- I’ve been doing some stuff with Runecast in my day job, so this post over at Gestalt IT really resonated.
- I enjoyed this article from Alastair on AWS Design, and the mention of “handcrafted perfection” in particular has put an abrupt end to any yearning I’d be doing to head back into the enterprise fray.
- Speaking of AWS, you can now hire Mac mini instances. Frederic did a great job of documenting the process here.
- Liking VMware Cloud Foundation but wondering if you can get it via your favourite public cloud provider? Wonder no more with this handy reference from Simon Long.
- Ransomware. Seems like everyone’s doing it. This was a great article on the benefits of the air gap approach to data protection. Remember, it’s not a matter of if, but when.
- Speaking of data protection and security, BackupAssist Classic v11 launched recently. You can read the press release here.
- Using draw.io but want to use some VVD stencils? Christian has the scoop here.
- Speaking of VMware Cloud Director, Steve O has a handy guide on upgrading to 10.2 that you can read here.
Welcome to Random Short Take #31. Lot of good players have worn 31 in the NBA. You’d think I’d call this the Reggie edition (and I appreciate him more after watching Winning Time), but this one belongs to Brent Barry. This may be related to some recency bias I have, based on the fact that Brent is a commentator in NBA 2K19, but I digress …
- Late last year I wrote about Scale Computing’s big bet on a small form factor. Scale Computing recently announced that Jerry’s Foods is using the HE150 solution for in-store computing.
- I find Plex to be a pretty rock solid application experience, and most of the problems I’ve had with it have been client-related. I recently had a problem with a server update that borked my installation though, and had to roll back. Here’s the quick and dirty way to do that on macOS.
- Here’s are 7 contentious thoughts on data protection from Preston. I think there are some great ideas here and I recommend taking the time to read this article.
- I recently had the chance to speak with Michael Jack from Datadobi about the company’s announcement about its new DIY Starter Pack for NAS migrations. Whilst it seems that the professional services market for NAS migrations has diminished over the last few years, there’s still plenty of data out there that needs to be moved from on box to another. Robocopy and rsync aren’t always the best option when you need to move this much data around.
- There are a bunch of things that people need to learn to do operations well. A lot of them are learnt the hard way. This is a great list from Jan Schaumann.
- Analyst firms are sometimes misunderstood. My friend Enrico Signoretti has been working at GigaOm for a little while now, and I really enjoyed this article on the thinking behind the GigaOm Radar.
- Nexsan recently announced some enhancements to its “BEAST” storage platforms. You can read more on that here.
- Alastair isn’t just a great writer and moustache aficionado, he’s also a trainer across a number of IT disciplines, including AWS. He recently posted this useful article on what AWS newcomers can expect when it comes to managing EC2 instances.
Here are a few links to some random news items and other content that I found interesting. You might find it interesting too. Maybe. This will be the last one for this year. I hope you and yours have a safe and merry Christmas / holiday break.
- Scale Computing have finally entered the Aussie market in partnership with Amnesium. You can read more about that here.
- Alastair is back in the classroom, teaching folks about AWS. He published a bunch of very useful notes from a recent class here.
- The folks at Backblaze are running a “Refer-A-Friend” promotion. If you’re looking to become a new Backblaze customer and sign up with my referral code, you’ll get some free time on your account. And I will too! Hooray! I’ve waxed lyrical about Backblaze before, and I recommend it. The offer runs out on January 6th 2019, so get a move on.
- Howard did a nice article on VVols that I recommend checking out.
- GDPR has been a challenge (within and outside the EU), but I enjoyed Mark Browne‘s take on Cohesity’s GDPR compliance.
- I’m quite a fan of the Netflix Tech Blog, and this article on the Netflix Media Database was a ripper.
- From time to time I like to poke fun at my friends in the US for what seems like an excessive amount of shenanigans happening in that country, but there’s plenty of boneheaded stuff happening in Australia too. Read Preston’s article on the recently passed anti-encryption laws to get a feel for the heady heights of stupidity that we’ve been able to reach recently.
Here are a few links to some random news items and other content that I found interesting. You might find it interesting too. Maybe.
- This case modification by Ben Hoad really is the business.
- All the cool kids are adding support for Mellanox’s BlueField SmartNIC, including the likes of Excelero and E8 Storage.
- Quobyte Inc’s Data Center File System is now available on Google Cloud Platform. You can read the press release here.
- Say what you will about Gartner’s Magic Quadrant, folks in the industry pay attention to this kind of stuff. Nutanix recently sent me some comms letting me know they’re in a good spot in the latest MQ. If you can get hold of the report, and you’re into HCI, it makes for interesting reading.
- AWS re:Invent was last week in Vegas, and Anthony presented on what Veeam have been up to. Check out his post on what they’ve been doing in the AWS ecosystem, and other cool stuff.
- Speaking of AWS, Ather Beg posted some useful summary articles of the major announcements coming out of re:Invent. You can read them here and here.
- Vembu are taking up to 40% off the price of some of their products until Christmas.
Datrium have had a scalable protection tier and focus on performance since their inception.
[image courtesy of Datrium]
The “mobility tier”, in the form of Cloud DVX, has been around for a little while now. It’s simple to consume (via SaaS), yields decent deduplication results, and the Datrium team tells me it also delivers fast RTO. There’s also solid support for moving data between DCs with the DVX platform. This all sounds like the foundation for something happening in the hybrid space, right?
And Into The Future
Datrium pointed out that disaster recovery has traditionally been a good way of finding out where a lot of the problems exist in you data centre. There’s nothing like failing a failover to understand where the integration points in your on-premises infrastructure are lacking. Disaster recovery needs to be a seamless, integrated process, but data centres are still built on various silos of technology. People are still using clouds for a variety of reasons, and some clouds do some things better than others. It’s easy to pick and choose what you need to get things done. This has been one of the big advantages of public cloud and a large reason for its success. As a result of this, however, the silos are moving to the cloud, even as they’re fixed in the DC.
As a result of this, Datrium are looking to develop a solution that delivers on the following theme: “Run. Protect. Any Cloud”. The idea is simple, offering up an orchestrated DR offering that makes failover and failback a painless undertaking. Datrium tell me they’ve been a big supporter of VMware’s SRM product, but have observed that there can be problems with VMware offering an orchestration-only layer, with adapters having issues from time to time, and managing the solution can be complicated. With CloudShift, Datrium are taking a vertical stack approach, positioning CloudShift as an orchestrator for DR as a SaaS offering. Note that it only works with Datrium.
[image courtesy of Datrium]
The idea behind CloudShift is pretty neat. With Cloud DVX you can already backup VMs to AWS using S3 and EC2. The idea is that you can leverage data already in AWS to fire up VMs on AWS (using on-demand instances of VMware Cloud on AWS) to provide temporary disaster recovery capability. The good thing about this is that converting your VMware VMs to someone else’s cloud is no longer a problem you need to resolve. You’ll need to have a relationship with AWS in the first place – it won’t be as simple as entering your credit card details and firing up an instance. But it certainly seems a lot simpler than having an existing infrastructure in place, and dealing with the conversion problems inherent in going from vSphere to KVM and other virtualisation platforms.
[image courtesy of Datrium]
Failover and failback is a fairly straightforward process as well, with the following steps required for failover and failback of workloads:
- Backup to Cloud DVX / S3 – This is ongoing and happens in the background;
- Failover required – the CloudShift runbook is initiated;
- Restart VM groups on VMC – VMs are rehydrated from data in S3; and
- Failback to on-premises – CloudShift reverses the process with deltas using change block tracking.
It’s being pitched as a very simple way to run DR, something that has been notorious for being a stressful activity in the past.
Thoughts and Further Reading
CloudShift is targeted for release in the first half of 2019. The economic power of DRaaS in the cloud is very strong. People love the idea that they can access the facility on-demand, rather than having passive infrastructure doing nothing on the off chance that it will be required. There’s obviously some additional cost when you need to use on demand versus reserved resources, but this is still potentially cheaper than standing up and maintaining your own secondary DC presence.
Datrium are focused on keeping inherently complex activities like DR simple. I’ll be curious to see whether they’re successful with this approach. The great thing about something like a generic orchestration framework like VMware SRM is that you can use a number of different vendors in the data centre and not have a huge problem with interoperability. The downside to this approach is that this broader ecosystem can leave you exposed to problems with individual components in the solution. Datrium is taking a punt that their customers are going to see the advantages of having an integrated approach to leveraging on demand services. I’m constantly astonished that people don’t get more excited about DRaaS offerings. It’s really cool that you can get this level of protection without having to invest a tonne in running your own passive infrastructure. If you’d like to read more about CloudShift, there’s a blog post that sheds some more light on the solution on Datrium’s site, and you can grab a white paper here too.
What’s A CloudRanger?
Here’s the high-level view of the company:
- Founded in 2016
- Headquartered in Donegal, Ireland
- 300+ Global Customers
- 3x Growth in last 6 months
- 100% Cloud native ‘as-a-Service’
- Pay as you go pricing model
- Biggest client creating 4,000 snapshots per day
- API Account IAM access ensures greater customer account security
- Leverages AWS Quiescing capabilities
- No account proxies (No additional costs, increased security)
- No software needed to be updated
Broadest service coverage
- Amazon EC2, EBS, RDS & RedShift
- Automated Disaster Recovery (ADR)
- Server scheduling for Amazon EC2 & RDS
- SaaS based solution, compared to CPM server based approach
- Easy to use platform for managing multiple AWS accounts
- Featured SaaS product in AWS Marketplace available via SaaS contracts
Consumption Based Pricing Model
- Pay as you go with full insight into data usage for cost predictability
A Good Fit
So where does CloudRanger fit in the broader Druva story? You’ll notice in the below picture that Apollo is missing. The main reason for the acquisition, as best I can tell, is that CloudRanger gives Druva the capability they were after with Apollo but in a much shorter timeframe.
[image courtesy of Druva]
A lot of customers want a lot of different things from their software vendors, particularly when it comes to data protection. A lot of companies have particular needs, and infrastructure protection is a complicated beast at the best of times. Sometimes it makes sense to try and develop these features for your customers. And sometimes it makes sense to go out and acquire those features. In this case, Druva has realised that CloudRanger gets them to a point in their product development far quicker than they may have gotten to under their own steam. The point of this acquisition isn’t that the good folks at Druva don’t have the chops to deliver what CloudRanger does already, but now they can move on to other platform enhancements. This does assume that the acquisition will go smoothly, but given that this doesn’t appear to be a hostile takeover, I’m assuming that part will go well.
Druva have done a lot of cool stuff recently, and I do like their approach to data protection (management?) that has differentiated itself from some of the more traditional approaches in the marketplace. CloudRanger gives them solid capability with AWS workloads, and I imagine Azure will be on the radar as well. I’m looking forward to seeing how this plays out, and what impact it has on some of their competitors in the space.