TU/e researchers show promising technology in Nature Communications

A hard drive stores bits in the form of tiny magnetic domains. The directions of the magnetic north and south poles of these domains, which are referred to as the magnetization, determine whether they are a 0 or a 1. Data is stored by changing the direction of the magnetization of the associated bits. At present this is done using a write head to create a local magnetic field, which makes a bit change direction.

Limit reached

The stronger the local magnetic field, the faster the switch takes place. But this is subject to a limit which has now almost been reached. "The number of bits has been growing rapidly for many years, but the write speed has hardly increased. There's a need for a new data storage technology", says TU/e researcher Sjors Schellekens. He is the lead author of a publication in Nature Communications, in which together with colleagues he presents a new technology.

Magnetic stream


The physicists, led by TU/e professor prof.dr. Bert Koopmans, use a special property of electrons, the spin – a kind of internal compass in the electron. Using ultra-fast laser pulses they generate a flow of electrons in a material which all have the same spin. The resulting 'spin current' changes the magnetic properties of the material (see the figure for an explanation of the technology).

A thousand times faster

"The change in the magnetization is of the order of 100 femtoseconds, which is a factor 1,000 faster than what is possible with today's technology", says Schellekens. As well as that, the researchers were able to describe the physical processes that are involved in detail. "There was discussion among physicists about whether the generated spin current is actually able to cause the change in magnetization. We now definitely show that this is really the case", says Schellekens.

Optical computer chips

In addition, the method is a step towards future optical computer chips, which TU/e is now working on. In December the university received a Dutch grant of almost 20 million euros to integrate photonics in computer systems. "Our technology allows optical data to be stored in the form of magnetic bits. That offers unprecedented opportunities if you want to use light as information carrier", says Schellekens. 

Verizon Cloud Storage Provides Enterprise-Grade Object Storage that is Secure, Available and Flexible for Cloud-Based Workloads

Amplidata has announced that Amplidata’s new Himalaya storage architecture now provides Verizon Cloud Storage with distributed object management and global file accessibility. Verizon Cloud Storage is object storage designed for enterprise cloud workloads to quickly and securely store and retrieve large and diverse data sets.

Amplidata’s Himalaya architecture provides a new framework for massively-scalable storage, designed from the ground up to address demanding cloud applications and provide service-level flexibility for businesses looking to optimize their cloud resources. With Himalaya, customers can easily store and manage zettabytes of data and trillions of stored objects, representing a geometric leap in scale that anticipates rapid growth in customers’ appetite for highly durable and available storage.

“Verizon understands the needs of its diverse enterprise customers, and laid out the demands for a storage architecture that supports its vision of a complete enterprise-level cloud offering,” said Mike Wall, CEO of Amplidata. “Himalaya is the architecture that brings that vision to life and helps Verizon renew its leadership as the cloud provider for enterprises large and small.”

Verizon creates enterprise-level services that allow large companies and organizations to tap into the power of the cloud. Verizon Cloud Storage, first announced in October 2013 and currently in beta, is an object-addressable, multi-tenant storage platform providing safe, durable, reliable and cost-effective storage accessible from anywhere on the web. Himalaya is a core component of Verizon Cloud Storage that manages the distributed storage process to help reduce latency.

“The proliferation of data has created enterprise demand for cloud-based object storage,” said John Considine, chief technology officer for Verizon Terremark. “Amplidata’s storage technology was built with enterprise clients in mind – providing the speed, security and scalability large organizations need. This is why we chose Himalaya as the core for our object store.”

Amplidata recently closed a venture funding round of $11M to support and accelerate the momentum for its patented and proven storage solution.

Infinite Convergence Solutions and Dot Hill Systems Deliver Real-Time, Cloud-Based Storage for Mobile Messaging Applications

Dot Hill Systems has developed a joint solution with Infinite Convergence Solutions, a next-generation wireless messaging and mobility solutions provider for carriers and enterprises. The joint solution, which integrates Dot Hill's AssuredSAN Pro 5000 real-time tiering storage with Infinite Convergence's Message Storage Application (MSA), allows major mobile operators to develop applications for users who want to access their messages anytime, anywhere, and across all devices, such as mobile phones, tablets, and laptops.

For more than 20 years, Dot Hill has been developing storage solutions for telecommunications customers such as Infinite Convergence, Motorola, Samsung, Tektronix and others. Dot Hill NEBS Level 3, carrier-grade solutions deliver proven 99.999 percent availability. The company's reference platform for mobile messaging provides a way for mobile operators to incorporate Dot Hill storage into carrier-grade mobile messaging and cloud applications. The company has validated the use of the AssuredSAN Pro 5000 as a high-performance metadata store for these demanding messaging applications, where customers demand instant access to vast amounts of daily text, voice, images, and video messages. The AssuredSAN Pro 5000 is able to autonomically identify and stage "hot data" to the SSD tier for greater I/O performance for random data lookups.

Enhancing its messaging portfolio, Infinite Convergence launched the first messaging storage solution of its kind, PMC MSA, in February 2014, using proven technology previously deployed for a North American Tier 1 carrier. With PMC MSA, mobile operators offer subscribers a carrier-grade, unified messaging experience across platforms and devices, including tablets, laptops and mobile phones. PMC MSA's multi-device synchronization enables subscribers to start a conversation on one device and seamlessly move to another. To deploy this product, Infinite Convergence needed a storage solution designed for speed, data protection, reliability, availability, scalability and manageability. After evaluating several options, Infinite Convergence chose the Dot Hill AssuredSAN Pro 5000 storage solution.

"Infinite Convergence is focused on serving the telecommunications market with cloud solutions for 'everywhere' applications," said Garrett Wein, vice president of worldwide OEM sales, Dot Hill. "Solutions such as the Infinite MSA really capitalize on the performance advantages of the Dot Hill AssuredSAN Pro 5000's unique real-time tiering architecture. With this latest joint solution, Dot Hill continues to gain traction in the telecommunications market."

"The Infinite Convergence MSA solution enables carriers to offer an innovative service that allows for differentiation in the mobility market place. It allows increased functionality while encouraging customer loyalty, resulting in an increase in both average revenue per user and average revenue per account," said John Puma, vice president of Infinite Convergence. "The Dot Hill AssuredSAN Pro 5000 provides a number of highly synergistic features including an easy-to-use interface, the ability to mix different hard disk drives and SSDs, and real-time autonomic tiering for dynamic workloads."

Dot Hill AssuredSAN Pro 5000—the Preferred Solution for Messaging Metadata Stores

The Dot Hill AssuredSAN Pro 5000 real-time autonomic tiering storage solution provides unmatched advantages for telecommunications customers. Using sophisticated algorithms, the AssuredSAN Pro 5000 with RealStor software automates the placement of data in each tier to optimize performance. The most frequently accessed blocks of "hot" data are stored in the highest tier of SSD storage, providing extremely fast read-access. The lower tier uses 10K SAS drives to provide high capacity and value for "cold" data that is accessed less frequently.

Dot Hill's RealStor™ software identifies hot data blocks and migrates them to the SSD tier in real time. This is ideal for messages and message metadata that are relevant for a short period of time. Sequential workloads remain on the lower SAS tiers for improved performance. In addition, the system is designed to handle many sequential operations simultaneously. These features are ideal for concurrently handling the intensive, sequential write operations from multiple nodes running on the open-source Cassandra database, which is widely used in the telecommunications industry.

Dot Hill AssuredSAN Pro 5000 storage solutions deliver exceptional scalability, high data availability and other features that meet the stringent demands of the telecommunications industry. While Cassandra is designed to allow for node failure or maintenance activities, the inclusion of RAID protection allows for simplified management of the components that are most prone to failure. Dot Hill's AssuredSAN JBOD expansion chassis allows solution providers to dynamically add more storage capacity without impacting the operation of the compute nodes. Dot Hill Volume Thin Provisioning eliminates guesswork from determining which node needs the most capacity; each volume takes only what it needs from the array.

Dot Hill and Infinite Convergence recently published a solutions brief outlining attributes of the companies' joint solution. For more details, click here.

Amplidata’s new Himalaya-based product family offers advances in scale, service level flexibility & security to service providers, OEMs and enterprises

Amplidata has announced a family of software products based on its new massively-scalable Himalaya architecture. The Himalaya software provides a new framework for storage, designed from the ground up to address demanding enterprise and cloud applications with non-disruptive service-level flexibility for businesses looking to optimize and expand their storage resources.

Himalaya is the foundation for two new offerings addressing increased needs for massive pools of available data: a versatile platform for cloud service providers and OEMs, and an enterprise-ready, easy-to-use product. Service Provider and OEM Edition and Enterprise Edition will both be available July 1, 2014. Amplidata AmpliStor customers have a seamless upgrade path to Himalaya.

With Himalaya, users can easily store and manage zettabytes of data and trillions of stored objects, all under one global namespace using Intel-based commercial off the shelf hardware. It supports multi-tenancy, heterogeneous SLAs, as well as non-disruptive changes in storage configuration and allocation. Himalaya’s patented, advanced erasure code and data integrity and repair technology dramatically reduce required capacity and operational overhead. Further, it provides greater than 15 nines of data durability, which is essential at this massive scale.

“Businesses are looking to dramatically increase data availability to drive competitiveness, but have found scaling introduces too much cost and complexity,” said Mike Wall, Amplidata CEO and chairman. “Himalaya provides the scale, service level flexibility and manageability they need at a cost point well below traditional storage systems.”

Himalaya is optimized for the latest processor design from Intel. Its performance scales linearly with each additional processor and it takes full advantage of Moore’s Law with each new generation of processor technology without changes to the rest of the system.

“The market for storage is moving quickly beyond traditional storage limits, and there is significant demand for storage architectures that meet the needs of current and future data-intensive applications,” said Bev Crair, general manager of Intel’s storage division. “Amplidata’s Himalaya architecture takes advantage of the latest technologies from Intel to deliver a highly scalable and durable storage system.”

Himalaya’s massive scalability, security, and unbreakable data durability address the storage needs of cloud services, life sciences, media & entertainment, oil & gas, video surveillance, government and Fortune 500 enterprises, among others.

“With its scale, access and protection benefits, object storage is playing an increasing role in evolving storage workflows,” said Rob Clark, senior vice president, Product Operations, at Quantum. “As a leader in providing end-to-end solutions for such workflows, Quantum has incorporated Amplidata’s technology as a key building block in our Lattus private cloud and archive system. Throughout our strategic technology partnership, Amplidata has continued to innovate, and today’s Himalaya announcement clearly demonstrates its commitment to meeting customer needs.”

“Rapid growth in the demand for scalable and manageable software-defined storage is being driven by a rich and diverse set of data-intensive use cases across multiple industries and geographies," said Ashish Nadkarni, IDC file and object storage analyst. "Himalaya is well positioned with technology and market partners to attract enterprises and cloud service providers looking to eliminate storage-related barriers to their success.”

Himalaya-based services will be available to end users through cloud service providers. Himalaya-based solutions and product will be provided by OEM’s and channel partners.

Application Converts Aerial Scout Data Into Actionable Insights To Improve Farm Yields, Using Zadara’s Elastic, High-Performance Enterprise Storage As a Service (STaaS) for Cost-Effective, High QoS Repository

Zadara Storage has announced that its customer Farm Intelligence2 of Mankato, MN, has deployed a pioneering analytics service for improving crop yield usingAerial Scout data sent to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) public cloud and stored in Zadara’s Virtual Private Storage Array (VPSA) enterprise STorage as a Service (STaaS) platform. With data sent from onboard sensors into AWS today, and growing by 10 TB per week to an anticipated total of 1 Petabyte (1,000 TB) by year’s end – Farm Intelligence2 is using Zadara as the centerpiece of a new software platform and analytics storage architecture with the elasticity, enterprise-grade features and high QoS that lets the company stay focused on helping farmers find opportunities to increase their yield, instead of the minutiae of managing a storage architecture.

“There is literally no other storage platform that could have handled our needs except Zadara,” said Steve Kickert, CTO at Farm Intelligence2, whose WingScan software monitors hundreds of thousands of acres of crops annually to help farmers scout their fields and preserve yields. “Our core competency is in deep analytics and science about farming, and our value-add is in delivering to the farmer highly visual, near real-time information they can use to make sound, scientifically-based decisions quickly. It would have taken at least three full-time employees to manage and deploy the storage that we neatly hand off to Zadara and obtain ‘as a service.’ With Zadara we stay focused on what we do best and have an affordable, painless way to scale out our storage - without having to devote capital, wait months for storage systems and software to be deployed, or hire and train staff to run it for us.”

Founded in 2011, Farm Intelligence2 presently facilitates the use of Aerial Scouts to monitor mainly corn and soybean crop acreage across 12 Midwestern states, and is rapidly expanding its national and global reach. Custom designed aerial sensors on the Scouts take data on potential crop stressors, including moisture, minerals, weeds, pests, gaps, and height variability. Data is transmitted to the company’s servers where its WingScan proprietary algorithm processes both visual and nonvisual imagery. Within 24 hours WingScan sends alerts to the farmer along with graphical displays about conditions that farmers should monitor and adjust – for example, increasing water or nitrogen.

With a 50X growth in customers in just one year, Farm Intelligence2 was forced to reconsider its computing infrastructure and particularly its on-premise storage area network (SAN). Scaling the on-premise SAN by 50X presented a substantial increase in costs, which the company ruled out as too CapEx-intensive and time-consuming to purchase, install and deploy. A cloud-based approach was a natural move and last year the company explored the use of AWS to support the debut of a new software version with added features, and an aggressive go-to-market plan.

Since Zadara Storage is the only enterprise-grade cloud storage service at AWS that, among its advanced features, supports NFS and multiple server attachment, Farm Intelligence2’s application was a natural fit. After a successful trial of Zadara’s VPSA service in January 2014, Farm Intelligence2 used Zadara’s free 100 TB migration offer to expedite the switchover, then deployed its storage in the AWS US East region within less than a week.

Zadara’s Virtual Private Storage Array is colocated adjacent to the AWS compute resources, so that Farm Intelligence2’s processing algorithms running on AWS EC2 can readily connect to what is now 40 TB of capacity on Zadara Storage via AWS Direct Connect high-speed fiber lines. Drives are private and not shared with anyone else, so Farm Intelligence2 can obtain single-tenant performance at multitenant prices and avoid the “noisy neighbor” problem (which occurs in competing services when other customers degrade storage performance). Expansion to more drives, or switching from disks to SSDs, is as simple as clicking a button on Farm Intelligence2’s dedicated online management interface. At any time Farm Intelligence2 can also eliminate drives, adjust controller performance, and fine tune other storage needs on the fly – allowing agility and control in a flexible, pay-as-you-go model.

“Without the agility to meet business demands, organizations can experience dampened growth when the right infrastructure can help them soar,” said Nelson Nahum, CEO of Zadara Storage. “Zadara’s VPSA Storage as a Service is the perfect, elastic and high-QoS answer for a data-intensive analytics service like Farm Intelligence2. We’re proud to be part of a smarter, highly performant cloud-based infrastructure that allows the company to support its impressive growth.”

Zadara Storage will showcase the VPSA service underlying Farm Intelligence2 application and other innovative deployments of its enterprise Storage as a Service offering at the AWS Summit San Francisco, next Wednesday March 26 at the Moscone Center, South Hall, from 11 am to 7 pm PT.

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