Having attended countless tech conferences, mostly focused on media & entertainment technologies, nothing prepared me for the deluge of information and total immersion that Dell Technologies World 2019 in Las Vegas offered. With over 14,000 attendees all focused on Dell EMC and VMware, the scale was massive, and the company offered its best and brightest to us for some great deep dives and interactive sessions. With such a wide array of new tech, my focus there and in this blog is biased toward the storage and compute solutions for media and entertainment.
In addition to learning about the latest and greatest technology from Dell EMC, Scalar had the honour of accepting the President’s Circle Award alongside CDW for the outstanding performance we had in North America. With our teams getting to meet Michael Dell and others, it was a great ceremony and event which highlighted how more than half of Dell’s business comes from its partners, like Scalar, A CDW Company. We took this opportunity to meet with other leadership within Dell EMC, and out of these meetings we have developed new custom solutions in partnership with Dell EMC.
A trend throughout the conference was how Dell EMC has embraced the cloud. There are multiple solutions that focus on edge, core, and cloud as a single environment or data-lake.
One of the first announcements in the keynote with Michael Dell was Unified Workspace by VMware. With Unified Workspace you can deploy, secure, manage, and support core-to-edge-to-cloud. This should simplify device life cycle management through the integration of hardware, software, and services in one easy, central place.
Their focus on cloud is evident through their One Cloud ecosystem backed by VMware. Dell is holding up VMware cloud as the “data centre as a service”, and will be partnering with Microsoft Azure, presenting virtual desktops as the first product focus. Dell EMC built this “directly connected” cloud storage with their joint venture called “Faction”. They combine Dell EMC’s Unity, Isilon, ECS (Elastic Cloud Storage), and PowerMax with Faction’s proprietary cloud technology and services to offer cloud storage, replication, and disaster recovery to customers.
Storage with Unstructured Data Solutions: Isilon, ECS, and Clarity Now
The M&E team is always laser focused on the Isilon line of storage. During the conference, Isilon OneFS 8.2 was released which increases the maximum nodes you can combine together from 144 nodes to 252. This is particularly helpful to HPC. There is also a new Isilon node type, the H5600, which has the compute power of the H600 and has the disk density of an A2000. It’s the best of both worlds. OneFS version 8.2 or greater is required and we are already seeing huge interest in this model.
ECS offers object storage public or private cloud storage options. We see this as a building block in the data geolocation problem confronting many visual effects and animation studios, as well as many other industries. ECS works with Kubernetes, so workloads are detached from hardware and you can run in the public cloud or on-premises. If long term persistent data sets are the workload, it may be better to own the storage as ECS instead of public cloud. Either way we can work with Dell on an OPEX (Operational Expense) model, so you are only paying what you use on a monthly basis versus a huge capital outlay.
The Kubernetes path has 2 modes of deployment. The first empowers the customer who is skilled with Kubernetes and is exposed to manage all aspects. Alternatively for smaller shops, the appliance and client don’t need a Kubernetes team on staff. With the consistency model, the new architecture trends towards better availability and lower latency, while this new model moves away from strong consistency towards eventual consistency
Data movement between the Isilon and ECS will be facilitated by Clarity Now. Dell EMC has put tremendous emphasis on the concept of data capital and are crafting solutions that focus on extracting value from your growing data lake. On the macro level, this has been the increased focus on machine learning and integrating Nvidia GPU into turnkey ML/AI solutions. But on the micro level, the acquisition of Data Frameworks means they are integrating Clarity Now with Insight IQ which will allow you to track real-time data and performance analytics on Petabytes of data. This shines a light on dark data and offers a single-pane of glass to measure and monitor non Dell EMC storage.
Dell EMC wants to provide clarity of all file and object data across all storage footprints so you can determine for project based workloads and decide proactively where that storage is held. This tool will allow for chargeback reporting and will come with an API so you orchestrate automation on your data lake or in addition to cloud pools that automate policies to migrate to tiers of storage.
Compute – Huge RAM Gains with Intel Optane
While at Dell Technologies World, we also dropped in on the Intel Optane booth to discuss their new technology. With this Intel solution, you can add Optane memory in the form of both SSD and DIMM form factors when ordering Dell render farm nodes. These two form-factors have slightly different performance characteristics but both essentially allow you expand the RAM into the Terabyte range for the same price that would keep you lower in the Gigabytes range for RAM . This is important as today’s visual effect and animation workloads require massive RAM resources. Scalar is currently doing testing with Intel Optane and we are excited to release our metrics for the M&E community later this year.
The basic take away from this conference was object storage, geolocation, and multi-cloud are all on the table and they involve ECS for Dell EMC. There was far too much at Dell Technology World 2019 to cover in one blog post so please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or comments you may have!