All posts by Bob Plankers

Bob Plankers is an IT generalist with direct knowledge in many areas, such as storage, networking, virtualization, security, system admistration, and data center operations. He has 17 years of experience in IT, is a three-time VMware vExpert and blogger, and serves as the virtualization & cloud architect for a major Midwestern university.

Coho Data DataStream

Everybody in IT knows by now that flash memory is redefining the enterprise storage industry, mostly by decoupling performance from capacity. Most storage vendors are happy to just add flash to their existing product lines, often using it as cache, or as a storage tier handled transparently within the array. Few vendors take the opportunity to rethink the way storage works, though, from the basics of performance to how it meshes with the idea of public & private clouds. Coho Data, coming out of stealth mode with their first product, the DataStream, does just that. Continue reading Coho Data DataStream

SanDisk FlashSoft for VMware vSphere

DataCenterVirtualizationFlashSoftIn the world of virtualization storage it seems all we talk about lately is flash and SSD. There is a good reason for that. Traditionally, storage capacity and storage performance were directly linked. Sure, you could choose different disk capacities, but in general you needed to add capacity in order to add performance because each disk, each “spindle” could only support a certain number of I/Os per second, or IOPS. This was governed by the mechanical nature of the drives themselves, which had to wait for the seek arm to move to a different place on disk, wait for the seek arm to stop vibrating from the move, wait for the desired sector to rotate underneath the read head, etc. There’s only so much of that type of activity that can be done in a second, and in order to do more of it you needed to add more drives. Of course that has drawbacks, like increased power draw, more parts so more chance of failure, and increased licensing costs since many storage vendors charged based on capacity.

Flash memory takes most of what we know about the physics of storage and throws it away. Because there are no moving parts, the act of seeking on a solid state disk is a completely logical one. There are no heads, no sectors, no rotation speeds. It’s all the speed of light and however fast the controller can go. As such, flash memory can do enormous numbers of IOPS, and if implemented well, it decouples storage performance from storage capacity. You save power, you save data center space, you save money in licensing fees, and your workloads run faster. Continue reading SanDisk FlashSoft for VMware vSphere

Proximal Data AutoCache 2.0

DataCenterVirtualizationAs the SSD invasion of the data center continues unabated, we are seeing more host-side caching solutions emerge. These solutions purport to be easier and way less expensive to implement than array-side SSD and flash, and they promise decent performance gains. The Proximal Data AutoCache is one of these products. Continue reading Proximal Data AutoCache 2.0

Infinio Accelerator

InfinioWith SSD, RAM, and flash prices falling but storage vendors maintaining their margins on array hardware there is an increasing niche for flash-based caching solutions. These solutions promise better performance at lower costs than retrofitting your legacy arrays and are becoming quite a market, especially for virtualization infrastructure. Infinio is one startup that is competing in this space. Continue reading Infinio Accelerator

Caching as a Service

DataCenterVirtualizationAsk any virtualization administrator what their major pain points are and the first thing on the list will be storage. It isn’t surprising. Storage was likely the first major bottleneck for virtualization, back when it was “the Internet” and not “the cloud.” And as any IT person can tell you, there are two ways storage can be a bottleneck: performance and capacity. Traditionally, the problem of capacity is less complicated to solve than that of performance. To gain capacity you just add disk. To gain performance you needed to select a disk form factor (2.5″ or 3.5″), connection technology (SAS, iSCSI, fibre channel), rotational speed (7200, 10000, 15000 RPM), sometimes a controller (do I get the Dell PERC with 512 MB of cache or 1 GB?), and do the math to figure out how many disks you need to match both the problem of your I/O and its corollary: the problem of your budget. Complicating things, virtualization turned most I/O into random I/O. What might be a nice sequential write from each virtual machine looks pretty random in aggregate. Of course, random I/O is the hardest type of I/O for a disk to do. Continue reading Caching as a Service

Google Circle
Join my Circle on Google+

Plugin by Social Author Bio