VSAN 6.0 Part 10 – 10% cache recommendation for AF-VSAN

AF-VSAN-BWith the release of VSAN 6.0, and the new all-flash configuration (AF-VSAN), I have received a number of queries around our 10% cache recommendation. The main query is, since AF-VSAN no longer requires a read cache, can we get away with a smaller write cache/buffer size?

Before getting into the cache sizing, it is probably worth beginning this post with an explanation about the caching algorithm changes between version 5.5 and 6.0. In VSAN 5.5, which came as a hybrid configuration only with a mixture of flash and spinning disk, cache behaved as both a write buffer (30%) and read cache (70%). If a read request was not satisfied by the cache, in other words there was a read cache miss, then the data block was retrieved from the capacity layer. This was an expensive operation, especially in terms of latency, so the guideline was to keep your working set in cache as much as possible. Since the majority of virtualized applications have a working set somewhere in the region of 10%, this was where the cache size recommendation of 10% came from. With hybrid, there is regular destaging of data blocks from write cache to spinning disk. This is a proximal algorithm, which looks to destage data blocks that are contiguous (adjacent to one another). This speeds up the destaging operations.

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VSAN 6.0 Part 4 – All-Flash VSAN Capacity Tier Considerations

In Virtual SAN version 6.0, VMware introduced support for an all-flash VSAN. In other words, both the caching layer and the capacity layer could be made up of flash-based devices such as SSDs.  However, the mechanism for marking some flash devices as being designated for the capacity layer, while leaving other flash devices as designated for the caching layer, is not at all intuitive at first glance. For that reason, I’ve included some steps here on how to do it.

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A closer look at SpringPath

springpathAnother hyper-converged storage company has just emerged out of stealth. Last week I had the opportunity to catch up with the team from SpringPath (formerly StorVisor), based in Silicon Valley. The company has a bunch of ex-VMware folks on-board, such as Mallik Mahalingam and Krishna Yadappanavar. Mallik and Krishna were both involved in a number of I/O related initiatives during their time at VMware. Let’s take a closer look at their new hyper-converged storage product.

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A brief overview of new Virtual SAN 6.0 features and functionality

The embargo on what’s new in vSphere 6.0 has now been lifted, so we can now start to discuss publicly about new features and functionality. For the last number of months, I’ve been heavily involved in preparing for the Virtual SAN 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 6.0. Later on, I will be following up with more in-depth blog posts on the new features and functionality.

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My VMworld 2014 – Barcelona (#STO2996-SPO #TEX1985)

vmworld-2014-active-banner-v4After a great VMworld 2014 in San Francisco, it’s nearly time for the European version which is once again in the beautiful city of Barcelona, Spain.  I thought I’d put together a short post on some of my activities, Hopefully you can join me for some.

Introduction to Virtual Volumes –  vBrownBag session (Tuesday, October 14th at 2:15pm – Hang Space) I’m delighted to be joined by Nick Dyer of Nimble Storage for an overview of our forthcoming Virtual Volumes. I’ll be sharing our vision for VVols in the whole Software Define Storage story, and Nick will share with you some examples of how Nimble are implementing VVols. Thanks to the vBrownBag team for hosting us.

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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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A closer look at Kaminario

kaminarioAs many of you are aware, I was at VMworld in San Francisco last week. I wrote a number of articles about some VMware storage announcements, such as EVO:RAIL, VAIO and VVols. However there were, as usual, quite a number of storage vendors at this years conference. One of the vendors that I really want to learn more about was Kaminario, an all flash array vendor that I’d heard a lot of things about. I had the pleasure of spending some time at the Kaminario booth with Shai Maskit who is a senior Product Manager with Kaminario. I posed my usual set of questions to learn a bit more about their AFA products. Continue reading