Welcome to Random Short Take #36. Not a huge amount of players have worn 36 in the NBA, but Shaq did (at the end of his career), and Marcus Smart does. This one, though, goes out to one of my favourite players from the modern era, Rasheed Wallace. It seems like Boston is the common thread here. Might have something to do with those hall of fame players wearing numbers in the low 30s. Or it might be entirely unrelated.
Scale Computing recently announced its all-NVMe HC3250DF as a new appliance targeting core data centre and edge computing use cases. It offers higher performance storage, networking and processing. You can read the press release here.
Dell EMC PowerStore has been announced. Chris Mellor covered the announcement here. I haven’t had time to dig into this yet, but I’m keen to learn more. Chris Evans also wrote about it here.
StorCentric’s Nexsan recently announced the E-Series 32F Storage Platform. You can read the press release here.
In what can only be considered excellent news, Preston de Guisehas announced the availability of the second edition of his book, “Data Protection: Ensuring Data Availability”. It will be available in a variety of formats, with the ebook format already being out. I bought the first edition a few times to give as a gift, and I’m looking forward to giving away a few copies of this one too.
Backblaze B2 has been huge for the company, and Backblaze B2 with S3-compatible API access is even huger. Read more about that here. Speaking of Backblaze, it just released its hard dive stats for Q1, 2020. You can read more on that here.
Hal recently upgraded his NUC-based home lab to vSphere 7. You can read more about the process here.
Jon recently posted an article on a new upgrade command available in OneFS. If you’re into Isilon, you might just be into this.
Disclaimer: I recently attended Storage Field Day 19. My flights, accommodation and other expenses were paid for by Tech Field Day. 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.
One of the key features of the Isilon platform has been its scalability. OneFS automatically expands the filesystem across additional nodes. This scalability is impressive, and the platform has the ability to linearly scale both capacity and performance. It supports up to 252 nodes, petabytes of capacity and millions of file operations. My favourite thing about the scalability story, though, is that it’s non-disruptive. Dell EMC says it takes less than 60 seconds to add a node. That assumes you’ve done a bit of pre-work, but it’s a good story to tell. Even better, Isilon supports automated workload rebalancing – so your data is automatically redistributed to take advantage of new nodes when they’re added.
They call it OneFS for a reason. Clients can read / write from any Isilon node, and client connections are distributed across cluster. Each file is automatically distributed across the cluster. This means that the larger the cluster, the better the efficiency and performance is. OneFS is also natively multi-protocol – clients can read / write same data over multiple protocols.
There are some neat features in terms of resiliency too.
The cluster can sustain multiple failures with no impact – no impact for failures of up to 4 nodes or 4 drives in each pool
Non-disruptive tech refresh – non-disruptively add, remove or replace nodes in the cluster
No dedicated spare nodes or drives – better efficiency as no node or drive is unused
There is support for an ultra dense configuration: 4 nodes in 4U, offering up to 240TB raw per RU.
Comprehensive Enterprise Software
SmartDedupe and Compression – storage efficiency
SmartPools – Automated Tiering
CloudPools – Cloud tiering
SmartQuotas – Thin provisioning
SmartConnect – Connection rebalancing
SmartLock – Data integrity
SnapshotIQ – Rapid Restore
SyncIQ – Disaster Recovery
Three Approaches to Data Reduction
Inline compression and deduplication
Small file packing
Configurable tiering based on time
Policy based tiering at file level
Transparent to clients / apps
Other Cool Stuff
SmartConnect with NFS Failover
No RTO or RPO
Very fast file recovery
Low RTO and RPO
SyncIQ via LAN
Disk-based backup and business continuity
Medium RTO and RPO
SyncIQ via WAN
Medium – high RTO and RPO
Backup to tape
FC backup accelerator
Higher RTO and RPO
Support for files up to 16TB in size
Increase of 4X over previous versions
Support applications and workloads that typically deal with large files
Use Isilon as a destination or temporary staging area for backups and database
Isilon in the Cloud
All this Isilon stuff is good, but what if you want to leverage those features in a more cloud-friendly way? Dell EMC has you covered. There’s a good story with getting data to and from the major public cloud providers (in a limited amount of regions), and there’s also an interesting solution when it comes to running OneFS in the cloud itself.
[image courtesy of Dell EMC]
Thoughts and Further Reading
If you’re familiar with Isilon, a lot of what I’ve covered here wouldn’t be news, and would likely be a big part of the reason why you might even be an existing customer. But the OneFS in the public cloud stuff may come as a bit of a surprise. Why would you do it? Why would you pay over the odds to run appliance-like storage services when you could leverage native storage services from these cloud providers? Because the big public cloud providers expect you to have it all together, and run applications that can leverage existing public cloud concepts of availability and resiliency. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case, and many enterprises find themselves lifting and shifting workloads to public clouds. OneFS gives those customers access to features that may not be available to them using the platform natively. These kinds of solutions can also be interesting in the verticals where Isilon has traditionally proven popular. Media and entertainment workloads, for example, often still rely on particular tools and workflows that aren’t necessarily optimised for public cloud. You might have a render job that you need to get done quickly, and the amount of compute available in the public cloud would make that a snap. So you need storage that integrates nicely with your render workflow. Suddenly these OneFS in X Cloud services are beginning to make sense.
It’s been interesting to watch the evolution of the traditional disk slingers in the last 5 years. I don’t think the public cloud has eaten their lunch by any means, but enterprises continue to change the way they approach the need for core infrastructure services, across all of the verticals. Isilon continues to do what it did in the first place – scale out NAS – very well. But Dell EMC has also realised that it needs to augment its approach in order to keep up with what the hyperscalers are up to. I don’t see on-premises Isilon going away any time soon, but I’m also keen to see how the product portfolio develops over the next few years. You can read some more on OneFS in Google Cloud here.
Disclaimer: I recently attended Dell Technologies World 2018. My flights, accommodation and conference pass were paid for by Dell Technologies via the Press, 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.
Here are my rough notes from the storage.27 session. This was presented by John Hayden, VP Software Engineering, Unstructured Data Storage, and covered Isilon: What’s New in 2018 & Future Directions. This is a futures session, so some of this may not come to pass exactly as it was described here, and there are no dates. The choice was to talk about dates, with no technical details, or talk technical details, but no dates. Option 2 made for a more entertaining session.
Momentum with Isilon – >3.5 EB shipped calendar year 2017
What’s new since DEW 2017?
What’s new since 2017?
Release of OneFS 8.1
New generation of Isilon hardware products
3 year satisfaction guarantee
Isilon hardware design: compute
4 nodes in 4U chassis
Intel Broadwell CPU optimised compute to drive ratios
Disclaimer: I recently attended Storage Field Day 13. My flights, accommodation and other expenses were paid for by Tech Field Day and Pure Storage. 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.
I’ve written about Dell EMC Isilon All-Flash before (here and here). You can see Dell EMC’s Storage Field Day presentation video here and you can grab a copy of my rough notes from here.
Dell EMC’s Isilon (and OneFS) has been around for a while now, and Dell EMC tell us it offers the following advantages over competing scale-out NAS offerings:
Single, scalable file system;
Fully symmetric, clustered architecture;
Truly multi-protocol data lake;
Transparent tiering with heterogeneous clusters; and
Non-disruptive platform and OneFS upgrades.
While this is most likely true, the world (and its workloads) are changing. To this end, Dell EMC have been working with Isilon customers to address some key industry challenges, including:
Media and Entertainment – 4K Content and Distribution; and
Enterprise – big data and analytics.
To cope with the ever-increasing throughput requirements, Dell EMC have developed an all-flash offering for their Isilon range of NAS devices, along with some changes in their OneFS operating environment. The idea of the “F” series of devices is that you can “start small and scale”, with capacities ranging from 72TB – 924TB (RAW) in 4RU. Dell EMC tell me you can go to over 33PB in a single file system. From a performance perspective, Dell EMC say that you can push 250K IOPS (or 15GB/s) in just 4RU and scale to 9M IOPS. These are pretty high numbers, and pointless if your editing workstation is plugged into a 1Gbps switch. But that’s generally not the case nowadays.
One of the neater resilience features that Dell EMC discussed was that the file system layout is “sled-aware” (there are 5 drive sleds per node and 20 sleds per 4RU chassis) meaning that a given file uses one drive per sled, allowing for sled removal for service without data unavailability, with these being treated as temporarily-offline drives.
Is All-Flash the Answer (Or Just Another Step?)
I’ve been fascinated with the storage requirements (and IT requirements in general) for media and entertainment workloads for some time. I have absolutely no real-world experience with these types of environments, and it would be silly for me to position myself as any kind of expert in the field. [I am, of course, happy for people working in M&E to get in touch with me and tell me all about what they do]. What I do have is a lot of information that tells me that the move from 2K to 4K (and 8K) is forcing people to rethink their requirements for high bandwidth storage in the ranges of capacities that studios are now starting to look at.
Whilst I was initially a little confused around the move to all-flash on the Isilon platform, the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. You’re always going to have a bunch of data hanging around that you might want to keep on-line for a long time, but it may not need to be retrieved at great speed (think “cheap and deep” storage). For this, it seems that the H (Hybrid) series of Isilon does the job, and does it well. But for workloads where large amounts of data need to be processed in a timely fashion, all-flash options are starting to make a lot more sense.
Is an all-flash offering the answer to everything? Probably not. Particularly not if you’re on a budget. And no matter how much money people have invested in the movie / TV show / whatever, I can guarantee that most of that is going to talent and content, not infrastructure. But there’s definitely a shift from spinning disk to Flash and this will continue as Flash media prices continue to fall. And then we’ll wonder how we ever did anything with those silly spinning disks. Until the next magic medium comes along. In the meantime, if you want to take OneFS for a spin, you can grab a copy of the version 8.1 simulator here. There’s also a very good Isilon overview document that I recommend you check out if that’s the kind of thing you’re into.
You get a flash, you get a flash, you all get a flash
Last week at Dell EMC World it was announced that the Isilon All-Flash NAS (formerly “Project Nitro“) offering was available for pre-order (and GA in early 2017). You can check out the specs here, but basically each chassis is comprised of 4 nodes in 4RU. Dell EMC says this provides “[e]xtreme density, modular and incredibly scalable all-flash tier” with the ability to have up to 100 systems with 400 nodes, storing 92.4PB of capacity, 25M IOPS and up to 1.5TB/s of total aggregate bandwidth—all within a single file system and single volume. All OneFS features are supported, and a OneFS update will be required to add these to existing clusters.
[image via Dell EMC]
Dell EMC are saying this solution provides 6x greater IOPS per RU over existing Isilon nodes. It also helps in areas where Isilon hasn’t been as competitive, providing:
High throughput for large datasets of large files for parallel processing;
IOPS intensive: You can now work on billions of small files and large datasets for parallel processing;
Predictable latency and performance for mixed workloads; and
Improved cost of ownership, with higher density flash providing some level of relief in terms of infrastructure and energy efficiency.
Dell EMC covered the usual suspects – but with greater performance:
Media and entertainment;
High Performance Computing.
Thoughts and Further Reading
If you followed along with the announcements from Dell EMC last week you would have noticed that there have been some incremental improvements in the current storage portfolio, but no drastic changes. While it might make for an exciting article when Dell EMC decide to kill off a product, these changes make a lot more sense (FluidFS for XtremIO, enhanced support for Compellent, and the addition of a PowerEdge offering for VxRail). The addition of an all-flash offering for Isilon has been in the works for some time, and gives the platform a little extra boost in areas where it may have previously struggled. I’ve been a fan of the Isilon platform since I first heard about it, and while I don’t have details of pricing, if you’re already an Isilon shop the all-flash offering should make for interesting news.
Vipin V.K did a great write-up on the announcement that you can read here. The press release from Dell EMC can be found here. There’s also a decent overview from ESG here. Along with the above links to El Reg, there’s a nice article on Nitro here.
Virtualization Field Day 6 just wrapped up. If you missed any of the sessions, head over to the landing page to get links to the streams and associated blog posts;
Dave Henry did a somewhat entertaining post on EMC’s recent Isilon announcements. It’s now been updated with a few answers to some of his very reasonable questions. I have a few customers who are very interested in CloudPools. And I’m interested in finding out what the reality of the product is as opposed to the slideware;
I’ve been doing some work in the EMC vLabs and I thought I’d take note of how to join an Isilon cluster to Active Directory. The cluster in this example is running 3 Isilon virtual nodes with OneFS 220.127.116.11.
Once you’ve logged in, click on Cluster Management and Access Management. Under Access Management, click on Active Directory. Note that there are no Active Directory providers configured in this example.
Click on “Join a domain”. You can then specify the Domain Name, etc. You can also specify the OU and Machine Account if required.
Once you click on Join, you’ll be joined to the AD.
To confirm this, you can also use isi auth status to confirm the status.
And that’s it. As always, I recommend you use a directory service of some type on all of your devices for authentication.
I sat in on a recent EMC briefing regarding some Isilon enhancements and I thought my three loyal readers might like to read through my notes. As I’ve stated before, I am literally one of the worst tech journalists on the internet, so if you’re after insight and deep analysis, you’re probably better off looking elsewhere. Let’s focus on skimming the surface instead, yeah? As always, if you want to know further about these announcements, the best place to start would be your local EMC account team.
Firstly, EMC have improved what I like to call the “Protocol Spider”, with support for the following new protocols:
* Note that this will be available by the end of the year.
Here’s a picture that says pretty much the same thing as the words above.
In addition to the OneFS updates, two new hardware models have also been announced.
Up to 13.8TB globally coherent cache in a single cluster (96GB RAM per node);
Dual Quad-Core Intel 2.4GHz Westmere Processors;
24 * 2.5” 300GB or 600GB 10Krpm Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) 6Gb/s Drives; and
50% more DRAM in baseline configuration than current 2U X-series platform;
Configurable memory (6GB to 48GB) per node to suit specific application & workflow needs;
3x increase in density per RU thus lowering power, cooling and footprint expenses;
Enterprise SSD support for latency sensitive namespace acceleration or file storage apps; and
Redesigned chassis that delivers superior cooling and vibration control.
Here’s a picture that does a mighty job of comparing the new model to the old one.
EMC also announced SmartFlash for Isilon, which uses SSDs as an addition to DRAM for flash capability. The upshot is that you can have 1PB Flash vs 37TB DRAM. It’s also globally coherent, unlike some of my tweets.
Disclaimer: As part of my participation in EMC Elect 2013, EMC sometimes provides me with access to product briefings before new product announcements are made. I don’t want to turn this blog into another avenue for EMC marketing, and EMC are not interested in that either. Nonetheless, I’ve had the opportunity via various channels to actually try some of this stuff and I thought it was worth putting up here. I’ll reiterate though, I haven’t had the chance to verify everything for myself. This is more a prompt for you to go and have a look for yourself.
So, EMC made a few announcements around its BRS line today and I thought some of the Data Domain stuff was noteworthy. Four new models were released; here’s a table of speeds and feeds. Keep in mind that these are numbers published by EMC, not verified by me. As always, your mileage might vary.
In any case, the DD2500 is the replacement for the DD640, the DD4200 replaces the DD670, the DD4500 replaces the DD860 and the DD7200 replaces the DD890. One of the cooler parts of this announcement, in my opinion, is the improved archive support. This is something we’ve been investigating internally as part of our take the Centera out the back and shoot it project. Here’s a screenshot of a marketing slide that includes a number of logos.
Other aspects of the announcement include EMC Avamar 7 and NetWorker 8.1. The Avamar NDMP Accelerator now supports backup for Isilon, in addition to VNX, VNXe, Celerra and NetApp systems. Being a tape user, I’m also mildly excited about DD Boost over Fibre Channel support in NetWorker 8.1, although I’ve not had the chance to try it in our lab yet, so I’ll restrain my enthusiasm until I’ve had time to test it out.
In any case, have a chat to your local EMC BRS team about this stuff if you think it might work for you. You can also read more about it on EMC Pulse and the Reflections blog. When I’ve had a chance to test DD Boost over FC I’ll post it up here.