A closer look at Dot Hill Systems

Last week, I was at our VMware Partner Exchange event in Las Vegas. Apart from my own break-out session on vSphere 5.1 storage features, I wanted to catch up with a number of our partner vendors who are doing cool things in the storage space. One of these vendors is Dot Hill, a company from Longmont, Colorado, who have been making storage arrays for a considerable amount of time now, but one which does not seem to get a huge amount of exposure. I caught up with Matt Alsip, the Technical Marketing Manager at Dot Hill, to put my customary…

NetApp Flash Accel Launch

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…

Atlantis ILIO 4.0 – Persistent Desktops in Memory

At the start of this month, Atlantis Computing gave me a preview of their new ILIO Persistent VDI 4.0. As the title of this post suggests, Atlantis have a very nice new feature in this release. Last year, I blogged about their ILIO Diskless VDI for non-persistent desktops which ran purely in memory. That was quite a novel concept, and found affinity with a lot of customers (and won a number of awards too). However, many of their customers asked them to provide an in-memory solution for persistent desktops as well as non-persistent ones. With this release, Atlantis have responded…

vSOM and VDPA Releases

In case you missed it, VMware released two interesting additions to the product portfolio last week. vSOM – vSphere with Operations Manager It became apparent that vCenter’s UI, while adequate for a lot of activities such as VM provisioning, does not provide the level of detail or forecasting required to manage large and complex infrastructures on a day to day basis. This is why VMware has introduced a new SKU which bundles the vCenter Operations product with vSphere. vCenter Operations Manager (vCOps) is the most comprehensive product for monitoring the health and performance of your virtual infrastructure. It  also monitors…

Software iSCSI and IPv6 Support

A little while ago, I researched a support statement regarding Software iSCSI & IPsec. After digging around a bit, I found out that the answer was no, it is not supported since we have not yet done a complete set of tests on this combination of products/features. However, in the course of my research, I came across some conflicting support statements about Software iSCSI & IPv6. KB article 1010812 – IPv6 Storage (Software iSCSI and NFS) is experimental in ESX 4.0 KB article 1021769 – VMware vSphere ESX/ESXi 4.1 supports IPv6 for use with the Service Console and VMkernel management…

Pluggable Storage Architecture (PSA) Deep-Dive – Part 4

In this post, I want to look at some fail-over and load balancing specific to ALUA (Asymmetric Logical Unit Access) arrays. In PSA part 3, we took a look at the different Path Selection Plugins (PSP), but for the most part these were discussed in the context of Active/Active arrays (where the LUN is available on all paths to the array) and Active/Passive arrays (where the LUN is owned by one controller on the array, and is only visible on the paths to that controller). ALUA provides a standard way for discovering and managing multiple paths to LUNs. Prior to…

Heads Up! NetApp NFS Disconnects

I just received notification about KB article 2016122 which VMware has just published. It deals with a topic that I’ve seen discussed recently on the community forums. The symptom is that during periods of high I/O, NFS datastores from NetApp arrays become unavailable for a short period of time, before becoming available once again. This seems to be primarily observed when the NFS datastores are presented to ESXi 5.x hosts. The KB article described a work-around for the issue which is to tune the queue depth size on the ESXi hosts which will reduce I/O congestion to the datastore. By…