Free eBook: vSphere Design Pocketbook

Several weeks ago Frank Denneman announced the contributors to the newly released vSphere Design Pocketbook: Tweet-sized vSphere Design Considerations. I am proud to say that a couple of my suggestions made it into the book. The eBook is available to download for free thanks to PernixData. Get it HERE.

If you’re looking for a hard copy, you’ll have to go to one of the following events and meet PernixData face to face to get one!


Gartner Magic Quadrant: x86 Server Virtualization

Gartner recently released its 2013 Magic Quadrant for x86 Server Virtualization. Quick summary in comparison to last years Quadrant (see 2012 below): Not much change for Oracle, Parallels and Redhat. On the other hand Citrix lost some ground (probably due to the fact that they are focusing on Desktop Virtualization), and with no surprise Microsoft’s score has increased. It seems that Microsoft’s platform has matured and is beginning to turn heads in bigger enterprises, VMware still dominates the enterprise market. As much as I love VMware’s products, I like the fact that Microsoft is doing well and keeping VMware on their toes. Remember that competition sparks innovation and lower costs and will always benefit the customers. I encourage you to read the full report from Gartner and let me know if you agree with their assessment.

Figure 1.Magic Quadrant for x86 Server Virtualization Infrastructure

Released: vSphere 5.x Network Port Diagram

Just to let you all know that VMware updated their vSphere network port diagram and detailed port list. The document covers ESXi, vCenter, vCloud Director, Update Manager and Orchestrator. The detailed list covers port numbers, protocol type, source/target, and the purpose. This is a must have for any serious system admin or vAnalyst/vArchitect.

Download it here



7-15-2013 11-28-25 AM


One year free Trainsignal subscription for 2013 vExperts!

For those who ARE on the list of the 581 vExperts named in 2013, TrainSignal’s special gift for you is one year of free, unlimited IT video training. Includes the following:

  • Over 1,500 hours of IT pro video training
  • Over 200 hours of VMware video training
  • 30 VMware courses that include topics like vSphere 5.1, vSphere Advanced Networking, vCenter Operations Manager, vCloud Director 5.1, vSphere Performance, vSphere Troubleshooting, vSphere Design and new courses on the way (including VCAP-DCA5, EMC Storage Essentials, and more)
  • Certification practice exams (including the VCP)
  • Offline viewer (Win/Mac)
  • iPad compatible streaming

Go get it! Click here.

A big thank you to TrainSignal!

Categories: Training, Virtualization

Gartner (2013) Magic Quadrant for General-Purpose Disk Arrays

For those who haven’t seen it, Gartner released their 2013 Magic Quadrant for General-Purpose Disk Arrays.

As expected, the big 6 are in the top right quadrant. The difference this year is that the big 6 are bunched closer together, which most probably represents that the playing field is beginning to even out. EMC is still sitting on the throne, this is due to their marketing abilities and well built ecosystem. Also, new in the visionaries (bottom-right) is Nimble Storage, a private storage company gaining ground quickly.

I suggest you take this with a grain of salt; with software defined storage and host based flash caching around the corner, it will definitely change the game and in essence the landscape. What do you think? View the complete Gartner Analysis.

Figure 1.Magic Quadrant for General-Purpose Disk Arrays

VMware Visio stencils based on Powerpoint icons and graphics *Updated 2013*

Maish Saidel-Keesing over at Technodrone has recently released part 3 of 3 visio stencils from the VMware Icons and Images set. Make sure to download all three parts since updates were done to the older stencils as well. Enjoy!

Download: Part 3

Download: Part 2

Download: Part 1

See below for details on each part.

Part 3 contains:

  • Part 3 includes the following products:
    • Orchestrator (x2)
    • CapacityIQ
    • Chargeback
    • Appspeed
    • Site Recovery Manager (x3)
    • Studio
    • vCloud Director
    • VMware Server
    • View (x6)
    • ThinApp (x2)
    • vCloud Director (x2)

Part 2 contains:

  • VMware concepts (i.e. HA, vMotion, FT, VDR) – with which you can expand your diagrams.
  • Additional Icons (not in part 1)

Part 1 contains:

  • Box Shots
  • Icons
  • 2D icons
  • Shapes and Assets
  • Build Your Own – a preset group of Icons with which you can build your own Visio Diagrams

PernixData: The next big thing?

PernixData is a company founded by Satyam Vaghani (ex-VMware principal engineer who was responsible for VMFS, VAAI, etc…) and Poojan Kumar (former VMware Data products lead and ex-Oracle ExaData founder).

Their basis is leveraging currently popular host based flash technology and doing to it what VMware did for physical compute. Why you may ask? IT has reached a point where many heavy/Tier-1 apps are now virtualized, the bottleneck for most (if not all) environments is storage. The solution that we are all used to is to buy a bigger and better storage engine, or add more spindles to increase your IOPS. PernixData Flash Virtualization Platform will provide the IOPS you need. Performance will increase as the hosts in the cluster scale up. See screenshot for results provided by PernixData:

5-7-2013 10-03-45 PM

PernixData’s technology virtualizes all flash storage resources across all hosts in an vSphere cluster (this includes SSD, PCI-E flash cards, or a combination of both if needed. Note that the devices need to be on VMware’s hardware compatibility list). Once it’s installed, PernixData will use the local flash as cache, all the active data will be stored and accessed in flash, the backend storage will serve as a place to keep data at rest. Now what makes this PernixData shine is its ability to treat the cache on each host as one resource pool. It basically duplicates the cache on the other hosts in the cluster (in an intelligent fasion), thus providing high availability for the cached data in the case of a server or flash device failure, and allowing to keep the VM’s cache after executing a vMotion.

PernixData allows for write-through mode, but the ability to have the cache highly available also allows for write-back mode. If a physical failure does occur, there is no data corruption, and the data is able to safely be de-staged to the back-end storage. The write-back will allow for your “heavy” applications to have incredible write IOPS as well as read IOPS that they require. The write-back can be enabled per VM only if needed.

Product Diagram

The other exciting part is that PernixData FVP integrates seamlessly into vSphere. It’s installed via the update manager as a package. Once it’s installed you need just to setup one small Windows 2008 VM for the management. It then taps into vCenter and allows you to install a plugin on the client side that adds an extra tab so you can have proper visibility of your config, flash pools and performance metrics. The software inserts itself in the data-path to the SAN and intercepts the read/write commands.

This seamless integration is why it works with:

  • any storage vendor, as long as it’s FC/iSCSI/FCoE protocol and on vSphere’s HCL (eventually NFS as well).
  • any PCIe and SSD flash device on vSphere’s HCL.
  • any server vendor on vSphere’s HCL.
  • minimum version of vSphere 5.0 and higher.
  • Allows vMotion, Storage vMotion, HA, DRS, SDRS, etc…

I encourage you to watch the video’s below on the complete presentation (from high level to deep dive) on PernixData FVP. Although their platform is not GA as of yet, they are accepting beta testers. Send them an email: and visit their site at

%d bloggers like this: