Managing Critical Data with SGI’s New Zero Watt Storage

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DMF IconToday SGI announced Zero Watt Storage, a powerful extension to its SGI DMF data management platform designed to meet growing customer demands for managing critical data. This solution was developed by SGI to offer its DMF customers fast, disk-based access to their near line data that significantly outperforms cloud storage in terms of costs and access speed up to 5X.

The DMF platform has been proven for more than two decades in some of the world’s most demanding data environments. The all-in-one DMF solution combines data management with archive and integrated backup capabilities and helps customers cost-effectively manage their storage needs without limiting user access to data.

DMF seamlessly and transparently integrates with the file systems already in use (XFS, CXFS and Lustre) – no application or workflow changes are required. As such, DMF is a major enabling technology component in support of data intensive compute environments by reducing storage costs, simplifying long-term data management and improving the levels of data protection for critical projects.

SGI DMF enables customers to manage petabytes (PB) of their data via intelligent blending of high-performance storage located close to the point of compute with cost-managed high capacity storage based on multiple technologies. Options for the capacity storage tier include: traditionally used library-based tape, increasingly popular object storage or cloud storage as well as new SGI-proprietary power-managed ZWS to support tuneable levels of performance, data protection and cost management.

According to SGI, the ZWS platform offers the following advantages:

  • Price/Performance. ZWS is a hardware with software Tier 2 storage solution developed by SGI to offer DMF customers the fastest disk-based access to their nearline data without breaking the bank. This DMF-based approach can yield as much as an 80% decrease in the cost of capacity data storage when compared to scaling out capacity using traditional Tier 1 disks. Acquisition and running costs of ZWS rival those of tape while ZWS customers can access their data in seconds rather than minutes – which is often the case with tape deployments. ZWS also significantly outperforms cloud storage in terms of costs while offering customer faster access to their data, typically 5x faster or more.
  • Extremely Small Footprint. ZWS offers exceptional density and capacity supporting 720TB of raw storage per enclosure with 8Terabytes (TB) drives and over 5PB of usable storage in a standard rack with virtually limitless scalability.
  • Versatility and Seamless Integration. Rather than being a replacement for tape or cloud-based storage elements, DMF Zero Watt Storage is an ideal complement to these technologies in the deployment of data management solutions that target outstanding data access performance and maximum data durability characteristics. Zero Watt Storage is a tremendously versatile on-premise storage tier allowing customers to deploy this solution to best address their various data workflows and other aspects of data management. It can be deployed as a Tier 2 storage tier complementing tape or cloud deployments as well as a fast mount cache (this high availability option can be deployed immediately by existing DMF customers without changing their workflow and with no interruption of their DMF production environment) or “relief” platform to RAID arrays.
  • Individual Drive Management. SGI DMF provides individual management and access to every drive in the Zero Watt Storage system –not only results in streaming data read rates of over 10GB/sec per 4U enclosure but allows for spin down or even complete power off of inactive disks while all data still appear “online”. This unique power-saving feature gives the solution its name: Zero Watt Storage and results in maximum power and data center cooling savings for customers. But there is more! An additional benefit of spin-down, drive management and disk monitoring is a near doubling of the average hard drive lifespan due to reduced wear on components. These results have been validated in SGI’s decade-long experience in the deployment of prior power-managed storage solutions.
  • Automated Data Recoverability. Integrated active data validation and repair capabilities built into ZWS prevent silent data corruption and ‘bit rot’ issues that can occur in petascale deployments. Automated data recovery allows for reconstruction of data ‘in place’. In case of a whole drive failure, the DMF system will retrieve the target data from an alternative location based on DMF storage policies offering customers maximum data assurance.
  • Open Standard Access. Because ZWS integrates seamlessly with standard XFS, CXFS or Lustre file system – no user application changes are required to implement this solution.
  • Flexible and tunable deployment. DMF includes a robust policy engine capable of enabling the creation, monitoring, and management of tiered storage policies. This means that customers can — whenever needed — tune/optimize use of their hardware infrastructure (including ZWS) to best address their cost and performance targets.
  • Regulatory compliance. ZWS complies with WORM (Write Once Read Multiple) regulatory requirement.

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