So I managed to get myself some DELL R320 servers for the lab. Great servers, love that R3x0 series, they fit my needs perfectly. In previous R3xx series and vSphere versions using the “thick” vSphere client you could just monitor the storage (PERC H710 mini) and other hardware so that you could easily find out if your server needs maintenance.
On February 10, 2016, VMware announced VSAN v6.2. This is the forth generation of its flagship software-defined storage (SDS) product to be released. At the time of the release, VMware announced that it has more than 3,000 customers running the products; that is quite a number.
Now, to me, it is a misnomer for this to have been given a minor release notation, as there are a slew of new features, some of which are more than worthy of a major release cycle. I will examine the major ones in this article.
Today, Atlantis Computing moves into the hardware market with a new hyperconverged solution, HyperScale. HyperScale is based on the company’s flagship product, USX. Technically, this solution is not a revolution, but it is an evolution on Atlantis Computing’s part. This is the first time it has delivered an end-to-end bespoke solution that tightly couples certified hardware with its flagship USX product. More to the point, unlike most new entrants into this space, Atlantis has entered straight in with a full product set, multiple-hypervisor support, and three OEM deals. This is in addition to its own Supermicro-based in-house appliance. What’s more, HyperScale has a starting price that does not set your teeth on edge.
On April 1st I tweeted that
VSAN Makes configuring your ESXi storage so easy, I only wish iSCSI was so simple, (controller issues not withstanding)
— Tom Howarth (@tom_howarth) April 1, 2015
And I still stand by this remark. Building and configuring a New VSAN is simple, even if you have to spend most of the morning in 4 machines LSI Bios configuring several single disk RAID0 groups and associated vDisks and then manually marking your SSD as such in ESXCLI. Continue reading “VSAN is Great, but their Licensing Sucks”
Infinio is a Boston-based company that has a very interesting play on flash acceleration. Having recently sat through a briefing with its representatives, I can say that Infinio’s vision and future are bright.
Why am I saying this? I have got to admit that with this company, I have been laboring under a misconception. I had thought that it was just another flash acceleration company. I mean, it handles read acceleration of vSphere-presented storage, doesn’t it? Well, yes it does, and like all the flash acceleration–based companies, Infinio handles it well.
In a play on the old saying “the king is dead; long live the king!” this post will opine about the current resurgence of locally attached storage in the data center.
Before the emergence of virtualization, as some of you might remember, came the physical server. Yes, folks, we really did have a single machine running a single OS, and we really did have that machine running multiple applications or services. AD with DNS? DHCP and WINS? Not a problem. Also, while you are at it, put certificate management and dogfood on there too. Yep, why not?
Once virtualization started to spread though the computer room—yes it was a computer room—and processor capabilities caught up with the technology, our choke point moved to disk. DAS-based disk just did not allow the sexy stuff like vMotion. Also, the possibility of losing all our machines upon the failure of a single host was, quite rightly, a step too far. Anybody remember the “eggs in one basket” arguments? So, we started the massive move to SAN/NAS-based storage, which has arguably made many a company rich. In fact, this move made EMC buy VMware outright.
Most will know Atlantis from the days of ILIO Persistent VDI and ILIO Diskless VDI. I would expect that most even consider it a niche product with the single goal of accelerating desktops. I have to admit, I was shocked to find that this is no longer the case. It is well known that I have been quite vocal in my thoughts about this company. People I know and trust have had bad things to say about its performance and stability. Admittedly, this is hearsay and also very old knowledge. But mud sticks. I also have to say I have undergone a road to Damascus moment regarding this company and its products. They have obviously improved on stability; further, the performance and functionality have gone stellar.
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What is it about the tech world that always seems to put us at each others’ throats? FUD is thrown around like candy from a broken piñata. Notable oppositions that come to mind are EMC vs. NetApp, block vs. file, diversity vs. simplicity, an so on. Currently, we have the software-defined networking (SDN) wars: hyper-converged vs. all-flash arrays (AFA). This was going to be a rant post, but Chad Sakac does that so much better than me. If you have a spare hour or so, have a read of his latest post; it makes for very good reading, and considering his role in the hierarchy of EMC, it is remarkably unbiased.
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The rise of server-based flash caching and other technologies like local performant storage pools, whether virtual storage appliances like the HP StoreVirtual VSA or VMware’s VSAN, marks a possible return to the days of the pizza box server in data centers across the world.
The pizza box server is a 1U unit that was the dominant server type before the rise of the blade format in the early nineties. Two of the drawbacks that caused its original demise were its lack of local storage capacity and its format. Then, the rise of the blade format, with the HP c7000 chassis being 10U in size and supporting sixteen half-height blades, saw an increase in density that allowed sixteen servers to serve resources in a space that previously only allowed ten. The blade format had other benefits as well, especially with the introduction of 10GbE and converged networking. Now a chassis could be serviced from just two 10GbE connections to the switching infrastructure. Taking into account remote management of the guests and chassis, an additional two Ethernet cables were required for iLO management. All are telling use cases for the blade format.
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SDN is getting a lot of hype at the moment. Coupled with its kissing cousin, network virtualization, it is all the buzz. So what exactly is it? At its most basic level, SDN is an approach to networking in which the control plane is decoupled from hardware and given over to a software controller.
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