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IBM Pioneers New Elastic Storage on Cloud

With over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created on any given day, it is easy to recognize the need for large-scale data storage that is efficient, secure and reliable. In order to accommodate such enormous computational needs, the development team at IBM Research Labs has recently unveiled "elastic storage" -- a form of software-defined storage that offers unparalleled performance and unlimited scalability. Moreover, the use of elastic storage can lower overall storage costs by as much as 90% through the use of device prioritization and advanced data allocation strategies.

While the term "elastic storage" is relatively new to the industry, the driving concepts behind the technology have been around for a while. In fact, the original framework of IBM's elastic storage was used in the development of Watson, a highly efficient and advanced IBM computer that challenged two champions on the television game show "Jeopardy."

Tom Rosamilia, senior vice president at IBM Systems and Technology group, explained the need for elastic storage in the 21st century. He was quoted in a recent interview as saying: “Digital information is growing at such a rapid rate and in such dramatic volumes that traditional storage systems used to house and manage it will eventually run out of runway. Our technology offers the advances in speed, scalability and cost savings that clients require to operate in a world where data is the basis of competitive advantage.”

The Computational and Information Services Laboratory (CISL) with the National Center for Atmospheric Research already takes advantage of elastic storage in order to manage over 50 petabytes of data. The information is spread out between two separate sites located in the states of Wyoming and Colorado, which presents a unique challenge to day-to-day data management.

Pamela Gillman, manager of the Data Analysis Services Group within the CISL explained how they utilize elastic storage to support their daily operations. "We provide computational, educational, and research data services for geosciences to more than 1,000 users at more than 200 different sites. The IBM global file system software has enabled scalable, reliable and fast access to this information. That has dramatically improved the performance of the different functions, as well as the organization as a whole.”

Because elastic storage works on a storage virtualization process that integrates multiple systems and programs, all of which draw from a centralized point of storage, the entire process is able to maintain transparency regarding data accessibility. Furthermore, since the process does not depend on a standardized management process to dictate file locations, end-users of elastic storage will enjoy increased accessibility to data, even in the wake of data loss, hardware failure or natural disaster.

In fact, elastic storage was created specifically with big data and data-intensive programs in mind. This caveat makes it ideal for use in science, medicine, financial analysis, weather tracking and even seismic data management. Capable of scanning as many as 10 billion files within a timeframe of less than 45 minutes, elastic storage may be the solution that big data generators have been searching for.

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