Building a next-generation on-premises infrastructure

As much as the cloud is having a significant impact on how IT is deployed, on-premises infrastructure is here to stay. Over the last few years the industry has made huge progress with regard to Storage Performance, Systems Availability and Operational Simplicity – let’s take a look at some of our solutions that enable you to take advantage of these and build a next-generation infrastructure: Hyper-Converged Infrastructure We have several options available that: Combine compute and storage into a single scale-out solution Enable simplified provisioning, management and upgrading HCI solutions are taking over from separate compute and storage as they promise to deliver the simplicity of the cloud. Continuous Availability We have several options available that: Automate disaster recovery fail-over Achieve zero downtime even Continue reading

NetApp FAS and E-Series – what’s new for 2016?

Most large IT infrastructure vendors are having a very busy time updating their products to better integrate with Public Cloud services and fully exploit the performance of flash. One such vendor is NetApp, let’s take a quick look at what they have been up to when it comes to their core storage platforms: FAS New hardware platforms: FAS2600 (2U including drives) 100,000 IOPS at <1ms latency 1 TiB on-board Flash Cache per HA pair FAS8200 and All-Flash FAS A300 (3U) 280,000 IOPS at <1ms latency 2 TiB (Max 4 TiB) on-board Flash Cache per HA pair FAS9000 and All-Flash FAS A700 (8U) 500,000 IOPS at <1ms latency 2 TiB (Max 16 TiB) on-board Flash Cache per HA pair With the following enhancements: Massive performance Continue reading

The Storage Array is dead, long live Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (or is it?)

All industries must strive for constant improvement to drive change (and therefore revenue), the objective is to periodically make the current install base of equipment obsolete so it must be replaced. Just take a look at TVs – in the late 1990s we had bulky CRTs, then flat screens appeared, but they were Standard Definition, so in the late 2000s they were upgraded to HD, but of course it does not end there, as in the last few years we have seen the introduction of 4K/UHD panels. The worst thing that can happen to any industry is for its customers to not see any benefit in upgrading, so the IT industry has tried hard to tell customers that they must change as the future consists of Continue reading

An introduction to EMC Unity – new mid-range unified storage platform

EMC has been on a journey for a number of years to truly unify the Block and File capabilities of their market leading mid-range VNX platform – that journey is now complete with the introduction of Unity. The overall goal of Unity is to be: Simple – even easier to deploy and manage than the current best Modern – take advantage of the performance and price points of the latest generation flash drives Flexible – more feature rich than any other mid-range platform Affordable – with prices starting at under £10K So what’s new in Unity? Simple to deploy with new setup wizard and simple to manage with a new HTML5 User Interface Designed for all-flash, with All Flash and Hybrid configurations Support for eMLC Continue reading

Move inactive data to the cloud with EMC CloudArray

Most organisations are seeing massive growth in their storage requirements, but a significant proportion of the data is old and inactive so for years IT departments have looked to reduce costs by moving inactive data to low cost storage – sometimes even optical drives and tape. As we are now in the era of public cloud computing we have another option – create a storage array that is essentially a cache to cloud storage, that way active data will be served from local storage and infrequently accessed data will be pulled from the cloud (i.e. Amazon, Microsoft Azure or Google). EMC CloudArray is one such product and it has the following capabilities: Looks, feels and performs like local storage Supports FC, iSCSI, CIFS & Continue reading

Some interesting new ways to improve your IT infrastructure in 2016

It’s an exciting time in IT; there is so much innovation going on, often driven by start-ups, and many new ways of doing things compared to a few years ago. The good news is that generally the affordability of high-end technology is better than ever, bring them within the reach of most organisations. So let’s take a look at what’s now available: 1. Availability – Improving your Disaster Recovery processes by enabling vMotion and HA between sites I believe that current DR practices built around active passive asynchronous replication and VMware Site Recovery Manager are just not good enough: Data is lost in the event of a fail-over Local array failures cause downtime Failing-over/back causes significant disruption to the organisation Testing is difficult therefore Continue reading

What’s the NetApp storage portfolio looking like for 2016?

Each vendors portfolio is ever evolving – driven by constant R&D and acquisitions. It is therefore useful to occasionally step back and see what a particular vendor has to offer and why you might choose a particular technology. Let’s take a quick look a NetApp, the acquisition of SolidFire has not yet been completed, but at this stage I am assuming it will be, so I am including it in this blog. In this first part I will be looking at SAN and Unified storage platforms: SAN storage E-Series and All-Flash E-Series (EF) Simple “Configure & Forget” provisioning with fast rebuilds – with no RAID or idle spares to manage Flexible modular design – including an ultra-dense 60 drive tray Continue reading

An introduction to PernixData FVP – turn your existing storage into an “All-Flash Array”

Flash is changing the storage landscape and as we move from SLC to eMLC and then onto 3D TLC the cost per TB is plummeting, but it is important to point out that even the cheapest forms of flash are no match for a NL-SAS HDD when it comes to cost per TB. The all-flash Data Centre is therefore still not a reality for the foreseeable future, but for any application that will benefit from increased performance the cost per IO of Flash is unbeatable. So introducing Flash is inevitable for the majority of organisations, but the challenge for many is that they have existing storage arrays that still have many years of serviceable life, so do they: Add SSDs to their Continue reading

NetApp FlashRay is dead long live SolidFire, AFF and EF

Just prior to Christmas NetApp announced that it will be buying SolidFire and its All-Flash Array (AFA), at the same time they have also stated that they will not be bringing FlashRay to market. I think this is a good thing as we have needed clarity with regard to the future of FlashRay for some time, and it has been evident that NetApp has been taking what they have learnt from the FlashRay project to enhance All-Flash FAS (AFF). FlashRay will therefore continue to live on in AFF and it will continue to get further FlashRay related features and performance enhancements over the next few years. So NetApp has lost one and gained one AFA, still leaving them with three platforms – surely that Continue reading

Why NetApp E-Series SAN storage is really cool

On the face of it, E-Series has got to be one of the least cool storage arrays available as its roots go back to the late nineties. Storage technology has massively moved on since then, with most modern platforms having a significant proportion of the following capabilities: Hyper-Converged – to simplify deployment, management and scaling, as compute and storage are combined into a single platform Software-Defined – to enable you to bring your own hardware All-Flash – to significantly improve application performance and the end-user experience Public Cloud integration – to leverage the cloud for backup, DR, and for test and development environments Stretched Cluster – to provide continuous availability in the event of local hardware and even complete site failures De-duplication Continue reading