vPivot

Scott Drummonds on Virtualization

Shuttering vPivot

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Its been three years and nine months since I started vPivot.  At that time I had the enviable position of sitting a few feet from the greatest engineering team I have ever known.  Because of nothing more than my proximity to them, I was able to serve VMware’s customers this blog, which peaked with thousands of hits a day.  You guys liked it and I loved doing it.

But in the last few months my blog production has declined significantly.  Part of that was due to my changed role to a consumer of information instead of a producer.  And part of that decline originated with a change of of heart in terms of what I want to do.  Because of that change of heart I last week resigned from EMC.  I will be spending many months pursuing some personal interests.

At this point I have nothing more to contribute to this blog.  I may start professionally writing again after my sabbatical.  But I am just as likely to write on a new blog as here.  But I will leave this content online indefinitely should any of the articles prove useful.

Thank you to VMware for letting me contribute a drop to the incredible wave of virtualization that washed over the industry.  Thank you to EMC for bringing me to Asia and teaching me business, both that of a vendor and the customers we work so hard for.  And thank you to each and every one of you for being a reader.

The Flash Storage Revolution: Part III

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In this final installment of the series, I will provide some detail behind flash storage sizing.  My previous entry contained an analytical and theoretical approach to sizing flash in today’s storage.  When I first studied the ideas I introduced in that post, I thought the flash sizing exercise was hopeless.  After all, how are customers to measure data cooling?  How could a storage admin quantify skew?

As it turns out, familiarity with these abstract concepts is not needed to size flash in your environment.  The same principles that Intel and AMD apply in sizing microprocessor cache can be applied to storage.  There are generalizations that will suit the majority of deployments.

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Virtualization Week in Singapore

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Two weeks ago we delivered EMC’s “Virtualization Week”, which was held at the EMC Executive Briefing Center in Singapore. Each quarter we run this event for EMC and VMware customers throughout Asia Pacific. While many of the customers visited to hear the joint EMC and VMware vision, we also hosted VMware’s customers that choose EMC’s competitors for their primary storage.

At this quarter’s V-week we had two honored guest speakers: EMC vSpecialist CTO, Scott Lowe and VMware’s Michael White. Scott led discussions for all the attendees on key technologies from EMC and VMware. We talked View, VPLEX, SRM, vSphere, Isilon, HA, RSA, vShield, and much more. Michael led conversations focused on SRM and View so he could bring back to VMware ideas that shape their future products.

Customers that visit V-week enjoy a full day of deep discussions with experts like Scott and Michael.  We customize the agenda for each attendee to make sure they are getting the information they need to push their virtualization projects forward.  At this quarter’s V-week, we also hosted non-EMC discussions.  These included a book signing for the Singapore VCP club and a full day dedicated to large scale design led by Scott Lowe.

If you are interested in attending a V-week in Singapore please contact me.  We recruit the world’s best speakers and technical experts to lead the discussions most relevant to you.  Depending on your need we’ll talk EMC, VMware, or EMC+VMware.  Either way, you will be our valued guest and we hope to show you some local hospitality.

The Flash Storage Revolution: Part II

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In the previous entry on this ongoing series covering the flash storage revolution, I concluded that flash is now an essential part of enterprise storage. But its value proposition is hinged on high utilization. High utilization cannot be sustained without efficient auto-tiering or accurate cache sizing for flash-based cache.

This article will describe the theory behind optimal cache sizing.  Practical guidance will follow in part three, the last entry in this series. I will again lean heavily on Denis Vilfort’s presentation that I offer for download on my blog.

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The Flash Storage Revolution: Part I

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Six weeks ago I finally upgraded my MacBook to solid state storage.  The change in performance is so dramatic, to say the least.  I have been selling flash storage to EMC’s customers for over a year now and they have been loving it.  But I did not really get how valuable flash is until I saw it on my own laptop.

After this revolution of my own mind, I want to dedicate a few blog entries to the issue of solid state storage in the enterprise.  First I want to frame the problem that flash both solves and causes.  In the second entry I will introduce some of the theory behind flash sizing.  My last article will give you some very simple practical advice on how to use flash in your enterprise.

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vSpecialists Needed In Singapore

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We at EMC are increasing the number of technical vSpecialists in our Southeast Asian vSpecialist team. This role will be based in Singapore and will support EMC’s customers and field in the surrounding countries of Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and others. Our regional manager will consider exceptional talent from anywhere in the world.

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EMC Labs at VMworld

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Tomorrow I take the last flight in a series that started in Singapore three days ago.  I arrive in Las Vegas a little before noon for VMworld 2011.  This is my first year in five with no responsibilities as a presenter or lab owner.  And I am unreasonably excited that I can participate as an attendee.

In addition to a wealth of partner and customer meetings, I will be attending a large number of sessions, taking the hands-on labs, meeting old friends and colleagues, and of course enjoying the nighttime fun.  One great point of pride I have is the wide range of labs that EMC will be offering at the EMC booth on the showroom floor.  I thought I would share some highlights of hands-on demos you can take if you stop by the EMC booth at VMworld this year.

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MLC Flash Versus SLC Flash

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EMC’s recent announcement at EMC World of Project Lightning documents a program to increase the use of flash devices in enterprise storage. The project includes increased use of flash storage in EMC arrays, all-flash storage configurations, and support for Multi-layer Cell (MLC) flash. This last subject–MLC flash and its difference from SLC flash–piqued my curiosity.

Many years ago I studied electrical engineering. I was an awful at it. Analog was never my thing. I much prefer ones and zeroes. But I challenge myself to think about electronics once every blue moon. So I decided to delve into SLC and MLC flash technologies to understand how they differ and why we should care.  The content below summarizes my online research and the little bit I remember from school. If you can add, correct, or update this article I would be happy to have your comments.

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Virtual Storage Integrator Short Videos

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I have taken a long hiatus from blogging of late and am jumping back into the fold with a simple but important addition to the blogosphere. A few weeks ago Chad Sakac announced a new video showing the awesome vCenter plugin, the Virtual Storage Integrator (VSI). In this case the VSI was being used to demonstrate the capabilities of EMC’s new VNX array.

The VNX is awesome. The VSI is awesome. And the video is a potent demonstration of the combination of these two EMC products. But I firmly believe that most people consume internet content in 1-5 minute chunks. Weighing in at a hefty 16:50, I find this video a little cumbersome.

To that end, I broke up the video into a series of smaller parts and am presenting them here for anyone interested in these products.

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Bring Storage and VI Admins Together

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Three years ago I was not a very big fan of EMC.  We at VMware worked very hard to show the world that we were not under EMC’s thumb.  In many respects, this meant pursuing projects with EMC’s competitors before engaging EMC.  EMC was partly to blame for this. EMC’s best argument to win the VMware footprint was based on a claim of majority ownership.  That pointless claim offends VMware employees and does not translate into value in VMware environments.

But things started changing a couple years ago.  Through the heroic efforts of Chad Sakac, EMC stopped acting like it deserved the business of VMware’s customers and more like it had to earn that business.  I noticed this in the way we partnered at multiple EMC Worlds and VMworlds.  I started to hear EMC’s name mentioned when we were prototyping features and products like VAAI, SRM, and SIOC.  EMC employees started treating us more like partners than indentured servants.  And then EMC started releasing products that were making the lives of VMware’s customers easier.

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