BlockStack, a Bitcoin secured global name space for distributed storage

At USENIX ATC conference a couple of weeks ago there was a presentation by a number of researchers on their BlockStack global name space and storage system based on the blockchain based Bitcoin network. Their paper was titled “Blockstack: A global naming and storage system secured by blockchain” (see pg. 181-194, in USENIX ATC’16 proceedings).

Bitcoin blockchain simplified

Blockchain’s like Bitcoin have a number of interesting properties including completely distributed understanding of current state, based on hashing and an always appended to log of transactions.

Blockchain nodes all participate in validating the current block of transactions and some nodes (deemed “miners” in Bitcoin) supply new blocks of transactions for validation.

All blockchain transactions are sent to each node and blockchain software in the node timestamps the transaction and accumulates them in an ordered append log (the “block“) which is then hashed, and each new block contains a hash of the previous block (the “chain” in blockchain) in the blockchain.

The miner’s block is then compared against the non-miners node’s block (hashes are compared) and if equal then, everyone reaches consensus (agrees) that the transaction block is valid. Then the next miner supplies a new block of transactions, and the process repeats. (See wikipedia’s article for more info).

All blockchain transactions are owned by a cryptographic address. Each cryptographic address has a public and private key associated with it.
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Primary data’s path to better data storage presented at SFD8

IMG_5606rz A couple of weeks ago we met with Primary Data, Lance Smith, CEO, David Flynn, CTO and Kaycee Lai, SVP Product & Sales who were presenting at Storage Field Day 8 (SFD8, videos of their sessions available here). Primary Data has just emerged out of stealth late last year and has ~$60M in funding. Also they have Steve Wozniak (of Apple fame) as Chief Scientist, but he wasn’t at the SFD8 session ūüôĀ

Primary Data seems out to change the world. At first I thought this was just another form of storage virtualization but they are laser focused on data virtualization or what they call data mobility. It differs from pure storage virtualization by being outside the data path.  (I have written about data virtualization before as well as the data hypervisor a long time ago). Nowadays they seem to be using the tag line of data in motion.

Why move data?

David has a theory behind the proliferation of startup storage companies. The spectrum behind capacity and performance has gotten immense, over time, which has provided an opening for a number of companies to address these widening needs.

David believes that caching at the storage system or in the servers is an attempt to address this issue by “loaning” the data from the storage silo to the cache. This is trying to supply a¬†lower cost $/IOP for the data. Similar considerations are apparent at the other side where customer’s use¬†archive or backup services to take advantage of much cheaper $/GB storage.

However, given the difficulty of moving data around in present day storage environments, customer data has become essentially immobile. Primary Data is trying to bring about a data mobility revolution and allow data to move over this spectrum of performance and capacity of storage with ease. Doing so easily, will provide significant benefits as customers can more fully take advantage of the various levels of performance and capacity in their data center storage environments.

Primary Data architecture

IMG_5607Primary Data is providing data mobility by using their meta-data service called the DataSphere appliance and their client software running on host servers called the Data Portal. Their offering can be best explained in three layers:

  • Data virtualization layer – provides continuity of identity and continuity of access across multiple physical storage systems. That is the same data (identity continuity) can be accessed wherever it resides (access continuity) by server applications. Such access and identity must transcend access protocols and interfaces. The Data Portal client software intercepts the server data activity and does control plane activity using¬†the DataSphere appliance and performs IO directly using the physical storage.
  • Objective based data management – supplies a data affinity service. That is data can have¬†a temporary location relationship with physical storage depending on the current performance (R:W, IOPS, bandwidth, latency) and protection (durability, availability, disaster recoverability, security, copy-ability, version-ability) characteristics of the data. These data objectives are matched to the capabilities or service catalog of the storage infrastructure and data objectives can change over time
  • Analytics in the loop – detects the performance and other characteristics of the storage and data in real-time. That is by monitoring the storage IO activity Primary Data can determine the actual performance attribute of the storage. Similarly, by monitoring the applications IO characteristics over time the system can determine the performance objectives of its data. The system also takes advantage of SMI-S to define some of the other characteristics of the storage systems.

How does Primary Data work?

Primary Data has taken advantage of parallel NFS extensions (pNFS) in NFSv4 to externalize and separate the storage control plane from the IO data plane. This works well for native Linux where the main developer of the Linux file system stack is on their payroll.IMG_5608rz

In Windows they put a filter driver in front of SMB to split off the control from data IO plane. Something similar is done for VMware ESX servers to supply the control-data plane split but in this case there is a software defined Data Portal that goes along with the DataSphere Service client that can do it all within the same ESX server. Another alternative exists and that is to use the Data Portal appliance as a storage virtualization service but then the IO data path goes through the portal.

According to their datasheet they currently support data virtualization services for NetApp cDOT and 7-mode, EMC Isilon OneFS7.2, and Nexenta 4.x&5.0 but plan on more.

They are not quite GA yet, but are close.

Comments?

 

 

 

EMCWorld2015 Day 2&3 news

Some additional news from EMCWorld2015 this week:

IMG_4527 IMG_4528 IMG_4531EMC announced directed availability for DSSD, their Rack scale shared Flash storage solution using a PCIe3 (switched) fabric with 36 dual ported, flash modules, which hold 512 NAND chips for 144TB NAND flash storage. On the stage floor they had a demonstration pitting a  40 node Hadoop cluster with DAS against a 15 node Hadoop cluster using the DSSD, both running HIVE and working on the same Query. By the time the 40node/DAS solution got to about 2% of the query completion the 15node/DSSD based cluster had finished the query without breaking a sweat. They then ran an even more complex query and it took no time at all.

They also simulated a copy of a 4TB file (~32K-128K IOs) from memory to memory and it¬†took literally seconds, then copied it to SSD that took considerably longer (didn’t catch how long but much longer than memory), and then they showed the same file copy to DSSD and it only took seconds, almost looked exactly a smidgen slower than the memory to memory copy.

They said the PCIe fabric (no indication what the driver was) provided much more parallelism to the dual ported flash storage that the system was almost able to complete the 4TB copy at memory to memory speeds. It was all pretty impressive, albeit a simulation of the real thing.

EMC indicated that they designed the flash modules themselves and expect to double capacity of the DSSD to 288TB shortly. They showed the controller board that had a mezzanine board over a part of it, but together had 12 major chips on it which I assume had something to do with the PCIe fabric. They said there were two controllers in the system for high availability and the 144TB DSSD was deployed in 5U of space.

I can see how this would play well for real time analytics, high frequency trading and HPC environments but there’s more to shared storage than just speed. Cost wasn’t mentioned neither was the software driver but with the ease with which it worked on the Hive query, I can only assume at some lever it must look something like a DAS device but with memory access times… NVMe anyone?

Project CoprHD was announced which open sourced EMC’s¬†ViPR Controller software. Many ViPR customers were asking for EMC to open source ViPR controller, apparently their listening. Hopefully this will enable some participation from non-EMC storage vendors to allow their storage to be brought under the management of ViPR Controller. I believe the intent is to have an EMC hardened/supported version of Project CoprHD or ViPR Controller to coexist with the open source project version which anyone can download and modify for themselves.

A Non-production, downloadable version of ScaleIO was also announced. The test-dev version is a free download with unlimited capacity, full functionality and available for an unlimited time but only for non-production use. ¬†Another of the demos onstage this morning was Chad configuring storage across a ScaleIO cluster and using its QoS services to limit the impact of a specific workload. There was talk that ScaleIO was available previously as a free download but it took a bunch of effort to find and download. They have removed all these prior hindrances and soon, if not today it’s freely available for anyone. ScaleIO runs on VMware and other hypervisors (maybe bare metal as well). So if you wanted to get your feet wet with software defined storage, this sounds like the perfect opportunity.

ECS is being added to EMC’s Data Lake foundation. Not exactly sure what are all the components in the data lake solution but previously the only Data Lake storage was Isilon based. This week EMC added Elastic Cloud Storage to the picture. Recall that Elastic Cloud Storage comes in either a software only or hardware appliance deployment and provides object storage.

I missed Project Liberty before but it’s a virtual VNX appliance, software only version. ¬†I assume this is intended for ROBO deployments or very low end business environments. Presumably it runs on VMware and has some sort of storage limitations. It seems,¬†more and more of EMC products are coming out in virtual appliance versions.

Project Falcon was also announced which is a virtual Data Domain appliance, software only solution, targeted for ROBO environments and other small enterprises. The intent is to have an onramp for DataDomain backup storage.  I assume runs under VMware.

Project Caspian – rolling out CloudScaling orchestration/automation for OpenStack deployments. On the big stage today, Chad and Jeremy demonstrated Project Caspian on a VCE VxRACK deploying racks of servers under OpenStack control. They were able within a couple of clicks define and deploy openstack on bare metal hardware and deploy applications to the OpenStack servers. They had a monitoring screen which showed the OpenStack server activity (transactions) in real time and showed an over commit of the rack and how easy it was to add a new rack with more servers. All this seemed to take but a few clicks. The intent is not to create another OpenStack distribution but to provide an orchestration/automation/monitoring layer of software on top of OpenStack to “industrialize OpenStack” for enterprise users. Looked pretty impressive to me.

I would have to say the DSSD box was most impressive. It would have been interesting to get an upclose look at the box with some more specifications but they didn’t have one on the Expo floor.

VMware VVOLs potential performance problems

We discussed vSphere 6 VVOLs (Virtual Volumes) on this month’s GreyBeardsonStorage (GBoS) podcast with Howard Marks (@DeepStorageNet) and Satyam Vaghani (@SatyamVaghani, ‚ÄúFather of VVOLs‚ÄĚ, CoFounder & CTO of PernixData).

VVOLs queue depth problem?

One performance problem from my perspective is that all VVOL FC IO is now funeled through a single Protocol Endpoint (PE) LUN for a single storage system. There may be some potential queue depth issues, but Satyam and Howard both said that queue depths have been greatly increased over the last decade or so and this shouldn‚Äôt be a problem, as long as you’re configured properly.

What about VVOL PEs on ALUA storage?

In an ALUA (Asymmetrical Logical Unit Access) Active/Passive, dual controller storage system, a set of LUNs is assigned to ¬†one controller, the “active” side of an Active/Passive ALUA storage system. Many ALUA vendors now support “Active/Active” configurations such that¬†1/2 the LUNs are assigned to one side and the other 1/2 ¬†assigned to the other sider, for an Active/Passive & Passive/Active pair or Active/Active configuration.

So, ALUA storage systems have a LUN “allegiance” to a controller. If this continues to be the case under VVOLs, ¬†then a PE would only be processed by one side of an ALUA dual controller system, effectively reducing the horse power to process VVOL IO to 1/2 of an ALUA storage system.

Now¬†just because¬†there is a LUN allegiance in ALUA storage doesn’t necessarily mean that all internal IO processing for a LUN is¬†done on only one controller. But historically that has been the case. For instance,¬†during an ALUA system non-disruptive code update, an “active” ALUA side must “failover” its LUNs to the other¬†side to provide continuous IO activity, while the formerly active ALUA side taken down and updated with new code.

Potential solutions to ALUA PE performance?

One way to get around the VVOL ALUA performance problem is to have multiple PEs in a single storage system for the same vSphere Cluster VVOLs. I don’t know anything that would inhibit a storage system from supporting multiple PEs today, they already need to support multiple PEs for multiple vSphere clusters. Also, a VMware vSphere cluster must support multiple PEs for multiple storage systems.

I am also not aware of any VASA 2.0 requirement that restricts the number of PEs for a storage system’s support of a single vSphere cluster. But I could be mistaken here. So there should be nothing to inhibit multiple PEs from the same ALUA storage system to the same vSphere cluster.

Of course, this means an ALUA storage VVOLs would need to be divided across ALUA PEs.

Another solution is to eliminate any LUN allegiance for ALUA controllers. This requires shared memory between controllers to hold IO state and this is what non-ALUA storage does already.

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It’s just like Howard said on the GBoS podcast, “there’s going to be good and bad implementations of VVOLs” and telling the difference between the two will need to be done.

Comments?

 

Photo Credit(s): Passport Please by Oren Levine

MCS, UltraDIMMs and memory IO, the new path ahead – part 1

IMG_2338I was ¬†at Storage Field Day 5 (SFD5) last month and got a chance to talk with SanDisk and Diablo Technologies. It turns out that SanDisk’s UltraDIMM product is based on Diablo Technologies MCS hardware. ¬†So the two of them provided a pretty deep dive into the technology and where they want to go with it. Before we go any deeper the UltraDIMMs will be released to the field by IBM under the eXFlash¬†name.

Diablo Technologies

The team at Diablo have been focusing on the x86 standard memory channel for a while now and lately have been trying out different sorts of technologies to connect as CPU memory. The first Memory Channel Storage (MCS) product converts Memory Channel IO to SATA IO. This allows any SATA device to be attached as memory and enjoy lightening fast, memory access times. Access times are clocked at 7¬Ķsec. Most PCIe Flash cards have an access latency at 50¬Ķsec or more, so this is 7X faster that PCIe Flash. ¬†They also claim the MCS is capable of 20GB/sec. I know enterprise class storage systems that can’t do that. Also, the MCS utilizes 2 memory channels.

Diablo delivers a chip (that converts MemIO to SATA IO) and software that provides a block IO access to the MCS device. Customers of MCS supply their own SATA flash storage device and presumably package it all together in a DIMM compatible card.

But the main problem is that the whole MCS chip and SATA IO flash device has to fit in the form factor of a DIMM. And cannot draw any more power than a memory device can draw, ~10-15W with its corresponding thermal load.

But this seems plenty for a small flash drive. ¬†The MCS is configured as a 4GB DDR3 DIMM. ¬†There is a requirement to patch the BIOS so that it doesn’t run diagnostic memory tests on the MCS device and their software needs to be loaded to access the device as a block device. I believe they currently support Linux O/S with more O/Ss on the way.

Diablo has looked at other applications for their technology including providing an Memory IO accessed Ethernet NIC was mentioned. But it seems flash storage would be a great first application of their technology.  Not clear to me but SAS would also be something that could be done.

Whatever happens after NAND with the next generation semiconductor storage (see my The end of NAND is near post, it seems to me that accessing it as Memory IO would make an awful lot of sense. makes a lot of sense.  Using MCS as the access channel would seem to be a logical next step.

Part 1 of this story is on Diablo Technologies, Part 2 will be on SanDisk and I am not sure but maybe there will be a Part 3 on IBM eXFlash. So stay tuned.

Comments?

Fall SNWUSA 2013

Here’s my thoughts on SNWUSA which occurred this past week in the Long Beach Convention Center.

First, it was a great location. I saw a number of users I haven’t seen at SNWUSA¬†ever before, some of which I have known for years from other (non-storage) venues.

Second, the exhibit hall was scantly populated. There were no major storage vendors at the show at all. Gold sponsors included NEC, Riverbed, & Sepaton, representing the largest exhibiters presenn. Making up the next (Contributing) tier were Western Digital, Toshiba, Active Archive Alliance, and LTO consortium with a smattering of smaller companies.  Finally, there were another 12 vendors with kiosks around the floor, with the largest there being Veeam Software.

I suspect VMWorld Europe happening the same time in Barcelona might have had something to do with the sparse exhibit floor but the trend has been present for the past few shows.

That being said there were still a few surprises in store, at least for me.  Two of the most interesting ones were:

  • Coho Data¬†who came out of stealth with a scale out,¬†RAIN (Redundant array of independent nodes) based storage cluster, with distributed, mirrored customer data across nodes and software defined networking. They currently support NFS for VMware with a management UI reminiscent of IOS 7 sans touch support. The product comes as a series of nodes with SSDs, disk storage and SDN. The SDN allows Coho Data to relocate front-end (client) connections to where the customer data lies. The distributed, mirrored backend storage provides redundancy in the case of a node/disk failure, at which time the system understands what data is now at risk and rebuilds the now-mirorless data onto other nodes. It reminds me a lot of Bycast/Archivas like architectures, with SDN and NFS support. I suppose the reason they are supporting VMware VMDKs is that the files are fairly large and thus easier to supply.
  • Cloud Physics¬†was not exhibiting but they sponsored a break. As such, they were there talking with analysts and the press about their product. Their product installs as a VMware VM service and propagates VMware management agents to ESX servers which then pipe information back to their app about how your VMware environment is running, how VMs are performing, how your network and storage are performing for the VMs running, etc. This data is then sent to the cloud, where it’s anonymized. In the cloud, customers can use apps (called Cards) to analyze this data in the cloud, which can help them understand problem areas, predict what configuration changes can do for them, show them how VMs are performing, etc. It essentially is logging all this information to the cloud and providing ways to analyze the data to optimize your VMware environment.

Coming in just behind these two was Jeda Networks with their Software Defined Storage Network (SDSN). They use commodity (OpenFlow compatible) 10GbE switches to support a software FCoE storage SAN. Jeda Networks say that over the past two years,  most 10GbE switch hardware have started to support DCB in hardware and with that in place, plus OpenFlow compatibility, they can provide a SDSN on top of them just by emulating a control layer for FCoE switches. Of course one would still need FCoE storage and CNAs but with that in place one could use much cheaper switches to support FCoE.

CloudPhysics has a subscription based pricing model which offers three tiers:

  • Free where you get their Vapp, the management agents and a defined set of Free Card Apps for no cost;
  • Standard¬†level where you get all the above plus a set of Card Apps which provide more VMware managability for $50/ESX server/Month; and
  • Enterprise¬†level where you get all the above plus all the Card Apps presently available for $150/ESX server/Month.

Jeda networks and Coho Data are still developing their pricing and had none they were willing to disclose.

One of the CloudPhysics Card apps could predict how certain VMs would benefit from host based (PCIe or SSD) IO caching. They had a chart which showed working set inflection points for (I think) one VM running an OLTP application.  I have asked for this chart to discuss further in a future post.  But although CloudPhysics has the data to produce such a chart, the application shows three potential break points where say adding 500MB, 2000MB or 10000MB of SSD cache can speed up application performance by 10%, 30% or 50% (numbers here made up for example purposes and not off the chart they showed me).

A few other companies made announcements at the show. For example, Sepaton announced their new VirtuoSO, scale out hybrid reduplication appliance.

That’s about it. I would have to say that SNW needs to rethink their business model, frequency of stows or what they are trying to do at their conferences. However, on the plust side, most of the users I talked with came away with a lot of information and thought the show was worthwhile and I came away with a few surprises.

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Comments?

DS3, the BlackPearl and the way forward for … tape

Spectra Logic Summit 2013, Nathan Thompson, CEO talking about  Spectra Logic's historyJust got back from an analyst summit with Spectra Logic.  They announced a new interface to tape called, Deep Simple Storage Service (DS3) and an appliance that implements this interface named the BlackPearl.  The intent is to broaden the use of tape to include, todays more web services, application environments.

The main problems addressed by the new interface is how do you map an essentially sequential, high throughput but long latency access to first byte, removable media device to an essentially small file, get and put environment.  And is there a market for such services. I think Spectra Logic has answered the first set of questions and is about to embark on a journey to answer the second set of questions.

The new interface ‚Äď it’s all about simplifying tape

The DS3 interface answers the first set of questions. With DS3 Specra Logic has extended Amazon’s S3 interface to expose some of the sequentiality and removability of tape to the object storage world.

As you should recall, Amazon S3 is a RESTful, web interface that uses HTTP type GET and PUT commands to move data to and from the S3 storage service. ¬†The data you are moving is considered an object and the object name or identifier is unique across the storage service. When you “PUT” an object you get to add key-value pairs of information called meta-data to the object. When you “GET” an object you retrieve the data from the storage service. The other thing one needs to be aware of is that you get and put objects into “BUCKET”s.

With DS3, Spectra Logic has added essentially 4 new commands to S3 protocol, which are:

  • Bulk Put – this provides a list of objects that one wants to “PUT” into a DS3 storage service and the response from the DS3 storage service is an ordered list of which objects to PUT in sequence and which DS3 storage server node (essentially an IP address) to send the data.
  • Bulk Get – this supplies a list of objects that one wants to GET from a DS3 storage service and the response is an ordered list of the sequence to get those objects and the node address to use for those object gets
  • Export Bucket – this identifies a BUCKET that you wish to remove from a DS3 storage service.¬† Presumably the response would be where the bucket can be found, ¬†the number of pieces of media to expect, and some identification of the media serial numbers that constitute a bucket on the DS3 storage service.
  • Import Bucket – this identifies a new bucket which will be imported into a DS3 storage service and will supply some necessary information such as how many pieces of media to expect and the serial numbers of the media. ¬†Presumably the response will be a location which can be used to import the media.

With these four simple commands and an appropriate DS3 client, DS3 server and DS3 storage backend one now has everything they need to support a removable media object store. I could see real value for export/import like this on the “rare occasion” when a ¬†cloud service provider goes out of business.

The DS3 interface will be publicly available and the intent is to both supply Spectra Logic developed clients as well a ISV/partner developed DS3 clients so as to provide removable media object stores for all sorts of other applications.

Spectra’s is providing developer tools and documentation so that anyone can write a DS3 client. To that end, the¬†DS3 developer portal is up (couldn’t find a link this AM but will update this post when I find it) and available free of charge to anyone today (believe you need to register to gain access to the doc.). They have a DS3 server simulator that DS3 client developers can use to test out and validate their client software. They also have a try & buy service for client developers.

Essentially, the combination of DS3 clients, DS3 servers and DS3 backend storage create a really deep archive for object data. It’s not intended for primary or secondary storage access but it’s big, cheap, and power/space efficient storage that can be very effective if used for archive data.

BlackPearl, the first DS3 Server

Their second announcement is the first implementation of a DS3 server, Spectra Logic calls BlackPearl(‚ĄĘ). The BlackPearl connects to one or more Spectra Logic tape libraries as a backend store which together essentially provides a DS3 object storage archive. The DS3 server talks to DS3 clients on the front end. BlackPearl uses SAS or FC connected tape transports, which can be any transport currently supported by SpectraLogic tape libraries, including IBM TS1140, LTO-4, -5 and -6.

In addition to BlackPearl, Spectra Logic is releasing the first DS3 client for Hadoop. In this case, the DS3 client implements a new version of the Hadoop DistCp (distributed copy) command which can be used to create a copy of an HDFS directory tree onto a DS3 storage service.

Current BlackPearl hardware is a standard 2U server with 4-400GB SSDs inside which act as sort of a speed matching buffer for the Object interface to SAS/FC tape interface.

We only saw a configuration with one BlackPearl in operation (GA of BlackPearl is expected this December). But the plan is to support multiple BlackPearl appliances to talk with the same DS3 backend storage. In that case, there will be a shared database and (tape) resource scheduler across all the appliances in the cluster.

Yes, but what about the market?

It’s a gutsy move for someone like Spectra Logic to define a new open interface to deep storage. The fact that the appliance exists outside the tape library itself and could potentially support any removable media offers interesting architectural capabilities. The current (beta) implementation lacked some sophistication but the expectation is that much of this will be resolved by GA or over time through incremental enhancements.

Pricing is appealing. When you add BlackPearl appliance(s), with a T950 Spectra Logic tape library using LTO drives which supports uncompressed data store of ~2.4PB of archive data, the purchase price is ~$0.10/GB. This compares especially well with current Amazon Glacier pricing of $0.01/GB/Month, so that for the price of 10 months of Glacier storage you could own your own DS3 storage service.

At larger capacities, such as BlackPearl using T950 with TS1140 tape drives supporting 6.4PB is even cheaper, at $0.09/GB. Other configurations are available and in general bigger congfigurations are cheaper on $/GB and smaller ones more expensive.  The configurations are speced by Spectra Logic to have all the media, tape drives and BlackPearl systems be needed to support an archives object store.

As for markets, Spectra Logic already has beta interest from a large well known web services customer and a number of media & entertainment customers.

In the long run, Spectra Logic believes that if they can simplify access to tape for an application where it’s well qualified to support (deep archive), that this will enable new applications to take advantage of tape, that weren’t even dreamed of before. ¬†By opening up a Object Store interface to tape, anyone currently using S3 is a potential customer.

Amazon announced earlier this year that they have over 2 trillion objects is their S3. And as far as I can tell (see my post Who’s the next winner in storage?) they are growing with no end in sight.

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Comments?

 

EMCworld 2013 Day 3

IMG_1431Rich Napolitano, President Unified Storage Division got up and showed some technology demonstrations of what they had working in their labs.  Rich had some of his long time engineers up on the stage to show what was running in their labs.

  • First up was a dual controller, dual processors per controller 8 core processing chips (32cores in all) running against an all SSD backend. The configuration was up for a short time but it seemed like 96 SSDs, so an all-flash VNX array.¬† They used Iometer, random-8KB IO to drive almost 975K IOPS at sub-msec. response time. They hit 1M IOPS with just slightly above 1 msec. response time. You could see the processor utilization of the 32 cores going up as the workload reached higher levels.¬† Couldn’t see precisely but all the cores were running at ~70-80% busy at the 1Miops level and it seemed like the system performance was entering the knee-of-the-curve
  • Next up was the new VNX data app store demonstration. Similar to iPhone and Android App stores. EMC has identified a select set of apps that can be run directly on VNX hardware. The current demonstration had two versions of anti-virus, Recover Point Virtual Appliance (vRPA), (v?)VPLEX, CloudAccess and MySQL server.¬† The engineers showed how AV software could be installed and be running on the VNX as well as how vRPA could be installed and provide onboard replication services.
  • Then, they demonstrated a VNX virtual appliance (vVNX?) which was able to run on white box server which I think was running ESX.¬† In this case, vVNX was running with onboard DAS storage but had all the advanced functionality of VNX
  • Finally, they showed a vVNX running in a cloud services environment. Not sure if this was VMware vCloud or some other compute cloud but Rich stated that they will support many clouds.¬† With vVNX running in the cloud accessing storage behind the compute engine it’s unclear what the performance would be and how one would access the storage (file or iSCSI no doubt) but it did open up new possibilities as to where one could run VNX services.

It’s readily apparent that the next iteration of VNX software seems focused on taking advantage of multi-core processing (called MCx) to boost storage system performance, providing a virtualized environment within the VNX engine to run specialized data services and supplying a new vVNX functionality which can be deployed just about anywhere you would want.

That’s all for the public sessions, spent much of the rest of the day in NDA sessions.

I had a good time at EMCworld 2013, seeing old friends again and meeting new ones and thank EMC for inviting me.  For information on previous days at EMCworld 2013 please see my Day 1 and Day 2 posts.