Posts Tagged ‘software-defined data center’

Free and Frictionless Downloads of EMC Software-defined Solutions Now Available

Sam Grocott

Senior Vice President, Marketing & Product Management at EMC ETD

You’ve been hearing a lot from EMC about our software-defined storage (SDS) offerings and how you can use them to build a more adaptive, agile storage infrastructure. But enough talk — it’s time you tried these products in your own environment and experienced those benefits firsthand. To that end, we’re offering Free and Frictionless downloads of these SDS products: ECS, ScaleIO and IsilonSD Edge.

Free and FrictionlessFree and Frictionless means just what it says: downloads at no cost, easy installation on your preferred hardware, testing on your own terms and timeline — and then, once you’re ready to go into production, a simple, direct route to purchase. It’s our way of enabling you to see for yourself exactly how EMC software-defined storage can benefit you before you invest any budget in it.

These aren’t streamlined trial-only versions, either. They’re full-featured, enterprise-grade offerings that cover the following SDS products:

  • ECS, EMC’s software-defined, elastic cloud storage platform for web, mobile and cloud applications
  • ScaleIO software-only, server-based SAN with scale-out performance
  • IsilonSD Edge provides SDS solutions for enterprise edge locations including remote and branch offices

Just click on these ECS, ScaleIO and IsilonSD Edge links and start using the software for free right away. Installation is automated and takes about 15 minutes, and every product comes with automated configuration management, too. Try it, use it, share it within your organization, innovate with it — whatever you want to do is going to be easy and effortless, so go for it.

Only when you’re ready to go into production do you pay for anything. And that’s easy, too: Just choose whether you want to continue with the software-only product or buy it as part of an EMC storage solution, and then visit the EMC eStore You have ample opportunity to experiment with our products and you won’t have to spend any dollars until you’re dead sure. At that point, you also get the combined weight and power of EMC’s entire support infrastructure behind you.

But that’s later. Right now, go get your ECS, ScaleIO and IsilonSD Edge versions of the EMC software-defined storage product you want to try. This is where the rubber meets the road. And you don’t even have to talk to a tire salesman.



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:


Software-Defined Storage Goes Way Beyond Storage Virtualization

Yoram Ramberg

Yoram Ramberg

Yoram Ramberg

Latest posts by Yoram Ramberg (see all)

I’ve been reading and talking to folks about software-defined-storage (SDS) and software-defined-everything and found out that we often use the terms ‘SDS’ and ‘virtual storage’ interchangeably. This doesn’t sound right. It is useful to distinguish between these terms as they are better used for two distinct concepts. Let me see if I can offer a better real world definition, or at least description, for these terms.

Storage virtualization is typically used to describe an abstraction of storage technology. The latter may be a storage array, which, via virtualization, appears to us as several arrays, each with its unique LUNs. The opposite is also conceivable: manifest a single block space by virtualizing a set of arrays. So, if you’re running an application that performs block I/O, it can talk to the virtual array as if it were a physical box, with its addresses, controllers, and redundancy. Virtualization helps to make an efficient use of the underlying hardware. Instead of managing actual boxes with various capricious demands and hard limits, look at them as if they were well behaved units of your own specification. Under the covers, your virtual storage SAN maps to actual physical storage but the complexities of the latter are conveniently hidden. Good.


Virtual storage can do more. For example, your application can use a virtual SAN based on Server San technology (such as EMC ScaleIO). As far as your app is concerned, it has access to shared block space. Under the hood, though, Server SANs map to various storage media. Mostly, these are servers’ DAS aggregated into a large pool of block storage. Your app doesn’t know the difference, but your storage admin can do wonders they wouldn’t be able to achieve with physical boxes:

  • Elastically grow or shrink the capacity: mix and match physical media types and multi-vendor, multi-model compute resources
  • Scale capacity and performance smoothly and linearly without downtime and with no rip-and-replace upgrade
  • Deliver predictable high-performance and throughput

Your app doesn’t care; it keeps humming as always, oblivious of the underlying magic that provides it with its block storage view of the world.

Virtual Storage is Cool
Software-defined storage is frequently used to address the general environment of storage operations. SDS provides a full stack of storage technologies and unified management thereof. Capabilities such as backup, replication, disaster recovery, block or file access, private/public/hybrid clouds, storage federation (multi-site) and more are all under one software umbrella of global model and management. It is very likely that the stack contains multiple virtualization layers. However, the key in SDS is the ability to view storage-as-a-service (there’s even an acronym: STaaS) with end-user self-service portal, policy driven provisioning, automation, orchestration and more. Admins become service definers, not cable pushers and pullers or CLI poets. EMC ViPR is the quintessential SDS platform. Software-defined storage is what modern data centers are made of. In fact, modern data centers are software-defined data centers (SDDC), where SDS is at the core and the rest of the stack, networking, compute and applications are all virtualized and software-defined.

SDS rocks!

“Analyze This”: How Analytics, Pattern Recognition and Software-Defined Storage are Transforming the Datacenter…and Your Life

Rodger Burkley

Principal Product Marketing Manager at EMC

Pattern recognition! That’s what we carbon-based ‘humanoids’ are good at…since the very beginning when humankind first started walking upright. As a whole, we’re really adept at observing our immediate surroundings, natural environment and a sundry of other random and not so random things. We notice what happens around us in our personal biosphere, and existential universe. We notice things that touch our lives in some significant or insignificant way. From the mundane and annoyingly trivial to profoundly grave matters affecting our very existence like: Cause/effect; action/reaction; commotion/notion; fascinations/machinations; observation/correlation; discovery/recovery; monitoring/manipulating, detection/correction; measuring/tabulating; analyzing/theorizing and so on. My, how busy we are! A strong survival and pain avoidance instinct does that. And so does natural selection.

It comes down to situational awareness (SA). SA gleaned from recognizing patterns that allows us to understand interrelationships and dynamics so we can plan for; act on and hopefully accurately predict events, occurrences and outcomes. Of course, sound ‘policies’ usually evolve, improve and get codified in the process. Just think about how much you observe in your daily life. Chances are you’re constantly coming up with possible ‘situations’, course of actions (COAs) and maybe even personal policies based on probabilities or predictability for all different reasons, seasons, ligations, occasions and outcomes. And we tend to make these ‘root cause’ observations, COAs and predictions on both general abstracted assumptions and/or backed by granular data analysis. We can even ‘virtualize’ scenarios and problem solving while day dreaming….or conjuring up ‘what ifs’.

Sure. Our animal friends observe, learn and internalize various patterns too. But those are instinctual and mostly passed on genetically – or through environmental conditioning per Ivan Pavlov’s proverbial dogs. Humans, however, consciously think about observable things and draw sound, factually-based conclusions and learn…so we can have some degree of control over our lives. We analyze this and that…in an iterative loop that continually observes, associates, adjusts, plans/predicts, executes and – hopefully – maybe controls certain patterns.

This same ‘systematic’ process applies to smooth running data centers internally as well as business analytics overall and so many other vital monitoring, sensing, control and data gathering activities for resource and operational planning, predicting, forecasting and measuring results in any closed loop system or ‘function’. After all, it’s all about managing people, money, time, processes and/or limited resources and conserving, preserving, growing the same while “doing more with less”. As a result, online (and increasingly real-time) analytics are a big deal for data centers whether anticipating peak traffic/work load demands; detecting bottlenecks and impending failures to decomposing compute, network and storage usage into granular consumption based internal charge-back billing. It’s a known human trait that we all tend to use and waste less stuff when it actually costs us something. Against this backdrop of analytics in data center,, Software-Defined Storage (SDS) and Software-Defined Data Center (SDDCs) platforms are key technology enablers. Not just for ‘utility billing’ but for virtually all aspects of a data center operational status and health monitoring.

Why SDS and SDDCs? Human traits and psychology ‘observations’ aside, we technologists and purveyors of efficient data collection strive to do so for good, useful purposes…such as making our lives (and mostly mine!) easier, more efficient and consistently successful. In fact, that’s a major part of EMC’s 3rd Platform value proposition: creating accessible and actionable business intelligence for the mobile user community at large. Turns out SDS platforms provide an essential framework for online analytics, whatever their focus might be. True enough – SDS is the ‘great consolidator’ of ubiquitous and diverse data storage and processing for 3rd Platform customers everywhere.

The simple, undeniable fact is all this data (file, object/blob, HDFS, block, key) we now routinely have within our grasp needs to be selectively accessed; converted to actionable information, analyzed and refined in a timely manner. There is such a thing as ‘time value’ of data and proper execution! Hence Big Data, the Cloud, the 3rd (and soon the 4th) Platform, SDS and comprehensive analytics for monitoring and decision support are all merging. The ‘convergence’ of these current big computing trends is transforming our Information Technology industry or – more aptly — the Information Transformation industry. This “imbuement” of sorts hit me recently while I was attending IDC’s Directions 2014 conference in Boston where Big Data, Cloud Computing SDS, SDDCs and analytics were showcased. Recently, EMC World’s 2014 “Redefine” theme in Vegas only reinforced this.

Source: EMC Advanced Software Competitive Research May 2014

IT has been steadily transforming not only the way people gather, store and share various data types – but also how we’re able to quickly analyze, process and convert data into useful information for meaningful execution and accurate predictions. So OLAP includes — but isn’t restricted to — in-house Data Center monitoring, event detection, actions, planning and predictive modeling. But it can also be applied to just about anything worthy of analyzing and controlling. Ironically, resource abstraction in this case brings more clarity with greater accessibility business intelligence for us masses…at our fingertips.

Indeed, technologists and solution developers have leveraged and enhanced our innate observe and analyze behavior with advanced IT hardware, software, platforms and solutions – and analytic applications — across the board and entire data center spectrum. How you may ask? We have been able to accomplish this feat through SDS’s inherent ability to aggregate, pool and even globally federate local or geographically dispersed data across underlying storage hardware resources and file, object and block data in the Cloud and various Data Spheres. And it does this with a distinct decoupling (and independence!) from the storage resource infrastructure beneath it. SDS is a key technology enabler of these advanced real-time, near-line and/or off-line analytics software applications for SDDCs and the 3rd Platform! Solutions like ScaleIO for hyper-converged/hyperscale block storage and EMC’s ViPR’s federated, holistic control and data services monitoring in mixed, heterogeneous storage hardware resource environments are leading the charge.

Yes, the 21st Century of Information Transformation is upon us…and so is the SDDC, courtesy in large part to SDS. While SDS itself is not a panacea or solution to world hunger, it’s changing the way we run our data centers and how we access and manage mobile and device level data spread across mixed storage hardware resources, data types, platforms and arrays. With the wide span of control and monitoring capabilities SDS brings to the data center and user community, applied analytics and modeling applications that will be better able to access disparate data, information and platform-centric environments from a centralized single access point – reducing (if not eliminating) the need for highly
trained data analysts and scientists! Our insatiable thirst to discover, recognize and predict patterns will be quenched at a wider, much deeper and more granular level! So we can all continue to “Analyze this!” (or “that”, or whatever inspires us).

Storage Transformation Demands New Thinking (When it Comes to Software-Defined Storage, if it Walks like a Duck and Quacks like a Duck, It Still Might be a Pig!)

We live in interesting times right now in the storage business. What was once considered a “boring” sector of IT is now hot again. We have new vendors entering the market at a furious pace, trying to gain position in all-flash, flash attach, and software-defined storage. Additionally, we also have traditional storage incumbents looking to box out the new entrants through different combinations of product re-brand, acquisition and/or partnerships.

The new vendor entrants are the most fun to watch in my opinion. Unencumbered by installed bases, or legacy technology (or politics!) they are free to try new approaches to long-standing issues and roadblocks that always emerge as technology matures. Some new players have truly unique and interesting solutions; others have only marketing spin.

Watching some of the traditional storage vendors try to counter these new offerings is generally quite amusing, and in iStock_000035622116Smallsome cases just plain sad. They trot out technology that has been around for years declaring it to be Software-Defined, and Cloud ready or whatever they think will make them most relevant. The most common response I see is the re-brand. You know the drill: product XYZ was our storage virtualization/storage OS product for years, but now it’s called product ZYX and it’s software-defined storage because we dropped the hardware requirement! So it’s now Software-Defined Storage (SDS)?

It all just serves to remind me why I work where I do. One of the great things about working forEMC is the company’s ability to blend both the innovation and enthusiasm of a startup with our traditional storage business. My group, the Advanced Software Division is a great example of this. EMC looked out over the storage landscape some years ago and made a pretty bold bet. They did not choose to re-purpose and re-brand existing technology. Rather they went outside the box (literally outside the company walls) and hired Amitabh Srivastava to build it from the ground up. Now Amitabh was building cloud storage in his last gig, so he has been in on this SDS, cloud ready stuff for a while. EMC was listening to our customers tell us they needed a new approach, and that’s what we went out and did, starting from scratch to develop a solution that could help customers transition to the next storage generation.

The product that we developed was of course, ViPR, and it’s been fun to watch the impact it has had on the storage market in the year it’s been around. First our competitors said it was vaporware and would never ship; then ViPR shipped. Next they witnessed the traction we received in the press and they all said that they have SDS too, it just wasn’t called SDS; uh-huh. Then they said ViPR only works with EMC hardware; well yeah it does (kinda not smart of us to leave that out) but as we demonstrate in ViPR 2.0, it works with their stuff just too.

So now we are at the point in the compete cycle that I call the “bundle” phase. That’s when you realize you can’t compete very well head to head, so you start adding other stuff off the truck; it’s software-defined storage plus game show answers! Or it’s our old file system plus our old management tools! You just didn’t recognize it as SDS all these years (bad customer! No discounts for you!). Now, I am not trying to throw stones at glass houses. All mature IT vendors have had to deal with something like this at some point in time, and I sure that EMC has been guilty of the same at some point. But not this time.

My point here is to note the impact ViPR has had on the storage market in the year that it has been around; Storage stalwarts like IBM and HDS calling it out by name and new startups are gunning for it. I think it is refreshing to see an incumbent IT company that is willing to take a different approach, something out of the norm to solve a customer problem. As for the other vendors in the storage market: well you better buckle your chinstraps people. ViPR became generally available in September of 2013, we added HDFS in Jan 2014, then ScaleIO (Block) + Geo-distribution/redundancy+ deeper OpenStack integration in June 2014. Sensing a trend? I am looking forward to the next year and beyond to see if these competitors can keep re-spinning, re-branding etc. quickly enough to keep up with the ViPR development teams.

Accelerating and De-risking Your Journey to the 3rd Platform

Jason Cowie

Jason Cowie

Jason Cowie

Latest posts by Jason Cowie (see all)

With software-defined data centers transforming the way IT is delivering services, enterprise management vendors have struggled to keep up with the paradigm shift from managing individual elements to managing IT services.  Modern, on-demand services deployed across highly virtualized and cloud-based infrastructures require radically different management approaches to ensure a predictable quality of service.  Recently, in his Mind the Gap keynote speech in London, Amitabh Srivastava described EMC’s strategy for helping customers make this transition while “bridging the gap” between traditional client/server (2nd Platform) and cloud (3rd Platform) computing environments with a robust set of management and automation capabilities.


With the introduction of Storage Resource Management Suite 3.0 (SRM 3.0) and ViPR 1.1, EMC has taken a huge leap forward in delivering simplified, unified, and automated management for legacy and software-defined datacenters. Congratulations EMC!  A single product, a single architecture, and a single pane of glass.  Not only has EMC delivered on a common presentation layer that is easily customizable and intuitive, but they have also delivered a highly scalable and flexible backend data ingestion engine thanks to the acquisition of Watch4Net (now fully integrated into SRM 3.0).  Why is this so important?  This open and extensible architecture allows EMC to ingest, analyze, and correlate data sets from best of breed solutions for unparalleled visibility, analytics, reporting and automation.

At Virtual Instruments our goal is to help customers manage the performance of their IT infrastructure across physical, virtual and cloud computing environments. IT leaders today are grappling with increasingly complex IT environments, many of which are highly virtualized, and are trying to manage a tremendous amount of data.  Software-defined solutions are enabling IT to dynamically respond to changing user and application needs, assuring that IT can deliver a flexible and scalable infrastructure. All of this drives the need for a sophisticated set of Infrastructure Performance Management capabilities to ensure the IT infrastructure is operating at peak performance. The Virtual Instruments team is pleased to announce theVirtualWisdom SolutionPack for the EMC® Storage Resource Management (SRM) Suite.

The VirtualWisdom SolutionPack extends and enhances the EMC SRM Suite by providing sub-second performance analysis and SCSI-level protocol visibility to help accelerate the transition from the 2nd Platform to the 3rd Platform.

Virtual Wisdom:  Analyzes Performance of Every Transaction in Real-time and is Fully Integrated into EMC Storage Resource Management Suite 3.0


Ensure High Performance Before/After Data Moves


With exponential growth in data and applications, IT frequently struggles to effectively manage scale up and scale out to meet the demands of application owners while maintaining service level objectives (SLOs).  More often than not, IT attempts to address this problem by delivering excess capacity as an attempt to provide a performance buffer for application scale out while loosely defining SLOs around utilization and capacity. Unfortunately, legacy measurements like resource utilization and capacity are inadequate for ensuring the consistent and reliable delivery of millions of applications to billions of users across next generation platforms.  The ability to accurately measure I/O exchange completion times (ECT) in real time across every transaction is a far more effective and accurate measurement of how well the underlying infrastructure is responding to application requests and how well it will perform under load or at scale.  At the nucleus of Infrastructure Performance Management is the ability to measure infrastructure latency with I/O completion times while aligning workloads to infrastructures that can support those SLOs.

Exchange Completion Time (ECT). Analyzes every I/O transaction, every second

VI1VirtualWisdom dashboard widget provides a real-time view of application instance metrics, here, showing read response for two applications are unacceptable and points SAN infrastructure as the culprit.


This dashboard widget clearly shows a latency problem in the SAN by identifying an Exchange Completion Time of over 41 miliseconds, at the server port.

Infrastructure Performance Management is the ability to continuously capture, correlate and analyze in real time, the system-wide performance, utilization and health of heterogeneous physical, virtual and cloud computing environments.   By combining the performance and capacity monitoring capabilities of the EMC SRM Suite with the sub-second protocol level visibility of Virtual Instruments VirtualWisdom SolutionPack, EMC is the first storage management vendor to deliver an integrated measurement and optimization solution for de-risking and accelerating the journey to the 3rd Platform.  By unlocking this unique data set (200+ metrics every second across every I/O transaction) within the EMC SRM Suite, customers can safely and confidently leverage ViPR to automate the management and provisioning of storage across heterogeneous vendors and cloud providers.  With the confidence to define, set and adhere to SLOs knowing every I/O transaction will be measured and monitored in real time, minding and managing the gap will undoubtedly become a thing of the past as EMC appears to have struck a perfect balance between Storage Resource Management (instrumentation layer), ViPR (abstraction and automation layer) and Infrastructure Performance Management (performance assurance layer).  Enjoy your seamless path to the 3rd Platform!



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