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Written By: Lakshmi Pedda

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Operating your data center in real-time is not just an aspiration for businesses today – it is a necessity. Last month, CJ Desai spoke about change being the only constant and how it’s become inevitable in data centers across the globe. The move to modern data centers to support traditional, enterprise applications as well as newer platforms and applications, like NoSQL and OpenStack, is the new norm.


We believe that smart, savvy software will be the difference in profitability and viability for a business. Storage is a key component in this equation. Software-defined storage is rapidly becoming a game changer - it offers IT organizations the ability to realize that promise. When you decouple software from hardware, it opens the doors to efficiently utilize industry standard x86 hardware – driving lower costs and greater flexibility. EMC offers the industry’s broadest Software-Defined Storage portfolio for file, object, and block storage for multiple data types.


EMC’s ScaleIO 2.0 is one such enterprise IT grade software-defined, scale-out, block storage server SAN solution delivering powerful agility that comes with public clouds combined with the security and peace of mind expected from private clouds. Our deployment choices include a software option, a storage-only or better still as a full turnkey, hyper-converged VxRack™ System 1000 with FLEX Nodes. This blog will focus on the latter.

 

VxRack™ System 1000 with FLEX Nodes powered by EMC ScaleIO gives you flexibility to design and implement data centers based on application needs, budget, and growth. You can start with the right-size deployment to meet today’s demands, and scale up to web scale at a later date.

 

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Here are a few nuggets to know about VxRack with FLEX Nodes

Optimized for Scale and Agility: You can add resources modularly so they can scale individually or together to maintain balance. Agility in provisioning and the consistent IOPS it delivers is second to none.

Consistent Performance: An IT Admin’s delight! All I/O requests are pooled together and based on the business service SLAs, consistent performance is made available to all applications at all times with no bottlenecks or hotspots – driving massive performance.

Flexible and Efficient Resource Utilization: The system is extremely lightweight as you can see below. You can expect massive CAPEX savings supporting traditional, modern and OpenStack workloads.


Resources

Siloed Appliances

VxRack with FLEX Nodes

CPU Usage, per node

20-30%

8-12%

RAM Usage, per node

16-20GB

100-500MB


Low TCO: Saving the best for the last! The hyper-converged system delivers 30% lower TCO than traditional SAN. You’ll enjoy rapid time-to-value and simplified IT management—avoiding applications and operational silos. You save by paying for only what you use and no more forklift upgrades in sight. What’s more the fully engineered system is supported and sustained as ONE System helping mitigate risk and giving you peace of mind.


Software-defined storage is here to stay. When partnering with EMC, IT organizations can expect to lower their operational and capital costs, analyze more data, build better clouds, deliver modern apps, and turbocharge server performance.

We are confident about our VxRack with FLEX Nodes and encourage you to download ScaleIO software. To learn more about the product click here.

Written By: Stephen Scribner, Systems Engineer, ScaleIO

 

I joined the ScaleIO team as a Systems Engineer in a very busy Q4 of 2015.  Since joining the team there have been a TON of releases, both from a product standpoint as well as the ecosystem supporting and around ScaleIO. Even more recently we just posted the latest release in Software-Defined Storage at EMC - ScaleIO 2.0 which is the first major code update we’ve had in some time.  I’ve had the opportunity to talk to a LOT of customers about their strategy for success in the new age of Bi-Modal IT.  Often I’m asked how ScaleIO can solve “our” ever growing challenge of managing more data with less resources and time; with an expectation of delivering more value back to the business than ever before.  Things like data migration, technology refreshes, and high CAPEX, are driving customers to look for a new way to do IT.


When I decided to write a blog about ScaleIO, the first thing I thought about was ScaleIO adoption in the SDS & Hyperconverged market.  Many other products in the space tend to focus on varying design points in their architecture such as tight hypervisor integration, simple management, various data services etc.  ScaleIO has taken a different approach, with a focus on delivering a highly available, low-TCO, software-defined strategy at Data Center scale.  ScaleIO has been created and designed around four distinct areas.  Every architecture and feature we add to our product is designed to lower cost, increase elasticity, improve performance, as well as add better automation and management.


Chad Sakac – the fearless leader of EMC Presales and now VCE, wrote a great subject on System Architectures and specifically how things like ScaleIO (Type-3) interact with and manage data. One of his great points on this write-up is that there is not a “one size fits all” approach.  When customers choose the right system for the right workload – only great things ensue.  Check it out if you haven’t yet:

http://virtualgeek.typepad.com/virtual_geek/2014/01/understanding-storage-architectures.html

 

Now onto some of the recent updates with 2.0 Specifically, we added a number of features that target resiliency. We’ve continued to focus on ensuring data is always highly available – something you should expect from all enterprise storage solutions.  In addition, new capabilities provide customers with expanded support options, read caching capabilities as well as efficiencies through maintenance.  A quick list below gives you an idea of the things we’ve worked to improve.

 

5 Node MDM Cluster – This adds an additional two members to the ScaleIO management cluster.  We also can now add an additional repository for managing the system metadata – further ensuring continued uptime through failure.

Read Flash Cache – ScaleIO now includes integrated Read caching into the GUI as well as SDS systems.  This will work on any flash media compatible with ScaleIO.

ESRS – This one is great for ScaleIO supportability.  EMC can now remotely monitor as well as diagnose and repair issues.  Huge add for an EMC customer with any number of systems to manage.

Instant Maintenance Mode – Another slick feature for customers who mange and maintain ScaleIO systems.  Administrators can now query and place individual hosts in a “maintenance mode” that will prevent against rebuilds for simple operations like patching, reboots, and updates.

NDU Orchestration – Customers can certainly expect to upgrade existing ScaleIO systems from 1.3x versions non-disruptively.  We’ve added in a few new features to enhance the upgrade and ongoing cluster maintenance.

 

There have been a few other cool features added that customers are giving us great feedback on; GUI Front end Management feature has been added to 2.0 – something a number of my customers have been asking for.  This one is huge for some of our customers who are planning to use ScaleIO in replacement of some of their traditional storage subsystems.  Adding a simple management interface for all the day-to-day tasks was a must have.  Many customers will continue to leverage the built in  CLI and REST API for highly automated environments. 

 

2.0 brings along Performance Modes, introduced into the framework to include built-in GUI performance tuning.. The goal is to reduce and even likely eliminate many of the manual tasks that were once required for garnering the best performance in ScaleIO clusters.  The new functionality will do things like increase I/O buffers, adjust queue depth, memory, as well as some other tunable features (nerd knobs) within the OS environment.  What I’ve noticed in my lab environment is about a 20% cluster wide IOPS increase from Default to High Performance with a single click. 

 

Check out some of the tests we recently ran in our Hopkinton Data Center.  All workloads are running on 3x Commodity SSD’s across 8 hosts with 2x 10G ports per host (a fairly standard configuration). What you’ll see is that even at relatively small scale (24 drives) ScaleIO performs extremely well.

 

Test 1 – 8k 100% random read – these are the hero numbers folks

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Test 2– 32k 100% random read – notice the linear scaling when we up the block size. 

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Test 3– 32k 50%Read/50% Write – Key to notice the linear distribution of Writes and Reads across each node & disk in the cluster.

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Before joining the ScaleIO team I worked as a presales engineer covering a few large EMC accounts. Something that was abundantly clear to me was the ever growing pressure from their internal business, external competition, as well as forces from the “cloud”.  I think ScaleIO is a great fit for customers who have a large amount of block data with a growing challenge in continuing to manage and maintain it.  Obviously we’ve added a number of features that are designed to drive more performance, better resilience, and enhance the overall experience with ScaleIO.   If you think this is something you’d like to try out go for it!  You can download ScaleIO today for non-production environments here (http://www.emc.com/products-solutions/trial-software-download/scaleio.htm) .

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EMC World 2016

Posted by christybirkett May 3, 2016

Written By; Lakshmi Pedda

 

It’s the trade show season! OpenStack in Austin just ended last week and we are off to support the biggest blockbuster event of the year, EMC World 2016, taking place in Las Vegas from May 2-5. Are you amongst the ~8K attending EMC World? If so, we have a boatload of activities lined up for you. Topics range from flash, software-defined storage, converged infrastructure, and rack scale architectures to hybrid cloud and data lakes. For your file, object and block storage needs, be sure to stop by booth #364 and #739. Here you will be exposed to software-defined storage, hyper-convergence amongst other topics.

You’ll hear a ton on software-defined storage. Don’t miss the keynote on day 3 by CJ. Desai, president emerging technology division at EMC. Leveraging this approach, IT organizations can expect to lower their operational and capital costs, analyze more data, build better clouds, deliver modern apps, and turbocharge their server performance.

If there is one break-out session you don’t want to miss it’s Citi’s experience deploying ScaleIO – the software-defined scale-out block storage that leverages x86 hardware. This session etdTT.25 is taking place on Monday @8:30am in Palazzo N.  Don’t sweat if you missed this one, there is an encore on Wed @12noon.

Moving to the theatre sessions! These are short 15 minute informative sessions within our booth. What’s more, it’s your chance to win cool swags. Let’s look at what we have lined up for you.

On Monday, when the expo floors open, we have ScaleIO D@RE with CloudLink taking place at 7pm. Attend this session to understand how CloudLink brings Data at Rest Encryption to ScaleIO, completely transparent to ScaleIO operations.

On Tuesday, if you are looking to optimize utilization of your Splunk servers, be sure to attend ScaleIO for Splunk taking place at 2pm. Want to learn more about TDI and Why TDI for HANA on ScaleIO makes sense? Attend this session at 4pm where you’ll learn the multiple consumption choices available to enterprise customers and service providers.

On Wednesday, Accelerate NoSQL with ScaleIO takes place at 11:45am: NoSQL has become a key component to supporting modern application development, Come see how ScaleIO complements them and integrates with MongoDB, Cassandra and Couchbase. Later that afternoon at 2pm if you’re budgets are  squeezed on database licensing, stop by to see how you can get more mileage out of your database licensing: Attend this session to explore key considerations, learn licensing best practices and how to engage EMC to run database workloads on ScaleIO.

If you have got enough techno ammunition during the day, it’s time to have some fun in the evenings!! On Wednesday, we have a customer appreciation event – the 80’s popular band Duran Duran will perform followed by Fitz and the Tantrums. We hope you get the maximum value out of EMC World 2016! Be sure to tweet using the #EMCWorld, if you have something to share. You can reach me at my twitter handle lpedda. I am looking forward to meeting you all, learning about your environment and finally having fun.

Best,

Lakshmi