Monthly Archives: December 2012

Enterprise storage is in for an exciting few years

The next generation storage symposium

At the start of November I was lucky enough to be invited to the Next Generation Storage Symposium in San Jose, California as well as Storage Field Day #2 on the following two days. There were sessions from upcoming storage vendors as well as a keynote from well known analyst Robin Harris and some thought provoking panel discussions about next generation storage technologies. Having spent some time digesting the flood of information and ideas from this trip there are two trends which ’emerge out of the haze’ for me;

  1. Flash storage continues to rapidly disrupt the storage marketplace
  2. The desire for more scalable systems is driving changes in the architecture of enterprise storage

To people immersed in storage these trends are well known and have been covered increasingly over the last couple of years (flash has been in mainstream arrays in some form since 2008). I’ve written this article to consolidate my own thoughts rather than as the traditional end of year predictions – ‘if you can’t explain it you don’t understand it‘ is something I believe and one of the principal reasons I enjoy blogging. Despite my interest in storage these events made me realise I’ve taken my eye off the ball and I’m now playing catchup!

Most of the vendor and panel sessions at the conference concentrated on the flash aspects – tiered vs cache, should you use a hybrid or all flash array (or no array at all in Nutanix’s case) although there was also discussion of the scalability of various architectures and technologies. Flash’s key advantage is performance – when compared to spinning disk it’s orders of magnitude faster and much of the current innovation is in trying to overcome its other constraints of cost, lifecycle, form factor etc. It’s not just performance that’s driving the current industry changes however – the desire for greater scalability is driving storage from a centralised model to a more distributed architecture (as described very eloquently by Chris Evans).

Combined these factors imply a major shakeup in the storage industry – it’s going to be a fun few years!

Flash disrupts the marketplace

Unless you’ve been hiding under a very big rock you can’t have missed the mass market arrival of flash devices into almost every aspect of the market, both for consumers and enterprises. Continue reading Enterprise storage is in for an exciting few years

Netapp OnCommand System Manager 2.1 available

A quick post to say that Netapp have released v2.1 of their Windows MMC management  tool, OnCommand System Manager (the download link is the bottom right, NOW account required). This new update brings the usual incremental fixes along with support for Flash Pools, Infinite Volumes (a feature of ONTAP 8.1.1 in cluster mode), and multidisk carrier shelves. It’s also moved to a 64 bit architecture – my ‘upgrade’ simply uninstalled the 32bit version and installed the 64 bit one.

For compatibility the release notes state;

  • Data ONTAP 7.3.x (starting from 7.3.7)
  • Data ONTAP 8.0 or later in the 8.0 release family operating in 7-Mode
  • Data ONTAP 8.1 or later in the 8.1 release family operating in 7-Mode
  • Data ONTAP 8.1 or later in the 8.1 release family operating in Cluster-Mode

However checking the Netapp compatibility matrix shows that this release is ‘officially’ supported on a smaller number of ONTAP releases, notably ONTAP 7.3.7 or newer (excluding 7.3.4 etc) and 8.03 or newer (excluding 8.01, 8.02 etc). I suspected this was simply timing and that once the new release has been around for longer it would be validated against more ONTAP releases. However I tried it against a few of my filers running a mixture of 8.01p2 and 8.02P6 and found one issue straightaway. The new network checker wouldn’t run against the 8.01p2 controllers as apparently they don’t support the necessary API calls.

If you’re running some of these older ONTAP releases proceed with caution!

I’ve also noticed that there is now a System Manager build which will run natively on Mac OSX although it’s not officially supported – how many people will use this at their own risk I wonder?

Here’s what you missed in 2012 (LonVMUG)

It’s that time of year when I book the next London VMUG session into my calendar and rather than my usual ‘here’s the agenda, you should go‘ blogpost I thought I’d recap what the last year has delivered. If this doesn’t convince you that there’s value in attending a free event where you could have learnt all the topics listed below as well as networking with your peers then nothing will. 🙂

If there’s a topic you’d like covered or if you’d like to present something yourself get in touch with the organising commmittee. I’m planning to present at one of next year’s VMUG sessions (it’s about time!) because it’s a user group and real world experience can be gold dust for others to learn from. I’m told we’re a friendly audience!

Before you continue, register for the next session on 24th Jan 2013!

Cartoon showing Dilbert

I’ve grouped them according to some industry trends so your own ‘pointy haired boss’ will also see the value;

I could mention the giveaways (iPad, Fusion-IO card, t-shirts, AppleTV etc) and the free beers afterwards, the fact we had at least five VCDX’s presenting and the live labs from EMC, VMTurbo, and Embotics etc but you’re already sold right?

Register for the next session on 24th Jan 2013 (did I mention it’s free?)