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During my 10 year tenure at Microsoft, I met with many corporate and commercial software development teams for architecture review sessions.  The most likely recommendation to result from those sessions was "instrument your code".  Ongoing development, testing and support are much easier if you have a detailed historical record of what has been happening with your product.  Most communication and computer equipment as well as commercial software products that are purchased today produce these detailed records of important activity and events.  This machine generated data is the fastest growing segment of what we call the "big data" market.

 

If you have never been involved in hardware/software development or IT support, this may all sound a little abstract.  If you have access to a Microsoft Windows computer, go to the search bar and type event.  The first suggestion should be a program called event viewer, double click that icon to start the program.

 

event viewer.PNG.png

Welcome to the world of machine data!  Two things I want to highlight are:

  1. There is an incredibly large number of activity and event types that are collected, and
  2. It is impossible, even for an expert, to tell if this machine is "healthy" or not from this display.

 

This is "raw" event data presented in lists.  While the major operating system vendors like Microsoft make it easy for hardware and software developers to write events into a central logging framework using a simple application programming interface (API), the result of all this effort is a giant bucket of bits.  Someone then has to write software to analyze and make sense of the raw event data to derive insights.

 

And all this raw data you're seeing is coming from just one Windows computer.  Every piece of networking, server, storage and specialty hardware gear in and out of a corporate data center has an activity and event logging capability just as complex, or more so, as the Windows OS event system viewer shown here.  And, there are no standards or even conventions for how to construct or store activity and event data employed across multiple products.  Every vendor and every product will have a unique format for machine data.

 

Now you can start to get a feel for the formidable complexity that confronts the operations staff of a corporate data center.  If someone asked me how I would architect a software analysis tool that could handle this level of complexity, first, I would suggest that they design a source independent representation of an activity and event that could represent the entire universe of data sources that I was going to encounter.  Then second, I would start writing source specific pre-processors that would translate the raw data from each source into my internal and universal data representation.

splunk-the-big-data-engine.jpgHowever, if you haven't tackled this problem yet, or aren't happy with the solution you have don't break out a compiler and start writing code.  You should really check out our partner, Splunk Software, ranked #1 in Worldwide IT Operations Analytics Software market share.  They have already implement  this approach and much more for handling the complexity of machine data with their Splunk Enterprise product.


Splunk Enterprise can index any kind of streaming, machine, and historical data, such as Windows event logs, web server logs, live application logs, network feeds, system metrics, change monitoring, message queues, archive files, and more.  Splunk Enterprise transforms incoming data into events, which it stores in indexes. The index is the repository for Splunk Enterprise data that facilitates flexible searching and fast data retrieval.  Splunk Enterprise handles everything with flat files using an application native format that doesn't require any third-party database software products. This architecture gives Splunk a great foundation for controlling scale and performance.


Another aspect of Splunk Enterprise architecture that fits with best practices for handling data complexity is the application (apps) and add-ons framework.   Apps and add-ons are both packaged sets of configuration that you install on your Splunk Enterprise instance that make it easier to integrate with, or ingest data from, other technologies or vendors.  Although you don't need apps or add-ons to index data with Splunk Enterprise,  apps and add-ons can enhance and extend the Splunk platform with ready-to-use functions ranging from optimized data collection to monitoring security, IT management and more.


Dell EMC and Slunk work closely to provide a total solution with Splunk Enterprise and Dell EMC hyper-converged platforms tailored to address the complexity of machine data analytics.  Our Ready Systems for Splunk provide non-disruptive scalability and performance, optimized for Splunk workloads  Dell EMC Ready Systems for Splunk are purpose-built for the needs of Splunk, helping consolidate, simplify and protect machine data. These Ready Solutions include the hardware, software, resources and services needed to quickly deploy and manage Splunk in your business.  Check out these resources for more details


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Ready Systems for Splunk Solution Overview


Using Splunk Enterprise with VxRail Appliances and Isilon for Analysis of Machine Data

 

Splunk Enterprise on VxRack FLEX for Machine Data Analyics


There are a bunch more features of the Splunk Enterprise platform that I want to write about including the use of multiple index locations for data aging and scale and how the main services are implemented as individually install-able and configurable components but that is going to have to be another article - coming soon.


Thanks for reading,

Phil Hummel

@GotDisk

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Solution Summary

VCE, the Converged Platform Division (CPD) of EMC just released a paper titled VCE Solutions for Enterprise Mixed Workload on Vblock System 540.  In this solution guide we show how the Vblock Converged infrastructure (CI) platform using all-flash XtremIO storage  provides a revolutionary new platform for modernizing deployment and management of mixed-workload and mixed-application environments. The Converged Platform Division (CPD) together with the Global Solutions Organization brought together a team with expertise in both deploying  Vblock systems and deep Oracle, Microsoft, and SAP workload knowledge.  The goal of the team was to build, test, and document a near-real life mixed application solution using a Vblock 540 system powered by XtremIO all-flash storage.

vblock-blog.png


The business application landscape for the testing environment consisted of:

                • A high frequency online transaction processing (OLTP) Oracle application
                • A simulatied stock trading OLTP application for SQL Server
                • SAP ERP with an Oracle data store simulating a sell-from-stock application
                • An Oracle decision support system (DSS) workload
                • An online analytical processing (OLAP) workload accessing two SQL Server analysis and reporting databases
                • Ten development/test database copies for each of the Oracle and SQL Server OLTP and five development/test copies of the SAP/Oracle system.

 

The combined test results when Oracle, Microsoft and SAP mixed workloads were run simultaneously produced demand on the XtremIO  array of ~230k predominately 8KB IOPS together with an average throughput of 3.8 GB/s (primary I/O size 64 KB and 128 KB), with an 88 percent read and 12 percent write ratio. Average response times were recorded to be 866 μs, 829 μs for reads and 1152 μs for writes.

mixed workload results.png

IT decision makers who are evaluating new options for data center management to help provide better service with lower TCO should research VCE CI platforms that use all-flash technology. We invite you to read the full report to understand our methodology and results or contact your local EMC representatives to discuss if converged platforms are the right choice for your next data center modernization project.

 

Thanks for reading,

Phil Hummel  @GotDisk

Phil Hummel

IoT meet Hyper-converged

Posted by Phil Hummel Aug 28, 2017

blog iot.pngDay 2 at VMworld.  Vegas is maybe the worst place I can think of to focus and get work done but I'm off to a good start. I actually got up this morning in time to hit the fitness center, do a conference call, empty my inbox, and get food before heading to the show.  I then spent the rest of the morning in the HCI Zone talking to VMworld attendees about our vSAN Ready Nodes and VxRail hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI).

 

I found myself pulling up technical specs on our Virtual Rack kiosk more than I wanted too but I don't get out to as many events as I used to since moving from pre-sales to marketing a couple of years ago.  Now when someone asks me what fluid is used in the liquid cooling with our dense design servers I just say, "i"m in marketing".  Oh, can you get somebody technical?  "Sure".  I'm always amazed by how many people come by the both just to say "our account team is awesome, we love your stuff, no questions - just wanted to say hi".  Energy boosting for sure.  I was also energized by meeting new coworkers and getting to interact with them and customers.  The pace and quirkiness of trade show social engagement creates some really fun moments.

 

With all that was going on the  first session I got to was at 3:30PM.  The session was titled  Enabling the Edge with the Fundamentals of a Hyper-converged IoT Infrastructure given by Greg Bollella, CTO, IoT, VMware.  It was both motivational and informative.  Greg talked about why companies should deploy HCI for their IoT deployments that physically live at the "edge,"  close to where the devices that generate data and take control messages.  Greg also presented some great data on the risk of sending all your real-time data to the cloud and the importance of the hybrid approach when it comes to IoT.

 

A second theme of the talk was about reducing time to deployment.  Currently, IoT implementations require a lot of components, typically from a bunch of suppliers, and therefore take a lot of time to assemble, deploy, integrate, configure and test. Imagine a hyper-converged infrastructure that enables you to speed up deployment, reduce latency and risk, and implement IoT faster and easier.  Perhaps not surprisingly he mentioned VxRail as a great platform for HCI at the edge.  I want to add a plug for vSAN Ready Nodes as a second option for a compact and powerful HCI appliance well suited for placement outside the traditional data center near the edge.  Use this link to read more about  the latest on hyper-converged innovation from Dell EMC.

 

I've been following the discussion of distributed computing for IoT, also known as  fog computing, for a couple of years.  I starting volunteering with the OpenFog Consortium last year and have been working to help organize the upcoming Fog World Congress this October in Santa Clara CA.  This was by far the best presentation I have seen at a non-fog related conference on the need for edge computing for IoT.  It was also the first time I have seen anyone explicitly identify the advantages of hyper-converged infrastructure for use at the edge for IoT deployments.  Very exciting to see the IoT discussion getting real.

 

This year VMworld has a set of sessions dedicated to IoT and a large presence in the exhibit hall dedicated to IoT solutions and partners.  The potential to change the world with smart devices and new models for distributed computing is here and its large.

 

Thanks for reading,

Phil Hummel

@GotDisk

OI.pngOperational Intelligence

There is little debate these days over whether business decisions should be informed with insights driven by data analytics.  Try to find one article at CIO.com , Forbes.com or the Harvard Business Review encouraging business leaders to eschew all the promise of machine learning, artificial intelligence and big data in favor of making decisions from the gut. However the journey from wanting to be more data driven to realizing success is still a big challenge for many organization.  As many as 3 in 4 big data and analytics projects produce little or no tangible benefits.  Success requires the ability to execute on several levels simultaneously. In the diagram to the right I have highlighted the need to bring together the right people, the right data and the right analysis approach in a way that recognizes the strengths and limitations of each component .  In the table below I discuss how each of the three components can be brought together to produce a successful operation intelligence project outcome that leads to better decision making.

 

ChallengesWhy Splunk on Dell EMC
PeopleEvery business and organization has unique characteristics that are known most intimately by the people that work there. That is a key competitive advantage.  For most organizations the time your people spend designing, testing and maintaining IT infrastructure is not going to help build value.  The same can be said about developing data analytics capability.  Every person hour spent wiring hardware and software together to enable your analytics capability is not being spent improving data quality, reviewing results or changing how the business operates.Dell EMC hyper-converged infrastructure running Splunk Enterprise analytics maximizes the time your people spend understanding data, interpreting results and implementing money making changes for the business.  Dell EMC is the #1 market leader in easy to procure, easy to implement and easy to maintain data center infrastructure. Splunk Enterprise is a complete end-to-end analytics solution that handles all aspects of processing data, from input through indexing to search and reporting.  Let your people focus on their strengths by leveraging our strengths.
DataThe three V's of data, 1) velocity, 2) volume and 3) variety, are driving organizations to get more disciplined in their approach to implementing analytic based decision making.  Research shows that data identification, cleaning and merging typically consumes 80% of the time and money spent on data analytic projects.  A lot of that cost and complexity are related to the use of different platforms and analytic techniques for each silo of data.  Organizations that can consolidate data processing for many silos of data onto a single integrated framework drive down the cost of analytics projects and achieve results more expeditiously.  One of the most cost effective ways to deal with the 3 Vs is to standardize the tools and platforms to the greatest extent possible.

Dell EMC hyper-converged platforms deal with the velocity and volume of modern data analytics by allowing fine grained expansion of both compute and storage resources.  No more forklift upgrades or stranded assets when the need arises for increased analytic sophistication with larger volumes of data.


Splunk will turn silos of data into integrated operational insights and provide end-to-end visibility across your IT infrastructure producing faster problem solving and informed, data-driven decisions.  Splunk Enterprise works by first ingesting data from files, the network, or other sources. The data then gets parsed and processed into searchable indexes.  Finally, Splunk allows users to run searches on the indexed data regardless of source.

AnalysisWhen a data analytics project fails to deliver on the initial expectations,  one common reaction is to purchase new analysis tools.  Over time the organization accumulates 6 or more isolated "teams" organized around various tools and business problems.  In my experience this never produces good results and creates an organizational dynamic that is difficult to fix. Another typically ineffective strategy that I see organizations adopt is splitting analytic resources between 1) big data teams with lots of resources and long development times and 2) groups of "power users" with tools like Excel and other desktop scale applications that can generate small wins quickly but lack the ability to scale those solutions to solve big data problems.  Finding tools that scale across broad ranges of data sizes and problem domains is an effective way to minimize these challenges.Splunk Enterprise handles small and large analytic jobs with one framework and one set of tools.  One instance of Splunk Enterprise running on a single server can handle all aspects of processing small to medium data flows, from input through indexing to search. To support larger environments where data originates from many sources and where many users need to execute more sophisticated searches, you can scale your deployment by distributing Splunk Enterprise functions across multiple machines. Dell EMC hyper-converged infrastructure can also start as small as one machine and scale both computing resources and storage to match the design of your Splunk distributed environment including highly available configurations.  One tool set and one platform for any size of data analytics means the whole team is working together.

 

Jointly Validated Hyper-Converged Solutions for Splunk Enterprise

Hyper-converged infrastructure integrates IT components in a scalable rack or appliance allowing you to modernize your data center with simplified management, improved performance, and elastic scalability.  Dell EMC hyper-converged systems simplify all aspects of IT by seamlessly integrating compute, network, storage, and virtualization technologies into one system.  Dell EMC and Splunk have jointly validated two hyper-converged system options for Splunk Enterprise solutions - VxRail and VxRack FLEX.


VxRail for Splunk Enterprise

VxRail Appliances allow you to build your software defined data-center with the only fully integrated, pre-configured, and pre-tested VMware hyper-converged infrastructure appliance on the market.

“VxRail is the simplest, most powerful, most integrated HCI appliance for customers standardized on VMware” - Chad Sakac , The Virtual Geek Blog

 

Download the Solution Guide  Using Splunk Enterprise with VxRail Appliances and Isilon for Analysis of Machine Data

 

VxRack FLEX for Splunk Enterprise

VxRack FLEX powers your data center with rack-scale engineered systems that achieve the scalability and management requirements for traditional and cloud-native workloads.

“If you want an insanely scalable and flexible HCI Rack-Scale system, with hypervisor of choice or bare metal… one that can start small and scale out - VxRack FLEX is for you.” - Chad Sakac , The Virtual Geek Blog

Download the Solution Guide  Splunk Enterprise on VxRack FLEX for Machine Data Analytics


Wrap-up

Both solutions are the result of hundreds of engineering hours.  The Dell EMC engineering team along with Splunk worked together designing specific configurations based on a variety of different deployment scenarios and rigorously tested them to ensure performance. The solutions guides (links above) give you the configurations tested along with implementation guidelines and deployment best practices.  Starting your journey toward more data driven decision making is shorter with less inherent risk when you start with Dell EMC/Splunk jointly validated solutions. 


Thanks for reading,

Phil Hummel @GotDisk

 

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Dell EMC World was filled with product announcements, a flying Chad Sakac, a Michael Dell keynote, and even more excitement!

 

While these headline activities were going on, our Subject Matter Experts were busy in the background presenting to attendees on Converged and Hyper-converged Infrastructure, Hybrid Cloud Solutions, Ready Solutions, and the rest of the Dell EMC portfolio. It was a real educational experience for all who were able to make the trip to Las Vegas.

 

If you weren’t able to attend, we didn’t want you to miss this learning opportunity, so we asked some of our presenters to write about key takeaways and questions from their session.

 

If you have any questions or want to learn more about a topic, leave a comment and we will get back to you!

 

 

VxRail: A Customers Journey to Hyper-Converged Awesome-Sauce

Presenter: Shannon Champion, Product Marketing Manager, VxRail and Mike Conroy, Senior Director, Technical Operations, Rent-A-Center

 

 

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It's always great to hear from customers that are using our technology, but it's even better if they can share those stories with other customers. And that's exactly what the session "VxRail: A Customer's Journey to Hyper-Converged Awesome-Sauce" was all about. Mike Conroy of Rent-A-Center leads a staff of over 30 IT architects, engineers, and managers responsible for managing the entire data center including storage, network, virtualization, and operating systems. I interviewed Mike as he took the audience through the Rent-A-Center IT environment before and after deploying VxRail, which was their first foray into hyper-converged. He discussed why HCI was a good fit and what made VxRail stand out from the competition in their proof-of-concept. He provided impressive tangible benefits they are already experiencing. He also gave really great insights and tips to help make sure the deployment goes smoothly. In both sessions, which each had over 100 attendees, the Q&A was extremely engaging. Customers asked about specific use cases and workloads, configurations and settings, upgrades, data protection, and more. Mike answered every question thoroughly and transparently, which garnered more trust from the audience and kept the questions flowing.

 

The best part? While Mike and some of his key staff were at the show, they deployed additional VxRail nodes to double their existing footprint seamlessly. There couldn't be a better testament to the simplicity of VxRail - good stuff!

 

Learn more about VxRail

 

 

SAP HANA Infrastructure made simple with Ready Solutions

Presenters: James Whalen, Workloads Solutions Marketing and Chris Ward, Global Application Specialist, SAP

 

SAP slide.PNG.png

 

SAP HANA is a transformational (and disruptive) in-memory DBMS, providing the ability to run OLAP and OLTP systems on the same platform.  Now with S4 HANA, companies are looking to mainstream HANA in the datacenter. As businesses embrace SAP HANA,  we know IT needs high performing resilient infrastructure providing scale-up/ out deployment options for this business critical platform. At Dell EMC World, we held a session to learn about DELL EMC portfolio of Ready Solutions (Node, Bundles, and Systems) for SAP. I teamed on the session with Chris Ward, Global Application Specialist for SAP.

 

As SAP HANA represents major disruption to applications AND Infrastructure teams, a  key objective was position DELL EMC infrastructure offers in the context of SAP’s HANA hardware certification model.  There were several takeaways from our session and resulting conversations:

 

  • SAP HANA is a hot topic for IT:  Both our sessions were well attended and with a “show of hands” most if not all customers were in the process of deploying and/or planning their SAP HANA deployments.
  • Clarity on DELL EMC Infrastructure strategy and offers  for SAP:  SAP has it’s hardware certification  with guidelines on deployment options. DELL EMC has infrastructure (servers, networks, storage) options for SAP. It quickly gets confusing for our customers and partners.  So simply stated, our customers were looking to understand and rationalized our offers so they can work with their management and SAP architects when they get back to the office. With Chris Wards support, I really think we accomplished this
  • Partners were excited and looking to expand their portfolio for SAP:  Heritage DELL and EMC partners are already embracing the opportunity to be educating themselves on our portfolio for SAP so they can further develop the go to market and business develop plans.
  • The opportunity is now:  All the SAP customers we met confirmed change is happening. Those committed to SAP as a vendor, realize they need to plan for running HANA in the data center.

 

As a closing thought, customers and partners confirmed we are on the right track!:) They were very receptive to our offers and the completeness of our portfolio for SAP HANA.

 

Learn more about SAP HANA

 

 

XC Series Ecosystem

Presenter: John Shirley, Director of Product Management and Technical Marketing

 

 

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Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI) is taking the world by storm.  While customers are quickly drawn to the ease and simplicity of deploying and managing HCI , we’ve noticed the surrounding ecosystem is still largely designed for traditional infrastructure approaches.  In this session, we discussed how Dell EMC is taking a different approach to solving ecosystems solutions for HCI.  Specifically, we discussed with our customers and partners three distinct topics.

 

First, we talked with the audience about why Dell EMC PowerEdge servers have been designed for the software defined era. Specifically we talked about a set of tools that we have developed which are used as a platform for delivering software on PowerEdge.  This suite of software is call PowerTools and you’ll be hearing more about this from Dell EMC very soon.  We discussed how PowerTools is currently being used on the XC Series platforms (and many other platforms by the way) and how we are extending the tools to be used by our ecosystem partners.  This led us to a discussion on how PowerTools is helping Dell EMC modernize data protection for HCI with Avamar and Data Domain virtual editions by providing our customers with streamlined  deployment, runtime, and monitoring capabilities in a modern UI.  Our next topic focused on a solution for small and medium business customers.  We announced a new product is called XC430 Xpress and it’s all about being easy, reliable, and affordable for our mid-market customers (especially if they are running Microsoft Hyper-V).  Our channel partners in particular were excited to hear about XC430 Xpress as they know Dell EMC understands this market better than anyone in the industry.  Finally, we discussed a modern approach to how customers consume HCI.  A new solution called Cloud Flex allows customers to have a choice in how they consume the technology.  No money down, low monthly payments, no long-term lock in, guaranteed declining payments, and a choice of CAPEX and OPEX are all defining characteristic of Cloud Flex.

 

As you can see, we discussed a lot and we are nowhere close to being done in this area … stay tuned

 

Learn more about XC Series and XC Xpress

 

 

Node-A-Rama

Presenter: Juan Vega, Director, Product Management

 

 

give me nodes.jpg

 

Ready Nodes are an exciting new concept in servers, adding value for customers who want to build and manage their own datacenters, but remove some of the pain points that are part and parcel of “do it yourself.” Simply put, a Ready Node from Dell EMC guarantees you get the right hardware; pre-configures the system with the right firmware and, optionally, drivers; and ensures an improved support experience by delivering contextual, collaborative support right from the start. Customers no longer need to look up an HCL and painfully ensure adherence because Dell EMC offers that as table stakes with our Ready Node configurations. Customers can save multiple deployment steps because Dell EMC’s pre-configuration removes the need to identify firmware and driver versions, download them, and install them…that’s all done before the server ever leaves our factory. And finally, Dell EMC ensures a better support experience because we’ve collaborated ahead of time with our software partners and we both know we’ve delivered a known-good system – so our customers get strong collaboration, not finger pointing, right from the start.

 

Learn more about Ready Nodes

 

 

Interested in Hybrid Cloud Solutions? Check out our Dell EMC World sessions blog on our Everything Cloud at Dell EMC community!

With 13,500 in attendance, there was a lot of excitement around Dell EMC World and the Converged Products and Solutions Division’s offerings of the newly combined tech giants.


DEW 17 BW Cube interview.JPG.jpgBob Wambach, VP of Marketing, Converged Platforms and Solutions Division, sat down with John Walls from The Cube to talk about how Dell EMC is helping our customers on their Digital Transformation journey.

“We are on to a new era… business is demanding transformation, and it is our job to help customers along that journey,” stated Wambach.

 

Dell EMC is facilitating that digital change with products and solutions that cover the full build to buy continuum.  Converged and Hyper-Converged Infrastructure represent the buy side of the continuum, with pre-engineered turn-key systems that take the burden of lifecycle assurance out of the hands of IT, freeing staff to focus on business priorities.

 

The Dell EMC Customer Value Program was created to help customers achieve and fully realize the business value of their Digital Transformation. “We want to help customers assess how they do things, identify what the business needs are, and help them achieve those business results,” said Wambach.

 

The Customer Value Program (CVP) is much more than Total Cost of Ownership. It’s about maximizing business value from infrastructure, and using infrastructure to help enable business innovation. We offer Digital transformation and IT transformation guidance by helping customers chart a baseline through a business value assessment.  Then we create transformation plans that tell them what they can do to get the most value out of their infrastructure deployments.  Guides and manuals offer IT customers a self-service way to transform operations within the organization. Certification programs, professional services and residency programs provide hands-on assistance.  To complete the value cycle, we have a methodology that helps customers measure the impact that the infrastructure has on the business - enabling IT customers to connect what they’re doing in the data center to what is happening in the business.

 

We have a lot of victories to share.  As we take a look at our customer experiences, those that transformed received tremendous value from their CI and HCI deployments. But even in success stories, it is important for IT teams to be able to articulate the value they provide to their businesses. As a case in point, after two years, one of our large industry customers was ready for a tech refresh and wanted to understand their investment better. When we dug in and applied the CVP methodology the customer found tremendous cost savings.  By essentially eliminating downtime, they determined that it translated into millions of dollar of savings per year to the business in lost revenues and resources related to outages.  In addition, IT staff members that were freed to be re-purposed on new services for the company resulted in more than a $1 million dollars per year return on those new initiatives.

 

The purpose of the Customer Value Program is to take customers beyond just understanding how IT supports the business, to becoming drivers of higher levels of business innovation and internal champions of increased business competitiveness.

Healthcare IT professionals are acutely aware of the importance that their technology systems have on clinical outcomes. It's a constant search to find innovative ways to improve systems and processes that have a high and positive impact on patient care.

 

IT professionals are focused on advancing their electronic health records capabilities (EHR).  Converged Infrastructure (CI) and Hyper-converged solutions offer robust platforms to support critical EHR solutions - contributing to the delivery of the highest levels of patient care. 


Dell EMC Provides Some Healthy Advantages
Listen as our customers describe how they’ve transformed healthcare through IT innovation:

  • Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center sees IT as a core part of the business of healthcare.  Its electronic medical records platform based on Epic software provides both its patients and those who care for them the ability to access vital health information from any device, allowing them to integrate care from an acute care or ambulatory setting.
  • ProMedica implemented its new system-wide Epic EHR on Dell EMC Converged Platforms to consolidate disparate systems spurred on by rapid growth. Converged Infrastructure provides the availability, performance and management to support responsive patient care and vital business functions for ProMedica. 
  • Interior Health IT provides the healthcare systems with the tools their clinicians need to make patient care safer and more effective with their MEDITECH EHR, delivering a better clinician experience, which leads to improved patient care.
  • Healtheast Care System invested in converged infrastructure to manage their Epic system and supports more than 300 other applications to deliver a full continuum of care to its patients.

 

If you’d like to learn more about how Dell EMC can help you advance healthcare within the digital era, join us at the HIMSS17 Annual Conference & Exhibition.  We’ll be at booth #3161 on the exhibit floor.


VUG HIMSS invite image.jpg

 

While you’re at the conference, please join the VUG user group dinner meeting on Monday, February 20th at the famous Emeril’s Tchoup Chop in Orlando. This will be your best opportunity to connect with senior IT executives from some of the world's largest healthcare organizations.    Industry experts will be on hand to discuss how converged and hyper-converged solutions can improve performance, up-time and efficiency in the ever-changing world of healthcare IT. Click here for more information and to register.

customer-appreciation-holidays.jpg

This year we wanted to celebrate the customer champions we collaborated with in 2016, and what better way to do that than to introduce the 12 Days of Customer Appreciation! For the next twelve days we will be sharing stories from customers who have had success with converged or hyper-converged infrastructure platforms from Dell EMC.  We’ll announce a new one each day on social media or you can see the full list below.

 

It is also a place for peer-to-peer networking, quick access to opportunities that allow you to showcase your business and IT successes, as well as personal brand development. Members of the Digital Transformers will have exclusive opportunities to attend and participate in upcoming events (both local and global), among many other things.

 

Best wishes to you during this holiday season, and we hope you enjoy learning more about our customer champions!

 

Day 1: Annenberg School of Communication

Day 2: FUJIFILM Medical Systems

Day 3: Melbourne Airport

Day 4: Rent-A-Center

Day 5: Brownes Dairy

Day 6: Dimension Data

Day 7: Insight

Day 8: Data Recognition Corp

Day 9: Mohawk

Day 10: CSI Companies

Day 11: University of San Diego

Day 12: Land Rover BAR

hadoop_sketch.pngWe just passed the five year anniversary of the initial release of Apache Hadoop and I think it fair to say it a ubiquitous technology.  Born out of Google's need to find a way to store and query a repository of every URL in the world, plus all the relationships between them, Hadoop is now synonymous with enterprise big data.  What is fascinating to me is that a technology designed for the largest of the large web scale companies is now providing critical value to so many organizations.  We all interact everyday with companies that use Hadoop but don't think of them in same way we do Google or Yahoo.  The companies we rely are making and selling the everyday goods and services that we want, but yes, they rely on Hadoop primarily to keep us coming back. Hadoop on the other hand is not an everyday product.  Hadoop is better describes as an ecosystem made up of a collection of open source software projects, tools, and people.  Since Hadoop is open source with no single point of control, the Hadoop community is critical to the ongoing success of the ecosystem. 

 

hunk isilon.pngThe core of what makes Hadoop so powerful is the Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) and the MapReduce engine for scheduling and tracking jobs and tasks. An example of how 3rd parties enhance the Hadoop ecosystem is the Dell EMC Isilon enterprise storage platform. Hadoop compute clients can access data stored in an Isilon cluster to perform massive scale analytics by connecting via HDFS.  Isilon's multi-access protocol support means you can also connect to the cluster with your existing workflows and standard protocols, including SMB, HTTP, FTP, REST, and NFS as well as HDFS.

 

On the software side of the Hadoop ecosystem is an incredibly rich set of tools that sit on top or along side Hadoop.  You may have heard of many of the most popular access tools including  Apache Pig, Hive, and  HBase that are also part of the open source Hadoop ecosystem.  What may be more surprising is the integration of commercial software with Hadoop.

 

For example, take Splunk Enterprise, the leading platform for Operational Intelligence that enables the curious to look closely at what others ignore—machine data.  Since machine data management is one of the fastest growing needs for our customers moving into the world of big data, Dell EMC is developing solutions for every stage of the journey from first proof-of-technology to rack scale massive implementations. Through our partnership with Splunk Software, we recently published the results of a joint Splunk and Dell EMC Solution Guide.  It contains both a high level "why Splunk and Dell EMC" section as well as details about the engineering lab work that we did to show how easy and powerful this solution is.

 

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Splunk Analytics for Hadoop is a full-featured, integrated analytics platform that enables you to interactively explore, analyze, and visualize data in Hadoop without building fixed schemas.

It lets you rapidly detect patterns and find anomalies across petabytes of raw data in Hadoop without having to move or replicate data.

 

Splunk Analytics for Hadoop can be used to:

                • Interactively query raw data by previewing results and refining searches using the same Splunk Enterprise interface.
                • Quickly create and share charts, graphs, and dashboards.
                • Ensure security with role-based access control and HDFS pass-through authentication.

 

New paradigms, such as the Hadoop framework, have become extremely popular because of their capability to ingest and store massive amounts of raw data.  This guide is intended for infrastructure administrators, storage administrators, virtualization administrators, system administrators, IT managers, and others who evaluate, acquire, manage, maintain, or operate Splunk Enterprise environments.  In the guide we describe how to integrate Splunk Analytics for Hadoop with an existing data lake implemented using Isilon support for native Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) enterprise-ready Hadoop storage. Please take some time and review this solution guide and use the comment area below to tell us what you think or ask any questions.

 

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VCE Vblock 540 Infrastructure For Splunk Enterprise Solution Guide

 

 

Thanks for reading

Phil Hummel, EMCDSA

On Twitter @GotDisk

 

Social Sharing
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The best way that I have found to describe "Big Data" is data sets that are so large or complex that traditional data processing applications and experience are inadequate.  What I find particulary relevant is that it recognizes 1) we are dealing with a moving target and 2) what is big for one organization can be routine for another based on experience. Take Facebook for example.  In 2012, their VP of Engineering, Jay Parikh, said in a TechCrunch interview  “we think we operate the single largest Hadoop system in the world.”  at around 100PB.  That was big in 2012 but in just 4 years that number doesn't seem so out of the ordinary.   

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For comparison here are some facts that show what ScaleIO customers are currently doing in their data centers

                  • 20PB today going to 100PB in 2017
                  • 4PB growing 100% year over year

                  • 100PB of Oracle alone

                  • 7PB growing 50% each year

                  • 10PB in our ESX environment

 

Of course Facebook has moved on to even bigger volumes with estimated injestion rates of 500+ TB per day, but what was once the territory only known by the largest of large web scale companies is now well within both the needs and capability of a growing number of more traditional manufacturing, banking, health care and other businesses that we encounter every day.

 

cloud data center blog2.pngIn order for enterprise IT teams to achieve their goals they have quickly adopted the best practices of web-scale companies like Facebook, Amazon, Yahoo, and others to operate data centers with ruthless efficiency.  For example, the benefits of server virtualization are well understood in the modern enterprise data center. By abstracting, pooling, and automating compute resources, companies have achieved massive savings.

 

When it comes to managing storage however, the emulation of web scale practices in the enterprise is much less prevalent.  We know that most of the large internet scale companies do not buy commercial storage array products for their core storage infrastructure - they build their own services using commodity hardware and applying the principles of abstraction, pooling, and automation.   ScaleIO Software-Defined Storage applies these same principles to local storage in standard x86 servers to create a high performance SAN entirely with software achieving the same operational and TCO benefits that drive web scale efficiency.

 

Where to start

Our mission is to help bring this level of storage scale and operational efficiency to every organization that is moving toward a full implementation of web scale best practices to their data center operations.  Our interactions with customers have shown that many customers are looking for a purpose-built solution to support their mission-critical application workloads delivering scale, performance, elasticity and resiliency. They want a solution that offers flexibility of choice when it comes to deployment models, configurations and broad support for operating systems and hypervisors. This solution also should be pre-configured, qualified and supported by a single vendor.

 

The All-Flash Dell EMC ScaleIO Ready Node is that solution.  It combines Dell EMC ScaleIO software-defined storage and Dell EMC All-Flash,enabled PowerEdge servers to bring web scale to any data center. Customers can rapidly deploy a fully architected block storage server SAN that is a pre-validated, configured and fully supported solution.


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If you need more flexibility in leveraging new or existing x86 server resources, you can also leverage ScaleIO software to transform them into an intelligent Server SAN.  ScaleIO combines HDDs, SSDs and PCIe flash cards to create a virtual pool of storage with multiple performance tiers that is hardware agnostic.  It can be installed on both physical and virtual application servers.  As storage and compute resources change, ScaleIO software will automatically re-balance the storage distribution to optimize performance and capacity usage.

 

Historically, having server-based flash led to poor resource utilization because performance and capacity were only supporting local applications. Today, with the power of ScaleIO software defined storage, the ability to abstract, pool, and automate storage devices across a multitude of servers, and in turn allocate as little or as much performance and capacity as needed to individual applications, is just as easy as allocating compute and memory resources in a virtualized environment.  Please use these resources to get more details.

 

More resources

 

BlogsVideos
ScaleIO Enablement CenterHow Software-Defined Storage Reduces Total Cost of Ownership
Dell EMC PulseProduct & Technology BlogEMC SDS Customer Success Story: Blue Central Video
Social Media
Dell EMC ScaleIO Ready Node: Transform Your Data Center
Follow @DellEMCScaleIO on TwitterLight Hearted
DownloadsThis Is What Scale Feels Like: Software Defined Storage
EMC ScaleIO Free DownloadThis Is What Choice Feels Like: Software Defined Storage

 

Thanks for reading,

Phil Hummel, EMCDSA

On Twitter @GotDisk

 

Please share with your social networks

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Computers_global_internet_network_data_processing_s_198188897_720x396_72_RGB.jpgI spent eight really great years working with .NET developers at the Microsoft Technology Center in Mountain View, CA.  There was one drum that I beat regularly during those design meetings and lab testing engagements - "why don't you instrument your code?"  Having good telemetry really makes it so much easier to baseline your environment and do trouble shooting. I would always point out the rich sets of application and hardware specific performance counters that Microsoft and other vendors would implemented with every piece of equipment, OS version, and application that they shipped.  What I found out was that my customers weren't doing anything with all the rich sources of telemetry they already had available - until the data center was smoking rubble.  Then a bunch of folks would scramble around trying to do forensics on what logs were still available.  The real problem was log data collection and processing, not adding more sources of telemetry.

 

splunk decn.pngWhatever you call it - digital exhaust, log files, time-series, big data.- machine data is one of the most underused and undervalued assets of any organization. But some of the most important insights that you can gain—across IT and the business—are hidden in this data: where things went wrong, how to optimize the customer experience, the fingerprints of fraud.


All of these insights can be found in the machine data that’s generated by the normal operations of your organization.  The team at Splunk develop software that make this largely untapped wealth of machine data accessible, usable and valuable to everyone interested in enabling digital transformation.


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VCE Vblock 540 For Splunk Enterprise


Dell EMC and Splunk recently published a solution guide that describes a VCE Vblock® 540 converged infrastructure solution that shows how the flexible scaling options of converged platforms and tight integration with Splunk Enterprise for analyzing large quantities of machine data.  The engineers at Splunk put a lot of effort into designing a data storage system that can utilize different classes of storage.  This helps utilize the highest performance (and cost) storage for recent data that is more highly utilized and less expensive (lower perfomance) storage for older "cold" data.  This architecture pairs beautifully with the rich portfolio of converged platforms and storage options available from Dell EMC.  In this solution we used an XtremIO all flash product for the recent hot/warm data and the massive scale and attractive $/TB of Isilon for cold data.


The solution guide shows how VCE™ converged infrastructure offers scalable solutions that meet and exceed the performance and capacity requirements for a high-performance Splunk deployment. Our sales teams can help you configure a solution according to the sizing guidance provided by Splunk and following the documented best practices for Splunk Enterprise, XtremIO, Isilon, and VMware.

 

Dell EMC converged solutions enable customers to simplify purchasing and deployment, reduce their hardware management overhead, and accelerate their time to value for all your enterprise workloads. VCE offers a wide portfolio of options to match the performance and pricing needs of large and small Splunk Enterprise deployments. If you are interested in mixed workload consolidation, you might also consider using VCE Vblock systems for multiple application workloads, including Splunk.

 

The primary benefits of running Splunk Enterprise on VCE converged infrastructure

are:

  • Splunk-validated configurations
    • Jointly validated by Dell EMC and Splunk
  • Optimal storage tier alignment for Splunk Enterprise
    • Flexible sizing options to achieve the desired retention and performance profile for indexing and searching data in Splunk Enterprise
  • Cost-effective and flexible scale-out
    • Scale-out compute and storage management in a single converged platform package
  • Powerful data services
    • Out-of-the-box secure data encryption and data reduction services, along with integrated copy data management for efficient backup and restore capabilities

 

Next Steps


Machine-generated data is one of the fastest growing and complex areas of big data. It's also one of the most valuable, containing a definitive record of all user transactions, customer behavior, machine behavior, security threats, fraudulent activity and more. Splunk paired with the Vblock 540 turns machine data into valuable Operational Intelligence no matter what business you're in.  Operational Intelligence gives you a real-time understanding of what’s happening across your IT systems and technology infrastructure so you can make informed decisions.


the Vblock System 540 combined with the VCE Technology Extension for EMC Isilon storage is an excellent scale-out solution for a high performance Splunk Enterprise deployment. In this solution guide we show why the Vblock 540 provides predictable performance, low latency, flexibility, and room for future growth for mission-critical Splunk Enterprise big data applications.

 

You can download a copy of the solution guide discussed here by using the hyperlink below:

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VCE Vblock 540 Infrastructure For Splunk Enterprise Solution Guide

 

 

Thanks for reading,

Phil Hummel, EMCDSA

Look for me on Twitter  @GotDisk

 

Please share this article with your social networks

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Introduction

In the spring I wrote an article for this blog summarizing the results of a project that demonstrated the use of a Vblock® 540 system with All-Flash XtremIO storage for running mixed application workloads (Oracle, SAP and Microsoft SQL Server).   The test workload included a near real life mixture of transaction processing and decision support across several of the worlds most demanding enterprise applications running on a single converged infrastructure platform.  In order to further show the power and scale of the Dell EMC VCE portfolio, the same Global Solutions Engineering team recently completed another mixed application workload project this time using a Vblock® 740 system.  The Vblock® System 740 offers massive consolidation capability with up to 4 PB of raw storage capacity, Cisco UCS blade servers, and VMware vSphere virtualization. In this mixed application and workload demonstration, the engineering team highlighted the capabilities of a Vblock 740 configured with a VMAX3 All-Flash 450FX storage array.


As Todd Pavone, COO, Converged Platforms and Solutions Division, Dell EMC wrote in a recent blog post titled: Realizing the Full Potential of Your Converged and Hyper-Converged Solutions and Platforms,

"having a collaborative converged infrastructure team that understands the whole stack, not just the silos of compute, network and storage, provides an organization with the tool sets to successfully support the business".


The new  VCE Solution for Enterprise Mixed Workload on Vblock System 740 solutions guide provide a holistic view of what it takes for an IT team to configure and operate a converged infrastructure platform that will meet the exacting demands of enterprise environments.  The guide can be used to share knowledge and start dialog with the diverse talent spread across your organization to start building the critical multi-functional team that it takes to make IT more cost effective and responsive to the needs of the business.

 

The Value of Converged Platforms

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Forester Research recently released a report that found the move to cloud computing is being driven by many factors including:

 

  • Replacing aging infrastructure that has reliability issues and requires very high costs and efforts to keep it running.
  • Simplifying overall infrastructure complexity and adopting greater virtualization.
  • Supporting businesses’ needs to reduce time-to-market and increase innovation.
  • Deploying additional capacity in near real time to support business growth, launch new services/products, and/or streamline expansion into new geographies.

 

Nowhere is this more evident than in large enterprises that have adopted multiple best-of-breed application stacks like SAP, Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server.  These major platforms have typically  all been allocated isolated/dedicated infrastructure silos including separate landscapes for production and multiple non-production instances.  This approach, while considered "best practices" 5 years ago,  is chaos to manage and cost prohibitive to modernize without a significant change in strategy.  Many of these "Tier 1" applications are not good candidates for moving to external contract cloud providers due to application complexity and multiple integration points with other systems. The better alternative is to consolidate mixed applications to fewer and more standardized platforms using easy to procure and easy to manage converged infrastructure.  The VCE Solution for Enterprise Mixed Workload on Vblock System 740 solution guide shows enterprise architects and decision makers how to be successful consolidating Oracle, SAP and Microsoft SQL Server mixed application workload types on a single  Vblock 740. Reviewing this guide with your team can be an effective starting point for understanding and planning your move from silos to converged platforms.

 

Highlights from the Solutions Guide

Generating a large enough simulated workload to exhaust the compute, networking and/or storage throughput of a Vblock 740 with VMAX All-flash storage is a big task so we didn't even set that as a goal.  Our mission was to generate enough different types of application workloads to show conclusively that the platform is not negatively impacted by random vs sequential access patterns or I/O request block size.  The following figure shows the total combined test results of the mixed workload simulated load on the Vblock 740 as described in the solution guide (see link below for download).

740 mixed workloads results.PNG.pngLatency for both reads and writes across a wide range of block sizes is significantly below all the best practices guidleines prescribed by the software vendors of the enterprise application we used for the test.  So no hero numbers in this guide but there is lots of great guidance and results showing how to setup, configure and run a consolidation environment on a Vblock.  Please have a read through the guide and start sharing with others in your organization that want to join the movement to converged infrastructure adoption - build that team.

 

Download the solution guide in PDF format:

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Thanks for reading,

Phil Hummel, EMCDSA

Look me up on Twitter @GotDisk

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Customers are the cornerstone of Dell EMC’s Converged Platforms and Solutions Division’s success. By focusing on our customers’ needs, we have not only created a new IT infrastructure segment, but are also its undisputed leader as the number one vendor in Integrated Systems in 1Q16, according to IDC.

 

Part of delivering the best possible CPSD customer experience is helping customers recognize the value gained from their CPSD investment. Keeping that in mind, we have pulled together a set of assets that will help our customers assess business value from their CI investment and get them started on a journey that will help them fully optimize the benefits of having an agile, flexible and modern data center. 

 

Beginning with the Case for CI: A recent study from Forrester Consulting found that IT organizations that have adopted converged infrastructure developed by the Converged Platforms and Solutions Division achieved a 20 percent reduction in actual hardware costs alongside a 30 percent increase in IT operational efficiency. Just as critically important, the report finds that business productivity increased 5 percent to 10 percent over a three-year period. 

 

This study provides a practical way to evaluate and assess if the converged infrastructure model is right for you and find out if there are other options available.

Read More

 

Adapting to a Converged Environment

Helping you through the transition to the new CI environment, Pat Grazioli’s blog ‘10 Tips & Tricks to Maximize the Value from Your VCE Blocks and Racks’ will help.  Drawing upon first-hand experience with hundreds of leading companies of all sizes in dozens of industry segments, this concise list of best practices will ensure you get the most value out of your VCE Vblock, VxBlock, and VxRack Systems deployments.

Read Part 1 Read Part 2

 

But what about DevOps? Putting the spotlight on the importance of DevOps in the era of hyper-convergence, I explore why it is critical for IT operations to respond to application development requirements quickly and the need for transformation not just in IT infrastructure but also in IT culture.

Read More

 

Building a CI Team

IT organizations are now starting to understand the value of having a converged infrastructure team. As many customers use converged and hyper-converged platforms and solutions from the CPSD to scale and grow their data center, having a collaborative converged infrastructure team that understands the whole stack, not just the siloes of compute, network and storage, provides an organization with the toolsets to successfully support the business. You can find out how to break down the siloed IT culture in this blog: Enabling Collaborative IT with Converged Infrastructure.

Read More

 

Shelia Hartness, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, describes how her organization aligned its IT team to get the best out of its converged infrastructure in this article from the Data Center Journal, Becoming a Converged Engineer. Shelia describes how their team now focuses on higher value activities that support the business. 

Read More

 

You can also watch this fantastic video of Shelia and Stu Miniman from Wikibon discussing the team’s transformation.  

Watch the video

 

 

Join the Discussion – Enabling a Collaborative CI Team (October 3 – 17)

Don’t miss the expanded discussion on Dell EMC’s Community Network in our Ask the Experts conversation centered around how IT teams are now building their converged infrastructure teams and reaping the benefits of a more cohesive, responsive and streamlined operation that is an enabler for the business.

 

The event will kick-off with a video chat between Stu Miniman from theCUBE and Shelia Hartness of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center on how Wake Forest deployed converged infrastructure and adopted an IT culture that optimizes the benefits of CI.

 

Our team of experts includes:

  • Shelia Hartness, Lead Software Systems Engineer, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
  • Todd Pavone, COO, Converged Platforms and Solutions Division, Dell EMC
  • Nigel Moulton, CTO EMEA, Converged Platforms and Solutions Division, Dell EMC 
  • Pat Grazioli, Senior Director, Professional Services, Converged Platforms and Solutions Division, Dell EMC 
  • Brett Foy, General Manager, Data Center & Mobility Solutions, Ahead

Click here to register for the event

 

And coming soon, Anshul Pande, CTO ProMedica Health System, shares how his IT team has scaled to meet the needs of a growing business using the converged model.

 

Look out for more customer stories and other great assets that accelerate your journey to getting best out of your converged and hyper-converged solutions and platforms.

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The first thing that I noticed as I made my way to the registration desk at the Hadoop Summit was the abundance of Fortune 1000 companies that had sent people to this show.  Many of the companies sending employees to the Hadoop Summit are the big data pioneers that burned through all the best practices and platform options for an enterprise data warehouse years ago. They are now in various stages of deploying Hadoop and Big Data analytics.  Slim Baltagi (@slimbalgati)  from Capital One Financial Corp noted in the introduction to his session on Analysis of Trends in Big Data Analytics that he has been doing Big Data projects for 7 years and has the scars to prove it.  Many of the attendees at the San Jose Summit talked extensively about the numerous experiments and several production deployments they have been a part of.  They were genuinely exited  to be at the show to learn more and share experiences with the Hadoop community.  The world of Big Data is moving at light speed with a dizzying array of new open source and commercial tool options being announced every few weeks.  The Big Data community is very open to exchanging information and even code through open source projects while remaining laser focused on solving business problems in a unique and proprietary implementation for the benefit of a single organization.


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That passion for knowledge is what made this such a great show for VCE (@VCE), the EMC Converged Platforms Division.  For example, at EMC's  session on Increasing Hadoop Resiliency & Performance with EMC Isilon delivered by Boni Bruno (@bonibruno), about 50% of the participants knew what our Isilon (@EMCIsilon) product is and the other 50% where getting their first introduction to the product in a context they are passionate about, Big Data.

 

The experience with talking to attendees in the EMC booth was very similar. Approximately 50% of attendees knew about EMC's efforts in Big Data and the other half were hearing about our offerings for the first time.  This was an excellent show for us to spread the word about our Big Data Solution as well as our Hadoop compatible platforms from the Elastic Cloud Storage (@EMCECS) and DSSD (@EMCDSSD) business units.  I'm going to finish this post with some background on the EMC Big Data Solution with links to additional online content for those wanting to dig deeper.  I'll be writing more about the EMC ECS and DSSD solutions in future posts and covering all new announcements on Twitter using the handle @GotDisk.

 

     Big Data Solution Architecture Block Diagram

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The EMC Big Data Solution (BDS) is a complete turn key hardware and software platform for implementing a Hadoop-based data lake with all the required management and end-user tools for data engineers and data scientists. The BDS builds on on the very popular VCE Vblock converged infrastructure platform.  As you can see in the graphic above, the core Vblock is enhanced with additional software integration from EMC partners to provide a complete data lake and analytics platform in an integrated solution. 


For data engineers, the BDS offers data lake hardware options for using EMC Isilon, EMC Elastic Cloud Storage and/or the EMC XtremIO all-flash array platform.  Data ingestion, lineage, and quality are managed by Zaloni software for complete data lake management.  Zaloni help simplify and automate common data management tasks so organization can focus resources on building analytics.  Data index and search services are provided by Attivio software.  Many of the Fortune 100 rely on Attivio to quickly find, correlate, and return the most relevant search results to boost knowledge worker productivity. The third tool of interest for data engineers is Blue Talon for data access and authorization.  BlueTalon offers the best data control technology for today’s data challenges including authorization, access control, enforcement and auditing.  VCE integrates these critical pieces necessary for an enterprise grade data lake implementation into a single SKU with a single point of support for your entire investment.

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For data scientists, the BDS provides a platform for productivity and collaboration.  The environment for data scientists is organized around the creation, use, and sharing of work spaces.  A work space is a collection of tools and data focused on a user defined analysis project.  Tools that can be easily deployed into a work space include R, RStudio, Python, Java and Tableau for visualization shown in the Extension Packs block in the diagram above.  The BDS can also support other technologies such as MongoDB to allow for the users to apply the right tools to best address their needs.


Work spaces can be shared between multiple collaborators that need to work jointly on a project using a common pool of data.  Data is organized into one or  more data sets that can be saved either in the work space or back to the data lake to be available to other data scientists.  Having your data analytics platform organized around data sharing and collaboration with tightly integrated access controls will immediately create an environment for better data governance and productivity.


The EMC BDS is currently being previewed at selected customer locations and trade shows around the globe.  There were a number of interviews conducted by SiliconAngle for theCUBE at the Hadoop Summit.  Here are links to a couple of recordings featuring EMC's Carey James (@careyjames33) from  with various partners mentioned above in this article.

   

Carey James, EMC with Joe Litchtman, Attivio and Tony Fisher, Zaloni via #theCUBE on YouTube

 

Carey James, EMC  with Stephen Shartzer, Blue Talon via  #theCUBE on YouTube

 

For information on upcoming shows that will be featuring the EMC Business Data Solution or any questions related to other Big Data products or solutions mentioned in this article, leave us a message using the comments section below.

 

Thanks for reading,

Phil Hummel, EMCDSA

@GotDisk

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Introduction

Everyone is getting bombarded with messaging related to Big Data.  It's, well big, and machine data is one of the fastest growing and complex areas driving the interest in doing more with big data. It’s also potentially one of the most valuable since it can be important to doing analytics related to customer behavior, sensor readings, machine behavior, security threats, fraudulent activity and more.


The biggest challenge I hear from people evaluating where to get started with big data is they are stuck in "analysis paralysis".  Figuring out what software and hardware platforms to use can seem like an overwhelming obstacle given the choices available. Based on my conversations with attendees at the most recent EMC World, two of the features they are looking for in a big data solutions are:


  • Minimizing in-house coding and development
  • Finding a platform that can scale as they go.

 

VCE, the Converged Platform Division (CPD) of EMC, just released a paper titled Providing Enterprise Performance, Capacity, and Data Services for Splunk Enterprise.  This paper describes a VCE infrastructure solution that highlights flexible scaling options and tight integration with Splunk software for performing analysis that is targeted at machine data.  The solution addresses both of the customer requirements noted above.  I will provide some additional background on both Splunk and the VCE solution or you can jump straight to the link in this paragraph to download the full paper now.

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Splunk Enterprise indexes any machine data from virtually any source, format, or location in real time. This includes data streaming from applications, app servers, web servers, databases, wire data from networks, virtual machines, telecoms equipment, operating systems, sensors and much more.  Splunk indexes contain information about the time of the event, keywords (terms), and any discovered relationships between events. Users can then search, analyze, and visualize machine data using Splunk indexes.  In order for Splunk users to more efficiently handle the constant stream of event data from multiple sources, Splunk uses the concept of buckets to store data in classifications of hot, warm, cold, and frozen tiers.

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Data is searched in order from hot to cold.  Frozen data is not typically queried and is marked for deletion.  Data is physically moved between buckets during the aging process and therefore can utilize different classes of storage to increase cost efficacy for the system.  Given the breadth of potential data sources that Splunk can process, these environments need to have a flexible supporting compute and storage architectural design. 

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VCE has a portfolio of products that give customer options for implementing tiered storage infrastructure able to handle high-performance hot and warm data, as well as high capacity cold and frozen data all from a single vendor.   In this solution we show how using a combination of Vblock® and VxRack™ systems, organizations can simplify and optimize provisioning, deployment, and management of Splunk search and analytics workloads. 


The Vblock System 540’s scalable, linear architecture easily accommodates expansion by scaling-out to >1M IOPS at <1ms

latencies for all of your hot and warm data queries and workloads within your Splunk Enterprise environment.

 

VCE Technology Extensions for EMC Isilon® complements a Splunk Enterprise scale-out architecture by providing a powerful, cost-effective scale-out storage cluster for the retention of cold data in Splunk.   A VCE Technology Extensions for Isilon cluster creates a unified pool of highly efficient storage, with a proven 80 percent storage utilization rate.  VCE Technology Extensions for Isilon’s single-volume, single-file system and simplified management typically require less than one full-time employee per petabyte (PB), reducing your overall storage administration costs.


For enterprises interested in making the move to hyper converged infrastructure (HCI), VCE and EMC recommend the VCE VxRack System 1000 Flex for Splunk Enterprise deployments.  These self-contained units of servers and networking offer scalability, flexibility, and resilience that make it an ideal platform for Splunk.  The storage foundation of the VxRack System 1000 Flex is based on the EMC ScaleIO. ScaleIO converges storage and compute resources to form a single-layer, enterprise-grade HCI implementation.


The VxRack System 1000 Flex, with ScaleIO software, utilizes VCE’s integrated compute nodes’ DAS and aggregates all disks into a global, shared, block storage pool. ScaleIO enables a single-layer compute and storage architecture without requiring additional hardware. Its scale-out server SAN architecture can expand to accommodate thousands of servers.


Get the White Paper for More Details

Machine data is one of the fastest growing and most complex areas of big data collection and analytics.  Making use of machine data can be challenging unless you pay attention to the platform and tools you implement. With Splunk Enterprise combined with Vblock and VxRack Systems, and flexible options like VCE technology extensions, organizations can easily, efficiently, and cost effectively incorporate enterprise level data analytics and search for real-time operational intelligence. Get the full white paper using the PDF image below.

 

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Thanks for reading,

Phil Hummel @GotDisk

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