Posts Tagged ‘VMWare’

Sad and Excited….

January 21st, 2012 10 comments

A hot summer afternoon about 10 years ago is when I first met a few folks at CDS (Computer Data Source), in a small conference room, the guys wanted to make a difference, do something great to expand the business, they were so passionate about what they did for living. In my mind I was thinking what would it take me to get a job here……. Fast forward a few days and I found myself working there.


Started there as a Network/System/Infrastructure Engineer, managing IT for them. Business was expanding, so we all wore multiple hats to make things happen in the organization. Business was growing in the US and the UK, new individuals were coming in with different backgrounds, we shifted our focus on Storage services, Systems support and ramping up on Sales/Marketing efforts. More innovation started happening around the core support services model.


Fast forward a few years, I found myself in midst of running all Storage Ops for our customers, still managing IT, supporting the pre-sales efforts, the responsibilities were growing and so were the teams. One of the successes we had was not only expanding the business in US but focus largely on North America and EMEA. Building diversity in the organization was very important, as the business expanded we focused on expanding the international ops, more diversity brought better risk management and resiliency in the business.


Then out of the blue, we had some opportunities that came up in the APAC market place, after several international trips and long nights of work, now our Asia Pacific operations were all on the way of expansion. I am glad I was part of our APAC ops from day one to the last day.


About 3 to 4 years ago, I started StorageNerve blog primarily focused on Storage Technologies. As much as it was a knowledge sharing platform for me, I learned so much more from other bloggers and  engineering folks that I met through the blogging effort. Attending Tech Field days, Geek Days, Blogger Days, Analyst Days, new product launches and private NDA sessions, the reach and networking with individuals in the industry really started expanding.


Last couple of years, I primarily spent a lot of my time with our top customers, learning about their business issues, needs and working up solutions strategies for them. At the tail end of these amazing 10 years, I was managing internal IT, Innovation, Services R&D, Storage Pre-sales and APAC Ops within the organization. Started as an engineer, moved to become a manager, Director of Storage Ops and eventually the CTO in the organization.


I am very sad to leave and the decision making process was very hard. But this amazing group of people, I guess i can never forget my 10 years here.


Well everything good comes to an end someday……


………. Fast forward to today, i will now be working with some amazing customers, some 96 of them out of the Fortune 100. Some amazing technologies from EMC, NetApp, Brocade, Cisco, VMware, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, HP and many others in customer DC’s.


Discussions started a while ago, decision making took a while, but the set of interviews and technology experts I met during this process got me sold on why I should make the change, the learning I will get to see here, cutting edge technology, independent viewpoint and exposure to some great customers.


This new position with Accenture as a Senior Manager, Datacenter Technologies – Storage, would help expand my skills and reach well beyond the Storage market place to some really kool technologies surrounding Storage. This DataCenter practice is part of a much larger IT Strategy Infrastructure and Security group. I am so much looking forward to finishing up the required training and hit the ground running.


Business Strategy, Solutions, Architecture, Evangelist, International business, Organic growth, Operations, Innovation and Technology have always been my strength, I really hope I get a chance to wet my feet here.

As it stands today, I should be able to continue blogging, be independent and keep an unbiased viewpoint about datacenter technologies, though time will say….. :-)


Creating a bootable USB Memory Stick for ESXi 4.1 (on a Mac)

June 22nd, 2011 1 comment


While trying to create a bootable USB Flash Memory Stick for VMware vSphere ESXi 4.1, I realized there were no resources available for individuals like myself that use MAC OSX to perform this function. There are quite a few resources available for Windows and Linux platform but practically non-for the Mac platform.

Though I ran into Scott Lowe’s Blog and this great article he published a while back describes the process for generating a USB Flash Memory image for ESXi 3.5, Here is an attempt to use the same methodology to create a VMware VSphere 4.1 bootable USB Flash Memory Stick using the standard ISO image you can download from VMware’s website. The process varies a bit between the older ESXi 3.x versions and the newer ESXi 4.x versions.


  • After you have downloaded the VMware ISO image VMware-VMvisor-Installer-4.1.0.updateX-XXXXX.iso, please double click on it to mount the ISO image on your MAC.
  • Once the image is mounted, browse to the file imagedd.bz2 and copy the file to your Mac desktop. Rename the file to dd.bz3
  • Insert the USB Flash Drive in the Mac.
  • Go to Applications –> Utilities –> Disk Utility and single click on the USB Drive, then on the menu bar of the window click on Info for that drive. Under Info look for Disk identifier, you might find your disk identifier to be disk1s1, disk2s1, disk3, disk3s2 or so forth.
  • Now you will need to unmount this drive and it will disappear from your desktop (icon) and from finder. If the USB Flash Drive is mounted while you try to copy (dd) the files over, you might get a message the drive is busy, henceforth the unmount of the drive.
  • In Disk Utility window, right click on the USB drive and select the option Unmount “Name of Your USB Flash Disk”. Now the drive should be greyed out on the Disk Utility screen.
  • Now open the Terminal Window to type the following command that will copy the dd.bz2 file to the USB Flash Disk.
    bzcat /users/yourusername/desktop/dd.bz2 | dd of=/dev/disk1

……….– Where replace disk1 by your disk identifier number.
……….– Where replace yourusername by the username you are logged in with.
……….– If you have saved the file dd.bz2 at a different location, please reference that instead of /users/yourusername/desktop/dd.bz2

  • Depending on the speed of your USB and other factors like CPU speed, memory etc, the time to execute this command may vary. It took about 11 mins to finish up on my MacBook Pro. The terminal window should show the process is finished once it returns back to the prompt.
  • You can now safely eject the USB Flash Disk from the Mac and insert it into the Server you are trying to install ESXi on.
  • A typical 1GB USB memory stick should be enough for ESXi to install, operate and function properly, so no need to use a 8GB or 16GB USB memory stick.

If you find this article useful or run into any issues while creating the image or have any other better methods, please feel free to leave a comment.


HDS Bloggers Day – Day 2 – Session 03/24/2011

March 24th, 2011 No comments

oh…..after the long day yesterday, refreshed and back at HDS this morning in Sefton Park. Great informative day yesterday and some great discussions that are lined up for today including Hitachi Servers, Storage Economics and UCP.

After breakfast we are all settled back in the conference room.

* HCD7 Hands on Lab

* Worked as Blogger 1 on the Hands on Lab. Bob O’Heir gave a nice overview on the HCD7 platform.

* Allocation of Volumes, Create Volumes, Tasks, Investigation, etc

* Personal Note: Simplified and Robust Interface

* Lynn McLean: VP Americas Sales Converged Solutions and Servers

* HDS is big time pushing the converged infrastructure.

* Pre-stacked solutions

* Video Surveillance Solutions

* HyperV Fast Track Converged Solution

* Hitachi Compute Blade 320 and 2000

* Virtualization Technologies are VMware, HyperV and Hitachi’s own Logical Partitioning (LPAR)

* 48 core processor coming!!!

* SMP Feature: Symmetric Multi Processing, making all individual servers act as one

* 320 Hitachi Servers in a single 42 inch Rack

* LPar include partitioning CPU, Memory and I/O

* Scale Out 8 x 16 way blades, scale up to 64 way SMP

* Hitachi’s dilemma, we do not want to be a commodity server vendor

* No focus on server selling, rather a solution in a datacenter

* Use case: VMware vSphere, VMware vCloud VAAI + AMS 2300 and Blade Symphony, LPAR Virtualization, Oracle Database, vCloud Director

* Miki Sandorfi: Chief Strategist, File, Content and Cloud

* Single Physical Cluster of 40PB: Multitenant, Intelligent Objects, Chargeback, Compression and Deduplication, Security and Compliance

* Hitachi Data Ingestor Discussion

* Hitachi Content Platform Discussion

* HDI Mapping to HCP Tenants and Namespaces Discussion

* Lunch Break

* Great discussions with David Merrill about Storage Econonomics and some of the efforts him and his group does in relation to TCO / ROI

* David Merrill – Chief Economist

* 34 different cost make up storage costs

* Backup cost, floor space, power, environmentals, snapshots, labor, architecture, migration cost, cost of waste, orphaned storage, maintenance, out of warranty equipment, provisioning time, cost of outage, litigation, complexity cost, security, encryption, backup media cost, cost of copies, cost of growth, data loss, hardware depreciation and many more… you can find more about storage economics at

* 80% typical opex cost vs 20% typical capex cost

* It’s not just about technology, but how that applies to TCO and driving business value

* Great analogy comparing Storage Economics to a person trying to lose weight, life style change.

* Several case studies showing the value of storage economics and the study associated with some of the customers and how they have managed to reduce opex.

* Dozens of matrices being used to track efficiency

* Pete Gerr – Final Wrap Up

* Great day…Great info sessions…..headed to the hotel in the next hour

* Then to Storagebeers and vBeers. See you there….


VAAI and Automated Storage Tiering with Storage Virtualization

September 30th, 2010 No comments


Storage Virtualization

Storage Virtualization is sort of a game changer. The more I think about Storage Virtualization and the advantages it brings in storage environments with adding flexibility with migrations, efficiency, automation, management and importantly adds features that your existing storage arrays that might natively not be supported.

Storage Virtualization will take any storage device that is physically connected to it and remap the physical disks to xLUNs. These xLUNs can now take advantage of all the native features of the Storage Virtualization Array (Engine). Features could include creating Storage Groups, Various Raid Types, Site-to-Site Replication, Pooling of disks, Thin Provisioning, Synchronous Copy, Asynchronous Copy, Local Copy, Stripping, Snapshots, VAAI and Automated Storage Tiering. Again doesn’t matter if your existing Storage natively does not support these features.

Two features that every customer wishes they had right now….VAAI and Policy based Automated Tiering (including Sub-LUN Tiering)


Storage Virtualization


Who Supports Storage Virtualization

There are several manufacturers that support Storage Virtualization today. Some of the leading storage virtualization arrays/engines include IBM SVC, EMC VPLEX, HP SVSP, HP P9500, Hitachi USPV/ VSP.



Same can be said about VAAI (vStorage API for Array Integration), an amazing interface that VMware provides for its technology partners to offload rather intense storage related functions natively within storage devices, compared to the old approach where VMware Host did these tasks. This means Storage Processors need to be able to pick up these massive xcopy, lock operations and block zeroing.

Many storage vendors have already provided VAAI support while many have it on their roadmap and have planned release over the next few months. EMC Clariion was supported Day 1, 3Par similarly supports it with 2.3.1 MU2 InForm OS, while HDS supported VAAI on the AMS platform Day 1.


Automated Storage Tiering

Automated Storage Tiering is another great feature to have natively within storage arrays, but not every vendor supports it today.

Not all the data you have, need to be on the fastest tier, but as your application writes data, it can write to the fastest tier and then demote if the data is not being used. Similarly if there is any data that is frequently used, based on the policy can be moved up to a higher tier. So in short if you keep a good balance of SSD’s and SATA drives, you should be able to keep all your applications happy, all your users happy, all your DBA’s happy and importantly meet your SLA’s.

So initially the idea was to offer this at a LUN level. Create policy, if the LUN is busy based on the time of the day or the month of the year, move it to a faster tier. But then followed the concept of Sub-LUN Tiering. Well not the entire LUN needs to be moved, only a certain set of blocks, chunks, pages are hot and they need to be promoted to a faster tier. Helps tremendously reduce your operations on arrays and keeps cache free.

Compellent is considered a market leader in Automated Storage Tiering and were the first ones to take it to the market. Followed by HDS, EMC and 3Par. Not all storage vendors offer LUN tiering and Sub-LUN tiering with its storage platforms today.


Where am I going?

Well, for a second, lets think…..

The storage environment that you might have today, does not support all the needed features your applications and your business may require. Example VAAI and Automated Storage Tiering including Sub-LUN Tiering.

Why not push the physical Storage assets behind these Virtualization arrays / engines and start taking advantages of the native features offered within them including VAAI and Automated Storage Tiering including Sub-LUN Tiering.

If you are anxiously waiting for features from your existing storage vendors, which may be on their roadmap or may have been promised but never delivered, you do have a choice to closely look at Storage Virtualization and take advantages of these features without a major overhaul in your storage environment.