Unlocking Edge Insights with AI-ready Data Management

Unlocking Edge Insights with AI-ready Data Management

Artificial Intelligence has the potential to create $9 to $15 trillion of economic value in the coming years, according to a McKinsey report¹. At the same time, data creation and computing at the “Edge” is flourishing. By 2023, over 50% of new enterprise IT infrastructure will be deployed at the edge rather than in traditional datacenters, up from less than 10% in January 2021². And according to Gartner, by 2025, 75% of enterprise-critical data will be created and processed outside the data center or cloud³. Leading companies are embracing the growth of AI and Analytics solutions at the edge to gain real-time insights, transform customer experience, and gain competitive advantage. Edge AI Inference reference architecture highlighting a validated design consisting of Lenovo ThinkSystem edge servers and our DM Series All-Flash storage. The ThinkSystem DM Series is a key component of our Edge AI solutions, and the new capabilities we’re announcing will help customers secure, accelerate, and manage their data to unlock the value of Edge AI applications. Ted Friedman

Data, whether at the edge or in the core data center, is the raw material required to derive insights and take action. Data management at the edge has requirements similar to the data center, including protection and performance. However, edge locations also have unique challenges for simplicity, security, and data mobility. Edge data management solutions must integrate into standard edge networks while protecting against the increased potential for security attacks present at the edge. And many edge data locations are not managed, so edge data management must be simple, efficient, and optimized to move data from the edge to the core or cloud for end-to-end control.

Deploying effective Edge AI requires complete infrastructure solutions. Lenovo enables our customers’ Edge AI deployments with a portfolio of edge-optimized, AI-ready servers and storage that work together to unlock the value of edge applications. In this article I’ll highlight three important new features of Lenovo’s DM Series storage that help you secure, accelerate, and manage your data-rich edge environments.

1. Cybersecurity Enhancements to Protect Against Ransomware

Security and Performance are top considerations when deploying Edge Storage solutions4. By 2025, at least 75% of IT organizations will face one or more attacks5. And edge locations can be particularly vulnerable, since they lack many of the defenses found in traditional data centers. Lenovo’s ThinkSystem DM Series storage already provides several capabilities to detect and remediate ransomware, such as immutable read-only snapshot copies which can be locked via WORM technology–a capability by which information, once written, cannot be modified, so that attackers cannot change or delete the snapshots.

The latest DM Series software release adds even more capability with automatic ransomware detection built into the storage array. This feature uses Machine Learning to understand typical workload patterns and behaviors on the NAS volumes. If unusual activity is detected, the DM Series software takes an immediate snapshot to provide a restore point and generates an alert to the administrators so that they can examine the activity and determine whether it’s an attack or a false positive. All this is done without disrupting normal operation and significantly improves cybersecurity capabilities. Even better, it’s a nondisruptive software-only upgrade.

For even greater protection from cyberattacks, ThinkSystem DM Series software provides API-level integration with leading third-party monitoring solutions, such as Prolion CryptoSpike, which can analyze metadata of user transactions, search for known ransomware patterns, and block infected users to prevent ransomware attacks.

ProLion CryptoSpike provides proactive ransomware protection for your DM series storage. Not only does CryptoSpike monitor for and detect ransomware, it blocks it on detection. In addition, alerts are sent to IT and infected users are locked out of the system, preventing any spread. This is particularly helpful in combatting insider threats as ransomware is often introduced by internal users who have been unwittingly compromised.

Another useful feature that CryptoSpike adds to your DM Series solution is single file restore. Rather than having to restore an entire snapshot, ProLion allows restoration down to single file level, which means no loss of good data that was created from the time of the snapshot. In organizations that have large amounts of data, it could take hours to find ransomware, and all the work done during that time would be lost – but not with single file restore.

2. Accelerated Data Access to Speed Application Performance

Companies are looking to edge AI solutions for real-time insights, requiring high-speed performance. The all-flash ThinkSystem DM Series already supports NVMe over Fabrics, which extends all-flash speeds from the array across the network to the server. NVMe over Fabrics dramatically improves end-to-end application performance, which is critical to deliver real-time insights for edge AI applications. Until now, however, NVMe over Fabrics has only been supported for Fibre Channel networks. But, of course, not everyone has a Fibre Channel network, and certainly Fibre Channel is uncommon at most edge locations.

The DM Series now supports NVMe over TCP, which operates over ubiquitous Ethernet networks. NVMe/TCP provides application acceleration over any Ethernet network, using existing Ethernet switches, cabling and adapters, so that no infrastructure upgrades are required—making it an ideal upgrade for existing edge ethernet networks to enable high performance AI applications. Again, this new application acceleration capability comes as a nondisruptive software-only upgrade.

3. Data Protection for Edge Object Workloads

The ThinkSystem DM Series provides true unified storage, supporting block, file and object workloads. Its integrated S3 object storage capabilities are particularly well-suited for edge AI applications, many of which rely on unstructured object data such as video, voice, etc. Until now, however, the DM Series has not provided a native backup capability for S3 buckets. With this new software release, we’re introducing support for replication of object storage. This provides customers with a familiar interface for fast, efficient backups of object storage on DM Series to a supported target which could be another DM Series or an S3-compliant object store such as AWS S3. This can be used in several ways, including backup for applications and workloads, business continuity applications with site failover or edge-to-core object replication.


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