Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Networking: the backbone of VMware Virtual SAN STO4474

Just to let everyone know, my friend Bhumik Patel (@bhumikp) from VMware, and I are doing a session thursday afternoon on networking with vSAN. Details below:

The popularity of Virtual SAN is growing daily. Server admins are finally free to aggregate storage in their servers to create a shared storage system that scales with their compute needs. The underlying key to making it all work is networking. All Virtual SAN data flows through it, and correct selection and configuration of networking components will mean the difference between disruptive success or dramatic failure.
This session will give deep insight in the do's and don'ts of Virtual SAN networking. Best practices for physical and virtual switch configuration and performance testing will be discussed. Virtual SAN 5.5 and 6.0 will be covered, and the networking differences discussed. Methods of troubleshooting network issues will be covered. For those configuring a Virtual SAN network for the first time, for labs or enterprise scale, this session is a must-see.
Additional Information
Breakout Session
1 hour
Software-Defined Data Center
Software-Defined Storage and Business Continuity
Advanced Technical
Virtual SAN
IT - Network, IT – Operations, IT – Server Storage

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Two primary strengnths of Datrium DVX

   Having something of a background in Sales as a Systems Engineer for VMware, and prior to that at Digital Equipment Corp (DEC as it was known to it's friends), when I evaluate a new product like Datrium DVX, I try to find the primary strengths that make it better than it's competition. Sometimes, with some products, there is nothing to find: many products are just also-rans that don't compete at all. The companies want to compete on a "me, too" basis.
   Datrium is _not_ one of those also-rans. They have devised a system that provides real value over the competition, in the following ways:

Feature #1: Processing where processing is needed. 

   Datrium DVX uses the local server to do it's own storage processing, distributing the processing away from the centralized storage. Unlike a SAN device, or a centralized NFS server, the de-duplication, compression, etc. all go on at the server level. That way VMs on one server don't need to wait while VMs on another server have their storage processing done.

   It only makes sense, right? I mean, imagine if every burger at McDonalds had to have it's sales transaction completed at a centralized server at McHQ. Processing "at the edge" lets you conduct your transaction at the local McDonalds and go one with your lunch.

  This is exactly what people like Cisco's new CEO are talking about; processing at the edge where it's needed.

Feature #2: No need for specialists

   Since the storage doesn't present LUNs or other storage abstractions that need to be (micro)managed, you don't need a storage specialist. As one of my friends, a storage specialist, recently said of the DVX system, "“Proprietary protocol”  scares me as an admin". He can't manage it, so he can't do anything with it. He may or may not realize it, but he doesn't need to do anything with it; no need for specialists means no time spent managing storage. Storage without the storage management time.

It just works. Like all the best solutions do.