I was discussing this issue with a good friend of mine over at Tintri, Fintan Comyns. Fintan was seeing some strange behaviour with the cloning on Windows 2008 R2 Guest OS running in virtual machines using the Tintri VAAI-NAS plugin, and wanted to know if this behaviour was normal or not. Basically what he was seeing was that a clone operation of a virtual machine was not being offloaded. Rather, he was seeing two separate independent snapshots (snapshots that were not in a chain, but both pointing to the base VMDK) were getting created at the time of the cloning operation. Fintan also reported that if they used to the Sync Driver or stopped VMware Tools altogether in the Windows 2008 R2 Guest OS, the operation worked and the clone operation was being offloaded. The same operation was tried with a Windows 7 Guest OS running in a virtual machine, and in this case a single snapshot was created which was offloaded. so what was going on? It had us scratching our heads for a while.
There is a new storage vendor on the block – COHO DATA – who just exited stealth and launched their new product with the tag ‘Storage for the Cloud Generation’. I had the opportunity recently to catch up with Andy Warfield, co-founder and CTO of COHO DATA. Andy has a long history of involvement with storage and virtualization. A graduate of Cambridge University in the UK, he was involved in XenSource where he developed much of the low-level storage integration mechanisms for external storage arrays like NetApp and DELL EqualLogic. Andy gave me an in-depth interview related to their new product, and why certain development directions were taken by COHO DATA.
I met with the guys from Tintri at VMworld 2013 in San Francisco, and they had some nice new products that they were just on the verge of launching. Tintri has already made a number of announcements this year related to replication and availability in their VMstore system. The official new product announcement took place earlier this week (October 8th in fact), just in time for VMworld Europe, so I thought I’d highlight some of the them here.
SimpliVity are another storage vendor I highly recommend that you check out at VMworld 2013. I wrote an article about them prior to VMworld 2012. Essentially, SimpliVity wanted to stop the sprawl of appliances in your data center and to that end, they ship an appliance that takes care all of these functions (dedupe, backup, I/O acceleration, etc). The bonus is that you do not have idle resources/appliances hanging around when that particular function is not being used. They have just announced new enhancements to their OmniStack software and have introduced a number of new OmniCube hardware models. I caught up with Jesse St. Laurent to get the full details.
This is something that was recently brought to my attention, and I wasn’t aware of this difference in behavior between the various storage vendors who implement VAAI-NAS. VAAI-NAS implements a number of different offload primitives, but the one we are interested in here is the Fast File Clone primitive which is the ability to offload the creation of snapshots/clones to the NAS storage array. This mechanism is also referred to as Native Snapshots. However, some arrays cannot support a full chain of snapshots.
Another storage vendor that I finally managed to catch up with at this year’s VMware Partner Exchange was Tegile. I was curious about the name, and I learnt that Tegile was a merging of the terms Technology and Agility. Tegile is another vendor that I have seen at various events, but have not had an opportunity to catch up with them in person and learn about their products. This time, I got an opportunity to catch up with Rob Commins (VP of Marketing) and Mike Recker of Tegile, and put a few questions to them.