Old habits die hard; new ones take time and effort to build. It’s the same for applications and storage in traditional enterprises. Savvy technical leaders are focusing on time-to-innovation when rolling out new development tools. The end-goal is simple: agility and application portability that prevents infrastructure lock-in.

A “Keep it Simple, Stupid” model (KISS) is especially applicable when you are looking for quick adoption. Public cloud vendors have made it easy for developers to scale-out their applications by taking advantage of simple APIs, micro-services and containers. However, because of costs to management efficiency and privacy, the public cloud is not the right solution for many datasets and applications.

65% of surveyed enterprises and service providers agree that unstructured datasets have now become mission-critical[1] as leaders take a deeper look at how to monetize their data assets. The need to stay competitive is leading to a decomposition of the legacy applications and infrastructure in the data center. Implementing the right platforms and tools to store, access and transform that data is now more crucial than ever.

Last week, Western Digital announced the official release of ActiveScale 5.3 for our P100 and X100 object storage systems. Building on our unique Symbiotics Design™ approach and ability to fine-tune and optimize from silicon to systems, this release supports up to 19-nines of data durability.

Here are five reasons why you should look at ActiveScale 5.3 to accelerate your digital transformation and modernization of legacy apps.

1. Hybrid Cloud Environments – More Flexibility and Better Efficiencies

object storage asynchronous replicationOur vision is to enable customers with the tools and infrastructure to drive the most value out of their unstructured datasets. Since its inception ActiveScale has delivered an AWS™ compatible API interface for S3 native applications in the datacenter. With ActiveScale 5.3 customers can now replicate data to an Amazon® AWS bucket as a disaster recovery copy or an active copy to extract insights through cognitive and analytics services.

Data can be synchronized from a single GEO or a 3-GEO configuration and enabled on a bucket level so customers can balance out the right combination of data copies on-premises and in public storage.

2. File Access Without a Gateway

Unified Data AccessActiveScale is certified with more than 50 technology partners that transparently support an ActiveScale bucket as a storage target. (Check out our ecosystem here.) Yet the biggest hurdle in digital transformation is the ability to shift legacy applications and their datasets onto a cloud-enabled platform.

The majority of legacy applications still rely on a file interface. One of the current ways to solve this is through file gateway technologies. These solutions can deliver unique performance and collaboration features for semi-structured and unstructured datasets for specific use cases or workloads. Their downside typically lies in a potential format lock-in over time, and of course, the added complexity and costs at scale when handling petabytes of capacity.

With the 5.3 release, we are introducing Unified Data Access (UDA) beta delivering an NFSv3 interface to customers for evaluation. Customers can now connect applications over file and object to the same ActiveScale system while keeping things simple and extracting higher efficiencies out of the system.

With more applications being deployed in a federated configuration, we made sure UDA takes advantage of the global namespace. File data is accessible across all systems nodes in single GEO deployment.

UDA opens a door to new use cases and an ecosystem of applications generating large unstructured datasets.

3. Container Support for Select Applications

Just as we are seeing the move from a monolithic hardware infrastructure to a disaggregated world, we are seeing a similar transition in the application world. Microservices have given birth to a healthier decomposition of applications in smaller, more scalable executables that can run in different cloud environments. With unstructured datasets growing at petabyte scale rate, the ability to move executions closer to where data rests can be more efficient than moving the data itself.

DockerContainers deliver an ideal platform for new applications to live in. ActiveScale 5.3 now supports containers for a select group of customers and certain applications and ISVs on the system nodes. First production installs include media & entertainment and video surveillance workflows that benefit from speed and storage savings by removing the need for a temporary staging space.



4. Delivering Better Economics and Storage Density Through Symbiotics Design

Western Digital is one of the world’s leading storage & systems companies. Our unique position to innovate throughout the stack by using a Symbiotics Design approach, enables us to deliver new cost efficiencies and better storage economics.

With ActiveScale 5.3 we have increase our storage density by 20% by adopting our 12TB[2] Ultrastar® He12 helium-sealed enterprise drives. Existing ActiveScale customers can now seamlessly expand their P100 or X100 systems with 12TB drives without any data migration or reconfiguration. The added capacity supports a scale-up and scale-out capacity increase that becomes immediately usable for new and existing buckets.

Delivering on the ActiveScale promise to help customers facilitate a Data Forever architecture, we are pleased to announce that ActiveScale 5.3 delivers a 15% per TB cost reduction, compared to our previous model, thanks to our continuous efforts in vertical innovation across our product portfolio.

5. Encryption for Data at Rest – FIPS 140-2 level 2

To support the never-ending security challenges customers are facing, we will be adding FIPS 140-2 level 2 validated Ultrastar He12 enterprise drives to our existing P100 and X100 models for customers who require this cryptographic module. The use of strong encryption capable and tamper evident drives provides an ideal foundation for solutions and workflows requiring strong security, data privacy and non-repudiation.

Time to Accelerate Your Digital Transformation

Western Digital’s ActiveScale P100 and X100 systems represent the next-generation of object storage for petabyte-scale unstructured data growth. As you examine new ways to approach applications, infrastructure and IT culture to accelerate digital transformation, talk to our experts and learn how we can help you unleash the power of data.

You can learn more about each of these latest features and capabilities in our upcoming series of blogs -subscribe below to get blog posts to your inbox.

Moving File Data to Object-Based Storage?

Why are so many organizations moving file data to object storage, and how?

Learn about the latest market trends, key operational benefits you should be aware of and how does IDC see our strategy aligned with the market demands of today and tomorrow. Download the report:

IDC report - object storage

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain blog and other posts on this website may contain forward-looking statements, including statements relating to expectations for our product portfolio, the market for our products, product development efforts, and the capacities, capabilities and applications of our products. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements, including development challenges or delays, supply chain and logistics issues, changes in markets, demand, global economic conditions and other risks and uncertainties listed in Western Digital Corporation’s most recent quarterly and annual reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, to which your attention is directed. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements and we undertake no obligation to update these forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances.

[1] The Growing Role of Object Storage in Solving Unstructured Data Challenges, HGST and 451 Research, November 2017

[2] One GB is equal to one billion bytes and one TB equals 1,000GB (one trillion bytes) when referring to hard drive capacity. Accessible capacity will vary from the stated capacity due to formatting and partitioning of the hard drive, the computer’s operating system, and other factors

Stefaan is sr. director of solutions marketing and strategic alliances at WDC, with 15+ yrs in the data storage and backup industry.