EMC, HDS & NetApp Storage Portfolio Videos now available on YouTube

As well as being one of the most expensive, your storage infrastructure is likely to be the single most critical element of your physical and virtualised IT environment. While CPU, RAM and Network resources can directly affect the performance of some of your systems, poorly sized or badly integrated storage, will damage the performance of ALL your systems and may render servers and services unusable. So it’s always worth taking the time to understand the storage that’s available and digging a little deeper to ensure it’s going to deliver great performance and good value for money. To start the ball rolling, we’ve provided three short videos that give a quick introduction to the storage offerings available from the three major storage Continue reading

Managing Education … in a Flash!

I’ve had the privilege of working with a number of education institutions over the past fourteen years. In that time, through the progress of Virtual Learning Environments, Interactive Smart Boards and BYOD there has always been one piece of the IT puzzle in academia that has required extra attention and resources. I speak of course about the Management Information System. Be it Unit-e, SIMS or EBS running on Microsoft SQL or Oracle, it is the core information system that tracks the life-cycle of the learner. The MIS also provides a framework for managing curriculum portfolios and feeds assessment information and outcomes into data warehouses. And, as you are no doubt aware, accurate and timely returns are crucial to securing the correct levels Continue reading

What are the pros and cons of Software-Defined Storage?

Software-defined storage (SDS) is becoming a topic of interest to many organisations, but like all new technologies there are pros and cons compared to the existing solutions. So for me the benefits of SDS are: Bring your own hardware – take advantage of commodity prices Built-in “IT Deflation” – keep up with the increased demand for storage Hardware independent – lives on beyond the life of the hardware Flexibility to scale – as much or as little as required Low ongoing costs – perpetual license followed by annual maintenance Gain new features – just by upgrading the software Simplified management – compute and storage managed together What do we mean by “IT Deflation”? Essentially year on year you can get more Continue reading

Comparing EMC, HDS and NetApp All-Flash and Hybrid block arrays

Flash has changed storage forever and almost every new array purchase needs to have some degree of flash included, so the market now offers three distinct types of array: Hybrid – Exploits the performance of flash and the lower cost of HDDs All-Flash hybrid – Packaged to deliver a low cost per GB of flash Ground-up design – Purely designed for flash with no support for HDDs As always there is a huge range of price points, due to the architecture, features and performance scaling, for these arrays. Efficiency features are critical in some use cases (i.e. VDI), but less so in many others and performance scaling for the majority of solutions is substantially higher than legacy arrays built just for Continue reading

HDS Superior Block Storage Architecture video now available on YouTube

As a storage reseller for all the leading players, EMC, HDS and NetApp, we spend quite a bit of time reviewing the key differences between the systems. In this video – I take a closer look at the storage architecture of the three main HDS storage arrays and demonstrate how HDS’s design differs from many of their competitors. Anyone interested in how true enterprise-class storage differs from a mid-range storage array, should also find this video useful. Enterprise-class is a term that’s used a lot by IT vendors these days and my hope is this cuts through the FUD a little and demonstrates exactly what differentiates a true enterprise-class array from a robust mid-range system. Hope you find it useful. Tony. Related Posts  Continue reading

Comparing the HDS HUS VM to the NetApp FAS8000 for VMware environments

Of all the mid-range storage platforms probably the two that are pushing the technology forward the most are the HDS HUS VM and NetApp FAS8000 series running Clustered Data ONTAP (cDOT). The key strength of the HUS VM is that it is built using the enterprise-class microcode of the HDS VSP and the strength of cDOT is that it provides non-disruptive operations and storage array clustering. Comparing the HUS VM (dual controllers) to a pair of FAS8020s (four controllers) is a very interesting exercise – here are our thoughts: Common capabilities Both solutions tick all the boxes in terms of core requirements: VMware Storage/SAN certified VMware VAAI and VASA support VMware vCenter SRM SRA support vCenter management plug-in Availability Both solutions Continue reading

Comparing EMC, HDS and NetApp storage arrays – Part 1 (Block Features)

EMC, HDS and NetApp are leaders in storage technology and the good news is that they are not carbon copies of each other. They have all made different architectural choices which means they each have their own set of strengths and weaknesses. It is never going to be the case that one of these vendors is always the best and one is always the weakest, so the challenge for the storage buyer is to find the platform that is the best match for their organisations requirements. This exercise is a real challenge, on paper all the products look fantastic, but as always the devil is in the detail. Just seeing if a product supports a particular feature is not enough, it all comes Continue reading

HDS Storage Solutions Overview – Q1 2014 update

This is a summary of the HDS storage platforms including Hitachi Unified Storage 100, Hitachi Unified Storage VM, Hitachi NAS and Hitachi Content Platform. Overview As HDS’s core business is storage it helps them stand out from the crowd: Enterprise-class Block, File and backup-free Object storage platforms with unified management Hybrid software and hardware accelerated storage platforms with purpose-built processors to help drive system utilisation to extreme levels Storage Virtualisation brings enterprise features to older and lower cost storage systems to increase the return on storage assets Comprehensive set of storage capabilities integrated into core platforms helps to avoid islands of storage, reduces administration and lowers TCO In-house design of innovative purpose-built controllers including the Flash Module Drive which delivers a Continue reading

HDS Flash Module Drive – building a better storage array SSD

One of the advantages that HDS has over its competitors is that the storage division is part of a much larger organisation. Hitachi is one of the world’s largest integrated electronics companies which enables HDS to build highly optimised purpose-built storage controllers. For their block storage arrays ASICs (Application Specific Integrated Circuits) are used to perform RAID processing and for their NAS nodes FPGAs (Field Programmable Gate Arrays) are used for data transport – in both cases multi-core CPUs are used for the data management functions. Whereas their competitors are using 3rd party eMLC SSDs HDS have created the Flash Module Drive (FMD) which has the following key features: Multi-core, high-bandwidth architecture drives up to 128 flash chips Inline write compression extends life Continue reading