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Taneja Blog / Cloud / Data Center Systems

The Need for Speed: EMC Atmos and Sumatra

EMC World 2012 announced a set of software upgrades to Atmos coming later this year. We don’t usually talk much about an upgrade before it hits the streets, but we think it will be a welcome improvement when it comes. Code-named Sumatra, the upgrade will improve EMC Atmos’ read/write performance, system visibility, data movement, and application development.

Because it needs to get better. We’re not picking on EMC; everyone with a cloud offering for active data struggles with the same issues. Network-based data delivery to the cloud suffers from bandwidth limitations. This is not a huge problem with ongoing archiving to the cloud once the initial data upload is complete. (Which is an interesting problem in and of itself – what’s with the cloud when an enterprise has to mail its tapes to the service provider to get the data on in the first place?) But these same issues are retarding the adoption of cloud for big data, and vendors want and need to do something about it.

EMC already has an ace in hand with Atmos, which they purpose-built to handle globally distributed bulk storage. Its object-based architecture driven by metadata is an excellent model for geographically dispersed data under a single namespace. But EMC, whose Atmos stores a lot of active data for Web 2.0 and storage service providers, knows very well that performance, oversight and development environments need to become faster, broader and more agile. Thus Sumatra.

Let’s look at performance first, since Atmos must provide fast read/write in order to accommodate big data. (Remember that “big data” isn’t just a lot of data – it includes that – but is also valuable data by dint of reuse or analytics.) EMC is claiming that Sumatra will yield a 50% performance improvement around file read/write. They’ve accomplished this by tweaking some networking configurations. They also announced a significant improvement in visibility with better consolidated views from system, data center and node, historical data access, aggregated logging for more detailed export to analytics, and a new event manager. They shrank upgrade times too, which will let Atmos users grow their nodes much faster and more efficiently.

The second part of the program is efficiently getting data to and from the Atmos cloud in the first place. This is where EMC Cloud Accelerators come in with new browser and smart phone connectors, improved access control, better Centera compliance support, and AtmosSync for large-scale data movement into Atmos. This accomplishes 1) a much less painful move into Atmos for file-based big data and 2) an attractive method to move into Atmos from Amazon S3.

Scalable object storage is a good idea that has been retarded by the realities of bandwidth and data movement. Cloud vendors must improve data movement in and out of the cloud to make this work, and also need to continually evolve to meet mobile demands. We see EMC accomplishing this through Atmos’s base architecture and the Sumatra improvements to come. They would like to open up more markets using Atmos, and we support them in their push to scale capacity, performance and management more massively than has been possible before.

  • Premiered: 05/29/12
  • Author: Taneja Group
Topic(s): EMC Atmos Sumatra Cloud object Storage


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