On June 17th I had the chance to attend the German VMware User Group held in the Marriott Frankfurt.
I had the opportunity to attend the booth for the day to help out as there were a number of events on in Germany that day. It was a long day but the best bit is when you get to talk to customers about their issues/problems and talk tech without any bias. it's better to talk about features you have today or will have very soon rather than just talk about stuff that's 9-12 months out.
My countryman Cormac Hogan was the keynote speaker and it was great to catch up with Cormac and talk VVol, VSAN, VMFS and all things storage and VMware.
What did people want to talk about ?
The most talked about things were :
- HDS storage and new storage systems
- VMware VVol
- UCP Director Converged Platform (which I was able to demo)
- Automation of storage tasks (and private cloud) and simplifying backups using Hitachi V2I
I found many people still want to talk storage. I was a little surprised about this as I thought everyone would be a bit obsessive about hyper-convergence but this didn't seem to be the case. And most people seemed to be very impressed about the inheritance of our Enterprise microcode onto all of the entry-level and mid-range storage systems and the unification of the entire line. This unifies the codebase for the entire block storage range so they can all run the SVOS operating system.
GAD or Global Active Device (active-active R/W across datacenters) is now avaialble on even the entry level box and a lot of customers were interested in this. My colleague Hu Yoshida has written about it in more detail here: HDS Blogs: Software-Defined Is only As Good As The Infrastructure Behind It
I also found a lot of people coming to the stand to get a HDS view of technology which I suppose is a compliment.
VMware VVol was also of huge interest to most people. I'm lucky in that I've already been able to run a demo of our block VVol implementation for a customer despite the fact that it won't be officially released for a few weeks on our block platform. Thanks for HDS product management for helping our customers get a leg up on this really cool technology. So I have a bit more of an insight regarding how our implementation works.
My colleague Dinesh Singh has collected some resources together to help inform the community and customers, here: VVol : Hitachi Storage for VMware Virtual Volumes (VVol)
Hitachi NAS support for VVol is here already and it will be supported on all our block storage systems G1000 and lower systems in the coming weeks.
Expect to see a new version of the Hitachi VASA provider based on VP2.0 which provides two-way SPBM-based operations to and from the storage. The new version no longer ships as Windows binaries but will be released as an OVF file which will mean much easier deployment. I'll be writing more about VVol real soon and Paul Morrissey has written several posts about it and recorded some really nice videos as well.
I also spoke quite a bit to people about Virtual Infrastructure Integrator, aka V2I, which now also supports block storage.
This is a native Hitachi product that lives inside vCenter as a plugin and provides support for small and large-scale backup and restore operations, integrated with HDS storage technology inside vCenter.
Because it offloads operations directly to NAS and block arrays and uses the storage to drive application-consistent operations, this can require big scale and lets us things with large amounts of data (TB) in seconds. I think this is where feature offloading in products like V2I and VVol (as well as VAAI) shows the continuing importance of storage systems that have the performance to handle these kind of operations. We know in that regard HDS systems will always fare well as they are designed for that purpose (as well as scale, ease of use etc).
For VVol you will see that HDS systems have higher configuration maximums for things like number of VVols per array, number of virtual machine objects, number of snapshots per VM etc than competing solutions can offer. So existing and new customers will see real benefits when deploying SPBM-software solutions like these.
Anyway it was great to talk tech and all in all it was a great event and the German VMware community were really interesting to talk to and listen to. Hope I can repeat this at some point in the near future.