Tell me, do I hold a stick in my hand?”
At this point, the prodigy leans forward, takes the stick respectfully off of his master’s hands, and breaks it.
There’s the answer to break out of the proverbial “double” bind. Also, gaining a strategic advantage while at it. No magic trick that, just good old imagination.
Say, thinking out of the box isn’t enough, the answer may be not to believe there’s a box in the first place. Folks at Vcinity—a company, empowering the edge and redefining the cloud—subscribe to this school of thought when it comes to how they function in their “misfit” culture as nonconformist innovators who don’t see boundaries but possibilities while pursuing the right solution, no matter how unorthodox.
The challenges faced by Vcinity’s clientele with geographically dispersed data—ranging from distance, volume, and network capacity to the application—demands nothing less of them than the fact that they guide their respective client across the spectrum out of the proverbial double bind they find themselves in. “Our client’s transition from a state of initial disbelief to 15 minutes later, realizing how Vcinity’s capabilities stack and solutions transform their respective operational paradigm,” says Neville Yates, CRO, Vcinity. “We enable them to address a business problem from a completely different angle because the angle never existed before.”
Vcinity brings to the table the ability for high performance compute (HPC), enterprise, and cloud-based computing environments to execute against data that is physically located thousands of miles away. “Making geographically dispersed critical data accessible, more importantly, actionable from the client’s location without having to move the data from halfway across the world is mission-critical,” says Stephen Wallo, CTO, Vcinity. The idea is to create an integrated environment where users and applications have unrestricted access to the relevant data in real-time for greater productivity. The value Vcinity solutions bring to the high-performance computing arena is that the data can stay where it is, and the compute environment executes upon it in its original location.
But, how’s that possible?
A sense of wonderment prevails over organizations globally, puzzled about how Vcinity is facilitating the ability to execute against data at “unbelievable” speeds without moving all the data to the compute location. The ‘wow’ factor, which is slowly reaching a consensus among the clients, draws our attention as to how Vcinity is making it possible. Wallo explains with a simple yet interesting analogy. Think about how people communicated in the past with letters. You had to write a letter, give it to the mail carrier and wait for it to get to the recipient. At that point the person receiving the letter would write a reply and then everyone would wait again until you got the reply back in your mailbox. It was a lot of time being wasted while exchanging very little information. Now we just pick up the phone and have instant access and communicate. Vcinity works the same way, we remove the variable of time from the equation when accessing information over distance. You get immediate access to data regardless of where you are in the world. “
And, finally, he reveals, “We provide the mechanism that enables applications to access to remote storage without having to copy and pre-stage data next to the compute you intend to use. You can use any compute anywhere against data everywhere the instant that it’s created. We’ve essentially virtualized the four walls of a data center to include the globe in terms of using resources and data.
Ultimate X is the means by which Vcinity hosts a parallel global file system that supports a Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) interface that is configured to communicate with Radical X.
“Radical X is the means by which we transform a wide area network into a global local area network,” says Yates. Vcinity’s proprietary technology extends the local area network fabric across an existing wide area network connectivity for high utilization at near line rate. This is essentially done through the application of many different technologies that are integrated into Vcinity’s traffic engineering protected by dozens of patents. Through Vcinity’s patented technologies, resources such as compute, networking and storage are integrated into the same platform, enabling some of the most mission-critical, distributed data applications around the world.
We provide the mechanism that allows clients to compute as a service against data anywhere at any time, once it’s created whether it’s in the cloud or a dedicated HPC through Ultimate X
Digging deeper, Ultimate X emerges as a platform where the client can instantly access data stored on the file directory structure without caching and buffering. In contrast, the actual data sits literally anywhere, from miles to hundreds of miles, to tens of thousands of miles away. Distance doesn’t matter. The platform allows users everywhere to access and share data without replications, which, in turn, leads to more efficient workflows, enhanced services, fewer redundant data copies, and reduced infrastructure costs. “Alternatively, if moving the data is the need of the hour, we provide unrivalled speed irrespective of the distance,” says Yates. If a use case demands data replication, Ultimate X moves terabytes to petabytes of data, across any distance, with unprecedented performance.
At the core, Ultimate X comprises Radical X, Command X and Access X. Command X is a management system for a smooth, intuitive user experience. It provides a web-based interface that enables the monitoring and configuration of nodes across multiple sites. With Access X, Vcinity offers a tool for even more efficient, comprehensive file management and synchronization. Access X empowers users with unparalleled access and control, making it the best fit for enterprises that want to leverage the file-sharing capabilities that Ultimate X enables fully.
Accelerating File Access over a Global LAN Paradigm
The most apparent but scourging challenge is the sea of data dispersed across hundreds or thousands of miles, which could take days, weeks or even months to be moved. The problem is when the prioritization must happen wherein the source is accessed to carve up the information for analysis. This is of critical importance in the larger scheme of things. The subsets thus created are driven back to the HPC center, where the project results may be inconsistent. The fault could be because of ‘n’ number of reasons, which inadvertently leads to reprioritization. “Once the information is filtered over and over again, latency sets in, incurring the penalty of time. Each iteration is taking more time away from the creation of some process or result,” Wallo adds.
Vcinity ensures that the clients do not have to pre-process the information thanks to immediate access to the data where it is. . “This is imperative because data is perishable or even irrelevant by the time it’s moved in many instances,” Wallo insists. Ultimate X provides users access to the entire dataset at one location in real-time.
Virtual Global Data Center
Ultimate X allows remote storage to be mounted locally for networked clients without disrupting workflows or existing environments. So, for an HPC environment, Vcinity’s portfolio drops into the architecture and natively extends the fabric that is naturally inherent to a high-performance computing environment. “Think of an InfiniBand or RoCEfabric, we become a member of that fabric natively and then extend it out to remote locations,” states Wallo. Therefore, whether it’s the compute platform itself or the applications and users, they don’t notice a difference, zero disruption.
“If moving the data is the need of the hour, we provide unrivalled speed irrespective of the distance.”
The objective is just to stretch it and extend the integration. Now, in some cases, the remote locations are not an HPC environment. Vcinity provides a second element to the portfolio that integrates into an environment with just standard folders and shares. The HPC in the center links back and combines with remote locations, where users just drop data into folders. “Once that’s done, they’ve created this shared architecture between the remote and the local that allows authorized users to look and have the same experience as if they were sitting right beside each other,” explains Wallo.
Putting theory into practice provides several successful instances of the Vcinity’s ground-breaking technology in action. Take drug manufacturing in life sciences, for example, wherein data mining plays an instrumental role. Manufacturers need to have access to all the different sources of information that can help them create a specific drug as well as run different models on it. They require a machine learning approach to create an environment that allows them to create drug run test cases against the data dispersed around the globe. “These manufacturers have to cope with a combination of data fusion from different locations. What’s worse, if they have ten different sources of information scattered all around the world,” says Wallo. To get it back to the HPC resources, it takes time, and they can’t run the model unless all the information from the ten sources is ready to go at the same time because it all has to be synchronized.
“So, the entire success of the project hinges at the mercy of the slowest member,” stresses Wallo. And, when you consider the distance between data points can be hundreds or thousands of miles and how it affects the project’s current modus operandi, it means its burden is so overwhelming that the client may have to rethink the viability of the entire operation completely. Vcinity has changed that equation by removing the variable of time and distance. The HPC can now do real-time data fusion because it can reach out and instantaneously access that information as it’s created without having to take that time to pull it in and to remove that time variance. “So now the client can not only get access to the larger pieces of information but get access to variable elements of the information to train that model,” states Wallo.
Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) recently conducted a performance validation of Vcinity’s Ultimate X product family. The report is an independent validation of Vcinity’s product claims. It also explains the relevance of the technology within the context of ESG’s enterprise research of on-prem and private/public/hybrid cloud storage infrastructures. “When we first heard of Vcinity’s claim that it makes remote data access over global distances work as if it was done over the LAN, we asked them for a demo to prove it. Even then, we all had the same reaction of disbelief, so we carried out our validation testing,” mentions ESG’s Founder and Senior Analyst, Steve Duplessie. “Vcinity’s fast data access at consistent performance levels is well suited for collaborative data-intensive applications over a WAN without using the traditional copy/move/store paradigm.”
Making it Big
Vcinity has not only a unique but an uncontested value proposition in place. Now, it’s a matter of penetrating the market, allowing organizations not just to evaluate but also to reap the benefits of ‘ultimate access.’ Yates admits that it might be challenging to grasp the advantages as people are consumed with the status quo. However, the dynamic team at Vcinity is up for the challenge!
With unprecedented performance and flexibility to access data across distance, Vcinity continues to innovate and give customers the capability to manage and operate on data in ways not previously possible. Vcinity has struck a chord among its clients across digital media, financial services, life sciences, and government sectors, often exerting the same reaction from them, “That’s unbelievable!” they say. Truth be told, Vcinity is allowing organizations to operate in a new paradigm and to do things that seem impossible. Luckily, all it takes is about 20 minutes to see a significant change in their operational paradigm.