The final theme to come out of EMC World Day 1 was EMC’s attention to the cloud. Cloud providers typically need one of two things from their storage. Cloud Compute Providers are often more concerned about scalable performance and Cloud Storage Providers are more concerned about scalable and dispersible storage capacity. With Day One’s announcements, EMC is now able to compete for business in both types of providers’ data centers.
As we discussed in our entry “Faster VMAX and Isilon Performance” VMAX SP is the new horse in the race, and EMC’s initial offering, ATMOS, announced some significant upgrades at EMC World. ATMOS can now support over 100 Petabytes of cloud storage and has improved its performance by over 50%. EMC made a point that the cloud providers are not just cash strapped startups but in many cases, well funded organizations or private enterprises. EMC believes that these organizations are not looking to build it themselves, many are looking for turnkey solutions.
ATMOS has improved read and write performance by as much as 50% when dealing with large objects. There is also performance improvement for functions like data rebalancing and geographic distribution of data. Finally, the time to upgrade a system has been reduced by 90% and downtime associated with the upgrade has been eliminated.
EMC has also improved ATMOS access with what it calls Cloud Accelerators. These accelerators now include ATMOS Chrome and HTML5 plugins. ATMOS GeoDrive for Windows has been internationalized and is available in nine languages. GeoDrive is an add-on software product that allows a user or an application to access ATMOS as if it were a locally attached drive.
VMAX-SP is the other side of the cloud equation, for Cloud Service Providers that need local high performance to support shared compute applications. VMAX-SP provides for secure multi-tenancy to secure customer data sets and Restful APIs for automated provisioning, metering and reporting, two critical requirements in the CSP data center. Finally, VMAX-SP includes a self-service portal that makes the deployment of the above functions easier to do.
Storage Swiss Take
When you think of cloud storage, either for the compute use case or the storage use case, you think of a lot of post purchase assembly and custom coding. There is usually connecting software to develop as well as storage software and storage hardware to integrate. EMC wants to change that assumption. They’re out to prove that a turnkey environment is the best approach and a pre-integrated solution will save enough time, both upfront and long term, to more than offset its upfront purchase price.
For larger providers and enterprises this may be a more comfortable and familiar way to move into cloud deployments. For other smaller, more boot-strapped organizations, we think EMC is going to need to find a way to provide a pay-as-you-grow model.
EMC can give a smaller provider the ability to start on ATMOS via one of the existing EMC ATMOS providers like AT&T. When that smaller provider becomes large enough they may want to bring the data back in-house and build their own private cloud though. Data transportability between ATMOS or VMAX-SP clouds is not something we have seen actively promoted and it could be a key advantage if EMC decides to develop it.
EMC is a client of Storage Switzerland