Vendor Briefing – SimpliVity

You may know that I have been doing a bit of work with SimpliVity over the last year or so. If you work for SimpliVity you may have heard my voice on some training materials, hope you managed to stay awake.

This week SimpliVity announced some new hardware and features.

The new hardware is an option for All-Flash OmniStack HCI nodes. All flash is a great fit for SimpliVity as they are in-line deduplicated, so there are very few overwrites of blocks on the flash. This means they don’t need to add so much special write handling or use high endurance flash. An all-flash configuration keeps the worst case IO latency low and brings more high-performance workloads into scope. I suspect there is also a simple piece of marketing where customers are demanding all-flash without any technical justification. The new all-flash configurations are available on both Lenovo and Cisco hardware as well as directly on SimpliVity OmniCube nodes.

The other new features that I like is the DR automation called RapidDR. It uses a wizard-based interface to setup automation of VM failover. It sits on top of SimpliVity’s native data protection which will replicate VM contents between data centers. I think this idea started out as a set of scripting by one of SimpliVity’s partners, to solve just one customer’s specific needs. Now the functionality has been built into the SimpliVity platform and GUI, with the improved functionality and robustness that you would expect. The only downside is thatRaipDR is a licensed capability, licensed per protected VM. I suspect it won’t be terribly expensive, so customers are unlikely to build their own scripts to replicate the functionality.

A final nice feature is an option for SQL Server log truncation when SimpliVity does an application-aware backup of the VM. I imagine that this will make a lot of DBAs happy as they won’t need to resort to manually truncating logs or using simple logging.

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Vendor Briefing – Robin Systems

Today’s briefing was with Robin Systems.

Their pitch is around Application Defined Datacenters. It is an interesting focus since SDDC is usually all about the software that runs the data center and less about the applications that deliver value to the business.

They have a software product that automates a lot of the application lifecycle and adds it’s own persistent storage for containers. The storage software seems to be a large part of the product, it includes QoS settings for applications. The actual storing of data uses local SSD or hard disks in the compute nodes as well as some AWS storage. All the storage is pooled and has tiering and that QoS I mentioned. The compute capacity is also pooled, making this sort of a hyperconverged platform for containers.

The real proof is in what the product does for real customers with real applications, there are are few references on the website. Being the week before VMworld I’m not going to get a chance to dig deeper. Luckily we will also be able to hear about Robin Systems at Cloud Field Day next month, or at Oracle OpenWorld.

I get briefings from a few vendors each month. I’m going to try to share my immediate impressions as I get off the phone with each company in short blog posts. This is obviously the first of these posts.

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Do You Remember? Persistent Memory

Understanding and explaining really new things is hard, I think that is why I’ve struggled to put this article together. What I saw from PlexiStore at TFD11 is that kind of new. That reminds me, I saw PlexiStor at a Tech Field Day event, so please refer to my TFD disclosure.  Now let me try to lay it out as simply as possible.

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Leverage Your Data Copies

One of the things I have got used to hearing from backup vendors is that it’s not just about backups. The backup repository is full of important data and your business should be able to get more value from that data. What I haven’t seen is a lot of concrete demonstration of how to get that value from those backup vendors. This made the demonstrations in the Actifio presentation at Tech Field Day 11 really interesting. This was a TFD event, so please refer to my standard TFD disclaimer.

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Community Is Easy, and Tough

I wanted to share a bit more about approaches to community contribution. I’ve talked about the mechanics of how I read and write community content. Now I wanted to talk a little about the less concrete parts, the attitudes and approaches to community production. Most of this is about how I view blogging and podcast production. It also applies to in-person activities like meet-ups and user groups. One of the things I see is a series of contradictions, I’m going to frame a few in being easy or tough on yourself.

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Do You Know What Joe Did Last Summer?

Occasionally operations teams need to get asked some difficult questions. Sometimes it goes like this:

“Joe has just left the company. Don’t ask me why. I’m not allowed to say. What files did Joe have accesses to? Did he copy any of those files in the last month?”

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My Science of Reading

I wrote a little while about my process to write. Then last week at the Boston VMUG I presented about the ratio of consumption to production. Even the most prolific writer in the community will be reading many times more material than what they write. That leads me to outline my process of reading.

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Tech Field Day Standard Disclaimer

Looking at my recent pre-TFD11 posts I realised that I needed a better way to do a disclaimer. So here is my extensive disclaimer for Tech Field Day events.

Tech Field Day (TFD) is a commercial activity for TFD and the presenting companies. When I attend TFD events my travel and accommodation expenses are usually paid for by TFD. At the events, most of my meals are provided by TFD. In addition, the companies that present at TFD usually give the delegates gifts. At TFD the presenting companies engage with delegates to educate us about their products and services. The smart companies also want to learn from delegates (a few are very smart about this). The aim of the event is to help the presenting companies connect with delegates. Ultimately get the company’s message spread by delegates. Usually, delegates will write about some or all of the presenting companies.

Neither the TFD staff nor the presenting companies get to review what the delegates write. There is no obligation on delegates to write about any or all presenters. Nor is there an obligation to write nice things about presenters. In fact, the greatest expectation is that delegates will be honest in any writing that they do.

This (Demitasse.co.nz) is my personal blog. Everything I write here is my thoughts and opinions.  None of it is reviewed by the organisations I write about before publication. Some of the content is about companies that pay me to write, they still don’t get to review or dictate what I write here. Occasionally I get corrections from the companies I write about and may incorporate the parts I agree with into my posts here.

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TFD11 Introduction Comtrade

This is a preparation blog post before I travel to Boston for Tech Field Day 11. You can find more information about Tech Field Day, the other presenters, and the other delegates here on the TFD web site.

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Disclosure: TFD are paying my airfare and accommodation to attend TFD11 and I’m sure there will be gifts and catering from the presenters and TFD while we’re there. Everything I write about what I learn at TFD will be my opinion and will not be reviewed by TFD or the presenters. There is also no obligation or expectation that I will write about any or all of the presenters.

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TFD11 Introduction Netwrix

This is a preparation blog post before I travel to Boston for Tech Field Day 11. You can find more information about Tech Field Day, the other presenters, and the other delegates here on the TFD website.

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Disclosure: TFD are paying my airfare and accommodation to attend TFD11. I’m sure there will be gifts and catering from the presenters and TFD while we’re there. Everything I write about what I learn at TFD will be my opinion and will not be reviewed by TFD or the presenters. There is also no obligation or expectation that I will write about any or all of the presenters. Continue reading

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