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VAST Data, a technology company focusing on all-flash enterprise data storage, today announced the expansion of its offerings with the launch of VAST Data Platform, a unified new data computing platform for the age of AI.
Available today, the platform brings together storage, database and virtualized compute engine services in a scalable system to help enterprises go beyond traditional reporting and business intelligence and support new deep learning applications that could solve some of humanity’s most pressing challenges.
“Encapsulating the ability to create and catalog understanding from natural data on a global scale, we’re consolidating entire IT infrastructure categories to enable the next era of large-scale data computation,” Renen Hallak, VAST Data CEO and cofounder said in a press conference. “With the VAST Data Platform, we are democratizing AI abilities and enabling organizations to unlock the true value of their data.”
How will VAST Data Platform drive AI initiatives ahead?
In recent months, large language models (LLMs) have driven almost every individual and company to explore the potential of AI. The deployment of ChatGPT and related services has grown, but this is just the starting point. As these models advance, we’ll move to AI-assisted discovery where machines will recreate the process of discovery to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges (like life-saving treatments) and achieve a level of specialization that used to take decades in a matter of days.
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However, to support such AI applications, organizations need a data platform that simplifies data management and processing experience into one unified stack, allowing easy capturing, synthesizing and learning from data. This is where the new VAST Data Platform comes in.
“What we have is a continuous computing engine that combines the VAST DataStore, which is the (existing) file and object layer, with the next-generation DataBase we’ve invented and the DataEngine, which is the function execution environment that’s built with event streams and triggers,” Jeff Denworth, co-founder of VAST Data, said in a media pre-briefing. “All this happens from edge to cloud through what we call the VAST DataSpace.”
As the company explains, the exabyte-scale DataStore acts as a scalable storage architecture that captures and serves unstructured natural data while eliminating storage tiering. Once the data is captured, VAST DataBase’s semantic, natively-integrated database layer applies structure to the information and allows for rapid querying at scale. It combines the characteristics of a database, a data warehouse and a data lake into one database management system that resolves the tradeoffs between capturing and cataloging natural data in real time as well as real-time analytics.
Finally, the platform delivers intelligence to transform the gathered data into an understanding of its underlying characteristics. This is done through VAST DataEngine, a global function execution engine that consolidates data centers and cloud regions into one global computational framework. It supports programming languages such as SQL and Python and an event notification system as well as materialized and reproducible model training that makes it easier to manage AI pipelines.
“The VAST Data Platform is radically discontinuous from any data platform that has come before it,” said Merv Adrian, principal analyst at IT Market Strategy.
“By bringing together structured and unstructured data in a high-performance, globally distributed namespace with real-time analysis, VAST is not only tacking fundamental DBMS challenges of data access and latency, but also offering genuinely disruptive data infrastructure that provides the foundation AI-driven organizations need to solve the problems they haven’t yet attempted to solve,” he added.
Companies are already leveraging it
While the VAST Data Platform is new to the scene, major enterprises such as Zoom, Allen Institute and Pixar Animation Studios are already using it to full benefit.
“VAST is allowing us to put all of our rendered assets on one tierless cluster of storage, which offers us the ability to use these petabytes of data as training data for future AI applications,” said Eric Bermender, head of data center and IT Infrastructure at Pixar.
“We’ve already moved all of our denoising data, ‘finals’ and ‘takes’ data sets onto the VAST Data Platform, specifically because of the AI capabilities this allows us to take advantage of in the future,” he added.
That said, it is important to note that even though the platform is available, it is not yet fully capable at this stage. Currently, the VAST Data Platform only offers access to DataStore, DataBase and DataSpace in general availability. The DataEngine will be included into the package in 2024, say company executives.
According to IDC’s worldwide AI spending guide, global spending on AI-centric systems continues to grow at double-digit rates and will exceed $308 billion by 2026.
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