Joining VMware

Where I have been has shaped where I am today. So, I’m grateful and blessed for all previous opportunities, as it’s led me to this announcement today. It’s an extreme privilege and honor to serve at VMware as a new Global Sr. Solutions Engineer. My main focus will be around vSAN (HCI) solutions for some of the best organizations in the world. I look forward to working with Frank Denneman, Pete Koehler and many others again. I also count it as a bonus to be in the same VMware business unit (SABU) as Duncan Epping! :)

I also look forward to exemplifying VMware values: “EPIC2” Execution, Passion, Integrity, Customers, and Community. I have noticed from the outside looking in that VMware has a great culture and truly takes the high road in all things. This is something I value, as it can make any company great!

I look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones. This is going to be a fun ride!!

VMworld 2016 Session Vote

This year I decided to make my first application into the VMworld Call for Papers. I have been wanting to do this for some time but my time and commitments never aligned. It's been a learning experience and so we will see how it goes! So, if you have find interest in learning more about migrating workloads to VVols and all the details that go with this, then please vote for this session. 

Migrating Workloads to VMware VVols [9059]
Careful planning is needed for successful workload migration to VVol based storage. Depending on the scenario and the datacenter environment it’s important to understand what is expected and required when migrating Virtual Machines in a mixed environment of VMFS and VVols. We will look at the steps and options available in a virtualized heterogeneous storage infrastructure, in addition to available VMware partner solutions.

Storage Features Responses

In order to finish my Storage Features Survey, I have collected the responses from the community on how they view primary storage from a virtualization, enterprise worthy perspective. 

Most Popular Enterprise Storage Feature Responses (rounded):

Multiple Controllers - 70% of Respondents

Thin Provisioning - 65% of Respondents

Replication Capabilities - 60% of Respondents

Snapshot Capabilities - 60% of Respondents

High Availability - 60% of Respondents

Non-Disruptive Upgrades - 60% of Respondents

VAAI Support - 55% of Respondents

RAID Support - 50% of Respondents

Flash Technology - 50% of Respondents

Capacity/Shelf Expansion -50% of Respondents

There wasn't any big surprises, but there were a couple interesting responses. One of the higher responses came in for "Replication Capabilities", I knew this would be popular, however I did not envision it being as high on the list, since there are many other technologies in the market that can tackle replication from a different level in the stack. i.e. Zerto, Veeam. The other popular response that was interesting was "Flash Technology" at the array level. I know flash is very popular right now, but as you might know it's not something I agree with 100% of the time. PernixData can use flash at the host level for storage performance and thus can negate the use of flash at the array. I'm not saying this is the case for all environments, but it's enough to change the storage landscape. 

The biggest response was for multiple controller support! This isn't surprising, since high availability & non-disruptive upgrades was also listed high on the list from respondents. 

Did any of the responses surprise you or do you think this encompasses the most common requested enterprise features for primary storage? 

Thanks for participating in the Storage Features Survey! 

Poll: Storage Features

I was recently talking with some peers about what storage features fit into the category of enterprise worthy and are considered "must have’s" in regards to importance.

This got me thinking about market conditions today and how we are flooded with so many new storage systems/features. This not only can confuse consumers but I believe can change perceptions on what is really important or reality! It's my intent in this post to study what truly makes up a enterprise storage system and what are the must have features of today. 

The first part of this study is to publish a poll on what you believe to be an enterprise must have feature in the storage market. Please select only the must have’s and/or what is important to you and your company!

I will publish the anonymous results once everyone has had a chance to vote.

Keep in mind that these features are only intended to apply at the primary storage level for your array in a 100% VMware environment!  

This post is not sponsored nor endorsed by my employer! Personal Passion Only! 

http://goo.gl/forms/9HDCkknbvO

Chattanooga VMUG Restarted

I'm happy to report that the Chattanooga VMUG group has a planned event on August 19th from 5:30 - 8:00 p.m. It's been around 2 years since this group has had an event, so I was excited to work with Jim Wrenn & Curtis Gunderson to organize a new event for the Chattanooga chapter. 

PernixData and Veristor have agreed to co-sponsor the event!  

No registration is required, so if you are in the area come help support the Chattanooga VMUG. Food and Drink will be provided. 

Speaker: Todd Mace

Title: Server-Side Storage Intelligence

Location:

Unum Conference Room (downtown Chattanooga)
1 Fountain Square, (500 Walnut St.) East Building Presentation Room 151
Chattanooga, TN 37402

 

 

A Look Back On 2013

It's been a very transformative year for me. On April 29th, I started working as a Systems Engineer for PernixData. The same day my friend Frank Denneman also made his announcement! Since this time I have had the privilege working with a very talented team and made some great friends! 

Certifications:

During 2013 I was awarded the VMware vExpert award and I also completed my VCP5-DCV certification adding it to my list

Community:

I also had the opportunity to contribute to the vSphere Design Pocketbook! 

 

2013 was also a very busy year for PernixData and I was happy to play a part in it's development. I'm proud that my suggestion was chosen for naming the PernixData elite group of IT professionals as "PernixPro"!

 

Instead of naming all the many achievements that PernixData accomplished in 2013, here is a great link to our 2013 newsletter

This Cloudjock blog was nominated for the 2013 favorite new blog on vSphere-land.com 

I was able to speak at the Charlotte VMUG, Cincinatti VMUG, and Southern California VMUG

At VMworld 2013 I presented at the vBrownbag Tech Talks and met the great crew behind scenes! 

A Look Ahead-2014:

I can tell you for sure that 2014 is going to be an exciting year for PernixData. Some big stuff is going to happen that I think will bring the industry to it's knees!! :)

I'm not going to make any predictions this year, like I did last year, but let's look how I did. PernixData had a big year coming out of stealth and Nimble just completed a big year with their IPO. The other two predictions gained more traction in the market, but I believe the clear winners are PernixData and Nimble. 

In 2014 I have plans to achieve at least two more certifications along the way and become even more active within the community as well! 

Happy New Year!!!

 

 

 

ESXi Runs in Memory - Boot Options

I hope the title of this post doesn’t surprise you! This is sometimes a forgotten design of ESXi when choosing your boot options. I have been increasingly talking with VMware admins that are deciding to mirror their local drives for ESXi. This seems to be a common design on blade architectures as well, where they use the two open drive bays for mirrored ESXi boot images.

The question to ask, is why do this? If ESXi runs entirely in memory what benefit do you have in mirroring two drives? Yes, you do have another copy of the image, in case of corruption, but wouldn’t it be easier and less wasteful to just store a copy of the image on removable media or use image builder for the resiliency!

Most server architectures are including internal SD cards or USB flash inputs to install ESXi on and there is of course the use of VMware’s Auto Deploy! The use of one of these methods for ESXi boot will not only save resources but will open up more opportunities for new technology usage.

There are many examples of converged storage architectures that would require you to use all available drive bays to maximize capacity usage. Then there is also the use of server-side flash technologies, like PernixData FVP. Having multiple options for local flash will provide more possibilities when you want to create tiers of flash for your differing workloads.

The point of this post is to hopefully illustrate that you don’t have to mirror ESXi for fault tolerance. There are many other alternatives to protect your image and why waste resources on something that could hinder the growth of your virtualized datacenter.

For added reading pleasure, here is a link to some entertaining conversations about installing ESXi on local disk or local USB.

http://community.spiceworks.com/topic/240520-whats-the-advantage-of-installing-esxi-on-a-usb-key-over-local-disks

Carolina VMware User Summit 2013

This coming Thursday the 2013 Carolina VMUG begins. This year will include a ton of great sessions and speakers. There will be a Expert Panel talking about the future of Virtualization; this panel will include William Lam, Scott Lowe, Chris Colotti and Chad Sakac. Check out the Schedule! 

There are also two sessions that I'm partial too that I want to highlight.

Education Session

Time: 10:15-11:00 am
Title: "The New Scale-Out Data Tier - A Storage Platform Paradigm Shift" (PernixData)
Speaker: Todd Mace 
Room: 217 A 

eGroup Lab Session

Time: 1:00-1:45 pm
Title: Free Style Session- Flashtastic – PernixData FVP Demo
Speakers: John Flisher & Todd Mace
Room: 211 AB 

It's never to late to register and come see some awesome IOP presentations!! 

PernixData - Validation

The past few weeks have been exciting for the new prized startup PernixData. A little over two weeks ago Frank Denneman decided to make a transition from VMware to PernixData! Then today, PernixData is endorsed for another round of financing, this time from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

This all points to a validation that PernixData is doing something different and is about to disrupt the storage market in a major way. PernixData is the only company that truly decouples your storage performance from capacity. This decoupling innovation is in their FVP (Flash Virtualization Platform) a downloadable software product. The ROI is immediately realized after a short 5 minute install, with no disruption of the current infrastructure. If you are not already a beta customer, then I highly recommend and try out this new revolutionary product

If you have further questions and would like to meet some of the visionaries, check out their new "Meet Us" page, listing events where they will be showcasing at!

Stay tuned as there will be more exciting announcements forthcoming!! 

 

    

A Few of My Favorite Things - Currently (Part 3)

Disclaimer: I’m not part of or receive any compensation or rewards from any of the organizations that I write about. My blog is solely a personal passion and nothing more. 


I currently have the privilege of being part of the Vidyo Advisory Council, which allows me to give feedback and listen to the great plans and successes within Vidyo. This means a lot when you’re a user and a customer!

Vidyo is a disrupter within the video conferencing space. They tackle Cisco, Polycom and Lifesize, when it comes to a clean, robust and cost effective software based video solution. The differentiator is in their use of H.264 Scalable Video Coding (SVC)-based compression technology and their patented Adaptive Video Layering. This allows Vidyo to scale very easily, while providing less video jitter and packet loss during a conference. Here is a video demonstrating the difference between traditional H.264 systems and Vidyo's H.264 with SVC. 

The shift to software allows Vidyo to introduce video conferencing to different platforms faster and more efficiently. This speed has led to huge adoption rates and happy customers. You actually may already be a customer and don’t even know it. Vidyo is the technology that Google uses for Google Hangouts and Nintendo uses for the Wii platform

In my opinion what really brings Vidyo into the mantra of this blogs theme is their use of Virtualization and Cloud technology. Vidyo is a strong partner with VMware and has recently showed some awesomeness at VMworld and PEX. In the next few months they are also introducing an all Vidyo hosted cloud solution for those that want to get their feet wet and try out Vidyo’s technology.

 


If you are looking for ways to cut down on travel and cost and implement a video conferencing solution within your organization, I highly recommend you look at Vidyo. 

CloudCred - Knowledge, Recognition, Access

VMware just recently launch a really cool community platform called CloudCred. The premise is to expand and expose the community to more VMware/Cloud knowledge, while building a personal portfolio of accomplishments. The current plan is to reward those that have completed assigned personal or team tasks that show your accomplishments and knowledge. 

I give kudos to VMware for developing a platform that is fun and uses team collaboration to enrich the community and expand VMware, Partner and Cloud technology. 

Charlie Gautreaux @chuckgman has created a Pernixdata team on CloudCred. I Joined this team as I wanted to be part of a team that will revolutionize the next cloud technology! 

Check out my profile: https://www.cloudcredibility.com/profile/788

Video Overview: 

 

Pernixdata - Solving the I/O Bottleneck

As some of you already know Pernixdata came out of stealth yesterday. I have been eagerly waiting for this time to share how I think Poojan Kumar (CEO) & Satyam Vaghani (CTO) and their great team plan to take the lead in a new market opportunity.

I have had the privilege and opportunity of testing the Flash Virtualization Platform from Pernixdata and I can honestly tell you that it works and it works well. The technology is truly revolutionary and thus plan to post several times over the coming weeks and months about this new innovation.

The best way to describe the “FVP –Flash Virtualization Platform” is to look at it from a data tier perspective instead of just a caching solution. It’s easy just to call it a caching solution, because there isn’t anything like it. Its the breadth of this new platform that masters the I/O workloads and commoditizes the use of Flash in compute. 

 

The I/O bottleneck between storage and compute has hampered the industry for sometime. This started to change when VMware released their VAAI API, but adoption was slow and expensive. Purchasing additional arrays was not the answer from a financial or technological perspective. There really needed to be a new technology to bring everything together. This is where Pernixdata comes in to play, solving the scale and performance problems that have plagued many in the industry. This is done without vendor lock in and architectural changes to the datacenter, saving organizations thousands of dollars.

To join the beta program, send an email request to beta@pernixdata.com

Congratulations Pernixdata for creating a solution for the SMB, and Enterprise market that solves a known virtualization/Cloud problem. 

Changing SSD "Drive Type" Error

I recently was reading William Lam's and Duncan Epping's blog posts about the issue of vSphere not correctly reading local SSD drive types on a host. If a SSD is installed behind a RAID controller, the drive type will often show "Non-SSD".

I followed the steps on changing the drive type or as Duncan calls it "Faking an SSD in your Virtualized vSphere lab"!! During this process I received an error message, when running the add rule command.

 

esxcli storage nmp satp rule add --satp VMW_SATP_LOCAL --device naa.60024e805cb75f001886b896132d69ff --option=enable_ssd

 

"Error adding SATP user rule: Duplicate user rule found for SATP VMW_SATP_LOCAL"

 

After doing some digging, I realized that this drive already had a user rule setup. In order to see all user defined rules, run this command.

 esxcli storage nmp satp rule list

(You will notice the rules that have be defined by you will be labeled "user")

 

All I had to do is run the remove command to remove the duplicate user defined rule.

 

esxcli storage nmp satp rule remove --satp VMW_SATP_LOCAL --device naa.60024e805cb75f001886b896132d69ff

 

Then you can run the add rule and reclaim commands as before and all will be successful! 

 

esxcli storage core claiming reclaim -d naa.60024e805cb75f001886b896132d69ff

 

I also found out that you don't have to create a VMFS datastore to run these commands. They worked as available SSD drives as well.

 

Clustered VAAI?

In reading the recent updated VMware vSphere Storage API Array Integration (VAAI) White Paper, I noticed a statement that caught my eye.

"VMware does not support VAAI primitives on VMFS with multiple LUNs/extents if they all are on different arrays.."

I understand the difficulty in doing this, but it makes me wonder if the coming VMware vVOLs will be the technology that gives the vAdmin the capability of crossing array bounderies on a single LUN that supports VAAI primitives. 

If anybody has thoughts or insight to this, please tweet or comment.

 

 

 

Synology RS3412RPxs Review

Recently I noticed that the only sub $10,000 SAN that is on VMware's VAAI HCL list is the Synology RS3412RPxs SAN. This SAN doesn't currently support all the VAAI API's, but it does support ATOMIC test and set.

http://www.synology.com/releaseNote_enu/RS3411RPxs.php?lang=us

http://www.synology.com/products/product.php?product_name=RS3412xs&lang=us

Their DSM 4.0 is really refined and the setup was very easy. I bought the RPxs model, because it has dual power supplies. I thought about purchasing a 10G NIC card and then load this unit with SSD drives (which is supported), but then I thought that it might be better and cheaper to load the unit with Seagate Enterprise drives at 500GB a piece. This will give me 10 spindles with smaller drives sizes, and hopefully giving me more iOPS at a lower cost. This unit fully loaded with drives using my configuration was only about $6,000!!

To get "Hardware Supported"for VAAI on ESXi 5.0, remember to setup a iSCSi file level LUN. This will allow ESXi to use the Synology for VAAI.

I haven't done much in regards of in-depth testing, but I'm currently running our highly utilized production Exchange mailbox store on it and it's running circles around our EMC VNXe that also has Exchange server running on it.

So far I recommend Synology, it's giving us features that the big boys only give us at $25k and above. Give me your feedback and questions.