Vote now for the Top vBlogs of 2016


As many of you might have already known, this is the time for voting for the top vBlogs for the year of 2016. An yearly program by Eric Siebert of vsphere-land to identify the industry’s top bloggers in various categories. This year’s voting is in partnership with VMTurbo .

You can now vote for the best blogs in various categories including virtualization, storage, scripting, VDI, independant blogger, new blogger etc…

It takes a huge effort to maintain a blog site and keep it updated. Top vBlogs voting is a real encouragement for the bloggers to continue investing time and effort in publishing more value added contents.

Top vBlog 2016

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Some of the inactive (blogs which are not being updated) entries from the whole list of vLaunchPad blogs have been removed from the list out for voting. So this time we have around 319 blogs (from 400+ in last year’s list) which were active in 2015.

Now, here is the link for voting for your favorite blogs for the year. To value all the efforts behind this successful program, let’s

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Here you can read more about this year’s program. And here is the results from the last year’s voting.

Leader, in technology and in figures that matter – all in just 2 years.

The phase of transition in data storage now is mainly anchored on 2 architectural approaches – All-Flash storage arrays as a result of the Flash domination and the second is the HCI (Hyper-Converged Infrastructure). The competition is really tough in these areas today as there are many startups and existing vendors trying their luck here.

I’ve got a chance to hear from a few of the vendors who sell their HCI solutions. Different solutions, all competing to be in the race and to have a better spot. Being the front-runner is a real tough thing, but there should be One and there is One.

VMware VSAN

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VMware presented at the Storage Field Day 9 in which Christos Karamanolis (CTO, Storage & Availability) discussed VSAN, it’s growth and the technology – mainly the enhancements introduced with the 6.2 release. In just 2 years, the customer base they have achieved and the feature set they have brought in are simply awesome. With an average of 500+ new customers every quarter, VSAN is now having over 3000 customers. Really HUGE numbers..!

The stats from the business displayed during the presentation (including the number of units sold and the growth rate) were impressive. Number 1, for a reason.

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Figures on performance : VMware VSAN is claiming the highest performance and lowest cost with their All-Flash Hyper-Converged configurations. 100K IOPS/node with sub-millisecond latency and $1/GB for All-Flash configurations and a 40K IOPS for hybrid nodes.

VSAN 6.1 version was released in September 2015 (a release cycle of 6 months) with some good features including stretched cluster. But the biggest update announcement – 6.2 -came recently in February with another great set of features.

VSAN Stretched cluster offers site-level redundancy with a cluster spanning across 2 sites. With a max latency of 5 ms between the sites, customers can have a near-instantaneous recovery in case of site failures. Customers can replicate the datastores to a third site (probably at a longer distance) using vSphere replication. This helps the customer to have a very low RPO in the case of the metro cluster failure. The witness VM (located at a third site) for the stretched cluster configuration can now have a latency of up to 500ms.

I know you will find a lot of detailed posts on the internet on the enhancements from the 6.2 version. Still, I just thought I should outline some of them here.

Data reduction (deduplication and compression) is a great feature came with 6.2. Data will be dedupe’d and compressed at the disk group level at a 4KB block size. This feature can be enabled at the cluster level. Deduplication will be done while the data is being written to the Capacity tier from the cache tier. Compression will only be performed if the 4KB data can be reduced to 2KB or to a smaller size. Else the data will be written as a 4KB block only.

RAID 5/6 or Erasure coding is another feature to improve space efficiency and level of data protection came with the February release. With mirroring being the only availability feature for datastore objects, customers were compromising a lot on the space efficiency. RAID-5 now reduces the overhead requirement to 33% (from 100% for mirroring) for protecting from single drive failure. RAID-6 configuration will have a higher overhead of 50% but it can protect data against 2 drive failures (RAID-1 would have caused a 200% overhead for protecting against 2 drive failures). Customers can select from RAID 5 or 6 by selecting the ‘number of failures to tolerate’ setting (1=RAID 5 and 2=RAID 6).

One thing that disappoints many is the fact that the above 2 features are available with All-Flash configurations only.

You may read more about all these features and more (including Software checksum and disk scrubbing, QoS, Sparse Swap etc..) here from Duncan‘s post.

Closing notes : Many startup companies fail as they fail to find a good balance between technology and marketing. Some got a wonderful technology but are a failure in marketing the same. And that is where the VMware VSAN is winning. They added a lot many flexibilities to their product from what it was in the initial days. Also, they got a good marketing effort to ensure the maximum units are being sold.

And yes, VSAN got an edge as it is from a vendor which is named VMware.!

With these added features in 6.2, I will not be surprised to see another great set of business figures soon from VSAN.

Additional ReferenceSFD7 and SFD9 presentations from VMware.

Disclaimer: My travel and accommodation expenses for the SFD9 (Storage Field Day 9) event were paid by the Tech Field Day team. I am not requested to post about event content and I am not getting paid for any posts or for the time I spend during the event.

Vote now for the top virtualization blogs for 2015

This is time for you to vote for the top virtualization blogs for the year of 2015. Voting started on Sunday, 1st March 2015 and the results for this year is expected to be out by 19th March. Vote now for your best ones from different categories .

TopVBlog2015

About the contest

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An yearly voting system carried out by the vsphere-land.com, for identifying the best rated virtualization blogs. This year’s program is sponsored by Infinio. The voting is based on the blogs listed in the vLaunchpad website and those which were nominated within the given deadline. You can select the top blogs in different categories including Storage,Scripting, VDI, Podcast, New blog etc..

My blog is also participating the contest in the storage blog category. But I would like to mention that, this is not a request to vote for my blog site. As requested in the voting page, be fair and objective while voting so that we can ensure the most deserved will be getting listed.

The Winners

Getting listed in the top 10,25,50 or 100 is a huge, really huge accomplishment for any blogger, considering the recognition you will be getting in the technical blogging world. In addition to the recognition the top 50 bloggers this year will receive special coins from Infinio. More details about the coin can be found here.

The result for last year’s edition can be found here.

So now it is you to decide the best blogs for this year. Vote now..!

VSPEX BLUE – EMC’s Hyper-Converged Infrastructure offering

EMC announced VSPEX Blue, their Hyper-Converged Infrastructure offering earlier this week. With this product EMC is entering to the Hyper-Converged infrastructure market using VMware’s EVO:RAIL software. EMC is Redefining Simplicity by simplifying the IT infrastructure deployment and management.

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Here in this post let us get into the details of this new offering..

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EMC VSPEX was launched in 2012, converged infrastructure architecture which offered easy implementation of Private Cloud and End-User Computing. VSPEX BLUE is the latest offering from from the VSPEX family. This is a true hyper-converged infrastructure – compute, storage, networking and management – all in a 2U 4 node hardware with the SDDC (Software-Defined Data Center) building block.

As mentioned already above, EMC is using the EVO:RAIL software from VMware for enabling the hyper-converged feature. EVO:RAIL is the HCIA (Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Architecture) from VMware which are being supplied via partners. EMC customized the software to have additional features such as support for ESRS, RecoverPoint for VMs etc…

The Hardware

VSPEX BLUE comes with 2U appliance and can have up to a 4 appliances in cluster. Single appliance will have 4 nodes.The below image shows the appliance from the front.

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The hardware configuration for a single node will be,

  • Dual Intel Ivy Bridge E5-2620 V2 processors with a total of 12 cores @ 2,1Ghz
  • 3 x 1.2TB 2.5” 10K RPM SASHDD
  • 1 x 400GB 2.5” SAS SSD (VSAN Cache)
  • 1 x 32GB SLC SATADOM (ESXi Boot Image)
  • 2 x 10GBE BaseT or SFP+

There are 2 memory variance available with VSPEX BLUE appliance, 192 GB ad 128 GB. The system with 128GB memory per node is called a Standard model and the one with 192GB is the performance model.

VSPEX BLUE deployment – initialization and set up – are all really simple . Customers can start provisioning VMs just in 15 minutes of power up..! The addition of an appliance adds all the components – compute, storage, networking and management. This scales up the cluster linearly and performance also increases linearly.

Patching/Upgrade are all NDU with zero downtime.

A very handy, VSPEX BLUE manager  is the management software with VSPEX BLUE. It very well integrates with the EVO:RAIL software. It provides a great support experience with the ESRS/VE integration. Also VSPEX BLUE Manager is well hardware aware and gives graphical view of the hardware failures etc…

Support logs are collected automatically and are integrated with the vRealize Log Insight. VSPEX BLUE Manager gives the customer the detailed information of the installed softwares too. VSPEX BLUE Market option integrates access to qualified software products for VSPEX BLUE and VMware.

RecoverPoint for VMs is a qualified software which provides Synchronous and Asynchronous replication options with VSPEX BLUE. An appliance will have free license for 15 VMs support with RecoverPoint for VMs.

VSPEX BLUE, is expected to have upcoming models to be announced in the Q2, 2015. The product model announced on  3rd February will be GA later in February.

vSphere 6 enhancements – Let’s take a look

Finally, VMware launched the long waited vSphere 6 this week, on 2nd February. A lot of enhancements..!  – new features and increased maximums. With the new features vSphere now enables improved SDDC (Software-Defined Data Center) support and contributing more towards the Hybrid-Cloud. vSphere 6, not just like any other version upgrades came up with a lot many brand-new features.

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Here in this post I am discussing some of the added features/ feature enhancements in vSphere 6. Continue reading

SCALABILITY

vSphere supports more hosts and hardware, almost double compared to the previous version. Let us first see some of the increased maximums with vSphere 6.

  • Cluster can scale up to 64 hosts  [32 hosts in version 5.5]
  • Support up to 8000VM’s on a single cluster  [4000VMs in vSphere 5.5]
  • Support 480 Physical CPU’s , 12 TB RAM  [320 physical CPUs and 4TB  in previous version]

VM’s now will support 128 vCPU’s and 4TB RAM with the virtual hardware v11. It also support the Hot-add of RAM and increased serial/parallel port support.

STORAGE ENHANCEMENTS AND VMOTION

A storage architecture with vSphere 6 is entirely different from the previous versions. Storage admins used to allocate the LUNs to the datastore and VMware admins create the VMs from the datastore with a specified amount of storage to each host. This used to cause under-utilization of space to some VMs and which in turn caused space issue at the backend.

With vSphere 6, vVols uses the space effectively and makes easier storage management. Storage for VMs are being utilized from a common pool here which makes better resource utilization. Also we can have different policies set for different VM’s storage based on our requirement. Policies can be changed any time.

This new architecture helps in offloading the data services and makes the LUN management easier.

vMOTION

vMotion is another feature which have major enhancements with vSphere 6. The enhancements in vMontion are listed below,

  1. Cross vSwitch vMotion
  2. Cross vCenter vMotion
  3. Long Distance vMotion
  4. vMotion across L3 boundaries

AVAILABILITY

vSphere 6 have improved Replication and HA enhancements. Also FT (Fault Tolerance) support also increased from 1 vCPU (till vSphere 5.5) to 4 vCPU. MSCS clustering also have some great improvements compared to the previous versions.

For vSphere Replication, vSphere 6 have reduced the bandwidth requirements by advanced compression. Changed Data will get compressed at the source remain compressed till the same is written to the storage.  There is also performance improvements with the new Replication.

vCenter Server

vCenter Server have massive enhancements with the new release. Additions include new architecture with the Platform Services Controller (PSC) and improved performance and scalability.

PSC moved the services from vCenter server and made them available through the centralized vCloud suite. This makes centralized management of common platforms. With this vCenter installation and upgrades are faster now.

With the new version there is a huge performance improvement with the vCenter server and the guest operating systems support is also expanded.

Considering backup solutions for your VMs ? Try Nakivo for your VMware, Hyper-V and EC2 instances backups.

You can find more posts from vExperts on the vSphere 6 announcement here