To Silicon Valley again – Storage Field Day 9

I will be at Silicon Valley once again in the third week of March, as it is will be the time for Tech Field Day awesomeness once again, it is the time for Storage Field Day, it is the time for Storage Field Day 9..!

I had 2 wonderful events with Tech Field Day team last year (SFD7 and SFD8) . It will another chance to meet experts (in-person) from industry, attend wonderful presentations, new companies, new technologies, new products and a lot of learning.


The companies who will be presenting at SFD9 are not yet finalized. At present from the event website, Cohesity, Intel, Plexistor, Violin Memory, and VMware will be presenting this time. I had attended presentations from Cohesity, Intel and Violin during SFD8 and VMware during SFD7. Plexistor is new for me and looking forward to hear from them about their Software-Defined Memory Platform.

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More presenters to be announced soon. Waiting for the complete list to be out.

As always SFD9 got a very rich delegate panel, . I will have few familiar faces from SFD7 and SFD8 and will get a chance to meet a few guys in-person for the first time. Complete delegate panel is as below.

Alex GalbraithArjan TimmermanChris M Evans, Dave HenryEnrico SignorettiHoward MarksJustin Warren, Mark MayMatthew LeibRichard ArnoldScott D. LoweVipin V.K

I am taking this moment to thank Stephen Foskett and Claire Chaplais the Tech Field Day team for inviting me for another TFD event.

So it will be more of Flash, AFA, NVMe, Hybrid solutions, Cloud, Hyper-Convergence etc.. this March..!

More posts from SFD9 coming soon. You can read my SFD7 posts here and SFD8 posts 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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VMware vExpert 2016 – announced

My last post here was regarding recognition from EMC, EMC Elect for the third year in a row. Now I have one more update and this time from VMware.

Yes, I am listed as a vExpert for 2016. That’s another hat-trick..!!

VMware announced the list of vExperts for the current year last Friday (5-Feb). I am really honored to get listed among the 1360 experts.


vExpert is one of the biggest technical community recognition program from VMware. About the program from the site :

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The VMware vExpert program is VMware’s global evangelism and advocacy program. The program is designed to put VMware’s marketing resources towards your advocacy efforts. Promotion of your articles, exposure at our global events, co-op advertising, traffic analysis, and early access to beta programs and VMware’s roadmap. VMware will provide you with a unique vExpert id that will allow insights into analytics to help understand customer trends to assist you and keep your advocacy activities on track.

This program is popular for the recognition it holds in the industry, and many benefits it offers for the members – including software beta testing, blogger briefings, privileged access to events and wonderful gifts. Looking forward to this year’s attractions.

I would like to thank the vExpert community, the judges for considering my contributions and listing me as a member for another year.

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EMC Elect for another year – EMC Elect 2016

Yesterday (1-Feb-16), EMC announced the EMC Elect 2016 list. I am really honored to be listed as one of the 73 members from 700 nominations and 150 finalists. I was a member of EMC Elect 2014 and 2015 class and this is my third year in a row as EMC Elect..!


For those who haven’t heard of the EMC Elect program (if there are any), this is one of the leading tech-recognition program in the industry. This program recognizes the individuals with outstanding contributions to the community. More details on the program is available in the program FAQs.

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There are 12 EMC Customers, 25 EMC Partners, and 2 independent contributors in this year’s list. 34 members are working for EMC and EMC federation companies.

In the previous years, there were many added benefits for EMC Elects including blogger briefings, Privileged access at events including EMC World, EMC World discount codes and not the least, gifts. The program is improving every year and I expect few more additional attractions this year.

I would like to thank Mark Browne, Mary Kilgallen and the judges for considering my contributions and including me in the class of EMC Elect 2016.

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Cohesity – Secondary storage consolidation

While almost the entire storage industry is interested in making the storage ready for mission critical environments/data, Cohesity thouhgt the other way. They started working to re-define the way Secondary data being dealt. Their presentation at Storage Field Day 8 discussed their vision and how they achieved it.

Cohesity storage in simple words is – Secondary storage consolidation.

Every year, multi billion Dollars are being spent in managing the Secondary data and those are still being managed inefficiently. These stats made Cohesity design solutions for Secondary data workflows (including Data protection, Analytics, File shares, DevOps etc… ).


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Cohesity Architecture : The requirements varies with different workflows and this is the biggest challenge in having a single system handling all of them. Cohesity makes use of high-performance commodity hardware. And the distributed filesystem, OASIS (Open Architecture for Scalable Intelligent Storage) is the intelligence behind the Cohesity functions. OASIS operating environment enables various functions including infinite linear scalability, mixed workload, global deduplication, SnapTree, self-healer etc…

Cohesity_architectureImplementing Cohesity solutions for data protection helps customers to easily setup policies etc.. and have instant recovery of data. SnapTree clones are another highlight from Cohesity. Clones instant and we can have a reduced RPO with frequent clones. Cohesity solutions have a detailed indexing at different levels and this is customizable also. This helps in detailed built-in analytics for different matrices. Along-with built-in analytics, Cohesity solutions support custom analytics also with AWB (Analytics WorkBench). It helps the customers to run their own code for various analysis on their data.

Hardware : Cohesity C2000 series hardware include C2300 and C2500. Both these are 4-node blocks with Intel Xeon processors. Upto 6.4 TB PCIe FLASH (per block) and 10 GbE & 1 GbE interfaces are also supported. Detailed hardware specifications sheet is available here.

Closing thoughts : Mohit Aron (Founder and CEO of Cohesity) given enough care in choosing the experienced technicians and managed to raise enough fund for execution. This earned them a spot in the top startups of the last year by CRNForbesBusiness Insider etc… With just a few months from the new product announcement, Cohesity have to do a lot of hardwork in making a good customer base. Recently they have appointed the former NetApp CEO Daniel Warmenhoven to their board of directors. These additional experiences will surely help them in taking strategic decisions.

Additional resources

You may find additional reading here and presentation videos from the Tech Field Day website here.

Visit the Cohesity website for product overview and additional resources. There are a few good blog posts from SFD8 delegates Enrico Signoretti, Dan Frith, Scott D. Lowe, Mark May  and Jon Klaus.

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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2015 – Year-in-Review, from an enterprise storage standpoint

As always, another year is just coming to its end as if it was just a few hours. It was another awesome, eventful year for one in the world of technology and especially our small world – storage and virtualization. New products, acquisitions and startups and more… 2015 has put many hooks – of excitement – in place for 2016. There are many of course (lot more for a single blog post), but I am trying to highlight some of the important ones I noted here in this post.



There were many acquisitions this year in the storage and virtualization industry, some of them which (I have noted, and) I felt important…

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Dell-EMCOne of the most talked subject in 2015, one of the biggest IT transaction in 2015. Dell got in agreement with EMC of $67 Billion, that’s really huge and was really unexpected due to many reasons (Dell’s press release, EMC Future Ready ) . The 60 day ‘go-shop’ period has been completed on 12-Dec and now Dell is expected to complete the transaction in the middle of next year (Anytime between May and October -2016).

It will be quite interesting to see how this merger impact the market in many aspects including the future of the products from both these vendors (EMC VNX,VMAX etc.. and Dell Compellent etc…), the future of VCE, +/- ves for the employees (benefits, layoffs etc… if any), reaction from the competitors and more. Lot more news to come in this regard in 2016.

NetApp-SolidFire : I got to know about the NetApp-SolidFire news while I was in the middle of this post. This $870 million deal is another storage-storage deal in 2015 after the giant Dell-EMC deal. NetApp in their press release on 21-Dec, announced they are in agreement to acquire the 2010 founded All-Flash-Array vendor. It will be quite interesting to see how NetApp will be improvising their AFA portfolio and how they will be handling the challenges in integration.

Western Digital – SanDiskWDC announced their deal of $19 billion to acquire SanDisk on 21-October. This was another surprise deal by the Hard disk manufacturer to get one of the leaders in Flash memory manufacturing. This move towards the flash memory market is underlining the same statement, ‘future is flash’. With this effort for NAND integration, WDC is aiming to double the market addressability.

IBM-Cleversafe : on 6-Nov, in their official press release IBM announced they have completed their acquisition of Cleversafe. Financial terms of the deal was not disclosed. Cleversafe was founded in 2004 and was known for their contributions in the development and management of object-based storage software and appliances. With this new addition – the added capability in storage and hybrid cloud – we can expect more from IBM’s cloud portfolio in near future.

Other highlights : EMC announced their plan to acquire Virtustream in May, strengthening EMC’s cloud service business. Storage virtualization software company Sanbolic was acquired by Citrix in 2015 for an undisclosed price. A $3 billion deal by HP to acquire Aruba Networks was another hot news in 2015.

Product launches and Startups

2015 given rise to many new storage startup companies including ClearSky Data, Cohesity, Infinidat, Hedvig, Springpath etc… The great technology and innovative way of implementations made most of them favorites to the market already. CRN listed the top 10 coolest storage startups here in this post.

There were many new product/technology launches this year. A few among them include HPE 3PAR StoreServ 8000 series, Purestorage FlashArray//m, Tintri’s entry to the AFA market, Oracle FS1 Flash array, Nutanix Acropolis and Prism, VCE VxRack, etc…

2015, for me

For me, 2015 was a great year in my professional career. New Job, new location, and new challenges … I really enjoyed the year passing by and it gave me a great opportunity to meet and work with many wonderful people. I got recognized as EMC Elect, VMware vExpert and Cisco Champion this year – second year in a row..!

One of the best part in 2015 was the tech-events I was able to be part of. I was invited for the Tech Field Day events (SFD7 in March and SFD8 in October) this year. These were great opportunities to meet some of the industry’s leading contributors, to hear from industry leaders and to learn about new products and technologies.

Hoping you all my readers had a great time in 2015 and hope you all will have another fantastic year ahead.

Wish you all a Happy New Year 2016…!

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December give aways from vBrownBag and Veeam

Goodies..! Yes, this December there are many goodies awaiting you. Gifts from vBrownBag and Veeam may be coming your way. Fill-up the small forms, sit back and relax.


vBrownBag End-Of-Year Give Away

vBrownBag as usual is giving away a bunch of wonderful goodies this year-end also. You just have to go and register yourself here for you to be eligible for this.

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The prizes are as below.

5x Mastering vSphere 5.5 eBook courtesy of Nick Marshall
3x Operating Cisco ACI Infrastructure courtesy of Lauren Malhoit
3x Virtualizing SQL Server with VMware courtesy of Pearson
3x Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions courtesy of Pearson
3x Essential Virtual SAN courtesy of Pearson
1x VMUG Advantage Subscription (1yr) courtesy of Indy VMUG
1x North Face VMTurbo swag courtesy of VMTurbo
3x Learning AWS courtesy of Packt Publishing
3x Mastering PowerCLI courtesy of Packt Publishing
3x Mastering Google App Engine courtesy of Packt Publishing
2x All access conference pass to Nutanix.NEXT & 2 nights at the Wynn courtesy of Nutanix
1x NUC Home Lab Kit courtesy of Emad Younis, Jonathan Frappier, & Kyle Ruddy
1x Synology DS414j (diskless) courtesy of Infinio
1x 3DRobotics Solo Drone courtesy of DataGravity
5x Neworking for VMware Admins and Millennium Falcon Lego kit courtesy of Rubrik
10x Raspberry Pi courtesy of Tintri

More details from the vBrownBag here. You may enroll yourself anytime before 16th December. And, you may get a good news on 31st December.

The physical prizes are for US only. Not from US ? you can still enroll for other prizes.


Win a Home Lab from Veeam

Veeam is offering you $10,000 for your home lab in their December give away. Along with this grand prize they are also offering 7 holiday kits too… Prizes in the holiday kit are based on the number participants getting enrolled. Best Practice book + Memory stick with endpoint will be there in the holiday kit and there may be Livescribe 3 smartpen (if registration crosses 500+ entries), Apple Watch (for 1500+ entries) and Sphero – BB-8™ App-Enabled Droid™ by Sphero (for 2000+ registrations).

For registration and more details visit the Veeam website here. Registration closes on 20th December. 

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Understanding NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express)

SFD8 (Storage Field Day 8) gave us a great opportunity to listen from Intel about a few latest technologies on SSDs (Solid State Drives). The main discussions were on NVMe, 3D XPOINT, ISA-L etc… . I had to do some serious self studies for a better understanding as these topics were quite new for me. Here in this post I am discussing a few points on NVMe.


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NVMe What & Why: Introduction of FLASH was big a milestone in the storage industry. A great innovation to the industry which was completely relying on the slow performance spinning disks. But even with FLASH, the way the media was being accessed remained the same – SATA and SAS. This became a big bottleneck for the high performance SSDs.

NVMe was formed as a standard protocol for accessing PCIe FLASH devices. It was formed by a group (NVMHCI group, later turned  NVM Express Inc.) of companies (Lead by Intel) in order to standardize the interface/protocol by which PCIe FLASH were being accessed. Before NVMe, each FLASH vendor was having their on standard of PCIe FLASH access. NVMe v1.0 was released in 2011.

logo-nvmexpress_tmNVMe architecture makes efficient use of the parallelism with SSDs. The result is of course high performance. Compared to SATA (which can have only 1 queue and can have 32 commands), NVMe can have 65536 seperate queues which can have 65536 commands per queue. Below table from Wikipedia will give you a comparison in more detail.


Thus with NVMe, vendors can leverage the existing PCIe technology in producing a high performance and highly efficient FLASH modules.


Image courtesy :

PCIe FLASH vendors are having NVMe support with their new products in the market. The product acceptance depends highly on how good they are in supporting the NVMe admin and IO command sets.

Intel SSD 750 series (in pic) is an example of PCIe FLASH with NVMe support.


Operating Systems : Most of the common Operating systems are now supporting NVMe. Windows 8.1 and Windows server 2012 R2 support NVMe and NVMe drivers are available as updates in Windows 7 and Windows server 2008 R2. NVMe drivers were made available for Linux and is added into the Kernel version 3.3 . NVMe is supported by other O.Ses including Solaris, OS-X, Chrome OS, OpernBSD and FreeBSD.

Additional Reading : There are many good posts available on internet on NVMe. Posts from PCWorld and flashstorage deserves a special mention. You may also find more resources from NVMe website and you will find the Wikipedia page also very useful.

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.

Posted in All-Flash, Events, Tech Field Day | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

All-Flash symphony from Violin Memory

Violin Memory is a US based Public company known for their AFA (All-Flash-Array ) storage systems in the market. Storage Field Day 8 (SFD8) helped me in having a deeper dive to the technical details of  Violin’s AFA products. Let us discuss the AFA (All-Flash-Array) architecture and technology from Violin memory here in this post.

Violin Memory Logo Full Color on White Backround - PMS431+PMS369

Nowadays the basic application requirement is performance – not GBs. And that is the reason for emerging FLASH requirements and the reason for many startups in AFA industry. Violin Memory (in the market since 2005) have some uniqueness in their products and here let’s go through some of those points.

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Hardware : Violin -instead of using commodity SSDs (what all AFA vendors do) for an AFA array- have designed their own FLASH modules called VIMMs (Violin Intelligent Memory Modules). VIMMs are made of NAND FLASH chips from Toshiba. They are designed for FLASH optimized data paths and for high level of resiliency. Multiple VIMMs  from the Flash Memory Fabric are configured in different vRAID groups.

vRAID is a proprietary RAID architecture optimized for high performance for an AFA system.


Violin hardware architecture is well designed considering the easy future upgrades without disturbing the modular architecture . The system does not require a complete revamp in case if they have to add a new/upgraded version of any component (VIMM modules, controller boards with latest processors etc… ) available in the market. The change happens only at the specific – small – part alone (as in the image).

The latest systems from Violin array are 73K and 77K which are available in 3 varieties (Capacity, Performance and Enterprise). The 77K systems supports up to 2PB and more than 2M IOPS.

Software :  The major software components in a Violin system include Concerto OS and Symphony software.

Concerto OS is the key for a Violin AFA system which helps to achieve the maximum performance from the FLASH modules. This core software improves the system performance with IO path optimization for thin/thick data, advanced dedupe mechanism, reduced IO contention etc… Concerto is the software enables some of the necessary software services including replication, CDP, CDR etc…

Symphony software is the unified management software which enables the management of all Violin products in single console. It software helps in easy accessibility and deployment of Violin products. Symphony software supports e-mail and SNMP monitoring and reporting, integration with AD/LDAP and VMware integration (vCenter plugin and VASA integration) etc… also.

Additional resources

You may find additional reading here and presentation videos from the Tech Field Day website here.

Visit the Violin Memory website for product overview and additional resources. You may read more about the FLASH storage platform here.

More posts from SFD8 on Violin –

  1. Dan Firth – Violin Memory – Sounds a lot better than it used to
  2. Mark May – Can Violin Step back From the Brink?

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.

Posted in All-Flash, Tech Field Day | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

EMC Elect 2016 – Don’t miss to nominate your heroes

Time is running out, nominate your heroes now for the EMC Elect 2016 batch. If you feel someone’s contribution towards EMC products and services to the community (ECN, Social events, Blogs, Tweets, LinkedIn posts etc…) need to be recognized, you can nominate him/her for the program and it can be a self nomination too…


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About the program : EMC Elect is an annual recognition program from EMC to value the social contributions towards EMC and their services. Contributions include the EMC Community Network threads, social events, Blog posts, tweets, LinkedIn posts etc…

You can read more about the program from the FAQs here.

Being an Elect Member : An EMC Elect gets privileged access to events including the EMC World, Blogger briefing sessions prior to product releases etc…, swag from EMC and program partners and more…

In simple words, being an EMC Elect, one will be part of an elite class of individuals – sources for great contributions to the community- and is a great honor for anyone.

You may read more about the program and nomination process from Mark Browne‘s blog.

And the most important part,

You can enter your nominations here anytime before 30th November 2015.

So don’t be late, nominate now..!

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Infinibox – Enterprise storage solution from Infinidat

During the SFD8 event recently, we had a presentation from Infinidat. A company lead by Moshe Yanai, a man who needs no words of introduction in storage industry. Infinibox  is an enterprise storage array from Infinidat referred (by one of the presenter) to as Moshe v3.0, after EMC Symmetrix and IBM XIV.


Infinibox, being a new-player in the industry is a very big competition to the existing market leaders in the enterprise storage category. Let us discuss about the product and features in this post here.

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Hardware : Infinibox hardware components have an N+2 protection including for their controllers. The system will be having 3 active-active nodes interconnected via an infiniband network. The disk enclosures (Up to 480 disk drives via 8 disk enclosures supported) will be connected to the nodes either directly or via daisy-chain connectivity. The system can have upto 3 TB of RAM.

In case of the active path failure or IO congestion , data will be sent over infiniband network to the secondary node and will be written to the end disk.

Software features and IO handling : The incoming data will be divided to 64KB blocks and will be written as 14+2 data stripes. But the data will be treated at 4K granularity at the cache level. This improves performance especially in case of random reads.

Unlike many other systems, Infinibox does not have dedicated hotspare drives. The system reserves small amount (5%) of space in disks for rebuilds in case of drive failure. With this rebuild capability the system can survive upto 12 drive failures even in case if the system is having 100% data written.

The snapshot mechanism with Infinibox is awesome with very less performance impact. With this feature, system can have huge number of snaps (~100k snaps/system) with no performance impact.

The system now supports NFS protocol, along with FC and iSCSI. SMB (and FICON connectivity) is not production now but will be soon available to customers which will make Infinibox a complete Unified array.

Conclusion : Infinibox have already got customer confidence over the industry leaders in enterprise storage and have a lot of systems sold. Infinidat is making huge efforts to ensure they are delivering the best to the customers – including the 3 weeks of burn-in for new systems before shipment . With the technology and engineering behind and many other attractions they are offering – including cost reduction to the customers – they have lot more to achieve in this industry.

Additional resources

You may find additional reading here and presentation videos from the Tech Field Day website here.

Visit the Infinidat website for product overview and additional resources.

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.

Posted in Events, Tech Field Day | Tagged , , | 2 Comments