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

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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)

VCE Accelerates Private Cloud Deployments from Months to Weeks

Today we will be talking about VCE's cloud infrastructure product, the Vblock. Gartner's recent study that through next year 60% of enterprises will embrace some form of cloud adoption, has enlightened the competitive cloud vendor market. But at the same time, does the cloud industry need to be driven by vendor competition or vendor collaboration? Archie Hendryx of VCE Technology Solutions discusses this very matter. EM360°: Could you tell us about VCE and why cloud has played a big part in your company's solutions? Archie: VCE is a unique start up company formed via joint investments from EMC, Cisco, VMware and Intel that has been operating for just over three years. Its focus is solely on building the world's most advanced converged infrastructure, the Vblock. The Vblock is a pretested, prevalidated and preconfigured and more importantly pre-integrated infrastruct... (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)

Software Defined Shouldn’t Be About Infrastructure

The term "software defined" has taken many forms in recent months from Software Defined Datacenter (SDDC), Software Defined Infrastructure (SDI) to even component vendors adopting the tagline to exalt their own agenda with Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Software Defined Storage (SDS). Yet ironically the majority of the vendors adopting the tagline are also dealing with infrastructure product lines that a "software defined" approach is aiming to make irrelevant. The emergence of the cloud illuminated to the industry that the procurement, design and deployment of the infrastructure components of network, storage and compute were a hindrance to application delivery. The inability for infrastructure components to not be quickly and successfully coordinated together as well as be automatically responsive to application needs has led many to question why tradition... (more)

Addressing the Concerns CIOs Have with the SDDC

First and foremost you can't have a successful software-defined model if your team still have a hardware-defined mentality. Change is inevitable and whether it's embraced or not it will happen. For experienced CIOs this is not the first time they've experienced this technological and consequently cultural change in IT. Question 1. Vendors are racing to lead the movement towards a software‐defined data centre. Where are we up to in this journey, and how far are we from seeing this trend widely adopted? Considering most organizations have still not fully virtualized or moved towards a true Private Cloud model, SDDC is still in its infancy in terms of mainstream adoption and certainly won't be an overnight process. While typical early adopters are advancing quickly down the software-defined route these are mostly organizations with large scale multi-site data centers w... (more)

Top Ten Considerations for a Converged Infrastructure Investment

Archie Hendryx looks at the benefits and challenges of managing multiple IT components through a single support solution Many public sector organisations are not changing their ICT legacy systems. As a result, they face increasing number of inefficiencies and challenges. These issues can nevertheless be overcome, and performance increased, by managing these legacy systems within a converged infrastructural environment. This approach can also reduce the risks associated with legacy systems, such as security, missing functionality, increased complexity and operational expenditure. Converged infrastructure simplifies support as it packages multiple IT components from different vendors into one single, optimised computing solution. So it offers end-to-end support unlike reference architectures, which require organisations to deal with a multitude of disparate vendors t... (more)

Virtual Instruments Look to Solve the Mission-Critical Virtualization Lags

Virtualization and cloud computing certainly get a lot of hype. But how is that being translated into actual usage by enterprises? A recent survey looked into just how deep the penetration really is, as well as what functions companies were virtualizing and sending to the cloud. More than 200 organizations were questioned by four companies - Virtual Instruments, Altor Networks, Juniper Networks and Sendmail. These surveys covered several areas, while focusing on virtualization and the cloud. "Our results show companies are increasingly motivated to virtualize applications for cost savings and business agility reasons," said Len Rosenthal, vice-president of marketing at Virtual Instruments. "But, even with all the benefits of virtualization, performance concerns continue to be a significant stumbling block to virtualizing business critical applications, which are inher... (more)

Virtual Instruments: “One of the Best Kept Secrets in the IT World”

VP of Operations concludes, "I get it! We've been investing in hardware worth more than a million pounds to bring the performance latency of our Datawarehouse down by 10 milliseconds when all the time I just needed to replace a cable!" In this last week of customer visits I was astounded to have the above sentence said to me on two separate occasions by two separate companies. What really took me aback was that this is exactly how I felt prior to joining Virtual Instruments as a Solutions Consultant six months ago. It’s a bold claim but one I will certainly stand by and challenge to prove to anyone (feel free to send me a PM on LinkedIn). For example at a recent POV engagement with a VP of Operations, we demonstrated how Virtual Instruments’ solution had pinpointed problems with ports that were connected to their critical Datawarehouse environment as well as their ... (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)

Exchange Completion Time – Redefining Application & Storage Performance

Roll back several years and certain vendors had you believe that Fibre Channel was dead and that the future would be iSCSI. A few years later and certain vendors were then declaring that Fibre Channel was dead again and that the future was FCoE. So while this article is not a iSCSI vs FC or FC vs FCoE comparison list (there's plenty of good ones out there and both iSCSI or FCoE each have immense merit), the point being made here is that Fibre Channel unlike Elvis really is alive and well. Moreover Fibre Channel still remains the protocol of choice for most mission-critical applications despite the FUD that surrounds its cost, manageability and future existence. Most storage folk who run enterprise class infrastructures are advocates of Fibre Channel not only because of its high performance connectivity infrastructure but also due to its reliability, security and scal... (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)