Quality of components in Hybrid / All flash storage

Today I was answering some questions on the VMTN forums and one of the questions was around the quality of components in some of the all flash / hybrid arrays. This person kept coming back to the type of flash used (eMLC vs MLC, SATA vs NL-SAS vs SAS). One of the comments he made was the following:

I talked to Pure Storage but they want $$$ for 11TB of consumer grade MLC.

I am guessing he did a quick search on the internet, found a price for some SSDs and multiplied it and figured that Pure Storage was asking way too much… And even compared to some more traditional arrays filled with SSD they could sound more expensive. I guess this also applies to other solutions, so I am not calling out Pure Storage here.One thing some people seem to forget is that when it comes to these new storage architectures is that they are build with flash in mind.

What does that mean? Well everyone has heard all of the horror stories around consumer grade flash wearing out extremely fast and blowing up in your face. Well fortunately that is only true to a certain extent as some consumer grade SSDs easily reach 1PB of writes these days. On top of that there are a couple of things I think you should know and consider before making statements like these or be influenced by a sales team who says “well we offer SLC versus MLC so we are better than them”.

For instance (As Pure Storage lists on their website), there are many more MLC drives shipped than any other type at this point. Which means that it has been tested inside out by consumers, who can break devices in many more ways than you or your QA team can? Right, the consumer! More importantly if you ask me, ALL of these new storage architectures have in-depth knowledge of the type of flash they are using. That is how their system was architected! They know how to leverage flash, they know how to write to flash, they know how to avoid fast wear out. They developed an architecture which was not only designed but also highly optimized for flash… This is what you pay for. You pay for the “total package” which means the whole solution, not just those flash devices that are leveraged. The flash devices are a part of the solution, and just a relatively small part if you ask me. You pay for total capacity with low latency and functionality like deduplication, compression and replication (in some cases). You pay for the ease of deployment and management (operational efficiency), meaning you get to spent your time on stuff that matters to your customer… their applications.

You can summarize all of it in a single sentence: the physical components used in all of these solutions are just a small part of the solution, whenever someone tries to sell you the “hardware” that is when you need to be worried!

CloudPhysics Storage Analytics and new round of funding

When I just woke up I saw the news was out… A new round of funding for CloudPhysics! CloudPhysics raised $15 million in a series C investment round, bringing the company’s total funding to $27.5 million! Congratulations folks, I can’t wait to see what this new injection will result in to. One of the things that CloudPhysics heavily invested in to the past 12 months has been the storage side of the house. In their SaaS based solution one of the major pillars today is Storage Analytics, along side General Health Checks and Simulations.

The Storage Analytics section is available as of today to everyone out there! It will allow you to monitor things like “datastore contention”, “unused VMs” and everything there is to know about capacity savings ranging from inside the guest to datastore level details. If you ever wondered how “big data” could be of use to you, I am sure you will understand when you start using CloudPhysics. Not just their monitoring and simulation cards are brilliant, the Card Builder is definitely one of their hidden gems. If you need to convince your management, than all you should do is show the above screenshot: savings opportunity!

Of course there is a lot more to it than I will be able to write about in this short post. In my opinion if you truly want to understand what they bring to the table, just try it out for free for 30 days here!

PS: How about this brilliant Infographic… from the people who taught you how to fight the noisy neighbour, they now show you how to defeat that bully!

**disclaimer: I am an advisor to CloudPhysics **

Quick pointer to new Virtual SAN Ready Node configs

Just a quick pointer to the new document that holds all Virtual SAN Ready Node configurations: Virtual SAN Ready Node.pdf. In this document various new configurations are described and a couple of old ready node configurations appear to have been removed. I expect these new configurations to be added in the upcoming weeks.

Another very useful document recently released on the topic of Virtual SAN hardware is the following: Virtual SAN Hardware Quick Reference Guide. It describes for both Server and VDI workloads different profiles and give examples around how you should configure your hardware to meet certain requirements.

FW: Dear Clouderati Enterprise IT is different…

I hardly ever do this, posting people to a blog post… I was going through my backlog of articles to read when I spotted this article by my colleague Chuck Hollis. I had an article in my draft folder on the subject of web scale myself. Funny enough it so close to Chuck’s that there is no point in publishing it… rather I would like to point you to Chuck’s article instead.

To me personally, the below quote captures the essence of the article really well.

If you’re a web-scale company, IT doesn’t just support the business, IT is the business.

It is a discussion I have had on twitter a couple of times. I think Web Scale is a great concept, and I understand the value for companies like Google, Facebook or any other large organization in the need of highly scalable application landscape. But the emphasize here is on the application and its requirements, and it makes a big difference if you are providing support for hundreds if not thousands of applications which are not build in-house. If anyone tells you that because it is good for Google/Facebook/Twitter it must be good for you, ask yourself what the requirements are of your application. What does your application landscape look like today? What will it look like tomorrow? And what will be your IT needs for the upcoming years? Read more in this excellent post by Chuck, and make sure to leave a comment! Dear Clouderati Enterprise IT is different…

 

Tour through VMware vCloud Hybrid Service part 1

Last week I received an account for the VMware vCloud Hybrid Services through one of our internal teams. I wanted to play around with it just to see what it can do and how things work, but also to see what the user experience was like, basically a tour through VMware vCloud Hybrid Service. I received my username and a link to set a password via email and it literally took 3 seconds to get started after setting that password. First I was presented with was a screen that showed the regions I had to my disposal as shown below, 4 regions.

You may wonder why that matters, well it is all about availability… Of course each region individually will have done everything there is to be done when it comes to resiliency but what if a whole site blows up? Well that is where multiple regions come in to play. I just want to deploy a small virtual machine for now so I am going to select a random site… I will use Virginia. [Read more...]