Could EMC Become The Amdahl of Cloud Storage?

There is no doubt that EMC has shipped some Atmos storage since its introduction. Yes, EMC has Atmos. And the company claims that Atmos is specifically designed for the cloud. However, I believe that there are fundamental issues with the way EMC sells Atmos to customers. First of all, if Atmos is cloud storage, then it should be sold on a usage basis. Customers should be charged only for what they use–not for petabytes of capacity up front. After all, isn’t that the whole premise of cloud? Lowering your capital expenditures and shifting to a utility model? It makes me wonder if EMC is slowly becoming the Amdahl of Cloud Storage.

Storage Transforming to Reflect Compute

We’ve touched on this topic before, and as the march continues  to a fully virtualized data center and the movement of applications and data to the cloud it’s becoming more apparent. It’s also related to our roll-out of virtual storage appliances that we announced this week.

Riding a wave of server virtualization technologies, the compute infrastructure is by and large built on a scale-out commodity hardware layer running a variety of applications in virtual machines. Resources are efficiently shared by multiple applications and users in an environment that is centrally managed, automated for large scale, and extremely responsive. Open source software has a prominent place (LAMP stack anyone?). It’s the model pioneered by the web giants when they were the only ones facing challenges of that scale and now it’s ubiquitous.

Storage is increasingly becoming a commoditized, virtualized, centrally managed pool of resources – in short it’s transforming to reflect the compute environment in many respects. We can again look to web giants such as Goolge who has built their own storage infrastructure that has all of the cloud-like characteristics: built on commodity scale-out hardware, the intelligence and functionality are built into the software, it’s very dynamic, scales on demand, and gives high availability through redundancy. The problem is there aren’t many companies that can bring to bear the engineering resources of Google to build something from scratch. This is why at Gluster we are working to accelerate this storage transition and provide enterprise customers Google-like storage off the shelf.

Which takes us back to delivering Gluster as a virtual storage appliance. It borrows lessons from the server industry, takes another big virtualization step, and enables storage to be deployed the same way you deploy virtual servers. Also, it can be deployed in your own data center or in the public cloud. Feel free to give it a try.

Gluster Introduces First Scale-Out NAS Virtual Appliances for VMware and Amazon Web Services

New appliances allow users to deploy scale-out storage in virtual and cloud environments as easily as deploying virtual servers

Milpitas, Calif. – February 8, 2011 – [intlink id=”877″ type=”page”]Gluster[/intlink], a leading provider of scale-out, open source storage solutions, today announced Gluster Virtual Storage Appliances specifically designed for virtual machine (VM) and cloud environments. The new appliances give enterprises the ability to treat physical storage as a virtualized, standardized, and scale-on-demand pool in much the same way that they treat computing resources today, radically improving storage economics in the process. The VMware Virtual Storage Appliance integrates GlusterFS into a virtual machine for deployment on any VMware certified hardware or cloud platform. For Amazon Web Services (AWS), GlusterFS is packaged in an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) for deployment on the AWS public cloud. The appliances are fully functional Gluster storage servers that pool storage resources under a global namespace with elastic volume management for data growth and migration with no downtime.

Multiple trends are contributing to the demand for such appliances: Unstructured data is growing by 60 percent per year, creating a need for vastly different storage economics; over 50 percent of all compute workloads are expected to be virtualized by 2012, creating a need for vastly different shared storage architectures; and, the cloud is expected to account for 12 percent of all IT spending by 2014, creating a need for storage that works both on-premise and in the cloud.

“The interest in scale-out storage has significantly increased recently as enterprises look for the most effective way to address scalability and manageability in such highly dynamic environments as the cloud,” said Terri McClure, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group. “Gluster’s new offering is representative of the types of major breakthroughs we’re seeing in storage technology for VM and cloud environments, delivering the scale-out architecture that is needed in a highly responsive manner thanks to its software approach to the problem.”

The Gluster Virtual Storage Appliances are:

  • Tailored for VM and cloud environments: The software-only appliances are decoupled from hardware and virtualize the underlying disk and memory resources in a unified global namespace, allowing for limitless scalability. With this feature, enterprises are able to deploy storage similar to virtual machines and eliminate the need for expensive physical monolithic storage systems.
  • Easy to deploy and scale: By scaling performance and capacity linearly, data is able to be added as required in only a few minutes without affecting performance across a wide variety of workloads. Additionally, storage is centrally managed across a wide variety of workloads.
  • Supportive of multiple platforms: The virtual storage appliances are available in two versions: as a VMware Virtual Machine or an Amazon Machine Image, providing easy deployment on any VMware certified hardware or Amazon Web Services’ public cloud. This support delivers excellent performance across a wide range of workloads, including those found in highly virtualized environments.

“Over the past decade, enterprises have seen enormous gains as they have migrated from proprietary, monolithic server architectures to architectures that are virtualized, open source, standardized, and commoditized. Virtualization technology is at the heart of cloud computing, but unfortunately the storage side of the equation has not kept pace with computing,” said [intlink id=”59″ type=”page”]AB Periasamy[/intlink], co-founder and CTO of Gluster. “Gluster’s new virtual storage appliances play a crucial role in closing the server-storage virtualization gap and deliver a solution that is tailor-made for cloud and VM environments.”

The Gluster AMI is available in multiple instance types from Amazon Web Services. The flexibility of the AWS pay-as-you-go model combined with the elastic scaling capabilities of Gluster ensures customers only deploy and pay for what is needed when needed. Gluster offers a fully POSIX compatible interface that aggregates multiple Elastic Block Storage (EBS) devices in a unified pool. This storage pool can be accessed simultaneously by hundreds of clients and configured for high availability.

Gluster Virtual Storage Appliances for VMware are designed for virtual environments and run on any VMware certified hardware. With the ability to deploy in minutes in the same manner as standard VMs, the appliances accelerate the transformation of storage to more closely resemble the compute environment.

Product Availability

Gluster Virtual Storage Appliances will be generally available on February 15. To sign up now or obtain more information, go to [intlink id=”4″ type=”page”][/intlink].

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About Gluster

[intlink id=”877″ type=”page”]Gluster[/intlink] delivers an open storage software platform focused on simplifying the task of storing and managing the explosive growth of unstructured data. Our scale-out storage platform runs on commodity hardware scaling out in building block fashion from a few terabytes to multiple petabytes to meet the most demanding capacity and performance needs at a fraction of the cost of traditional systems. Gluster uses a unified global namespace to virtualize disk and memory resources into a single shared pool that is centrally managed. Our scalable virtual NAS appliances address the needs of traditional data centers, shared storage for virtual server environments, and both public and private storage clouds. Gluster is used by enterprises in a wide range of industries, including digital media delivery, healthcare, internet, energy, and biotech. Gluster is privately-held and headquartered in Milpitas, California.