The Revolution in SAN & Virtualization I/O has Begun....

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Generally IT folk, whether in Storage, Virtualization, Change Management or Project Management love the use of acronyms and synonyms to express key concepts amongst each other. What other industry would allow an individual to spurt a line such as "Have SOX seen the BCP and CAB approval for our VDC's DR SAN and will this then be added to the CMDB by CoB today?" without immediately flinching or bringing in a logopaedics specialist for help. More often than not, IT folk have also used these synonyms and acronyms as smokescreens to prevent outsiders from realizing "well this IT stuff is actually quite easy to understand and quite straightforward". Hence no surprise that when the seemingly simple concept of Cloud Computing took off, so did the emergence of an abundance of acronyms and synonyms reaping a new breed of I.T. professionals who were the only ones that could ... (more)

The Unspoken Challenge of Cloud Silos

On a recent excursion to a tech event I had the pleasure of meeting a well-known ‘VM Guru', (who shall remain nameless). Having read some of this individual's material I was excited and intrigued to know his thoughts on how he was tackling the Storage challenges related to VMware especially with Fibre Channel SANs. "Storage, that's nothing to do with me, I'm a VirtGuy", he proudly announced. To which I retorted, "yes but if there are physical layer issues in your SAN fabric, or poorly configured Storage etc. it will affect the performance of your Virtual Machines and their applications, hence surely you also need some visibility and understanding beyond your Server's HBAs?" Seemingly annoyed with the question, he answered, "Why? I have SAN architects and a Storage team for that, it's not my problem. I told you I'm a VirtGuy, I have my tools so I can check esxtop, vCe... (more)

SAP HANA’s Real Time Challenge to the Oracle Empire

When the character Maverick from the movie Top Gun exclaimed, "I feel the need, the need for speed", you'd be forgiven for mistaking it for a sound bite from a CIO discussing their transactional databases. Whether it's a financial organization predicting share prices, a bank knowing whether it can approve a loan or a marketing organisation reaching consumers with a compelling promotional offer, the need to access, store, process and analyze data as quickly as possible is an imperative for any business looking to gain a competitive edge. Hence when in 2011, SAP announced their new in-memory platform HANA for enterprise applications everyone took note as they coined the advantage of real-time analytics. SAP HANA promised to not just make databases dramatically faster like traditional business warehouse accelerator systems but instead speed up the front end, enabling c... (more)

VCOPs - VMware’s Move into Cloud Monitoring

Is VMware slowly becoming the new Oracle? That was the question being asked after the backlash to their initial vRAM licensing model at the launch of vSphere 5. With VMware's somewhat quick retraction, it was ensured that any unsavoury Larry Ellison comparisons were quickly put to bed. Despite this it was still a signal of intent and an indication of VMware's recognition of its ever growing influence and clout. Now as VMware make serious manoeuvers into the PaaS space, a VMware based Cloud monitoring solution is a must. So with this in mind what is to be made of the huge marketing and push for their customers to adopt their VM monitoring tool vCenter Operations 5.0? Back when VMware was only considered ideal for virtualizing test and development environments, the native alarms and performance graphs of the then termed Virtual Center were more than adequate for gener... (more)

VCE: Driving the Velocity of Change in Cloud Computing

When you think Cloud, whether Private or Public, one of the key advantages that comes to mind is speed of deployment. All businesses crave the ability to simply go to a service portal, define their infrastructure requirements and immediately have a platform ready for their new application. Coupled with that you instantly have service level agreements that generally center on uptime and availability. So for example, instead of being a law firm that spends most of its budget on an in house IT department and datacenter, the Cloud provides an unavoidable opportunity for businesses to instead procure infrastructure as a service and consequently focus on delivering their key applications. But while the understanding of Cloud Computing and its benefits have matured within the industry, so too has the understanding that maybe what's currently being offered still isn't good ... (more)

DevOps: Bringing 'Life' to Application Lifecycle Management

For most organizations application releases are analogous to extremely tense and pressurized situations where risk mitigation and tight time deadlines are key. This is made worse with the complication of internal silos and the consequent lack of cohesion that exists not just within the microcosm of IT infrastructure teams but also amongst the broader departments of development, QA and operations. Now with the increasing demand on IT from application and business unit stakeholders for new releases to be deployed quickly and successfully, the interdependence of software development and IT operations are being seen as an integral part to the successful delivery of IT services. Consequently businesses are recognizing that this can't be achieved unless the traditional methodologies and silos are readdressed or changed. Cue the emergence of a new methodology that's simply... (more)

2012 Storage Predictions: Vblock FastPath, VI SAN Probe and Hadoop

Yearly prediction blogs are so clichéd hence why I've always tried to avoid writing one. Despite this I've always made a mental note of technology, products or companies that I thought were going to really do well in the upcoming year. Back in 2008 I felt VMware were going to really take off after the release of 3.5. In 2009 I had a gut feeling DataDomain would explode just before they were bought by EMC. In 2010 I spoke to a friend about how 3PAR's technology could no longer be ignored and in 2011 I still wasn't convinced that FCoE would overtake FC in revenue despite all the analysts' claims. But why believe me when I'd never put these thoughts on paper? So now at the beginning of 2012, I've decided to put my money where my mouth is, pull out my crystal ball and document my predictions. First off I'm going with VCE's Vblock and their new FastPath feature.  VCE (o... (more)

Monitoring the SAN shine with Virtual Instruments

It was about three months ago that one of my friends had informed me he was leaving HDS to join a company named Virtual Instruments. ‘Virtual Instruments?’ I asked myself, trying to fathom if I’d have heard of them before only to realize that I had once seen a write up on their SAN monitoring solution, which was then termed NetWisdom. I was then inadvertently asked to mention Virtual Instruments in one of my blogs - nice try pal but I had made it clear several times before to vendors requesting the same that I didn’t want my blog to become an advertising platform. Despite this though I was still intrigued by what could have persuaded someone to leave a genuinely stable position at HDS to a company I hadn’t really had much exposure to myself. Fast forward a few months, several whitepapers and numerous discussions and I find myself writing a blog about the very sai... (more)

Virtual Instruments Inks Purchase Agreement With Hitachi Data Systems for VirtualWisdom(TM) SAN and Virtual Infrastructure Optimization Solutions

SCOTTS VALLEY, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 04/15/10 -- Virtual Instruments, a leader in storage area network (SAN) and virtual infrastructure optimization solutions, today announced an limited purchase agreement for Hitachi Data Systems to resell Virtual Instruments NetWisdom and VirtualWisdom for deployment with its storage solutions. The agreement complements Hitachi Data Systems comprehensive software and hardware storage solutions with the award-winning performance monitoring and optimization solutions from Virtual Instruments. Typical corporate data storage continues to grow about 50 percent per year, making SAN instrumentation and monitoring solutions increasingly critical, especially at a time when constrained budgets mean fewer resources are being allotted to manage the SAN. Virtual Instruments' suite of products, including NetWisdom and VirtualWisdom and service... (more)

vSphere 5, VAAI and the Death of the Traditional Storage Array

The launch of vSphere 5 and its new storage related features will set the precedent for a complete rethink on how a new datacenter's storage infrastructure should be designed and deployed. vSphere 5's launch is not only an unabashed attempt at cornering every single aspect of the server market but is also a result for the growing need for methodical scalability that merges the I.T. silos and consequently combines the information of applications, servers, SANs and storage into a single comprehensive stack. In an almost ironic shift back towards the original principles of mainframe, VMware's importance has already influenced vendors such as EMC with their VMAX and HDS with their VSP in adopting a scale out as opposed to scale up approach to Storage. With this direction being at the forefront of most storage vendors' roadmaps for the foreseeable future it subsequently ... (more)

The Definition of a Converged Infrastructure

This last fortnight there's been a cacophony of hyperbole and at times marketing fluff from vendors and analysts with regards to Reference Architectures and Converged Infrastructures. As IBM launched PureSystems, NetApp & Cisco decided it was also a good time to reiterate their strong partnership with FlexPod. In the midst of this, EMC decided to release their new and rather salaciously titled VSPEX. From the remnants and ashes of all these new product names and fancy launch conferences, the resultant war blogs and Twitterati battles ensued. As I poignantly watched on from the trenches in an almost Siegfried Sassoon moment, it was quickly becoming evident that there was now an even more ambiguous understanding of what distinguishes a Converged Infrastructure from a Reference Architecture, what it's relation was with the Private Cloud and more importantly whether you... (more)