Tag Archives: distribution

Western Digital’s ActiveScale adds new DR, workflow options

Western Digital’s ActiveScale 5.5 object storage update adds asynchronous object distribution for multisite disaster recovery and new workflow automation options for customers that have massive-scale unstructured data storage needs.

Western Digital claims ActiveScale can deliver up to 75 GB per second of data throughput and pack more data into a smaller footprint than past product versions, thanks to its newly integrated 14 TB Ultrastar enterprise hard disk drives (HDDs). The highest capacity HDD available with prior ActiveScale systems was 12 TB.

ActiveScale’s starting capacity is 676 TB, and deployments generally exceed a petabyte, according to Erik Ottem, senior director of product marketing for Western Digital data center systems. The largest customer, a hedge fund, stores about 200 PB, he said.

Object stores such as ActiveScale are designed to scale out on commodity server hardware and offer a more economical alternative to file- and block-based storage for applications that don’t require the highest levels of performance. Target workloads for ActiveScale include analytics, high-performance computing and internet of things.

Asynchronous geo-spread

ActiveScale 5.5’s new asynchronous “geo-spread” feature will give customers a “more efficient and less expensive” option to protect data than replication does, Ottem said. The common “triple-mirror” architecture for object storage replicates a full copy of a file to three locations. But geo-spreading replicates only a portion of an object and parity bits, so that any two locations have sufficient data chunks and parity to reconstruct the full object, Ottem said.

Western Digital has long supported a “strong consistency” model with synchronous geo-spreading. The addition of the asynchronous option will now add an “eventual consistency” option for customers with latency between geographically dispersed sites and distribute data in the background, Ottem said.

“With geo-spreading, you manage one system in three locations instead of three systems in three locations,” Ottem said.

The ActiveScale geo-spread feature gives customers the choice of 18 erasure code options based on the number of data center locations they have, capacity and data durability requirements, Ottem said.

Data Pipeline Service

Another key new feature in ActiveScale 5.5 is a Data Pipeline Service designed to facilitate workflow automation. ActiveScale provides real-time object notifications and connection capabilities to a messaging service, such as Apache Kafka, to trigger a chain of events to get work done, Ottem said.

ActiveScale View
Western Digital’s new ActiveScale View user interface is patterned after Amazon’s Simple Storage Service dashboard.

Potential use cases for the Data Pipeline Service include virus checking, document analysis for fraud detection, healthcare image analysis or video transcoding for a media and entertainment application. Western Digital will provide written and video instruction materials to help users implement the new workflow automation capabilities, Ottem said.

The ActiveScale 5.5 update also adds an optional graphical user interface (GUI), patterned after Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3), to enable employees to create new object storage buckets without requiring IT assistance.

“Our traditional GUI was aimed at the IT audience, and this GUI is really aimed at end users. It doesn’t do everything. For instance, you don’t necessarily want your power user to do troubleshooting on which disk drive or which shelf needed to be replaced. But it does make a lot of sense to have your end user understanding what his bucket uses are and what versions are available,” Ottem said.

Western Digital offers two ActiveScale models: the P100 modular option for customers with their own racks and the X100 integrated system in a prepopulated rack. Ottem said channel partners set the pricing. Support for the new 14 TB HDDs — which offer higher density at roughly the same energy footprint — will increase the suggested retail price by 2.5% to 5%, Ottem said.

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Hortonworks cloud options grow via Google, Microsoft, IBM

Hadoop distribution provider Hortonworks is expanding technology partnerships with Google, Microsoft and IBM to broaden the options for users looking to deploy Hortonworks cloud systems.

Most notably, Hortonworks now supports the Google Cloud Storage (GCS) service, with the ability to run applications against data stored there. Cloud-based object stores like GCS have gained greater prominence, at times supplanting the Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) as a repository for Hadoop-based big data applications in the cloud.

For Google, the expanded deal announced June 18 furthers its efforts to close a gap with cloud platform market leaders Amazon Web Services and Microsoft. For Hortonworks, the move is part of its efforts to enable users to run big data workloads on multiple clouds, according to Ovum analyst Tony Baer.

Baer said that for many organizations — particularly ones that are a step below the size of the biggest enterprises — big data analytics will largely be done on the cloud going forward.

“For people just getting started, even with the work done by the distribution providers, Hadoop is a complicated platform with a lot of moving parts,” Baer said. “There’s a lot of knowledge needed just to set it up, and that is not a skill most organizations have.”

When moving big data workloads to the cloud, users often see a money-saving opportunity in cloud storage tools like GCS, the Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) and Microsoft’s Azure Blob Storage. Such technologies may provide slower performance as opposed to HDFS, but Baer said that gap could close with improvements over time. Among users of GCS now are Spotify, Coca-Cola, the Broad Institute and others.

Cold data play

Scott Gnau, CTO, HortonworksScott Gnau

Hortonworks CTO Scott Gnau said interest in cloud object stores doesn’t prefigure a complete move away from HDFS for Hortonworks cloud users.

“What we see is customers looking to take advantage of different options,” Gnau said. Running applications against data stored natively in GCS or S3 lets users “play the data where it lies without having to move it” to HDFS first, he noted. Object stores are also typically less expensive to use than keeping data in HDFS is, according to Gnau.

However, users are likely to continue using HDFS for Hortonworks cloud applications that require high-performance and sophisticated data analysis, Gnau added. Object storage “has advantages, but it also has difficulties,” he said. “It’s not as performant as HDFS.”

What we see is customers looking to take advantage of different options.
Scott GnauCTO, Hortonworks

As a result, Gnau said he sees the best immediate role for cloud-based object storage in handling “colder data” — that is, data that isn’t an immediate part of an analytics workflow.

Sudhir Hasbe, director of product management for the Google Cloud Platform, said Hortonworks users can now decouple storage and compute by using GCS instead of HDFS. That could make it more cost-effective for on-premises HDFS users to use Hortonworks cloud systems for their big data workloads, he continued.

IBM, Microsoft clouds also in sight

The Google deal complements other Hortonworks cloud pacts with AWS, IBM and Microsoft. Coming on the first day of Hortonworks’ DataWorks Summit 2018 conference in San Jose, Calif., the addition of the GCS support was accompanied by updates to the alliances that the big data platform vendor has with IBM and Microsoft.

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Hortonworks, Microsoft execs discuss moves to the cloud.

Hortonworks said organizations can now run its Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP) software natively on the Microsoft Azure cloud, in addition to using the HDP-based Azure HDInsight managed service that Microsoft sells to customers. Hortonworks DataFlow and Hortonworks DataPlane Service, two related technologies offered by the Santa Clara, Calif., company, also are now available for native deployments on Azure.

Meanwhile, in a blog post, Rob Thomas, general manager of IBM Analytics, said IBM is adding a managed service on its cloud platform called IBM Hosted Analytics with Hortonworks, or IHAH. The new service combines HDP with IBM’s Db2 Big SQL query engine and Data Science Experience workbench platform, extending a relationship that began last year when IBM dropped its own Hadoop distribution and agreed to resell HDP instead.

In addition to the expanded cloud deals, Hortonworks detailed plans for an HDP 3.0 release that will let users put big data applications in Docker containers to help speed up deployments and make it easier to move processing workloads to different servers. Due out in the third quarter, HDP 3.0 also adds the ability to run deep learning applications on GPU-based systems, plus support for Apache Hive 3.0, an update of the open source SQL query engine and data warehouse environment that was released in May.

Hive 3.0 functions as a real-time database for analytics applications that require fast query response rates, Gnau said. “It really is a database now versus Hive historically being viewed as a SQL programming environment that ran on Hadoop.”

Senior executive editor Craig Stedman contributed to this story.

HCI technology: Pivot3 taps Arrow for distribution

Pivot3, a hyper-converged infrastructure vendor, has tapped Arrow Electronics for distribution and contract manufacturing.

The distribution, marketing and channel development components of the Arrow partnership will initially focus on the North American market. But Mark Maisano, vice president of channel sales at Pivot3, based in Austin, Texas, said discussions are underway regarding global distribution for its HCI technology. Arrow’s Enterprise Computing Solutions (ECS) brings Pivot3 “a different set of partners,” he said, noting the Arrow ECS channel ecosystem in the data center and storage areas.

The arrangement is the second distribution relationship for Pivot3, which partnered with Promark Technology, an Ingram Micro company, in June 2016. Promark specializes in data storage and virtualization products and focuses on the public sector, holding a number of federal and state contract vehicles. One of the Arrow ECS technology specializations is converged and hyper-converged infrastructure products.

In addition to distribution, Arrow will offer configuration services for Pivot3’s hyper-converged platform on Lenovo servers. Under the arrangement, Pivot3 will engage with the distributor’s Arrow Intelligent Systems for contract manufacturing services worldwide.

In 2015, Pivot3 unveiled a pact with Lenovo to bring its HCI technology to Lenovo hardware. At the time, Pivot3 identified Arrow ECS as its exclusive European distributor for the combined platform.

The arrangement with Arrow in Europe, however, mainly focused on surveillance use cases, Maisano said. The new HCI technology relationship, he added, targets enterprise customers with a broader range of offerings, such as Pivot3’s Acuity HCI software platform, which was designed for large enterprise use cases.

Dave Clipp, principal of systems and virtualization at Atom Creek, an IT service provider and Pivot3 partner in Centennial, Colo., said he is pleased Pivot3 selected Arrow, referring to the company as “one of the best distribution partnerships we have.”

“There are other distribution partners they could have chosen, and that could have been a deal breaker for us,” Clipp said. “We’ve had some challenging relationships with some distribution partners.”

The distribution pact comes amid an HCI technology market set for growth. “We see the use cases expanding where we can come in with a hyper-converged infrastructure,” Clipp said, noting that earlier use cases were around virtual desktop infrastructure and video analytics.

Data quality vendor Naveego debuts channel program

Naveego, a provider of cloud-based data quality technology, introduced its Partner Success Program this week.

Through the program, partners can tap resources and support from the vendor to help customers address data quality challenges in hybrid cloud enterprise systems. Resources include sales and technical training, opportunity registration, and marketing and promotions, Naveego said.

“We are very much channel-focused. We don’t have a direct sales force team. So, this [program] isn’t a ‘nice to have’ for us; it’s a ‘have to have,'” said Sean Cavanaugh, director of sales at Naveego, based in Traverse City, Mich.

Partner Success is Naveego’s first channel program. The company works with seven partners today, and another 11 partners are currently coming on board, Cavanaugh said. He added that Naveego’s software-as-a-service offering has a low barrier of entry for partners, allowing them to rapidly establish themselves as subject-matter experts in data quality and master data management.

Naveego’s expertise is in the oil and gas industry, he noted, but the vendor is looking at manufacturing and telecommunications as potential vertical market focuses.

VeloCloud aligns partners to retail market

Software-defined WAN company VeloCloud said partners have a role to play in its recently announced initiative to target the retail sector.

According to Mike Wood, vice president of worldwide marketing at VeloCloud, based in Mountain View, Calif., key IT trends in the retail industry span the shift to cloud, adoption of unified communications and video, internet of things deployment and pervasive in-store Wifi.

“VeloCloud SD-WAN for Retail is enabling our partners to differentiate themselves further in specific verticals using an expanded set of SD-WAN capabilities for the retail market, which includes advanced segmentation, PCI [Payment Card Industry] capabilities and deployment best practices,” Wood said in an email.

Other news

  • If your customers use Salesforce, be on the lookout for more spending on AI and analytics. That’s the word from Bluewolf, an IBM company and Salesforce consultancy, and its annual State of Salesforce Report. The report, based on a survey of 1,800 Salesforce customers from around the world, said 77% of Salesforce customers already using AI expect to up their investment in “AI or platforms that have embedded AI capabilities” over the next 12 months. In addition, 71% of the respondents said they are “increasing their investment in actionable analytics,” according to the report.
  • CompTIA said it has updated its Security+ certification exam to place a greater emphasis on test takers’ hands-on ability to identify and address security threats, attacks and vulnerabilities. CompTIA released the new version of Security+ (SY0-501) this month.
  • ConnectWise’s business management platform, ConnectWise Management, has integrated with itopia’s cloud IT management portal for Google Cloud Platform. According to itopia, the integration provides managed services providers the ability to support clients by synchronizing accounts, ticketing and billing transactions between ConnectWise and itopia.
  • SolarWinds MSP, a vendor of IT service management solutions targeting managed service providers, unveiled SolarWinds Mail Assure, a cloud-based email malware protection and spam filtering offering. Mail Assure integrates with on-premises or cloud-based email services, such as Microsoft Office 365 and Exchange.
  • Data protection vendor Commvault released ScaleProtect with Cisco UCS, an offering that integrates the vendor’s HyperScale Software with Cisco’s Unified Computing System. Available now through Cisco’s SolutionsPlus program, the offering is slated to become available via Cisco’s Global Price List. “This [release] really is a game-changer for our partner ecosystem and will create tremendous sales opportunities for them, while providing customers the flexibility, agility and reliability of the cloud to protect data stored on premises,” said Ralph Nimergood, vice president of worldwide channels and alliances at Commvault, in an email.
  • Gainsight has extended its customer success management platform with an offering for professional services organizations. Gainsight for Services Success aims to help those organizations adapt to a subscription business model. The company said the offering helps professional services teams bring new clients on board at scale and measure service engagement results based on business outcomes. Gainsight for Services Success can work in conjunction with professional services automation tools, according to the company.
  • Pax8, a value-added cloud distributor, promoted Ryan Walsh to the position of chief channel officer. The company said Walsh will lead the strategic direction of Pax8’s IT channel strategy, partner solutions and vendor relations.
  • World Wide Technology, an IT solution provider based in St. Louis, said it has expanded its partnership with Mercy, a health system also based in that city. Under the arrangement, Mercy will manage two on-site Family Health Centers for employees and their families. WWT opened the centers in St. Louis and Edwardsville, Ill., in 2015. The on-site health services include primary care providers, prescription drug dispensing and annual flu vaccinations.
  • Extreme Networks unveiled an updated partner program in the wake of its acquisitions of Zebra Technologies’ WLAN and Avaya’s networking businesses. Extreme also recently revealed its intent to purchase Brocade Communications Systems’ data center networking business. New features of the program include four specialization programs, invitation-only Black Diamond membership status and sales-enablement packages.  

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