A closer look at NetApp clustered Data ONTAP

netapp-logoI’ve been having some interesting discussions with my friends over at NetApp recently. I wanted to learn more about their new clustered Data ONTAP 8.2 features and its new scale-out functionality. In the storage array world, traditional scale-up mechanisms usually involved either replacing disk drives with faster/newer models or replacing old array controllers with newer controllers. In worst case scenarios, fork lift upgrades are required to do a technology refresh of your array. Another approach, scale-out, is fast becoming the accepted way of handling storage requirements going forward. Scale out storage is now big news. With scale-out, you simply add additional resources to your already existing shared storage pool.

Over the past year I have been to a number of VMUGs (VMware User Group) meetings and have sat in on some of the NetApp sessions on their clustered Data ONTAP release. NetApp have also realized that the demand is there for scale-out, and they have introduced their very own unified scale-out storage solution called clustered Data ONTAP. Basically, this allows you to take a bunch of different NetApp storage array models and cluster them together to provide a single, unified and virtualized share storage pool. Using clustered Data ONTAP 8.2, NetApp customers can now increase scalability using a scale-out rather than a scale-up approach. Let’s look at clustered Data ONTAP and some of the new features it brings in more detail. Continue reading

A closer look at SolidFire

solidfireAll Flash Arrays continue to make the news. Whether it is EMC’s XtremIO launch or Violin Memory’s current market woes, there is no doubt that AFAs continue to generate a lot of interest. Those of you interested in flash storage will not need an introduction to SolidFire. These guys were founded by Dave Wright (ex-RackSpace) and have been around since 2009. I have been trying to catch up with SolidFire for sometime as I’d heard their pitch around Quality of Service on a per volume basis and wanted to learn more, especially how it integrated with vSphere features. Recently I caught up with Dave Cahill and Adam Carter of SolidFire to have a chat about SolidFire in general and what the VMware integration points are.

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A closer look at EMC ScaleIO

scaleioThanks to our friends at EMC, I was recently given the chance to attend a session on EMC’s new storage acquisition, ScaleIO. This acquisition generated a lot of interest (and perhaps some confusion) as VMware Virtual SAN product seemed to play in that same storage area. My good friend Chad Sakac over at EMC wrote about this some 6 months ago in his evocatively titled blog post VSAN vs. ScaleIO fight! Chad explains where, in his opinion, each product can be positioned and how EMC/VMware customers have a choice of storage options. His article is definitely worth a read.  I wanted to learn more about the ScaleIO product and share this with you.

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Simplivity – OmniStack & OmniCube updates

simplivity logoSimpliVity 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.

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Storage vendors to check out at #VMworld 2013 (SFO)

One of my favorite parts of VMworld is the Solutions Exchange. This is where you can catch up with new products and features from established storage vendors. Not only that, but you can also catch up with ‘new kids on the block’ and find out what cool, new ideas they bring to the field of storage and virtualization. This year is no different, with a couple of new storage products from established vendors, as well as some interesting new arrivals on the scene. This is by no means an exhaustive list. If you have some recommendations on some other items to check, please let me know. However, these are the ones I plan on making a bee-line too this year. I’ve tried to break them out into categories to make it a little easier to see who is doing what.

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A closer look at GreenBytes

greenbytes-logoFollowers of my blog will have seen a number of articles posted recently about storage vendors that I managed to catch up with at this year’s VMware Partner Exchange in Las Vegas. In the last in this series of articles, I managed to spend some time with the folks from GreenBytes. The timing was very opportune, as GreenBytes just made a major announcement to their portfolio, namely their new vIO, the virtual storage appliance version of their IO Offload Engine solution for desktop virtualization. I met up with Michael Robinson (VP, Marketing), Jeff Eberhard (Sr. Systems Engineer) and Steve O’Donnell (CEO) of GreenBytes to get the low-down on their current product offerings and to learn a bit more about their very recent vIO announcement.

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