Posts Tagged ‘Commodity Storage’

Goodbye Data Migration: ScaleIO Software-Defined Block Storage

Jason Brown

Consultant Product Marketing Manager at Dell EMC
Data migration is a big IT headache – but could software-defined storage be the remedy? Let’s see how Dell EMC ScaleIO software-defined block storage makes data migration blues a thing of the past.


Traditionally, data migration during a hardware ‘tech refresh’ is a costly and painful process that also puts your data at risk – but it’s unfortunately been a requirement with traditional SAN arrays on a 3-5 year repeating cycle.

There are three major categories of pain that need to be considered in regard to a traditional data migration:

  • Human impact
  • Technology challenges
  • Financial costs

The pain of data migration to your people

First consider the human impact of data migration. There’s the stress caused to the storage admin or team – and the owners of the applications and data that are hosted on the storage. A data migration is very disruptive and can typically be a year-long process from start to finish.

For any datacenter-class array, the planning for a data migration is a months-long exercise that involves going to every single affected application owner, and scheduling a window to migrate their application and planning for the potential downtime. The storage admin then needs to build a calendar with the schedule for each individual app migration. This negotiation process can be a very painful and politically charged process – and causes a lot of stress on the admin and the organization.

Then, the execution of the migration takes place, usually over many months, with the migration team using nights and weekends to perform the migration during lowest impact hours. During the actual execution of the migration, the storage admin will face even more pain, such as:

  • 24/7 monitoring and daily reporting
  • Angst and stress of the migration process
  • Constant demands from application teams during the process
  • Time away from other job activities (and potentially family) due to the migration.

The technology challenges of data migration

Another key category of pain is the technology aspect of data migration. How will the migration be executed? Using a specialist migration tool or application? Conducted by professional services or storage team? What processes will be used to decrease risk and minimize downtime?

There are also big risks associated with data migration. What if you don’t complete your data migration within the allotted time? What if the migration fails due to a data corruption during the movement? There’s no 100% guarantee of success. Organizations that are particularly risk-averse will move all production off that system first – but this kind of pre-work beforehand leads to more costs.

The economic and financial costs of data migration

A study by Wikibon in 2014 estimated the cost of a storage migration project to be approximately 17% of the total cost of ownership for a storage array, including initial cost and maintenance. The typical cost of a data migration could therefore amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars for a datacenter-class storage array.

The expense of moving to a new storage system will include not only the so-called ‘hard costs’:

  • Purchase and installation cost of the new storage array itself.
  • Cost of specialized migration software and services if using them.
  • Overtime costs for admins executing and monitoring the migration.

Additionally there are the ‘soft costs’ involved:

  • Economic impact of lost revenue from application downtime.
  • Typical loss at least a year of serviceable time on the storage array due to the year-long migration process.
  • Any costs associated with risk / downtime / migration issues.

A future without data migration?

All these kinds of painful issues are top-of-mind for admins when it comes to data migration. Getting rid of migrations is about getting rid of all these hard and soft costs. It also releases value by giving your IT people a big chunk of their lives back, and allowing them to focus on value-added projects – instead of another year of moving data around.

One of the attractive promises made for new software-defined storage (SDS) is its elimination of the dreaded process of data migration. So can SDS really remove data migration from the storage management equation?

Eliminating data migrations – with Dell EMC ScaleIO

With Dell EMC ScaleIO software-defined block storage you really can transform your approach. In a similar way that VMware virtualized the compute operations of the datacenter 15 years ago, ScaleIO today abstracts and pools local storage resources in each server, and automates provisioning of capacity and performance back to applications on those servers.

Your shared pool of ScaleIO storage is physically dissociated into distributed software components running on industry-standard x86 server hardware. This software-defined approach helps make data movement between storage painless and automatic.

To extend the analogy with virtualization, think about how an admin does a ‘slow roll’ when upgrading a compute cluster. There is no wholesale VM migration or replacement of the cluster – it’s an ongoing perpetual process, performed a server at a time as needed, and requiring no downtime or impact to the hosted applications. There are also specific tools in place (from the hypervisor) to execute and automate this as a seamless and transparent background process.

Guess what? ScaleIO achieves a very similar transformation for storage!

 

A seamless, perpetual process

Of course, data movement still happens within ScaleIO – but we like to think it’s nothing like ‘data migration’ as you’ve previously known it. And much of the time, you won’t even notice it’s happening.

The processes of balancing in a new node and evicting an old node are all seamless to your applications. When a new server node is added to the cluster, an automatic data rebalance occurs, spreading some data from each existing server node across to it. Similarly, when the storage admin decides to ultimately decommission a server node, it is removed by issuing a command that automatically redistributes its data across the rest of the servers in the cluster. This is all completely transparent to your applications.

With ScaleIO, maintaining and upgrading storage becomes a painless process – rather than the old-style painful epic project. This is basically the model of storage management pioneered by web-scale companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon. They had to overcome the challenges of their huge data environments, running mission critical apps that cannot afford any downtime, and where wholesale migrations are not feasible. They achieved this by moving from arrays to home-grown software-defined infrastructure running on top of many x86 servers. ScaleIO is an enterprise-grade, commercially supported, and standards-based solution that follows similar operational principles.

It’s automatic, it’s programmatic – it’s ScaleIO greased lightning!

Organizations that are making the best use of software-defined technologies like ScaleIO tend to be highly automated in their IT. They are already using software automation tools for deployment of servers, OSs and applications. With ScaleIO, storage provisioning and deployment is automated in the same framework – programmatically.

You can simply decide when it’s time to expand your storage and do it in granular steps, one x86 server at a time. Similarly, when a server is old and no longer desired, you can decide to evict it from the cluster, one server at a time, on-demand. ScaleIO enables the concept of a perpetual rolling upgrade, so you maintain optimum efficiency and performance across all your storage – without the headaches of traditional data migration.

With ScaleIO, it doesn’t really matter what specific kind of server is attached to the storage cluster – whether it’s VMware, Hyper-V, bare-metal Linux, or whatever. There’s no need to worry about operating any particular environment. ScaleIO takes a platform-agnostic, heterogeneous approach. It enables the same processes, regardless of your OS or applications.

Say goodbye to data migration challenges with ScaleIO

We think you might enjoy a world without data migration headaches. So why not explore the advantages of Dell EMC ScaleIO software-defined block storage for yourself?

Dell EMC ScaleIO software is available to download and try for free.

Learn more about Dell EMC ScaleIO advantages for your datacenter.

Open Source and the Modern Data Center: How {code} by Dell EMC enhances ScaleIO software-defined block storage

Joshua Bernstein

VP of Technology, Emerging Technology Team at Dell EMC

Why has open source become such a big deal, even in the enterprise data center? If you answered “to save money”, you wouldn’t be in the minority. But, despite what many may assume, it’s not principally about cost savings – although that may be one benefit. The attraction of open source is in its name – that is, its ‘open’ nature, both in terms of access to the code and to the developers who maintain and enhance it.

To boil it down, open source enables you to run data centers through software, with better and easier integration opportunities between diverse systems than has ever been possible before with proprietary offerings.

Open Source Advantages for the Modern Data Center

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Access to Open Source Code & Project DevelopersFreedom of Choice & Flexibility for UsersEasier Integrations Between Diverse Systems

Emerging open source infrastructure software thrives on freedom, flexibility, innovation and integration. Integration is particularly important because it enables discrete components to seamlessly work together as a system. This software thrives through community involvement, and the ability to integrate with both modern and existing processes and infrastructure, which leads to quicker adoption.Enterprises are looking to data center IT transformations to help them meet the ever-growing and fluid expectations of their customers. Key to this is establishing a modern data center strategy, specifically one that is optimized for resource consumption. By embracing systems that are operated as software, organizations are more readily able to adapt to changing demands and opportunities.

{code} is Dell EMC’s open source initiative to deepen ties with the developer and open source communities. Through {code}, Dell EMC is enabling these communities to seamlessly fuse proprietary software with open source technologies.

Leveraging Container-Focused Solutions

Containerization is having its big moment in the world of enterprise IT – specifically with open source infrastructure and application platforms, such as Docker, Mesos, Cloud Foundry and Kubernetes. Container-based infrastructure represents a major evolution in the way applications are deployed and managed. Not since the appearance of the virtual machine has a technology been so transformative. Containers give IT more choice of infrastructure, since it gives teams greater control over application dependencies, which enables them to adopt more agile operational methods.

However, a big challenge for fully adopting container technology is that it’s not a one-to-one comparison to virtual machines. With containers, how can users run persistent applications inside of these lightweight, ephemeral constructs? We believe this is a key challenge that prevents the wider adoption of container-based infrastructure.

REX-Ray: Meeting the Persistent Storage Challenge

To solve for this challenge, {code} has been working for more than a year on developing REX-Ray to deliver persistent storage capabilities to container run times. It provides a simple and focused architecture for enabling advanced storage functionality across common storage, virtualization and cloud platforms. As an open source project, new features and functionality continue to be added to REX-Ray, aimed at continuing to lead and set the bar for providing persistence capabilities to containers.

Storage is a critical element of any IT environment. By focusing on storage within the context of open source and software, we’re able to offer users more functionality, choice and value from their deployments. One solution that works really well with REX-Ray is Dell EMC’s ScaleIO software-defined block storage.

REX-Ray and ScaleIO: Simpler Block Storage for Containerization

REX-Ray acts as the ‘glue’ between the container platform and ScaleIO – a software-defined storage solution that provides block level storage services on commodity hardware. This solution enables IT to move beyond purely stateless applications for containers, to confidently deploying critical stateful applications in containers as well.

ScaleIO is the gold standard for software-defined block storage platforms. It gives organizations the flexibility and freedom to provide storage through commodity servers in a range of deployment models – including hyper-converged architectures without a performance overhead. Through the seamless integration between REX-Ray and ScaleIO, the complete life cycle of storage is managed and consumed by container solutions such as Docker, Mesos, Cloud Foundry and Kubernetes.

Through {code}, Dell EMC has demonstrated its commitment to support the open source community. By ensuring that its software-defined storage solutions such as ScaleIO work seamlessly within a modern data center (which already integrates wide-ranging technologies such as virtualization, containerization, automation and cloud) and DevOps environment, we are making software-based storage technologies relevant in the open source community. Advanced integration, developer enablement and dynamic engagement all made possible by {code} are making ScaleIO an increasingly valued and attractive block storage option for the open source community.

Learn more about {code} by Dell EMC.

Join the {code} Community.

Want to get your hands a little dirty with the technology?

Download and test ScaleIO inside a VM environment.

Request a vLab demo:

Docker, Mesos, and ScaleIO for your persistent applications.

 

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.

(more…)

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