Disclaimer: I recently attended Storage Field Day 10. 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.
I’ve written about Tintri recently. As recently, in fact, as a week before I saw them at SFD10. You can check out my article on their most recent product announcements here.
VAS but not AAS (and that’s alright)
Tintri talk a lot about VM-aware Storage (or VAS as they put it). There’s something about the acronym that makes me cringe, but the sentiment is admirable. They put it all over their marketing stuff. They’re committed to the acronym, whether I like it or not. But what exactly is VM-aware Storage? According to Tintri, it provides:
- VM-level QoS;
- VM-level analytics;
- VM data management;
- VM-level automation with PowerShell and REST; and
- Supported across multiple hypervisors (Support VMware, Hyper-V, OpenStack, RedHat).
Justin Lauer, Global Evangelist with Tintri, took us through a demo of VAS and the QoS capabilities built in to the Tintri platform.
I particularly liked the fact that I can get a view of end to end latency (host / network / storage (contention and flash) / throttle latency). In my opinion this is something that people have struggled with for some time, and it looks like Tintri have a really good story to tell here. I also liked the look of the “Capacity gas gauge” (petrol for Antipodeans), providing an insight into when you’ll run out of either performance, capacity, or both.
So what’s AAS then? Well, in my mind at least, this is the ability to delve into application-level performance and monitoring, rather than just VM-level. And I don’t think Tintri are doing that just yet. Which, to my way of thinking, isn’t a problem, as I think a bunch of other vendors are struggling to really do this in a cogent fashion either. But I want to know what my key web server tier is doing, for example, and I don’t want to assume that it still lives on the datastore that I tagged for it when I first deployed it. I’m not sure that I get this with VAS, but I still think it’s a long way ahead of where we were a few years ago, getting stats out of volumes and not a lot else.
Further Reading and Conclusion
In the olden days (a good fifteen years ago) I used to struggle to get multiple Oracle instances to play nicely on the same NT4 host. But I didn’t have a large number of physical hosts to play with, and I had limited options when I wanted to share resources across applications. Virtualisation to slice up physical resources in a more concise fashion, And as a result of this it’s made it simple for us to justify running one application per VM. In this way we can still get insights into our applications from understanding what our VMs are doing. This is no minor thing when you’re looking after storage in the enterprise – it’s a challenge at the best of times. Tintri has embraced the concept of intelligent analytics in their arrays in the same way that Nimble and Pure have started really making use of the thousands of data points that they collect every minute.
But what if you’re not running virtualised workloads? Well, you’re not going to get as much from this. But you’ve probably got a whole lot of different requirements you’re working to as well. Tintri is really built from the ground up to deliver insight into virtualised workloads that has been otherwise unavailable. I’m hoping to see them take it to the next level with application-centric monitoring.