I spent more time than I should putting media into my Plex environment, and have been looking for ways to optimise the experience. This series of articles by Carolyn Van Slyck has inspired me to do some more work on my transcode workflow. I’m also looking at doing something like this or this to automatically ingest the media in the first place.
(Site sponsor) Vembu recently announced Vembu BDR Essentials for Small Businesses. You can read more about that here.
Disclaimer: I recently attended VMworld 2014 – SF. My flights and accommodation were paid for by myself, however VMware provided me with a free pass to the conference and various bits of swag. 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.
VAPP3031-SPO – Deploying Web-Scale Converged Infrastructure: Software Defined Storage for the Real World
VAPP3031-SPO was the last session today and, while it was sponsored by Nutanix, I found it reasonably useful to get a customer’s perspective on things, so I figured I’d at least write up my notes.
It was presented by:
Sachin Chheda, Nutanix – Director of Product Marketing
Ali Alladin, Williams-Sonoma – Global Director of Enterprise Infrastructure
Dan Gorman, Williams-Sonoma – Senior Enterprise IT Architect
Williams-Sonoma are best known for the Pottery Barn range of stores, but they do a bit more than that. You can check them out here.
Nutanix, of course, are pretty well known. They were founded in 2009, and are now shipping the 4th version of their OS. Their stated goal is to “deliver IT infrastructure that delivers the scale of Google, Facebook, etc to enterprise IT”.
So what’s webscale?
Scale one x86 server at a time
Smart software, commodity hardware
Highly distributed software
Storage is local
So what is it not?
Islands of storage
Unused, over-provisioned resources
North-south network traffic
Lots of server and storage admins
Nutanix are also focussed on what they call “VMCaliber Operations”
Meet SLAs and provide cost-effective DR
VM and infrastructure insight
Sachin provided a brief explanation of the architecture, and then handed over to the Williams-Sonoma guys.
Their business is multi-channel, multi-brand – retail stores, catalogue, on-line. It’s therefore a complex IT infrastructure and they need to be reactive.
What drove the move to Nutanix?
Moving to 100% virtualised infrastructure
Deploy infrastructure for remote and branch offices
Looked at standalone, Open Compute Project, and FlexPod, but they needed a FRU model. They also had a lot of infrastructure silos.
They needed efficiency and ease of management, also needed replication. It also needed to
Avoid noisy neighbours
For workloads such as:
communications and collaboration
With Nutanix they got:
Resiliency and availability
Tiering and data localisation
VM management and protection
The criteria was provide a consistent repeatable infrastructure design that was designed to survive failure.
So they did a PoC and it did what it said it would. Happy days.
They now have an IaaS model that their business units understand. They’re aiming to have an internal private cloud on Nutanix, and want to be able to scale in any direction as business changes.
One thing they did need to do was rethink management. The PRISM UI has plenty of pretty things to look at though. and they could also integrate REST API with tools such as PERL.
Some of the advantages realised included:
I liked this approach:
You can’t be efficient if you keep putting yourself in the loop. You need to start with intelligent IT infrastructure.
Pay attention to your apps and the IO and data flow
Build a reasonable level of competency
Continue building out our service model
Automate more functions
Evaluate new workloads such as big data
Find out your requirements – efficiency and scalability should be on your list
Be thorough – investigate all of your options
Remove yourself from the equation – rely on dashboards, automate where possible.
There were some nice customer insights here, without too much marketing fluff. 3.5 stars.
I’m a bit behind at the moment, but I wanted to take a moment to say thank you to John Troyer, Corey Romero and the folks in the VMware Social Media & Community Team for leaving me on the list for vExpert 2013. It’s a long list, and you’ll notice a lot of familiar names on there. So, thanks.
It’s also been really cool to see the rest of the community kick in with some goodies for vExperts. TrainSignal have come through with a year’s free training for vExperts – which I think is really quite awesome. You can also sign up for a free trial here – worth checking out.