Beer, Tech and did I mention beer?

My good friend Enrico Signoretti organizes a great event named TechUnplugged. We started a couple of months ago in London and for those who want to know what was presented during the event, here is a link to the videos and the website: Video link and Website Link (and for those interested in the presentations in PDF format click here).

But as the title of the post suggests this post is mainly on BEER! and that’s because although it’s great to be informed and learn from some great people in the industry, it is also great to get to have a more informal meeting with each other. The evening before the event there will be a storagebeers in the Beer temple in Amsterdam!

Make sure you’ll join us and RSVP here!!!!

A big thanks to one of the sponsors of the event (which will be a day later) Tegile, who will pay the first two rounds!!!!

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Rubrik: Change in the Backup world

Schermafbeelding 2015-04-18 om 12.18.50

Last week I had a great conversation with Bipul Sinha, Mike Tornincasa and Julia Lee about their new adventure: Rubrik. The conversation focussed on the new technology that Rubrik brings in an old fashioned site of the IT infrastructure, the backup (and recovery) site.

As not all of you might know, Bipul is a very well known gentleman in the startup world. In his former/present life (sorry, I meant career) he was a well known VC with a lot of great companies he helped to set up. Companies like Nutanix, PernixData and others are started in the last couple of years and really changed the IT landscape. This looks like a strange move, going from VC to CEO of a Startup in a segment that’s not that well known for it’s capability to change…

But as with most of the startups, changing perspective and making sure a customer gets, what a customer needs, is not easy and in need of a person like Bipul to guide one in the right direction. Providing a game changing solution that will help the business move to a better performing, easy to scale and easy to manage environment is key here. Companies are challenged with so many changes these days and so many marketing shit like Software Defined everything, cloud, webscale IT and so on, while struggling maintaining their environments, most of them just want a way to make things better. Bipul and his team have seen (and provided) the change needed for better scale, easier management and moving to the next level of infrastructure.

Making sure your data is save, whereever it resides, is a important to every company. And most backup vendors have some kind of backup tool, but most of the time it is a solution for one silo in the backup environment. Focussed on virtualization, some on tape, some on cloud, and so on. But it always seems to be one of these and they always seem to need resources (CPU/Mem/Storage) from your excisting environment to backup your environment. Off course, there are backup solutions that brings their own hardware, but it’s always for a certain use case, and to make sure your data is save in the changing IT world of today requires something new.

An administrator is a human (really ;P) just like you. And as a human being they like simplicity and efficiency just like us. When the first mobile phones came to market, most people were amazed by the possibilities that came with this. When the Iphone came and changed the way mobile apps were being used, making it that easy to install and use the applications, people were even more amazed. Now almost a decade later we’re all used to that kind of simplicity. Even the most sceptic people are slowly moving towards Ipad’s, Microsoft Surface or other tablets because of their ease of use. An administrator wants the same thing. Spin it up, and making sure he’ll only needs to add more capacity (that’s with performance included) if the system tells him so. He wants to concentrate on giving the user the experience they want, and not firefighting the environment all day long just to start over again the next day.

bilde

In IT things are going quick. 10 years ago you probably had a mobile for one (maybe two) reasons. Reaching out to other people, by call or text, and using it as an agenda. That was it, for most of us. Fast forward ten years and were using our phones in a complete other way. Calling is almost gone, and if we do call we like to use things like Skype because it’s free… But these days we use our phones for surfing the web, social media, watching television/movies, watching the weather forecast and so on. Things change fast, not only with your phone but even more in the datacenters around the world.

10 years ago your average datacenter would look something like this:

Datacenters

Server hardware for compute (and some local storage) and a SAN or NAS for your shared storage, making a couple of racks for typical datacenter not uncommon.

Fast forward again 10 years, and a lot of companies are building their datacenter like this:

Server room

Converged, Hyperconverged, WebscaleIT, give it a name, but what companies are looking for is high performance, easy to scale and simplistic infrastructure. Making this change is not going to happen over a year, more like a decade. But with companies like Nutanix, Simplicity and big companies like VMware (EVO) things will change quicker. The common use cases for Hyperconverged (VDI/Test/DEV) are relatively easy to convince where the strength of hyperconverged is, and now that hyperconverged has proven his reliability for a couple of years, more and more companies move their production workloads to hyperconverged too.

With Hyperconverged and cloud the way to backup is changing too. Traditional backup vendors are able to provide you with some solutions in this change of compute usage, but that’s not always the case. That’s where Rubrik comes in.

If Apple is the company that made the mobile world change, Rubrik will probably do the the same for the backup market. And although the two are completely different the first (Apple) can not operate without the second (Rubrik). What would you think if a something goes wrong at apple and they just tell you, all pictures you moved (saved) to iCloud are gone and we can’t retrieve them because we don’t have a backup? Hell breaks loose on earth, Apple will be gone in a couple of days, and people will look for solutions where their data is save. As said the first can not live without the other. Which backup Apple uses is not relevant, replication is great, but if a virus would affect data, it might just impact all systems, not only the data in the primary datacenter (if that would be what Apple uses ;P). No data needs to backup.

But with traditional backup, a lot calculation comes into account to make sure resources aren’t over utilized. Because a lot of the traditional backup solutions use those resources during the quiet hours within a company, this might be no problem. But a lot of companies are using their infrastructure 24/7 these days. With the Internet of Things closing your company during night time is killing. Reaching people across the globe is easy, and most companies are trying to do this or are moving to this. And so it’s getting more important to be able to make sure your environment won’t stall during backup hours, as well as making sure you’ll have your backup to fall back to in case of an emergency.

Rubrik will change the way we are thinking of backup. The software will be intuitive, easy to use and to the point, like IOS, Android and Windows Phone. But Rubrik will be based on commodity hardware, which will leverage Flash to meet the performance needs of these days. Making this change in backup with software and hardware is something I really look forward to. There is so much more to say about Rubrik, but it will just have to wait a bit, as I’m sure I’ll write about them more often. But I just wanted to give you a feel of what I thought of when I first had contact with this company. In the next posts I’ll dive into their technology more and figure try to figure out what’s really under the hood, in hardware as well as in software.

I’m not the first to have been writing about Rubrik, and I recommend you to read the following post too:

Chris Mellor:

Stealthy upstart Rubrik: We’ll make enterprise data “beautiful”

Duncan Epping:

Startup intro: Rubrik. Backup and Recovery redefined

Cormac Hogan:

A quick introduction to Rubrik

And don’t forget to visit Rubriks own website HERE

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Techunplugged is coming soon

techunplugged-logo

Next week I’ll fly to London to attent the Techunplugged event created by Enrico Signoretti. I do admire what Enrico is achieving and it is awesome to so see all the effort he’s putting into these events to serve the community. I would highly recommend you to join us next week in London if you’re in the neighbourhood or have the opportunity to join.

Looking at the agenda it is going to be a very enjoyable and leaningfull day in which you’ll be able to ask your questions, listen to the experts and talk with them face to face.

With a great line-up of sponsors who’ll tell their story. With companies like PernixData, Zerto, Cloudian, Load DynamiX and Zadara Storage you’ll know you’ll join the beer party J with a head full of knowledge. But wait hearing from these companies alone would be awesome, but there is much more.

Enrico made sure to invite a couple of great guys (Gurus) from the industry to do a couple of great presentations and roundtables. People like Enrico Signoretti, Chris M Evans, Stephen Foskett, Hans DeLeenheer, Nigel Poulton and Martin Glassborow should ring a bell if you work in the industry, and they will all have a great story to tell…

So if you haven’t already, make sure to join us next week in London and make sure to reserve your FREE seat!

More information and registration at techunplugged.io

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VMware vR Ops 6.x changes

The last couple of weeks I’ve been busy with a couple vR Ops designs and implementation in very different environments, and the question I get a lot is what the differences are between vCOPS and vR Ops. First of all I must point at the naming difference where vR stands for v Realize and Operation manager has become a part of much larger suite. A suite that will give you the opportunity to leverage, monitor, automate and build hybrid cloud environments.

Back to the question:

The vR Ops architecture consists of 1 Virtual Machines (VM) that works on a scale out basis, which differs from ealier version that consisted of a vApp with 2 VM’s and which was based on a Scale-up architecture. You’ll get a better picture looking at figure 1 and reading the information below.

f2766-merge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As shown in the figure above, the deployment of vR Ops starts with a single VM (which will become the Master Node) and can easily be scaled out with additional nodes (which can be data nodes or remote collectors). To provide HA ,a master node can have a replica node (holding the same data as the MasterNode) which will take over if the master node fails. see the figure below for more information.

Screen Shot 2014-11-08 at 1.47.10 pmThe Master node as well as a replica node holds the Global xDB and is responsible for collecting data from the vCenter Server, other vR Ops suite product and 3rd party data sources (metrics, topology and change events) and storing that raw data in its scalable File System Database (FSDB).

I’ll dive into other differences and more in depth posts in a later stage, but for now I just wanted to get this information out 😉

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Software Defined Dockerized Springpath HALO at #SFD7

During Storage Field Day 7 we had the privilege to get a presentation from the founders of Springpath. Springpath is a start-up which came out of stealth a couple of weeks ago and is trying to solve one of the major problems in the datacenter, storage, through a software only solution. Surely it still needs hardware, but Springpath is one of those few companies which provide you with an excellent peace of software to put on top of the hardware you choose, although there still is a HCL for supported hardware. Please watch the Springpath HALO Architecture Deep Dive below for a deep dive into this solution (promise it is worth your time):

Springpath HALO Architecture Deep Dive from Stephen Foskett on Vimeo.
Datagrowth

In the datacenters around the world companies are struggling with the datagrowth and it’s related cost. Where a lot of companies were used to buying server hardware seperate from storage, the price of scaling both silos independantly creates a lot of friction between the people managing these silos within the IT department. A lot of the older SAN’s are purely Scale Up and we all know that might be effecient enough for capacity, but the problems arise when the need excists for an increas storage performance.

The solution is in the software!?

Jerry-SofwareDefinedSink

The last two years, or so we’re hearing that the solution for all are datacenter problems are in the software. Software Defined Everything (which off course includes Software Defined Bacon :D) is the credo these days. Building upon this believe Springpath made their choice to only provide software for their customers, which can then leverage their own hardware, either already in place or newly bought. For now, and to be honest I don’t know if this will change at any given time, but the HCL now includes Cisco, HP, Dell and SuperMicro. Which is a large piece of the datacenter pie, if you ask me…

To leverage the full potential of hardware we always needed the versatility that software could give us. Only in the last couple of years it seems that there finally is a synergy between the two. Let’s be honest, a great Software Defined DataCenter can only be build with great software that leverages great hardware. Why would there otherwise be HCL’s still  in place for almost all of the software suppliers.

 Back to Springpath

Springpath is the next in anever growing line of vendors trying to leverage the storage problems through software. Although not that many provide you with a software solution only, there are still a couple of companies trying to provide a (kind) of similar solution. With services like inline deduplication, inline compression and the chance to use 7200 RPM SATA disk along with Flash and DRAM, is something we see more and more in the industry. So you have to bring other or better solutions to differentatiate from competitors. First bringing a software only solution is a different solution than most of the other players in this market, although Maxta does the exact same thing.

Looking High level at the DataPlatform gives you a feeling of the great potential this platform :

Schermafbeelding 2015-04-04 om 14.22.05

If you look at the whole picture, you’ll see a solution that will serve legacy as well as future applications as well as legacy as future storage protocols. Again, this is where Springpath takes a different approach to many of it’s competitors. Let’s dive a little deeper into the HALO architecture;

Data Distribution

Schermafbeelding 2015-04-06 om 13.31.35All Application data is striped across the servers in a server pool, and not only to the server the application is located. This way the applications can use all compute resources within the springpath Platform Software (SPS). Utilizing this kind of Data distribution leverage scaling performance as well as capacity when servers are added, and removing I/O bottlenecks on single server.

 

Data Caching

Schermafbeelding 2015-04-06 om 13.44.18Like competitors like VSAN and Maxta reads and writes are cached at the Flash layer, giving a high performance rate. A write is acknowlegded as soon as it lands on FLASH and is replicated to the other flash resources in the SPS cluster, to make sure written data is secure. Hot data sets are kept in cache (Flash and DRAM) and only written to the capacity tier (which can be any type of disk, even 7200 SATA) when it becomes cold.

 

Data Persistence

Schermafbeelding 2015-04-06 om 21.14.32With HALO you’re able to seperate the performance and the capacity. Making it easier to scale independently tiers is a big gain that comes with these hyperconverged storage pools and it’s a great thing to be able to add capacity if you run out of space and and performance if that’s resource you’re getting short in.

 

 

Data optimization

Schermafbeelding 2015-04-06 om 21.19.57HALO does inline deduplication as well as inline compression. The inline compression is done in variable sized blocks. Doing an inline variable sized block compression is one of those competitve edges Springpath has, using the sequantial data layout used in the HALO architecture.

 

 

Data services

Schermafbeelding 2015-04-06 om 21.28.09HALO provides many Data Services like snapshots and clones. As all of you probably know these services can be very efficient and in the HALO architecture they can grow to very large numbers. These services help companies to recover data quickly and deliver applications rapidly.

 

 

Log Structured Distributed Object

Schermafbeelding 2015-04-06 om 21.56.41

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Schermafbeelding 2015-04-06 om 21.45.02As already mentioned the data layout within the HALO architecture is done in such a way that data is packed into smaller objects which in turn are layed out across a pool of servers in a sequential way. This kind of layout provide better endurance on the flash layer as well as better performance throughout the system.  Replication is done in the same manner to make sure data is written in a secure way.

 

 Where to use Springpath technology

There are a lot of ways to use this solution. But (I know there is always a but) as this is a 1.0 solution you may just want to wait a bit before depolying this in your production environment. This doesn’t mean you would not be able to leverage the great benefits the solution brings and spin this software up in parts of your datacenter that aren’t as critical as your production environment. Springpath sees there solution a good fit for the following enviroments:

  • VDI
  • Test and Dev
  • Remote office/Branch office
  • Virtualized Enterprise Applications
  • Big Data analytics

I’m not sure if these would all be the best fit for the software, but I can see a couple of them being a great fit for exploring the springpath software.

Call home functions

e_t__call_home__by_spiderguga-d6e8hiq

The last thing I want to  mention is the call home function (and the Springpath support cloud leveraging this) which springpath calls autosupport. I have a strong feeling they’ve looked at NimbleStorage’s Infosight, which in my opinion is a good thing. Although I hope you have the opportunity to opt-out of this solution, I think this is a very strong feature, as it provides a solution which gives Springpath the power to proactively monitor your system, and thus provide a solution for a problem you even didn’t know you had or might occur when you didn’t take action. As well as give you an insight, through their big data analytics engine to provide insights on configurations, trends and best practices. This would give you a much better insight into your environment making sure it is always performing at is best as well as never running out of capacity.

Make sure to watch the entire #SFD7 Springpath presentation HERE, as well as read these great blogs by my fellow SFD7 delegates:

There are some other none #SFD7 delegate blogs out there worth reading like the ones by Cormac Hogan and Duncan Epping as well as the one by Chris Mellor on the register.

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