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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vSphere 5.x, NFS, VAAI-NAS & IPv6 Support

ipv6A short note to clarify something that has come up a number of times in recent weeks here at VMware. There have been a number of discussions about whether or not we support NFS over IPv6 on vSphere 5.x,  and again, on whether or not we support the VAAI-NAS primitives in the same context.

VAAI is an API for offloading tasks to the storage array, but for offloading tasks to NAS arrays, storage vendors need to create  their own plugins for the ESXi hosts to achieve this. You can learn more about VAAI-NAS by clicking here. So what about IPv6 support and NFS? And VAAI-NAS?

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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

EMC XtremIO revisited – a chat with Vinay Gaonkar

xtremeio-logoOn a recent trip to VMware in Palo Alto, I found some time to visit with a good pal of mine, Vinay Gaonkar, who is now the Product Manager for XtremIO over at EMC. Vinay used to be a storage PM at VMware (he worked on the initial phases of VVols), and we worked together on a number of storage items in various vSphere releases. It’s been almost 2 years since I last spoke to the XtremIO folks (VMworld 2012 in fact, when the product still had not become generally available), so I thought that this would be a good time to catch up with them, as we are in the run up to VMworld 2014.

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VAAI-NAS, vCloud Director and Cloning Offload Strangeness

tintriI was in a conversation with one of my pals over at Tintri last week (Fintan), and he observed some strange behaviour when provisioning VMs from a catalog in vCloud Director (vCD). When he disabled Fast Provisioning, he expected that provisioning further VMs from the catalog would still be offloaded via the VAAI-NAS plugin. All the ESXi hosts have the VAAI-NAS plugin from Tintri installed. However,  it seems that the provisioning/cloning operation was not being offloaded to the array, and the ESXi hosts resources were being used for the operation instead. Deployments of VMs from the catalogs were taking minutes rather than seconds. What was going on?

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VAAI UNMAP Performance Considerations

I was involved in some conversations recently on how the VAAI UNMAP command behaved, and what were the characteristics which affected its performance. For those of you who do not know, UNMAP is our mechanism for reclaiming dead or stranded space from thinly provisioned VMFS volumes. Prior to this capability, the ESXi host had no way of informing the storage array that the space that was being previously consumed by a particular VM or file is no longer in use. This meant that the array thought that more space was being consumed than was actually the case. UNMAP, part of the vSphere APIs for Array Integration, enables administrators to overcome tho challenge by telling the array that these blocks on a thin provisioned volume are no longer in use and that they can be reclaimed.

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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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