Earlier this month I had the opportunity to meet with a number of VMware customers in both Singapore and in the UAE. Most of the sessions were enablement and education type sessions, where there was a lot of white-boarding of VSAN (VMware’s hyper-converged infrastructure product) and Virtual Volumes (VVols – Software Defined Storage or SDS for the storage arrays). This wasn’t a sales session; I’m not in sales. The objective of these sessions was simply to educate. I guess when you are immersed in this stuff 24×7, it easy to fall into the trap of believing that everyone is well versed in this technology, and that’s simply not the case.
With both virtualization teams and storage teams in the room at the same time, it was important to show the building blocks with each approach, as well as to compare and contrast the advantages of the different storage solutions over the other. As I repeatedly delivered the same session, I thought it might be useful to share my thoughts with a broader audience, in the guise of this blog post.
Cohesity have released their next version (2.0) of the Cohesity Data Platform. I met Cohesity at VMworld 2015, and I wrote about my first impressions of the solution in a blog post from back in August 2015. In a nutshell, Cohesity are positioning their Data Platform as hyper-converged secondary storage. They want to stop the silo’ing of different storage for backups, file shares and analytics in the data center, and offer you a single platform for all of your secondary storage needs. Now they are ready with the next version, so lets take a quick look at what is coming in this new release.
This week Datrium announced that their DVX system is now generally available. I met these guys at VMworld 2015, and wrote a closer look at Datrium here. If you want a deeper dive into their solution, please read that post. But in a nutshell, their solution uses a combination of host side flash devices to accelerate read I/O, while at the same time writing to the Datrium hardware storage appliance (called a NetShelf). The NetShelf provides “cheap, durable storage that is easy to manage”. The DVX architecture presents the combined local cache/flash devices and NetShelf as a single shared NFS v3 datastore to your ESXi hosts.
The storage space has been a very exciting space over recent years. There have been so many new start-ups and new innovations, that it becomes difficult to keep track sometimes. More recently, there has been a lot of news around mergers, acquisitions and IPOs in the storage industry. It got me thinking about a lot of the changes we have seen over the past 3-4 years in the storage market. Just for my own interest, I went back over many of my blogs, and the various conversations I had with people at various VMworld events and VMUG meetings, and tried to see where a lot of these companies/products are now, and what they are currently doing. Now, I am not going to mention every single vendor here. I’m simply trying to highlight the ones that were acquired or merged or indeed IPO’ed (and in some cases are no longer with us) during this period.
Primary Data were one of the storage vendors that I wanted to catch up with at VMworld 2015. I was fortunate enough to meet with Graham Smith who is their Director of Virtualization Product Management. Graham gave me a demonstration of the Primary Data product in the Solutions Exchange at VMworld, and I also had an opportunity to visit their offices in Los Altos during a recent trip to the bay area and catch up once again with Graham and Kaycee Lai, SVP of Product Management & Sales at Primary Data. Before we get into the product and solution details, I wanted to go over a brief history of the company and the problem that they are trying to solve with their DataSphere Platform.
Datrium are a new storage company who only recently came out of stealth. They are one of the companies that I really wanted to catch up with at VMworld 2015. They have a lot of well-respected individuals on their team, including Boris Weissman, who was a principal engineer at VMware and Brian Biles of Data Domain fame. They also count of Diane Green, founder of VMware, among their investors. So there is a significant track record in both storage and virtualization at the company.
With the announcements just made at VMworld 2015, the embargo on Virtual SAN 6.1 has now been lifted, so we can now discuss publicly some of the new features and functionality. Virtual SAN is VMware’s software-defined solution for Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI). For the last number of months, I’ve been heavily involved in preparing for the Virtual SAN 6.1 launch. What follows is a brief description of what I find to be the most interesting and exciting of the upcoming features in Virtual SAN 6.1. Later on, I will follow-up with more in-depth blog posts on the new features and functionality.