EMC’s Storage System for the Cloud

EMC (NYSE: EMC) today took the wraps off its long-awaited cloud storage infrastructure solution, moving the vendor long known for proprietary hardware offerings into the market for commodity hardware.

EMC Atmos, previously known by the codenames “Maui” on the software side and “Hulk” on the hardware side, is aimed at massive global storage infrastructures, such as those in the telco, service provider, Web 2.0 and media and entertainment industries, that distribute petabytes of rich, unstructured information across global storage environments.

The system, under development for two years, marks EMC’s entry into the market for Web 2.0 storage (see What Is Web 2.0 Storage?).

EMC also hopes to coin a new storage acronym in the process, dubbing the new wave of storage “COS,” for cloud-optimized storage.

Atmos is based on object-based storage principles, using metadata to automate storage and management of data wherever it resides.

The system keeps multiple copies of data to boost reliability while scaling “within and across data centers and hundreds of sites,” said Mike Feinberg, senior vice president of EMC’s Cloud Infrastructure Group.

“We count on very unreliable hardware,” said Feinberg, adding that Atmos’ software capabilities give the system “Clariion and Symmetrix reliability on an x86/SATA environment.”

Users can set policies based on the value of data, so, for example, critical or in-demand data could be copied to more locations. Atmos also offers services such as compression, de-duplication, spin-down and multi-tenant and Web service API features.

EMC’s new hardware for Atmos is a high-density storage system that comes in 120TB, 240TB and 360TB configurations, but Atmos is also available as a software-only offering.

Greg Schulz, senior analyst and founder of StorageIO group, said Atmos has “similarities to many other vendors’ solutions, including clustered file systems, grids, search, global name space and policy-based storage, yet what’s different abut Atmos is that it includes the features found in many different and separate products in a single solution, which makes acquisition and deployment much easier.”

EMC isn’t revealing pricing or making customers available yet, despite claims of low total cost of ownership and its use in some customer environments for as long as a year.

This article was first published on Enterprise Storage Forum

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