At the Dell EMC World 2017 in Las Vegas, the company said it updated its ScaleIO, Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS), and IsilonSD Edge SDS products.
It also previewed “Project Nautilus,” a new Dell EMC SDS solution for storing and analyzing high volumes of streaming Internet of Things (IoT) data. Once it moves from a project to a product, it will allow businesses to make real-time decisions based on streaming device data. The company won’t disclose a product timeline for Project Nautilus.
ScaleIO is Dell EMC’s hardware-agnostic, enterprise-grade software-defined block storage solution. The company says it made the product more space efficient by adding features including inline compression, thin provisioning, and flash-based snapshots.
The biggest news with ECS, the company’s cloud-scale object storage platform, is the launch of ECS Dedicated Cloud Service, which enables hybrid deployment models for ECS. This new service, hosted in Virtustream data centers, combines the benefits of the public cloud (agility, lower-cost) with those of the private cloud (more control), said Dell EMC’s Manuvir Das, SVP and GM for unstructured data storage.
“ECS lives in the space as object storage you find a lot in the public cloud with Amazon Web Services (AWS) S3, Azure Object [Storage], Google Object [Storage]: Performance matters less, and you care about high capacity at low cost,” Das said. “We see more customers looking to the public cloud to store this kind of data because of low cost and ease of use.”
The flip side of public cloud storage, however, is that enterprise customers may not get the support they need, and a server outage — like the Amazon S3 outage in February — can cripple business.
“This new model, we can host your ECS equipment, and we will operate it for you,” Das explained. “You don’t have any of the issues of living in a shared environment because it’s all yours. You decide when to upgrade, you retail all the control you need, and it’s being operated by the engineers who wrote the code.” Das said it also costs 50 percent less than public clouds.
Additionally, updates to IsilonSD Edge, Dell EMC’s network-attached storage offering, include support for virtual storage platforms like ScaleIO and VMware vSAN.
Move Toward SDS
Companies are moving away from traditional storage systems and toward software-defined storage for three primary reasons, Das said. The first reason is driven by cloud computing.
“Traditional storage systems have been appliance-based where if I buy a certain amount of block storage on SAN [storage-area network], that’s all I can use that storage for,” he explained. “It’s purpose built and only useable for one thing. The cloud exposed this model that I can have standardized hardware, and deploy software on that, and that gives me a level of elasticity. If I need to expand, I just deploy that software on more servers. If I need to shrink, I just remove the software from some servers.”
The second reason is non-technical. Customers believe buying hardware and software separately is more transparent and cost-effective compared to buying a bundled package.
“The third is a niche, you see it more in bigger customers, this whole model of open source and DIY,” Das said. “If you give me the software, I will figure out how to use it and how to deploy it. This certainly is what all the public cloud vendors do under the covers.”
The SDS announcements are part of a dozen or so new products and services launched on the first day of the Dell EMC conference around the theme of helping customers with their “digital transformation.” This, according to the company, means adopting next-generation data center technologies, such as scale-out storage systems and converged/hyperconverged infrastructure.
A study commissioned by Dell EMC released last month found only 5 percent of the 1,000 organizations surveyed fell into the “digitally transformed” category, having adopted modern IT infrastructures, processes, and delivery methods.
Also at the Dell EMC World show the company announced updates to its hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) portfolio. These streamline installation and deployment, and support the newest VMWare technologies, among other business benefits for enterprise, Dell EMC said.
It also introduced a new payment model for on-premises HCI, called Cloud Flex for HCI, which the company says “brings a cloud-like consumption model to the Dell EMC HCI portfolio” with no upfront costs, decreasing monthly payments, and the option to return any or all HCI appliances after one year.