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#YOAF! Looking at Another Year of IT Transformation

This year we continued our dialogue with our customers and partners to help them pursue their IT transformation in order to free up funds and resources to pursue strategic projects to chip away at digital transformation. But where to start?

Step 1: Consider Flash as a Key Enabler to IT Transformation
In a previous blog I wrote about the pillars of the modern data center. No doubt Flash is a critical component within our IT transformation journey. Sure, Flash is media but is also an enabling technology like CPUs, DRAM, and protocols like NVMe that seem to be in a perpetual race for speed. Our job at Dell EMC is to extract maximum value from these innovations for the benefit of the customer. Flash drives are known for speed. But in reality they enable us to consolidate and save money as well. Let’s look at a 16 TB 3-D NAND drive.

IT-Transformation

Within a 2.5” form factor I get the following relative to a spinning drive:

  1. More capacity and performance density = greater consolidation all else equal.
  2. Lower and more consistent response times = better SLAs and more productivity.
  3. Fewer parts replacements and faster rebuilds = lower risk and better customer experience.

Step 2: Understand the Business Value of Flash for Your Environment
Every environment is unique. So making broad claims of how great the technology of vendor A is compared to vendor B is counterproductive. Rather, we should approach things a little more customer centric.  A good place to start is the workload. Over the decades our performance optimized storage systems (aka SC Series, Unity, VMAX, XtremIO) supported databases as the #1 workload, followed by virtual servers. Both combined accounted for over 80% of the supported workloads on these systems.

If we just stick to the database example for a minute, the next step would be to actually understand the current database workload in more detail. One way our world class Sales Engineers do that is to take samples from the customer environment like the Oracle AWR below. Think of it as the top down approach where we want to understand the impact of transformation for the specific database environment. (more…)

Tales from EMC World 2016: Building a Modern Data Center

Last year we built a data center as part of our efforts to display our full portfolio of products at EMC World. We would have never imagined the level of interaction and interest we received with hundreds of customers coming through the exhibit every day. Our customers, partners, and internal EMC folks love technology and there is no better way to get a ‘feel’ for it than actually touching it.

This year we decided to do the same thing showcasing some of the most exciting technology advances in years. We organized our live modern data center by 5 key pillars:

Building a modern data center 2

Flash – everyone understands the benefits of Flash from a performance perspective, mainly delivering predictable low response times. But supply-side innovation is allowing us to embed much denser 3D-NAND technologies delivering unprecedented density and lowering CAPEX and OPEX in ways not possible before. All Flash arrays make more sense than ever and we showcased the coolest kids on the block:

  • Unity All Flash systems combining the benefits of flash with unprecedented efficiency and simplicity. Unity is built with end-to-end simplicity in mind bringing innovation like an HTML5-based GUI and a REST API to simplify operations. We also previewed CloudIQ, a cloud-based analytics dashboard to address and manage larger topologies much more proactively.
  • VMAX All Flash combining the benefits of flash with uncontended data services and availability features like SRDF. Through the integration with CloudArray customers can be strategic about their hybrid cloud strategy. Flash where you need it and cloud where you don’t.
  • XtremIO is the uncontended all flash array market leader delivering integrated copy data management capabilities allowing customers to leverage flash in ways they could never before. Being able to deliver copies on demand means better business agility. Being able to do so without tradeoffs around performance and efficiency is the hallmark of the XtremIO architecture and something competitors struggle to match.
  • One interesting addition to our data center this year was DSSD which helps our customers get business outcomes faster than ever before by essentially stripping code out of the IO path while preserving the benefits of shared storage. Server-side flash has often been used but leads to stranded storage and the need to shuffle data around, limited capacity, and no enterprise features to secure the data set. Compare that to DSSD D5, which can provide 144TB capacity, deliver 10MM IOPS at microseconds response times, all in 5U.

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Keeping the Lights on for the Microsoft Productivity Suite

ThinkstockPhotos-79301258Many modern enterprises are looking for strategies to deliver always on business operations. It is critical to get the business back on track as fast as possible in case of any failures in the stack.

From application perspective, most businesses leverage a combination of Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, and SQL to be productive, whether it is exchanging email, leveraging sites for collaboration, or using SQL to support transactional or analytical workflows.  To that end, these sets of Microsoft applications have become mission critical. While availability mechanisms are available within these applications (e.g. failover clustering and Data Availability Groups or DAGs), these tools alone are often not enough.

With the introduction of EMC VPLEX MetroPoint, EMC delivers the ability sustain multiple failure scenarios and ensure 24×7 operations. To be clear, these technologies complement application-based methods to deliver availability up and down the stack. Apart from protection against different failure scenarios, the MetroPoint solution extends workload mobility into the storage layer. This is handy for performance management, patching, and tech refresh.

Of course we also need to make sure that the data itself is protected. In this case, VNX data at rest encryption (D@RE) ensures that the data is secured even in the event that physical drives are moved off premise. This matters because data associated with the Microsoft Productivity Suite tends to contain sensitive data such as emails, personal information, confidential documents, and records. (more…)

Let’s Build a Data Center – The Power of a Strong Portfolio

Recently we embarked on one of the scariest and most rewarding projects I ever worked on at EMC…to build a functional data center in less than 48 hours and ensure that our live provisioning challenge (aka The Jeremy Burton Challenge) against Jeremy Burton, EMC’s President of Product and Marketing, run smoothly on a live VMAX system at EMC World. What can go wrong!

It was a project that was all about teamwork to deliver nothing short of a face-melting awesome customer experience.  To that extent, I had the honor of working with some of the finest EMC’ers I know, from different parts of the business, different functional groups, and different coasts. In the end, we were able to spend quality time with customers who in turn could experience the power of the portfolio in one confined space. Where can you bring your beer into a data center, open the cab of the VxRACK, and ask all the questions you want?

Didn’t make it to EMC World? Were there and would like a recap? Either way, come on in and Take a Tour!

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Microsoft Azure Site Recovery – VMAX SRDF Integration Pack is GA

In a previous post, we discussed how the combination of Microsoft Azure Site Recovery (ASR) and VMAX SRDF provides a simplified but highly scalable Disaster Recovery solution across on-premises or hosted Microsoft-based IT infrastructures. ASR is now generally available and you can get started today with Azure Site Recovery today. Simply sign up for a free Microsoft Azure trial and make sure you download the updated VMAX SMI-S Provider on https://support.emc.com/.

More information can also be found on Microsoft’s blog

 Quick Recap
ASR helps customers protect important applications by coordinating the replication and recovery of private clouds across sites. Enterprises that seek to leverage the snapshot and replication capabilities of arrays like EMC VMAX can use ASR to orchestrate disaster recovery tasks and test DR plans in a simple to use interface.

The SRDF family of software is the gold standard for remote replication in mission critical environments. Configurable in synchronous, asynchronous, and star configurations, SRDF combines unmatched flexibility and scalability to deliver a wide range of replication capabilities for mission critical applications. Consistency technology ensures that complex environments are protected and recoverable.

microsoft (more…)

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