Storage Field Day 7 – Wrap-up and Link-o-rama

Disclaimer: I recently attended Storage Field Day 7.  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.

This is a quick post to say thanks once again to Stephen, Claire and the presenters at Storage Field Day 7. I had a great time, learnt a lot, and didn’t get much sleep. For easy reference, here’s a list of the posts I did covering the event (not necessarily in chronological order).

Storage Field Day – I’ll be at SFD7

Storage Field Day 7 – Day 0

Storage Field Day 7 – Day 1 – Catalogic Software

Storage Field Day 7 – Day 1 – Kaminario

Storage Field Day 7 – Day 1 – Primary Data

Storage Field Day 7 – Day 2 – VMware

Storage Field Day 7 – Day 2 – Connected Data

Storage Field Day 7 – Day 2 – Springpath

Storage Field Day 7 – Day 3 – Cloudian

Storage Field Day 7 – Day 3 – Exablox

Storage Field Day 7 – Day 3 – Maxta

Storage Field Day 7 – (Fairly) Full Disclosure

Also, here’s a number of links to posts by my fellow delegates. They’re all switched-on people, and you’d do well to check out what they’re writing about. I’ll try and update this list as more posts are published. But if it gets stale, the SFD7 landing page has updated links.

 

Ray Lucchesi

Data virtualization surfaces

Transporter, a private Dropbox in a tower

Object store and hybrid clouds at Cloudian

 

Enrico Signoretti

It’s storage showtime! #SFD7

Storage Field Day 7, links and live stream

When looking good is no longer enough

File Transporter, private Sync&Share made easy

Thinking different about storage

Rumors, strategies and facts about Hyper-converged

 

Mark May

I’m going to Storage Field Day 7!

It’s almost time! #SFD7 is next week!

Day 0 of SFD7 – Yankee Gift Swap and delegate dinner

Goodbye to Storage Field Day 7

Storage Field Day 7 – Primary Data

 

Christopher Kusek

I’ll be attending Storage Field Day 7 – Now with Clear Containers!

 

Jon Klaus

Storage Field Day 7, here I come!

Storage Field Day 7 is about to start!

Storage Field Day 7 – Catalogic ECX reducing copy data sprawl

Storage Field Day 7 – Exablox OneBlox: scale-out NAS for SME

 

Vipin V.K

It’s Storage Field Day again…! – #SFD7

 

Keith Townsend

Kaminario – Storage Field Day 7 Preview

Maxta – Storage Field Day 7 Preview

Primary Data – Storage Field Day 7

Springpath – Storage Field Day 7 Preview

Transporter – Storage Field Day 7 Preview

VMware – Storage Field Day 7 Preview

Exablox – Storage Field Day 7 Preview

Cloudian – Storage Field Day 7 Preview

Catalogic Software – Storage Field Day 7 Preview

CopyData yeah… Long live Data Virtualization

Hyperconverged vendor Maxta announces SDN partnership

 

Chris M Evans

Storage Field Day 7 – 11-13 March 2015

Storage Field Day 7 – Initial Thoughts

SFD7 – Catalogic Software Addresses Data Copy Management

SFD7 – Connected Data, Transporter and Private “Cloud” Storage

SFD7 – Primary Data and Data Virtualisation

 

Arjan Timmerman

The Storage Field Day 7 Delegates

Software Defined Dockerized Springpath HALO at #SFD7

 

Finally, thanks again to Stephen, Claire (and Tom in absentia). It was a great few days and I really valued the opportunity I was given to attend.

IMG_1238

Storage Field Day 7 – Day 2 – Springpath

Disclaimer: I recently attended Storage Field Day 7.  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.

For each of the presentations I attended at SFD7, there are a few things I want to include in the post. Firstly, you can see video footage of the Springpath presentation here. You can also download my raw notes from the presentation here. Finally, here’s a link to the Springpath website that covers some of what they presented.

 

Company Overview

Springpath (formerly StorVisor) came out of stealth in February, just before Storage Field Day 7.

Ravi Parthasarathy, VP of Product Management, presented an overview of the company.

Springpath is essentially storage software deployed on commodity hardware providing an enterprise class solution. It offers:

  • Enterprise grade, scale out capability;
  • Maximum simplicity; and is
  • Completely software-based.

By enterprise grade, Springpath have focussed on:

  • Robustness, resiliency and data integrity
  • Data mirroring and automatic rebalancing
  • Flash / memory performance
  • Native, space efficient snapshots
  • VM / VVOL / File granularity
  • Inline deduplication and compression
  • Lower $/GB using high capacity 7.2K RPM drives

As for maximum simplicity, Springpath have aimed to:

  • Leverage existing mgmt tools
  • Provide for zero learning curve
  • No legacy storage complexity
  • Rapid provisioning of applications
  • Cloud based auto-support monitoring
  • Proactive alerts and rapid resolution

They also offer “software economics”:

  • Choose your (prescribed) servers
  • Choose your platform (VMware 5.5 and above – OpenStack and KVM will be offered in beta shortly)
  • Annual subscriptions, per server, including support
  • Any server, any capacity
  • Upgrade your servers without a “software tax”
  • Scale out compute or performance or capacity
  • Just-in-time scaling in small increments

Sounds pretty good so far.

 

Architecture

Here’s a photo of Mallik Mahalingam presenting. Mallik is one of the co-founders of Springpath, did a lot of work on I/O at VMware previously and is, in my opinion, an excellent table tennis player.

SFD7_Day2_Springpath_Mallik_Presents

The Springpath Data Platform is:

  • 100% software;
  • Provides elastic scaling;
  • Enterprise grade; and
  • Integrates into existing management tools.

It is, ostensibly, data management and storage software on commodity hardware, without compromising features, scale or performance.

Springpath had the following design goals for the platform:

  • Scale out performance and capacity linearly;
  • Scale out the caching tier independently from the capacity tier, with losing data management features;
  • Leverage flash for performance and low speed hard disks for capacity;
  • Maximise utilisation of free space in flash or hard disks, when nodes appear / disappear in cluster;
  • Maximise space usage using inline compression and inline deduplication in all tiers;
  • Provide pointer-based file level snapshots and clones;
  • Support a variety of platforms (VMware, KVM, Hyper-V, Containers …); and
  • Leverage existing management applications and frameworks.

Springpath offers a scale out and distributed file system capability:

  • You can start with as few as 3 servers;
  • The software cluster installs in minutes;
  • Add servers, one or more at a time;
  • Distribute and rebalance data across servers automatically;
  • Retire older servers as required; and
  • Independent scaling of compute, cache or capacity.

 

The Springpath platform is built on the HALO Architecture – Hardware Agnostic Log-Structured Objects

SFD7_Day2_Springpath_HALO_Architecture_2

Here’s the rough outline of the elements of the HALO architecture:

Data Access Layer

  • VMware
  • ESXi
  • NFS/VAAI/VVOL

The Springpath Data Platform offers (or will offer) support for:

  • KVM
  • NFS/Cinder/Nova/Glance
  • Hyper-V
  • SMB

Data Distribution

  • Avoid controller hotspots
  • Leverage cache across all SSDs in the cluster

Data Virtualisation – Caching

  • Striping across and within VMs
  • Take a stripe and route it to one of the cache vNodes
  • Wanted to “decouple the ability to server the data from the location that you’re serving it from”
  • Rebalances cache on node addition or removal

Data Virtualisation

  • Write back caching to SSDs with mirroring
    • all writes to cache vNodes go to a write log on SSD
    • synchronously mirror one or two copies for HA
    • acknowledge after mirror writes are complete
  • Maximum write size is 64K
  • De-staging of write log (write log is currently 2GB)
    • writes are de-staged from write log to data and metadata vNodes
    • data and metadata are mirrored to one or two nodes for high availability
    • data can be de-staged to a local or different server based on available space
  • Uniform Space Utilisation
    • utilise free capacity when new nodes are added
    • faster rebuilds
  • Read caching
    • data is cached in both memory and SSD for reads
    • misses are fetched from HDDs from any node in the cluster

Data Optimisation

  • Inline dedupe and compression
    • inline, dedupe of memory, SSD and HDD
    • striping enables dedupe across files
    • inline compression on SSD and HDD

Data Management

  • Native Snapshots
    • Pointer Based Snapshots – fast creations and deletions, no consolidation overhead
    • Fine-grained or coarse-grained – VM-level or VM folder level
    • VAAI / Cinder integrated – quiesced and crash-consistent
    • Use vCenter Snapshot Manager
    • Policy Based – schedules, retention period
  • Native Clones
    • pointer based writeable snapshots
    • VM-level
    • VAAI integrated
    • Batch version GUI – clone names, use customisation spec

 

Closing Thoughts and Further Reading

Springpath provided the following summary of their offering.

Technology

  • Log structured layout
  • Data virtualisation
  • Data distribution
  • Data services
  • Integrated management

Benefits

  • Flash endurance, compression friendly, faster rebuilds
  • Scale performance and capacity independently, eliminate hotspots
  • Granular scaling and rebalancing
  • Fast efficient snapshots and clones
  • Reduced management

I’m a fan of “software economics” when it’s done properly. I like what Springpath are doing and think they’re taking the right approach to buzzword storage offerings / software-defined storage. It remains to be seen whether they can make their way in what’s becoming a crowded hyper-converged space, but they seem to be making all the right noises. I recommend you check out Keith’s preview blog post on Springpath, as well as Cormac’s typically comprehensive write-up here.

 

Storage Field Day 7 – (Fairly) Full Disclosure

Disclaimer: I recently attended Storage Field Day 7.  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.

My full disclosure post will be nowhere near as epic as Justin’s, although he is my role model for this type of thing. Here are my notes on gifts, etc, that I received as a delegate at Storage Field Day 7. I’m going to do this in chronological order, as that was the easiest way for me to take notes during the week. While every delegate’s situation is different, I’d also like to clarify that I took 3 days of vacation time and 2 days of training / work time to be at this event.

Saturday

I travelled BNE -> SYD -> SFO. A period of time passed and I consumed plane “food”. This was included in the price of the ticket. Alcoholic beverages were not, but I stuck with water. United (economy class) is all about the destination, not the journey.

Tuesday

On Tuesday night we had the delegate dinner at Dasaprakash Indian Restaurant. They specialise in Southern Indian Cuisine and you can check out their menu here. I had a bit of everything, and two cokes. I think one was diet. They may have been trying to tell me something. As part of the gift exchange I received a beautiful home-made jewellery set from Claire. Let’s be clear that this is for my wife, not me. I also had one Dos Equis at the hotel bar after dinner. [edit: Keith also pointed out that Claire gave us all  a care pack of various American snacks, including some cookies and “diet” beverages].

Wednesday

At Kaminario’s presentation on Wednesday morning I was given a pen and USB portable battery. Primary Data gave me a portable whiteboard, notepad and tiny little briefcase (useful for storing business cards in). The SFD networking event was held at BowlMor in Cupertino. I had a variety of snack food (including those tiny hamburgers) and a Stella Artois. Manish Apte from SanDisk gave me a 16GB USB stick at the networking event on Wednesday night as well.

Thursday

Thursday morning we had a continental breakfast at VMware. I had a coffee and a doughnut. They also gave us a Captain VSAN t-shirt. Connected Data provided us with a Greek lunch. They also very kindly provided each delegate with a Transporter 1TB private cloud appliance (worth approximately $249 US RRP), and a 4GB Drobo USB stick. SpringPath gave us a  pen, a sticker, a travel mug, and a USB car charger.

For dinner on Thursday we went to Billy Berk’s. I had a mix of starters and the Mojito Skirt Steak as a main. I also had 3 Stella Artois beers. We then went and watched “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” at the Camera 12  Downtown in San Jose. Tech Field Day covered everything, including the bottle of water and Reese’s Pieces. Here’s a picture.

SFD7_Gifts_Reeses

Friday

On Friday we had breakfast at the hotel. Cloudian provided me with a leather folio and pen. Exablox gave me a great espresso courtesy of Sean Derrington. Exablox also provided lunch in the form of a gourmet sandwich and Lays crisps from Specialty’s Cafe. It was great. Maxta gave us a wooden Maxta Jenga box and a pen / 2GB USB drive. We then had drinks and snacks (happy hour) at Maxta afterwards. I had two bottles of water and a whole bunch of prawns (shrimp). Tech Field Day then made sure I got to SFO safely.

Conclusion

I’d like to extend my thanks once again to the Storage Field Day organisers and the companies presenting at the event. I had a great time. Since I can’t think of a good way to wrap up this post I’ll leave you with a photo.

SFD7_Gifts_Swag

Storage Field Day 7 – Day 0

Disclaimer: I recently attended Storage Field Day 7.  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.

This is a quick post to let you know about my first day at Storage Field Day 7. I don’t want to make it a travel blog by any means, but I thought a few touristy snaps from a grainy smartphone were in order.

Here’s a shot of the wing. Of a plane. I took it from BNE to SYD.

SFD7_Day0_Wing

They don’t give you a lot of room on United in cattle class. But it’s more about the destination than the journey, and somebody else paid for my ticket.

SFD7_Day0_Legroom

Still, I got to travel through time, leaving BNE at 10:00 on Saturday 7th and arriving at SFO at 09:15 on Saturday 7th. I literally never get tired of that joke. So I got to spend some time with a friend in the Bay Area prior to catching up with my SFD7 comrades. We did a bunch of stuff, including checking out the Chinese New Year celebrations in SF on Saturday night.

SFD7_Day0_Cracker

Tuesday evening we all got together and headed to Dasaprakash for some “Fine South Indian Cuisine”. It was different to the Indian fare I normally have in Australia, and made for a nice change.

Anyway, enough with the holiday snaps. I just wanted to thank Stephen and Claire for having me back, making sure everything is running according to plan and for just being really very decent people. Look out for some posts related to the Tech Field Day sessions in the next few weeks. And if you’re in a useful timezone, check out the live streams from the event here.