Archive for the ‘Storage’ Category

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 (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

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

Montreal VMUG Presentations (March 13th, 2013)

Merci à tous ceux qui ont participé au VMUG de Montréal. Voici les présentations de VMware, Veeam et HP. J’ai aussi inclus ma presentation d’intro. N’hésitez pas à les partager avec vos collègues.


Thank you to everyone who attended the Montreal VMUG on Wednesday. Below are the presentations from VMware, Veeam and HP. Feel free to share them with your colleagues.

Download VMUG Opening Slides

Download Horizon Suite – Technical Overview

Download HP 3PAR StoreServ for Virtualization

Download Veeam and HP Modernize your Data Protection Strategy


Don’t Forget! – Montreal VMUG: Wednesday, March 13th


Join us at the next MTL-VMUG taking place on Wednesday, March 13th,  2013

Registration is now open and available to all.

Join HP as they talk about their new 3PAR StoreServ Storage. Veeam will compliment that with a presentation of Modern Data Storage with HP Storage and Veeam Backup and Replication.

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
1379 Sherbrook Street West
Montreal, Canada H3G 1J5
Click here for driving directions

8:30 am – 12:00 pm

Meeting Agenda

  • 8:30 am    :  Registration / Breakfast / Networking
  • 9:00 am    :  Introductions
  • 9:15 am     :  VMware Presentation – Horizon Suite
  • 10:00 am :  HP Presentation – HP 3PAR StoreServ Storage and VMware vSphere 5 best practices
  • 10:45 am  :  Break
  • 11:00 am  : Veeam Presentation – Modern Data Storage with HP Storage and Veeam Backup and Replication
  • 11:45 am  :  Raffle / Wrap-up


Montreal VMUG: Post-Event Blog (Sept 20th, 2012)


I would like to thank everyone for making the Sept 20th Montreal VMUG a success!  Below are the links and presentations that were highlighted at the #MTLVMUG.

F5 Presentation (PDF) :

F5-VMUG Presentation-Sept-20

Oracle Presentation (Video):

Oracle’s Sun ZFS Storage Appliance in a VMware Environment

Sun ZFS Storage & Hybrid Columnar Compression Demonstration

RMAN Backups with Snaps and Clones Demonstration

Additional links from Oracle:

– Storage Magazine NAS quality awards

– Sun ZFS Storage Appliances

– Oracle beats NetApp and EMC in Storage Magazine Quality awards for NAS

– Edison Group Manageability White Paper

– ZFSSA Simulator

– Hybrid Columnar Compression

What’s New with VMware vSphere 5.1

Once again, another VMworld has passed and as usual, VMware does not disappoint with the announcement of vSphere 5.1 and a slew of new features. The following is a summary of all the latest additions and improvements to vSphere. In addition, below are the PDF links to VMware’s technical documents that give you a deep dive and talk about other minor but still important features. Spread the word, retweet and Enjoy.


• Larger virtual machines :  64 vCPU and 1TB RAM

• Version 9 of VM Hardware: Better graphics and CPU performance counters


• Flexible, space-efficient storage for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)


• vSphere Distributed Switch: Network health check, switch config backup/restore, LACP support

• Single-root I/O virtualization (SR-IOV) support


• vMotion: No shared storage required!

• Data Protection: EMC Avamar backup platform replaces VMware Data recovery software.

• vSphere Replication: RPO as low as 15 minutes.

• Zero-downtime upgrade for VMware Tools: No reboots! One of my favorite features.


• VMware vShield Endpoint: Improvements


• vSphere Storage DRS and Profile-Driven Storage: New integration with vCD, further efficiencies and automation in private cloud environment.

• vSphere Auto Deploy: Two new methods for auto deploying hosts.


• vSphere Web Client : Looks amazing, The vSphere Web Client is now the core administrative interface for vSphere.

• vCenter Single Sign-On: access all instances or layers of vCenter with SSO authentication.

• vCenter Orchestrator: Newly designed workflows enhance ease of use, and can also be launched directly from the new  vSphere Web Client


• No more vRAM licensing, no CPU core limits, 1 license per socket, that’s it!

VMware Document Links:

What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.1

What’s new in VMware vCenter 5.1

What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.1 – Networking

What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.1 – Platform

What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.1 – Storage

What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.1 – Performance

Introduction to VMware vSphere Replication

Introduction to VMware vSphere Data Protection

What’s new in VMware vSphere Storage Appliance

What’s new in vCloud Director 5.1

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