Last week I’ve attended Dell Technologies World 2018 in Las Vegas. I was invited by Dell Technologies via the influencer program, which basically means we get access to the same content as the press or analysts. I’ve spent the weeks alternating between general keynotes, briefings, interviews and catching up with friends and colleagues. In this post I’ll try and summarize some of the main topics of the Dell Technologies World 2018, focusing on what appealed most to me.
Troubleshooting any system requires information about the configuration of the system and how it’s behaving over time. Unsurprisingly, this is also valid when you’re troubleshooting performance on a Dell EMC VNX. So help your storage engineer, and enable performance data logging on the VNX!
This 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.
Excelero 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.
A 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?
Moving 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.
Consistency 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?
I’m excited to announce I’ll be attending Storage Field Day 12! During the event we’ll talk storage technology for three days, starting on March 8th. There’s an impressive line-up of companies and delegates gathering in Silicon Valley and of course we’ll live stream the presentations for the folks back home, who can pitch in over Twitter. Did I mention the line-up of companies already? Oh boy!
There’s no denying that off-premises cloud services are growing. Just look at the year-to-year growth of big public cloud providers. There’s big potential if you focus on two aspects of cloud. The first is speeding up access to data that is potentially not located in the same city or even geographic area. The second is supporting new protocols and storage methodologies that are suited for cloud native applications. One player in this area of IT is Avere, which aims to connect on-premises storage and compute to their siblings in the cloud.
When the news about the Dell and EMC merger became public last year, I was somewhat skeptical. I’ve had some really sketchy experiences with Dell servers and storage products, so it didn’t feel like a step forward. At the same time there was the organizational and support aspect. Mergers usually result in confusion for both sales processes and us people in the field having to glue all the products together. Not something I was looking forward to.
Lo and behold: I got an invite from the EMC Elect program to attend DellEMCWorld in Austin, Texas! This was my chance to fly over there and experience the merger announcements firsthand, plus ask questions. So I did! And I have to say: I was impressed.