I was looking for a virtual storage solution at VMworld. In the Solutions Exchange I have found two vendors with products I want to take a closer look at.

One of them was StorMagic with SvSAN 5.2, Mark Christie a Senior Systems Engineer was so kind to present me the solution.

You can use SvSAN for both, VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V. All you need to do is to deploy a Virtual Storage Appliance (VSA) on every ESXi host. This appliance is delivered as an .ovf file – so deployment only takes some minutes.

The appliance only requires minimal server ressources:

  • 1 vCPU (ideally 2 GHz or higher reserved)
  • 1 GB RAM (minimum, if large cache volumes are utilized you may need more)
  • 2 virtual storage devices: 512 MB Boot device and 20 GB Journal Disk

To avoid “Split-brain” scenarios, StorMagic is using a quorum service (they call it Neutral Storage Host, short: NSH). This windows service can be installed on any Windows OS Server, but it should not be installed on an server hosted on an ESXi host that is part of the SvSAN. StorMagic supports three different quorum configurations: local quorum, remote shared quorum or without a quorum.

StorMagic

SvSAN is using Synchronous Data Mirroring between the nodes. This means that a write operation is only completed when both VSA nodes have acknowledged it. As both copies of the data are active, both of them are available for I/O operations.

SvSAN enables you to stretch a storage cluster over two different locations. If you want build a streched cluster you need multiple network connections – unfortunately I found no further information about sizing.

In case of a hardware failure SvSAN will initiate a failover to the remaining side. Of course there is also a scenario for failback.  Eg. SvSAN will rebuild and resynchonize mirror targets automatically.

Since version 5.2+  SvSAN supports caching.  SSDs are used as a staging area, providing faster response times for random I/O workloads and lower latency. It is also possible to use per target caching. This enables you to select only the targets that need to benefit from I/O acceleration.

VMware vSphere Storage API for Array Integration (VAAI) is supported, too.

Licensing:

StorMagic SvSAN is licensed based on usable storage capacity. The smallest license starts for up to 2 TB, next steps are 4 TB, 8 TB, 16 TB and last but not least for unlimited storage. The good news is, that there is an fully functional 60 days evaluation license available. So you can test the software for free before you have to decide if you purchase it or not.

Monitoring and Management:

There is a webclient plug-in available to manage the SvSAN, but you can also manage it via webGUI or PowerShell CLI. To identify and analyze performance hot spots there is a Performance Monitoring available.

StorMagic SvSAN offers a lot of more other features not mentioned in this post – if you are interested take a look at their website: www.stormagic.com

To get a really fast overview you can take a look at their SvSAN Video at Youtube (nice song, by the way :-) )

Please note:

This post is part of a series covering VMworld 2014. If you want to read more take a look at my VMworld 2014 page. If you think that there is something wrong (especially in the product takeaway posts) please let me know.

 

evorail_logoOne of the major announcements at VMworld this year was VMware EVO:RAIL.

VMware EVO:RAIL is a hyper-converged infrastructure appliance that combines compute, networking and storage resources.

However, VMware is not entering the hardware market – they have signed up partnership with hardware vendors who build the appliance and sell it to customers.

So customers still have the advantage that they can choose their preferred brand.

At the time of writing Dell, EMC, Fujitsu, Inspur, net One and Supermicro have already signed up as qualified partners and during VMworld Barcelona two new partners were announced by VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger: HP and HDS.

EVO:RAIL

Introducing the EVO:RAIL programme:

A VMware EVO:RAIL Appliance has four independent nodes. Each node has dual processors, 192 GB RAM and supports a total of up to 16 TB of SSD and HDD storage provided via VMware Virtual SAN (VSAN).

The initial release allows to scale out up to four appliances (=16 nodes).

At the networking side each EVO:RAIL node has two 10 GbE network ports (either SFP+ or RJ45). Each port must be connected to a 10 GbE top-of-rack switch with IPv4 and IPv6 multicast enabled. There is a Remote/lights out  management available, too.

EVO:RAIL supports four types of traffic: for vMotion, Management, VSAN and Virtual Machine traffic.

The EVO:RAIL Software Bundle builds on proven technology.

It consists of VMware vSphere 5.5 Enterprise Plus, vCenter Server, Virtual SAN, vCenter Log Insight and the EVO:RAIL rapid deployment, configuration and management engine.

This new engine enables customers to configure EVO:RAIL within minutes. During VMworld there was an EVO:RAIL Challenge where attendees had to compete in a race against time to build an EVO:RAIL appliance. The winning time was only 15 minutes and 35 seconds!

For inital configuration you only have to provide IP addresses, VLANs, hostnames and passwords. EVO:RAIL then creates the ESXi hosts, implements data services and configures the vCenter Server.

configure1

As easy as configuration is scale-out.

If you want to increase compute, networking and storage resources you only have to power up a new appliance. EVO:RAIL will discover the new appliance automatically and you can add it with only a few clicks.

Please note:

This post is part of a series covering VMworld 2014. If you want to read more take a look at my VMworld 2014 page. If you think that there is something wrong (especially in the product takeaway posts) please let me know.

VCP-DCV-smIf you are a current VCP510, VCP510PSE or VCI510 you can use the “Delta Recertification Exam” offer to renew your VCP5-DCV credentials.

But decide quickly as you have to pass the exam until November 30, 2014!

 

Advantages of this exam are:

  • based only on new material between vSphere 5.0/5.1 and vSphere 5.5 exams
  • you take the exam online from any location – no need to go to a Pearson VUE testing center
  • attractive price – costs about 120 US-Dollar

The exam consists of 65 questions and 8 pre-exam survey questions – you have to reach a passing score of 300.

Time limit is 75 minutes (+30 additional minutes if you live in a country where English is not a primary language).

Here you can find more information about the VCP550D exam:

VCP5-DCV Delta Recertification Exam
Exam Blueprint
Request Authorization
Free 1-hour online course

Ready to register? Go to Pearsonvue.com and take your exam VCP550D!

Good luck

VMworld 2015

Save the date:

VMworld US will take place from August 30 – September 3 in San Francisco, Moscone Center

VMworld Europe 2015:

October 12: Partner Day

October 13 – 15: VMworld Europe, Barcelona, Fira Barcelona Gran Via