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Alluxio in-memory storage software gains EMC mindshare

In-memory storage startup Alluxio has struck a partnership with Dell EMC.

The news marks Alluxio’s first formal alliance with a North American storage vendor. Alluxio in September integrated its software on Chinese vendor Huawei Technologies’ FusionStore elastic block storage.

The San Mateo-based vendor’s Alluxio Enterprise Edition software will be available on Dell EMC Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS) appliances. ECS is the successor to EMC Atmos object storage.

The Exabyte-scale ECS arrays are built using commodity servers and EMC ViPR virtualized storage. Since acquiring EMC, Dell gradually has started moving EMC software-defined storage products to its PowerEdge line.

The ECS private cloud uses active-active architecture to support Hadoop Distributed File System data analytics. Dell EMC sells ECS on turnkey appliances and also as a managed service.

Alluxio Enterprise Edition is a commercial version of the startup’s open source-based virtual distributed in-memory storage software. It allows applications to share data at memory speed across disparate storage systems.

The chief attributes are high availability and high performance. Alluxio allows data to persist in a host to speed real-time data analytics.

Alluxio software is designed to accelerate Apache Spark and other workloads that process data in memory.  Storage from disparate data stores is presented in a global namespace.

EMC is not expected to bundle Alluxio in its software stack. Alluxio CEO Haoyuan Li said the partnership allows EMC to better recommend the in-memory storage to ECS customers that need high performance.

“The benefit we bring is allowing EMC ECS customers to pull data from other storage systems. Previously, you had to either move the data manually into the new compute cluster. We automate data movement,” Li said. “We  also accelerate end-to-end performance of your applications with our memory-centric architecture, which manages the compute-side storage.”

Partnering with EMC is a feather in the vendor’s cap, although perhaps not as noteworthy as if Alluxio was qualified to run on Dell EMC Isilon scale-out NAS. Big data jobs tend to use HDFS as the underlying substrate, not EMC ECS.

“ECS as a storage platform does not have a huge share of the market at this point, so this partnership won’t have a material impact on Alluxio’s top line. But it’s an interesting partnership and definitely a win for them that could lead to other partnerships with Dell EMC,” said Arun Chandrasekaran, a research vice president at Gartner Inc.

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