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After all, FAST makes a debut

December 8th, 2009 4 comments

So EMC has proved critics like me wrong and have introduced EMC FAST (Fully Automated Storage Tiering) as an offering in Dec 2009. There were many skeptics like me that saw this product release being stalled because of various reasons, here.

FAST (Fully Automated Storage Tiering)

FAST (Fully Automated Storage Tiering)

Truly this was one of the most awaited products of 2009 from EMC after the initial announcement by EMC back in April 2009 along with the release of Symmetrix V-Max.

I have dedicated a separate deep-dive section for EMC FAST on the StorageNerve Blog, here

Along with FAST, EMC has also introduced some new enhancements to the EMC Symmetrix V-Max, Clariion CX4 and Celerra NS platforms. Currently FAST will be available on the above 3 platforms at debut and will provide automated storage tiering “in-the-box” for Symmetrix V-Max, “in-the-box” for Clariion CX4 and “out-of-box” for Celerra NS platforms.

As expected EMC has not made this feature free but rather offers a pricing model based on bundled software. FAST will be an available feature within ATSM: Advanced Tiering Storage Management bundle and will be charged based on RAW Capacity of the Array (Symmetrix, Clariion and Celerra)

FAST will not be supported on EMC DMX-4 and Clariion CX3. In essence FAST is only compatible with EMC Symmetrix V-Max Enginuity Microcode 5874.xxx.xxx and Clariion CX4 Flarecode Release 29.

FAST is a software only feature and integrates with existing hardware / software on the associated platforms.

The following are some of the features FAST will support at GA on the EMC Symmetrix V-Max, Clariion CX4 and Celerra NS platforms.

EMC Symmetrix V-Max

Symmetrix V-Max Data Movement

Symmetrix V-Max Data Movement

  • Volume / LUN based data movement (Automated Storage Tiering) for open systems and CKD – mainframe volumes.
  • Management of FAST through Symmetrix Management Console or SymCLI
  • Data Movement can be accomplished between FLASH, fibre channel and SATA drives within the V-Max platform. Data can move in any direction and on any type of the drives based on policy.
  • Data movement within a single frame or serial number only.
  • FAST suite can be purchased as a standalone software suite but will be available at a discounted price based on a bundled option with Symmetrix Optimizer, DCP: Dynamic Cache Partitioning and SPC: Symmetrix Priority Controls.
  • Symmetrix Performance Analyzer will be required for FAST to operate on Symmetrix V-Max platform. (Based on the comment from Barry Burke below, Symmetrix Performance Analyzer is not required for FAST to operate on the Symmetrix V-Max platform.

EMC Clariion CX4

Clariion CX4 Data Movement

Clariion CX4 Data Movement

  • LUN based data movement (Automated Storage Tiering)
  • Management of FAST will be enabled through CLI only. Not supported as an integrated part of Navisphere today.
  • Will work with Flarecode Release 29 (Clariion CX4) only.
  • Unlike the Symmetrix, the automated data movement will only be supported between fibre channel drives to FLASH or fibre channel drives to SATA. There is no automation related to data movement from FLASH to fibre channel or FLASH to SATA or SATA to FLASH or SATA to fibre Channel drives.
  • Data movement within a single frame or serial number only.
  • FAST suite can be purchased as a standalone software suite but will be available at a discounted price based on bundled option with Navisphere Analyzer and NQSM: Navisphere Quality Service Manager.
  • Navisphere Analyzer is required for FAST to operate.

EMC Celerra platform

Celerra in the box data movement

Celerra in the box data movement

Celerra in the box and out of box data movement

Celerra out of box data movement

  • File based data movement (Automated Storage Tiering)
  • Management of FAST can be accomplished through Rainfinity file management appliance GUI or CLI. Customers also have an option to purchase Rainfinity File management/VE (Virtual Appliance), which has some limitations.
  • Data movement can be enabled to another tier “in-the-box” or to another Celerra or Centera or Atmos.
  • Celerra FAST is most interesting as it enables out the system data movement, like to another Celerra or Centera or Atmos.
  • FAST suite can be purchased as a standalone software suite but will be available at a discounted price based on a bundled option with Rainfinity File Management Appliance or Rainfinity File Management /VE.

Based on EMC heat index charts, a before and after picture of a FAST implementation would look like this.

FAST Implementation

FAST Implementation

A FAST implementation video

Here is a post, back from August 2009 on Gestalt IT describing how EMC’s Unified Storage vision and federation may work. It is good to see, some of those things come to fruition now, and at least FAST with Celerra proves it.

Stay tuned for a series of FAST posts over the next few days talking about various other topics and how FAST plays within those areas.

FAST, miles and miles away!!!

December 3rd, 2009 9 comments

Fully Automated Storage Tiering (FAST)

Fully Automated Storage Tiering (FAST)

April 2009, that is when we heard about FAST (Fully Automated Storage Tiering). The hype around FAST is now built; we have all seen a 2 min demo of the product at Vmworld 2009. The industry, the analysts, the bloggers and EMC are all talking about it. EMC has promised this will be an exciting product and could help better integrate and federate EMC products of the future.

But, where is FAST today?

Initially FAST v1 was set to release late Q3 or early Q4. We are almost at the end of Q4. The announcement of FAST came in April 2009 with the release of EMC Symmetrix V-Max systems. The product was announced pre GA. Here is a blog post by Barry Burke (FAST: Fully Automated Storage Tiering) indicating a Q4 release date, but after all FAST is nowhere to be found.

It seems FAST probably got shuffled somewhere in the scheduling, product marketing, technology design and development or ?. A product talked about, written about but rather un-visible at this point. Here is a blog post from Chuck Hollis (Peering into the Storage Crystal Ball) indicating FAST v1 may now not be available until early 2010.

With a 2010 GA date, FAST will be a 9 to 11 month early announcement product technology that was sold and is being sold with the V-Max without an actual product.

FAST v1 will be available for the Symmetrix V-Max platform and then eventually for the Clariion and Celerra platforms. FAST v2 is due to be released in late Q2 2010.

Is EMC trying to bring some additional functionality from FAST v2 to FAST v1 since current test customers are probably not excited about FAST v1. It seems everyone in the industry is looking forward to FAST v2 and the features it may bring together with it. At this point, there is really a lack of excitement around FAST v1. Is FAST in any sort of legal battle today, which is causing additional delays, Chris Evans at The Storage Architect Blog has discussed the topic in the past.

At this point is FAST v1 something that should eventually be combined with FAST v2 before GA. Question remains, do we really need FAST v1 at this stage or can we wait for FAST v2. Will organizations skip the implementation of FAST v1 and directly go to FAST v2. Is the product being delayed intentionally, so the gap between FAST v1 and FAST v2 implementation becomes narrow and customers can rather jump to FAST v2 without FAST v1.

Well anyways, FAST is now over-over-due, 8 months into the announcement, but no product. Along with FAST v1 in early 2010, we will see a new version of Enginuity Code for the Symmetrix V-Max and some other expected enhancements around V-Max.

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Some interesting links to dig more about FAST technology and its functionality.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/09/22/emc_fast/

http://gestaltit.com/all/tech/storage/stephen/emc-vmax-fast-coming-december/

http://wikibon.org/wiki/v/Peeling_the_Onion_on_EMCs_VMax

http://storagenerve.com/2009/10/20/policy-policy-policy/

http://gestaltit.com/featured/top/gestalt/emc-unified-platform-storage-tiering/

Note: The dates in this blog post are totally based on announcements happened so far and future time lines are based on some industry buzz around FAST. Its impossible to know the exact dates of any product releases without an NDA.

GestaltIT Techfieldday 2009: Post 8 (Day 1)

November 16th, 2009 No comments

Today marks the first day of the two day GestaltIT Techfieldday 2009. As described on previous blog posts, this is a very unique event and will be an industry trendsetter. A very nice blog post by John Troyer from Vmware describing GestaltIT #Techfieldday and the wave it is creating in the industry, here

We had an action filled day today, 18 hours of non-stop techno-geek talk so far.

Vmware

The day started early morning today at 7 AM, we all left to go to Vmware first, where Xsigo Systems and MDS Micro were presenting. Expectations with both these presentations were very high, and they absolutely managed to deliver on it.

Met up with John Troyer first at Vmware headquarters in Palo Alto, CA. The bus took us from the hotel to Vmware and will be the means of transportation throughout the event. After a great breakfast this morning, they gave us a tour of the Vmworld DataCenter – Lab (hundreds of VM’s running within a single cabinet with Clariion, Xsigo, MDS running as a Converged Infrastructure).

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Then we went for a walk around the Vmware campus to another building where the event was being hosted. Walking there, we ended up taking some funny pictures…

Simon Seagrave

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Greg Knieriemen

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Then Stephen Foskett took the stage to present us on the concept of GestaltIT TechFieldday 2009. He then passed on the mic to John Toor from Xsigo Systems who explained us the agenda for the rest of the morning.

MDS Micro

MDS Micro took the stage and went through the entire set of technical marketing presentation on the MDS Micro set of products and how the blocks compete in a converged infrastructure. Quite a compelling story from MDS.

Then Vmware took the stage next, the group called GETO (Global Engineering Technical Operations). These are the guys that worked on designing the Datacenter at Vmworld 2009. On a dinner table in Florida, they created the concept of the next datacenter at Vmworld 2009. Amazing 45 min technology talk.

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Xsigo

Then Xsigo took the stage. Wow…..what a presentation, Cam Ford from Xsigo was on the stage, this guy has a passion and believed in what he was presenting. I was really really impressed.

At times its just not only walking up to the stage and presenting on a technology, believing in something and presenting the technology is completely different. That is exactly what we saw with this presentation. Tons of questions were asked and Cam Ford was able to answer each one of them……..Loved the techno talk. I am now believing that Xsigo will in a short duration be a take over target. They have a great technology in their hands.

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3Par

Had lunch at Vmware and then we all headed to 3Par. Now after the Xsigo presentation, we were expecting a lot from 3Par.

Craig Nunes, Marc Farley and John D’Avolio were at the 3Par lobby to receive us as we reached to their headquarters.

We were looking for the famous Pooja Desai – the “Check it out Girl” from the StorageRap Videos and the joke @edsai made on the Infosmack – Storage Monkeys – Vmware Wrap up Podcast.

3Par brought in Siamak Nazari on the stage to talk about various 3Par technologies.

This guy was amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

One thing I would like to emphasize again, please make sure all the presenters for the GestaltIT #techfieldday are technology experts. We need to talk to “the best of the breed”, I have typically seen based on all the presentations at GestaltIT Techfieldday and HPTechday so far that the engineering / technical marketing folks have been very well received amongst the audience. There are aways people in the group ready to chew the presenter if they are not aware of the technology they are presenting on.

Siamak Nazari started the presentation and within a few mins, had questions from the audience, but he started going into details, white boarding, diagrams, explaining chunklets, buses, clusters, software, architecture and he won everyone in the room. This presentation was scheduled for about 45 mins, but by the time the presentation was done, we were well over 90 mins.

Its hard to write about the technology in one blog post and will not be fair to 3Par and its technology. So what i will do is provide you all with a detailed architectural overview of the 3Par technology over next couple of weeks, showing a video of the presentation and the architecture around the 3Par clusters.

Siamak Nazari wanted to go into a lot of details, but i believe since this was a non NDA session, the folks in the room had to stop him going into architecture and futures.

Then Craig Nunes along with Marc Farley presented on the 3Par Thin Technology and Zero Page reclaimation. I truly believe they have a great team of people there that are driving the product.

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We then went to the 3Par Test and Development labs. This lab has to at least be warehousing about 200 to 300 3Par systems. At times it is great breathing the data center air…..

Symantec

Then Symantec took the stage with its Storage Foundations suite. Some nice technical chat around filesystems, how Symantec integrates with 3Par for Zero page reclaimation, how customers can drive the storage they already have in data centers with the use of Storage Foundations suite. There were quite a few questions asked and contradictions made in this presentation, where the GestaltIT Bloggers didn’t understand the complete strategy of Symantec in relation to Storage Foundations product. Though from my perspective I felt it was a complete solution but not a lot of market applicability.

GestaltIT Party

We then left there to head to the Computer history Museum in San Jose for the GestaltIT Party. What a crowd of people there. This event was sponsored by TechValidate (Brad O’Neil’s new venture). Tons of people from various Tech PR companies, HP, Nirvanix, 3Par, Vmware, Data Robotics, Ocarina Networks, Bhava Communications, MDS Micro and many more were present.

Met up with Murli, CEO from Ocarina Networks, he is just a magnificent personality. Very humble and approachable. Met up with Brad O’Neil and many others from the Storage industry.

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Then was the video presentation by Sunshine Mugrabi and Marc Farley as a tribute to Stephen Foskett. This is a great video.

The Bar

We then headed back to the hotel…..the night was just beginning. At the bar, people were just dissecting everything that they had heard today and putting it into perspective.

Around 2 AM in the morning the night finally finishes (at least for me) and looking forward for a new day tomorrow, more TECHNO-GEEK talk to continue…..

My eyes are barely staying up now, All I can say is Goodnight!!!!!!!


Year One and going

November 3rd, 2009 No comments

Today marks the 1st anniversary of the StorageNerve Blog.

I never thought blogging would come so far. Lots of persistence, reading, writing, vision, sacrifice of those nice weekends all combined together is the end result.

Major topics over the past year

The StorageNerve blog is primarily focused on Storage Technology. Major discussions have been around EMC Clariion, Symmetrix, Celerra, layered Software, management, RAID-6 technology as it relates to EMC, HDS, NetApp, HP, lots of writing on Symmetrix V-Max and a 9 series blog post on Storage Resource Analysis as it fits within Storage Economics. A total of post about 140 blog post.

Core Values

The Core value of StorageNerve blog has been around technology. Also this blog favors technology and not manufacturers.

StorageNerve Brand

So over the past year, with tons of writing, reading it has been a great learning experience for me, which does help promote the StorageNerve Brand. As life progresses, people move on to new positions and new challenges and I sure would like to position this brand in a similar way.

Why do you Blog?

Well this is a question I get asked a lot from my co-workers, other people I know in the industry.

Truly and Truly, I have enjoyed every moment of it and that is why the commitment for future post stays very high.

The StorageNerve brand and blog has allowed me to build new industry contacts, meet new people, accessibility to tons of industry experts and analyst, contacts with fellow bloggers, manufacturers, the list is non ending. In this past year, through the StorageNerve blog, I have been able to talk one on one with atleast 5 different CEO’s of Storage related companies. Quite a few one on one meetings with industry leaders and technologist with similar background.

Then came along GestaltIT.com and it is a great pleasure to work with folks highly recognized in the industry to collaborate on post and understand views related to other technologies. Then later this year I was approached by Huliq.com to write news articles for them as it relates to Storage Technology, though I haven’t written anything for them yet, I do plan to try something out.

Another opportunity came along to have one on one sessions with investment firms.  Focus of these sessions are towards Storage, Storage products, Storage technologies, Storage manufacturers and a Storage vision, that they take back to their end users.

I am truly waiting for the next big opportunity to happen through the StorageNerve blog.

The Stats

I know this means nothing, but being a technology-focused blog, I see tons of advantages as it relates to storage keywords searches.

The hits on the StorageNerve Blog have surpassed my expectations; I never thought it would go so far in the first year.

Topics over the next year

So year 2 is important rather very important. You will see some HDS technology posts, NetApp technology posts and Emerging technology posts. Users will get to read some post on Virtualization, Cloud Computing and Storage Economics.

Conclusion

Hope you enjoyed reading StorageNerve blog over the past year. Hope you keep reading it for the next year and find the articles interesting.

On the StorageNerve blog, I have been posting new articles for the past 5 days and for the next 5 days to come. Stay tuned for the next blog post to see some additional changes and some invitations forthcoming.

Please feel free to leave comments or email me at devang @ storagenerve.com

Cheers, @storagenerve