Minimum bandwidth requirements per concurrent vMotion?

I have been digging for a long time now to figure out what the minimum bandwidth requirements are per concurrent vMotion. After a long time I finally managed to get a statement. In the past the statement was made that 622Mbps was the minimum required bandwidth for vMotion, it appears that this is incorrect for vSphere 5.0 and higher. With vSphere 5.0 a new feature called Stun During Page Send (SDPS) was introduced and this has decreased the bandwidth requirements from 622Mpbs down to 250Mbps per concurrent vMotion.

Always nice to know right?!

ESXi “Management traffic” tickbox, what does it do?

I have seen this popping up various times over the last few years. That little tickbox on your VMkernel NIC that says “Management traffic” (aka management network) what is it for? What if I untick it, will SSH to that VMkernel still work? Will the HA heartbeat still work? Can I still ping the VMkernel NIC? Those are all questions I have had in the past, and I can understand why… I would say that the term “Management traffic” is really really poorly chosen, but why?

The feature described as “Management traffic” does nothing more than enabling that VMkernel NIC for HA heartbeat traffic. Yes that is it. Even if you disable this feature, management traffic, you can still use the VMkernel’s associated IP address for adding it to vCenter Server. You can still SSH that VMkernel associated IP address if you have SSH enabled. So keep that in mind.

Yes I fully agree, very confusing but there you have it: the “management traffic” enables the HA heartbeat network, nothing more and nothing less.

Startup News Flash part 2

First part of the Startup News Flash was published a couple of weeks ago, and as many things have happened I figured I would publish another. At times I guess I will miss out on a news fact or a new company, if that happens don’t hesitate to leave a comment with your findings/opinion or just a link to what you feel is newsworthy! As mentioned in part 1 the primary focus of this article is Startup news / Flash related news. As you can see most flash related except for one.

Nimbus Data launched two brand new arrays: Gemini F400 / F600 arrays. These are all flash arrays, and bring something unique to the table for sure… and that is costs: price per useable gigabyte is $0.78. Yes, that is low indeed. How do they bring it down? Well of course by very efficient deduplication and compression. On top of that, by leveraging standard hardware and getting all smarts from software the price can be kept low. According to the press release these new arrays will be able to provide between 3TB and 48TB of capacity (I almost said disk space there…) and will be shipping end of this year! Although Nimbus declared Hybrid Storage officially dead, mainly because of the cost of Nimbus all flash solution (the F400 starts under US$60,000, the F600 starts under US$80,000.), I still think there is a lot of room for growth in that space and many customer will be interested in those solutions. My question yesterday on twitter was to Nimbus which configuration they did the math with to declare hybrid dead, because cost per gigabyte is one thing, the upfront investment to reach that price point is another. It will be interesting to see how they will do the upcoming 12-18 months, but it is needless to say that they will be going after their competition aggressively. Talking about competition….

Last year at VMworld I briefly stopped at the Tegile booth, besides the occasional tweet I kind of lost track until recent as Tegile just announced series C funding… Not pocket money I would say but a serious round, $35 million, led by Meritech Capital Partners and original stakeholder August Capital and strategic partners Western Digital and SanDisk.  For those who don’t know, Tegile is a storage company who sells both a hybrid and an “all-flash” solution and they have done this in an interesting modular fashion (all-flash placed in front of spinning disks = modular hybrid). Of course they also offer functionality like dedupe/compression and replication. Although I haven’t heard too much from them lately it is a booth I will surely stop by at VMworld. Again, there is a lot of competition in this space and it would be interesting to see an “All-flash / Hybrid Storage bake off”. Tegile vs Nimbus, Nimble vs Tintri, Pure Storage vs Violin…

Violin Memory just announced the 6264 flash Memory Array. This new all flash storage system can provide a capacity of 64 TiB/70.3 TB with a footprint of just 3U, and that is impressive if you ask me. On top of that, it can provide up to 1 million IOps and at a ultra low latency! Who doesn’t want to have 1 million IOps to its disposal right? (More specs to be found here.) To me though what was more exciting in this press release was the announcement of a management tool called Symphony. Symphony provides a single pane of glass for all your Violin devices (read more details here.) It provides a smart management interface that allows you to create custom dashboard, comprehensive reporting, tagging and filtering and of course they provide a RESTful API for you admins out there who love to automate things. Nice announcement from Violin Memory, and those already running Violin hardware I would definitely recommend evaluating Symphony as the video looks promising.

CloudPhysics just announced the Card Store is GA as of today (13th August 2013) and a new round of funding ($ 10 million) led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Previous investors the Mayfield Fund, Mark Leslie, Peter Wagner, Carl Waldspurger, Nigel Stokes, Matt Ocko and VMware co-founders also participated in this round. I would say an exciting day for CloudPhysics. Many have asked over the last year why have I always been enthusiastic about what they do? I think John Blumenthal (CEO) explains it best:

Our servers receive a daily stream of 80+ billion samples of configuration, performance, failure and event data from our global user base with a total of 20+ trillion data points to date. This ‘collective intelligence,’ combined with CloudPhysics’ patent-pending datacenter simulation and unique resource management techniques, empowers enterprise IT to drive Google-like operations excellence using actionable analytics from a large, relevant, continually refreshed data set.

If you are interested in testing their solution, sign up for a free trial  at Pricing starts at $49/month per physical server, more details here. For those wondering what CloudPhysics has to do with flash, well they’ve got a card for that!

That was it for Part 2, hope you found it a useful round-up and I will expect to be able to publish another startup news flash within 2 weeks!


My VMworld US 2013 schedule…

It seems that the dust has finally settled, it is clear what my VMworld schedule will look like. Well for now at least, as I will expect some “one on one” slots to be added, as part of the Expert track. If one of the sessions fills up there might also be a repeat, who knows… I will use this blogpost though to keep track of my agenda, for those who care:

I had the question various times if there will be a chance to meet up. Typically my schedule is packed with various customer meetings, however as mentioned there are the “one on one” slots that can be signed up for during VMworld. Also, feel free to come up to me when you see me walking in the hallway / after my session / at a social event. Don’t be afraid, I love to talk to readers and understand what keeps you guys up at night. (No, I am not as grumpy/grouchy in real life as I sometimes seem to be on twitter.) Talking about Social Events, which seems to become a bigger and bigger part of VMworld every year, these are the ones I am aiming to attend:

  • Saturday: vBeers, Cheiftain
  • Sunday: VMworld Welcome Reception
  • Monday: Nimble Storage, VMUG Reception
  • Tuesday: PernixData, CloudPhysics, VMware CTO Event, Lightspeed, Veeam
  • Wednesday: VMworld Party AT&T Park

Yes, busy times ahead… Now lets see if I can finalize that presentation.

PS: If you don’t prefer using the website, there is an app for Android and iOS. I just installed the iOS app, you never know when you need it right!

Startup News Flash part 1

I am on PTO this week so have tried to avoid spending time behind my mac/iPhone/iPad, well tried I guess… It is difficult as most of you probaby know and have realized. While on vacation a couple of interesting things happened, hence this Startup New Flash blog post. The primary focus of this article is Startup news / Flash related news. Preferably in the storage / flash space. This can be flash caching, flash arrays, hybrid arrays, flash drives… you name it! I guess “new technologies from old companies” would even fit. Will try to make this a regular thing… Or at least use the same title when there is something flashy announced or worth calling out.

For those who have been living under a rock the last week, besides introducing a brand new logo, PernixData announced general availability of FVP 1.0. On Monday my RSS reader was filled with Pernix related articles, and I was almost at the point of muting “Pernix” on twitter. So why the excitement, what did they announce? Hopefully most of you have read my article on Pernix, or have been following Frank’s series of articles. I guess everyone is aware that Pernix offers a hypervisor based flash virtualization platform. Meaning that their solution is installed as a “vib” within ESXi, indeed not an appliance based approach. But others are doing this as well, so what is so unique about it? Write-back caching… Clustered write-back caching that is, so guaranteeing consistency of your IO. In other words, when within FVP you enable “write-back” caching, you can select how many relicas of the IO you want. (Currently it ranges from 0 to 2.) Pricing for the enterprise solution was also announced, $ 7500,- per host. The announcement mentions their will be a different SKU for SMB, so looking forward to hear the details on that. One thing which I didn’t know is that Pernix also has optimization for View environments, it contains a form of “dedupe” for the base images… Frank revealed this on the APAC podcast (episode 77) he was on, hosted by Mike Laverick. (Recommend listening to it.) All in all an exciting and unique 1.0 release… I guess you might wonder where I think they should focus on, for me that would be NFS support and potentially support for other hypervisors, but if I recall correctly Satyam or Frank mentioned that those are being worked on.

Diablo announced Memory Channel Storage (MCS). The next logical step if you ask me when it comes to reducing latency and increasing bandwidth. MCS basically brings flash closer to your CPU by leveraging the memory bus instead of PCIe/SAS/SATA. Interesting concept, something worth exploring. Especially considering you can present it as either normal memory (how about TBs of memory for a fraction of the price?) or as a block device. This means that you could potentially use Diablo as a target for a flash caching solution. One of the benefits many people listed is that this solution would be very useful in blade environments or hyperconverged due to the fact that it eliminate the need for a PCIe slot, or a disk slot… I guess that is somewhat true, in many of those cases the number of memory slots will also be limited so it doesn’t really solve those types of constraints immediately. Nevertheless, interesting solution which is worth exploring and definitely offers new opportunities.

Another interesting announcement came from a startup called Crossbar. Crossbar came out of stealthmode this week, and is working on RRAM. With 20x faster write performance at 20x lower power consumption and much higher capacity density compared to best of breed flash solutions you can understand why people are excited about Crossbar. The market opportunity is huge here, and various companies have been working on it… So far not many have been able to execute on it at scale, so congrats to Crossbar, and definitely a company and a solution to keep your eye on. I know I will, I have already added them to my twitter startup watch list.