Recent blog posts
In the past, applications and OLTP workloads have demanded a server’s entire CPU and memory resources.  With breakthroughs in server technology, today there is more server power than ever with abundant CPU, RAM, Network and local disk capacity.  ScaleIO enables applications and storage to run together in a hyper-converged infrastructure, simplifying operations and lowering cost in both bare-metal and virtual environments.  ScaleIO provides enterprise-class storage capabilities while running applications, databases, and hypervisors on the same application servers. EMC ScaleIO’s ability to provide elasticity, scalability, and high performance make it a key component of software-defined storage.   ScaleIO’s recent integration with ViPR, support for VSPEX configurations and improved GUI environment give EMC customers the ability to leverage any commodity servers to build a hyper-converged infrastructure.  With this emerging software-defined storage category called “ServerSAN”, Service Providers, SMB’s and enterprises can achieve new levels of efficiency by converging the traditionally separated compute, networking, and...
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Since I promised you ‘more to the story’ in my previous Blog, here’s a follow-up on why Software Defined Storage (SDS) is a fact – not fiction or hype – and why you should at least be aware (and will probably soon care) of it.  Frankly, it’s gaining a lot of attention and traction in the IT world lately.  In particular, SDS platforms are foundation technology for Software Defined Data Centers (SDDCs) whereby storage hardware resources, control and data services are abstracted by an “umbrella” software-defined top, holistic layer for aggregating, federating, monitoring and centralized control of storage services.   SDDCs in themselves can do more with less (hardware resources); are more efficient; and are ideally suited for virtualized computing, cloud computing and big data manipulation and analytics.  EMC products like hyper-scalable ScaleIO (for block storage) and the ViPR SDS object and file platform fall into this category.  And ‘umbrella’ SDS...
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OK, I admit it.  I’m professionally and personally sold on Software Defined Storage (SDS) architecture and ScaleIO in particular.  No surprises here right?  Considering this web site and my role at EMC… But I truly believe in the value proposition software defined storage in general brings to contemporary Data Centers of today and future ones of tomorrow.   And I’m not a lone voice or some techie prophet here.  Far from it.  During IDC’s recent Directions 2014 Boston session, Software Defined Storage and Software Defined Data Centers (SDDC) were highly visible and showcased in well attended sessions throughout the day.   ScaleIO got honorable mention too.   So SDS is clearly on IDC’s radar.    Incidentally, IDC defines SDS as “any storage software stack that can be installed on commodity resources (x86 hardware, hypervisors, or cloud) and/or off-the-shelf computing hardware. Furthermore, in order to qualify, software-based storage stacks should offer a...
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I've seen the future! The other night I was watching a clip from one of the several “Terminator” movies I have in my catalog. Like or hate them, Arnold’s Terminator franchise movies feature some intriguing futuristic Technoid pleasers and intense – if not wild  – CGI rendered glimpses of the increasingly core-centric role technology will  further play in our daily lives  in the future.   OK, maybe they’re a bit too dark and intense.  Somebody’s future “nightmare vision” of the rise of global computer networks and cyborgs ‘federating’ into a single entity (and what happens when things go sinisterly wrong)…  So let’s just focus on the technology piece…and only the positive aspects of all this compute power and data sharing coming together.  After all, I don’t want you to ‘terminate’ this read right here. J Beauty is in the eye of the beholder Given I’m a ‘techie’, these type of movies often...
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  I was invited to present ScaleIO at the EMC Nordic Fight Club in Sweden. That was probably one of the best venues I attended. Enter the Fight Club Superdome Let’s describe it a little:  Location – Skyddsrummet – an abandoned barracks somewhere in Stockholm. The place is carved out into the mountain. The rock walls give it a different atmosphere.  ...and its all carved into the rock inside a mountain - Awesome! The place has 2 halls. The fight club (where the presentations take place) was set as a boxing ring – ropes, punching bag, microphone, projectors, music - the works. The moderator (Anders) is dressed like a judge. The 100 attendees - sitting in front of you - were SEs and partners from the Nordic-Baltic area. The presentations are all technical. When you are called to present there’s loud music, smoke, lights and you are wearing a boxing robe. (Mental...
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  Well, it’s March and we New Englanders are hopeful spring will come later this month without further “Snocalypse Now” events.  After all, “Hope Springs eternal”, right?   And the thought of spring with warmer, longer days does infuse one with a bit of excitement and enthusiasm.  Life starts to move quicker.  So the topic of movement and speed comes to mind – in this case, Flash Storage. Snocalipse Aside from ripping off some catchy ad slogan from a few years back, this Blog’s “Moving at the Speed of Flash” aptly applies to the many recent advances in storage technology and product solutions that are driving the IT market today.  One way or another, they’re all based on Flash technology -- or are enabled by it.  I’m specifically referring to PCIe Flash cards and SSDs based on NAND non-volatile memory (NVM) cast in lightning fast silicon chips.  This technology is responsible...
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It occurred to me that we ScaleIO evangelists quite frequently talk about “elasticity” when extolling the many virtues of a fully featured hyper-converged software defined storage platform such as ScaleIO that creates versatile Server SANs.  It gets star billing along with “convergence” and “scalability”.  At the same time, I think this much touted ScaleIO elasticity feature should get some extra attention in the form of a bit more focus.   And since IT managers are trying to simplify and – at the same time -- stretch and extend their data center resources (ala the proverbial “do more with less” conundrum) while at the same time not “starving” their users of storage capacity, I thought I’d also focus on some practical benefits when deploying ScaleIO. So the “convergence” of these two thoughts spawned this blog on “Elasticity” and specifically what this important ScaleIO feature brings and means to Datacenters and IT admins...
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Two weeks ago was an exciting time for ScaleIO, Vmware Partner Exchange and the Storage industry as a whole. It was ScaleIO’s first appearance at Vmware Partner Exchange and boy did we come out with a bang! We had a lot of fun, made some new and unexpected friends, and learned a lot along the way. Below is a quick recap of the week’s activities: Monday Night Monday evening was a time for celebration, although only a few people really knew why. Later in the week we would be unveiling a game-changing product into the industry and we figured, why not celebrate now? So we hosted a party at a local pub, along with some of our new best friends: LSI, SuperMicro, and Mellanox.  Booths The EMC booth will always be our home when it comes to events and a huge shout out to everyone that helped out and made the...
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Wikibon introduced a new term to the industry a few weeks back.  “Server SAN”.  You can read about here. A pretty relevant term... One that perfectly applies to and describes ScaleIO.  Boaz Palgi, our ScaleIO EMC VP, reflects on that in his blog. Specifically, Wikibon defines their newly minted Server SAN term “as a pooled storage resource comprising more than one storage device directly attached to separate multiple servers (more than one).” Why is this important? Frankly, “Server SAN” is in response to the growing visibility, importance and recognition of a new breed of storage architecture – converged infrastructure – where computational, networking and storage functions are all consolidated into a single layer of physical or logical resources.  That’s a pretty broad definition.  But so are the implications for saving you a fortune, depending on how you implement one.  While there are many different terms bandied about (right or wrong) to...
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I have attended every VMWorld and nearly every VMware Partner Exchange in North America since the end of the physical era.  I joined. Watched robots fight. It was cool. Everything I own is now virtualized. My cat catches frisbees and my children clean their own rooms. Two pretty amazing things you can't get with physical cats or children. At my first VMWorld in San Diego, I was alone, manning a small table with a small CLARiiON array and some marketing slicks.  “Yes, you can change the underlying characteristics of a VMFS volume without rebooting…with CLARiiON’s LUN Migration capability.”  Total Lack of Redundancy The most common question I answered was, “How can I get support for Windows from Microsoft if I am running VMware?  What happens if they find out?”  It was a simpler time.  Storage software used to come in big boxes called “storage arrays” and everyone was afraid of Microsoft....
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We’ve been having a really cold New England winter this season in MetroWest Boston, so when I was asked to go to the Virtual Technical User Group’s (VTUG) “8th Annual Winter Warmer” a couple of weeks ago  to “look and see” I had fleeting (if not wishful) visions of a quick trip to Florida or someplace “warmer”.  Well…I quickly found out I’d only be motoring about 30 miles south to Foxboro Stadium (our hallowed New England Patriot’s lair) for this VTUG gig.  So much for warmer climes...  But despite the New England winter cold, I pleasantly found VTUG 2014 to be warmer indeed.  The venue Actually…it was tropical (metaphorically speaking at least).  Why you may ask?  Flash and Software Defined Storage for virtualized platforms  were the dominant product themes generating considerable interest and activity at this otherwise pretty small and laid back VTUG session. Both technologies we’re prominently showcased by vendors...
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When you buy a server it always has some storage device (HDD) in it which at least stores the OS. That device is generally small – commonly a half terabyte HDD of some sort or another. So, in an average datacenter there are a few hundred application servers, all holding some storage devices which are actually not put into use.  Let’s do a quick calculation. Say you have a 100 application servers in a cluster in your datacenter. Each one came with a 0.5TB HDD which only holds the OS (the application uses an external shared storage). So, in total, there is 50TB just lying there. That’s a lot of money. Why not put that capacity into some good use?  How you ask? The answer is simple – EMC ScaleIO. Just install ScaleIO on all the servers in the cluster. ScaleIO has a very small footprint and minimal CPU consumption. ScaleIO...
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No. Not that world.    We are Pirates, but come on...I am talking about the IT Infrastructure World, of course. It's getting flatter every day. Sure, there are plenty of SAN Worshipping Druids out there still that consider anything other than their world view to be blasphemous, but increasingly there is a realization that the convergence of these traditional layers makes a whole lot of sense. EARLIEST KNOWN SANSeparate, distinct servers can still be seen atop primitive storage arrays. Wooden racks and sheepgut-channel cables have deteriorated over the centuries.  Although the "olde ways" will continue to serve some applications well for some time to come, the limits of "scale up" hardware infrastructure and serialized software operations are clear for all to see. Databases designed long ago can be accelerated with flash and software wizardry, but ultimately they will give way to the Power of Parallelism: Software designed this century, running on...
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One of the benefits of being a large and rich portfolio company, such as EMC, is the opportunity to design solutions that take advantage of multiple technologies by establishing seamless synergy among them. In this article we’ll be looking at the ability to take advantage of adding flash and cache technologies into a ScaleIO deployment. Putting these technologies together in one solution architecture shows that the whole is greater than the sum: there are tremendous benefits to be gained from leveraging these EMC technologies into an integrated solution.   In previous posts, we have been discussing some of the many benefits that ScaleIO can deliver. In addition to the virtues of convergence, elasticity and scalability that are inherent to the ScaleIO architecture, ScaleIO also delivers a great architecture for performance demanding workloads. This is due to the parallel and distributed nature of ScaleIO deployments, which eliminates bottlenecks and prevents single...
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It was with pride and pleasure - and with a delay of a week – that I read Wikibon’s announcement today: Wikibon is initiating ServerSAN as a new category, and defines ServerSAN along the lines of ScaleIO’s original design points from 2010. As the only ServerSAN vendor with both software-only and bundled/appliance solutions in the market, we sure welcome some competition. Of course I second Stu’s view that competition increases both awareness and adoption. The only part that I am really missing in Wikibon’s ServerSAN requirements is scalability. Nobody expects any “big bang” deployments – many customers like to start relatively small and then to grow big. However, one of the Dirty Little Secrets of ServerSAN (and any other tech) solutions is that if the product was not designed for scale from scratch, i.e. from day one, it will never really scale. Enterprises have been consolidating their local datacenters into huge mega-datacenters. Service Providers...
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When talking to customers from enterprise organizations they always tell me: I get the concept of software defined storage. I see the benefits in convergence, scaling with performance and elasticity (especially elasticity) - I love ScaleIO! Question though - how does EMC ScaleIO come into play in my datacenter? I already have external SAN storage (HDD and Flash); I have internal storage for all servers (HDD, SSD and PCIe cards). I have different capacities and performances. If I get ScaleIO what do I do with all the storage I already have? This reminds me of the Fibonacci Soup. Long ago, when I served in the armed forces (in a computer-geeks squad) we would go to lunch at mess hall. Often we would meet our friends coming back. “What’s to eat?” “Fibonacci Soup!” That means: The soup of two days ago mixed with the soup from yesterday makes the soup served today...
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Data is on the rise. More and more data is generated, collected and stored for immediate or future use. By future I mean tomorrow, next week and even 5 years from now (does SOX ring a bell?). Companies retain data records for their operations, BI analysis and more. And the amount of data keeps piling up. Storing all this on enterprise grade storage is a must! On the other hand – budget is tight – no matter where you are. A CIO is always on the spot – asked to do more with less. Budgets frequently translate to less. Less resources, less storage hardware, less storage media, less support service, less maintenance – less! Hence the paradox - store more data with less money. Up until now there was no single solution for this matter. Cheap hardware still costs money, and if it is really cheap it doesn’t leave up to...
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My girlfriend Irith - actually she’s my wife but I just never got used to calling her that - has one of her pretty rare “must-clean-everything-up” moods today and just found these three-years-old plasticized slides. When we just started ScaleIO, I used to cold-call and meet as many prospects as possible. During those early meetings, I used these slides to sign up our first set of customers. At that time we didn’t know the now widely-recognized term “convergence”, and therefore we used to describe the paradigm-shift that we were enabling as “vertical consolidation of IT tiers in the data center”. Not much time passed since then, but a lot has happened. We grew the company from just an idea to a robust product that runs production environments of some of the world’s leading enterprises and service providers today. ScaleIO has been part of a large enterprise now for almost six months....
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