Posts Tagged ‘ECS’

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

 

 

India’s Largest Search Engine Dials into Object Storage

Corey O'Connor

Senior Product Marketing Manager at Dell EMC² ETD

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

Navigating the World Wide Websearch

The World Wide Web was invented by an independent contractor at a nuclear research facility in Switzerland back in the late 80’s (who knew!) In its early stages, the web was extremely clumsy and had to be completely indexed by hand. It didn’t take long for the computer geeks of the world to create a very rudimentary search engine tool comprised of a searchable database of files that captured all public directory listings – the big problem here was the data they were able to ingest was limited and searching through it was a very manual and tedious task. After a few years of development, “all text” search engines were established (which is what we currently use today) providing users the ability to search for any word within the contents of any web page.

Up to this point, search engine tools were developed mostly by university researchers and small startups and although showing lots of promise, they had a difficult time monetizing them. Then one day a spinoff from a startup shop came up with the brilliant idea to sell search terms; a ‘pay-for-placement’ service to businesses which made search engines one of the most lucrative tech businesses almost overnight.     

Just Dial Limited

Like Google to the United States and Baidu Inc. to China, Just Dial Limited is the premier search engine provider in India. Just Dial also provides services to the US, UK, UAE, Canada and satisfies over 1.5 billion daily customer requests that come in from around the world.

The challenge: Just Dial had a strict retention policy of five years for their customer’s data with most of it being static and infrequently accessed. Their traditional SAN infrastructure was neither a cost effective nor scalable solution and like many other organizations, they had their concerns around putting sensitive customer data into the public cloud. There was also a constant demand for storage from their application developers and storage admins as capacity seemed to always be running thin.

The solution: Just Dial was in the market for an in-house, native object cloud-based solution that provided universal access, multi-site support, and easily integrated with their cloud services. They chose Dell EMC’s Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS) and would see an 80% reduction in their overall storage management costs. Just Dial was able to easily provision unlimited capacity to their end-users, move all static archival data to ECS by policy, and experience true cloud-scale economics across their data centers. Watch the video below for the full story:

 

Want to start your Digital Transformation with ECS? Find out how by visiting us at www.dellemc.com/ecs or try the latest version of ECS for FREE for non-production use by visiting www.dellemc.com/getecs.

Buckets, Apps & Digital Exhaust…All in a Day’s Work For a Dell EMC Splunk Ninja

Cory Minton

Principal Systems Engineer at EMC

Grab your hoodies, your witty black t-shirts, and maybe your capes…it’s time for another exciting Splunk .conf, the annual Splunk User Conference taking place this week at the Walt Disney Swan and Dolphin Resort.  All of us at EMC are excited to be sponsoring .conf for the third year in a row, and this year our presence will be bigger and better than ever before. Dell EMC is hosting two technical sessions this year, we’ll have more than 20 of the Dell EMC Splunk Ninjas running around learning and a large booth in the partner pavilion demonstrating our technology solutions.. For all the details, check out our .conf16 site.

This year marks the beginning of a great relationship between two awesome tech businesses: Dell EMC and Splunk.  We joined forces through a formal strategic alliance that started in February.  This alliance enables Dell EMC and its partners to sell Splunk’s industry leading platform. And, it allows Dell EMC unique access to Splunk technical resources for solution design, testing, and validation.  Most importantly, it creates a framework for these two technology powerhouses to collaborate more effectively for customer success.

Why Dell EMC for Splunk?


When we talk about customer success, we mean it in two distinct ways: deploying Splunk on Dell EMC platforms and, using Splunk to derive value from Dell EMC infrastructure.

First, we believe success is deploying Splunk on a flexible infrastructure that not only helps Splunk run fast and efficiently, but also one that can scale easily as the usage of Splunk evolves in a customer organization.  We believe that converged and hyper-converged technologies powered by Dell EMC’s robust portfolio of storage technologies delivers on this vision and provide additional enterprise capabilities:

  • Cost effective & Optimized Storage – Dell EMC delivers optimized and efficient storage by aligning the right storage to Splunk’s hot, warm, and cold data long retention and varying performance requirements.
  • Flexible & Scale-Out capacity consumption model – Scale-out infrastructure to meet capacity and compute requirements independently or as a single, converged platform as per your data growth.
  • Data Reduction & other data Powerful Enterprise Capabilities – including secure encryption, compression & deduplication of indexes, and fast, efficient zero-overhead copies for protection.
    Bottom-less cold bucket – Scale-Out storage platforms, whether on premise or in the cloud, obviates the need for a frozen bucket by providing a PB-scale cold bucket solution, simplifying data management and making data always searchable.

splunk2

 

Splunk and Dell EMC engineering teams have engaged in a strategic collaboration to ensure that all Dell EMC platforms have been validated by Splunk to “meet or exceed Splunk’s published reference server hardware” guidelines.  The Splunk team takes this validation process very seriously and customers can rest assured that if they are considering infrastructure for your Splunk deployment, we have done extensive testing. Whether you are looking at hyper-converged solutions like VXRail or VxRack, converged solutions like VBlock systems, or just storage from EMC like ScaleIO, XtremIO, VNX, Unity, Isilon, or ECS, you can be confident that the work has been done by both Splunk and Dell EMC to make sure it runs well.

Secondly, we believe Splunk is an incredibly powerful platform for capturing and deriving value from machine data.  As it turns out, Dell EMC products spin off a massive amount of “digital exhaust” that can be captured easily and used to drive operational intelligence in IT.  Dell EMC has made massive investments over the last few years to build apps for our platforms and make them available in Splunkbase for free.  We’ve built apps for XtremIO, Isilon  and VNX and expect to have many more in the works.  These apps make it simple to ingest data from Dell EMC platforms, and we offer useful, pre-built reports and dashboards to make monitoring these assets simple.  And it doesn’t stop there…once the data is extracted from your Dell EMC platforms, the underlying searches powering our reports or just the indexes themselves can be used in investigations across the entire IT service stack.  One of my favorite things to hear from our customers is the exciting ways they use the apps beyond just simple reporting and I hope to hear many more stories this year at .conf2016.

Dell EMC Splunk Ninjas And Our Top Ten List

 

splunk_ninja_resizeThe Dell EMC Splunk Ninja team are at the show in their Dell EMC blue Ninja Hunt shirts. The Dell EMC Splunk Ninja team is a group of more than 40 systems engineers from across Dell EMC who have been trained the same way Splunk trains its own systems engineers.  The Ninjas hold certifications ranging from SE1 all the way to SE3, we’ve got skills across not only using Splunk, but administering and architecting it at scale.  This is a global team not only available to talk to you at .conf, but also available in the field to have direct conversations with you when you head back to the office.

 

 

Our wise, passionate and zany Ninja team recently pulled together a list of Top Ten Best Practices for Splunk on Dell EMC. This list has been amassed based on years of lab testing and real world customer experience. You may say ‘Duh’ to some, but others may surprise you.

Happy Splunking!

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