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What Really Matters With Hyperconverged?

WhatI have now been on a steady diet of hyperconverged customer conversations for the last six months. That's my nature -- I learn about something by talking to the people who are actually doing it ...

With all due respect to industry analysts, I’ve now been able to create a fairly accurate model of what most people are looking for — and it’s not exactly the picture that the analysts are painting.

Sampling bias aside, I’m finding that the more I talk to people, the more the observed customer shopping lists tend to converge into a very short, understandable agenda.

Keep in mind, the hyperconverged segment is moving fast, with many players and interesting choices. What was new and innovative a few years ago is simply table stakes today.

There’s now been enough real-world experiences that there are more than a few fully-informed buyers out there.  And they certainly have strong opinions! Continue reading

Software-Defined Storage in OpenStack

openstack-sds-sessionIt's time expand and showcase the strength of software-defined storage at the upcoming OpenStack Summit. Take a look at the abstract of the session I'm scheduled to participate as a speaker and lets' get that bad boy vote in and into the schedule.

Getting the Bang for your Buck with Software-Defined Storage in OpenStack

OpenStack has become the standard infrastructure consumption layer for a variety of applications. These applications have different storage requirements and being able to provide a storage solution that matches these requirements is critical to ensure the adoption of OpenStack as the cloud platform of choice across a wide array of applications.

It is also important that enterprises that have made significant investments in storage gear are able to leverage those investments for their OpenStack deployments, while still having the choice of integrating newer storage technologies such as hyper-converged storage as they progress forward in their OpenStack journey.

This session will highlight how software-defined storage can enable enterprises to leverage their existing storage investments in building their OpenStack clouds and allow them to add newer technologies such as Virtual SAN as they go forward. The session will include

  • How to use policy driven storage to mix and match traditional SAN and newer hyper-converged storage for providing storage with different SLAs
  • Simplifying management and operation of a storage solution for OpenStack instances and volumes
  • Demo of a vSphere based software defined storage solution providing multi tier storage (SAN, Virtual SAN, NFS, etc) for OpenStack workloads.

Take a minute and please vote.

VOTE! for session here: Getting the Bang for your buck with Software-Defined Storage in OpenStack

- Enjoy

For future updates on Virtual SAN (VSAN), vSphere Virtual Volumes (VVol) and other Storage and Availability technologies, as well as vSphere Integrated OpenStack (VIO), and Cloud-Native Apps (CNA) be sure to follow me on Twitter: @PunchingClouds

New VMware Virtual SAN Assessment Tool

vsan-assessment0logo2The VMware Virtual SAN Assessment Tool is now generally available!!!!

The Virtual SAN Assessment Tool is a usability and manageability tool that is available to the public free of charge. VMware is providing access to this solution using a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model that is accessible for any new or existing customers interested in Virtual SAN. The tool is designed to provide customers a simple one-stop shop solution for all things related to the assessments of Virtual SAN.

The Virtual SAN Assessment Tool is based on two components, and together they provide data collection and presentation in the form metrics visualization.

  • Virtual SAN Assessment Tool Portal - is a public web application that receives the I/O traces from customers infrastructures and presents the detailed results. It also provides the ability to export the results onto different document types excel, powerpoint, etc.
  • Virtual SAN Assessment Tool Collector - is a virtual appliance (OVF file) deployed in customer environment that collects data and sends it to the portal. The appliance is configured with 4 vCPUs / 8 gb ram / 200 gb disk space, and it introduces a low of overhead while collecting data.


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Are You a Storage Expert? Prove It. Enter the Virtual SAN Challenge!

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Think you know all there is about hyperconverged storage? Put your knowledge to the test and visit the Virtual SAN Challenge for a chance to win a GoPro Hero4 video cam!

We’re kicking off the Challenge today and are offering you three chances to win:

Quiz 1: July 21 – Aug 03

Quiz 2: Aug 04 – Aug 16

Quiz 3: Aug 17 – Aug 28

Ready to get started? Here’s what you need to know:

  • Visit our study page and improve your chances to ace the test on your first go. You only have one chance to ace each quiz so be sure to study up!
  • If you get stuck, don’t panic – we’ll provide you with helpful hints along the way.
  • No time? No problem. Each quiz is only 6 questions, so you can take it on your coffee break!

Now that you’re armed with everything you need to prove your storage mastery, click here to join the Virtual SAN Challenge - your GoPro Hero4 could be just a few clicks away!

We’ll announce winners across our social channels at the end of each challenge, so be sure to follow @VMwareVSAN on Twitter or ‘like’ us on Facebook to see if you’ve won. Good luck!

For more information about Virtual SAN, visit vmware.com/products/virtual-san, and keep an eye on the blog for upcoming tips and best practices for using Virtual SAN.

Virtual Blocks Blog Recap: Top Posts from June


Every month, we compile a list of the top Virtual Blocks posts from the previous month for you to enjoy.

Here are the top Virtual Blocks posts from June:

Helping IT Professionals Make Informed Choices Around Storage
The Virtual Blocks blog brings you up to speed on some recent discussion on how VMware Virtual SAN stacks up in some head-to-head performance tests.

Oracle on Virtual SAN 6
Chuck Hollis talks about Oracle RAC and its ability to scale linearly as more instances were added.

10 Things You Need to Know About VSAN
VMware Virtual SAN fundamentally changes the way vSphere admins do storage. While there are several items of great material, this blog post covers the bare essentials for busy IT professionals.

The Collapse of Storage
The storage industry is undergoing rapid structural change that has not been seen in decades. Going forward, everything we’ve come to know about storage will be changing. Chuck Hollis takes a closer look at what this means.

VSAN in 3 Minutes YouTube Series
Sometimes, there is never enough time in the day to sit and learn something new. To make things easier, we’ve started a new video series, “VSAN in 3 Minutes”. Quick, bite-sized and digestible videos to get you going in the right direction.

Be sure to subscribe to the Virtual Blocks blog, or follow our social channels at @vmwarevsan and Facebook.com/vmwarevsan for the latest updates.

For more information about VMware Virtual SAN, visit http://www.vmware.com/products/virtualsan.

3 Things You Should Know about VMware Virtual SAN

How much do you know about Software-Defined Storage and Hyper-converged Infrastructure? Are you interested in hearing about specific use cases, performance data and how your peers are deploying it?

In our upcoming webcast, you’ll learn from Jase McCarty, Senior Technical Marketing Manager of VMware Storage and Availability, who will share how VMware Virtual SAN is leading the charge in Software-Defined Storage and making the jobs of IT managers easier, while saving money.

Registration is now open for this webcast that you won’t want to miss! Sign up and mark your calendar for Tuesday, July 30, 2015 at 11 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET.

The webcast will cover:

  • Why Virtual SAN is the platform of choice for running your business critical apps in your vSphere environment.
  • How Virtual SAN provides high, predictable performance that can tailor to your application needs.
  • Why and how customers like Union Hospital and Adobe are using Virtual SAN for their tier-1 applications.

Don’t miss the webcast! Register today.

Share Your Virtual SAN Story and Win a Pass to VMworld!

Radically simple storage.

Elastic scalability.

High performance.

Budget-friendly scaling.

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You’ve heard what VSAN has to offer. Now, we want to hear what you have done with VSAN!

Businesses and organizations like Indonesian CloudOregon State University - School of BusinessPeter Cremer and several others use VSAN for a variety of use cases and applications. Here’s your chance to tell us your story - what have you accomplished with VSAN, and how has it changed your approach to storage?

Every valid submission will be entered into a random drawing for a pass to VMworld 2015 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California! [The fine print: 10 passes will be awarded, does not include travel, hotel and additional expenses. You must be a valid customer of VMware Virtual SAN to be eligible.]

Winners will be announced August 15th, so submit your story today!

Fill out the form here.

For the latest updates, be sure to subscribe to the Virtual Blocks blog, or follow our social channels at @vmwarevsan and Facebook.com/vmwarevsan.

For more information about VMware Virtual SAN, visit http://www.vmware.com/products/virtual-san/.

VMware and the Future of Storage and Availability

From the early days of VMware, it became clear that dealing with storage in efficient and scalable ways were key requirements for the success of virtualization in enterprise environments. Indeed, the storage stack of ESXi, including VMFS, played a key role in the proliferation of virtualization in data centers, where data is stored and managed by high-end disk arrays. Based on those foundations of storage virtualization, over the years, VMware introduced a range of availability and data management solutions ranging from HA, DRS and FT to Disaster Recovery and Data Protection. Moreover, VMware encouraged and supported a vast ecosystem of partners who innovated on the vSphere platform. See for example, the VADP ecosystem and more recently Virtual Volumes  and VAIO I/O Filters.

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VSAN vs. Nutanix — Head-to-Head Performance Testing — Part 4 — Exchange!

stopwatchFor those of you have been following this thread for a while, you know we’re in the midst of head-to-head performance testing on two identical clusters: one running VSAN, the other running Nutanix.  Recently, we’ve updated the Nutanix cluster to vSphere 6 and 4.1.3 — however, no differences have been observed performance since the change.

Up to now, we’ve only been able to share our VSAN results.  That's because Nutanix recently changed their EULA to prohibit any publishing of any testing by anyone.  It's very hard to find any sort of reasonable Nutanix performance information as a result.   That's unfortunate.

By comparison, VMware not only regularly publishes the results of our own tests, but also frequently approves such publication by others, once we’ve had a chance to review the methodology -- simply by submitting to benchmarks@vmware.com.

Since the results are so interesting, we're continuing to test!

As we start to move from synthetic workloads to specific application workloads, we recently finished a series of head-to-head Jetstress testing against our two identical clusters.  Previous results can be found here and here.

If you’re not familiar, Jetstress is a popular Microsoft tool for testing the storage performance of Exchange clusters. A busy Exchange environment can present a demanding IO profile to a storage subsystem, so it’s an important tool in the testing arsenal.

TL:DR our basic 4-node VSAN configuration passed 1000 heavy Exchange users with flying colors — and with ample performance to spare.  We can’t share with you how the identical Nutanix cluster did, but it’s certainly a worthwhile test if you have the time and inclinations.

That being said, there were no surprises — each product performed (or didn't perform) as we would expect based on both prior testing as well as customer anecdotes.

Now, on to the details!

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United Utilities and a "VSAN First" Policy

united_utilitiesDuncan Epping brings us a great VSAN story today -- a very early VSAN adopter who now is intent on replacing as much of their existing storage environment as possible with VSAN.

For United Utilities, it's a perfect storm of lower cost, amazing performance and a simplified operational model.  All future storage requirements are going on VSAN unless there's a really good reason not to.

But it's not as easy as it sounds, as there are predictable organizational issues at hand :)

A great read!