VMworld 2017 NetApp Tech Field Day Presentation

Attending the conference as an attendee, I was also invited to sit in on NetApp’s presentation at Tech Field Day Extra at VMworld US 2017 on August 29th. I’ve had this post in draft mode for a while now and thought it would be a good time to post it with NetApp Insight kicking off this week in Las Vegas. In addition to that, I have a genuine interest to hear about what NetApp has cooking in the HCI world since I am a NetApp NCDA and managed NetApp’s since the late 1990’s. So naturally, I wanted to see what their play in the Hyper-converged world was at this point.

NetApp HCI

Gabriel Chapman kicked off the session with a analogy that enterprises are at a turning point. They (NetApp) see this as an opportunity to enter the market with an enterprise level solution with their next generation data center.

The three main points they wanted to drive home were:

  1. Guarantee Performance
  2. Flexibility & Scale
  3. Automation

Simplicity of Implementing

  • Integration with the portfolio of the products that are currently on the market.
  • NetApp Deployment Engine – Drive all of this from vCenter (snap-mirror, etc)
  • The control of storage performance can be adjusted on a per volume basis through QoS.
  • Provide granular control of your storage at the VM level.

Compute Side

  • ESX on the compute nodes
  • Active IQ for telemetry
  • Target Workloads
  • Cloud
  • Web Infra
  • Databases

Base Installation

The minimal install to get up and running would be 2 Chassis with 2 Compute nodes and 4 Flash Storage nodes leaving 2 open bays for expansion. There are also options for what size nodes:

  • Small (16 Cores, 256GB RAM, 6x 480GB SSD = 5.5-11TB with 8GB NVRAM)
  • Medium (24 Cores, 512GB RAM, 6x 960GB SSD = 11-22TB with 8GB NVRAM)
  • Large (36 Cores, 768GB RAM, 6x 1.92TB SSD = 22-44TB with 8GB NVRAM)

*Each compute node has 4x 25/10Gbe & 2x 1Gbe Adapters.

My Thoughts

As I stated early in this post, I am a big fan of what NetApp has done for the storage industry. In today’s demand for performance in such a wide variety of applications (whether that be traditional packaged apps, containers, SaaS, PaaS, etc) trying to pack all of them on a filesystem that is general purpose is not ideal. Storage policies can only do so much and some app will suffer as others get priority. Sure, you can combat that with scaling those units out to meet that demand, but placing those workloads on datastores that are tailored to meet the IOP demands is key. Combine that with the deployment engine that they have integrated into the system and you have a purpose built converged solution that can meet the requirements for those various applications in the environment.

I’ve seen this type of deployment in other array’s but NetApp’s approach to HCI (attacking it from a performance perspective) but this is where many traditional applications will benefit.

Post Disclaimer: I was invited to attend VMworld 2017 Tech Field Day Extra as an independent participant. I was not compensated for my time spent attending this presentation. My post is not influenced in any way by Gestalt IT or NetApp and I am under no obligation to write this article. The companies mentioned above did not review or edit this content and it is written from purely an independent perspective.

Storage Field Day 10 Next Week

Yep, next week is Storage Field Day 10 (also known as #SFD10 on Twitter).

As always, this looks like an action packed event filled with three days of non-stop meetings with companies in Silicon Valley. I’ve been to a number of the Tech Field Day events in the past and there really is no event quite like it. The presentations are extremely technical in nature and we, the delegates are encouraged to ask the tough questions about the product(s) so that the viewers get a real understanding about them.

Here is a quick lineup of the presenters, their products and what I am looking to derive from these meetings:

Kaminario kicks off the event Wednesday morning at 9:30 PST and I am very interested to hear more about their scale up and out architecture. Seems like a unique design centered around a pair of controllers. I missed the presentation at SFD7 but have been watching this company for a while now.

Primary Data is up at 12:30 PST and I’ve had the pleasure of talking to them in the past. I am interested in hearing more about this software solution (DataSphere) that allows customers to use their own storage hardware (such as NetApp, Nexenta or EMC Isilon). One other item that I want to cover with them is their non-disruptive data movement technology, so look for a blog post that focuses on that in the near future.

Cloudian wraps up the day at 3:00pm PST with what I hope will be an in-depth discussion about their HyperStore appliance. Doing a little research on the FL3000 uNode Server Chassis has me intrigued with a design that fits eight servers in 3U’s of space and how that is leveraged with the solution.

Pure Storage kicks off Thursday at 9:30 PST at their headquarters. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting with this company many times in the past and the discussions are always extremely technical in nature. I’ve also deployed this product in the past and found the administration of the array to be remarkably simple. The solution that I hope we get to discuss in detail is their “Flashblade” product which I’ve done a fair amount of reading on and aim to dig into some details on the modular blade format of this product.

We then head over to Datera is up next at 1:00 PST with their Elastic Data Fabric that focuses on Openstack, Container, Service Provider and Data Store solutions with a self-optimizing product that is infrastructure aware and utilizes commodity hardware to provision storage on. According to their website, they have centered their product with DevOps in mind. This should be a fun conversation to have.

Next up on Wednesday we visit Tintri at their HQ building to talk about the All-Flash, Hybrid-Flash Arrays with an analytics & management software package that can manage 32 arrays. Software lineup includes ReplicateVM, SyncVM, SecureVM, Automation Toolkit, vCenter Web Client Plug-in, Management Pack for vROps as well as OpenStack support.

Nimble kicks off Friday at 8:00am PST and I am looking forward to catching up with their latest product lineup. I’ve been following them pretty close over the five years or so and am impressed by the rapid growth f this company. They have a interesting product lineup that includes the all flash arrays, adaptive flash arrays, their Infosight Predictive Analytics and hoping to learn more about the SmartStack Integrated Infrastructure product while I’m there.

Hedvig is online at 10:30am PST to discuss their “One Platform for any application”. This is a company that has produced a “unified storage solution” that supports block, file and object based data. Doing some initial research on the company and they have a full set of API’s that are developer focused as well. Really anxious to learn more about the Hedvig distributed storage platform and really understand their storage service layer.

Exablox finalizes the day at 1:30pm PST and to be honest, I haven’t looked at them in quite some time. Doing some initial fact finding on them I found that the “OneBlox” architecture is quite unique with a ring based scale-out design. I am most interested in how this NFS datastore performs as you start growing and removes the limitations.

You can catch all the action live through the video stream located here:


VMworld 2015 Kicks off Tomorrow

VMworld officially kicks off tomorrow morning with the big keynote and breakout sessions that start right away afterwards. I heard on the VMware Communities Roundtable podcast that they will be live streaming the keynote to the official VMworld app this year, so that will be a good way to watch it if you can’t make it to the morning session.

Personally I plan to hit the solutions exchange, like I said in my previous post and start talking to many of the vendors to find out what they are up to. I keep up to date on most of them, but there are quite a few that I need to circle back on and hope to talk to a few system engineers that are staffed there.

Later in the afternoon is the solutions exchange reception and is always a good time to mingle in a more relaxed setting with food. During this time I hit the “New Innovator” section and this year they have showcased roughly ten of them on the VMworld sponsors page.

Tuesday,  I will be Tech Field Day delegate at VMworld – so tune in at ~4:30pm PST here to see coverage of Reduxio. My preliminary research on this solution is that they have a “time machine” type of hybrid backup solution that data can be restored in 1 second intervals that sounds very interesting.

Hope to see many of you tomorrow!