Those of you attending VMUG (VMware User Group) meetings in the US recently may have come across the guys from Proximal Data. They were at the Austin & Silicon Valley VMUGs & I believe they may even have had the key-note at the San Diego VMUG. I had the pleasure of meeting up with Rich Pappas (VP of Sales and Business Development) and storage veteran Rory Bolt (CEO) at VMware’s Partner Exchange this year. They gave me an overview of their new Autocache 1.1 features.
Last year, NetApp announced a new host side cache accelerator feature to compliment their Virtual Storage Tiering (VST) technology. Rather than keeping all your data in flash, VST places hot data in flash while moving cold data to cheaper and slower media. NetApp are offering this as an end-to-end technology, from server to array controller (Flash Cache) to disk pools (Flash Pools). One of the major parts of this is Flash Accel, which was also announced in the latter part of last year, and is the server-side flash component of VST. On the back of their recently announced All Flash Array, NetApp are also making Flash Accel available to the general public.
I was fortunate enough yesterday to get an introduction to QLogic’s new Mt. Rainier technology. Although Mt. Rainier allows for different configurations of SSD/Flash to be used, the one that caught my eye was the QLogic QLE10000 Series SSD HBAs. These have not started to ship as yet, but considering that the announcement was last September, one suspects that GA is not far off. As the name suggests, this is a PCIe Flash card, but QLogic have one added advantage – the flash is combined with the Host Bus Adapter, meaning that you get your storage connectivity and cache accelerator on a single PCIe card. This is a considerable advantage over many of the other PCI cache accelerators on the market at the moment, since these still require a HBA for SAN connectivity as well as a slot for the accelerator.
As many of you are aware, VMware made a number of announcements at VMworld 2012. There were three technical previews in the storage space. The first of these was on Virtual Volumes (vVOLS), which is aimed at making storage objects in virtual infrastructures more granular. The second was Distributed Storage, a new distributed datastore using local ESXi storage. The final one was Virtual Flash (vFlash). However, rather than diving into vFlash, I thought it might be more useful to take a step back and have a look at flash technologies in general.
Last week, I presented at the UK National VMUG. I took the opportunity to catch up with Darren Williams (Technical Director, EMEA & APAC) of WHIPTAIL who was also presenting at the event. My first introduction to WHIPTAIL came last year when I first met Darren at another user group meeting, and I posted about their XLR8R array on the vSphere storage blog. Darren & I discussed the changes which WHIPTAIL has undergone in the past 12 months since we last spoke, including the launch of a new range of scale out storage arrays, as well as the new features in WHIPTAIL’s soon the be released 4.1.1 update.