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EMC World 2014 begins today in Las Vegas with a flurry of announcements from the storage giant. The most interesting announcement today is EMC's quickly expanding entrance into the software-defined storage market with the release of the EMC ECS (Elastic Cloud Storage) Appliance. For a company that has very deep roots in selling big iron, this is another strong indicator that EMC is taking the SDS market very seriously.
The ECS Appliance allows customers to create hyper-scale cloud capabilities and capacities in either private or hybrid cloud environments. The new solution combines the best features of public and private clouds at a price point between 9%-28% lower total cost of ownership (in object storage implementations) than leading public cloud offerings from Amazon or Google. The appliance is a modular, scale-out solution built on commodity hardware with up to 2.9 petabytes in a single rack, but can be clustered to exabytes.
EMC is basing many of their announcements, including the ECS Appliance, around the term "3rd Platform". This term refers to the convergence of technologies such as smartphones and mobile devices, cloud computing, social media, big data analytics, and similar technologies that are redefining workloads in modern data centers. These new applications present unique challenges in regards to security, availability, and scale. Software-defined storage solutions built on commodity hardware, such as the EMC ECS Appliance, are built to provide a solution that addresses all the technical challenges associated with the 3rd platform, but at a price point and flexibility never before offered by EMC.
EMC Corporation just announced a new addition to the VNXe product line, an entry-level VNXe3200 storage array that starts out under $12,000. Available in Q2 of 2014, the new VNXe3200 is touted to be three times the performance of the previous VNXe models. It is designed to take advantage of new flash technology via the EMC FAST (Fully-Automated Storage Tiering) software which makes it well suited for virtual applications. Each VNXe has a maximum capacity of 200TB and is capable of both NAS and SAN. Several pre-configured bundles are available on the EMC online store and the entry-level bundle appears to be configured for 3.6TB of raw capacity.
The new VNXe features include:
- Support for 3 times more virtual machines, virtual desktops, Microsoft SQL transactions, and Exchange mailboxes.
- Ease of management and setup: deploying either NAS or SAN can be done in under 15 minutes. There is also a new "get help anywhere" support feature and a "set it and forget it" functionality through automated tiering with FAST.
- More power in a small and efficient 2U footprint. It reduces capacity requirements by up to 50% with thin provisioning and file deduplication, and leverages space-efficient snapshot technology.
In addition to the new VNXe product, EMC also announced an upcoming security feature enhancement for the VNXe family, Data-At-Rest-Encryption for VNX (VNX D@RE). Using controller-based encryption, it is designed to help customers eliminate data access from unauthorized drive removal and supports any drive type, speed and capacity. The new encryption feature is expected to be available on the new VNX Series as a non-disruptive software upgrade in the third quarter of 2014.
Red Hat, Inc., a leading provider of open source software solutions, announced today that it will acquire Inktank, the developer of Ceph, a leading software-defined storage platform for object, file, and block storage that runs on off the shelf hardware. Inktank had secured several early adopter customers who have deployed their solution to run both public and private clouds including Cisco and Deutsche Telekom, as well as established a partnership with Dell to deliver the solution to a broader market.
The software-defined storage market is still a very nascent one, but it has quickly been gaining steam over the past two years. According to a recent IDC report, "Software-defined platforms will continue to grow faster than any other market segment in the file- and object-based storage market." To capitalize on this growth, Red Hat's acquisition of Inktank's Ceph platform is a perfect addition to their existing GlusterFS-based storage offering.
SanDisk Corporation, a leading manufacturer of flash storage solutions, announced not one, but two new product lines today. Both are born out of their $307M acquisition of SMART Storage Systems last year. First, the Lightning Generation II 12Gb/s SAS SSDs built to address enterprise requirements of maximum uptime and intense throughput performance. And for customers more interested in high capacity, SanDisk has also announced the industry's first 4TB SSD, the Optimus MAX.
The new Lightning SSDs are two times the speed over previously available 6Gb/s SSDs, now providing the highest performance possible for web-scale data center application workloads. According to John Scaramuzzo, senior vice president and general manager of enterprise storage solutions at SanDisk, "Business data needs are becoming so performance-intensive that even applications that are already using SSDs need an additional boost." To address these ever increasing performance requirements from enterprise customers, SanDisk's new Lightning drives are capable of delivering up to 190k/100K IOPS of random read/write performance and sequential read/write speeds of up to 1000/600 MB/s for write-intensive application workloads.
For customers that require less performance but the maximum capacity, SanDisk also announced the first 4TB SSD, the Optimus MAX. According to Scaramuzzo, enterprise IT customers are "looking for a way to transition their data centers from HDDs to NAND flash, but have been forced to decide between cost and performance. The Optimus MAX eliminates the need for compromises." The new 4TB drives are now on par with what is available in the HDD space, at least in the high performance enterprise drive market. In the past, companies have relied on 15K rpm SAS spinning disks for mission-critical applications because they provided relatively high performance at a low cost. Now, with high-density SSDs that have higher performance like the Optimus MAX, enterprises are free to replace slower HDDs without paying a huge premium.
Our evaluation of the Micron P420m PCIe SSD ended on a high note; the P420m delivers a plentiful helping of performance at a very friendly price-point. The key to mass adoption of flash in the enterprise will always be centered around value, and combining a hefty 1.4TB chunk of flash acceleration to existing infrastructure is a great proposition.
Today CacheBox announced the addition of the P420m PCIe SSD to their compatibility list. The P420m joins other Micron SSDs as certified for use in CacheBox's CacheADVANCE application acceleration software. CacheADVANCE leverages flash solutions to speed existing HDD infrastructure without disrupting the existing environment.
Providing the speed of flash for hot data, and the capacity of bulk HDD storage for colder data, is the most economical deployment model for flash in the datacenter. This marriage of Micron's P420m and CacheADVANCE software nets a 14X increase in performance and a 93% latency reduction in CacheBox's MySQL OLTP workload testing.
This morning, Seagate Technology announced that it has begun shipping the world's fastest 6TB capacity 3.5-inch hard drive. The new Seagate Enterprise Capacity 3.5 HDD V4 features the fastest performance available for a "nearline" HDD, thanks to Seagate's utilization of an eighth-generation platform that allows the new HDD to deliver up to 25-percent more performance than competing 6TB drives.
"Unstructured data growth is doubling exponentially and will propel the digital universe to reach 16 Zettabytes of data by as early as 2017. This will cause cloud service providers to look for innovative ways to store more within an existing footprint while lowering operational costs," said Scott Horn, Seagate vice president of marketing. "Seagate is poised to address this challenge by offering the fastest 6TB enterprise capacity HDD based on our proven, reliable platform meeting this never-ending demand in both private and public cloud data centers."
Supermicro announced the first server, a 2U 2-Node UltraTwin featuring hot-swappable 1U nodes, to be released in the new Ultra Architecture SuperServer series. The new server is built on dual Intel Xeon E7-2880 v2 processors that now support NMVe SSD's.
With the ability to support a high number of cores, large memory capacity, and high performance storage techonology, Supermicro is targeting this server for virtualization applications, datacenters, cloud computing, and HPC. According to Shannon Poulin, vice president of Enterprise IT for Intel's Data Center Group, these servers are built "to handle increasingly complex data intensive workloads in mission critical, highly virtualized environments."
And according to Charles Liang, President and CEO of Supermicro, there will be several more additions to this Intel based series - "UltraTwin is the first in a line of upcoming servers to take full advantage of this groundbreaking architecture and expands our MP solution range with support for Intel Xeon E7 v2 series processors and peripheral technologies."
This particular first release has a great deal of expandability and high availability features built-in. It features two hot-swappable 1U nodes each supporting dual Intel Xeon E7-2880 v2 processors, up to 2TB in 32x DIMM slots, 2x 2.5" NMVe SSDs, 8x 12Gb/s SAS 3.0 2.5" HDD/SSDs, PCI-E 3.0 expansion in 2x full height, half length and 1x MicroLP cards and onboard support for 2x 10GBase-T ports. The UltraTwin supports redundant 1280W (1+1) Platinum Level High-Efficiency (95%) Digital Switching power supplies.
Supermicro announced their entry to the software defined network market at Interop Las Vegas 2014 this week by demonstrating its new SDN SuperSwitch and MicroBlade microserver solutions. The new 1U SDN switch platform is based on the Intel Open Network Platform using Intel switches and processors combined with Intel Open Network Software (ONS). The MicroBlade also incorporates Intel switch modules featuring SDN functionality and an Intel Atom C2000 control plane processor.
Leveraging Intel's technology, the new Supermicro SDN solutions offer flexibility, agility, security and dynamic manageability. According to Rose Schooler, vice president of Intel's Data Center Group and general manger of the Communications and Storage Infrastructure Group, "The new Supermicro SuperSwitch, developed from the Intel ONP Switch Reference Design, delivers a high performance, easy to deploy and cost effective network switch that offers management and control functionality."
While there are most likely cost benefits for enterprises that deploy SDN, it is this improved flexibility in management of the network that makes this technology so appealing. According to Charles Liang, President and CEO of Supermicro, the "new SDN enabled SuperSwitch and MicroBlade switches provides Data Center, Cloud and Enterprise environments the greatest flexibility to dynamically allocate networked resources as data demands shift." With datacenter workloads constantly shifting and blending, this ability to dynamically allocate network resources to hungry workloads is paramount.
The so-called "Internet of Things" will disrupt the technology world, with 26 billion units supported by 2020, shaking up the data center, according to the Gartner research group.
IT services will help monetize the market further, with IoT product and service suppliers queuing up to join a quickly growing market.
"The enormous number of devices, coupled with the sheer volume, velocity and structure of IoT data, creates challenges, particularly in the areas of security, data, storage management, servers and the data center network, as real-time business processes are at stake," said Joe Skorupa, VP at Gartner, in a press statement. "Data center managers will need to deploy more forward-looking capacity management in these areas to be able to proactively meet the business priorities associated with IoT."
Some companies also are embracing an open platform to create solutions for the Internet of Things, though that will be difficult as IoT infrastructure is still in its infancy.
SolidFire, the Boulder, Colorado based manufacturer of all-flash storage systems has announced Q2 2014 availability of Carbon, Version 6 of its Element OS. Included in this upcoming release is a whole new set of enterprise class features such as real-time replication and integrated backup & restore.
SolidFire is providing this upgrade for free to existing customers including all the new enhancements. The new features included are:
- Native 16Gb Fibre Channel connectivity in an active/active scale-out configuration, which can be used simultaneously with existing 10Gbit iSCSI support
- Real-time remote replication for long distance data protection and disaster recovery, with integrated compression and deduplication
- Mixed-node cluster support, allowing customers to mix any current-generation SolidFire nodes in a single cluster, along with future systems, giving customers immediate access to the latest flash technologies and completely eliminating the forklift storage system upgrade
- Integrated backup and restore to secondary storage, including any object storage that supports the S3 or Swift APIs