Software defined Storage? Dell’s got you covered

Earlier I’ve discucced a bit on Software defined storage and how this is an growing market with new vendors appearing all the time. Some of the concept behind SDS is the ability to move features that have previously only been available to the hardware solutions into the software stack. https://msandbu.wordpress.com/2014/05/20/software-defined-storage-and-delivering-performance/

Now as I mentioned there are a lot of different vendors here, some focus on delivering high performance, some on delivering adequate I/O on commodity hardware, some on flexibility, and many in between.

So what do we choose ? Since there are so many different vendors here it might be a hard choice to choose one over the other. The big question is what do I need ? Do I need to run big OLTP databases running on an average 200,000 IOPS, do I need to have a hyper-v cluster setup using commodity hardware in order to have a low cost on my Storage? Do I have existing Vmware infrastructure that I want to improve my IOPS on ? Looking to buy new hardware to have next generation VDI platform ? Do I have a bunch of different backend NAS / DAS and SAN I want to pool into a large unit of storage?

So the question is what do I have, what do I want and where do I need to go

And as the title mentiones, when you are looking for a new solution/ platform for software-defined storage, well then Dell’s got you covered.

Dell is one of the few hardware vendors who is certified for most of the different SDS solutions such as.

VSAN: http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php?deviceCategory=vsan

Storage Spaces: http://www.windowsservercatalog.com/results.aspx?&chtext=&cstext=&csttext=&chbtext=&bCatID=1642&cpID=16445&avc=79&ava=0&avq=0&OR=1&PGS=25&ready=0

EVO: RAIL http://www.vmware.com/products/evorail

Dell also has a strategic partnership with Nutanix (which is going to be Dell hardware shipping with Nutanix Software) called the XC-series

http://www.dell.com/learn/us/en/uscorp1/press-releases/2014-06-24-dell-software-defined-storage-portfolio

Also Dell has partnership with both Nexenta and Atlantis

http://www.dell.com/learn/us/en/04/campaigns/dell-nexenta-storage

http://en.community.dell.com/techcenter/extras/m/mediagallery/20439148/download

Dell has also included a partnership with SanDisk in 13th generation servers which allows for simple SSD tiering on servers –> http://www.sandisk.com/about-sandisk/press-room/press-releases/2014/sandisk-das-cache-software-now-available-for-next-generation-dell-poweredge-servers/

So Dell has many different SDS options on their solutions, and also their SC-series, Equallogic, Compellent for running traditional workloads.

#dell, #evo-rail, #nexenta, #nutanix, #storage-spaces, #vsan

Dell vWorkspace EOP–Configuration

For those who do not know what vWorkspace is, take a look at my previous blogpost regarding vWorkspace –> https://msandbu.wordpress.com/2014/04/20/introduction-to-dell-vworkspace/

EOP (Enhanced Optimized Protocol) is an enhancement to the RDP protocol which Dell (or Quest) have developed which is a part of vWorkspace. Now Microsoft has made alot of improvements to the RDP procotol in 2012 and 2012 R2, but it is nowhere near Citrix in how it performs over WAN and the ability to deliver high-graphic content. EOP contains mulitple enhancements to the procotol to even the difference, like:

EOP Xtream. Accelerates RDP and EOP traffic on wide area networks (WANs). This provides for an improved user experience by providing faster RDP screen responses and improved performance of all EOP features.

EOP Print. A single-driver printing solution that satisfies both client-side and network printing needs in a vWorkspace environment.

EOP Audio. Enables support for applications that require the use of a microphone, such as dictation, collaboration, and certain Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) applications such as Office Communicator and Lync.

EOP Multimedia Acceleration. Enables the redirection of Flash content and Microsoft DirectShow content (anything that can be played in Microsoft Windows Media Player) from the VDI or Windows RDSH Session through an RDP Virtual Channel to the client access device. There it is played using the local compression/decompression technology (CODEC).

EOP Flash Acceleration. Allows playing of Flash content.

EOP Graphics Acceleration. Reduces bandwidth consumption and dramatically improves the user experience, making RDP usable over WAN connections.

EOP Universal USB. EOP Universal USB enables the use of virtually any USB connected device, such as PDAs, local printers, scanners, cameras, and headsets to be used in conjunction with VDI.

EOP MultiMon. Enables support for multiple monitors, which is monitor aware.

Where do I configure EOP ? Firstly under Connection policies, choose create new

image

Then during the wizard, define which EOP enhancements you want to enable to the end user

image

Remember to assign it to a user as well.

image

You also need to enable Graphics acceleration on the particular desktop as well.
In my case I have a RemoteFX enabled VDI machine. So right click and choose Properties.

image

And under EOP Graphics choose enable –>

 image

How can I verify that it is working ?
For instance Flash Redirection, when starting a Flash video on the remote session the flash redircetion engine should fire up a local flash instance and show the video from your device instead of being rendered on the host.

image

From Netbalancer I can see that PNFMMRHost.exe starts when I start a flash video, this process is part of the Quest Flash Redirection engine.

Text echo (Now this is inded a very good feature to have in a RDP session with high latency) since it displays in real time what the user is typing, even thou it might not appear in the desktop right away.

image

So with testing Graphic accleration I did a basic test, opened a remote session and from within the session I opened Internet Explorer and opened URL gamespot.com after the page was fininshed loading I logged out of the session.

With Graphic Accleration enabled

image

Disabled

image

So this was just few of the enhanced features that EOP brings, more to come. Note that next week the Beta 8.5 will be released.

#dell, #dell-vworkspace, #eop

Dell VRTX and disk management

Dell introduced their new VRTX platform last year. For those who haven’t heard about VRTX it it was the start of fully-converged hardware solutions from Dell. Its a nifty piece of hardware which allows for up to 4 nodes and 25 harddrives to share midplane allowing for simultaions access to the storage.

No compromise on scalable performance

It is also possible to put some PCI-E cards in there as well

  • 8 flexible PCIe slots:
    • 3 full-height/full-length slots (150W) with double-wide card support (225W)
    • 5 low-profile/half-length slots (25W)

All within the same tower, making it an ideal solution with for remote sites/offices with need for a small powerhouse.

The VRTX comes with a custom made disk management solution, which operates differently unlike the other Dell software. So for instance if we need to create an Hyper-V cluster we would need to have shared storage in place, the disk setup is configured from the CMC.

image

(NOTE After we have configured the disks, it will not appear in the iDrac of the indivudual nodes, this is by design, but it will appear when setting up the OS)

first you need to go into Storage –> Virtual disks

(NOTE: make sure you have updated the PERC before creating the virtual disks!)

image

Create Virtual disks –> From here you need to select the number of disks you want to add to the virtual drive

image

Important to note here, In my case I want to create a RAID 10 set with one hot spare (Since RAID 10 has the best read-performance of the differnet raid levels not very dependant on a good controller). Ref https://publib.boulder.ibm.com/infocenter/eserver/v1r2/index.jsp?topic=%2Fdiricinfo%2Ffqy0_cselraid.html
First I create the RAID 10 set and define my storage policies. Important to note that if you have a newer Dell VRTX with dual PERC  you do not have the ability to do a write cache and you will not get the performance you want.

After you are done choose disks and policies choose Create Virtual disk. When the operations is complete you can go to manage and choose assign hot spare

image

Next we have to do the mapping, go back to the Storage pane. From here we need to assign it to multiple assigment

image

It is important to note that a virtual disk can only assigned to a virtual adapter, and a virtual adapter can only be asigned to ONE server.  From here you can see that my server slot mappings are by default assigned a virtual adapter.

Now go back  to the Virtual disks pane and choose Assign, from here we can assign the virtual disk to a virtual adapter. Here we choose full access.

image

Then choose Apply. Now when going back to the storage pane you can see the overview of the storage layout

image

#dell, #dell-vrtx, #vrtx

Dell and Nutanix, the biggest news since sliced bread

Well the title might be a bit misleading but its true! For those who haven’t seen the news yet, you can read about it here –> http://www.dell.com/learn/us/en/uscorp1/press-releases/2014-06-24-dell-software-defined-storage-portfolio

Now a little background story here, Nutanix has been in the market with its hardware based appliances in about a year/two years or so now. The appliances are running the Nutanix OS and where the magic happens. Now I’ve talked to some customers who swear to having hardware from the regular hardware provides since its familiar and you know how to handle the warranty/support/upgrades and so on, and therefore Nutanix might not be a good match for them.

Now as of today, Dell and Nutanix announced a strategic partnership which will allow Dell to ship their Dell XC Series of Web-scale Converged Appliances, which combine compute, storage and networking and with the Nutanix software on the top which allows for the best of both worlds.

For those that have read the Gartner report which was recently published “Magic Quadrant for Integrated Systems” both Dell and Nutanix are listed in the quadrant and have the focus areas and with this new partnership they will fullfill each other “weak” spots and both come out stronger from this.

So make sure to follow this space going forward!

#dell, #nutanix

Awarded with Dell Rockstar 2014!

I just received a email from Dell that I was awarded with their community title Dell Rockstar for 2014! For those who are not aware of what Dell Rockstar is, you can read more about it here –> http://en.community.dell.com/p/dcf-rockstars.aspx

This is indeed a huge honor and I personally hope that I can contribute to enhance the community even further!

#dell, #dell-techcenter, #rockstar

Dell VRTX førsteinntrykk og nyheter med Windows Storage Spaces

Jeg ser mange forespørseler rundt dette både ute i markedet samt på sosiale medier så derfor måtte jeg bare skrive om dette på norsk Smilefjes

Tidene endrerer seg, det samme gjør teknologien. Det siste året har det vært mye fokus rundt konvergert infrastruktur. I essensen betyr at man slår sammen flere komponenter til en enkelt løsning. Tradisjonelle løsninger baserer seg vanligvis på 3 hoved komponenter, servere, nettverk og lagring.

Drawing1

Så visst man skal sette opp et virtualiseringsmiljø er man avhengig av disse 3 komponentene. Alle de store leverandørere gjør mye her for å få på plass løsninger, som f.eks Storage spaces med Windows Server gjør at man ikke er så avhengig av et dyrt SAN for å få en god ytelse å kjøre et virtuelt miljø på.

Samtidig som nettverk begynner å bli mer og mer virtualisert så vil man begynne å styre dette direkte fra virtualiseringsmiljøet i stedet for ute på enheten selv. Men selv om all denne teknologien kommer på plass så er man avhengig av at de 3 hardware komponentene er satt på plass å det er her konvergert infrastruktur kommer inn.

Dell har designet en ny konvergert løsning som kalles PowerEdge VRTX, rettet mot større kunder med behov for lokal infrastruktur på utekontorer eller som et komplett virtuelt datasenter for  mindre til mellomstore bedrifter. Denne kan faktisk stå under en pult da det er mulig å få den levert med hjul. Kan fort tenkes at den bråker mye men neida, den er like stille som en vanlig stasjonær eller laptop. Men det som er unikt med VRTX er at den slår sammen de 3 komponentene (servere, nettverk og lagring) i et chassis. 

No compromise on scalable performance

Et eksempel, så kan denne bestå av 4x M520 Server (Definerte VRTX M520 servere siden VRTX utgavene har egen firmware) med 12x 3,5” disker. Alle serverene i chassiet deler midplane slik at alle serverene kan få tilgang til lagringen og nettverk. Lagringen blir presentert til serverene som SAS disker, og via management consolet til VRTXen definerer vi hvilken server node som skal ha tilgang til lagrings enhetene. Den kommer også med 3 full lengde PCI-E sloter som gjør at vi f.eks. etterhvert som det blir supportert sette inn et Nvidi GRID kort. I tillegg kommer VRTX med 5 halvlengde PCI-E slot. Totalt 8 PCI-E sloter utøker bruksområde,

du kan kople på ekstern lagring hvis du vokser ut av VRTX, ulike GPU og nettverkskort.

Her er det flere muligheter som dukker opp avhengig av hva den skal benyttes til.
Vi kan f.eks bruke den som en scale-out file server med SMB 3.0, hvor f.eks to noder som scale out-file server og 2 noder som Hyper-V servere. Da har vi et ferdig virtuelt miljø kjørende på samme løsning. Med 2012 R2 kan vi også bruke SSD disker som en del av løsning å få Storage Tiering funksjonalitet, refererer til min tidligere artikkel –> https://msandbu.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/storage-tiering-for-scale-out-file-server-jbod-sas/ For å få enda bedre ytelse på lagringen.

En annen ting kan også være å levere VDI løsninger, med f.eks Nvidia grid skjermkort satt inn, er det fult mulig å sette opp en fullstendig VDI løsning med lagring og mulighet til å levere “tunge” grafiske applikasjoner enten via Citrix eller Microsoft RemoteFX. Så det blir spennende å følge med på dette fremover å hvordan dette spiller sammen med Microsoft!

Jeg ser også at Dell og Microsoft har fått et tettere samarbeid, både på lagring og leveranse av VDI løsninger. Nylig har også Dell annonsert at de har kommet med hardware støtte for Storage Spaces i Windows Server med PowerVault løsningen sin. Dette gjør det enklere å sette opp billige lagringsløsninger for virtualiseringsmiljø med Hyper-V. Dere kan lese mer om nyheten på Microsoft annonseringen her –> http://blogs.technet.com/b/server-cloud/archive/2014/02/11/today-dell-announced-hardware-support-for-storage-spaces-in-windows-server.aspx 

Visst det skulle være noen spørsmål så er bare å legge igjen en kommentar! Smilefjes

#convergert-infrastruktur, #dell, #storage-spaces, #vrtx