Storage Field Day 3 Recap

So this week I spent Tuesday-Friday in Denver Colorado with Steve Foskett and the Tech Field Day crew for their Storage Field Day 3 event. There were 14 bloggers from all around the world who came to hear from 9 different vendors.

If you want to check out the videos check out the official site here http://techfieldday.com/event/sfd3/ where you can find the video strem links as well as links to all of the other delegates sites where there is sure to be a flood of articles over the next few days.

So what was the over all take away ? FLASH is the new Cloud….

What I mean by that is that everyone seems to be very focused on integrating flash into their portfolio right now.

Many of the vendors that attended were showing how they have developed solutions to leverage flashercache on both the server side as well as the array side. We learned the pro’s and con’s of both locations got to take some pretty deep dives into how the different technologies work. So deep in fact that my brain feels about the same as what someone who got the brain eraser flash from the men in black! But I would do it again in a heart beat.

There were 3 vendors in particular that stood out for me.

exablox

Exablox has a really cool solution, basically they have a box that is cloud managed, easy to setup and install and lets customers bring their own drives. The technology uses a SHA1 algorithm and the concept of a ring (or number line) to intelligently place data on different slices of the drives so that it is protected yet without any need to configure raid. It also allows nodes to come and go from the ring much like how bit torrent works, so that as drives fail or as nodes are replaced you can still access your data. Also because all of your data is encrypted at rest there is no worry of data theft if you have to send a drive back for warranty replacement.

Overall I really like their solution a lot and I think it will make sense for many customers. Oh and for pricing you are talking about $10k for the appliance plus a subscription for the management interface, and lastly a bunch of drives…. but your free to find whatever is on sale and add them as you need them (you can also mix and match types and sizes too).

pernixdata

Ok let me start by saying one thing…. this stuff is bad ass! and will find its way into my home lab as soon as I get home, so stay tuned on what is can do for a VNXe 😉

Pernixdata is a software solution to add host based flash cache to VMware ESXi servers. You can use whatever flash device you want, SSD or PCIe, and then you use update manger to load their kernel modules into ESXi’s stack. I made sure to ask if this would interfere with something like Zerto and was told by “Mr VMFS” that it would not.

What makes Pernixdata unique is that it uses the vMotion network that you already have setup to cluster your flash devices throughout your VMware cluster. This allows Pernixdata to operate in a write-backed mode… meaning that unlike other solutions that only do read caching, Pernixdata is able to do both. So if you work load spikes to 50,000 IOps and the VM dumps 100GB of data into the flash cache it will then flush it do the SAN as it needs to, but your applications are lightning fast!

I will do some benchmarks on the VNXe in my lab before and after to see what exactly it can do in terms of improvement.

I would also like to thank Satyam’s uncle for getting him a computer, LOL, without doing that we might not have VMFS in vSphere today!

SanDisk_logo_red-wpcf_150x29

Sandisk, yea the same guys who make the memory cards in your phone and camera, are also working on server side caching. Let me start out my saying that the FlashSoft Team, especially Serge, is one smart dude! Their solution is similar to the Pernixdata solution with some noticable differences, I wont say one is in front of the other, but FlashSoft does support NFS where Pernixdata does not…. so if you are an NFS shop keep your eye on this one! (especially after @deepstoragenet was calling Netapp out on all their caching today lol)

Serge took the us so deep into their technology that my brain leterally hurt afterwards, but it was all good information. I can say I know more about how server side caching works, and what it needs to account for better then I have ever thought I would.

Besides the vendors and the new products I will say that Tech Field Day is an awesome event. I got to meet a bunch of great people, and catch up with others I already knew. There was great conversation to be had before and after the formal presentations, it’s not often that you have that many smart people in one area at the same time!

Anyhow, time to wrap it up here in Denver and head home to get ready for child number 2, Katelyn, to arrive! As always thanks to Steven, and the crew for a great week.

 

 

 

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