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.
Disclaimer: I recently attended Dell Technologies World 2019. My flights, accommodation and conference pass were paid for by Dell Technologies via the Media, Analysts and Influencers program. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated in any way for my time at the event. Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.
As part of my attendance at Dell Technologies World 2019 I had the opportunity to attend Tech Field Day Extra sessions. You can view the videos from the Kemp session here, and download my rough notes from here.
The object storage application manages the storage;
No real file system is needed;
Easily scale by just adding disks;
Delivers a low TCO.
It’s accessible via an API and offers the following services:
Kemp / Dell EMC ECS Solution
So how does a load balancing solution from Kemp help? One of the ideas behind object storage is that you can lower primary storage costs. You can also use it to accelerate cloud native apps. Kemp helps with your ECS deployment by:
Maximising value from infrastructure investment
Improving service availability and resilience
Enabling cloud storage scalability for next generation apps
Load Balancing Use Cases for ECS
ECS Node redundancy in the event of failure
A load balancer is required to allow for automatic failover and event distribution of traffic
[image courtesy of Kemp]
Multiple clusters across different DCs
Global Server Load Balancing provides distribution of connections across these clusters based on proximity
Offloading encryption from the Dell EMC ECS nodes to Kemp LoadMaster can greatly increase performance and simplify the management of transport layer security certificates
IPv6 to IPv4 – Dell EMC ECS does not support IPv6 natively – Kemp will provide that translation to IPv4
Thoughts and Further Reading
The first thing that most people ask when seeing this solution is “Won’t the enterprise IT organisation already have a load-balancing solution in place? Why would they go to Kemp to help with their ECS deployment?”. It’s a valid point, but the value here is more that Dell EMC are recommending that customers use the Kemp solution over the built-in load balancer provided with ECS. I’ve witnessed plenty of (potentially frustrating) situations where enterprises deploy multiple load balancing solutions depending on the application requirements or where the project funding was coming from. Remember that things don’t always make sense when it comes to enterprise IT. But putting those issues aside, there are likely plenty of shops looking to deploy ECS in a resilient fashion that haven’t yet had the requirement to deploy a load balancer, and ECS is that first requirement. Kemp are clearly quite good at what they do, and have been in the load balancing game for a while now. The good news is if you adopt their solution for your ECS environment, you can look to leverage their other offerings to provide additional load balancing capabilities for other applications that might require it.
You can read the deployment guide from Dell EMC here, and check out Adam’s preparation post on Kemp here for more background information.
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.
Disclaimer: I recently attended Dell EMC World 2017. My flights, accommodation and conference pass were paid for by Dell EMC via the Dell EMC Elect program. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated in any way for my time at the event. Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.
The latest generation of Isilon (previewed at Dell EMC World in Austin) was announced today. It’s a modular, in-chassis, flexible platform capable of hosting a mix of all-flash, hybrid and archive nodes. The smaller nodes, with a single socket driving 15 or 20 drives (so they can granularly tune the socket:spindle ratio), come in a 4RU chassis. Each chassis can accommodate 4 “sub-nodes”. Dell EMC are claiming some big improvements over the previous generation of Isilon hardware, with 6X file IOPS, 11X throughput, and 2X the capacity. Density is in too, and you can have up to 80 drives in a single chassis (using SATA drives). Dell EMC notes that it’s NVMe ready, but the CPU power to drive that isn’t there just yet. At launch it supports up to 144 nodes (in 36 chassis) and they’re aiming to get to 400 later in the year. Interestingly, there are now dual modes of backend connectivity (InfiniBand and Ethernet) to accommodate this increased number of nodes.
From a compute perspective, you’ll see the following specs:
Intel Broadwell CPU (with optimised compute to drive ratios)
Up to 6TB cache per node (2 Flash cards)
Networking flexibility – Infiniband, 10GbE/40GbE
Nodes can borrow power from neighbours if required too.
Dell EMC tell me this provides the following benefits:
4:1 reduction in RU
Optimised IOPS and throughput
Future-proof, enduring design – snap in next-gen CPUs, networks
New levels of modular, hot-swappable serviceability
From a storage perspective, you’ll see a range of configurations:
From 72TB to 924TB in 4RU
5 drive sleds per node. 3-6 drives per sled.
Front aisle, hot swap sleds and drives
Media flexibility: Flash, SAS and SATA media
Dell EMC tell me this provides the following benefits:
Start small and scale
Simplified serviceability and upgrades
Well, you get access to OneFS 8.1. You also get OPEX reduction by occupying a lot less space in the DC, and having the ability to host a lot more diversity of workloads. Dell EMC are also claiming this release provides unmatched resilience, availability, and security.
Scale? They’ve got that too.
From a capacity standpoint, you can start as small as 72TB (in one chassis) and expand that to over 33PB in a single volume and file system. In terms of performance, Dell EMC are telling me they’re getting up to 250K IOPs, 15GB/s, which scales to 9M IOPs, 540GB/s (aggregate throughput). Your mileage might vary, of course.
Speeds and Feeds
So what do the new models look like? You can guess, but I’ll say it anyway. F nodes are all flash, H nodes are hybrid, and A nodes are archive nodes.
F800 (All Flash)
1.6TB, 3.2TB and 15.4TB Flash
60 drives, up to 924TB per chassis
250K IOPs per chassis
600GB and 1.2TB SAS drives
120 drives and up to 144TB per chassis
117K IOPs per chassis
H500, H400 (Hybrid)
2/4/8TB SATA drives
60 drives per chassis
Up to 480TB per chassis
2/4/8TB SATA drives
60 drives per chassis
Up to 480TB per chassis
10TB SATA drives
80 drives per chassis
800TB per chassis
“No node left behind”
One of the great things about Isilon is that you can seamlessly add “Next Gen” nodes to existing clusters. You’ve been able to do this with Isilon clusters for a very long time, obviously, and it’s nice to see Dell EMC maintain that capability. The benefits of this approach are that you can:
Beef up your existing Isilon clusters with Isilon all flash nodes; and
Consolidate your DC footprint by retiring older nodes.
OneFS has always been pretty cool and it’s now “optimised [for the] performance benefits of flash – without compromising enterprise features”. According to Dell EMC, flash wear is “yesterday’s problem”, and the F800 can sustain more writes per day than its total capacity every day for over 5 years before approaching limits. OneFS is now designed to go “From Edge to Core to Cloud” with IsilonSD Edge, the Next Generation Core and Cloud (with CloudPools -> AWS, Azure, Virtustream).
IsilonSD Edge has some new and improved features now too:
VMware ESXi Hypervisor
Full vCenter integration
Scale up to 36TB
Single server deployment
Back end SAN: ScaleIO, VSAN and VxRAIL
Dell PowerEdge 14G Support
Dell EMC also talked about their vision for ECS.Next, coming in the next year.
Batch and real-time analytics and stream processing
Massive scale @ low cost with new enterprise capabilities
Dell EMC are launching a ECS Dedicated Cloud (ECS DC) Service. This is on-demand ECS storage, managed by Dell EMC and running on dedicated, single-tenant servers hosted in a Virtustream DC. It’s available in hybrid and fully hosted multi-site configurations.
So what’s in the box?
You get some dedicated infrastructure
Customer owned ECS rack
Dedicated network / firewall / load balancer
You also get 24×7 support of hosted sites from a professional DevOps team
Strong expertise in operating ECS
Proactive monitoring and fast response
As well as broad Geo coverage
5 DCs available across US (Las Vegas, Virginia) and Europe (France, London, Netherlands)
Coming to APJ by end of 2017
It will run on a subscription model, with a 1 year or 3 year contract available.
The team also took us through “Project Nautilus”, a batch and real-time analytics and stream processing solution.
Streaming storage and analytics engine
Scale to manage 1000s of high-volume IoT data sources
Eliminate real-time and batch analytics silos
Tier inactive data seamlessly and cost effectively
I hope to cover more on this later. They’re also working on certifications in terms of Hadoop and Centera migrations too (!). I’m definitely interested in the Centera story.
I’ve been a fan of Isilon for some time. It does what it promises on the tin and does it well. The Nitro announcement last year left a few of us scratching our heads (myself included), but I’m on board with a number of the benefits from adopting this approach. Some people are just going to want to consume things in a certain way (VMAX AF is a good example of this), and Dell EMC have been pretty good at glomming onto those market opportunities. And, of course, in much the same way as we’re no longer running SCSI disks everywhere, Flash does seem to be the medium of the future. I’m looking forward to seeing ECS progress as well, given the large numbers of scale-out, object-based storage solutions on the market today. If you’d like to read more about the new Isilon platform, head over to Dell EMC’s blog to check it out.
Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS to its friends) has been around a little while. Today Dell EMC announced the release of version 3.0. I thought I’d cover off some of the reasons why ECS might be something you’d be interested in. I’ll then go through the new features with ECS 3.0. If you make it that far you’ll be treated to some light opinionalysis to finish off.
Dell EMC provided me with a list of reasons why you might want to consider ECS.
Highly Efficient Data Protection
One of the problems we have is protecting unstructured data at scale. To this end, ECS uses a hybrid protection scheme comprised of triple mirroring, erasure coding and XOR algorithms. The key benefits of this approach are:
Lower storage overhead option for cold data scenarios
Enhanced data durability without the overhead of storing multiple copies
Efficient Large and Small File Storage
Small files stored in cache and written to a single disk through box-carting
Large files over 128MB in size are erasure coded immediately vs triple mirroring and erasure coded later
Provides up to 20% higher throughput for larger files
Fully Geo-distributed High Availability & Protection
A geographically distributed environment that acts as single logical resource
Active/Active platform with access to content through a single global namespace
Provides geo-caching to improve operational performance and reduces latency
Read/write access from any location globally
Comprehensive Data Access
Simultaneous access to underlying data through multiple interfaces
Object, File, HDFS
Support for S3, Swift, Atmos, Centera CAS, and NFS v3
HDFS compatible with Cloudera, Pivotal, Hortonworks, etc.
What does this mean?
Native Upgrade path for Centera/Atmos
Enables S3 like offering in-house
Eliminates storage gateways
Breaks down storage silos
Native Multi-tenant Architecture
Shared storage resources amongst multiple applications and tenants
System securely and automatically separates Namespaces, object buckets and users
Integration with LDAP and AD environments
Ensures the integrity of customers’ stored data
Built-in Metadata search
Integrated Metadata storage – store metadata using the same constructs as objects eliminating the need for a separate database and infrastructure to run it.
Metadata search via SQL construct
Enables applications and users to query metadata using SQL constructs. Supports several attribute and sort functions.
Global metadata search
Enables applications and users to search across the global namespace.
So what’s really new in 3.0?
So this ECS stuff is great, but what’s exciting about 3.0?
Advanced Retention Management
Event Based Retention – Enables application to specify retention period that will start when a specified event occurs
Litigation Hold – Enables application to temporarily prevent deletion of an object that is subject to an investigation or legal action
Min/Max Governor – Enables system administrator to specify a min and max value for the default retention period
This unblocks Centera customers using ARM from migration to ECS. I’m actually really excited about this, mainly because I was a big Centera fanboy and have found it difficult to put forward other EMC solutions to replace it for customers heavily leveraging ARM.
SNMP Traps Support
ECS 3.0 will support for SNMP Traps for ECS critical events
SNMP Traps is an optional feature, based on whether system admin configures SNMP information via UI/API
When configured, ECS sends a SNMP Trap to the configured server for any event that causes an alert on the management API
ECS supports the ability to configure up to 10 SNMP Trap Destination targets
SNMPv2 and SNMPv3 (USM mode) support
SNMP Query Service support (CPU & Memory)
Remote Syslog Support
Shipping ECS Monitoring & Diagnostics logs to a remote syslog server
Ability to forward all ECS Audit Logs and ECS Alerts to a centralized Syslog server
Forward OS syslog messages
Support for UDP and TCP based communication with syslog servers
Support for multiple redundant syslog servers , all active
Distributed service, resilient to node failures
Only System Admin can perform syslog management operations
Specify a severity threshold of logs to be forwarded
Ability to Add, Edit and Delete Syslog server configuration from the portal and REST API
Logs can be seen on ECS nodes in /var/log/<node IP>/syslog.log
ECS will support a ability to do the following via the ECS RESTful management API
Lockdown an entire cluster
Lockdown a specific node
Unlock a locked node
A new management user role, the lock admin user, for locking is defined that will have the privilege of locking/unlocking the cluster.
In ECS 3.0 this will be a pre-provisioned local user ‘emcsecurity’.
The lock admin user i.e. ‘emcsecurity’ will have the ability to
Modify their password (forced during first login)
Lock the cluster
Lock a node
Unlock a node
System admin/monitor has the privilege to view the lock status of a node but NOT modify it
Thoughts and Further Reading
I’ve been talking to a lot of scale-out object storage folks lately. Given the amount of EMC stuff I’ve covered here previously, it’s a little surprising that this is the first time I’ve posted about ECS. That doesn’t mean it’s the first time I’ve looked, and I’ve had customers looking at it fairly seriously. In my opinion, the advanced retention management in 3.0 is really going to put a few customers over the line and finally give them the confidence to throw their Centera grids in the river (figuratively speaking).
The cool thing about ECS, like a lot of these types of solutions, is that you can consume it on your terms, via
Dedicated cloud; and
Multi-tenant Storage Cloud.
If you’re feeling keen on ECS, you can take it for a spin here. You can also download a version for free, non-production use here. Grab the datasheet from here.