Welcome to Random Short Take #43. A few players have worn 43 in the NBA, including Frank Brickowski, but my favourite from this list is Red Kerr (more for his commentary chops than his game, I think). Let’s get random.
Mike Wilson has published Part 2 of his VMware VCP 2020 Study Guide and it’s a ripper. Check it out here. I try to duck and weave when it comes to certification exams nowadays, but these kind of resources are invaluable.
Mr Foskett bought a cloud, of sorts. Read more about that here. Anyone who knows Stephen knows that he’s all about what’s happening in the industry, but I do enjoy reading about these home projects as well.
Speaking of clouds, Rancher was named “A Leader” in multi-cloud container development platforms by an independent research firm. You can read the press release here.
Datadobi had a good story to share about what it did with UMass Memorial Health Care. You can read the story here.
Steve O has done way too much work understanding how to change the default theme in Veeam Enterprise Manager 10 and documenting the process so you don’t need to work it out. Read about the process here.
Welcome to Random Short Take #37. Not a huge amount of players have worn 37 in the NBA, but Metta World Peace did a few times. When he wasn’t wearing 15, and other odd numbers. But I digress. Let’s get random.
Pavilion Data recently added S3 capability to its platform. It’s based on a variant of MinIO, and adds an interesting dimension to what Pavilion Data has traditionally offered. Mellor provided some good coverage here.
Online events are all the rage at the moment, and two noteworthy events are coming up shortly: Pure//Accelerate and VeeamON 2020. Speaking of online events, we’re running a virtual BNEVMUG next week. Details on that here. ZertoCON Virtual is also a thing.
I can’t recall whether I mentioned that this white paper covering VCD on VCF 3.9 is available now, and I can’t be bothered checking. So here it is.
I’m not just a fan of Backblaze because of its cool consumer backup solution and object storage platform, I’m also a big fan because of its blog. Articles like this one are a great example of companies doing corporate culture right (at least from what I can see).
I have the impression that Datadobi has been doing some cool stuff recently, and this story certainly seems to back it up.
Want some news? In a shorter format? And a little bit random? This listicle might be for you. Welcome to #24 – The Kobe Edition (not a lot of passing, but still entertaining). 8 articles too. Which one was your favourite Kobe? 8 or 24?
I wrote an article about how architecture matters years ago. It’s nothing to do with this one from Preston, but he makes some great points about the importance of architecture when looking to protect your public cloud workloads.
Commvault GO 2019 was held recently, and Chin-Fah had some thoughts on where Commvault’s at. You can read all about that here. Speaking of Commvault, Keith had some thoughts as well, and you can check them out here.
The August edition of the Brisbane VMUG meeting will be held on Tuesday 20th August at Fishburners from 4 – 6pm. It’s sponsored by Dell EMC and should to be a great afternoon.
Here’s the agenda:
VMware Presentation: TBA
Dell EMC Presentation: Protecting Your Critical Assets With Dell EMC
Refreshments and drinks.
Dell EMC have gone to great lengths to make sure this will be a fun and informative session and I’m really looking forward to hearing about their data protection portfolio. You can find out more information and register for the event here. I hope to see you there. Also, if you’re interested in sponsoring one of these events, please get in touch with me and I can help make it happen.
I’m not at VMworld US this year, but I had the opportunity to be briefed by Sam Grocott (Dell EMC Cloud Strategy) on some of Dell EMC‘s key announcements during the event, and thought I’d share some of my rough notes and links here. You can read the press release here.
It is a multi-cloud world. Multi-cloud requires workload mobility. The market requires a consistent experience between on-premises and off-premises. Dell EMC are doing some more stuff around that.
Dell EMC offer a number of engineered systems to run both IaaS and cloud native applications.
Starting with vSphere 6.7, Dell EMC are saying they’re delivering “near” synchronous software releases between VMware and VxRail. In this case that translates to a less than 30 Day delta between releases. There’s also support for:
As would be expected from a company with a large portfolio of products, there’s quite a bit happening on the product enhancement front. Dell EMC are starting to get that they need to be on-board with those pesky cloud types, and they’re also doing a decent job of ensuring their private cloud customers have something to play with as well.
I’m always a little surprised by vendors offering “Cloud Editions” of key products, as it feels a lot like they’re bolting on something to the public cloud when the focus could perhaps be on helping customers get to a cloud-native position sooner. That said, there are good economic reasons to take this approach. By that I mean that there’s always going to be someone who thinks they can just lift and shift their workload to the public cloud, rather than re-factoring their applications. Dell EMC are providing a number of ways to make this a fairly safe undertaking, and products like Unity Cloud Edition provide some nice features such as increased resilience that would be otherwise lacking if the enterprise customer simply dumped its VMs in AWS as-is. I still have hope that we’ll stop doing this as an industry in the near future and embrace some smarter ways of working. But while enterprises are happy enough to spend their money on doing things like they always have, I can’t criticise Dell EMC for wanting a piece of the pie.
One of the key differences between this offering and previous IDPA products is the form factor. The DP4400 is a 2RU appliance (based on a PowerEdge server) with the following features:
Capacity starts at 24TB, growing in increments of 12TB, up to 96TB useable. The capacity increase is done via licensing, so there’s no additional hardware required (who doesn’t love the golden screwdriver?)
Search and reporting is built in to the appliance
There are Cloud Tier (ECS, AWS, Azure, Virtustream, etc) and Cloud DR options (S3 at this stage, but that will change in the future)
72TB RAID6 (6+2) – DDVE File System Spindle-group 1
72TB RAID6 (6+2) – DDVE File System Spindle-group 2
240GB BOSS Card
240GB RAID1 (1+1 M.2) – ESXi 6.5 Boot Drive
1.6TB NVMe Card
960GB SSD – DDVE cache-tier
2x Intel Silver 4114 10-core 2.2GHz
Up to 40 vCPU system capacity
Memory of 256GB (8x 32GB RDIMMs, 2667MT/s)
Networking-wise, the appliance has 8x 10GbE ports using either SFP+ or Twinax. There’s a management port for initial configuration, along with an iDRAC port that’s disabled by default, but can be configured if required. If you’re using Avamar NDMP accelerator nodes in your environment, you can integrate an existing node with the DP4400. Note that it supports one accelerator node per appliance.
Put On Your Pointy Hat
One of the nice things about the appliance (particularly if you’ve ever had to build a data protection environment based on Data Domain and Avamar) is that you can setup everything you need to get started via a simple to use installation wizard.
[image courtesy of Dell EMC]
Thoughts and Further Reading
I talked to Steve about what he thought the key differentiators were for the DP4400. He talked about:
Network bandwidth; and
Guaranteed dedupe ratio (55:1 vs 5:1?)
He also mentioned the capability of a product like Data Protection Central to manage an extremely large ROBO environment. He said these were some of the opportunities where he felt Dell EMC had an edge over the competition.
I can certainly attest to the breadth of ecosystem support being a big advantage for Dell EMC over some of its competitors. Avamar and DD/VE have also demonstrated some pretty decent chops when it comes to bandwidth-constrained environments in need of data protection. I think it’s great the Dell EMC are delivering these kinds of solutions to market. For every shop willing to go with relative newcomers like Cohesity or Rubrik, there are plenty who still want to buy data protection from Dell EMC, IBM or Commvault. Dell EMC are being fairly upfront about what they think this type of appliance will support in terms of workload, and they’ve clearly been keeping an eye on the competition with regards to usability and integration. People who’ve used Avamar in real life have been generally happy with the performance and feature set, and this is going to be a big selling point for people who aren’t fans of NetWorker.
I’m not going to tell you that one vendor is offering a better solution than the others. You shouldn’t be making strategic decisions based on technical specs and marketing brochures in any case. Some environments are going to like this solution because it fits well with their broader strategy of buying from Dell EMC. Some people will like it because it might be a change from their current approach of building their own solutions. And some people might like to buy it because they think Dell EMC’s post-sales support is great. These are all good reasons to look into the DP4400.
I wrote in a previous post about having some problems with EMC’s VSI for VMware vSphere 6.5 when running in vCenter 5.5 in Linked Mode. I spoke about deploying the appliance in just one site as a workaround. Turns out that wasn’t much of a workaround. Because workaround implies that I was able to get some functionality out of the situation. While the appliance deployed okay, I couldn’t get it to recognise the deployed volumes as EMC volumes.
A colleague of mine had the same problem as me and a little more patience and logged a call with EMC support. Their response was “[c]urrent VSI version does not support for Linked mode, good news is recently we have several customers requesting that enhancement and Dev team are in the process of evaluating impact to their future delivery schedule. So, the linked mode may will be supported in the future. Thanks.”
While this strikes me as non-optimal, I am hopeful, but not optimistic, that it will be fixed in a later version. My concern is that Linked Mode isn’t the problem at all, and it’s something else stupid that I’m doing. But I’m short of places I can test this at the moment. If I come across a site where we’re not using Linked Mode, I’ll be sure to fire up the appliance and run it through its paces, but for now it’s back in the box.
As part of a recent deployment I’ve been implementing EMC VSI for VMware vSphere Web Client v6.5 in a vSphere 5.5 environment. If you’re not familiar with this product, it “enables administrators to view, manage, and optimize storage for VMware ESX/ESXi servers and hosts and then map that storage to the hosts.” It covers a bunch of EMC products, and can be really useful in understanding where your VMs sit in relation to your EMC storage environment. It also really helps non-storage admins get going quickly in an EMC environment.
To get up and running, you:
Download the appliance from EMC;
Deploy the appliance into your environment;
Register the plug-in with vCenter by going to https://ApplianceIP:8443/vsi_usm/admin;
Register the Solutions Integration Service in the vCenter Web Client; and
Start adding arrays as required.
So this is all pretty straightforward. BTW the default username is admin, and the default password is ChangeMe. You’ll be prompted to change the password the first time you log in to the appliance.
So the problem for me arose when I went to register a second SIS appliance.
By way of background, there are two vCenter 5.5 U2 instances running at two different data centres. I do, however, have them running in Linked Mode. And I think this is the problem. I know that you can only register one instance at a time with one vCenter. While it’s not an issue to deploy a second appliance at the second DC, every time I go to register the service in vCenter, regardless of where I’m logged in, it always points to the first vCenter instance. Which is a bit of a PITA, and not something I’d expected to be a problem. As a workaround, I’ve deployed one instance of the appliance at the primary DC and added both arrays to it to get the client up and running. And yes, I agree, if I have a site down I’m probably not going to be super focused on storage provisioning activities at my secondary DC. But I do enjoy whinging about things when they don’t work the way I expected them in the first instance.
I’d read in previous versions that Linked Mode wasn’t supported, but figured this was no longer an issue as it’s not mentioned in the 6.5 Product Guide. This thread on ECN seems to back up what I suspect. I’d be keen to hear if other people have run into this issue.
This is part 3 of a series where I will go into a little more detail on how you use HeatMap Analyzer. In this article I will look at the different sort of charts that can be drawn using the Analyzer component.
This is a standard Line chart. Line style charts (Line, Stacked and Line by Day) are all comprised of several sections – the main chart (upper) and the control section (lower). The control section allows you to zoom and pan the chart. If, for example, you are viewing several months worth of performance data (as above) then analysing specific points in time becomes quite difficult. Dragging the sliders in the control section closer together will allow you to view the data in greater detail.
Hovering over a data point will display a tool-tip with the details of that point.
Line by Day Chart
The Line by Day chart breaks down a standard Line chart and overlays each day. This can be useful in finding time related trends in data sets. For example, looking at a particular SP’s utilization over the past 3 weeks might look something like this:
Trying to work out time based trends in this data is visually difficult, however if we chart it using a Line by Day chart it allows you to analyze the data more intuitively. You could make the following conclusions:
1. Utilization over the weekend is generally lower.
2. There is consistently a peak in utilization at 5 am.
3. The highest peak during business hours is at 9 am.
4. Utilization of the array begins to increase from around 6 pm.
Bear in mind that charting multiple objects in the one chart will potentially make analysis more difficult, and while tool tips are shown when you hover over a data point, the time will be correct however the date is all converted back to 1st January 2000.
A stacked chart aggregates the data points for the selected objects, and shows the total of the attribute charted for a particular time. Only certain types of Attributes can be charted in a Stacked chart (and Pie charts). For example it doesn’t make a lot of sense to draw a Stacked chart of SP utilization. However, where the unit of measurement is “aggregatable” like Total Bandwidth (measured in MB/s) or Total Throughput ( measured in IOPS ), it can be charted this way.
If you really want to be able to chart these other unit types using Stacked charts, you can modify the units aggregatable flag in the Configuration tab under the “Attribute Units” section, removing the unit and re-adding it with the aggregatable flag ticked. This should enable this chart type for those attributes.
When selecting a Pie Chart, you are unable to select which objects are to be drawn (all objects are included in the chart calculations). Specifying Max Slices will limit the chart to display n-1 objects, the objects that are shown will be ordered largest to smallest, and all other objects will be combined under the “Other” slice.
A distribution chart allows you to determine the percentage of data sets that fall within particular bands. The above chart shows that 46% of SP A’s response times are in the 0-3 ms band, whereas 45% of SP B’s response times are in the 6-9ms band. When drawing a Distribution chart leaving the Minimum and Maximum blank will leave the script to determine the ranges that will contain the entire data set. Using the Minimum and Maximum you can change the range that is charted, and changing the interval will change the number of bands displayed (by default 10).
Changing the Minimum to 0, Maximum to 20 would result in the above chart, breaking the distribution down into smaller bands
This option displays a text table of the Attribute and Objects that you have selected, you can select all the data and paste it into you favorite analytic tool
Connectivity charts show the hierarchical connectivity of the array (currently this chart is only available for CLARiiON arrays)
Front End Ports → Storage Processor →LUN → MetaLUN Component → RAID Group / Pool → Private RAID Group → Disk
Modifying the depth field will change the depth to which the chart is drawn. Modifying the Attribute field will change the Attribute that is represented on the chart (Connectivity is a special attribute that weights each link the same). Link size is relative to the average for the selected attribute for the particular object, where the object does not expose that attribute (i.e. Ports don’t expose Utilization) will show a thin link.
NOTE: Arrays with more complex configurations and larger number of disks don’t necessarily display very clearly in this format.
In Part 4 we will look at the Configuration tab and how to Automate NAR file collection.
It’s alive. Mat has been coding like crazy and enhancing the HeatMap script and turning it into like, an appliance kind of thing. You can grab it from the Utilities page and it comes in two parts – the core code and third-party scripts package. While the combined package size is small, it saves redistributing stuff that hasn’t changed. In any case, download it, give it a spin and let us know your thoughts. Obviously, it’s still a bit ugly, and still a bit version 0.1, but that’s what you get for free. Tell your friends.