Posts Tagged ‘flash storage’

Data Center Modernization 101

Sarah Werner

EMC Marketing Intern
As an undergraduate at the University of Massachusetts Amherst majoring in chemical engineering, this summer internship has allowed me to explore the business side of the IT industry. Specifically, I have been tasked with spearheading important competitive projects. In my short time at EMC, I’ve been able to draw parallels between scientific methods learned in my engineering classes and apply those to solving real-world business problems.

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EMC declared 2016 as the Year of All-Flash – now is the time to modernize your data center by switching to all-flash storage arrays!  Of course, choosing the right all-flash array is just the beginning of the journey and there are other steps that need to be taken in order to maximize the value that all-flash can deliver to your business. Here are some important considerations for your data center modernization efforts:

Step 1:  Make the Move

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After finding the ideal all-flash appliance for your business, prepare your old arrays for retirement by migrating all of your data over. This sounds like a daunting process, one that traditionally takes 6 to 9 months to complete, but it can be made easier by using non-disruptive online tech refresh that a solution like VPLEX provides. This minimizes the time to value of the new flash arrays from months to days by migrating data over without any required downtime. Your data and applications remain accessible and your business keeps running all while modernizing your data center.

Step 2:  Keep All-Flash Always On

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Congratulations! Your data and applications have been moved in record-breaking time, and your new all-flash environment is already delivering much greater performance. It’s not difficult to love the speed and power of flash, but that doesn’t mean flash arrays are any less susceptible to disaster situations that can result in data loss. Power outages, fire, flooding, or human error can all put your critical data – and by extension, your business – at risk leading to loss of revenue and customer satisfaction. Luckily, preventive measures can be taken to ensure your data is continuously available, despite unforeseen disasters. Data sent down a particular host’s data path can be copied between arrays, whether they’re in the same data center or not. This keeps your flash environment always on even if one array fails, and your data and applications are safe and always available. Learn more about continuous availability and disaster recovery solutions.

Don’t forget the network: Make sure your SAN environment doesn’t become a bottle neck for the blazing fast flash performance. When implementing high availability replication technologies the communication link between the data centers also needs to be looked at to make sure that it can handle the traffic between the datacenters.


Step 3: Accelerate IT Operations

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Before you know it, your data center already requires changing configurations, moving applications, load balancing servers, using more of cloud storage etc. No business is immune to frequent adjustments, and their IT specialists shouldn’t struggle to meet new demands due to limitations of technology. Evaluate your current level of IT infrastructure agility – how much effort and downtime is involved in moving applications for load balancing, consolidating data centers for better resource utilization or moving data back and forth between your data center and public cloud. Once again server and storage virtualization go a long way to make these tasks easy and non-disruptive and help create infrastructure that can turn on a dime.

Moving to all-flash storage is a great step to modernize your data center to deliver uncompromised application performance. It is also a great opportunity to take a deeper look at your entire infrastructure to identify and eliminate sources of inefficiencies. With the right technology in place you can realize the full advantage of the all-flash storage to create data centers that are well protected, always available and agile to operate.

 

Note:  This blog was co-written by Parasar Kodati

Modern Networks for Today and Tomorrow

Doug Fierro

Senior Director, Connectrix and Storage Networking at EMC
Doug Fierro is responsible for the Connectrix Business Unit which drives strategy and product delivery of storage networking technologies at EMC. This includes responsibility for delivering storage networking technologies that EMC sells within the Connectrix and EMC Select product lines, or qualifies within end-to-end solutions. These storage networking technologies include Fibre Channel, Ethernet, iSCSI, FCoE, Network Virtualization and WAN acceleration. Doug has 30 years of technical and marketing experience in the computer and storage industry, which includes 20 years at EMC.

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“Why should I buy this now?” Have you ever thought that while looking at the latest products, whether that’s new technology, entertainment systems, sports equipment or anything else?

Do you wonder, “Will it provide more value, better performance, or just a give me something to brag about with my friends?”

Ultimately, you’re trying to decide “Is it worth the investment now, or should I wait?”

That decision process happens all the time when purchasing new products, especially if they are the latest technology. And it is happening again in the Fibre Channel technology race, as the industry is entering the next generation of product cycles, anchored by the latest 32Gb speed, and supported by new capabilities that extend Fibre Channel for the next generation of IT.

When is Enough…Enough???
When your business stops growing, when your customers stop requiring new levels of service, and when your budgets are infinite.X6-8_front Since that is not happening anytime soon, this is a great time to think ahead; position for today and tomorrow; and let new technology provide a way to solve challenges and add value to your business.

EMC, and our close partner Brocade, are giving you that opportunity today. With the latest EMC Connectrix B-Series products, we have worked with Brocade to deliver an industry leading series of 32Gb Fibre Channel systems that are available now, and will help you solve your most critical IT issues today and into the 2020s.

Keeping up with the All Flash Arrays
It is no secret that All Flash storage arrays are changing IT. What has been a bit of a mystery is how your FC storage network can enhance your All Flash array experience. It is amazing how many customers are introducing All Flash arrays into their environment, and connecting them to 5 year old (or older) FC networks. The result is similar to putting a board under the gas pedal of a Formula I car and expecting it to accelerate to top-end speed. It is just not going to happen.

Updating your FC SAN now will help you get the greatest value from your newest All Flash arrays. Doing that with the newest Connectrix B-Series will position you to experience top-end performance now and for many years to come. So you are ready to keep updating your storage environment no matter what new arrays you introduce into your Data Center.

That is future proofing with a purpose… (more…)

EMC Unity All-Flash Storage Accelerates Cyber Investigations

Matthew Edman

Ph.D, Director at Berkeley Research Group LLC, and Guest Blogger
Matthew J. Edman, Ph.D., is a Director at Berkeley Research Group LLC where he specializes in cybersecurity and investigations. Dr. Edman previously worked as a lead cybersecurity engineer for a federally funded research and development center, where he provided specialized computer network security research and development to federal law enforcement on a number of high-profile cases, including the investigation into and seizure of Silk Road--the notorious $1.2 billion underground drug market. Dr. Edman has a B.S. in computer science from Baylor University, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in computer science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where his research areas included novel techniques for cryptographic security and authentication in wireless networks, and the design, implementation, and analysis of anonymous communication systems on the Internet.

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Cyber security is on everyone’s mind these days, and for good reason. We’ve all heard or read about high-profile hacks where sensitive personal records were breached or millions of dollars were stolen. The business impact on the targeted companies can be tremendous, ranging from bad press and a tarnished reputation to lost revenue and hefty regulatory fines. The worst cases have even put firms out of business.cyber-investigation

Within BRG’s Global Cyber Security and Investigations practice, we have built a diverse and experienced group that helps organizations assess unique security risks and deploys fast, effective response teams when breaches occur. Our practice includes veteran FBI agents and federal prosecutors who have conducted some of the most high-profile cyber investigations in recent history, computer scientists who have developed innovative and state-of-the-art investigative tools and techniques, and security engineers who have years of experience analyzing and securing corporate IT infrastructure across myriad industries.

We know first-hand from our real-world experience how important it is to systematically analyze the facts and electronic evidence to identify threat actors, mitigate data loss, maintain business continuity, and ultimately mount a legal response. In every case, our response time is one of the most critical client considerations.

Think about it. If your company is in the middle of getting hacked, the management team wants answers, not excuses while their incident response team is still uploading and processing evidence. When we built out our cyber security lab infrastructure, we wanted a storage system that could live up to our clients’ understandably high expectations. That’s why we chose EMC Unity’s all-flash storage platform. We looked at several other vendors and a number of storage technologies, but EMC Unity’s all-flash storage provided superior performance, expandability, and simplicity at a favorable price point.

Blazing-fast storage is critical, especially when we are dealing with massive datasets, but so is expandability. Our work regularly requires analysis of increasingly large amounts of data, including, for example: an analysis of hundreds of millions of database records related to a virtual currency-based money laundering operation; an investigation into criminal activity targeting a popular website that generated nearly 10 terabytes of logs each day; and a collection and review of nearly 20 terabytes of Microsoft Exchange data in connection with the investigation of a case of insider theft. As our practice continues to rapidly expand, we demanded a storage platform that could easily grow along with our evidence storage requirements and still provide us the performance to conduct high-speed investigative analytics for our clients.

Flexibility is also key. A complete incident response will leverage a diverse set of tools depending on the unique circumstances of the investigation. We may be using industry-standard forensic tools such as FTK or EnCase one day, running analytics against multi-terabyte Microsoft SQL Server or Cassandra databases the next, or analyzing evidence with our own in-house investigative tools. Some of our tools require block-level storage, while others need file-level storage—and extremely fast access times are necessary in all cases. Our environment is also highly virtualized, so we required a storage platform that would integrate seamlessly with VMware.

One other major consideration was manageability. We are focused on constantly delivering high-quality, rapid results for our clients, and we are not able to do that effectively if we are distracted supporting our technology. We needed a storage solution with a streamlined user interface that is easy to learn and quick to deploy, and that requires little day-to-day maintenance from our engineers.

EMC Unity provided an affordable solution that met or exceeded our requirements, which is why it is the core storage environment for our lab infrastructure. Ultimately, our cyber security and investigative work comes down to response time and accuracy. The faster we can provide actionable results to our clients, the quicker and more effective they are when responding to security incidents. That’s how we measure success.

 

Transforming Healthcare with All-Flash Storage

Chhandomay Mandal

Director of Solution Marketing, EMC All-Flash Storage
Chhandomay Mandal, a 20+ year storage industry veteran, is the Director of Solution Marketing for EMC All-Flash Storage. He is currently responsible for the integrated leadership of all EMC All-Flash End User Computing (EUC) solutions enablement, partnering, and business development. Prior to EMC, Chhandomay led Dell’s storage solutions marketing efforts for desktop virtualization, server virtualization and private cloud. He spent 11 years at Sun Microsystems holding different leadership positions across marketing and engineering organizations. Chhandomay has been awarded 13 patents by US Patent and Trademark Office. He has a PhD in Computer Science from University of Florida, MBA from Kelley Business School of Indiana University, and BTech from Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur.

All-flash storage is proving to be an important breakthrough technology for the healthcare industry. The performance and efficiency gains enabled by all-flash arrays are allowing healthcare organizations worldwide to dramatically improve patient outcomes and clinical productivity. All-flash solutions allow IT teams to address the demanding requirements of important initiatives such as evidence-based care, electronic health record (EHR) systems, big data analytics, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), regulatory compliance and more.
Young female scientist looking at digital tablet outside laboratory

With all-flash storage as the foundation of the infrastructure, healthcare organizations can leverage efficiency, compliance, outcomes, engagement and availability in all facets of healthcare delivery. Some of the specific ways in which healthcare organizations are leveraging the benefits of all-flash storage solutions are:

  • Performance: All-flash storage is necessary to enable the delivery of mission-critical healthcare at the speed of now. In healthcare, clinicians are often dealing with large data sets—for X-rays, MRIs, test results, etc., faster access to results at the point of care translates into better patient outcomes.
  • Mixed workloads: All-flash storage supports mixed workload environments and application consolidation. This is particularly valuable in EHR systems, with their stringent SLAs, transactional databases and need for solutions that deliver optimum performance, maximum data reduction and the highest levels of uptime and availability.
  • Analytics and reporting: Eighty percent of healthcare executives say providers who adopt an analytics strategy in the next three years will outpace their peer institutions. All-flash storage enables IT to speed the next generation of predictive analytics with the ability to link and correlate information in new ways for operational efficiencies, patient care delivery, clinical research, population health and security analytics.
  • Virtualized applications: All-flash storage dramatically improves the performance of virtualized applications by eliminating the impact of the IO Blender Effect, which can introduce latency at the point of care. Presenting the right data at the point of care is the mission-critical business of a provider, so any latency is unacceptable.

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North Carolina State University Finds IT Efficiency with Unity

Jamie Doherty

Consultant Social Media Engagement Manager, Dell EMC
Jamie brings over 20 years of experience in both traditional and digital marketing and has worked for companies like Direct to Retail Advertising, The Robb Report Magazine and Monster.com. She joined Dell EMC over four years ago to manage the Advanced Software Division’s social media strategy, and since then has taken on the challenge of managing the social media strategy for Dell EMC's Core Technologies Division. Her newest role will be managing Digital Campaigns for the Dell EMC Data Protection Division as well as leading strategy for Social Media in both the Data Protection and Storage Divisions. Jamie is also a Beachbody Coach helping to inspire others to live a healthier and more active lifestyle. When she is not Tweeting on behalf of Dell EMC or working out to Beachbody, you can find her at a live music venue watching her favorite artist or planning her next theme party. Follow her on Twitter @MnkyGrl47 or @CoachFab40

One of the greatest challenges IT can face at any substantial public educational institution is managing large scale environments with limited resources.  Big universities are constantly looking for ways to consolidate resources and manage their environments efficiently.  It is what many people in the IT world face in today’s environment of learning how to do more with less.  As an example, at an institution as large as North Carolina State University they have to deploy a wide range of applications in an environment that must work effectively with different performance and uptime requirements as well as the different needs of their customers.
Male teacher with students at the lecture hall

North Carolina State University was approached earlier this year to become one of EMC’s beta test customers for Unity Storage.  If you haven’t heard about Unity, it is a simple, modern, flexible and affordable storage solution that delivers enterprise capabilities with like simplicity in all-flash, hybrid, converged and software-defined configurations. Joining us at EMC World to tell his Unity beta experience story was Patrick Williams, the IT Infrastructure Architect from North Carolina State University.  I was lucky enough to have been able to sit in several sessions where Patrick spoke.  Here is what I learned about this customer’s experience with Unity Storage: (more…)

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