releasing ScaleIO into the Wild with Free and Frictionless

On May 29th 2015, ScaleIO software became available to download by anyone with a couple of clicks to deploy a software defined storage solution on your hardware; with no time, capacity, or feature limits. Sounds simple, and for customers we want it to be simple.  Many things took place behind the scenes to make the release a success that may not be apparent. Initially, we wanted to launch sooner, but based on customer feedback, we knew the installation process could use some improvement. For a customer without prior experience, the installation was not as simple as it needed to be.  We needed to fix that before releasing ScaleIO into the wild. But how did we know what our customers really wanted? Well, we listened. How did we collect the information needed to simplify the installation process?

We started a project to collect Customer Experiencefeedback. We gathered some technical users, and did remote usability testing sessions where we would record them installing ScaleIO. We consolidated feedback about quality of documentation, ease of installation and time to install. Users also had the option to give direct feedback and many did.

We then took all the input to the engineering and documentation teams. What we found was that we needed to change the way installations worked for simple deployments and this led us to create an installation wizard that guides new users through the process. The advanced deployment option is still there for users that prefer that installation process.

ScaleIO Installation

But did it work? Before releasing to the world, we wanted to verify. We ran through our installation testing with a new set of users, using a beta build of ScaleIO version 1.32.0. We also greatly changed how the quick start guide helps a user though the setup. In this second round of testing, we found the feedback was much more consistent and a huge step in the right direction. The time to install went down considerably. They now found the quick start guide cleaner and the steps easier to follow as well.

Interested in becoming more involved?

We’ve got some very cool things we are working on to make the entire experience with ScaleIO even better, so stay tuned. As we continue updating ScaleIO, we want to shape it into something that makes your job even easier. Our best method to do that is to listen to you, so please give us feedback. The first step is to actually take ScaleIO for a spin, if you have not already. Once you have, go to our ScaleIO community site and join the discussions. We are reading and responding to your posts, taking them into account as we evolve ScaleIO with new features and expanded functionality.

Read more about EMC’s Total Customer Experience Global Celebration here.

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