The highlights of the first morning of EMC World were the company’s support for open source as well its scale-out NAS announcements. Day one of the conference also included keynotes from EMC senior execs, an announcement about big data and a sneak peek at a new EMC flash product.

Pat Gelsinger, president, Information Infrastructure Products, EMC released EMC Atmos 2.0, which is the platform EMC promotes as a repository for cloud-based data. Service providers, for instance, have been using it to host large amounts of data, as have large internet companies such as eBay, a beta site for the new EMC Atmos product.

“eBay used EMC Atmos to deal with over 500 million objects per day and found it to be five times faster at object ingestion than before,” Gelsinger said. “It is designed for content-rich high-scale infrastructures and for cloud server providers.”

Atmos 2.0 comes with several software upgrades. GeoParity software protects big data in cloud storage environments. It achieves this by storing object segments rather than entire objects across distributed storage environments. Gelsinger said early users are realizing a 65 percent efficiency improvement across Atmos deployments with at least four sites. Atmos GeoDrive software provides Windows users and applications with transparent access to the cloud in less than a minute. Atmos 2.0 and GeoDrive will be available in the second quarter of 2011. The Atmos Software Development Kit (SDK) helps with application integration, and includes support for Apple iOS and EMC Centera applications. An interoperability API beta will be available in the second quarter of 2011 for Amazon S3 customers to combine Atmos with Amazon cloud deployments.

“We offer a range of systems for the scale out hybrid cloud,” said Gelsinger, “including Atmos, VMax and Isilon.”

Project Lightning

EMC was the first mainstream company to incorporate Solid State Drives (SSD) into enterprise storage (in 2008). It has shipped nearly 14 petabytes of flash capacity in storage arrays since 2010. EMC has already delivered several all-flash Symmetrix VMAX arrays to customers with demanding I/O workloads. Later this quarter, these arrays will be offered as a standard configuration option. Similarly, the company is bringing out an all-flash version of its VNX unified storage system.

“EMC’s flash strategy is all about making the shared IT infrastructure more efficient and dynamic,” Gelsinger said. “Placing the information on the right media at the right time and placing the information closer to the processor provides the highest levels of performance and also the highest returns on investment because all of the resources are fully utilized. EMC’s FAST software adds a level of intelligence based on usage to automate the movement of the data through the I/O stack and ensures the integrity of that data.”

Gelsinger said EMC was working on new PCIe/flash-based server cache technology code-named Project Lightning to move data closer to the processor to accelerate performance. When combined with FAST software, the company is creating a single intelligent I/O path from the application to the data store.

“Project Lighting is basically flash memory in a server to accelerate storage workloads,” said Gelsinger. “It comes as a PCI Express (PCIe) server side card.”

He stressed that EMC was not planning to compete with companies like FusionIO in the general SSD marketplace. Instead, this flash product is aimed at a small subset of flash that requires high availability and where low latency storage is a must have.

Tucci Keynote and Q and A

Joe Tucci, Chairman, President and CEO of EMC, is normally front and center at EMC World. This year, though, he let others make the big announcements. In his keynote, he mentioned the record attendance of more than 7,000 customers who will be attending more than 500 sessions. He continued the theme of “Cloud Meets Big Data.” To back this up, he cited survey stats that 35 percent of CIO’s are already using the cloud and another 25 percent are planning to get on it this year. The big drivers, he said, were budget, data volume and security.

“Server volumes will increase 1000 fold this decade with most of it being virtualized,” Tucci said. “Overall, the information volume will increase 44 times this decade, yet the volume of IT staff will only double.”

He laid out an enormous opportunity on where the cloud intersects with big data. EMC serves this market with EMC Atmos and Isilon for big data and VMax and VNX for enterprise application data hosting. Greenplum data analytics sits between these boxes and enables decision making. And with EMC owning VMware, it controls most of the virtual server and client universe, too. RSA Security safeguards the data, and EMC also has tools to move data around rapidly.

“This is our cloud portfolio,” Tucci said. “Hybrid cloud computing can be more secure than the physical world today.”

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