Dell Buys EMC: Plenty of Storage for IoT Data

Create: 10/11/2015 - 13:00

Dell annouced today it will purchase EMC, in a $67 billion deal, which could make the company a powerhouse in the IoT arena.

Dell’s portfolio, combined with a partner ecosystem that includes Intel Corp., includes a collaborative approach that helps the IT manufacturer provide end-to-end IoT solutions. That is a huge potential area of growth for Dell, which is trying to diversify itself from a stagnant personal-computer market. 

The Internet of Things connects machines with each other, and in doing so creates reams of data. That raw data needs to be stored, and the once its analyzed and made sense of, must be stored again. By purchasing EMC, Dell is positioning itself as a predominant player in the storage market.

While it’s straight-forward that the IoT leads to more (and more) data being created, what is not as evident is that machine-generated data comes in two unique types. First, there is large-file data, such as images and videos. That data type is generally accessed sequentially. The second data type is quite small, for example, log-file data captured from sensors. But while those sensors are tiny, they can create billions of files that must be accessed randomly. 

Therefore, today there are two entirely distinct challenges. In the past a datacenter would have only one of the two data types: They either captured image-based data or not. Today’s datacenters must deal with both data types, which generally require different storage systems -- one expressly made for large-file sequential I/O and the other for small-file random I/O. Although image-based data is often placed on large-capacity NAS systems, object-based storage is becoming more common. And sensor data, typically stored on high-performance NAS systems, is now often on all-flash arrays, which supports faster analytics.

The deal would also take EMC private, making it the largest-ever take-private transaction for a tech company. Overall, it will be the second-largest tech merger ever, following the $106 billion AOL and Time Warner deal in 2000.

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Jennifer Bosavage

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