Last week I posted my thoughts on Spring SNW in Dallas, but there were two more items that keep coming back to me (aside from the tornados). The first was a new startup called Symform in cloud storage and the other was an announcement from SunGard about their new Hadoop managed services offering.
Symform offers an interesting alternative on cloud storage that avoids the build up of large multi-site data centers and uses your desktop storage as a sort of crowd-sourced storage cloud, sort of bit-torrent cloud storage.
You may recall I discussed such a Peer-to-Peer cloud storage and computing services in a posting a couple of years ago. It seems Symform has taken this task on, at least for storage.
A customer downloads (Windows or Mac) software which is installed and executes on your desktop. The first thing you have to do after providing security credentials is to identify which directories will be moved to the cloud and the second is to tell whether you wish to contribute to Symform’s cloud storage and where this storage is located. Symform maintains a cloud management data center which records all the metadata about your cloud resident data and everyone’s contributed storage space.
Symform cloud data is split up into 64MB blocks and encrypted (AES-256) using a randomly generated key (known only to Symform). Then this block is broken up into 64 fragments with 32 parity fragments (using erasure coding) added to the stream which is then written to 96 different locations. With this arrangement, the system could potentially lose 31 fragments out of the 96 and still reconstitute your 64MB of data. The metadata supporting all this activity sits in Symform’s data center.
Unclear to me what you have to provide as far as ongoing access to your contributed storage. I would guess you would need to provide 7X24 access to this storage but the 32 parity fragments are there for possible network/power failures outside your control.
Cloud storage performance is an outcome of the many fragments that are disbursed throughout their storage cloud world. It’s similar to a bit torrent stream with all 96 locations participating in reconstituting your 64MB of data. Of course, not all 96 locations have to be active just some > 64 fragment subset but it’s still cloud storage so data access latency is on the order of internet time (many seconds). Nonetheless, once data transfer begins, throughput performance can be pretty high, which means your data should arrive shortly thereafter.
Pricing seemed comparable to other cloud storage services with a monthly base access fee and a storage amount fee over that. But, you can receive significant discounts if you contribute storage and your first 200GB is free as long as you contribute 200GB of storage space to the Symform cloud.
Sungard’s new Apache Hadoop managed service
We are well aware of Sungard’s business continuity/disaster recovery (BC/DR) services, an IT mainstay for decades now. But sometime within the last decade or so Sungard has been expanding outside this space by moving into managed availability services.
Apparently this began when Sungard noticed the number of new web apps being deployed each year exceeded the number of client server apps. Then along came virtualization, which reduced the need for lots of server and storage hardware for BC/DR.
As evident of this trend, last year Sungard announced a new enterprise class computing cloud service. But in last week’s announcement, Sungard has teamed up with EMC Greenplum to supply an enterprise ready Apache Hadoop managed service offering.
Recall, that EMC Greenplum is offering their own Apache Hadoop supported distribution, Greenplum HD. Sungard is basing there service on this distribution. But there’s more.
In conjunction with Hadoop, Sungard adds Greenplum appliances. With this configuration Sungard can load Hadoop processed and structured data into a Greenplum relational database for high performance data analytics. Once there, any standard SQL analytics and queries can be used against to analyze the data.
With these services Sungard is attempting to provide a unified analytics service that spans all structured, semi-structured and unstructured data.
Probably more to Spring SNW but given my limited time on the exhibition floor and time in vendor discussions these and my previously published post are what I seem of most interest to me.