EVO:RAIL is dead long live VxRail

On paper EVO:RAIL was a great idea – VMware provides the Hyper-converged Infrastructure (HCI) software (vSphere and Virtual SAN) and the major server and storage vendors provide the hardware, but one of the biggest problems was that it was 100% designed by VMware therefore how could the likes of EMC, NetApp, Dell, HP, HDS, etc. innovate? The answer of course was they couldn’t and the product was therefore not a great success  – something therefore had to change. The good news is that EVO:RAIL has become VxRail and it will be sold exclusively by VCE (a VMware and EMC company). Also with EVO:RAIL there was a very limited choice of hardware, you had to start with four nodes, scale in four node increments and use vSphere Continue reading

VMware Virtual SAN is now ready for mainstream adoption

Virtual SAN (VSAN) was released two years ago and I think it is fair to say that the initial release was never going to “set the world on fire”, but roughly every six months a new version appeared with a huge list of improvements. This brings us to the recently announced 6.2 release, which for me is the first version that is ready for mainstream adoption – highlights include: De-duplication – 4K blocks within a disk group with the process occurring when the blocks are de-staged to the capacity tier (All-Flash only) Compression – attempts to reduce de-duplicated 4K blocks down to 2K or less (All-Flash only) RAID 5/6 – in addition to the existing RAID 1 (All-Flash only) Checksum data integrity on reads and periodic scans Quality 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

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

VMworld 2015 key announcements summary

Now that the dust has settled I thought it would be useful to review the key announcements: Virtual SAN 6.1, key enhancements include support for: Stretched Clustering with Zero RPO 2 node ROBO configurations vSphere Replication with a 5 minute RPO (exclusive to Virtual SAN) Multi-Processor Fault Tolerance (SMP-FT) Intel NVMe and Diablo Ultra Dimm The Stretched Clustering feature will require the Advanced licence, which also includes support for All-Flash. The beta of the next release was also announced – this will include some hugely important enhancements: Disk Group based de-duplication (All-Flash only) Erasure coding (RAID 5 or RAID 6) End-to-end checksums with a background scrubber I have written quite a bit about Virtual SAN, it always felt to me that it was very early generation Continue reading

Enabling 24×7 Continuous Availability with a vSphere Metro Storage Cluster

VMware has done a great job of maximising the up time of applications with technologies such as vMotion and HA, but historically they have not been much use when it came to protecting against the loss of all hosts, the network or a storage array. Their answer was to leverage storage array replication combined with vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) to automate disaster recovery fail-over, fail-back and testing. Certainly a much better solution than what we had before, but it was still a manual process that required the passive storage replica to be promoted to be active and the VMs re-started – downtime therefore could not be avoided. Ideally we should be able to: Automate site fail-over with vSphere HA thus avoiding deploying Continue reading

Vendor Comparisons Blog Portal

This page will help you to keep up to date with all the latest vendor comparison information from SNS – it is regularly updated and includes all of our key Blog Posts, Videos and Technical Seminar details. Our objective at SNS is to help our customers choose the solution that is right for them by fully understanding their requirements and budgetary needs, and matching these to the technical capabilities of a wide variety of solutions. Recent Blog Posts Storage Platform Comparisons Comparing the new NetApp AFF8000 series with EMC XtremIO 4.0 Comparing EMC, HDS and NetApp All-Flash and Hybrid block arrays Comparing EMC, HDS and NetApp storage arrays – Part 1 (Block Features) Comparing EMC, HDS and NetApp storage arrays Continue reading

Are VMware VSAN, VVOLs and EVO:RAIL Software-Defined Storage and does it really matter?

Most IT vendors like to jump on the “latest bandwagon” to showcase their solutions, they then use key IT buzzwords to highlight their product as being cutting-edge. One of the most prevalent in today’s technology world is Software-Defined, but there is significant ambiguity with regard to exactly what it means. So what is my definition of a Software-Defined solution? You purchase software and hardware independently, more often than not from different vendors, and most importantly you can change the hardware without incurring additional licence fees – examples include VMware vSphere, Veeam Backup and Replication, and CommVault Simpana. So what is my definition of a non-Software-Defined solution? You purchase a hardware appliance that combines software and hardware into a single solution (you cannot move the Continue reading

A summary of all things VMware at SNS

This page will help you to keep up to date with all the latest news from VMware – it is regularly updated and includes all of our key VMware related Blog Posts, Videos and Technical Seminar details. About VMware VMware has been at the heart of transforming the way IT is delivered by replacing dedicated physical servers with virtual machines. VMware continues to be the most trusted virtualisation player enabling organisations to virtualise even their most critical applications, deliver desktops to any device and build a truly Software-Defined Data Centre. Recent Blog Posts The Software-Defined Data Centre EVO:RAIL is dead long live VxRail VMware Virtual SAN is now ready for mainstream adoption VMworld 2015 key announcements summary Are VMware VSAN, VVOLs and Continue reading

VMware changes EVO:RAIL licensing but still gets it all wrong

My view on EVO:RAIL has always been that it is a nice piece of technology, but it is way too expensive with a deeply flawed licensing model (more thoughts at VMware EVO:RAIL or VSAN – which makes the most sense?). It has just been “improved” because you can now use existing vSphere licenses which will dramatically reduce the cost of the appliance (more details here). Even though VMware had a great chance to really make things so much better they have wasted the opportunity – amazingly they are still forcing you to use Enterprise Plus whereas Essentials Plus would be more appropriate in most cases. It is also not clear if the vSphere licences can be moved, or if Virtual SAN and Log Insight Continue reading