Getting SASy, the other shared storage option

By Greg Schulz, Server and StorageIO @storageio

Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) is better known as an interface for connecting hard disk drives (HDD) to servers and storage systems; however it is also widely used for attaching storage systems to physical as well as virtual servers. An important storage requirement for virtual machine (VM) environments with more than one physical machine (PM) server is shared storage. SAS has become a viable interconnect along with other Storage Area Network (SAN) interfaces including Fibre Channel (FC), Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and iSCSI for block access.

Various storage options for servers include shared external DAS, networked SAN (iSCSI, FC and now SAS) or network attached storage (NAS such as NFS and Windows CIFS file sharing). In some cases, storage is moving offsite utilizing public or private clouds and managed service provided (MSP) capabilities. Also, it is important to keep in mind that DAS does not have to mean dedicated internal storage; it can also mean external shared direct accessible storage using SAS, iSCSI or Fibre Channel in a point to point topology configuration. Continue reading Getting SASy, the other shared storage option

Trouble with Memory Page-Sharing

In my last post I was Exploring a Limitation of VMware DRS and I have encountered another situation that had similar symptoms but the resolution was quite different.  This problem was occurring on a VMware ESX 3.5 cluster that was specifically affecting Windows 2008 R2 64bit virtual machines that were configured with four processors and eight gigabits of RAM.  These virtual machines were taking an extreme amount of time to perform a reboot.  During the reboot ESXTOP was showing insane %RDY with spikes climbing over 200.  When the reboot would finally finish several services would have failed to start.

During the troubleshooting process, we wanted to see if there was any difference in the boot speed when we performed a cold reboot. The cold boot completed faster than a reboot but the symptoms of extremely high %RDY results were still being seen as well as services being unable to start during the boot process of the virtual machine. Continue reading Trouble with Memory Page-Sharing

Invincea wins Innovation Sandbox at RSA Conference 2011

This years Innovation Sandbox at RSA Conference was won by a little known company to virtualization and cloud security vendors, its name is Invincea. However, it makes use of virtualization to aid in security. This years finalists once more included HyTrust for the inclusion of what appears to be complete UCS support within the HyTrust Appliance, Symplified which provides a unified identity within a cloud, CipherCloud which encrypts bits of your data before uploading, but not enough encryption to mess with sort and other algorithms.  Plus other non-cloud like products: Entersect (non-repudiation in the form of PKI), Gazzang (MySQL Encryption), Incapsula (collaborative security to browsers), Pawaa (embed security metadata with files), Quaresso (secure browsing without browser/OS mods), and Silver Tail (mitigation).

Last year’s finalists also had the same reach of products but many more pure virtualization security vendors with Altor picking up the win. What is interesting about the field and indeed all of RSA Conference 2011, is that 2010 looked like a blip on the radar more than anything else. Why? Because nothing on the show floor was really about the Cloud or virtualization but it was always a ready conversation. Last year, everything was about Cloud and Virtualization but no one could define anything or tell me how their products fit except for the virtualization security vendors. The Innovation Sandbox provides a very good feel for the RSA Conference show floor. Continue reading Invincea wins Innovation Sandbox at RSA Conference 2011

Microsoft Windows Thin PC – a solution only a mother could love

Attached as a footnote to last week’s big news of Windows 7 SP1 being released to manufacture, Microsoft also announced a new lightweight edition of Windows 7.  Windows Thin PC (WinTPC) is  in many respects a Windows 7-based update of Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs (WinFLP), a lightweight locked down version of Windows XP SP3 that was offered to enterprise customers as an encouragement to get them to migrate away from Windows 2000 without the cost of  performing a hardware refresh at the same time. Continue reading Microsoft Windows Thin PC – a solution only a mother could love

Proving Identity in the Cloud

Unlike last year where there were many virtualization security vendors existed at RSA Conference, there was a noticeable lack of them within booths, yet all of them were here to talk to existing and potential customers. However, there were  many vendors offering identity management in the cloud for these I asked the identity management product owners the following question: Continue reading Proving Identity in the Cloud Cloud Trends Report has done a survey of over 500 companies on their cloud and virtualization usage patterns, plans and concerns. The report concludes that in the next 12 months, there will be a fundamental and measurable shift in how companies view and utilize cloud-based solutions. Continue reading Cloud Trends Report