Dell EMC World 2017 recap: “Cloud is not a place; it’s a way of doing IT” and “AI is here to stay”

DellEMCWorld 2017 logoThis is a long overdue post covering Dell EMC World 2017 in Las Vegas and the announcements that were made during the event. I’ll recap some of the topics that resonated most with me, namely that cloud computing is not a place but a way of doing IT. Secondly, I spoke briefly with some of the Dell EMC server guys whom give me hope that the Dell 14th generation servers are a big step up from previous experiences. Finally, I’ll share a bit of insight in what the Dell EMC Elect picked up during an interview with John Roese, and will link to a few posts from friends that attended Dell EMC World 2017. Maybe it’s a bit more of a “Dear diary,”-style post, so hang in there.

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Excelero NVMesh: lightning fast software-defined storage using commodity servers & NVMe drives

Excelero NVMesh logoExcelero Storage launched their NVMesh product back in March 2017 at Storage Field Day 12. NVMesh is a software defined storage solution using commodity servers and NVMe devices. Using NVMesh and the Excelero RDDA protocol, we saw some mind blowing performance numbers, both in raw IOps and in latency, while keeping hardware and licensing costs low.

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VNX Unified standby data mover interface suspended after Cisco NX-OS upgrade

We’re in the midst of a VCE vBlock 340 software upgrade. Part of this upgrade process is upgrading the Cisco Nexus 5K switches that connect the blades and storage to the customer network. After upgrading the switch we suddenly noticed on the switch that the VNX Unified standby data mover (server_3) interface suspended with a “no LACP PDUs” error message. A quick check on the switch that wasn’t upgraded yet showed that interface to be online. So what’s up with that?

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VNX Unified upgrade – Where’s that .upg package?

VNX OE for File .upg package selectionA VNX Unified upgrade is fairly easy: Unisphere Service Manager (USM) does most of the heavy lifting. A Block only system is the simplest of all: you upload a .ndu software package to the system and wait for the update to complete.

A Unified system is a combined package of a VNX Block system, and a File component consisting of one or two Control Stations and at least 2 datamover blades. In a VNX Unified upgrade, you first need to upgrade the File part of the system and afterwards the Block part. For the File upgrade, you need to select an .upg package. But… you can’t download this from the EMC/VCE website. Now what?

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RecoverPoint password incorrect – How to unlock an account

RecoverPoint password incorrect error displayIf you try to log in to RecoverPoint, you could be greeted with an error that tells you your username or password are incorrect. If you’re absolutely sure you’re entering the correct password, it could be that your account is locked instead. Read along for instructions to reset either your RecoverPoint password, or how to unlock the account.

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Workforce Transformation at Dell EMC World 2017

DellEMCWorld 2017 logoOn the first day of Dell EMC World 2017 in Las Vegas a few important announcements were made. It covered both product announcements and other industry developments. I’ll try to cover a few that stood out to me, and how they will impact the people that run the IT infrastructure. This workforce transformation as Dell EMC calls it, might be more challenging than simply making a system a bit faster with flash.

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Moving to and between clouds made simple with Elastifile Cloud File System

Elastifile CloudMoving your data and applications to the cloud isn’t the easiest of tasks, if you want to do it right. There’s a multitude of decisions to make. Some you’ll get wrong, which might make you reconsider your cloud operating model or cloud provider. Which brings the next question: are you locked-in at your cloud provider? Can you move your data between clouds?

One start-up that attempts to make the move to the cloud and moving between clouds easier, is Elastifile. An Israeli company, founded in 2013 with its first version of the product out in Q4-2016, it created the Elastifile Cross-Cloud Data Fabric. Their objective: bring cloud-like efficiency to the on-premises cloud, and facilitate a easy lift-and-shift into the hybrid cloud.

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SNIA: Avoiding tail latency by failing IO operations on purpose

SNIA logoConsistency and predictability matter. You expect Google to answer your search query within a second. If it takes two seconds, that is slow but ok. Much longer and you will probably hit refresh because ‘it’s broken and maybe that will fix it’.

There are many examples that could substitute the scenario above. Starting a Netflix movie, refreshing your Facebook timeline, or powering on an Azure VM. Or in your business: retrieving an MRI scan or patient data, compiling a 3D model, or listing all POs from last month.

Ensuring your service can meet this demand of predictability and consistency requires a multifaceted approach, both in hardware and procedures. You can have a modern hypervisor environment with fast hardware, but if you allow a substantially lower spec system in the cluster, performance will not be consistent. What happens when a virtual machine moves to the lower spec system and suddenly takes longer to finish a query?

Similarly, in storage, tiering across different disk types helps improve TCO. However, what happens when data trickles down to the slowest tier? Achieving that lower TCO comes with the tradeoff of less latency predictability.

These challenges are not new. If they impact user experience too much, you can usually work around them. For example, ensure your data is moved to a faster tier in time. If you have a lot of budget, maybe forgo the slowest & cheapest NL-SAS tier and stick to SAS & SSD. But what if the source of the latency inconsistency is something internal to a component, like a drive?

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Intel SPDK and NVMe-oF will accelerate NVMe adoption rates

Intel logoOnce upon a time there was a data center filled with racks of physical servers. Thanks to hypervisors such as VMware ESX it was possible to virtualize these systems and run them as virtual machines, using less hardware. This had a lot of advantages in terms of compute efficiency, ease of management and deployment/DR agility.

To enable many of the hypervisor features such as VMotion, HA and DRS, the data of the virtual machine had to be located on a shared storage system. This had an extra benefit: it’s easier to hand out pieces of a big pool of shared storage, than to predict capacity requirements for 100’s of individual servers. Some servers might need a lot of capacity (file servers), some might need just enough for an OS and maybe a web server application. This meant that the move to centralized storage was also beneficial from a capacity allocation perspective.

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