April 2016 VMUG

Pure Storage sponsored Auckland VMUG April 6 2016

We had another fantastic record turnout for the Auckland VMUG last week. With ~60 people turning up to hear Craig Waters present on the Pure Storage integration points with the VMware vRealize suite.

Craig did 4 demos on the day including integration with vRealize Log Insight, Automation , Orchestration and one other that escapes me. Check out the blog by Cody Hosterman as well with some great insights into this.

Some of our friends from IBM and Nutanix decided to drop in and learn a few things, but overall the attendance was mostly VMware admins looking to learn something.

We were fortunate that a bunch of the Nutanix crew are VCDX so we had an impromptu VCDX panel that also included Nick Bowie from ViFX for the punters in the crowd with the hard questions. I think most people were a bit scared to put their hands up to be honest.

Lastly Alan Baird from VMWare got up and presented on Tractors, or Containers, not sure which – but most likely containers ūüôā

Auckland VMUG


All told it was a great turnout, and a great evening.

The true NDU

I remember the first time I saw colour TV. I came home from school and sat down to watch my favourite after school show. 10 minutes in and I was asking my parents what was wrong with the TV because it kept changing channel. My father laughed at me.

On closer inspection, I noticed that not only was the massive intricately carved TV box that we bought back from Singapore gone, it was replaced with a smaller simple brown box, that was displaying colour and had my father had a wireless remote in his hand! Wired remotes were still common then.

My world had changed forever. Technology had evolved to enhance my user experience and I loved it.

Over the course of the next 30 or so years I was lucky enough to have experienced several such moments. Enhancements in technology have allowed us to transform the user experience in many areas. How amazing was it when you didn’t have to tie up the telephone line any more to be online!

10 years ago when we wanted to lifecycle storage, we we doing so with storage virtualization and that was awesome, but you run into the problem of how you lifecycle the lifecycle appliance? Then came storage migration at the hypervisor layer which was great for virtualised systems, but not so good for physical.

Last week I had a wow that’s so cool moment, when during the business day we non-disruptively upgraded a customer from our legacy hardware into our new hardware.

You might be saying to yourself ‚Äď so what, I do that all the time! or everyone can do that, its easy!

I beg to differ. In recent times this has become easier for folks running virtual workloads and for me as a storage guy VMware changed the game by allowing people to non-disruptively move data stores between storage devices. If you had a modern array, the array would also be considerate enough to do most of the heavy lifting for you as VMware created the VAAI APIs that allowed the storage to offload a bunch of the t10 SCSI commands, thus freeing up compute CPU cycles. Old news I know, but there are still legacy storage arrays that don’t support these things.

What I want to be clear on though was that I didn’t have to use any software tools to do this!

The architecture of the Pure Storage array is what allows me to do it. More importantly it allows me to do it without impacting host IO.

The company I was doing the upgrade for is a very sensitive company, with sensitive data and conservative customers. We started the upgrade at 10:30 am and it was complete in a few short hours.

Not only did we swap the storage controllers, but we upgraded the capacity at the same time.

The measure of success was no help desk calls and we were successful.
To be clear, this was done during business hours with a full complement of staff working and apps running.

I love my job. I work for a disruptive company changing the industry of technical storage.

Maximum HBA port queue depth in an all Flash Array

Per port queue depths is a common question we hear and how we compare to these limits other vendors publish based on array model. 

Pure does¬†not have¬†queue¬†depths assigned on a per port basis and we do not modify the Qlogic HBA per port¬†queue¬†depth¬†of 4096.¬† We also do not issue SCSI “busy” responses back to hosts (instead, we will¬†queue¬†all I/O in the array) there is occasionally some host¬†queue¬†depth¬†adjustments needed for some environments.¬† The goal is to not unnecessarily limit outstanding I/O’s to the array during normal steady state, but also to avoid a ¬†situation in cases of massive bursts of I/O from many hosts concurrently.

With legacy mechanical disk arrays, it was important to have as many outstanding I/O’s as possible due to the seeking and rotating going on. ¬†

With all flash arrays, and Pure in particular, it is not necessary to keep the¬†queues¬†full and the I/O responses are returned much faster as well, meaning it’s pretty hard to keep the¬†queues¬†full (at least for most organic workloads).¬† One of the key values for Pure is the simplicity – you should not have to do the same types of computations and planning like you are used to with mechanical disk storage.¬† In some cases, there may be some adjustments in aggregate for all hosts connected to the same array to mitigate a IO storm¬†(ensuring host-level fairness), in most cases it is not necessary as we remove the need to do per-port planning.

Auckland vMUG July 2015

We had a great time last night (30-07-15) at the @PureStorage sponsored  @AucklandVMUG event. Approx 65 attendees registered and we would have had at leas that number in the room.

The photo below

BlueStone Room
BlueStone Room

Lots of great guests;

  • Nick Bowie kicked us off even with getting over a cold ¬†(@NickBowieNZ). VCDX5-DCV #202, VCP6-NV, NPP #43.
  • Craig Waters took us through Flash in the Data Centre ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†(@cswaters1). ¬†VCAP-DCA/DCD, VCP-DV 3-5, vExpert 2012-14
  • Alastair Cooke spoke initially about training then gave us a good talk about your career and how to manage it yourself ¬†(@DemitasseNZ) vExpert
Nick Bowie
Nick Bowie

Lots of great attendance from the members of the Auckland chapter of vMUG, plus a couple of sneakie entries from other vendors wanting to check us out.

We had a major prize of a 250GB 3D NAND SSD that was won by Diego Nievas from Datacom after a draw by Stuart Blythe, Country Manager of Pure Storage in NZ

Diego Nievas wins SSD
Diego Nievas wins SSD

Kudos to Sanit, Michael, Steven and Ping for putting on a great event.

Stop the negative

Do you follow Twitter, LinkedIn or some other social media service to stay informed? Are you sick of the vendor bashing?

Like many of you, I have been doing what I do now for many years.
Similarly, like most of you – I need to keep up with what is happening in my chosen profession. For me that is the world of technical storage.

I am a storage and data management professional, so I need to keep up with all of my competitors information, and any new products and services on the market that relate to what I do.

So I would assume most people reading this would do a similar thing – given the amount of people that refer to LinkedIn or Twitter, I would say thats an accurate assumption.

Let me ask you a couple of questions…….
What would you do if you went looking for a new house and saw the estate agents sign out front, with another agents sign tacked underneath saying that the first agent had just made up everything and to so go talk to them?
What would you think?

How about if wanted a new car and in the yard that you are looking another car yards sign was stuck to the window of the car you were interested in saying that the first car yard doesn’t know what they are talking about and its all lies – come see me and I will sell you a similar car?
What would you think?

That is what is happening all over social media these days and it is making us as vendors look like children.

I admit to a bit of social engineering on some occasions.
Even recently, a friend of mine that works for a competitor posted an article from a third party research firm. I posted a comment on his post that referenced my company talking to the author of that article. Thats fair and reasonable, right?
At no point did I detract from his comments, I even agreed with them in a later comment – but I injected a positive article from my company on his post so his followers would see and hopefully read it.

Thats fair right?

What I think is not fair is when other vendors go off on a rant claiming your information is false, misleading or wrong. Its the equivalent of a child’s tantrum.
I could share countless articles like this, but I wont.
Some people would probably comment on this saying it was the company I now work for, going hard against its biggest competitor that started this landslide of negativity. They might be right as I am not sure when it got as bad as it has.
What I do know is that where I work from the top down – they are saying don’t go negative on social media. I understand other vendors are doing the same.

I just don’t believe everyone else is subscribing to the same ideals.

In my world we all have competitive intelligence, but the reality is this is often outdated or inaccurate so needs to be taken with a grain of salt.
In a previous role, I was part of the competitive community, so I know how difficult it is to keep up and maintain accurate competitive information – and that most of it is in the interpretation of the writer.

Going negative on social media is bad and it needs to stop!
If you don’t have anything good to say, then don’t say it.
In the context of what we are talking about, that would be doing as I did above, reference an article of your own if its positive, or maybe highlighting something that your product does better without saying that the competitive product is bad.

Write your own article that accentuates your product over your perceived weakness of the competitions – educate!
Be passionate, market yourself or your company better.

At the end of the day, people move, change jobs, but companies stick around and some folks have long memories so stay classy and promote you, and your own company.

My suggestion, if you see this happening – call it out, let them know what you think. If we don’t stop it then people will simply stop educating themselves and we all lose!

Stop the negative!


No More Forklift Upgrades

I have had the pleasure over my years to work for some amazing companies. Some of these companies have helped transform the IT industry so I am always humbled to have been associated with them and the amazing talent that those companies acquire.

In the last decade we have seen an incredible change in how users consume IT and how IT is designed for consumption to support those users.

We have blown past Moore’s law. Littles law is now more likely to be associated with IT as demand for denser¬†IT is needed with increasingly more variant workloads.

These sorts of demands require always on architectures which are not cheap to acquire, manage or maintain so new platforms/architectures are being constantly developed to ease the pain. Smaller, faster, more environmental new platforms that allow IT to offer more business value for less are being developed and introduced at an astounding rate.

Most storage consumers have always purchased in 3-5 year cycles. Those on the edge will acquire new technology every 3 years, whilst others will generally change every 5 years. This has driven a behavioural pattern for procurement.

Typically a better deal is offered if you buy 5 years up front as it is the best buying power/time a customer has whilst you are buying the new platform. If you only buy 3 years, then in year 4 you are given the option to “rip and replace” forklift, or order another 1, 2 or more years maintenance which is offered at a premium to make it more compelling to change. The other driving factor here is at some point the customer has purchased more storage so they have a maintenance delta between storage and controllers that fore the customer into a year 4 upgrade to varying depreciation cycles.

What if it didn’t make any difference? What if it was actually the same or less to buy 3 more years maintenance and over time your could ride the Intel commodity curve and get faster processors and more memory for free?

Pure Storage offers the Forever Flash program which does just that.
#NoMoreForkliftUpgrades are required to get access to faster denser processors and memory which in turns gives you access to support more flash and more applications.

…..storage that gets faster and more capable with age
……never having to repurchase your existing capacity
…….never having to purchase software as you expand
…never having to forklift upgrade & migrate your data

Click here to go ahead and share your story!

Flash MythBusters

Vaughn Stewart from Pure Storage recently contributed to a Flash myth busting session with Nimble,  Solidfire and EMC hosted by SpiceWorks.

Its well worth the watch at just short of an hour. Answering questions that start out with just what is FLASH, and how does it differ from SSD. I even heard a question about how does Token Ring factor……. not……

Do you want to know what software could possibly shorten the life span of flash? The watch the video

Link to Vaughn’s blog

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