A closer look at X-IO

xio2My first introduction to X-IO was via Stephen Foskett’s Tech Field Days. They piqued my interest and I added them to the list of storage vendors that I wanted to check out at VMworld 2014. I started to research these guys a little more, and learnt that they are closely related to Xiotech, a SAN company that I dealt with on occasion when I worked in technical support for VMware back in the day. It seems that Xiotech acquired Seagate’s spun-out Advanced Storage Group in 2007. The guys then began to work on a different product to the Xiotech team, namely the Intelligent Storage Element or ISE array. The Xiotech products were discontinued in 2012 (although the name continues to appear on the VMware SAN/Storage HCL), and the focus was placed on the ISE products. I was a bit confused when I saw that X-IO were not listed on the HCL directly, but after checking with Blair Parkhill, VP of Tech Marketing at X-IO, it seems that they still use their incorporated name, Xiotech.

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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

Storage Vendors to check out at #VMworld 2014 (SFO)

Last year I published a list of storage vendors and partners that I was planning to check out at VMworld 2013. This year is no different, with a number of new arrivals on the storage scene, as well as some super new cool products from many of VMware’s partners. Whilst this is no means a definitive list of what’s on show, these are the ones that I am particularly interested in checking out this year.

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Nimble Storage revisited – a chat with Wen Yu

nimble-logoNimble Storage are another company who have been making a lot of waves in the world of storage in recent years. Based in San Jose, CA, they IPO’ed earlier this year, and have something in the region of 600 employees worldwide at the present. I caught up with Wen Yu, who I have known from my early days at VMware where we worked together in the support organization. Wen moved over to Nimble a couple of years back and now is a technical evangelist at Nimble. Actually, Nimble were the subject of the very first post on this blog site when I launched it almost 2 years ago. At the time I wrote about some significant architectural updates in their 2.0 release. My understanding is that their next major release (2.1) is just around the corner. So this was a good time to chat with Wen about some new features and other things happening in the Nimble world.

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Pure Storage revisited – a chat with Vaughn Stewart

PureStoragePure Storage are all over the news at the moment. They just secured another round of funding (225 million to be precise), and are now valued at over 3 billion. You can read more about that here. However, even before this announcement, I had already arranged to have a catch up chat with Pure’s primary evangelist (and a good pal of mine), Vaughn Stewart. I was surprised to see that it had been 18 months since I last did a piece on Pure so I really did want to see what changes they had made in the meantime as there were a few vSphere interoperability pieces still to be completed when we last spoke.

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Heads Up! SW iSCSI, hostd and ESXi 5.5 U1 Driver Rollup ISO

My good pal Duco Jaspars pinged me earlier this week about an issue that was getting a lot of discussion in the VMware community. Duco also pointed me to a blog post by Andreas Peetz where he described the issue in detail here.

The symptom is that the ESXi hostd process becomes unresponsive when software iSCSI is enabled. There is another symptom where an ESXi boot hangs after message “iscsi_vmk loaded successfully” or “vmkibft loaded successfully”. This has only been only observed with the ESXi 5.5 U1 Driver Rollup ISO. It has not been reported by customers using the standard ESXi 5.5U1 media. The VMware ESXi 5.5 Update 1 Driver Rollup provides an installable ESXi ISO image that includes drivers for various products produced by VMware partners.

Initially it was reported in the community that it appeared to be an issue with the Diablo TeraDimm driver that was shipped as part of the roll-up. However further investigation has concluded that the Emulex be2iscsi driver is at fault and is the root cause. VMware support are recommending that you use an updated be2iscsi driver as per KB article 2075171 to address the issue.

So for those of you that plan a 5.5U1 deployment and also use software iSCSI, heads up if you plan on using the ESXi 5.5U1 Driver Rollup ISO (which is only supported for use with new installs by the way, and not upgrades).
[Updated] A new ESXi 5.5 Update 1 Driver Rollup 2 was uploaded on April 24th. This addresses this issues reported in this post.

A closer look at Bull Storage Solutions

200px-Group_Bull_logoI thought it was about time that I looked at some of the larger storage vendors closer to home. One of these is of course Bull. This company is probably more familiar to those of us based in Europe rather than those of you based in the Americas or Asia Pacific. However VMware customers in EMEA will have seen them in the Solutions Exchange at VMworld Europe, where they have a reasonably large presence. After some conversation with my good pal Didier Pironet, whom I’ve met at a couple of recent VMUGs, I was introduced to Philippe Reynier who is a manager in the Bull StorWay Competence Center and Solution Center.¬† Philippe¬† provided me with a lot of good detail on Bull’s storage solutions which I will share with you here.

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