Storage Field Day – I will be attending SFD8!

SFD-Logo2-150x150Woohoo: I will be attending Storage Field Day 8! The 8th edition is held from October 20th till the 23rd in the same location as always: Silicon Valley, CA, (USA, Earth, etc). I’m very excited to return: Storage Field Day 7 was a big success and this time around it shouldn’t be any different. The line-up of presenting companies is impressive: I’ve met some of them at previous Storage Field Days and there’s a couple of new names that I’ve been really looking forward to meet.

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Speed up Isilon DR – SmartConnect zone alias

These Isilon nodes need a firmware upgrade!Isilon scale-out NAS systems lean heavily on DNS. DNS plays a vital role in the way the clients access the files on the Isilon cluster: clients are distributed across nodes and network interfaces based on what your DNS reports back to the clients. This is all done by the SmartConnect component in the Isilon which is configurable up to a certain extent. In this post I’ll explain what SmartConnect does and will also share a tip to speed up your Isilon DR procedure.

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VMAX Performance – Queue Depth Utilization Explained

Queue Utilization AlertRecently I’ve ran a project for a new EMC Symmetrix VMAX 10k installation. The install was a breeze and the migration of data to the system fairly straightforward. The customer saw some good performance improvements on the storage front and there is plenty of capacity in the system to cater for immediate growth. Yet when I opened the Unisphere for VMAX interface and browsed to the performance tab, my heart skipped a beat. What are those red queue depth utilization bars? We were seeing good response times, weren’t we? Were we at risk? How about scalability? Lets dig deeper and find out.

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vSphere Replication – Pros and Cons

vSphere Replication ArchitectureThe last couple of months I’ve been busy consolidating a couple of European data centers to one location in The Netherlands. Technically this meant we had to migrate a large number of virtual machines with as little downtime as possible across WAN links with varying speeds (30Mbit up to 500Mbit). There are a number of methods to go about this, but we chose to use the vSphere Replication infrastructure which is included in vSphere 5.x for free. Unfortunately there are a couple of downsides in the management interface which become a pain if you have to manage several hundred replications…

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Storage Field Day 7 – Maxta Hyper-Convergence

maxtaMaxta was the last presenter at Storage Field Day 7 and spoke about their hyper-convergence product. Hyper-Convergence… what’s that all about again? Simplicity mostly: combine your compute and storage in one single unit and manage it in a single integrated user interface. Maxta offers their product in two form factors: the software-only MxSP package, or the MaxDeploy appliance which is hardware and software combined and preconfigured.  Maxta also adds three additional key values to hyper-convergence: Choice, Scalability and Cost. The former two usually don’t spring to mind when you hear about hyper-convergence products: the simplicity you seek comes with a trade-off. Let’s dive in!

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Unisphere for VMAX – Alerting & Performance

Unisphere for VMAX dashboardSeveral weeks ago we performed a resiliency test on a VMAX10k that was about to be put into production. The customer wanted confirmation that the array was wired up properly and would respond correctly in case there were any issues like a power or disk failure.  This is fairly standard testing and makes sense: better to pull a power plug and see the array go down while there is no production running against it, right?

We pulled one power feed from each system bay and storage bay. Obviously: no problem for the VMAX, it dialed out, notified EMC it lost power on a couple of feeds and that’s it. Next up we yanked out a drive: I/O continued, the array dialed out to EMC that something was wrong with a drive, but… we didn’t see anything in Unisphere for VMAX!

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Storage Field Day 7 – File Transporter: public cloud ease with private cloud control

Connected Data explaining the public cloud economics and the financial squeeze on the current offerings.The Connected Data / File Transporter presentation kicked off with a rather interesting look at the cloud computing market of today, more specifically the economics of public cloud and the other drawbacks it has. Many of us have seen “the cloud” grow over the past years and still, the marketing behind it is aggressive. Most industry events are still fully focused on “moving to the cloud”: EMC World 2015 was all about the Enterprise Hybrid Cloud and how to move to it, companies I talk with still “want to move to the public cloud because unicorns” and if you open a random IT magazine you’ll see clouds every other page paragraph line.

Something I noticed the past couple of years is the big difference between the adoption of public cloud in the US versus Europe: I feel that the US is more eager to jump into a cloud than us Europeans. Sure, people use cloud services over here as well: I use Dropbox privately to share some files with friends and I also store some (garbage) emails at Gmail. Talk with a relatively small company and there’s a big chance they use some type of cloud service like Office365, just because the TCO of running that infrastructure for themselves doesn’t add up. But have that same conversation with a larger company and it’s a different story.

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Storage Field Day 7 – Exablox OneBlox: scale-out NAS for SME

Exablox logoExablox presented their OneBlox scale-out NAS system for small and mid-sized organizations at Storage Field Day 7. A typical customer might start with a moderate amount of data that doesn’t have too stringent performance requirements. In the next few years the customer performance requirements might double and the capacity requirements quadruple. Instead of having to buy a traditional array that would have to be sized for that 4x end-state performance and later adding extra disks for capacity, most customers would prefer to invest in small chunks and grow their system as and when it needs to. Lets see how Exablox’ OneBlox system will do this…

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Cisco Smart Zoning for NX-OS in the DCNM-SAN GUI

SmartZoning-BenefitCisco Smart Zoning greatly reduces the time needed to zone servers to storage on Cisco NX-OS SAN switches. Instead of creating numerous zones that contain one single initiator and one single target, you can now classify a WWN as initiator, target or both and throw them all into one single zone. The switch then figures out which devices should be allowed to talk with each other (based on the parameter you set for each WWN). Not only does this speed up the entire zoning process but it also helps keep the zoning interface uncluttered and minimize the risk for errors.  Let’s see how you can configure this in the DCNM-SAN GUI…

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Storage Field Day 7 – Catalogic ECX reducing copy data sprawl

Catalogic logoThe very first presentation at Storage Field Day 7 was held by Catalogic about their ECX copy data management platform that allows you to manage, orchestrate and analyze your different copies of data. Catalogic claims that you can save up to 39% on costs by reducing the amount of redundant copies of data in your IT infrastructure, while simultaneously also making sure your data is no longer at risk of being under protected. Let’s see how they do that…

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