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Category Archives: 2 Storage Management

IBM Storage and the Beauty and Benefits of VVol

Once more I’m pleased to offer a guest post from another highly valued partner of ours in the VVol space, and another design partner for Virtual Volumes: IBM.

Today’s post talks about some of the history of how IBM came to realize the promise of VVol, what problems we are all trying to fix, and how IBM helps deliver on the “beauty and benefits” of VVol based storage. Continue reading

Dive into EVO:RAIL at VMworld!

One of the advantages VMworld attendees have is to learn the latest tech trends and VMware product updates.

This includes learning more about VMware EVO:RAIL. At VMworld, you’ll gain knowledge on the business advantages EVO:RAIL can provide, how EVO:RAIL can transform how you consume, deploy, and manage your software defined data center, plus much more!

Take a look at what we have planned for this year’s show:

Key EVO:RAIL Sessions:

  • SDDC6252EVO:RAIL Business Advantage: How VMware’s EVO:RAIL Hyper-converged Appliance enables Just-in-time infrastructure for SDDC8/31 – 8:00 – 9:00am
    • Get an in-depth overview of how the EVO:RAIL Hyper-converged Appliance changes the purchasing and IT processes for building a Software Defined Data Center (SDDC), especially compared to a traditional hardware-based data center.
  • SDDC5749 – Overview of EVO:RAIL – The Radically Simple Hyper-Converged Alliance for your SDDC – 9/2 – 3:30 – 4:30pm
    • Learn VMware EVO:RAIL dramatically transforms how you consume, deploy, and manage your Software Defined Data Center.
  • SDDC4797 – EVO:RAIL 2.0 Deep Dive – 9/2 – 4:00-5:00pm
    • Mike Laverick and Dave Shanley of VMware explain EVO:RAIL’s core prerequisites, how EVO:RAIL works, and what the vSphere environment looks like once the EVO:RAIL Configuration engine has done its work.

#RT2Win Contest

Do you follow @vmwevorail on Twitter? If you want to participate in our #RT2Win contest, you should!

During the week of VMworld US, @vmwevorail will be pushing out tweets on the handle, with the #RT2Win hashtag.

To enter is simple – just retweet the tweets that contain the #RT2Win hashtag for your chance to win some great prizes, including gift cards and EVO:RAIL swag! Winners will be selected through a random drawing.

EVO:RAIL Challenge at VMworld

New this year is the EVO:RAIL Challenge at VMworld!

During the show, we invite attendees to visit the HCI Zone in the Solutions Exchange to compete against each other to configure and deploy VM’s in the fastest time.

Each participant in the EVO:RAIL Challenge at VMworld will receive a T-Shirt.

To keep the competition level high, the top time of the day on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday will receive an EVO:RAIL backpack, along with a Basis Peak wearable!

BLACK_FACING-e14120429273781

The top overall time throughout the whole conference will get the chance to compete for a pass to VMworld 2016!

The show is just under a week away and we can’t wait to see you all in San Francisco! Are you Ready For Any? The EVO:RAIL team certainly is. We’ll see you at VMworld.

For more updates around VMware EVO:RAIL, follow this blog and @vmwevorail on Twitter.

Explore VMware Virtual SAN and More at VMworld 2015

VMworld is quickly approaching, and this year’s agenda is packed with software-defined storage sessions, booth demos, and hands-on labs – from Virtual SAN to Virtual Volumes. Attend VMworld 2015 to learn how you can simplify your IT infrastructure and lower storage costs in the below sessions.

New & Noteworthy

Learn the latest VSAN technical trends, customer successes, and the future of virtualized storage at these must-see sessions.

STO5954-S Rethinking Enterprise Storage: The Rise Of Hyper-Converged Infrastructure
STO5333 Building a Stretched Cluster with Virtual SAN
STO5947 Virtual SAN Operations Management Using vRealize Operations
STO5883 Software Defined Storage: The next Evolution in Storage Architectures
STO4650-QT Five Common Customer Use Cases for Virtual SAN
STO6558-QT 10 Reasons Why VMware Virtual SAN Is the Best Hyperconverged Solution

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

The Collapse Of Storage

change_structureThe storage industry is undergoing rapid structural change that’s not been seen in decades.

My best soundbite is that storage is in the process of collapsing. Once a standalone topic, storage is clearly pulling away from our familiar model of external storage arrays, and disappearing into the fabric of servers and hypervisors.

While we all like to talk about disruptive industry changes, this one perhaps is the ultimate disruption: it impacts every aspect of storage: the core technology, the consumption model, the integration model as well as the operational model.

As a result, most everything we’ve come to know about storage changes going forward. For most people, what you think you know isn’t how it’s going to be before too long.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these “collapses” going on with storage today. Continue reading

Virtual Volumes: VM-centricity And Why Its Important

One of the key benefits of Virtual Volumes is the ability to control provisioning and data services at a VM-level. Why is VM-centricity so important and how does Virtual Volumes enable VMs to consume resources efficiently?

Essentially, with VM-centricity, Virtual Volumes eliminates a costly tradeoff that our customers have faced with traditional storage for many years. More specifically, as new applications are deployed, many of our customers have been required to either underprovision and fail to meet SLAs or overprovision and waste valuable resources (compute, storage, and network). Obviously, customers would choose to meet SLAs at the expense of overprovisioning and not consuming resources efficiently.

Continue reading

SDS – The Missing Link – Storage Automation for Application Service Catalogs

VMware-SDSAutomation technologies are a fundamental dependency to all aspects of the Software-Defined Data center. The use of automation technologies not only increases the overall productivity of the software-defined data center, but it can also accelerate the adoption of today’s modern operating models.

In recent years, a subset of the core pillars of the software-defined data center has experienced a great deal of improvements with the help of automation. The same can’t be said about storage. The lack management flexibility and capable automation frameworks have kept the storage infrastructures from delivering operational value and efficiencies similar to the ones available with the compute and network pillars.

VMware’s software-defined storage technologies and its storage policy-based management framework (SPBM) deliver the missing piece of the puzzle for storage infrastructure in the software-defined data center.

Continue reading

Virtual Volumes and the SDDC

I saw a question the other day that asked “Can someone explain what the big deal is about Virtual Volumes?” A fair question.

The shortest, easiest answer is that VVols offer per-VM management of storage that helps deliver a software defined datacenter.

That, however, is a pretty big statement that requires some unpacking. Rawlinson has done a great job of showcasing Virtual Volumes already, and has talked about how it simplifies storage management, puts the VMs in charge of their own storage, and gives us more fine-grained control over VM storage. I myself will also dive into some detail on the technical capabilities in the future, but first let’s take a broader look at why this really is an important shift in the way we do VM storage.

Continue reading

Virtual SAN Certification & VCG Update

The Virtual SAN product team is pleased to announce that last week we released new certified components (I/O controllers, SSDs and HDDs), new Ready Nodes and a new Hardware Quick Reference Guide for Virtual SAN 6.0 along with a new and improved VCG page.  Please see updated links below:

Updated Virtual SAN VCG

Updated Virtual SAN Hardware Quick Reference Guide

Updated Virtual SAN Ready Nodes

 

How many new components and Ready Nodes do we have listed for Virtual SAN 6.0?

We now have 26 I/O controllers, 170 SSDs and 125 HDDs (and counting) supported on Virtual SAN 6.0.   In addition to the Virtual SAN 5.5 Ready Nodes, we have 8 new Ready Nodes for Virtual SAN 6.0  (Cisco – 4 Hybrid, Dell – 1 Hybrid, Hitachi – 1 Hybrid, Super Micro – 1 All Flash & 1 Hybrid).

We expect this list to grow very quickly.  We have a number of components that are currently getting certified and we plan to add new certified devices and Ready Nodes to the VCG on a weekly basis.

 

How does the Virtual SAN Certification process work?

The VMware Virtual SAN team treats hardware certification very seriously.  I/O controllers play a very important part in determining the stability and performance of a Virtual SAN cluster and need to be able to withstand high I/O under stress conditions.

The I/O controllers are put through a rigorous I/O certification process while the HDD, SSD and Ready Nodes  are put through stringent paper qualifications.

We run a I/O controller card through a 3-week-long certification test plan (the certification is done by VMware or by the partner) that stress tests the card across many dimensions, particularly in high load and failure scenarios to ensure the card can withstand the level of I/O pushed down by Virtual SAN even in the most adverse situations (example: rebuilds and resyncs triggered due to host failures).

If there are issues identified, we work closely with our controller vendor/OEM partner to resolve them and re-run the entire test suite after resolution.  Sometimes an updated firmware or driver version addressing the issue is required from the vendors before we can proceed with more testing.

Only controllers that fully pass the test criteria laid out in the above process are listed on the Virtual SAN VCG.

 

Are separate I/O controller certifications required for different releases?

Yes, we require controllers to be recertified whenever any of the following change:

  • Virtual SAN Release version (eg: 5.5 to 6.0)
  • The controller driver version
  • The controller firmware version

We also certify the same controller separately for Virtual SAN All Flash vs Hybrid since the caching and I/O mechanism are different for these two configurations and we expect controllers to behave differently with varying levels of I/O.

 

What about certification of PCIe-SSD devices?

PCIe-SSDs are nothing but SSDs with an on-board I/O controller in a PCIe form factor.  Therefore, these require the same level of due diligence as required by standard I/O controllers.  As a result, we are putting these devices through the same level of rigorous certification as we do for I/O controllers.

VMware is working very closely with partners to certify the first set of PCIe-SSDs for Virtual SAN 6.0 over the coming weeks.

 

What are the new updates to the VCG page?

The Virtual SAN VCG page has been enhanced to allow users to easily build or choose their All Flash configurations in addition to Hybrid configurations.  Since All Flash Virtual SAN requires SSDs of different endurance and performance spec for caching and performance tiers (See Updated Virtual SAN Hardware Quick Reference Guide for details on specs), we have enhanced the VCG to help users easily pick SSDs for the tier they are interested in.

We have also introduced a new SSD filter called “Virtual SAN type” to help easily filter our All Flash vs Hybrid configurations.  Furthermore, we have added a filter called “Tier” to help you filter our Virtual SAN hybrid caching, Virtual SAN All Flash caching and Virtual SAN capacity caching tiers.

The endurance rating for SSDs are now displayed on the VCG in TBW (Terabytes written over 5 years) as opposed to DWPD (Drive Writes Per Day) which was used previously.

 

What are the controllers that are currently in the certification queue and when do we expect them to get certified?

Please see the attached list of controllers that are currently undergoing Virtual SAN certification

Note:  In many cases, we rely on our partners to provide driver/firmware fixes for controller issues so if there are delays in receiving these updates from partners, the certification timelines may get pushed out.

Having said that, we are making good progress on most of the controllers listed in the attached document and expect them to follow our standard certification process.

On a similar note, Ready Nodes  are primarily dependent on the controllers getting certified, so as you see new controllers on the VCG for 6.0 certified, Ready Nodes  including those controllers will follow.

Video: Virtual SAN From An Architect’s Perspective

Video: Virtual SAN From An Architect’s Perspective

Have you ever wanted a direct discussion with the people responsible for designing a product?

Recently, Stephen Foskett brought a cadre of technical bloggers to VMware as part of Storage Field Day 7 to discuss Virtual SAN in depth.  Christos Karamanolis (@XtosK), Principle Engineer and Chief Architect for our storage group went deep on VSAN: why it was created, its architectural principles, and why the design decisions were important to customers.

The result is two hours of lively technical discussion — the next best thing to being there.  What works about this session is that the attendees are not shy — they keep peppering Christos with probing questions, which he handles admirably.

The first video segment is from Alberto Farronato, explaining the broader VMware storage strategy.

The second video segment features Christos going long and deep on the thinking behind VSAN.

The third video segment is a run-over of the second.  Christos presents the filesystem implementations, and the implications for snaps and general performance.

Our big thanks to Stephen Foskett for making this event possible, and EMC for sponsoring our session.