A closer look at Nexenta Connect for VSAN

nexenta_partnerlogoWhilst at VMworld 2014, I had the opportunity to catch up with the Nexenta team who have been working on a very interesting project with VMware’s Virtual SAN (VSAN). The Nexenta Connect for VSAN product, running on top of VSAN, is designed to provide file services, which allows VSAN to not only store your virtual machines, but also to provide SMB and NFS shares for those virtual machines. I caught up with Michael Letschin and Gijsbert Janssen van Doorn of the Nexenta team to learn more and get a tech preview of the product.

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A closer look at Maxta

maxtaMaxta are another storage vendor that I managed to get talking to at this years’ VMworld conference in San Francisco. Although they were present at last year’s VMworld, they only announced themselves in earnest last November (11/12/13) with the release of the Maxta Storage Platform (MxSP). I spent some time with Kiran Sreenivasamurthy, Director of PM & PMM at Maxta, and he was very open in sharing details on the Maxta product.

If you read the blurb on Maxta on the VMworld sponsor/exhibitor list, it states that they eliminate the need for storage arrays, provide enterprise class data services and has full virtualization integration from UI to data management.

So on the face of it, Maxta is another converged solution, similar in many respects to VMware’s own Virtual SAN, Nutanix, Simplivity, etc. So what makes Maxta so different? Kiran shared his views with me here.

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vSphere 5.x, NFS, VAAI-NAS & IPv6 Support

ipv6A short note to clarify something that has come up a number of times in recent weeks here at VMware. There have been a number of discussions about whether or not we support NFS over IPv6 on vSphere 5.x,  and again, on whether or not we support the VAAI-NAS primitives in the same context.

VAAI is an API for offloading tasks to the storage array, but for offloading tasks to NAS arrays, storage vendors need to create  their own plugins for the ESXi hosts to achieve this. You can learn more about VAAI-NAS by clicking here. So what about IPv6 support and NFS? And VAAI-NAS?

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VAAI-NAS, vCloud Director and Cloning Offload Strangeness

tintriI was in a conversation with one of my pals over at Tintri last week (Fintan), and he observed some strange behaviour when provisioning VMs from a catalog in vCloud Director (vCD). When he disabled Fast Provisioning, he expected that provisioning further VMs from the catalog would still be offloaded via the VAAI-NAS plugin. All the ESXi hosts have the VAAI-NAS plugin from Tintri installed. However,  it seems that the provisioning/cloning operation was not being offloaded to the array, and the ESXi hosts resources were being used for the operation instead. Deployments of VMs from the catalogs were taking minutes rather than seconds. What was going on?

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Heads Up! Patches now available for NFS APD Issue

Very quick update …

Many readers will be aware of an ongoing issue with NFS in ESXi 5.5U1. My colleague, Duncan, wrote an article about it on his blog site recently entitled – Alert: vSphere 5.5 & NFS issue. Essentially, your NFS datastore may experience an APD (All Paths Down) condition. The issue is also described in KB article 2076392.

I’m pleased to say that VMware has now produced a patch to address this issue. The patch is 5.5EP4 (June 2014) and can be downloaded from VMware’s patch repository site here and will address this issue. Search on ESXi (Embedded and Installable), version 5.5.0. Another KB article, 2077360, has more information about the patch fix.

PernixData revisited – a chat with Frank Denneman

pernixdataI’m sure Frank Denneman will need no introduction to many of you reading this article. Frank & I both worked in the technical marketing organization at VMware, before Frank moved on to PernixData last year and I moved to Integration Engineering here at VMware. PernixData FVP 1.0 released last year, and I did a short post on them here. I’d seen a number of people discussing new FVP features in the community, especially after PernixData’s co-founder Satyam’s presentation at Tech Field Day 5 (#TFD5). I decided to reach out to Frank, and see if he could spare some time to revisit some of the new features that PernixData is planning to introduce. Fortunately, he did. I started by asking Frank about how PernixData is doing in general, before moving onto the new bits.

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VAAI-NAS clone behaviour with Windows 2008

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.

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