A closer look at Datrium

datriumDatrium 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.

Continue reading

Heads Up! Horizon View 6.1 and AF-VSAN Policies

I had a query recently from a partner who was deploying VMware Horizon View 6.1 on top of an all-flash VSAN 6.0. They had done all the due diligence with configuring the AF-VSAN appropriately, marking certain flash devices as capacity devices, and so on. The configuration looked something like this:

config.jpgThe they went ahead and deployed Horizon View 6.1, which they had done many times before on hybrid configurations. They were able to successfully deploy full clone pools on the AF-VSAN, but hit a strange issue when deploying linked clone pools (floating/dedicated). The clone virtual machine operation would fail with an “Insufficient disk space on datastore” error, similar to the following:

no-space-error.jpg Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

PernixData revisited – a chat with Frank Denneman

pernixdataI’m sure Frank Denneman will need no introduction to many of you reading this article. Frank & I both worked in the technical marketing organization at VMware, before Frank moved on to PernixData last year and I moved to Integration Engineering here at VMware. PernixData FVP 1.0 released last year, and I did a short post on them here. I’d seen a number of people discussing new FVP features in the community, especially after PernixData’s co-founder Satyam’s presentation at Tech Field Day 5 (#TFD5). I decided to reach out to Frank, and see if he could spare some time to revisit some of the new features that PernixData is planning to introduce. Fortunately, he did. I started by asking Frank about how PernixData is doing in general, before moving onto the new bits.

Continue reading