Datera: Elastic Data Fabric
Jul20

Datera: Elastic Data Fabric

During Storage Field Day 10 we had a very interesting presentation by Datera on their Elastic Data Fabric. They say its the first storage solution for enterprises as well as service provider clouds that is designed with DevOps style operations in mind. The Elastic Data Fabric provides scale-out storage software capable of turning standard commodity hardware into a RESTful API-driven, policy-based storage fabric, for the enterprise environments.
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The Datera EBF solution gives your environment the flexibility of hyperscale environments through a clever and innovate software solution. In a fast changing application landscape being fast, flexible, agile and software defined is key. Cloud native is the new kid on the block and more and enterprises are adapting to these kinds application development.

Datera seems to be able to provide enterprises as well as cloud providers the storage that is needed to build these applications. The way this is accomplished by Datera is be defined in four main solutions:

Intent defined

What is Intent defined? I had a bit of a struggle on that question myself, so just lets stick to the explanation Datera provides:
Intent defined is a ochestrated play between storage and application. An application developer will know what he would like from storage, and can define these to the storage application programming interface. This is DevOps at its best. When storage is able to be scriptable from a developer perspective and manageable from a storage adminstrator perspective you know you hit the jackpot.

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API first approach

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Already mention the API a couple of times, but this is one of the key features of the Datera EBF, and therefor very important. Datera aims to set a new standard with the elegance and simplicity of their API. They intend to make the API as easy usable as possible to make sure it used and not forsaken because it so hard to understand.
The API is a well though and extremely hard peace to do right creating something as difficult as a storage platform for the customers Datera is aiming for. The API first approach and the approach Datera took developing the API seems to be a real seldom seen piece of art in this space.

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Hyper-composable

Things always need to come together creating something like a storage platform. One of these things is that the companies buying your solution want the opportunity to mix and match. They want to buy what they need now and if they need more (capacity or performance or both) they want to add just as easy. At Datera the you can mix and match different kind of nodes without impacting the overall performance of the solution, making it one of these rare solutions that is truely hyper-composable.

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Multi-Tenant

This is where a lot of software solutions say they are, but…. When you start using their products you find out the hard way that the definition of Multi-tenant is used in many ways, and true multi-tenancy is hard to get.
Is this different with Datera? They say it is, but to be honest I’m nit really sure of it. I’ll try to figure this out and reach out to the Datera people. And although they do not have a lot of official customers, a couple of them are well known for their multi-tenant environment, so my best guess is that the multi-tenancy part is OK with Datera, if not I’ll let you know.

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Conclusion

I was very impressed with the information provided by Datera during Storage Field Day 10. Due to a ton of work coming back after SFD10 and TFD11 I didn’t really have time to do a deep dive into the technology, but that is where my fellow SFD10 delegates are a big value to the community, so here are their blogposts:

The Cool Thing About Datera Is Intent by Dan Frith
Defining Software-defined Storage definition. Definitely. – Juku.it by Enrico Signoretti
Torus – Because We Need Another Distributed Storage Software Solution by Chris Evans
Storage Field Day 10 Preview: Datera by Chris Evans
Storage Field Day 10 Next Week by Rick Schlander

And as always the Tech Field Day team provides us with an awesome site full of the information on Datera here

And just to make sure you have a direct option to watch the videos of the SFD10 presentations, here they are:

1. Datera Introduction with Marc Fleischmann

2. Datera Docker and Swarm Demo with Bill Borsari

3. Datera Architecture Deep Dive

4. Datera OpenStack Demo with Bill Borsari

And make sure to visit the Datera website as well:

http://datera.io/

If you are interested in these kinds of topics, please join us for the TECHunplugged conference in Amsterdam on 6/10/16 and in Chicago on 27/10/16. This is a one day event focused on cloud computing and IT infrastructure with an innovative formula, it combines a group of independent, insightful and well-recognized bloggers with disruptive technology vendors and end users who manage rich technology environments. Join us!

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VMware VSAN 6.2, what’s new?
Feb25

VMware VSAN 6.2, what’s new?

This is a cross post from my Metis IT blogpost, which you can find here.

VMware VSAN 6.2

On February 10 VMware announced Virtual SAN version 6.2. A lot of Metis IT customers are asking about the Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) and how products like VSAN fit into this new paradigm. Let’s investigate what VMware VSAN is, and what the value would be to use it, as well as what the new features are in version 6.2

VSAN and Software Defined Storage

In the data storage world, we all know that the growth of data is explosive (to say the least). In the last decade the biggest challenge for most companies was that people just kept making copies of their data and the data of their co-workers. Today we not only have this problem, but storage also has to provide the performance needed for data-analytics and more.

First the key components of Software Defined Storage:

  • Abstraction: Abstracting the hardware from the software provides greater flexibility and scalability
  • Aggregation: In the end it shouldn’t matter what storage solution you use, but it should be managed through only one interface
  • Provisioning: the possibility to provision storage in the most effective and efficient way
  • Orchestration: Make use of all of the storage platforms in your environment by orchestration (vVOLS, VSAN)

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VSAN and Hyper-Converged Infrastructure

So what about Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI)? Hyper-Converged systems allow the integrated resources (Compute, Network and Storage) to be managed as one entity through a common interface. With Hyper-converged systems the infrastructure can be expanded by adding nodes.

VSAN is Hyper-converged in a pure form. You don’t have to buy a complete stack, and you’re not bound to certain hardware configurations from certain vendors. Of course, there is the need for a VSAN HCL to make sure you reach the full potential of VSAN.

VMware VSAN 6.2. new features

With the 6.2 version of VSAN, VMware introduced a couple of really nice and awesome features, some of which are only available on the All-Flash VSAN clusters:

  • Data Efficiency (Deduplication and Compression / All-Flash only)
  • RAID-5/RAID-6 – Erasure Coding (All-Flash only)
  • Quality of Service (QoS Hybrid and All-Flash)
  • Software Checksum (Hybrid and All-Flash)
  • IPV6 (Hybrid and All-Flash)
  • Performance Monitoring Service (Hybrid and All-Flash)

Data Efficiency

Dedupe and compression happens during de-staging from the caching tier to the capacity tier. You enable “space efficiency” on a cluster level and deduplication happens on a per disk group basis. Larger disk groups will result in a higher deduplication ratio. After the blocks are deduplicated, they are compressed. A significant saving already, but combined with deduplication, the results achieved can be up to 7x space reduction, off course fully dependent on the workload and type of VMs.

Erasure Coding

New is RAID 5 and RAID 6 support over the network, also known as erasure coding. In this case, RAID-5 requires 4 hosts at a minimum as it uses a 3+1 logic. With 4 hosts, 1 can fail without data loss. This results in a significant reduction of required disk capacity compared to RAID 1. Normally a 20GB disk would require 40GB of disk capacity with FTT=1, but in the case of RAID-5 over the network, the requirement is only ~27GB. RAID 6 is an option if FTT=2 is desired.

Quality of Service

This enables per VMDK IOPS Limits. They can be deployed by Storage Policy-Based Management (SPBM), tying them to existing policy frameworks. Service providers can use this to create differentiated service offerings using the same cluster/pool of storage. Customers wanting to mix diverse workloads will be interested in being able to keep workloads from impacting each other.

Software Checksum

Software Checksum will enable customers to detect corruptions that could be caused by faulty hardware/software components, including memory, drives, etc. during the read or write operations. In the case of drives, there are two basic kinds of corruption. The first is “latent sector errors”, which are typically the result of a physical disk drive malfunction. The other type is silent corruption, which can happen without warning (These are typically called silent data corruption). Undetected or completely silent errors could lead to lost or inaccurate data and significant downtime. There is no effective means of detection these errors without end-to-end integrity checking.

IPV6

Virtual SAN can now support IPv4-only, IPv6-only, and also IPv4/IPv6-both enabled. This addresses requirements for customers moving to IPv6 and, additionally, supports mixed mode for migrations.

Performance Monitoring Service

Performance Monitoring Service allows customers to be able to monitor existing workloads from vCenter. Customers needing access to tactical performance information will not need to go to vRO. Performance monitor includes macro level views (Cluster latency, throughput, IOPS) as well as granular views (per disk, cache hit ratios, per disk group stats) without needing to leave vCenter. The performance monitor allows aggregation of states across the cluster into a “quick view” to see what load and latency look like as well as share that information externally to 3rd party monitoring solutions by API. The Performance monitoring service runs on a distributed database that is stored directly on Virtual SAN.

Conclusion

VMware is making clear that the old way to do storage is obsolete. A company needs the agility, efficiency and scalability that is provided by the best of all worlds. VSAN is one of these, and although it has a short history, it has grown up pretty fast. For more information make sure to read the following blogs, and if you’re looking for a SDDC/SDS/HCI consultant to help you in solving your challenges, make sure to look for Metis IT.

Blogs on VMware VSAN:
http://www.vmware.com/products/virtual-san/
http://www.yellow-bricks.com/virtual-san/
http://www.punchingclouds.com/
http://cormachogan.com/vsan/

VMware to present on VSAN at Storage Field Day 9

I’m really exited to see the VMware VSAN team during Storage Field Day 9, where they will probably dive deep into the new features of VSAN 6.2. It will be an open discussion, where a I’m certain that the delegates will have some awesome questions. Also I would advise you to watch our earlier visit to the VMware VSAN team in Palo Alto about a year ago, at Storage Field Day 7 (Link)

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You CAN be a SFD4 delegate
May22

You CAN be a SFD4 delegate

During Storage Field Day 3 Stephen Foskett (the man behind GestaltIT and the Tech Field Days) asked the delegates the question how we’d become the IT-pro’s we are today and how we became Storage Field Day Delegates.

When you look at the video you’ll notice all delegates began their IT careers at the starter level and worked their way up. We are all willing to tell our story whenever you ask us. And we are (as far as we can tell ;-P) normal people like you, just loving our job.

All of the delegates started their IT-career because of their passion for Computers. Most of them do not have a college degree in computer science. And still we were invited by Stephen and his team to come over to the states and listen, learn and discuss about some of the leading products and companies in the storage industry.

As told in the video the best way to start is going to a local User Group. As a member of the Dutch VMUG I’d suggest to find the User Group for a topic they suites you best. For me that was the VMware User Group, and I started by attending one in 2007, just be there and talk (ask) to the people that you think are the guru’s. They are normal people too, you know 😉

Writing a blog (which was the main reason why I was asked to join Tech Field) was just for myself. I wanted to write things down and be able to look it up (if needed). Don’t start a blog because you want to be like the guru, or want to be like us. Starting a blog is simple, but keeping it up to date and writing good posts will be a lot tougher.

Be yourself, but let people know who you are and ask for help. We (myself in the first place) started just like you and I (and others) are more than willing to help you, when asked. Twitter, Facebook and other Social Media platforms are also very good media to let yourself be heard (and promote you blog posts).

So if you want to become a storage field day 4 delegate, make yourself heard! And let Stephen and his crew know you want to be a delegate here:

http://techfieldday.com/delegates/become-field-day-delegate/

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Live from Storage Field Day 2

Here is the livestream for Day 2 of Storage Field Day 2:

Watch live streaming video from TechFieldDay at livestream.com

Make Sure to tune in and look all recorded video’s up at www.techfieldday.com

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And if you’re going to San Francisco…
Nov07

And if you’re going to San Francisco…

Well to be honest the title should say: And if you’re going to San Jose (CA) because that’s where I’m heading right now (although I’ll land at San Francisco airport). For thursday and friday we’ll be with an a couple of independent bloggers visiting some really exciting companies in the bay area. But that for the next blog 😉

For tomorrow I’d like to invite to come to San Jose and join us for the TechField Day Next-Generation Storage Symposium. There is a great line-up of companies and speakers, that will go in depth on a couple of the storage questions many storage peeps have these days.

First, let’s take a look at the people and companies presenting (in random order):

About Nexsan

Founded in 1999 and headquartered in Thousand Oaks, California, Nexsan Corporation provides a comprehensive range of enterprise-class, easy-to-use and efficient system solutions that offer customers the ultimate value proposition when it comes to meeting their ever-evolving storage requirements. Our hardware and software products uniquely combine the benefits of cost-effective performance, power and space efficiency, density, ease of use, outstanding scalability and unmatched reliability to provide Highly Efficient Storage (HES) performance and functionality.

About NimbusData

Nimbus Data Systems, Inc. develops award-winning Sustainable Storage® systems, the most intelligent, efficient and fault-tolerant solid state storage platform engineered for server and desktop virtualization, databases, HPC, and next-generation cloud infrastructure. Combining low-latency flash memory hardware, comprehensive data management and protection software, and highly-scalable multiprotocol storage features, Nimbus systems deliver dramatically greater performance at a significantly lower operating cost than conventional disk-based primary storage arrays, all at a comparable acquisition cost.

About Permabit

Permabit is a recognized leader in data efficiency technology. We enable OEMs to leverage their R&D investment, increase margin, accelerate time to market and achieve competitive advantage. Permabit Albireo software massively improves performance and efficiency of data creation, transmission and storage. Solutions built with Albireo are being delivered by leading hardware, software and service providers. Our partners include Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), LSI, StoneFly, and Overland Storage.

About PureStorage

Pure Storage has a simple mission: to enable the widespread adoption of flash in the enterprise data center.

About Scale Computing

Founded in 2007, Scale Computing has led the way in unified, scale-out, enterprise class storage for small and medium-sized enterprises. The company is rapidly growing with offices in California, Indianapolis and London with global distribution partners.
Our Intelligent Clustered Operating System (ICOS) technology has won dozens of awards including Storage Networking World’s Best Practices, PC Mall’s Innovator of the Year Award, and Network World’s Top Nine Storage Companies to Watch. In 2009, Forbes named Scale Computing one of America’s Most Promising Companies.

About SolidFire

SolidFire believes traditional storage is way too slow, far too complex, and much too expensive to deliver the infrastructure large-scale cloud computing environments demand.

We are passionate about delivering high-performance and high-efficiency storage systems to cloud service providers. In addition to building a great product, SolidFire is growing our world class team of people and looking for employees who want to work in a collaborative, supportive and high-energy company culture.

About Startboard Storage Systems

Starboard Storage tackles the toughest storage problem facing Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) IT administrators today — managing today’s application workloads that include unstructured, virtualized and structured data. The Starboard Storage AC Series delivers on the promise of sophisticated yet easy-to-manage storage for modern application workload environments.

About Tegile

Tegile Systems is pioneering a new generation of affordable feature-rich storage arrays that are dramatically faster, and can store more data than standard arrays. Incorporating Tegile’s unique metadata handling technology, MASS™, Zebi arrays deliver caching and on the fly de-duplication and compression for primary storage. Customers in the financial services, manufacturing, government, legal, healthcare and transportation industry sectors have deployed Zebi as primary storage in virtualized server, virtualized desktop (VDI), file services and database environments as well as for replicated storage. The company is led by a successful team of industry veterans and is committed to a philosophy of “customer first.”

Also the following famous speakers and moderators:

About Chris M Evans

An industry veteran with over 22 years’ experience in IT. Over his career Chris has provided consultancy and advice to a wide range of customers and industry segments. Chris runs his own storage consultancy (Brookend Limited) and recently co-founded Langton Blue Limited, to focus on resolving IT related business issues.

About Howard Marks

In over 25 years as an independent consultant Howard has built and/or reengineered server and storage infrastructures and networks for organizations from Borden Foods and The State University of New York at Purchase to accounting and law firms. He started testing and reviewing products at PC Magazine in the late 80s and has written hundreds of articles and product reviews for Network World, Network Computing and InformationWeek amongst others. He’s spoken at Comdex, Interop, Networks Expo and developed training programs for organizations including JP Morgan and American Express. Where other analysts typically have marketing or sales backgrounds Howard’s continuing involvement with users facing real problems brings a perspective those users find more useful.

About Robin Harris

StorageMojo is published by TechnoQWAN LLC which was founded by me, Robin Harris, in 2006 as an independent analysis and consultancy focused on emerging IT technologies, products and markets. My blogs, StorageMojo and Storage Bits at ZDnet are ranked 10th and 11th out of 400 IT analyst blogs and have been linked to from the Wall Street Journal, All Things Digital, e-Week, ComputerWorld and hundreds of other sites.

About Scott D. Lowe

Scott Lowe has worked in the technology field since 1994, starting his career as a jack of all trades handling networking duties, database administration/programming projects and help desk support. Scott has also held positions as the Associate Director of IT in charge of network services for a private college in upstate NY, the lead network analyst for the City of Gaithersburg, MD and as a Systems Engineer for Thomson Financial. In 2001, Scott assumed his first full-time management role as the Director of IT for the National Association of Attorneys General. Scott was most recently the Vice President and Chief Information Officer at a private Missouri college where he was a hand-on leader providing primary support for the virtualization environment alongside his other responsibilities.

About Stephen Foskett

Stephen Foskett is a pack rat personally, though I’m the opposite professionally! I’ve worked as a vendor-independent IT/business consultant to end users for more than a decade, managing services and “doing the work” at companies like Paranet, StorageNetworks, GlassHouse Technologies, Contoural, Nirvanix, and now as Foskett Services.

So if this didn’t already made you want to come to this very promising symposium, maybe my top 3 topics will change your choice (click on them for more info):

Really hope to see you tomorrow at this awesome event!

Arjan

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