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Western Digital unveils OpenFlex architecture to power big data

OpenFlex and Western Digital's Kingfish API will significantly reduce total cost of ownership

server room

Western Digital has revealed its OpenFlex architecture, designed to transform the data centre into a fully scalable infrastructure to power big data and fast data workloads.

OpenFlex combines fabric-attached disk and flash devices, an API to manage data centre resources and an entire network of hardware and software providers to support it on its open standards mission.

Western Digital developed OpenFlex as part of its mission to deliver a complete foundation for open, software composable infrastructure (SCI) – the hope being that OpenFlex will encourage the creation of a community around its own APIs.

Not only will it help data centre operators to scale their resources using SCI, but end-users will be able to make better use of their installed hardware and software, significantly cutting the total cost of ownership and upfront cost of managing workloads, according to the company.

“Data centers need a more efficient approach to satisfying the needs of complex and dynamic applications and data workflows,” said Phil Bullinger, senior vice president and general manager of Data Center Systems at Western Digital.

“To ensure flexibility, data center operators also need open solutions that enable them to select from best-in-class, vendor neutral options. Western Digital’s OpenFlex architecture and products, and our commitment to the open community help satisfy these needs, while delivering significant improvements in cost and agility."

The new OpenFlex family of products includes the F3000 flash drive, E3000 Enclosure for housing these drives, and the larger D3000 Fabric device.

The company's Kingfish API works closely alongside the OpenFlex infrastructure, with its purpose to bring together flash and disk pools with the software composable infrastructure.

Companies involved in Western Digital's OpenFlex foundation project include Apache Hadoop, Apache Spark, Apache Kafka, Apache Cassandra, Apache Mesos, Broadcom, Ceph, DriveScale, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Inspur, Kaminario, Kubernetes, Marvell Technology Group, Mellanox Technologies, Microsoft SQL Server, Percona, and Super Micro Computer.

“Western Digital’s OpenFlex architecture provides flexible composability that maximizes resource utilization in a highly scalable and flexible way, as well as eliminates the problems of ‘stranded storage’," IDC's Ashish Nadkarni, group VP of Infrastructure Systems, Platforms and Technologies said. "In addition, its openness eliminates the ‘locked in’ barrier faced by proprietary infrastructures and paves the way for broader ecosystem engagement.”

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