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Scality develops its RING object storage system

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April 1, 2014

Data storage system provider Scality said earlier this morning that it's developing its RING object storage platform to use Seagate’s Kinetic family of drives.

These disk drives implement an on-board key/value store and are directly accessed over Ethernet networks using Get and Put requests.

Each drive has two 1 Gbit/s Ethernet ports that are both easy to configure. Scality’s RING storage device appliance uses scale-out nodes that can grow to multi-petabyte levels of data storage capacity.

Overall, Seagate has developed its Kinetic drives with the goal of rendering a storage array controller layer-- what Seagate calls the storage server tier, in the application-to-disk-access stack redundant, and thus giving large scale/big data storage providers a more cost-effective storage solution.

Scality CEO Jerome Lecat says-- “The Seagate Kinetic Open Storage platform represents exactly the kind of innovation required to achieve the full promise of the Software-Defined Data Centre.”

There are few details, however. We know Scality is testing its Kinetic RING in the Rausch Netzwerktechnik Bigfoot Object Storage Solution (BOSS) which is aimed at scale-out cloud customers.

A BOSS 4U chassis contains 72 disk drives, according to the Seagate release giving 288 TB. It uses Seagate’s 4 TB Kinetic drives. A BOSS Rack of 10 x 4U chassis provides 2.8 PB of data storage capacity.

The 4U chassis has an Ethernet switch on its backplane. We wrote about Seagate and Rausch Netzwerktechnik GmbH in early March. Now Scality has been revealed as being involved as well.

The Rausch website has an added BigFoot Object storage product, added to the XXL and JBOD variants we mentioned before. There are also BigFoot XXFast and XXCold products.

The BOSS object storage text on the site says each drive has its own IP address. Scality storage is based on a ring structure of X86 server nodes that store objects and operate in parallel.

The servers provide the storage media. It must be modifying its RING disk storage access to talk to the Kinetic drives via Gets and Puts. We might imagine that each Scality X86 node could have an Ethernet-attached 4U BOSS chassis.

There is clearly a lot of processing to do with object storage and thus the balance between x86 CPU/memory resources and the amount of storage must be considered, otherwise you could load a single X86 server with a rack of disks.

So we need to think about adding the requisite RING X86 server nodes as well. In effect you might think, you would need 1U of server resource per 4U or 8U JBOD of Kinetic drives.

In other IT news

Western Digital is now making a new portable external drive dubbed 'My Passport Pro' while the power is delivered over the data cable.

The new external drive comes in 2 TB and 4 TB configurations using two 2.5-inch drives, with either RAID 0 (striping) or RAID 1 (mirroring) for MAC users.

RAID 0 delivers up to 233 MB/sec bandwidth with the 2 TB unit and a somewhat lower 230MB/sec with the 4 TB unit, using the integrated Thunderbolt cable.

Western Digital says that's roughly twice as fast as USB 3.0 with RAID 0 set, when transferring a 22 GB high-definition video file.

Overall, the enclosure looks similar to a thicker 'My Passport Ultra' which runs up to a 2 TB capacity.

Western Digital says that the Pro My Passport, which it claims is the first Thunderbolt-powered dual-drive portable, is for creative professionals and enthusiasts.

Jim Welsh, WD executive vice president for branded products talked of photographers, videographers and musicians to graphic designers and architects, people who depend on portable storage for their livelihood.

They can generate and process large files of digital outside the studio faster than before. This My Passport Pro is available now at Apple and major consumer electronics retailers and e-tailers.

The MSRP for the 2 TB My Passport Pro is US $399 and US $579 for the 4 TB model. You can also purchase them online on the company's site.

In other IT news

Researchers at MIT have teamed up with the U.S. National Security Agency after saying they've developed PRISM-proof encryption technology.

Initially called Mylar, the new system allows developers to build internet applications which are protected from attackers, even if they have access to the server that stores the software.

Its creators were upset that attackers who had access to a server, or a curious system administrator, or even a government, were able to see and analyze private and sensitive information through the data stored on the server.

“You won’t notice any difference, but your data gets encrypted using your password inside your browser before it goes to the server,” said Raluca Popa, the MIT researcher who designed Mylar.

“If any government asks the company for your data, the server doesn’t have the ability to give unencrypted data. It's as simple as that,” he said.

To be sure, Mylar sits on top the web service-building tool 'Meteor' and only decrypts the data once it is viewed in trusted users' browsers.

When you think of it, it's a clever concept of doing things, said an internet security consultant. According to an abstract of a paper on Mylar, which will be presented at the NSDI conference next week, Mylar allows the server to perform keyword searches of encrypted documents, even if the data is all encrypted using different keys.

Keys and data can also be shared securely, even if an "active adversary" is getting busy in the servers. The Mylar system is very efficient, its creators claimed, requiring only a few lines of extra code.

The abstract said-- ``First, Mylar allows the server to perform keyword search over encrypted documents, even if the documents are encrypted with different keys. Second, Mylar allows users to share keys and encrypted data securely in the presence of an active adversary. Finally, Mylar ensures that client-side application code is authentic, even if the server is malicious. Results with a prototype of Mylar built on top of the Meteor framework are promising: porting 6 applications required changing just 36 lines of code on average, and the performance overheads are modest, amounting to a 17 percent throughput loss and a 50 ms latency increase for sending a message in a chat application.``

The technology is promising, and if it keeps hackers at bay, it's well worth the few extra lines of code, security experts say. We'll keep you posted on this and other developments as they happen.

In other IT news

Intel is now offering its own Hadoop solution in lieu of using Cloudera's analytics software. Intel also announced that it's making a significant equity investment in Cloudera that's higher than had been reported in the media previously.

This strategic decision was announced by Intel and Cloudera yesterday following years of heavy investment by Intel into its own distribution for Apache Hadoop, which will now be put on hold. But some of its code will be merged into Cloudera's technology, however.

The new partnership is a huge bet by Intel that the future of data storage and computation lies in the Hadoop data processing framework-– an open-source technology originally developed by engineers at Yahoo in 2005 in response to two Google papers describing software it had built to deal with a deluge of online data.

Doug Cutting, one of the creators of Hadoop works for Cloudera. The company was formed in 2009 to commercialize the technology. These days, Cloudera can be found helping companies such as AMD shift workloads out of traditional systems like Oracle Database and into Hadoop.

As a result of the partnership, Intel will keep its engineers assigned to Hadoop development, and put an executive on Cloudera's board of directors, as well as buying a stake in the upstart.

"Overall, Hadoop will be the application that is deployed across more servers than any other enterprise application," said Intel's data center group chief Diane Bryant.

Source: Scality Data Storage.

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