3PAR simulator publicly available

3PAR HPE

Intro

Firstly a quick announcement I’ve started a second blog called dataON27.com. This is talking about all the latest and greatest in the data protection arena. Please do take the time to follow along on Twitter and LinkedIN I am really excited about this project, there is lots of good stuff coming. HPE fans, yes this will include StoreOnce and RMC along with the rest of the portfolio.

Get on with it

Onto the main business of the 3PAR simulator. Getting hold of the 3PAR simulator has been shrouded in mystery and until now the most asked question to me on Twitter was how the #/@#!!! do I get the simulator? I can now finally reveal the wait is over, and it’s publicly available from the 3PAR software depot. To make it even easier for you here is the direct link.

Requirements

The previous simulator ran 3PAR OS 3.1.3, the public version of the simulator runs 3PAR OS 3.2.1 MU2. You will require a VMware environment running vSphere 5.5 or Workstation 11 or above. The process will involve creating three VM’s, two of the VM’s will represent the two nodes of a 3PAR whilst the third VM will represent the drive cages. The resource requirements for each of the three VMs is identical and fairly light:

  • One CPU
  • Three vNIC
  • 2GB RAM
  • 50GB disk space

 

What can it do?

Once you are up and running the simulator supports the following features:

  • Adaptive Optimization (AO)
  • Dynamic Optimization (DO)
  • Snapshots
  • Exporting Virtual Volumes
  • Thin-Provisioning
  • Remote copy

You can manage the Sim though all the usual 3PAR tools you would in the real world, the 3PAR Managements console, SSMC, CLI and API. You can configure the VM that represents the cages to have up to 4 cages and these contain a mixture of SSD, SAS and NL.

 

Have fun with it, and remember to stay in touch for more 3PAR news and tips through connecting with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

 

 

Veeam’s next big thing and 3ParDude’s new blog

What is 3ParDude’s next big thing?

Last week’s Veeam announced their next big thing and today I want to cover this and also my next big thing. First my news, I have put pen to paper and started blog number two! I’m super excited about this new venture I think it’s got so much scope. Data is growing at an exponential rate but backup and data protection just isn’t sexy, it gets pushed to the back of most companies to do list and is often inadequate. This will be the focus of the new blog – data protection. I want to deliver all the latest and greatest news from established vendors and exciting start-ups in the arena and present what has long been missing a simple and clear path towards data protection/ availability. I would love to have all you guys along for the ride so join me over at dataON247.com you can subscribe to the RSS feed and Twitter. Business will of course continue as usual at 3ParDude.com

Veeams Next big thing

For a month previous to the announcement Veeam had been advertising they were going to make the biggest announcement in the company’s history. This is a bold statement to say the least. I was going to start a sweepstake around this but I was a little slow off the mark. My hopes and dreams were for either the elixir of youth or the discovery of a free endless beer supply, unfortunately my hopes were dashed on both counts.

 

In all seriousness I was expecting one big announcement as the teaser has suggested. However what we got was not one massive announcement but several smaller ones. However the sum of the announcements was substantial and indicated Veeam has a strong vision and is looking towards the future. Carry on reading this article at dataON247.com to hear the key announcements and Veeam’s vision for the future.

Can’t make VMworld? Prepare to be beamed up

Do you suffer from the VMworld envy? Are you sad, lonely,  jealous of your friends at VMworld? Do you spend hours wondering what you’re missing or glued to the VMworld Twitter stream?  Well worry no more friends, because VMware have the answer, beams.

Beam

You will find beams especially interesting if you have a desire to be half man half robot. Beams are like video conferencing on the go . This mobile video conferencing unit (pictured above) allows you to go anywhere, see anything, interactive with anyone you want.  Beams of course also facilitate the ability to run over anyones feet you like, watch out Pat Gelsinger.

For those that are going to be in VMworld have an excellent time and please do tag me in any tweets or photos of 3PAR storage so they can be shared with everyone.

Finally everyone watch this space as I have a new blog / website starting soon which is something I’m very excited and passionate about so keep your eyes open for that one.

VMTurbo Metamorphosizes

I was invited to a briefing last week where VMTurbo announced they were changing the company name and brand. At first I was surprised to hear a company which has spent such a significant amount of time building a strong brand presence would wish to start over with a new name. So what’s in a name change?

The Beginnings

VMTurbo was founded back in 2008, launching their 1.0 release of VMTurbo Operations Manager in 2010. The purpose of VMTurbo‘s Operations Manager product is quite simply to allocate resources within your environment as efficiently as possible. This helps to ensure that you are maximising performance, whilst proactively preventing issues before they occur and getting the greatest ROI on your infrastructure.

VMTurbo ensures the optimal allocation of resources with what it calls its economic scheduling engine. I have covered this in more detail previously, but in short it assumes resources are finite and will be sold or allocated to the highest bidder.

When VMs ruled the world

I came into virtualisation late compared to many, around VMware Virtual Infrastructure 3.5 when I was asked to take on a small test environment. I purchased Mastering VI 3.5 and sat about reading it, I quickly realized the power of virtualisation and began badgering my boss that virtualisation should not be used for a small test environment but should be the first choice for the majority of production work loads. It felt kind of like a revolution and like VM’s would be at the cutting edge forever.

A new era

But nothing ever stands still in technology and it feels more and more like we are entering a new era of IT. Technologies like cloud now form a part of everyday conversation, whilst emerging technologies like containers continue to gain momentum. VM’s continue to form a key component of many companies infrastructure but are not the sole focus anymore, they form part of an infrastructure. It is this evolution of the industry that has led to the re-branding of VMTurbo.

traditional stack

An example of a traditional infrastructure stack is shown above, whilst a containerized stack is shown below.

container stack

 

Since VMTurbo’s economic market abstracts all resources they were already well placed to not only mange your onsite VM’s but also cloud and other elements of the emerging infrastructure stack. It is in this basis that VMTurbo is becoming Turbonomic, a reflection of delivering the same resource optimisation service but to a wider set of infrastructure.

Green Symbols

I think I am seeing a trend in IT companies branding strategies. HPE spent a significant sum of money on their new brand which is a green rectangle, The Turbonomic brand is based around a green circle at its core. Before anyone else gets it I’m taking the green triangle…….

turbonomic-lg-black

 

Altaro – Freebies Alert

A quick post to let you know that VM backup specialists Altaro are providing some free resources to mark SysAdmin day which takes place later this week, plus the chance to win some ThinkGeek Vouchers.

 

think geek

 

The free resources include a 10 best practices for virtual server backup, Hyper-V PowerShell and VMware PowerCLI eBook, and Troubleshooting Hyper-V Hyper-V First Aid Kit.

 

To get the entered into the competition you just need to install a copy of Altaro and display a screen shot of the software. For those that are unfamiliar Altaro is VM backup software capable of backing up both Hyper-V and VMware with time to deployment estimated at under 15 minutes. In terms of features it has all those you have come to expect including support for application level backups, web based interface, sand box facility for test restores plus backups can be replicated to an offsite location. They aim the software at SMB’s and if you have any hosts running 2 VM’s or less you can run Altaro licence free forever. For all the freebies and the chance to win the ThinkGeek vouchers go here.

Altaro UI

 

Altaro also offer a NFR licence for multiple certification tracks, including Microsoft (MCSE, MCSA) and VMware certified (VCP). This is the full blown version and will allow  you to backup up to 50 hosts in you lab environment, you just need to request your free NFR License.

 

 

The 3PAR ASIC now and the future

A great article appeared in The Register recently previewing the HPE 3PAR GEN 6 ASIC. It sparked my interest as it not only gave some clues to the direction of 3PAR but reminded me that I hadn’t written a post yet covering the ASIC. So this is a post of two halves, the first covering the background and architectural importance of the ASIC followed by a summary of the GEN 6 news and what clues it may give us to the future.

3PAR ASIC Overview

I have heard HPE staff describe 3PAR’s ASIC as its secret sauce many times, what is for certain is that it’s right at the heat of its architecture. Let’s start at the beginning, an ASIC stands for Application Specific Integrated Circuit, this describes quite succinctly what it is – an integrated circuit which has been customised for a specific use.

 

As an ASIC is hardware based having this at the heart of your architecture is not a decision to be taken likely, since you need to design it not only to deliver the features you require today but for the life cycle of that model i.e. 5+ years. Software based vendors have long argued that their approach is simpler and does not require the skill of predicting the future, if you need a new feature write it in. When I have been lucky enough to meet the 3PAR development team they have said on a number of occasions that they always consider the future of the ASIC in each new generation, but that so far they still believe that the ASIC is the best design for now and moving into the future.

ASIC

 

The models over the past few years feature the ASIC generation as follows:

  • 3PAR 8000 and 20, 000 – GEN 5
  • 3PAR 7000 and 10,000 – GEN 4
  • 3PAR F and T – GEN3
  • Generations before – I am too young to remember

 

To give you a feel for some of the features that currently harness the ASIC and the benefit they deliver I have summarised below:

  • Persistent checksum – don’t let my data corrupt
  • Mixed I/O processing – let me do BIG and little transactions without losing performance
  • Zero detect – one weird trick to stay thin
  • Dedupe – no doppelgangers, one of anything is enough
  • RAID parity calculations – stripe me like it’s hot

Key Gen 6 news

  • GEN6 Expected to Ship in 2018, it would seem logical this will be when the next generation of 3PAR will also ship
  •  The ASIC will be designed to be media agnostic and cope with all comers. This again continues down the current line of thinking of making 3PAR an I/O processing machine and will be important with 3D XPoint and memoristors round the corner
  • Improvements in storage networking such as NVMe will drive the need for even faster storage devices
  • Data services such as SnapShots will aim to complete quicker again to meet this future need for speed

Do take the time to check out the excellent full article on The Register.

Top vBlog 2016 Results

Every year Eric Siebert organises an online poll to find the communities favorite bloggers. Voters were asked to choose their 12 favorite blogs and then rank them. The votes were then all totted up with a  number one vote having more weight than a 12 vote for example. For the second year running 3ParDude.com has made it into the top 100, improving from position 83 last year to 66 this year. In the categories 3ParDude.com finished 5th in the favorite storage blog category and 8th in the favorite independent blogger. To say I was pleased with the result is an understatement, thanks all for taking the time to vote!

There was no change at the top with Duncan Epping holding onto the top spot with his excellent yellow-bricks.com, the full top 10 list can be seen below.

top 10

Cormac Hogan took the honours as top storage blogger, best new blog Matt That IT Guy (Matt Crape) and top independent blogger ESX Virtualization (Vladan Seget). Congratulations to everyone that entered on their results.

 

A big thanks to Eric Siebert for taking the time to organise the event and VMTurbo for sponsoring. Check out the full results over at VSphere Land.

 

Keep tuned for more great content on 3ParDude.com! I would love to see more readers get involved in the blog by having more guest contributors. If you have an idea in your head for a 3PAR post, or indeed on another technology topic and would like a platform to publish it on give me a shout via Twitter or LinkedIn.

Getting the most from Veeam Version 9

Veeam Backup and Replication V9 has been out for a little while now, this post looks at the new features of V9 and specifically those new features which require some configuration to take advantage of.

 

BitLooker

Is a new feature in V9 that works alongside compression and dedupe to further reduce the size of the backup files. BitLooker aims to exclude unneeded data from backups to reduce the backup size. It does this by excluding deleted files, swap/hibernation files and user specified exclusions.

 

Any new jobs you create post upgrade will be enabled with this feature by default. To enable it on already existing jobs chose to edit the backup job, choose advanced settings on the storage screen and on the storage tab you will see the new Exclude deleted files tick box.

 

1 Bit looker

If you wish to take advantage of the new file/ folder exclusion feature edit the backup job and head to the guest processing screen, for each VM under application aware processing you can set exclusions.

 

The feature will work on Microsoft VM’s that use the NTFS filesystem.

 

Per VM backup Chains

This is a fairly major change in the way Veeam can work, until version 9 all VM’s in a backup job were combined into a single backup chain. Version 9 allows you to specify per VM backup chains, which means that every VM in the job creates its own backup chain. For example a job that contained 10 VMs and was configured for per VM backup chains would produce 10 separate backup chains. The advantage of switching to per VM backup chains is performance when combined will parallel processing, by allowing you to write more streams to your storage at once.

2 per vm bckup chain

This option is configured at the repository. When you choose to edit a repository, on the repository screen choose advanced options and then tick Use per VM backup files.

 

Guest Interaction Proxy

Previous to version 9 if you utilised the application aware processing, the processing of this was dealt with by the Veeam backup server. In V9 you are able to specify a Windows computer such as a proxy of your choice to process the application aware job. This provides greater scale by spreading the load and allows you to specify a server in a remote site so processing is completed locally.

3 guest interaction proxy

Scale-Out Backup Repository

Scale out backup repositories are another major new feature, in short they allow you to combine multiple potentially physically separate repositories into one pool of storage. They have been covered in detail by many sources already so if you wish to read more about it check out this Veeam blog post and FAQ section.

 

Parallel Processing

Like backup jobs, Veeam 9 now processes copy jobs in parallel rather than in a serial fashion. This item is the exception in this post in that it is enabled by default and so no action is required.

 

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of great new features in Version 9 but it does strike me there is the opportunity to make the new features more accessible to ensure the greater proportion of customers are taking advantage of them. A sensible approach would seem to be to add a what’s new splash screen to the product post upgrade, similar to getting started you see in many products. This could highlight the key benefits and especially those that require a retro amendment such as BitLooker. Enabling the option could happen in one of two ways, firstly a hyperlink which would open the screen on which the option must be changed or for low risk changes an option which just set it globally to the new default for you.

 

For more tips on how to optimise your Veeam environment check out the best practice guide

What’s New? – Discover 2016 announcements

Boom it’s that time again, HPE Discover announcements. I will start with the 3PAR stuff:

 

Big just got bigger

3PAR was already massively scalable when you consider the 20,000 series can scale to 8 nodes and 1024 SSDs. Currently the largest SSD available is a sizeable 3.84 TB but this has been dwarfed by the announcement of a 7.68TB and 15.36TB SSD. Assuming a data compaction of 4:1 this now allows a single 3PAR system to scale to 24PB, this equates to 563TB in one rack. To put that into perspective and think of a practical use case, that would allow a single 3PAR to store two billion four hundred million Justin Bieber albums.

It’s going to take a while for people to get their heads round the fact that SSD’s are now bigger than the available HDDs and this may turn design decisions on their head. I will look forward to seeing how these disks will be used which may be constrained primarily by their price point. These new large SSDs are expected in the second half of the year.

big and small

File persona additional features

The focus of the file persona announcements was security and scalability. Starting with scalability the maximum size of a File Provisioning Group which is the basic building block of file persona doubles from 32TB to 64TB.

New security features include file lock which is a new enterprise data governance feature which allows the preservation of a volume for period of time. NTFS dedicated security mode is aimed at improving NTFS permissions and offers a “near windows experience”. Security mode also allows the cross sharing of files between Windows and Linux users.

 

Docker

A native driver for 3PAR and StoreVirtual with Docker will be available within weeks on GitHub. This will allow containers to be stored on the 3PAR and StoreVirtual platforms as well as allowing access to their data service such as snapshots, QoS, dedupe and replication.

 

Tape + Flash

Tape which has made more come backs than Evander Holyfiled once more is featuring at the centre of a new announcement. But this time not just an enhancement of the StoreEver tape libraries but in a brand new product announcement, in what may at first sound like the unlikely marriage of flash and tape. The term Flape was first coined a couple of years ago by Wikibon and describes a solution based around Tape and Flash. Flape aims to have the hottest data sit on the fast flash storage and the cold data remain on tape. This approach allows the advantage of each medium to be combined to provide a solution but which is cost effective but also capable of delivering performance.

HPE StoreEver Archive Manager

HPE’s new product StoreEver Archive Manager Software is effectively their take on Flape. HPE see the use case as dealing with the massive data growth which they believe is on average 40% per annum. Again according to HPE numbers 80% of that data is rarely or ever accessed after 90 days hence the perceived market for a product like Archive Manager.

 

 

Recovery Manager Central

RMC allows application consistent snapshots from a 3PAR to be transferred directly to a StoreOnce appliance, this mechanism allows backups to be taken more rapidly than traditional backups. RMC allows the backups to be controlled by the application owner such as the SQL DBA or VMware admin. 3PAR File Persona plus Oracle are added to the list of supported applications in the release of RMC 3.

 

To stay in touch with more 3PAR news and tips connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

 

 

HPE Discover Vegas 2016

It’s now less than a week until HPE Discover kicks off in Las Vegas. Discover is HPE’s flagship trade event, at which all the latest and greatest products are displayed and released. This will be only the second HPE Discover event post-split with HP and I am sure Meg Whitman and her executive team will be looking forwards to talking over the best quarter’s results since she became CEO.

Mainpic

Since HPE was formed they have focused on 4 transformation areas:

  • Transform to a Hybrid Infrastructure
  • Protect your digital enterprise
  • Empower the data-driven organization
  • Enable workplace productivity

Like the first Discover event as HPE the show floor is organised around these transformation areas. This means there is no longer a dedicated “storage” area and that various storage technologies will be scattered around the transformation areas. The jury is still out on this for me, displaying via transformation area more clearly display the business benefit and how the products can be practically combined but if you are in the market for storage product going to a dedicated area can be simpler.

Each year I try and predict what the big news will be, with what so far has been a 100% record of inaccuracy. No specific predictions this year just a feeling that we will see a continued emphasis on converged systems and the composable infrastructure announced at the end of last year. This fits in with the general trend in the industry and HPE’s obvious desire not just to sell tin but to be a complete solutions provider via the 4 transformation areas.

 

For those attending the event don’t forget to download the HPE Discover app this will give you maps of the show floor, a complete listing of all the sessions plus list those you have registered for. The storage keynote is at 4.30 PM on the Tuesday and is called Storage Spotlight session (SL9381). If you are not able to attend you will be able to watch the live stream of the main sessions at the Discover homepage and you can follow along on social media by using #HPEDiscover.

 

Stay tuned for all the news!