Most-Read GeekFluent Posts of 2013

I love metrics.

OK, that’s not precisely true. I love the things we can learn from metrics, and the process of discovering that learning. In and of themselves, the metrics are nothing but numbers, and by themselves numbers just aren’t that exciting. What the numbers represent, on the other hand, can be very, very interesting.

With that in mind, here are some numbers from 2013. Continue reading

EMC’s XtremIO Finally Available – Worth the Wait

EMC XtremIO logoToday, EMC announced the General Availability of XtremIO, their purpose-built all-Flash array. The announcement comes amid an unprecedented storm of pre-launch hyperbole from several vendors (as one might expect, very much “pro-” from EMC and rather “anti-” from some of the other all-Flash vendors).

In this (somewhat lengthy) post, I’ll walk through an introduction to XtremIO, its hardware, its operating system, and its built-in software features. I’ll also address XtremIO’s scalability and performance. Continue reading

EMC Announces VPLEX Metro Express Edition (plus VAAI support)

[UPDATE: I’ve edited the post to remove one of the new features that had been mentioned in early pre-announcement briefings.  The features listed now match what’s actually been released.]

Today, EMC announced updates to their VPLEX family of storage virtualization devices, including a new way to purchase it — the VPLEX Metro Express Edition.

What’s a VPLEX?

If you’re not familiar with it, the EMC VPLEX creates a layer of abstraction between physical hosts and storage arrays — it virtualizes the storage.  Doing this provides datacenters with all kinds of flexible options they wouldn’t otherwise have: Continue reading

Enhancement to VAAI-NAS in vSphere 5.1

I’ve already done a write-up of the VAAI-NAS features in vSphere 5.0, but one of the three VAAI NAS primitives has expanded functionality in vSphere 5.1.

In vSphere 5.1, the NFS File Cloning primitive is expanded to allow array-based snapshots to be used for virtual machines and vApps being fast-provisioned by vCloud Director.  When vCloud Director does a fast-provision of VMs and/or vApps on a supported NAS array, VAAI-NAS File Cloning is used to off-load the clone creation to the array transparently.  As with NFS File Cloning in vSphere 5.0, this feature requires a VAAI NAS plug-in from the storage array vendor.

Continue reading

Isilon Integration with VAAI-NAS and VASA

It’s come up on my VAAI v2 (NFS) write-up that today there are only two products that offer vSphere Storage API for Array Integration for NAS (VAAI-NAS) integration with vSphere 5.  We all know that more will be coming, and we all hope it’ll be sooner, rather than later.  Personally, I predict that Isilon will be the next storage array with full VAAI-NAS support in VMware’s Compatibility Guides.

How can I be so confident?  I’ve seen it in action, and next week you can, too.

Continue reading

What Will VAAI v2 Do for You? Part 2 of 2: NFS

This post is the second of two describing the features of the VMware vSphere Storage APIs for Array Integration (VAAI) version 2 as it works with vSphere 5.  If you missed the first part, you can read it here: What Will VAAI v2 Do for You? Part 1 of 2: Block

Part 1 Review

My earlier posting covered the five features for block storage available in VAAI v2:

  • Hardware-Assisted Copy
  • Hardware-Assisted Zero
  • Hardware-Assisted Locking
  • Thin Provisioning Stun
  • Thin Provisioning Block Reclamation

 VAAI v2 for NFS Storage

Probably the biggest and most-anticipated aspect of VAAI v2 was the the addition of advanced features for NFS datastores.  VAAI v2 includes three features for NFS:

  • NFS File Cloning
  • NFS Extended Stats
  • NFS Reserve Space

I’ll cover each of them in detail below.

Continue reading

What Will VAAI v2 Do for You? Part 1 of 2: Block

Recently, someone pointed out to me that it was high time for me to write a follow-up to my “What Will VAAI Do for You?” posting.  Written shortly after the launch of VMware vSphere 4.1, it is my most-read post on the Everything VMware at EMC Community.

Since I wrote it, though, VMware has released vSphere 5, which (among a slew of other great features) includes version 2 of VAAI, now called the vSphere Storage API for Array Integration.  (You’re not mistaken: they’ve added a word to the name but kept the acronym the same — the acronym has achieved wide-spread common usage and changing it would only cause confusion.)

VAAI allows ESXi servers that use VAAI-enabled storage to work more effectively with storage.  In most cases this means offloading storage-related tasks from the server to the array, but there’s more to it than just that, as I’ll explain in this posting. Continue reading