Archive for the ‘Virtualization’ Category

GestaltIT TechfieldDay 2009: Post 1

November 9th, 2009 No comments

We are coming very close to the GestaltIT Techfieldday 2009 being organized in San Francisco, CA and San Jose, CA on the 12th and 13th of Nov 2009.

Over the next few days, you will see a ton of new blog posts coming out from various different sources, including invited bloggers and possibly some vendor posts. I do promise to provide a very extensive coverage of this event. I am pretty sure if you are on twitter you saw the fireworks of #hptechday 2009 that happened about a month and a half ago, I believe this event will cause similar if not more fireworks on twitter with #techfieldday 2009.

This is a very unique event, I am pretty sure, there has been nothing similar to what is being planned ever planned before in relation to using Social Media. An event organized by GestaltIT that will take independent bloggers to vendors to understand the storage and virtualization technology offered by these vendors. The value something an event like this creates is phenomenal and could leave great impact on customer, consumers & user that read through social media for research of a given technology. A ton of credit goes to Stephen Foskett for organizing this event. I would absolutely call this is brainchild. I still remember the day he called me about this event; he was in NYC having lunch and the next thing I know he is talking about this and asked if I can attend.

Though I will give Calvin Zito from HP a lot of credit for the kind of event that HP organized and invited the bloggers, they did set the standard and expectations from an event like this. The results were amazing.

Though I am a pretty new face in social media, only been around on blog and twitter for about a year now, this will be my 5th event in 2009. First it started with EMC World 2009, then VMworld 2009, then HP Techday 2009, then EMC Forums NYC 2009 and now GestaltIT Techfieldday 2009.

This post starts at No. 1 for the GestaltIT TechFieldDay event but I promise by the time this event is done and the postmortem is finished, we will at least have 10 new blog post. I will be republishing some of those on, but some of them will only be exclusive on the blog.

To follow the updates from this event on site look for the Logo

GestaltITTechFieldDay On Twitter, follow me @storagenerve

Twitter hashtag: #TechFieldDay

Also I will be creating a TweetGrid on the site on Tuesday with #techfieldday for a minute-by-minute update on the event.

Stay tuned…

Comments always welcome

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Policy! Policy!! Policy!!!

October 20th, 2009 6 comments

It has been an exciting month, some new details are emerging related to automated storage tiering, workload distributions, workflow automation, SLA’s, QoS and how Policy based storage management can help solve these challenges. “Policy” as we all know in the “business world”, “advanced algorithms” as known in “scientific community” is used to solve complex storage challenges. This has been one of the favorite topics of discussion in the storage blogosphere these days.

Though there are two distinct groups of people, one favoring automation and the other half possibly thinking this technology brings no value-add in terms of how storage is utilized and managed today. This game was initially started by Compellent (Compellent Data Progression technology) about 4 years ago, then joined by Pillar Data Systems and now other OEM’s (including EMC, HDS, IBM) are starting to catchup on policy based automated storage tiering.

With private clouds in the near future and then hybrid clouds (a mesh of private and public clouds) in the horizon, automation, workload distribution, SLA’s, QoS will need to be monitored and managed to optimally run IT Infrastructures. Policy based management will create a new wave of storage management, automation and will act as a principle ingredient of hybrid clouds.

Generation 1 of policy based storage tiering works within a single storage subsystem.
Generation 2 in the near future should work across heterogeneous storage subsystems (by the same manufacturers).
Generation 3 over the next year or two will work across storage platforms irrelevant of the manufacturers.
Generation 3 of policy based management will include the entire stack of management. These products will be capable of not only managing the Storage, but also interact through policies at the Virtualization, Networking, Application, OS, Middleware and other layers in the stack of Infrastructure management..

We should see an up-rise of new emerging technologies that will create these external policy based engines for data movement automation. All infrastructure components including Storage, Virtualization, Networking, Application, OS, Middleware will provide the necessary API’s for these external engines to interact and enable data automation and workflow automation in the hybrid clouds (irrelevant of the manufacturers).

www links

Here are a few articles from the past month related to the topics of Policy, Automated Storage Tiering, Workloads, SLA’s and QoS.

Pillar (OEM)


Compellent (Partner Blog)



Your thoughts always welcome!!!


True IT – Storage Stories: 5 (8,000 Users on MS Exchange)

October 7th, 2009 2 comments

email outageThat unfortunate thursday morning, around 8:30 AM PST, when all hell broke loose.

This customer had a typical setup with BladeCenters servers and a SAN. This setup was providing MS Exchange email services to about 8000 internal users within the organization. Clustered BladeCenter servers, multiple switches, connected to one storage subsystem in the backend serving all user emails.

Though the BladeCenter servers were pretty new, the SAN in the backend had just expired its manufacturers warranty. The customer were deciding to migrate to a new storage subsystem, but in the mean while they let the support on this storage subsystem expire and have T&M support on it, in short no one was monitoring failures, errors, events on this storage subsystem. That morning, for some unknown reason the entire Storage subsystem powered off by itself. With UPS protection and generators in the environment this behavior was very unusual. This caused the MS Exchange databases, logs, mailboxes to fail. 8000 users lost email service. Yes, all the executives of the company were on the same system.

The call was escalated in a few minutes, since this caused a company wide outage, everyone was trying to figure out what had just happened. A T&M call was placed with the manufacturer to fix the system (see, I didn’t say diagnose the problem), SEV 1 calls are pretty nasty. They showed up immediately because of what had happened. The spares had arrived within an hour. 3 hours total and the system was ready to be powered back up, another hour or so to give the final health check, initialize all the mount points, servers, clusters, services, etc.

4 hours of outage, 8000 users affected.

The problem was narrowed down to multiple failed power supplies for the controllers enclosure. Due to lack of monitoring and support, previous failed power supplies went undetected and another failed power supply that morning caused the entire storage subsystem to fall on its knees.

Lesson Learnt:

So its very important to decide which systems will have a lapse of contract or coverage and which ones are business critical systems that need a 24 x 7 coverage. Have the vendor check for failures regularly. Though this customer has a pretty good investment into IT infrastructure, for their MS Exchange they didn’t think about replication or CDP solutions.

As much as it sounds unreal, I have heard several customers today perform “WALK THE DATACENTER” every week, where they have their technicians go from rack to rack to check for amber lights. Errors like these tend to get picked up with those practices in place.

Having world class Power systems, UPS’s, Generators will not help with these issues.

After all the question is what did the customer save or lose by leaving this storage subsystem unsupported.

True IT – Storage Stories: 3 (SRM Tools)

October 4th, 2009 5 comments

storage web multisiteThe necessity for SRM (Storage Resource Management) tools is growing by the day, a complete picture of the entire storage environment can be obtained using these SRM Tools. Customers typically use SRM tools for performing key functions related to storage management which includes analyzing storage environments, configuration changes, reporting around storage, collecting performance data, alerts on exceptions, etc. Also a granular view of the storage subsystems and its relationships to the host, fabric, disk, file-systems, consumption and utilization can be obtained using SRM tools.

A very large customer in US decided to deploy Storage Resource Management tools for their Storage Infrastructure, that consisted of 15 sites globally, several PB’s of Storage, various make & model of storage arrays and segregated storage management teams. Overcoming several technological and organizational challenges they managed to deploy a SRM tool that will give them a complete picture of the Storage Environment.

30 Million Dollars as deployment cost in CAPEX which included SRM tool, licenses, OS licenses, hardware, agent deployment, testing, training, virtualization, etc, etc and 24 months deployment cycle, they were up and running, 50% over budget and 12 months behind schedule the implementation was over.

Though challenges today remain around patch management on SRM tool, managing 15 sites globally, OS upgrades, SRM tool upgrades, Array firmware upgrades & compatibility, SRM management, SRM periodic cleanup’s, support for non SMI-S arrays, support for other vendor arrays, accuracy of reports with virtualization, clustering and thin provisioning.

Lesson Learnt:

With any SRM tool deployment, set goals, targets, expectations, requirements and organizational needs. With today’s SRM tools it may be unrealistic to achieve 100% of your requirements.

See if there are trial versions available from vendors, deploy them for 3 to 6 months to see if those meet the expectations and organizational needs.

Check the compatibility of the SRM tool across a wide variety of storage platforms deployed in the organization. Review security features around access control, login rights, active directory integration, etc

Set Budget caps with implementation and set target completion dates and be aggressive to achieve those.

Obtain TCO models for the SRM tool deployment, which may include CAPEX SRM purchase, deployment, testing, day-to-day management, software support cost, upfront & ongoing training, hardware for deployment, infrastructure changes, etc.