EMC World 2016 – How to follow if you are not in Vegas.

It’s just a few hours for the¬†EMC World, the biggest storage event of the year. Maybe the last event as an EMC event as the Dell-EMC merger will be completed by the mid-year. As always there are many attractions, including some possible new announcements.

There are many (including me ūüôĀ ) who are not lucky enough to be at The Venetian for the event, because of various reasons.¬†Few ways to follow the event at home, not entirely but if you don’t want to miss the highlights.

emc-world-2016

 

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Technical sessions on the most recent products including DSSD D5, VMAX All-Flash Array, VxRail and many others will be interesting. Attendees can make use of the EMC vLabs on products of their interest. EMC Proven Professional team is having testing center arranged and the first exam attempt is free. Other community events, customer/Partner events etc…

Learning, networking, fun – an event you must attend..!

And if you are an EMC Elect, you will have some special attractions including SUPERNAP tour. You may find a list of events from my fellow EMC Elect Rob Koper in his post here.

Follow the event online : You are not at The Venetian ? you can still follow the events online. You can watch the live streaming of the general sessions here. Of course, we can not follow the complete event here.

It is hard to be on Twitter during this week, but we can follow the event on Twitter also. Follow the EMC Twitter accounts including EMC World. Follow the EMCWorld hashtag (#EMCWorld) on Twitter to keep yourself updated on the announcements and other highlights. Also, don’t forget to follow the EMC Elect hashtag (#EMCElect) for Tweets from the Elects.

There will be many blog posts on the announcements from the event. I will try to have some posts out here also. Watch this page for more.

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Cloud integration with Cohesity storage platform

Cohesiy added Cloud integration to their secondary storage platform, featuring 3 cost-effective solutions for archival, tiering and replication. They had added a good set of features recently with their 2.0 release. Cohesity presented at Storage Field Day 9, in which they discussed their new features including the cloud integration.

If you are not familiar with Cohesity, you may read my previous post about their secondary storage consolidation.

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CloudArchive : CloudArchive is a feature introduced recently with their version 2.0 release. This feature allows archiving data from Cohesity platform to the cloud. They are supporting Google Nearline, Microsoft Azure and Amazon S3, Glacier for archiving data for an extended period.

CloudTier : This solution helps customers to use cloud storage as a lower tier storage with their on-premise Cohesity platform. This is another cost-effective solution and enables efficient use of the local storage space by using the public cloud. It relocates data based on the defined policies and the access pattern of the data.

CloudTier_Cohesity

CloudReplicate : Setting up a Disaster Recovery solution is a real pain and is highly expensive. With CloudReplicate, Cohesity gives their customers a solution to replicate their data to public cloud storage. A cheaper solution for having a secondary copy for disaster recovery. This solution is expected to be available for production use later this year.

You may watch the cohestiy presentation at SFD9 here including a demo of their cloud solutions.

More SFD9 posts from me –¬†here

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.

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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.

vsan-stats1

 

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 Reference : SFD7 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.

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The all-new FlashBlade is here from Pure Storage

Yesterday¬†(14-Mar), Pure Storage announced their new All-Flash products at the Pure//Accelerate event. FlashBlade is to support unstructured data (File, Object, containers etc…) requirements and FlashArray//m10 to strengthen their FlashArray//m series. FlashBlade, the cloud-scale data platform provides All-Flash efficiency and performance for their customers cost effectively.

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FLASHBLADE

FlashBlade is the industry’s first All-Flash NAS solution as per my understanding. This is a new approach from Pure to meet the next-gen requirements. Scale-out blade modules for elastic scalability. System will have only Flash modules – no SSDs and no HDDs.

Hardware : FlashBlade can have a minimum configuration of 7 blades which forms a cluster. Each blade can have 8TB or 52 TB of internal flash capacity. The flash modules are PCIe attached to the blades and they use proprietary protocol. This helps the customer to select the configuration based on their capacity requirements. In a 4U module, FlashBlade can deliver 10Gb/s and can have upto 16PB raw capacity. Blades have 40GB ethernet ports for communication between blades.

FlashBlade

The system is now supporting only NFS protocol. SMB, Object and S3 support will be available in future releases. More data services including data reduction, snapshots etc… also will be available soon.¬†FlashBlade systems management is made easy with the Pure1 cloud-based management tool.

Availability : Early-access to the FlashBlade is now available for customers, but the systems for production will be GA towards the 2nd Half of 2016.

FlashArray//m10

Flasharray m10This is new addition to the FlashArray//m models from Pure. Customers can buy a minimum configuration of 15 TB or 30TB and then grow their system as per requirement. FlashArray//m10 system can be upgraded to any of it’s big-brothers in the FlashArray//m family.

One of the attractions from the new comer is that the customers can have ‘everything’ at a starting price less than $50K. This includes all the softwares, Evergreen storage (offer from Pure to have free upgrades to add new features to the existing storage system, without the need of repurchasing the entire hardware and migrating the data). The product can also be purchased as a FlashStack CI for a starting price of nearly $100K.

 

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Storage Field Day 9 – presenting companies

During this time next week, there will be some serious discussions on¬†Flash, Hyper-Convergence, Primary/Secondary Storage and more at¬†Storage Field Day 9. Storage Field Day always have awesome (may not be huge always)¬†vendors from industry to present their solutions. This time we have 6 vendors who have proven solutions in Flash, Software-Defined-Storage, Secondary storage etc…

Presentation

Let’s see the presenters list. I know you¬†don’t need an introduction to these market leaders and great startups.

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Cohesity

Cohesity have a lot new to discuss from what they discussed at SFD8. With Cohesity Data Platform 2.0, they have added few wonderful features to their secondary storage consolidation. Also they will be discussing on their joint venture with Pure Storage for the primary and secondary storage integration.

Cohesity will present during the post lunch session on Thursday, 17-March.

Intel

We were really impressed by the discussion on the latest in technology including NVMe, 3D XPOINT from Intel during their SFD8 presentation. Really excited to hear about these technologies and other innovations from the chip manufacturer this time again.

We will have the Intel presentation on Thursday (17-March)

NetApp

One of the main attractions of SFD9 will be the presentation from NetApp. We hope to have a wonderful presentation from them regarding the developments in AFA product series after the SolidFire acquisition, about their industry-leading Hybrid Storages etc…

NetApp will be the first to present at SFD9 (Wednesday, 16-March).

Plexistor

Plexistor is having their Tech Field Day debut at SFD9. It will be great to learn about the Plexistor software and their Software Defined Memory (SDM).

Plexistor will be presenting at the post-lunch session on 16-March (Wednesday).

Violin Memory

Violin is another vendor who presented at SFD8. The AFA’s and the Concerto OS were appreciated by all and they delivered a very good presentation. It will be good to meet the guys at Violin and hear about hardware/software¬†enhancements or new feature/product announcements etc.. if there are any.

Violin will have their presentation on Thursday (17-March).

VMware

One of the most discussed topics in recent days in the storage/virtualization world is VSAN 6.2. I expect the enhancements in new VSAN release including improved data reduction, RAID 5/6 (Erasure Coding) etc… to¬†be discussed during the presentation.

VMware have their presentation scheduled for Friday, 18-March.

That’s really a lot of great stuff you don’t want to miss. Right ? You don’t have¬†to worry. Tech Field Day team will have all the presentations available live on their website here. I would recommend not to miss any of the presentations. But if you are busy at work, have everything scheduled in advance so that you will not be missing your favorite sessions from SFD9.

More posts from me on SFD9 here

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.

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DSSD D5 – EMC’s quantum leap in flash storage with the rack-scale all-flash appliance

In their ‘Quantum Leap’ announcements, alongwith VMAX All-Flash storage¬†EMC announced DSSD D5 flash appliance¬†on Monday (29-Feb). And it is really a big leap in flash storage as they produce un-matching performance¬†and capacity in small footprint. D5 is a ‘rack-scale’ flash appliance¬†for today’s today’s¬†and next-gen workloads, e.g; applications built on Hadoop.

emc-dssd-d5

 

10 Million IOPS and 100 Micro Seconds latency are real big numbers.¬†Let’s dig in more to other highlights from¬†D5 here in this post.

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Hardware : DSSD D5 have a 5U module which with 2 redundant controllers and 36 drive slots. It can support a maximum of 144 TB of raw capacity (with 4TB flash modules). The system offers 100 TB of usable flash capacity in 5U. The system now supports 2TB/4TB (dual-ported, hot-swappable) flash modules and more in near-future.

NVMe : It’s ‘NVMe show’ with D5 as it helps the servers to have end-to-end PCIe NVMe access to the Flash modules. It is the key for providing shared flash storage via PCIe,¬†by the NVMeF (NVMe over Fabric) in use in D5. The system supports 96 ports¬†(48 ports per IO module)¬†for host connectivity. i.e, 48 hosts (PCIe3 x4 lane availability) can be directly attached with redundant connectivity. As it is end-to-end NVMe enabled, there is no overhead of protocol translation.

DSSD D5 will act as a direct attached shared flash storage for varying workloads. It’s simply direct attached Flash with enterprise availability and features. NVMe ¬†While supporting today’s database/data warehouse workloads it supports next-gen workloads including applications based on Hadoop also.

Availability : DSSD D5 is now available for order.

Additional reference : DSSD D5 data sheet,  EMC Press release

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EMC VMAX to the All-Flash market – VMAX All-Flash arrays

On Monday (29-Feb), EMC announced their All-Flash models of VMAX arrays. With the addition of All-Flash version of EMC VMAX 3 series of arrays, EMC is targeting to continue to maintain their position¬†in¬†today’s busiest storage market – the AFA Market. These new additions to their Flash Storage portfolio – alongside the existing XtremIO and the new DSSD – will help them serve different customer requirements and thus to remain in race.

VMAX All-Flash-Arrays come in different models including 450F/FX and 850 F/FX.

VMAX All-Flash

As in the above snap, VMAX 450 F/FX and 850F/FX arrays gives unmatched performance with 4M IOPS and <0.5ms latency. The HYPERMAX OS is well optimized for Flash in the new products to achieve lowest latency in a high density system. It can have 1PB of usable space over a single tile space.

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Hardware : VMAX 450 and 850 systems comes with V-Bricks which are equivalent to the engines in previous models. Each V-Brick with 2 directors which can have 1TB (for VMAX 450) or 2 TB of memory. A single VMAX 450/850 cabinet can have upto 2 V-Bricks and 480 drives. Customers can upgrade -Scale Up- the capacity in 13TB flash packs and Scale-out the performance by adding more engines.

Software : The F and FX model variations have different software packages in the system. The F variations (450F and 850F) have HYPERMAX OS, SnapVX, and AppSync starter pack.¬†Customers can add more software packages as a-la-carte¬†options. In FX variation, have more software packages by default in addition to the ones available with F models. These include Remote replication suite (SRDF Sync/Async, STAR, SRDF/Metro), CloudArray Enabler, eNAS, [email protected], ViPR Suite etc… ¬†customers can have remaining packages in a-la-carte.

VMAX AF-Software

VMAX AF systems will offer multi-dimensional scalability (Ports/ Devices/ Capacity), World class BC/DR (With SRDF and SnapVX) and various data services including Mainframe, eNAS etc… This will cater different customer needs when compared to the XtremIO from EMC All-Flash family. More to come in near-future as they plan to have even denser configuration as they switch to newer high capacity SSDs.

Availability : VMAX AF series of systems are now available for customers.

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It’s now Oracle Ravello Systems – latest in acquisition.

Earlier this week – on 22nd Feb – we heard of another interesting acquisition news.

Ravello Systems has been acquired by Oracle.

Ravello Systems – a Cloud Computing venture started in 2011, known for their virtual labs using Nested Virtualization. This acquisition will empower the Oracle Public Cloud (OPC) organization. The financial terms of the deal is yet to be disclosed.

 

Oracle logo

Ravello

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Ravello helps you to setup a virtual lab if you are struggling to setup one. It can be for your training purposes, Test/Dev environments etc… Ravello integrates with AWS and Google (GCE) and the customers can have their VMs running on either of them. This is a function enabled by their specialized hypervior – HVX.

Customers can optimize their deployment for Performance or cost. While publishing the application, customers can select this and finalize their figures.

Ravello won many hearts with their offer of 1000 CPU hours free for the VMware vExperts. And they are continuing this offer as confirmed by their tweet following the news.

Virtual Labs are¬†pretty cool and you should try this if you are looking for a lab setup.William Lam’s¬†blog post will be a great help for any beginner. This post¬†explains ‘how-to’ in easy and clear steps.

I am finding it difficult to invest more time to make the maximum out of my – vExpert – free account. But I hope I will find some workaround for this.

You may read more about this acquisition from Ravello blog and you may refer to the Oracle web page for Ravello.

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Nimble Storage announced their Predictive All Flash Arrays

Today Nimble Storage caught the headlines as they announced the new line of predictive All-Flash-Arrays..!

We were impressed by Nimble during their presentations at SFD8 and today they impressed the industry with their new range of products.¬†The new product line comes with the high performance, scalability, near-six-9’s (99.9997%) availability, and predictive analysis¬†with InfoSight. The new series of products ¬†have new hardware and protection schemes and the products are now GA. With the high data reduction rate (5-to-1 by compression and deduplication), the new system can have an effective capacity of upto 8.2 PB.

Nimble AFA

Lets see some of the highlights from the new AF series.

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Specs at-a glance :¬†¬†New Nimble AF series – AF3000, AF5000, AF7000 and AF9000 – comes with a 4U base unit and the expansion units are also available in 4U size. Both these are with 48 SSD’s in 24 slots as they are equipped with¬†DFC (Dual Flash Carriers). The scale-out configuration can have upto 4 AF9000 units. The system can grow upto 533 TB raw and 2 PB effective capacity in 12U unit (1 base unit and 2 expansion units). The system can grow upto 8 PB of effective capacity and upto 1,400,000 IOPS (for 100% read and 1,200,000 IOPS for 70/30 Read/Write). More specs can be found here.

3D V-NAND and DFC’s¬†:¬†AF series makes use of Samsung PM863 series SSDs powered by 3D V-NAND innovations. These SSD’s ranging 240 GB to 3.84 TB have a very high endurance and are highly cost-effective. The DFC’s (Dual Flash Carriers) can have 2 SSD’s inserted which will be hot-swappable. With DFC’s the base and expansion units can have 48 SSD’s in 24 slots.

With triple+ parity RAID, the system can sustain upto 3 SSD failures. The dedupe and compression mechanism and the zero-pattern elimination can save 5x space for the customers.

InfoSight :¬†InfoSight is the cloud-based management platform which enables predictive analysis. This is a pretty cool tool which helps performance analysis to avoid hotspots, forecasting etc… Cloud based management and the cool dashboards are other attractions from InfoSight.

You can read more about InfoSight from Jon’s post here.

Tech Field Day presentations from Nimble will give you more detail about the company their Adaptive-Flash systems and Infosight. Additional reading from Tech Field Day delegates here.

Here you can find more posts from me on SFD8.

Disclaimer: My travel and accommodation expenses for the SFD8 (Storage Field Day 8) 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.

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With FLASH, things are changing ‘in a flash’ !?

The data storage industry has gone through major changes in the past 5-7 years. And is still in the phase of changes. The user requirements has changed from “More GB’s or TB’s” to “More IOPS”. Introduction of FLASH drives been a catalist for these changes along with the other changes in hardware and software industries. FLASH as a Storage drive¬†or PCIe memory is playing an important role now a days and that gave raise to many new technologies and products.

Speed

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All-FLASH Storage Arrays¬†:¬†Many new storage companies started with AFA products and they managed to become the customer’s first-choices for the AFA arrays. As they started with AFA, they had their hardware and software designed/optimized for a complete-flash configuration. Now we are seeing the¬†competitions between the existing players and the new comers to secure¬†their place in the market. Their (the hybrid vendors’) success will be measured on how the well the Operating Environment (in-use for hybrid) is now optimized for an AFA configuration.

With the variety of FLASH memory modules available – NVRAM, PCIe FLASH, SSDs – the AFA’s are going Hybrid AFA’s also.That shows the degree of change from HDD-based storage to Hybrid-Storage to AFA’s and then to Hybrid-AFAs.

NVMe, 3D XPOINT and more… : The increasing demand for FLASH lead to many researches and many new technologies including Intel’s¬†NVMe¬†and 3D XPoint,¬†the recent. FLASH¬†memories made their entry as¬†server-side PCIe FLASH¬†initially and now storage systems as PCIe FLASH (Along with SSD drives) . NVMe was introduced as a Standard protocol¬†for accessing PCIe FLASH. Read more about NVMe here

3D XPoint introduced a memory architecture with higher performance and low cost, which can be a mid-layer for DRAM and FLASH (can be up to 1000x faster than NAND and up to 1000x  the endurance) . 3D XPOINT combines the advantages of existing technologies like the performance of DRAM and lower cost and volatility of NAND. This new technology was announced by Intel and Micron in the mid of 2015.

A post mentioning 3D XPOINT will be incomplete without this architecture diagram. Courtesy : intel.com

A post mentioning 3D XPOINT will be incomplete without this architecture diagram. Courtesy : intel.com

With the stackable memory architecture 3D XPOINT have an improved density (more memory in less space). Data cells are read by varying the voltage being sent and this reduces the need of transistors. This is another reason for cost reduction. Faster cell switching and fast-write algorithm reduces the latency of IO in 3D XPOINT technology. Being comparatively new technology, 3D XPOINT will take few more months to have a real impact in the market.

Intel Optane technology of new Intel SSDs with high performance and high endurance is based on the 3D XPOINT technology.

SFD8 presentation from Intel had a lot about NVMe and 3D XPOINT. Looking forward to their presentation at SFD9 in March. They may have many thing new to discuss this time, 6 months is a long time.

SFD8 presentation videos from Intel are available here. More write-ups from Tech Field delegates are available here.

Here you can find more posts from me on SFD8.

Disclaimer: My travel and accommodation expenses for the SFD8 (Storage Field Day 8) 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.

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