Huawei has launched its new-generation storage system, OceanStor, designed to meet the needs of businesses in the modern digital world.
With digital transformation and, more recently, a concerted move to hybrid work, storage has had to transform substantially, explains Morgan Malyon, Huawei Executive Product Specialist at Mustek. “It’s to adapt to the ever-growing consumption of space while transforming from a mere repository, to a ‘Swiss army knife’ environment that caters for a multitude of workloads and application scenarios.”
Through extensive spend in R&D and monitoring the evolution of storage, Huawei has created a platform that introduces new capabilities to the storage environment while retaining the familiar look and feel of traditional storage environment.
New capabilities include NVMe over Fabric, enhanced IP capabilities such as 100Gb optical ethernet and NVMe-enabled architectures in controllers and NVMe solid state drives.
“This means that, for the traditionalist, the approach is similar to what it was maybe five or 10 years ago – but providing enhanced features that provide a multitude of use cases for the storage environment – aspects such as backup and recovery, hybrid cloud, highly resource intensive application environments and test and development,” Malyon says. “It means, for the digital world, that storage services are delivered faster, more reliably and more elastically than they ever have been before.
“This drives better total cost of ownership and return on investment, while being able to deliver go to market strategies faster, and test and development cycles are reduced.”
Oceanstor’s target markets are broad and varied,” Malyon says. “The uptake of technology is not necessarily defined by the vertical in which the technology is pitched. We have found that the use cases are so varied that the target market is across all verticals and all application scenarios. It’s a case of one size fits all, but a case of many sizes fit many shapes.
“We have seen massive uptake for the platforms in financial services industries, manufacturing, engineering, retail, education and public sector.”
The data landscape is ever-evolving, with huge amounts of data generated on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis. At the same time, the environment must be agile enough to adapt quickly, with storage required to scale up or out while providing the dynamism that ensures the business is continuous and available.
“Where there has been a mass move towards more modular storage platforms, Huawei has maintained a mantra of easy to deploy, easy to expand,” Malyon explains. “By utilising large-capacity solid state drives, as well as aggressive data reduction ratios based on data sets and environments, Huawei has been able to drive not only a story of consolidation, but also one of easy expansion for scale up or scale out.
“By using small, incremental and non-modular capacity upgrades, coupled with easy-to -upgrade controller environments, Huawei has produced platforms that will easily scale with little to no interruption to available services.
“In addition, future software capabilities, like snapshots, replication, active/active and more, are included on a per-instance basis. So users can deploy class-leading software capabilities on top of the hardware platform for dynamic use of their storage array.”
The modern enterprise
Storage is a significant building block in any data environment and, in the modernised infrastructure environment, provides capabilities well beyond the traditional capacity and connectivity.
In the hybrid cloud environment, which is seeing rapid adoption in South Africa, With the broader adoption of hybrid cloud (specifically in a South African context), there’s a critical need for native-based capabilities.
The most often-used hybrid cloud scenarios are around the test and development cycles, the use of cloud repositories for long term retention and the ability to provide disaster recovery capabilities all off premise.
To meet these needs, Huawei has developed capabilities, together with those from leading cloud providers, to seamlessly integrate into hybrid cloud environments.
The market has also experienced the mass adoption of virtualisation technologies, which is now driving virtualisation capabilities within storage.
“It’s not enough to just provide backend storage to environments such as Hyper-V and VMware,” Malyon says. “Vendors need to provide virtualisation across the storage as well, to provide pooled storage that is accessible to all applications regardless of requirement, across multiple storage vendors, while ensuring that the best utilisation is made of the platforms underneath.
“This means that the merging of virtualisation technologies – whether application-based, server-based or storage-based, has become critical to the infrastructure layer. And it means that integration points need to be more and more seamless than they ever have been. Huawei provides all these capabilities with feature rich software points that integrate at all of the layers.”
Unlocking value with analytics
Big data and the value it can help organisations to unlock has led to massive development in analytical platforms. These platforms have evolved to integrate with powerful analytical software that can extract that value and add immeasurably to the understanding of customer needs and future planning for enhanced capital generation.
“However, as the software layer has grown more powerful, so the ultimate requirement for specific bespoke platforms has reduced – and the requirement for speed of analysis and therefore speed of service delivery has meant that, again, the enhanced storage platform has become a stronger player in this specific segment,” Malyon explains.
He adds that there are many forms of analytics, and it’s important to understand why optimised storage is critical.
“Specifically, analytics on raw data on storage arrays will provide users with the ability to understand their data patterns, their usage patterns, their demand patterns, their failure patterns, their peak and low patterns and their future planning patterns. This ‘back end’ analysis is what ultimately drives their requirements for capacity and connectivity expansions, their budgeting forecasts and their business needs during peak and low times.
“Again, Huawei provides rich applications that will enable the end user to extract this information – whether it be via specific service applications such as eService, or specific configuration and management applications such as Device Manager- and build out models that will prepare them for eventualities further down the line.
“At the same time, we understand how customers will better derive value from their platforms and enhance the internal customer experience by delivering more efficient storage and application-based services.”
In a world where cyber-crime is increasing exponentially, businesses are taking more action to protect themselves.
“The idea of being held to ransom or being hacked, as we have seen recently and is something that strikes fear into each and every business, without fail,” says Malyon.
“However, most stringent protection methodologies are only adopted retrospectively, and the insurance policy of the business is invoked – more often than not in the form of the backups; the good, old fashioned backup, which is usually a grudge purchase and investment and seen as a burden more often than a value-add.
“However, with the growing capability within the software stack, specifically from vendors such as Commvault, Veritas and Veeam, we’re seeing a distinct move away from the traditional architectures such as tape, which is still a compliance necessity in most instances, and the more advance purpose built backup appliances (PBBA).
“This is because most, if not all, of the features that were provided by the PBBA platforms – things like replication, deduplication, compression and encryption – have been developed into the software platform to provide a far sleeker approach to backup and recovery. With the ability to then natively backup into cloud repositories, the requirement for these vastly expensive appliances has dwindled significantly, even at the on-premise layer.
“This means the use of standard or flash based storage arrays has emerged as far more cost effective mechanism to provide disk-based environments for backup, while still being able to leverage off the native software-based capabilities on these arrays,” he adds.
“The ability to provide additional replication or snapshot functionality at the storage layer, which means significantly enhanced RTOs and RPOs for efficient and fast restores and backups, has put the power back into the storage array for the purposes of disaster recovery, while enhancing these factors with the capability built into the software layer.
“Where the Huawei offering is exceptionally strong here is that it integrates with any software layer above it. So all flash storage has the ability to leverage cutting edge storage architectures like NVMe SSD or SAS SSD, and large amounts of cache and fibre channel connectivity, to provide exceptional performance at the backup layer.”
If the backup software layer isn’t present, the native capabilities around snapshots, clones and replication means there is an immediate alleviation to the SLA issue that is found in traditional and slow backup environments, Malyon adds.
“With snapshots and array-based replication negating the need for expensive backup applications while providing the required backup and restore capabilities and the additional benefit of being able to create air gap environments, or to replicate remotely, the additional layer of protection is literally available out of the box and ready to be deployed at initial configuration stage.”
High Performance Computing
High Performance Computing (HPC), by its nature, is a very niche environment, with use cases is bespoke and high processing environments. The standard architecture for HPC environments is usually node based, as the software layer creates a software-defined storage layer that allocates workloads and capacity as is required.
From a Huawei perspective, there are specific storage platforms that are designed to be deployed in these heavy workload environments to ensure maximum efficiency and availability during the heaviest of workloads.
The OceanStor Pacific series of arrays, often referred to as distributed storage platforms, enhanced the HPC, artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics experience of customer.
Using cutting edge NVMe technologies, the Pacific series allows for exceptional performance metrics catered specifically for HPC environments, coupled with extremely high IOPS delivery for the deepest analytical environments or heavy workload in the AI and analytical environments.
Sustainability has become a critical factor in any technology investment decision, with many organisations now including carbon footprint reduction in the key performance indicators (KPIs).
“In direct terms, means looking at things like power consumption, air conditioning consumption, data centre floor space consumption, the electrical component output ratings and the amount of rack space their systems consume,” Malyon explains.
New storage technologies help to combat capacity sprawl by enabling more compact storage environments, and thus reducing power and cooling requirements.
“Huawei inherently has the capabilities to provide aggressive deduplication and compression technologies that allow for maximum footprint reduction while retaining performance-orientated SLAs to the application layer,” Malyon explains.
“Proactively monitored and adjusted where necessary through class leading programs such as the Effective Capacity Guarantee, Huawei is committed to helping organisations reduce their carbon footprint by providing architectures that lead to the long term reduction carbon footprints.
“Additionally, green capabilities are built into the platforms themselves, with aspects such as enhanced power savings, energy savings and efficient cooling that help to lower the requirements on the environmental aspects such as power and cooling in the data centre. From simple mechanics such as efficient airflow and baffle design to energy saving cooling fans, the built-in capabilities of the storage platforms or designed to maximize the reduction of any corporations carbon footprint in the data centre.”
For more information on Huawei’s OceanStor storage solutions, contact email@example.com or +27 11 237 1000