What is Software-Defined Storage?

first_imgThe Times They Are a-Changin’The speed at which our data is growing doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. We’ve seen the predictions – a digital universe of 40 ZB by 2020 (according to IDC), the prevalence of cloud, and our industry moving to a data centric world. The dynamic nature of our industry requires our data centers to be extremely flexible or “software-defined” so that we can easily program compute, network and storage resources to meet the needs of each tenant application. But to truly build this type of agile and adaptive data center, it requires a software solution that can virtualize each component of the data center from its underlying hardware.It is the value of virtualization —from ease of management to the efficient use of resources. When it comes to compute, virtualization is well understood and it is already transforming the industry landscape. With the recent advancements by the network community, virtualization of network is already underway. Unfortunately, virtualization of storage continues to lag – because storage is heavy – and it’s hard to virtualize.As storage has evolved through the past few decades, it has adequately met the requirements of new application workloads by providing arrays with distinctive characteristics. This approach has led to the development of a diverse set of powerful storage arrays, each with its own unique value. While needs have been met, it has created massive complexity for storage administrators – turning them into storage managers who spend most of their time simply managing the storage arrays instead of optimizing information storage for their business.To meet these challenges, the storage industry has to fundamentally rethink how storage is managed and delivered. The industry needs to develop a true Software-Defined Storage (SDS) solution that addresses storage challenges in the same way that we address compute and network challenges.Enter Software-Defined StorageSDS is a term that’s used a lot these days – and people sometimes define it the way they like. Is it about delivering a storage solution on commodity hardware? New appliances? Or is it about lightweight, extensible, open software that’s easy to implement and easy to use – that delivers higher value to the business?When “defining” SDS, we need to take a holistic view of storage – across all vendor arrays and across all commodity hardware – to provide a complete solution that meets the requirements of the Software-Defined Data Center. SDS separates the storage management services (or control plane) from the storage infrastructure (or data plane) while still retaining and extending the unique value, characteristics, and intelligence of each vendor array(s). This approach provides choice and flexibility to enterprises – so they can run their business with the necessary speed and agility required to be successful in today’s world.In our view, SDS has the following characteristics:Simple: Policy-driven AutomationSDS creates a single pool of storage from a heterogeneous set of storage arrays (commodity hardware and multi-vendor) and allows storage administrators to construct virtual storage arrays via policy. A virtual storage array can span multiple physical arrays and may be more powerful than the underlying physical arrays as new software capabilities can be added to the virtual array. Once storage is extracted into a pool of virtual storage arrays, storage administrators can then manage at the virtual layer according to automated policies. Storage administrators define various Virtual Storage Pools that represent storage performance characteristics and capabilities suited for particular workloads. With SDS, storage administrators can also provide users with instant, self-service access to storage. This gives users immediate access to storage instead of waiting days (or even weeks). It also frees up the administrators time to focus on the business.Extensible:  Adding new array capabilities in softwareAdding new capabilities (i.e., a data service such as object on file) to each multi-vendor storage array is a time consuming, tedious and costly process (as only the array vendor can add new capabilities to their array). Instead, SDS provides a platform on which new data service capabilities can be built once and used by all arrays under its management. SDS also provides access to resources through a uniform set of APIs that can be used for the development of new data services.Open Environment: Building a CommunitySDS is designed as an open platform where it is easy to add support for new arrays or add new capabilities to the storage infrastructure through data services built in software. Therefore, all management functions are exposed through APIs enabling SDS to integrate with any management stack, VMware, OpenStack, Microsoft, etc. Similarly, SDS exposes APIs so any storage array can be added to SDS by its vendor or 3rd party, and also provides APIs so any data service can easily build in software by anyone.SummaryWith the rate of data growth in the data-centric world of today, it requires a new holistic approach to storage. One that allows customers to leverage and extend existing investments while applying the advancements of cloud technology and the many years of R&D that both EMC and VMware have together invested. Software-Defined Storage is about choice, business agility, and valuable communities – all delivered and accessed in a very simple, extensible and open way!last_img read more

Analyzing Industries Part 1: Banking, Financial Services & Insurance

first_imgWhen we examine how technology is deployed in the field, there are a multitude of ways in which we can slice the market to give depth and greater understanding of the bespoke challenges that are faced in a given segment. For example, we could look at the market through the lens of a workload, where we see vast differences between the varying types of use cases such as Oracle database environments versus SAP, VDI or even HPC.  Additionally, we could look at varying geographies around the world and examine the differences between developed and developing economies, where the cost of labour influences the types of technology used.In this blog post and subsequent posts, I will look at technology through an industry prism beginning with banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) companies. To set the scene, I will examine the disruption BFSI firms will face in coming years.I’ll then move to the technology challenges being faced, starting with the data centre and finishing with the VCE perspective and answering the question of how VCE supports financial institutions in creating a foundation for IT and business transformation.What will be the game changer for financial services industry in the year ahead?2014 continues a fundamental shift for the financial services industry as their customers, big and small, have more financial negotiation power due to alternative sources of capital from new technologies. Information intersected with analytics – often referred to as big data – when combined with cutting edge platforms, can bring together investors and borrowers in ways that bypass the traditional model where borrowers seek out banks. Instead, it becomes possible for savvy lenders to identify prime borrower prospects before the prospects even start a search for a lender. Together, big data and new platforms are launching a surgical strike at the very heart of the traditional financing model.This, coupled with radical simplifications of traditional end-to-end business process and flow, will disrupt the sector, creating opportunity for some, but crisis for others. Disruption brought about by the changing dynamic with partner organisations and customers will be further characterized by the introduction of technology mash-ups, providing outcomes such as a broad uptake of digital wallets, payment disruption and more.“These companies are facing a harsh reality – banking is essential to a modern economy, banks are not. The same can be said for insurance companies.ShareHow can financial services organisations keep pace with the challenge of running their data centres?I don’t think keeping pace and merely running a data centre is good enough for a competitive and innovative financial services organisation. A successful company needs to be ahead of the demand and predict how technology will impact the very heart of their environments; the data centre. Today our data centres are under more strain than ever as they groan under the weight of the third wave of computing.The amount of devices connecting to our networks is exploding, not just internally, but also for BFSI customers. This will only continue its inexorable expansion with new connected devices and mobile wearables, such as Smart TVs and Google Glass. These devices surf a tsunami of information as the Internet of Things feeds the digital universe. Compounding the challenge is the pressure of making sense of this deluge through increasingly sophisticated analytics methods.“To keep ahead, not just keep up, organisations should look to platforms that will serve the needs of the modern data centre by reducing complexity, increasing availability and, more importantly, creating an infrastructure that enables rapid service deployment.SharePlatform strategies should be forward-looking to underpin the shift in the way we manage infrastructure and reduce the amount of time spent on configuring systems, instead of spending more time on applications and workloads.How does VCE support financial institutions in creating a foundation for IT and business transformation?At VCE, we have done the complicated work of invention and innovation on the infrastructure layer, enabling BFSI customers to redirect their focus away from the challenges faced in the modern data centre – integration, provisioning and maintenance. Vblock Systems don’t just converge the compute, network and storage fabrics, but the management layer too. This approach frees up BFSI resources to channel innovation, providing customers with a higher ROI as well as allowing the technical staff to focus on business-oriented, outcome-oriented IT, instead of non-strategic, silo-bound configuration activities.In the case of the financial services sector, VCE Vblock Systems have been successful in use cases ranging from PCI compliance to large scale VDI to allowing rapid provisioning of services for insurance companies to online banking and credit card rewards processing. Vblock Systems add hygiene and consistency to financial services environments and provide a stable, reliable, repeatable and highly scalable platform upon which customers can confidently hold their most mission-critical and business critical workloads and applications.last_img read more

Girlpreneurs Learn How To Make Their Mark on the World

first_imgFifteen-year-old Cailin is working on a mobile app designed to help first-generation college students get into college – and stay in college.Cathryn, a 16-year-old from California, would like to market a mirror that doubles as a dry eraser board – so hand-written messages of self-love can help turn the mirror into a positive experience for people. I love this idea!And Madison, 15-years-old, is excited about furthering her business plans for a monthly STEAM kit designed for girls, with materials focused on science, technology, engineering, art and math.Like any teen, at times these girls can be unsure of themselves – and their ideas. But a few weeks ago, in the presence of 150 adult woman entrepreneurs, I watched each of these girls shine at Dell’s annual Girls Track – a part of the 2017 Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) Summit that took place July 17-18 in San Francisco, California.Caitlin (middle) and other Girls Track Dolphin Pitch participants discovering that they’ve won!This year, Girls Track hosted 22 girls from Australia, Brazil, China, Israel, France, and the United States to brainstorm on many big ideas, ranging from mobile apps to a children’s book to help kids deal with cyberbullying.For eight years, the DWEN annual summit has brought together a vibrant community of like-minded women business owners and mentors in one room at one time—for the opportunity to learn, network, and share experiences.While the adult professionals at DWEN gathered together to talk about their businesses and to network, budding entrepreneurs ages 12 to 18 did the same—but in ways tailored to these young ladies.  The DWEN Girls Track, which takes place alongside the summit, is designed to give young girls from around the world the skills they need to put their entrepreneurial ideas into action.Girls Track 2017 included nine skill-building sessions. For example, Cailin and her co-attendees learned about structuring a business pitch and coding their own websites.At the end of the conference, two teams of girls were selected to pitch their business ideas in front of the entire DWEN delegation. It was impressive to see how two days of skill-building – around public speaking, business planning, and more – empowered these young ladies to give successful pitches we’ll all remember!Overall, this event is designed to equip these participants with the tools and confidence they need to accept the challenges that come with following their dreams, and to be successful – on their own terms.As a mom of a teen myself, I know that is a powerful message for a young girl.As DWEN aims to connect female entrepreneurs with networks, sources of capital, knowledge and technology, the Girls Track is investing in girls so that their path to entrepreneurship can be a guided one. Dell also incorporates technology skills, like web design, into the Girls Track programming.  Having had the special opportunity of managing Girls Track for the past two years, I believe (and have seen) that what we teach girls at Girls Track—and how—is very impactful.Some of our participants having fun after two busy days at Girls Track.Here is how two of our young attendees described their experience:Cailin, age 15, Beijing“I learned I do have the courage to do the things I didn’t think I could. Girls Track has helped me be more confident with being on stage and as a person.I think my time at Girls Track definitely will help with my business, like learning how to be financially smart and organize how our business will gain profit… and also how to communicate and pitch how our business will benefit these students’ lives.My favorite memory from Girls Track would be seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces when all of the groups have presented their business pitch. Everyone in Girls Track was supportive of each other’s achievements.”Cathryn, age 16, California“Girl’s Track taught me if you really want to succeed it’s important that you work with others. Having a partner to support you along the way is really important in a world of business.I am pretty lucky; I got to participate in a speaking competition that helped me develop my public speaking skills and learn to work in the business world.I got to meet a lot of different women at this conference. Their stories were so inspirational; like at the first social event that we went to I got to meet a journalist from France… her story of how she got where she did was really inspiring. I think hearing stories like that can really help young girls to become the best women they can be.”And I love what Madison said in the video we created to highlight the event: “I can take all my passions and all the things I’m talented at and push it toward my future.”Be brave and push ahead, girls. We’re excited to see what each of you does next!Learn more about the eighth annual Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network Summit in San Francisco, California where we announced the results of our 2017 Women Entrepreneur Cities Index (WE Cities). This article shares one example of how Dell is committed to driving human progress by putting our technology and expertise to work where it can do the most good for people and the planet.  We call this our Legacy of Good.Explore our FY17 Annual update on our 2020 Legacy of Good Plan at legacyodgood.dell.com.last_img read more

SAP Health, Dell EMC and Virtustream Make Digital Transformation Real

first_imgFrom the Point of Care to the Data Center to the CloudExperience your choice of SAP Health – as off-premises managed cloud or on-premises in your data center (described below) LIVE at HIMSS18 in the Dell EMC booth #3613 or SAP booth #4821Driven by current and future value from business processes and enterprise software, organizations across all industries are realizing the need for flexible IT consumption models. Here cloud computing is becoming more and more important. Cloud computing adds higher flexibility and agility and can help to lower cost in terms of hardware, people and maintenance. This gives a wider array of business model options to the customer. At the same time, not all business processes can be transferred into a cloud system at equal speed. Some processes are more complex than others e.g. a full-blown SCM vs. a simple leave request, and some customers may have concerns about data security, as is the case with e.g. personal or health data.At the same time, healthcare is undergoing a great revolution, due to several factors. This includes the emergence of AI/IoT-based analytics platforms, and the growth of data, especially in medical imaging and genomics. Evidence resides in areas like whole genome or population DNA sequencing, which used to take months at high costs, and which now can be done in a matter of days, if not hours. Our children will look at us in disbelief when we tell them that genetic screening for major risk factors was not available in our time. So, on the one hand, there is a great pull for making the most out of health data, yet on the other hand data handling and security constraints must be resolved.The solutions provided by SAP Health rely on the SAP Cloud Platform to deliver on these promises. In that light, SAP works with the best partners in the cloud area, one of which is Virtustream, a Dell Technologies business. Virtustream and SAP are partners for a long time, both for cloud services and for technical innovations. The Virtustream Enterprise Cloud is built on a Dell EMC infrastructure foundation. In 2016, Virtustream announced the first S/4HANA customer running in the cloud. SAP and Virtustream work closely on new innovations, and this also encompasses partnering on SAP Health. The Virtustream Enterprise Cloud is purpose-built for mission-critical applications, with managed services that deliver the highest standards in availability, security, and compliance, addressing many of the data concerns that exist especially in the healthcare space. The Virtustream Enterprise Cloud applies to healthcare systems of record, such as SAP S/4HANA and EMRs, and systems of insight, such as SAP Health services, that require application performance and availability service level agreements for running 24×7 operations. This also encompasses compliance with regulatory frameworks such as HIPAA and HiTECH to protect patient data, and strong business continuity design – all with a cost-effective utility-based infrastructure service. Virtustream also meets data residency requirements, by region and even by country. Virtustream has hosting locations in the US, UK, France, Germany, and the Netherlands, all of which are equipped to support such data residency requirements. In addition, Dell EMC, which is also a Dell Technologies business, is one of the leading providers of infrastructure services for healthcare globally. Dell EMC supports both providers and payers, using the same architectures available in the Virtustream cloud. In partnering with SAP Health, Virtustream adds its compliance, scale, and cloud efficiencies to the already existing Health partnership between Dell EMC and SAP. Customers can quickly enhance their on-premise infrastructure with pay-for-use as-they-grow environment, and be confident that their patient data is fully protected. Thus, this joint approach can fully support the cloud-based solutions of SAP’s Health offer. These posts from our Direct2DellEMC blog provide some additional context and background on our existing engagement with SAP:21st Century Computing: Dell EMC, Intel and SAP power better patient outcomesPartners in Personalized Medicine: Dell, SAP and Intel team up to provide optimized patient resultsEnabling Precision Medicine in the Era of the Genome with SAP Health and Dell EMC Isilon Data Lake in a Hadoop environmentThe combination of Virtustream, Dell EMC and SAP Health supports next-generation precision medicine to provide personalized, best-in-class patient care. As healthcare customers look to launch new systems of actionable insight, like delivered by the SAP Health solutions, they need a trusted partner that can support on the intersection of data analysis and large-yet-secure data lakes, nourished from disparate data sources. It is crucial to deliver a robust infrastructure solution that addresses any concerns.Want to learn more? Just visit us LIVE at HIMSS18 in the Dell EMC booth #3613. Dr. Marten Neubauer, our SAP Healthcare & Lifesciences expert with Dell EMC’s Global SAP Center of Excellence, will be there for you.last_img read more

As Wisconsin’s Johnson weighs future, Trump ties take a toll

first_imgMADISON, Wis. (AP) — Fealty to former President Donald Trump has endeared Republican Sen. Ron Johnson to the far-right base in Wisconsin, but it could prove costly if he decides to seek a third term in 2022. His embrace of Trump’s anti-democratic campaign to overturn the election results already has angered some mainstream Republican allies and is poised to motivate Democrats who have ridden opposition to Trump to new strength. Observers note that Johnson has often behaved like a senator from a solidly red state. But November’s election demonstrated that Wisconsin, which Democrat Joe Biden narrowly won, is anything but. The fight for his seat will be among the most competitive races next year.last_img

China to send 10 million coronavirus vaccine doses abroad

first_imgTAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — China has announced a plan to provide 10 million coronavirus vaccine doses to developing nations through the global COVAX initiative. Its Foreign Ministry says China is responding to a request from the World Health Organization as developing countries seek to fill shortages predicted to run through March. Beijing called it an important policy decision to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines and to promote international cooperation in the fight against the pandemic. The ministry says WHO is in the process of approving Chinese vaccines for emergency use. COVAX has secured only a fraction of the 2 billion doses it hopes to buy in 2021. Pfizer last month committed to supply up to 40 million doses, and AstraZeneca has contributed 150 million doses.last_img