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Using Data Reduction at the OS layer in Enterprise Linux Environments

| Stock Market
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Enterprises and cloud service providers that have built their infrastructure around Linux should deploy data reduction in the operating system to drive costs down, say experts at Permabit Technology Corporation, the company behind Permabit Virtual Data Optimizer (VDO).  Permabit VDO is the only complete data reduction software for Linux, the world’s most popular server Operating System (OS). Permabit’s VDO software fills a gap in the Linux feature set by providing a cost effective, alternative to the data reduction services delivered as part of the two other major OS platforms – Microsoft Windows and VMware. IT architects are driven to cut costs as they build out their next generation infrastructure with one or more of these OS platforms in  public and/or private cloud deployments and one obvious way to do so is with data reduction.

When employed as a component of the OS, data reduction can be applied universally without lock-in of proprietary solutions. Adding compression, deduplication, and thin provisioning to the core OS, data reduction benefits can be leveraged by any application or infrastructure services running on that OS. This ensures that savings accrue across the entire IT infrastructure, delivering TCO advantages no matter where the data resides. This is the future of data reduction – as a ubiquitous service of the OS.

“We’re seeing movement away from proprietary storage solutions, where data reduction was a key differentiated feature, toward OS-based capabilities that are applied across an entire infrastructure,” said Tom Cook, Permabit CEO.  “Early adopters are reaping financial rewards through reduced cost of equipment, space, power and cooling. Today we are also seeing adoption of data reduction in the OS by more conservative IT organizations who are driven to take on more initiatives with tightly constrained IT budgets.”

VDO, with inline data deduplication, HIOPS Compression®, and fine-grained thin provisioning, is deployed as a device-mapper driver for Linux. This approach ensures compatibility with a full complement of direct-attached/ephemeral, block, file and object interfaces. VDO data reduction is available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Canonical Ubuntu Linux LTS distributions.

Advantages of in-OS data reduction technology include:

  • Improved density for public/private /hybrid cloud storage, resulting in lower storage and service costs
  • Vendor independent to function across hardware running the target OS
  • Seamless data mobility between on-premise and cloud resources
  • Up to six times lower IT infrastructure OpEx
  • Transparent to end users accessing data
  • Requires no modifications to existing applications, file systems, virtualization features, or data protection capabilities

With VDO, these advantages are being realized on Linux today. VDO deployments have been completed (or are currently in progress) with large telecommunications companies, government agencies, financial services firms and IaaS providers who have standardized on Linux for their data centers. With data reduction in Linux, enterprises achieve vendor independence across all Linux based storage, increased mobility of reduced data and hyper scale economics. What an unbeatable combination!

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Addressing Bandwidth Challenges in the Hybrid Cloud

| By: (53)

Any application infrastructure that relies on a single data center is only as safe as that data center’s physical resources and the competence of its staff.  Witness the recent S3 outage at Amazon. When you choose to deploy in a single public cloud, you are delegating infrastructure management to your provider. When you’re exclusively running in-house, private cloud infrastructure, you’re entrusting that management to your own organization.  Either way mistakes…

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Reduce Cloud’s Highly Redundant Data

| By: (60)

Storage is the foundation of cloud services. All cloud services – delineated as scalable, elastic, on-demand, and self-service – begin with storage. Almost universally, cloud storage services are virtualized and hybrid cloud architectures that combine on-premise resources with colocation, private and public clouds result in highly redundant data environments.  IDC’s FutureScape report finds “Over 80% of enterprise IT organizations will commit to hybrid cloud architectures, encompassing multiple public cloud services,…

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Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid Cloud Gains in Popularity, Survey Finds

| Light Reading
Hybrid Cloud

The hybrid model of cloud computing is gaining more popularity in the enterprise, as businesses move more workloads and applications to public cloud infrastructures and away from private deployments.

Those are some of the findings from RightScale’s annual “State of the Cloud” report, which the company released Wednesday. It’s based on interviews with 1,000 IT professionals, with 48% of them working in companies with more than 1,000 employees.

The biggest takeaway from the report is that enterprises and their IT departments are splitting their cloud dollars between public and private deployments, and creating demands for a hybrid approach.

“The 2017 State of the Cloud Survey shows that while hybrid cloud remains the preferred enterprise strategy, public cloud adoption is growing while private cloud adoption flattened and fewer companies are prioritizing building a private cloud,” according to a blog post accompanying the report. “This was a change from last year’s survey, where we saw strong gains in private cloud use.”

Specifically, 85% of respondents reported having a multi-cloud, hybrid strategy, and that’s up from the 82% who reported a similar approach in 2016. At the same time, private cloud adoption dropped from 77% in 2016 to 72% in 2017.

In the survey, 41% of respondents reported running workloads in public clouds, while 38% said they run workloads in private clouds. In large enterprises, those numbers reverse, with 32% of respondents running workloads in public clouds, and 43% running workloads within private infrastructures.

“It’s important to note that the workloads running in private cloud may include workloads running in existing virtualized environments or bare-metal environments that have been ‘cloudified,’ ” according to the report.

When it comes to adopting cloud technologies and services, there are less barriers and concerns this year compared to 2016. The lack of resources and expertise to implement a cloud strategy was still the top concern.

In addition the report notes that in every cloud expertise level the Top 5 Challenges” indicate there is a substantial concern with “managing costs”.  One vehicle that can help manage costs is to apply data reduction technologies to your cloud deployment. Permabit VDO can be applied to public and/or private clouds quickly and easily enabling cost reduction of 50% or more in on-premise, in-transit and public cloud deployments.

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Future Software-Defined Datacenters Defined by Abstraction and Hardware Commoditization

| informationweek.com
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The emergence of agile digital business has changed the way we interact with technology and services, and defined new ways of building datacenters and converged infrastructures. The “as-a-service” concept has also been implemented in virtualized infrastructures to boost automation and flexibility without hampering performance or adding to costs.

Software-defined datacenters (SDDC) are the newest model for building, managing and operating large pools of physical resources without worrying about interoperability between hardware vendors or even hypervisors. Abstraction is key to hyperconverged infrastructures as it allows software to simplify operations and manage complex infrastructures.

Converged vs. Hyperconverged Infrastructures

Converged infrastructures (CI) allowed for computing, storage, networking and virtualization to be built into a single chassis, and hyperconverged infrastructures (HCI) builds on top of that by tightening the interaction between all these components with an extra software-defined layer. However, converged infrastructures don’t usually allow much flexibility in configuration, as the purchased hardware is usually vendor-dependent and additional components are normally managed separately.

Hyperconverged infrastructures (HCI) are built to be hardware-agnostic and focused more on building on top of converged infrastructures by adding more components, such as data deduplication, WAN optimization and inline compression. The ability to manage the entire infrastructure through a single system and common toolset enables infrastructure expansion through simple point-and-click actions and checkboxes.

Separating physical hardware from infrastructure operations means that workloads and applications can work together more tightly than in legacy or converged infrastructures. At the same time, having a storage controller that acts as a service running on a node means that directly attaching data storage to physical machines is no longer necessary — any new storage will be part of a cluster and configured as part of a single storage pool.

Software-Defined Datacenters

While most of today’s organizations are probably not ready to adopt software-defined datacenters – and those that do probably fit into the visionary category – IT decision makers need to understand the business cases, use cases and risks associated with SDDSs. Because hyperconvergence is the actual definition of a software-defined datacenter, IT decision makers should proceed with caution when implementing it as they need to make sure that it delivers the best results for their business.

Gartner predicted that SDDCs will be the future of digital business, with 75 percent of top enterprises considering it mandatory by 2020. We’ve already seen hybrid cloud adoption increase through the integration of software and commodity datacenter hardware offered by public cloud vendors. The rise of SDDCs will probably also be fueled by the need for businesses to become more agile in terms of IT solutions that satisfy business growth and continuity.

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Why 2017 will belong to open source

| CIO News
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A few years ago, open source was the less-glamorous and low-cost alternative in the enterprise world, and no one would have taken the trouble to predict what its future could look like. Fast-forward to 2016, many of us will be amazed by how open source has become the de facto standard for nearly everything inside an enterprise. Open source today is the primary engine for innovation and business transformation. Cost is probably the last reason for an organisation to go in for open source.

An exclusive market study conducted by North Bridge and Black Duck brought some fascinating statistics a few months ago. In the study titled “Future of Open Source”, about 90% of surveyed organisations said that open source improves efficiency, interoperability and innovation. What is even more significant is the finding that the adoption of open source for production environments outpaced the proprietary software for the first time – more than 55% leverage OSS for production infrastructure.

OpenStack will rule the cloud world
OpenStack has already made its presence felt as an enterprise-class framework for the cloud. An independent study, commissioned by SUSE, reveals that 81 percent of senior IT professionals are planning to move or are already moving to OpenStack Private Cloud. What is more, the most innovative businesses and many Fortune 100 businesses have already adopted OpenStack for their production environment.

As cloud becomes the foundation on which your future business will be run, OpenStack gains the upper hand with its flexibility, agility, performance and efficiency. Significant cost reduction is another major consideration for organisations, especially the large enterprises. Because a proprietary cloud platform is excessively expensive to build and maintain and operations of Open Stack deliver baseline cost reductions. In addition data reduction in an Open Stack deployment can further reduce operating costs.

Open source to be at the core of digital transformation
Digital transformation is, in fact, one of the biggest headaches for CIOs because of its sheer heterogeneous and all-pervading nature. With the data at the center of digital transformation, it is often impossible for CIOs to ensure that the information that percolates down is insightful and secure at the same time. They need a platform which is scalable, flexible, allows innovations and is quick enough to turn around. This is exactly what Open Source promises. Not just that, with the current heterogeneous environments that exist in enterprises, interoperability is going to be the most critical factor.

Technologies like Internet of Things (IoT) and SMAC (social, mobile, analytics and cloud) will make data more valuable and voluminous. The diversity of devices and standards that will emerge will make open source a great fit for enterprises to truly leverage these trends. It is surprising to know that almost all ‘digital enterprises’ in the world are already using open source platforms and tools to a great extent. The pace of innovation that open source communities can bring to the table is unprecedented.

Open source-defined data centers
A recent research paper from IDC states that 85 percent of the surveyed enterprises globally consider open source to be the realistic or preferred solution for migrating to software-defined infrastructure (SDI). IDC also recommends to avoiding vendor lock-in by deploying open source solutions. Interestingly, many organisations seem to have already understood the benefits of open source clearly, with Linux adoption in the data centers growing steadily at a pace of 15-20%.

The key drivers of SDI – efficiency, scalability and reliability at minimal investment – can be achieved only with the adoption of open source platforms. Open source helps the enterprises to be agiler in building, deploying and maintaining applications. In the coming days, open source adoption is going to be essential for achieving true ‘zero-downtime’ in Software-Defined-Infrastructure.

The open source will have specifically large role to play in the software-defined-storage (SDS) space. It will help organisations in overcoming the current challenges associated with SDS. Open SDS solutions can scale infinitely without a need to refresh the entire platform or disrupt the existing functioning environment.

Data Reduction will easily be added to SDS or OS environments with Permabit VDO. A simple plug and play approach that will enable 2X or more storage reduction will add to the already efficient operations of open source deployments.

Open source to be decisive in enterprise DevOps journey
Today, software and applications have a direct impact on business success and performance. As a reason, development, testing, delivery, and maintenance of applications have become very crucial. In the customer-driven economy, it is imperative for organisations to have DevOps and containerisation technologies to increase release cycles and quality of applications.

Often, enterprises struggle to get the most out of DevOps model. The investment associated with replicating the production environments for testing the apps is not negligible. They also fail to ensure that the existing systems are not disturbed while running a testing environment within containers.

Industry analysts believe that microservices running in Docker-like containers, on an open and scalable cloud infrastructure are the future of applications. OpenStack-based cloud infrastructures are going to be an absolute necessity for enterprises for a successful DevOp journey. The flexibility and interoperability apart, the open cloud allows the DevOps team to reuse the same infrastructure as and when containers are created.

In 2017, it is expected to see open source becoming the first preference for organisations that are at the forefront of innovation.

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Cloud IT Spending to Edge Out Traditional Data Centers by 2020

| Datamation
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The IT solutions market for cloud providers has nowhere to go but up.

A new forecast from IDC predicts that cloud IT infrastructure spending on servers, storage and network switches will jump 18.2 percent this year to reach $44.2 billion. Public clouds will generate 61 percent of that amount and off-premises private clouds will account for nearly 15 percent.

IDC research director Natalya Yezhkova, said that over the next few quarters, “growth in spending on cloud IT infrastructure will be driven by investments done by new hyperscale data centers opening across the globe and increasing activity of tier-two and regional service providers,” in a statement.

Additionally, businesses are also growing more adept at floating their own private clouds, she said. “Another significant boost to overall spending on cloud IT infrastructure will be coming from on-premises private cloud deployments as end users continue gaining knowledge and experience in setting up and managing cloud IT within their own data centers.”

Despite a 3 percent decline in spending on non-cloud IT infrastructure during 2017, the segment will still command the majority (57 percent) of all revenues. By 2020, however, the tables will turn.

Combined, the public and private data center infrastructure segments will reach a major tipping point in 2020, accounting for nearly 53 percent of the market, compared to just over 47 percent for traditional data center gear. Public cloud operators and private cloud environments will drive $48.1 billion in IT infrastructure sales by that year.

Indeed, the cloud computing market is growing by leaps and bounds.

The shifting sands are both predictable and evolutionary. Dominant data center spending has been platform specific and somewhat captive. As public cloud providers demonstrated, efficient data center operations are being deployed with white box platforms and high performance open -source software stacks that minimize costs and eliminate software bloat.  Corporate IT professionals didn’t miss this evolution and have begun developing similar IT infrastructures. They are sourcing white box platform’s which are much less costly than branded platforms and combining them with open-source software including operating systems, software defined storage with data reduction that drives down storage consumption too.   The result is a more efficient data center with less costly hardware and open-source software that drives down acquisition and operating costs.

The shift is occurring and the equilibrium between public and private clouds will change. Not just because of hardware but increasingly because of open-source software and the economic impact it has on building high density data centers that run more efficiently  than the branded platforms.

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VDO in 10 Top Data Storage Applications

| InfoStor
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There are so many data storage applications out there that whittling down the list to a handful was quite a challenge. In fact, it proved impossible.

So we are doing two stories on this subject. Even then, there are many good candidates that aren’t included. To narrow things down a little, therefore, we omitted back up, disaster recovery (DR), performance tuning, WAN optimization and similar applications. Otherwise, we’d have to cover just about every storage app around.

We also tried to eliminate cloud-based storage services as there are so many of them. But that wasn’t entirely possible because the lines between on-premise and cloud services are blurring as software defined storage encroaches further on the enterprise. As a result, storage services from the likes of Microsoft Azure, Amazon and one or two others are included.

Storage Spaces Direct

Storage Spaces Direct (S2D) for Windows Server 2016 uses a new software storage bus to turn servers with local-attached drives into highly available and scalable software-defined storage. The Microsoft pitch is that this is done at a tiny fraction of the cost of a traditional SAN or NAS. It can be deployed in a converged or hyper-converged architecture to make deployment relatively simple. S2D also includes caching, storage tiering, erasure coding, RDMA networking and the use of NVMe drives mounted directly on the PCIe bus to boost performance.

“S2D allows software-defined storage to manage direct attached storage (SSD and HDD) including allocation, availability, capacity and performance optimization,” said Greg Schulz, an analyst at StorageIO Group. “It is integrated with the Windows Server operating systems, so it is leveraging familiar tools and expertise to support Windows, Hyper-V, SQL Server and other workloads.”

Red Hat Ceph Storage

Red Hat’s data storage application for OpenStack is Red Hat Ceph Storage. It is an open, scalable, software-defined storage system that runs on industry-standard hardware. Designed to manage petabytes of data as well as cloud and emerging workloads, Ceph is integrated with OpenStack to offer a single platform for all its block, object, and file storage needs. Red Hat Ceph Storage is priced based on the amount of storage capacity under management.

“Ceph is a software answer to the traditional storage appliance, and it brings all the benefits of modern software – it’s scale-out, flexible, tunable, and programmable,” said Daniel Gilfix, product marketing, Red Hat Storage. “New workloads are driving businesses towards an increasingly software-defined datacenter. They need greater cost efficiency, more control of data, less time-consuming maintenance, strong data protection and the agility of the cloud.”

Virtual Data Optimizer

Gilfix is also a fan of Virtual Data Optimizer (VDO) software from Permabit. This data efficiency software uses compression, deduplucation and zero-elimination on the data you store, making it take up less space. It runs as a Linux kernel module, sitting underneath almost any software – including Gluster or Ceph. Pricing starts at $199 per node for up to 16 TB of storage. A 256 TB capacity-based license is available for $3,000.

“Just as server virtualization revolutionized the economics of compute, Permabit data reduction software has the potential to transform the economics of storage,” said Gilfix. “VDO software reduces the amount of disk space needed by 2:1 in most scenarios and up to 10:1 in virtual environments (vdisk).”

VMware vSAN

VMware vSAN is a great way to pool internal disks for vSphere environments. It extends virtualization to storage and is fully integrated with vSphere. Policy-based management is also included, so you can set per-VM policies and automate provisioning. Due to its huge partner ecosystem, it supports a wide range of applications, containers, cloud services and more. When combined with VMware NSX, a vSAN-powered software defined data center can extend on-premise storage and management services across different public clouds to give a more consistent experience.

OpenIO

OpenIO is described as all-in-one object storage and data processing. It is available as a software-only solution or via the OpenIO SLS (ServerLess Storage) platform. The software itself is open source and available online. It allows users to operate petabytes of object storage. It wraps storage, data protection and processing in one package that can run on any hardware. OpenIO’s tiering enables automated load-balancing and establishes large data lakes for such applications as analytics.

The SLS version is a storage appliance that combines high-capacity drives, a 40Gb/s Ethernet backend and Marvell Armada-3700 dual core ARM 1.2Ghz processors. It can host up to 96 nodes, each with a 3.5″ HDD or SSD. This offers a petabyte scale-out storage system in a 4U chassis.

StarWind

StarWind Virtual SAN is a virtualization infrastructure targeted at SMBs, remote offices and branch offices, as well as cloud providers. It is said to cut down on the cost of storage virtualization using a technique that mirrors internal hard disks and flash between hypervisor servers. This software-defined storage approach is also designed for ease of use. Getting started requires two licensed nodes and can be expanded beyond that. It comes with asynchronous replication, in-line and offline deduplication, multi-tiered RAM and flash cache.

IBM Spectrum Virtualize

IBM Spectrum Virtualize deals with block-oriented virtual storage. It is available as standalone software or can be used to power IBM all-flash products. The software provides data services such as storage virtualization, thin provisioning, snapshots, cloning, replication, data copying and DR. It makes it possible to virtualize all storage on the same Intel hardware without any additional software or appliances.

“Spectrum Virtualize supports common data services such as snapshots and replication in nearly 400 heterogeneous storage arrays,” said David Hill, Mesabi Group. “It simplifies operational storage management and is available for x86 servers.”

Dell EMC ECS

Dell EMC Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS) is available as a software-defined storage appliance or as software that could be deployed on commodity hardware. This object storage platform provides support for object, file and HDFS. It is said to make app development faster via API accessible storage, and it also enables organizations to consolidate multiple storage systems and content archives into a single, globally accessible content repository that can host many applications.

NetApp ONTAP Cloud

NetApp ONTAP Cloud is a software-only storage service operating on the NetApp ONTAP storage platform that provides NFS, CIFS and iSCSI data management for the cloud. It includes a single interface to all ONTAP-based storage in the cloud and on premises via its Cloud Manager feature. It is also cloud-agnostic, i.e., it is said to offer enterprise-class data storage management across cloud vendors. Thus it aims to combine cloud flexibility with high availability. Business continuity features are also included.

Quantum StorNext

Quantum’s longstanding StorNext software continues to find new avenues of application in the enterprise. StorNext 5 is targeted at the high-performance shared storage market. It is said to accelerate complex information workflows. The StorNext 5 file system can manage Xcellis workflow storage, extended online storage and tape archives via advanced data management capabilities. Billed as the industry’s fastest streaming file system and policy-based tiering software, it is designed for large sets of large files and complex information workflows.

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Enterprise storage in 2017: trends and challenges

| Information Age
mainframe

Information Age previews the storage landscape in 2017 – from the technologies that businesses will implement to the new challenges they will face.

The enthusiastic outsourcing to the cloud by enterprise CIOs in 2016 will start to tail off in 2017, as finance directors discover that the high costs are not viable long-term. Board-level management will try to reconcile the alluring simplicity they bought into against the lack of visibility into hardware and operations.

As enterprises attempt to solve the issue of maximising a return for using the cloud, many will realise that the arrangement they are in may not be suitable across the board and seek to bring some of their data back in-house.

It will sink in that using cloud for small data sets can work really well in the enterprise, but as soon as the volume of data grows to a sizeable amount, the outsourced model becomes extremely costly.

Enterprises will extract the most value from their IT infrastructures through hybrid cloud in 2017, keeping a large amount of data on-premise using private cloud and leveraging key aspects of public cloud for distribution, crunching numbers and cloud compute, for example.

‘The combined cost of managing all storage from people, software and full infrastructure is getting very expensive as retention rates on varying storage systems differ,’ says Matt Starr, CTO at Spectra Logic. ‘There is also the added pressure of legislation and compliance as more people want or need to keep everything forever.

‘We predict no significant uptick on storage spend in 2017, and certainly no drastic doubling of spend,’ says Starr. ‘You will see the transition from rotational to flash. Budgets aren’t keeping up with the rates that data is increasing.’

The prospect of a hybrid data centre will, however, trigger more investment eventually. The model is a more efficient capacity tier based on pure object storage at the drive level and above this a combination of high-performance HDD (hard disk drives) and SSD (solid state drives).

Hybrid technology has been used successfully in laptops and desktop computers for years, but it’s only just beginning to be considered for enterprise-scale data centres.

While the industry is in the very early stages of implementing this new method for enterprise, Fagan expects 70% of new data centres to be hybrid by 2020.

‘This is a trend that I expect to briskly pick up pace,’ he says. ‘As the need for faster and more efficient storage becomes more pressing, we must all look to make smart plans for the inevitable data.

One “must have” is data reduction technologies. By applying data reduction to the software stack data density, costs and efficiency will improve.  If Red Hat Linux is part of your strategy, deplpoying Permabit VDO data reduction is as easy as plug in and go. Reducing storage consumption, data center footprint and operating costs will drop by 50% or more.

 

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