This article is a follow up to my TFD14 Turbonomic preview; at that time I knew very little about Turbonomic and that post was a collection of thoughts and impressions I gathered looking at the product from a distance. I am happy to say that after the TFD presentation, my understanding of the solution is clearer and the initial good impressions are confirmed.

Turbonomic is – in their own words – an “Autonomic Platform”; the play on words here is the merge between Automation and Economy, that is because Turbonomic uses the “Supply Chain” metaphor, where every element in the infrastructure “buys” resources from the underlying components and “sells” upstream, leveraging at the same time automation to ensure that the apps are always performing in their “Desired State”.

The objective is to “assure the applications performance” regardless of where the app is running (in the Private, Public or Hybrid Cloud). Coming from an operations background I know well how difficult it is to keep an infrastructure running within ideal parameters: any single intervention – no matter how apparently insignificant – leads to an imbalance in the infrastructure and this, in turn, leads to a deviation from those optimal parameters. What happens is that app performances are less predictable and corrective actions must be taken to return to the “Desired State”. This is what is called the “Break-Fix” loop, which requires continuous human intervention.

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NetApp opened Tech Field Day 14 with a presentation by Andrew Sullivan and Kapil Arora, entirely focused on the company’s efforts in the Open Source field. One might imagine that a company like NetApp – or any other big IT vendor – would consider Open Source as a menace to their business or, in the best possible scenario, just as a fad worth to exploit until the advent of the next hype. Well, this could have made some sense until just a few years ago but today we live in the GitHub age and it is evident that no company can afford not to share some of their own open code with the public.

NetApp is no different from any other company and they are probably doing this for many reasons similar to those of their competitors – what it is worth investigating here is where their motivation comes from and what is driving their efforts.

NetApp’s involvement with Open Source begins in 2011 with their support to OpenStack and their contribution to the Cinder and Manila projects; the team has evolved – mostly in the past 18 months – into something bigger called the “Open Ecosystem”, also friendly referred to as “The Pub”. The focus has expanded well beyond OpenStack and now covers Containers, Automation and Orchestration, Configuration Management, CI/CD and Agile Development tools.

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In this third and last post of this Tech Field Day 14 Preview Series, I will focus on Datrium. Truth to be told, a fourth vendor was added at the last minute to the list of TFD14 presenters, and that is NetApp; interestingly enough their presentation will be DevOps oriented and I will report my impressions in a future post when I am back from Boston.

Back to Datrium then. Like myself, this will be the first appearance of Datrium at Tech Field Day, so there was no “TFD prior art” in the form of old presentation recordings I could leverage to get myself acquainted with their solutions, therefore my research was limited to browsing their company website. I hope I got everything right, but I can tell you what I found there was enough to tickle my curiosity; they seem to have an interesting approach to the solution of the converged data center problem, their own buzzword to define this is “Open Convergence”. What I see there is a mix of ideas already heard of before, but even if the ingredients are familiar, the recipe is different and the serving looks yummy! Enough with the gastronomic analogy, let’s talk tech.

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This second Tech Field Day 14 Preview post is focused on Turbonomic. I must confess I know very little about their solution and I am very anxious to hear more from these guys when I will meet them in Boston: I did some research in the past few days about Turbonomic and I definitely feel I need to learn more about thir product. Very much looking forward to be enlightened!

Coming from a vROPs background, I kind of assumed – most likely wrongly – that Turbonomic was a direct competitor of VMware’s solution, but from what I have seen so far, although there are for sure some similarities and overlapping areas, here we are talking about two completely different beasts, so I will leave the comparisons there. More »

Next week I will fly to Boston to attend my first full Tech Field Day conference as a delegate.

Last year I was lucky enough to be invited to the smaller scale Tech Field Day Extra event at VMworld Europe and I really enjoyed the experience, so you can imagine my excitement when I received the invite from Stephen and Tom to join them at TFD14.

Not yet time to pack a bag, but definitely time to start doing some research on the three vendors that will present at TFD14: ClearSky Data, Turbonomic and Datrium.

Let’s start this TFD14 Preview Series from ClearSky Data: from what I understand ClearSky has a very unusual approach to Cloud Storage which is normally intended for secondary/object storage kind of use cases. ClearSky has developed an interesting architecture that allows for storing all your data in the cloud while not sacrificing the performance (and use cases) typical of primary storage – all of this going beyond the obvious caching technologies that have been around for some time. More »

With the release of vSphere 6.5 there is really no reason anymore to stick with the old school Windows vCenter; finally the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) has become a first class citizen and the preferred implementation solution for the most important vSphere infrastructure compnent. This was already made clear by VMware when in 2016 they released a tool to easily migrate a Windows vCenter 5.5 to VCSA 6.0 U2 and with vSphere 6.5 the migration from an older Windows vCenter server is one of the officially supported upgrade paths.

Although not new – it was inherited from v 6.0 – one of the best features of the VCSA 6.5 is it’s ease of upgrade. I tested it myself in the homelab taking advantage of the first maintenance release (6.5a) which was released last week bringing support to NSX 6.3.

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An introduction to Nimble Storage

2016-10-31-19_59_36-nimble-tech-field-day-pptx-powerpointNimble Storage was founded in 2008 by Varun Mehta and Umesh Maheshwari (both formerly at Data Domain) and the company delivered their first product to market in 2010 (they went out of stealth mode and announced the CS200 array at Tech Field Day 3 in 2010); since then Nimble Storage witnessed a rapid growth, counting now more than 9000 customers in 50 different countries. In the meanwhile the portfolio of products also grew and Nimble Storage now define themselves as an all-round “Storage Provider” for hypervisors and applications. Particularly notable is the network of Technology Alliances Nimble established with very diverse vendors like Cisco, Microsoft, Splunk, Oracle, Veeam, VMware, Citrix, Commvault and very recently Lenovo; this alone should say a lot about how versatile and interoperable Nimble solutions are. More »

Paeesler is a German company founded in 1997 by Dirk Paeesler, who wanted to create an easy to deploy and operate network monitoring solution, having no idea that what was at the time a “one man show” would have become in 20 years a company with 150,000 deployments worldwide and a staff of 170 people based in different countries. Paessler is a quite peculiar company as it is completely independent and owned by its founders and staff. It is also interesting to note that PRTG, Paessler’s solution, is adopted by 70% of Fortune 100 companies worldwide and acknowledged in Gartner’s magic quadrant.

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VMworld Europe 2016 will be a memorable one for me, not only because I will be returning to the event after a one year hiatus, but also because something very special is going to happen.

Let me explain… last August, at VMworld US 2016 in Las Vegas, VMUG Leaders gathered for the traditional lunch with VMware Execs (including Pat Gelsinger).Every year there is a ceremony where a few Leaders are publicly mentioned for their commitment and their efforts for the VMUG community. This is when people who have gone the extra mile for the community are acknowleged at the presence of their peers. More »

PernixData has announced today the General Availability of both their flagship products, FVP 3.5 and Architect 1.1.

For those not familiar with PernixData technology, FVP is is the world’s first, and only, enterprise-class, server-side storage intelligence platform, embedded in the hypervisor to provide reliable I/O performance enhancements to virtual machines (VMs) on existing primary storage. In a nutshell, PernixData FVP virtualizes server-side flash and server RAM across all hosts, connecting the high-speed server-side resources into existing VM I/O paths, to transparently reduce the IOPS burden on a storage system, de-facto decoupling storage capacity and performances accelerating any VMware based application. Architect provides real-time analytics (descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive) for optimal storage and VM design, acting as a proactive, strategic data center management tool that continually generates new data based on dynamic VM and infrastructure conditions. More »