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How To Achieve Multi-Cloud Scale with Dell and Faction

Matt Wallace and Jodey Hogeland discuss data access utilizing Dell and Faction for a multi-cloud data solution

Hear Matt Wallace and Jodey Hogeland explain how Dell PowerScale combined with Faction’s Multi-Cloud Data Services uniquely enables a unified data strategy that touches all clouds at the same time.





Hey, how’s it going? It’s Keith Townsend, principal of the CTO advisor, and we’re at the CEO of Faction Inc.’s house, which overlooks six mountain ranges in the background. Still, it’s a lovely way to wrap up the CTO advisor road trip.


We’re going to have a pretty good conversation, a little contentious at the start. Because Matt Wallace and Jodey have made some really aggressive claims that have gone against the CTO advisors, principles, at least what we’ve talked about online, and this sponsored video by Faction Inc. and Dell Technologies, or Dell EMC. Matt, welcome to the show.


Thank you. Happy to be here and at the tail end of the trip.


You know, it’s nice to end, I don’t know if there’s a more beautiful place to end that trip. Jodey, welcome from Alabama.


Hey Keith, good to be here.


What is Dell EMC PowerScale?

So, Jodey, we’ll start out the conversation with I think the elephant in the room, which is I’m known for pooh-poohing Dell Technology’s and Dell EMC’s multi-cloud strategy. I know Faction Inc.’s infrastructure is built on Dell Technologies’ and Dell EMC’s hardware. In this case, we’re talking about PowerScale. But traditionally Dell directly, I don’t think they’ve had much of a multi-cloud story. And Matt, before we started, before we hit record, you were kind of convincing me otherwise. What is the story?


Yeah, I think when you think about the nature of PowerScale, and you think about what Faction brings, you know, to the multi-cloud world, this is a match made in heaven. So PowerScale has this ability to just reach what you’d almost call cloud-scale, right? 10 Plus petabytes, sometimes north of 50 petabytes all in a single file system or namespace.


You have that compatibility, of course, with the on-prem systems, right, people who are using PowerScale, right? They’ve got this easy way to move data back and forth and link this up to the service. But then just thinking about it on its own, there’s no other cloud service you can really tap into that’s going to give you that kind of scale, with a throughput that’s attended to that right going into hundreds of gigabytes and higher and then being able to address that in a multi-protocol byte so we know in the real world, right organizations have different apps and things, different stages of this journey of digital transformation.


Some teams are going to want to use NFS for a traditional app, they might have user base applications that need SMB, they might have cloud-native teams that are doing object access. So not only with this huge scale is massive throughput connected simultaneously with the same copy of data connected to multiple clouds at the same time, then you have that multiprotocol access that PowerScale provides. This is perfect, basically for having a unified data strategy that touches all the clouds at the same time.


Industry-Specific Example of Multi-Cloud

So I love the concept of multiple clouds accessing the same data at the same time. This is kind of the holy grail of multi-cloud. Can you give me an example, an industry-specific example, where Faction Inc. and Dell Technologies have combined to deliver a solution.


Sure, and this is one we talked a ton about last year. We did a presentation at Bio-IT World and published a white paper, but it was actually about showing a life science use case around genomic analysis. So obviously human genomes are really data-rich, to begin with, and you want to collect 1000s and 1000s of them for different types of research and pharmaceutical disease, you know, combat drug development, etc.


And what we did is we built an ad-hoc supercomputer north of seven petaflops, literally over a million CUDA cores, constructed of Spot Instances across all three major public clouds running out of Northern Virginia. So we had one copy of hundreds of terabytes of genomic data on a PowerScale for multi-cloud stitched simultaneously in Amazon, Azure, and GCP.


We’re one unified cluster using Faction’s multi-cloud backplane for inter-cluster communication was actually able to simultaneously process hundreds and 1000s of genomes across those Spot Instances, huge savings from that strategy because Spot Instances can be up to 90% off, and then huge throughput, leveraging this across those clouds.


And if we saw a capacity dip in one cloud, we could scale up in another cloud to compensate. So a fantastic use case for saving money, reaching not just cloud-scale, but multi-cloud-scale, and then showing how people can do that with a real use case.


Who uses the Dell EMC products?

So Matt, we’re gonna take something that you said, and we’re going to stick a pin in, which is terabytes of data connected to multiple cloud providers. And there’s a bunch of questions I have around latency, throughput, and you talked about the IP that Faction built to solve that problem. We’ll save that for another video. I wanted to ask you, Jodey, on the larger kind of Dell Technologies and Dell EMC portfolio of customers, where have you seen these technologies in the industry?


Yeah, thanks, Keith. So as Matt said, it really traverses the landscape of customer bases, even industry. So the automotive industry, the healthcare industry, even smaller customers are able to take advantage of these large scale deployments on an architecture like PowerScale, where they can start with, you know, just a handful of terabytes and grow up to multi, multi petabyte-scale and connect that up to one or all hyperscalers at the same time.


So I think that’s one of the key drivers, even if we look at things I know in the context of file deployment methodologies and getting into multi-cloud connectivity, those are huge data lakes. But Keith, we can also do this at the block storage level, leveraging our portfolio with say PowerMax or PowerStore and think about leveraging the capability of on-prem replication to a cloud-centric location.


Leveraging someone like Faction and taking maybe 100 terabytes or 50 terabytes of data, creating snapshots of that data so it’s zero copies, and mounting it up to one or multiple hyperscalers at the same time, so we’re giving customers across our portfolio, the dynamics and the ability, regardless of industry, and regardless of business use case, the ability to take our infrastructure and mount it up anywhere or in all places at the same time.”



Faction Powers Dell Technologies Cloud Storage for Multi-Cloud

Wow, Jodey. You know what, both you and Matt have really helped to change at least my initial perspective of what Dell Technologies and Dell EMC is able to offer from a multi-cloud perspective. I already knew, Matt, we’ve gone back and forth on Twitter an awful lot about multi-cloud and the way that Faction approaches multi-cloud data access. And I’ve always abstracted that conversation away from the Dell Technologies underpinning. I think this is a great conversation that really helps me really understand how this works together.


Learn more about the Faction Inc. and Dell Technologies’ story! If you want to learn more about the CTO advisor, or simply you think Keith you just went too easy or Matt or Jodey. I should have asked them X, Y, or Z. DM me. DMS are open, CTO advisor on Twitter

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