VMware vSphere 5.5 Available

Well, I’ve been waiting for the general availability of 5.5 since the announcement at VMworld this year. I’ve been checking regularly and noticed this morning that the download links are now up and working. Here’s a list of what’s available as of today:

-vSphere Essentials, Essentials Plus, Standard, Enterprise, Enterprise Plus, Desktop and the free vSphere Hypervisor.
-vCloud Suite Standard, Advanced & Enterprise (including vCloud Director standalone of course).

Check out the download site to start looking at this great point release.


Infinio Presentation at Tech Field Day VMworld 2013

Last week the Tech Field Day group met with Infinio Systems Inc. to talk about their downloadable storage performance product.

Infinio is a VMware only – NAS offload engine. It is an in-memory software cache that is intelligent enough to figure out what data is accessed and when so that it minimizes on the read/write impact on your storage array. The product (as of this posting) is a 2 vCPU / 8GB RAM virtual appliance and acts as an accelerator that talks to your NAS directly. It uses a cache pool that the entire VMware cluster shares and it leverages to deal with service vMotions and host failures. When this occurs, the host cache will act locally and stop using the pool from neighboring ESX hosts.

When a datastore is selected to be accelerated, the Infinio product deploys a single virtual appliance. Sounds like the process is very straight forward and I am anxious to try it myself. I can see SMB’s benefiting from this acceleration for some of their high I/O workloads on file-based volumes.

During the demo part of the presentation, we were able to see the administrator UI that had an interesting “savings” display that shows how many disks you didn’t have to buy which was a nice ROI touch for upper management.

Infinio’s Core principles are: “easy to try and easy to buy”. While the presentation was commencing, I reviewed some of their marketing material on the website and found the section entitled “SSD performance without SSD’s” rather interesting, especially the graph on the chart that depicted the six fold response time improvement. Something that I have yet to test in the lab.

Since the product assumes you have NFS for your datastores, no topology discovery between nodes is necessary for the current version of their software. Not sure what would occur if you had block storage, but it is not supported nonetheless.

Also, SIOC is fully supported in this product since it dynamically adjusts the NIC policy. This keeps in line with their “no changes to your existing infrastructure” statement.

I have yet to test this product in the VMbulletin lab, but I will do a follow up to this post once those tests are complete.


Storage Field Day 3 Next Month

Coming up next month is Storage Field Day 3 which will be held on April 24th through the 26th and is part of the Gestalt IT – Tech Field Day events. I will be participating as a delegate (as I have before) and will be meeting with a number of storage companies in the Denver Colorado area to learn about their product offerings from a technical perspective and how they will fit into the virtualization realm.

The companies that will be presenting at this event are; Avere Systems, Cleversafe, Marvell, NetApp, NEXGEN Storage, PernixData, SanDisk, Starboard and two other companies that have not yet been named.

I am very familiar with NetApp, NEXGEN and Starboard since I have been working on NetApp systems for quite a few years and also met NEXGEN and Starboard at a prior Tech Field Day event, but I am interested to hear about the new product(s) and to engage in more technical detail about the presented material from each.

As always, I do my homework when meeting these companies so that I can start to pry open the inner workings of their product(s). Being a huge fan of file based storage, I fully intend to have some technical conversations with Avere Systems about their FXT Edge filers and to learn more about the way they tier and scale their platform from a capacity vs. performance standpoint.

After reading about Cleversafe’s product, I am very interested in the products they have listed in their portfolio. The product looks to have three components to it. The Manager, Accesser and Slicestor. Without going to far into what each of these components do, I am refraining from further discussion in this post and will wait to have a fact to face with them about it.

Marvell’s DragonFly product looks interesting with their NVRAM for SAN & NAS and NVCACHE & NVDRIVE that look to be designed for cloud solutions. I will make a note of talking to them more about the NVDRIVE since that product is stated on the website to target public and private cloud environments with the PCIe SSD accelerator with write-back caching on their tiered non-volatile memory.

I am very curious about PernixData’s “Flash Virtualization Platform”, that upon preliminary review, looks to have a play in the virtualized datacenter space with a application data tiering method that is targeted towards application acceleration.

Look for follow up posts about these and the other companies that we will be meeting at this event. With the lineup of delegates that they have planned for this, I expect some very technical discussions.