Archive for the ‘Storage’ Category

Honored to be part of a Cisco’s “Engineers Unplugged” session

While visiting Cisco Live in Milan this week, I was honored to present at the Cisco’s “Engineers Unplugged” show. Together with my Italian college and personal friend Fabio Chiodini we drew up a relatively new architecture for shared storage.

In this session we showed how you can basically use servers with local storage attached to deliver shared storage out of a software layer.

There are many products out there today that use this storage architecture. During Engineers Unplugged we only described the architecture and didn’t really go into specific products.

This new approach of delivering shared storage purely out of software is some of the new magic that we are starting to see out there. As the trademark of Engineers Unplugged seems to be drawing unicorns, we decided to include a unicorn right into the presentation:

Been practising on the Unicorn - Could have been greater, but ey!

Been practising on the Unicorn – Could have been greater, but ey!



“From hippo to Unicorn… It is easily done in software!”

@Lauren: We beat you to it this time 🙂 Shared storage out of software is so much magic we felt the unicorn should Read the rest of this entry »

Software-defined Storage = Virtualized Storage = vSAN?

I recently get more and more into discussions around Software-defined storage and storage virtualization. Is it the same, is it partly the same, is it something totally different? In this blog post I’ll try to shed some light on the technologies of today around these buzzwords and try to make some sense at the same time.

What we used to call virtualizing storage

Before we launched the idea of the Software-defined Datacenter (SDDC) and Software-defined Storage (SDS), we were already putting hardware between storage and hosts creating an abstraction layer between the two. Good examples of this technologies are IBM’s SVC and EMC’s VPLEX.

A good example of abstraction of storage from the underlying hardware - VPLEX in a metro configuration abstracting the underlying storage to add value of stretching a LUN across phyisical locations

A good example of abstraction of storage from the underlying hardware – VPLEX in a metro configuration abstracting the underlying storage to add value of stretching a LUN across phyisical locations



These technologies look south for their storage requirements, abstract this storage and Read the rest of this entry »

Software-defined Storage: Fairy tale or Reality?

Nowadays the air is filled with the Software-defined Datacenter or SDDC for short. The idea behind this is awesome: As soon as we are able to define and manage compute, storage and networking using software only, we can define, build, scale and destroy virtual datacenters at the press of a button. On top, there’s a web portal. Underneath, there is just a generic x86 hardware platform.

Software-defined Storage

Software-defined compute is something that has been going on for years already. Most vendors that sell hypervisors, especially VMware have a lot of work into the software-defined pillar that is called “compute”.

But when we look at the storage component of the Software-defined Datacenter (often called SDS or Software-defined Storage), things aren’t as advanced as in the compute pillar. Or are they? Read the rest of this entry »

vSphere 5.1 and VMs Inaccessible After NAS downtime

Tonight my home-built Nexenta-VM decided to reboot itself during my nightly backup cycle. Not too nice, but it recovered without too much hassle by itself. Even though the NFS shares were available again, my vSphere 5.1 environment now has a pretty large number of VMs that have become grayed out (Inaccessible), even though they are still accessible on the NAS shares. Easily solved, if you know how…

What it looks like

We start with an email I found in my Inbox, stating that my Nexenta-VM had a problem and was rebooted at 1:26AM. After the reboot all the shares became available again, but my vSphere environment was left in a mess: Read the rest of this entry »

Whiteboxing part 3: Choosing storage for your homelab

After a long time I want to continue my series on building out your own home lab. Up next: Storage. What to choose, how to build it? I will be focussing on building out shared storage in this blog post. Yes you could use local disks just fine without sharing them outside that one box, but that is not where the hard choices lie. Once you decide you want shared storage, the questions start to pop up and decisions have to be made.

Different approaches to storage in your home lab

Before you start buying disks or SSDs, first things first. To begin with it is very important to make some base decisions. Some the most important Read the rest of this entry »

My Dutch VMUG 2012 presentation: Software Defines Virtually Everything – Storage

Last week I did a presentation at the Dutch VMUG event around SDDC with a techical focus on the storage bits and pieces you could build inside the hypervisor to accomodate this. I want to share this presentation with you together with a little background on the subject.

Software Defines Virtually Everything

VMware has taken a big step towards the Software Defined Datacenter (SDDC). This is where things are going for sure (also see my related post Cool Tech Preview: VMware’s distributed storage). The idea is that since “everything” runs on x86 anyway, you can potentially run all code on a common platform. From that view, everything will run in software. Read the rest of this entry »

VMware Data Protection 5.1 reviewed

People who have been using VMware Data Recovery quickly discovered that this product had issues. VMware’s take on Data Recovery was that they wanted to have a backup product for the smaller shops with a short time-to-market. Too bad it was this product that drove a lot of users to Veeam or PHDvirtual because of its many problems. In secrecy VMware started working together with EMC’s BRS division to build a brand new backup product leveraging EMC’s Avamar technology under the codename “Project Toystory”. This product has seen the light of day as “vSphere Data Protection 5.1” or vDP for short. In this post I will be looking into vDP version 5.1, which is actually the initial release.

Introduction to vSphere Data Protection 5.1

This is the first release of vDP, so actually a 1.0 version. I will not be expecting a fully feature-rich product, but one that actually WORKS would be nice. After all, it is a “free” product Read the rest of this entry »

Cool Tech Preview: VMware’s distributed storage

Looking through VMware’s newly announced things at VMworld 2012, the one thing that stood out for me was vSAN or (vCloud) Distributed Storage technology. From what I’ve seen at VMworld sessions, the vSAN technology creates a “distributed storage layer” across ESX nodes in a cluster – yes, up to 32 of them. Disclaimer: Even though I work for EMC, I have NO further insite into this development, nor do I blog for EMC. These are my own thoughts and ideas.

Just a VSA on steroids or way more?

So what is this distributed storage technology? At the first glance, it would appear to be something much like the VSA, but its implementation would be more comparable to Read the rest of this entry »

Enhanced vMotion: Killer feature or just a tick in the box?

At VMworld 2012 vSphere 5.1 was introduced. One of the features is “Enhanced vMotion”. Using Enhanced vMotion you can migrate between “shared nothing” hosts. Yes, you can now migrate live between local storage and shared storage as VMware has combined the storage vMotion and vMotion all-in-one. Cool new feature that can’t be missed, or just another tick in the box to keep up with Hyper-V in the announced Microsoft 2012 server?

Enhancements on vMotion called “Enhanced vMotion”

What a catchy name! 😉 So what does it do? Well, for one it allows you to Read the rest of this entry »

VMworld 2012 Storage Nerdvana: vVols, vSAN and vFlash

Announced this year at VMworld 2012 (Watch the Monday general session from 51:26) were several cool technologies coming from VMware in the near future that focus on storage, or rather vStorage: Virtual Volumes (vVols), Virtual SAN (vSAN) and Virtual Flash (vFlash?). So what is this all about, and where is it going?

Virtual Volumes or vVols

How SAN and NAS systems work today, is something that they have been doing for years: Take a bunch of disks, stripe data across Read the rest of this entry »

Soon to come
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