All posts by Kiwistorageguy

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.

… 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

Pure Storage to present at Auckland VMUG

Im happy to say that I will be presenting alongside Craig Waters @CSWATERS at the next Auckland VMware User Group Conference – VMUG

Craig is the very vocal leader of the Melbourne VMUG and will be able to provide a very insightful view into where VMware is going with Version 6 and how a data reducing All Flash Array provides the best location for your data-stores.


More information to follow on the agenda.



Pure Storage 2015

I have just returned from our 2015 sales kick off in Santa Clara and would like to say I am pumped.

We had 4 days running though among many other things, technology updates.

What makes a great company great?
It’s the willingness of the management to openly share with their staff information that is pertinent to their success.
Pure Storage is a company like know other I have worked. They share so much information that it allows us to make informed decisions easier. It allows us to better do what is right for our partners, customers and eventually shareholders.

Our roadmap is simply amazing and I look forward to being able to share with people whats happening as I can.

We had a lot of fun a #PureSKO2015 and I can say its going to be a great year.


To Cache or not to Cache?


Can be your best friend or your worst nightmare, what do I mean by that?

There are several options today for how you chose to implement cache.

  • Server Side (think Fusion IO cards or similar)
  • Storage Read Cache
  • Storage Write Cache

All types of caching are susceptible to sizing. Once the cache is full you still need go to disk.
Hitachi found this on their old enterprise replication product True Copy. As replication requirements got larger they were prone to cache punctures as during a network outage or if the replication was not sized correctly the cache that was holding the

Server Side:

In a shared storage environment you will have many hosts connecting to one or more storage controllers. These may boot from the storage controller or they may have internal disk but then mount LUNS or Volumes from the shared storage.

With Server Side cache, you typically install either a PCIE DRAM based card(s) or some SSD within each physical host.

Depending on what you chose to implement these will be read and/or write capable and are able to be tuned quite well based on your requirements.

Server Side cache has some challenges however.
Imagine you have a large VM farm with multiple varied workloads which is typical to most enterprises.
If you don’t add the same amount of cache to each server, you run the risk in the event of a host failure of the workloads that are pinned to the accelerated (cached) hosts not being able to provide the required level of services if they are moved to a non-accelerated host (using DRS as an example).

Server Side is good if you want to pin specific workloads to specific hosts such as VDI or a specific database

Storage Read Cache:

At NetApp we sold a lot of this, because until NetApp had Hybrid Aggregates this was the best way to accelerate VM workloads. If you incorporate data reduction techniques like de-duplication you can use a relatively small amount of cache to accelerate a lot of servers.

The problem is, its a read cache and it was also quite small.

With that said however, NetApps Flash Cache was great as it could be tweaked for things like Meta Data lookups which would help you accelerate some tasks like large block video indexes which you wouldn’t normally associate with cache (the video files not the index).

NetApp had a great product called Flash Accel that would interact between the Server Side and the Storage Side caches to determine the best places to accelerate but this was sadly pulled off the market.

The downside of most Read Caches like Flash Cache is they use volitile memory, or non-persistent memory to storage the reads so if you happen to restart your controller you have to re-load the cache. If time is of the essence, then this could be a big problem.

Read Caches are also almost always best used for small block random IO.

Storage Write Cache:

This is where it gets interesting as a Write Cache is almost always also used as a read cache and this most certainly will be non-volatile to sustain a power outage, so will likely be a SSD.

Write Caches will also typically be used for small block random over-writes (blocks that have recently been written to HDD) so not all write IO will be accelerated.

Write Caches are also typically larger than Read Caches and are a lot more flexible however they still suffer from size.

The problem with arrays like some of the hybrids out there that utilize any Write Cache for acceleration is that once that cache is full, your back to disk and if you have a tendency to use slow disk like SATA then your go from hero to zero very quick.

If your have a non-uniform IO size that doesn’t fit nicely into the stripe size then you could rapidly eat up cache and be down to disk before you know it.

Whats best:

Cacheing was introduced to fix a physics problem, disk.

If you don’t have disk, but instead use a form of non-volatile persistent storage like SSD then you are less likely to need a cache as it is technologies like SSDs that storage vendors are using as cache typically anyway.

A lot does come down to the storage operating environment and how it is implemented as some are more efficient than others.

So, think about what and where you need to accelerate or look to an All Flash Array like Pure Storage where you don’t have to think as much about how you architect your data storage needs.

How a good Restful API can benefit storage management

How a good restful API integration can change your world! I’m not a developer and yet within a few hours I wrote an app with the Pure Storage Powershell Toolkit to generate a Visio from live array’s.

I work for Pure Storage, I have worked for NetApp and HDS as a pre-sales engineer. Recently Pure released our PowerShell tool kit and I took it upon myself to see how easy it was to use so I built an application to connect to live controllers and generate Visio’s.
Within a couple of hours I had a working application that I have built into quite a solid application in my downtime over the last week or so.
Over the years I have tried many different tools and integration points including SMI-S and this is by far the easiest mechanism I have used.
The toolkit in its simplest form provides a shell to allow you to build applications around. My application is a read only tool, but you can also use it to perform snapshots, clones etc with very little effort.
Take a look at the blog posts that Barkz, the author of the tool-kit has written to show you just how easy it is.
I also had to have .Net installed obviously and the VisioAutomation Powershell module.

Not only do you have get access, but also put access so you can generate snapshots, clones, eradicate LUNs etc and it is just so easy to do.

I hope to have this as a published tool shortly so if you have some Pure Storage in your DC and want to gather, LUN, Host and Port data and present it in a Visio you will easily be able to do it.

Next steps are also looking into developing something for a mobile platform using REST and JSON.