Virtualization Field Day 2 – Symantec Visit

We had two main presenters for this session. George Winter, a Technical Product Manager in the Information Management Group at Symantec in Mountain View, CA and Gareth Fraser-King was also there who is in the Global Technical Field Enablement division in the the United Kingdom.

Both speakers and had a deep understanding of the product lines they referred to and here are some of the highlights on the opening remarks:

  • They have been a partner with VMware for nearly 12 years
  • V-Ray Technologies “best describes the product lines”
  • Visibility into virtual machines and applications
  • Transparent backup and recovery across physical and virtual machines
  • Third generation with granular recovery
  • An entry point into the cloud

Problems that they are solving:

  • Machine restores are placed back on to the original location or alternate location, just like any other restore software.
  • “Design Criteria” – NetBackup Ecosystem? They talked about backing up various OS’s to allow a seamless backup environment.
  • Replication Director coming out in 7.5 as well as vAPP integration with vSphere and vCD.
  • Backup Data Path with the SCSI LUN locking potential if backups consume the pipe and lock the LUN

They showed a few slides on host utilization during a backup and the difference when the products are used, but I was interested to see the memory load on the ESX host in a stateless compute environment.

They said that their Benchmark results – -has only been limited by hardware.

VIP – VMware Intelligent Policy – VMware Protection on Autopilot

  • Alternate method of backing up new and moved vm’s
  • Designed for dynamic environment – vMo, DRS, sDRS, etc
  • Query engine can be taylored to protect VMware environments

VIP will balance the load of backups over the storage path (FC or File Based) – as well as VMware attributes: Folder, resource pool or vApp. I asked the question on backup windows since they are throttling the streams our of each ESX server and how they combat that. They said that they are reliant on aggressive DRS policy setup at the cluster level.

They also had a 1/3 rack in the room to show off the NetBackup appliance. This was the Symantec NetBackup 5220:

I found this link for the product on the web:

Shortly after the noon hour, they talked about the NetBackup Accelerator in NetBackup 7.5

This is a client based backup product that does change block tracking within the OS on the VMware environment. It also provides a single file restore through a catalog that is created on a per vm basis. They say that this is fundamentally different that other solutions that require a full restore and then the file list located. There is a “proprietary technology” (agent type) to do this and must be installed within the OS. Tape restore is done the same way and selected data is pulled from tape in the same fashion.

How is this agent managed? This is usually done through their management utility, but can be done through other facets such as SCCM, etc .

All in all, this was a great meeting / presentation from George Winter and Gareth Fraser-King and a great session to kick off Virtualization Field Day 2!




Attending Virtualization Tech Day 2

Next week I will be attending Gestalt IT’s Virtualization Tech Day in San Jose, CA (Twitter hashtag: #VFD2). This will be my second trip to their tech field day events since I attended Tech Field Day 8 back in September of 2011 (Twitter hashtag: #TFD8) which I found to be very informative as we met with many storage startups in the Silicon Valley area. I did write a few blog posts on some of the products that we were introduced to and I was very interested in their solutions for VMware products.

I am very excited to attend this event since it is focused on Virtualization and hope to hear from more companies that are targeting VMware infrastructure enhancements.

In attendance with me are:

Edward Haletky from The Virtualization Practice (@texiwill)
Rodney Haywood who runs Musings of Rodos (@rodos)
Bill Hill from Virtual Bill (@virtual_bill)
Mike Laverick from RTFM Education (@mike_laverick)
Dwyane Lessner who has IT Blood Pressure (@dlink7)
Scott Lowe who writes for TechRepublic & Virtualization Admin(@otherscottlowe)
Roger Lund who I lead the Minneapolis VMUG with and runs vroger & vBrainstorm (@rogerlund)
Robert Novak from RSTS11 (@gallifreyan)
Davin Owen writing for VMackem (@vmackem)
Brandon Riley with Virtual Insanity (@brandonriley)
Todd Scalzott who has Don’t Call Me Scott (@tscalzott)
Chris Wahl the VMUG leader from Chicago with Wahl Network (@chriswahl)

Look for updates as the event unfolds!


HP Tech Day 2012

The other week (Jan 26th and 27th to be specific) I made a trip out to the HP Research facility in Ft. Collins Colorado to get a first-hand look at HP’s storage offerings and took a tour of their research datacenter there. In attendance were 10 other bloggers and industry analysts, some that I’ve talked to prior but many whom I’ve met for the first time. Calvin Zito (or otherwise known as @HPStorageGuy on Twitter) was our excellent host who made sure that we stuck to the schedule and prepared us for the presentations. This event was completely paid for by HP and brought all of us in as independent bloggers for an outside view of their products and solutions.

The first presentation was delivered by HP’s Craig Nunes to go over the highlights of  their Converged Storage offerings. During his presentation, he kept driving home that they are investing in the “Elimination of Boundaries”  with the New HP Storage line. This is where the term “Big Data” came up a few times and how products like 3PAR will be an enabler of cloud deployments going forward.

The HP Storage Virtual SAN Appliance (VSA) P4000 is Lefthand running in a virtual machine that is completely oblivious to what is running underneath it. Data is striped across all nodes in the VSA which they say is dissimilar to other technologies that use the other nodes as backups for the primary. A few of the delegates raised the the question a few times regarding support for solid state drives, and they said that “SSD Support in the P4000 is currently being looked at”.

Another solution that was presented was the HP StorageWorks P4800 blade system model that allows one JBOD to serve two nodes. There is current support for up to 70TB in one “Node”. This unit is built as a VDI Solution.

HP’s StoreOnce Family

My favorite session was of course the VMware integration with HP’s product line and was eager to find out support matrix information with these new products and offerings. I did find out that VAAI is supported on every HP array with the exception of the P6000 EVA that has not been released yet. Another interesting note is that VMware’s certification for metro clusters (aka vSphere Metro Storage Cluster) has support for iSCSI targets on the HP P4000. HP also has support for recovery and snapshot solutions with 3PAR ‘s via the “Recovery Manager Software for vSphere” and HP’s P4000 LeftHand solutions through the “Application Aware Snapshot Manager”.

Along the line of vSphere Storage API integration with Storage Awareness (aka VASA), I thought a flowchart was in order here to give a visual representation of how this works:


Guest Speaker:

Another guest speaker on Friday was a fellow named Aboubacar Diare (a master architect) who discussed VMware’s adaptive queue depth algorithm that resolves around response time issues seen on VMware cluster nodes. He referenced KB article 1008113 where 3PAR worked with VMware on this particular issue that resolves SCSI BUSY and QUEUE FULL conditions where ESX becomes unresponsive. This happens when consolidation levels are too high for the number of heavy hitters on any one node.

In ESX 3.5 update 4 and higher, VMware released an “adaptive queue depth” algorithm that dynamically changes the LUN queue depth in the VMkernel I/O stack. Pretty cool.

You can read more about this joint effort  here: KB 1008113

The datacenter tour:

HP also lead us on a tour of the datacenter where they showed us many of the products discussed in the racks. They also had a few engineers showing off the adaptive louvers in the floor tiles so they can control airflow throughout. (top) They also showed us a screenshot of how this is depicted from the management console (bottom) where you can see hot and cold sections of the datacenter.

Jim Richardson (JR) who is one of the founding 3PAR Systems Engineers was also on the tour and gave a first-hand look at some of these arrays in action. Here he is showing off one of the 3PAR systems in the datacenter (top). We also got to do a few labs while we were there and they were showing the HP 3PAR Thin Persistence and optimization with VMware’s eager zero thick (EZT for short). This is best depicted in their slide (bottom).


All in all, this was a great trip and I was glad I got to attend and learn more about these products and how they can supplement VMware and datacenter technology in the SMB and Enterprise space.