EMC's Crazy Plan to Create a Worldwide Data Cloud

Pat Gelsinger, who moved to EMC late last year after 30 years at Intel, is stirring things up at the storage giant with a plan to virtualize and federate storage so data and compute can truly be linked together (hat tip The Register). The implication of this vision is that organizations will have the ability to keep constantly changing information up to date around the world in real time despite the challenges of moving huge amounts of data over networks that measure data in in gigabytes rather than petabytes.

In a presentation on Thursday, Gelsinger pointed out that compute and storage are rapidly getting better about dealing with more information, while networks¬† are trying to catch up. “Compute is doubling every two years. Storage doubles every 15 months, and networking is much much much slower, like every four years, so how do you deal with latency bandwidth and consistency?” Gelsinger said.

Gelsinger’s answer is caching. Imagine a two-way content delivery network built on EMC appliances that tracks and replicates changes made to data at one node and then pushes them out to all the other nodes as quickly as possible. Gelsinger calls this freeing the information from physical storage, but it sounds more like making sure your information is in a bunch of different physical storage containers. He mentions EMC’s acquisition of intellectual property from Yotta Yotta as offering the breakthrough required to build this technology.

But at the end of the day, this is all a big if, not an actual product yet.¬† If EMC can link storage and virtualized machines together, the data center that “follows the sun” — basically moving compute loads around the world where it’s cheapest to run them — or automatic failover for cloud services become possible. However, it will be controlled by a proprietary hardware vendor, which certainly clouds its prospects a bit.

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