Light trails indicating speed

Replication Acceleration Is Now Business Critical

EMC World was held last week in Las Vegas, and as EMC has grown in size so has their annual event until it has become the key storage event in the industry. The theme of this year’s event was “Modernize” the data center, and almost all of the product announcements from EMC revolved around this theme.

EMC had two key topics to support the theme of the modernized data center – flash storage and the cloud native enterprise — and the combination of the two bring light to the importance of data replication.

During the event, EMC proclaimed 2016 to be the year of flash storage. This doesn’t mean that businesses will stop buying traditional storage, but flash will become the de facto standard type of storage for most enterprise applications. Flash is easier to manage, cost points have fallen through the floor, and densities have improved, making flash a no-brainer today.
Flash is coming — and in a big way — and EMC has made it available across a wide variety of products. Earlier this year, the company announced an all-flash version of its widely adopted VMAX storage array called VMAX All Flash. Although the product name lacks any kind of creativity, the new product will increase the reliability, speed, and scale of the core storage system.

EMC has also announced it’s bringing flash to a market that has historically avoided it because of cost: SMBs. EMC Unity is a family of flash-based storage products that are simple to manage and designed for the small and mid-sized market. The company also announced that VCE’s VxRail hyper-converged product would be available with all flash by end of year. The breadth of these flash options will allow more companies to deploy more flash in more places.

256px-The_FlashIn DC comic lore, Barry “The Flash” Allen is the fastest man alive. In a data center, flash is the fastest technology. In the comics, for every good (The Flash) there is an evil (Reverse Flash). Similarly, in a data center, anything new and fast will make old and slow stick out like a super hero in a red, skin-tight suit in the middle of Central City; for many companies, this ‘old and slow’ standout is the network. In a data center, there are new switches that can keep up with flash storage. All of the new Broadcom-based products are 25/50/100 Gig-E capable, so if a company is deploying one of the flash arrays, then a network upgrade is also likely, to guard against the network being a bottleneck and a limitation on the effectiveness of flash.

But what about the WAN? As organizations move to a cloud native model, storage becomes distributed across multiple data centers. In fact, there’s a growing trend for organizations to build fewer, mega data centers and more smaller data centers distributed geographically for strategic purposes. This will drive the requirement for more traffic to be replicated between data centers to ensure users are close to their data. To help customers manage the content, EMC launched a product called enterprise Copy Data Management (eCDM) to understand what content is where, keep copies where they need to be, and remove copies that serve no purpose.

These trends are driving the need for replication acceleration technology to optimize the flow of data between data centers. Businesses that want to be cloud native organizations and leverage the speed of flash must consider replication acceleration solutions to be business critical. Replication acceleration ensures that the data moving between data centers gets there as fast as possible so the flash storage and other systems can do their thing.

Success in the digital era is based on speed, and that requires modernizing the data center. Most IT and business leaders understand this, and over the next few years, we’re likely to see more businesses leveraging the power of flash to build high performance hybrid clouds. It’s important that organizations do not forget about the network and put the right tools in place to ensure that the network can keep up with changes in computing technology.

Image credit: Reydavidman (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

About the author
Zeus Kerravala
Zeus Kerravala
Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. He provides a mix of tactical advice to help his clients in the current business climate and with long term strategic advice. Kerravala provides research and advice to the following constituents: End user IT and network managers, vendors of IT hardware, software and services and the financial community looking to invest in the companies that he covers.