The German EMC Forum 2014: It’s Time to Redefine IT

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Do you want to be part of something big? Are you looking to get the knowledge YOU need to rise to the next platform?

Do you want more XtremIO? You are located in Germany? Attend the German #EMCForum in Mainz! Sept16. http://emc.im/Forum2014DE

The worldwide EMC Forum is allowing you to do just that. We’re giving you the chance to redefine IT, engage with our top technical experts and influence the community at one of our top free events this year.

You’ll have already begun to see how megatrends like Social, Mobile and Big Data are redefining the role of IT. They’re creating new business opportunities and threats, and ushering in a whole new IT era – the “3rd Platform.”

At EMC Forum 2014, we want to hear your voice, listen to your journey, and redefine IT and business together with you – helping you to get ahead of the competition. You’ll also get to see the latest solutions, talk directly with EMC experts and partners, and network with people just like you at the event.

So, why not help your organization:

  • Bridge the present and the future: letting new and existing applications run side by side
  • Redefine IT: embracing private and hybrid clouds, and creating a low cost, highly flexible software-defined data center
  • Redefine business: harnessing the full power of mobile and Big Data applications, to boost productivity and enable smarter, real-time decisions

Are you ready to get practical advice on how to thrive in the new era of IT? We hope so!

Find out more http://www.emc.com/forum2014

Be part of EMC Forum 2014

- Register now for your complimentary ticket!

- Follow the EMC Forum community (http://emc.im/EMCForum_ECN) and have your say: vote on ideas, read the blog, join the conversation and more.

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Got OpenStack And XtremIO, You just got Cindered!

 

OpenStack is leading the open source cloud revolution and has become the de-facto open platform for managing private and public clouds

OpenStack allows storage resources to be located anywhere in the cloud and available for use upon demand

OpenStack reduces the complexity in managing and consuming resources across heterogeneous environments

With the availability of the XtremIO integration to OpenStack, customers can now easily connect their OpenStack cloud to an XtremIO storage array.

OpenStack architecture in a nutshell

•Fully accessed by common set of APIs and common Dashboard

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•Supports heterogeneous resources

•Compute resources, Hypervisors, storage backends, networking resources

What is Cinder?

Cinder is the block storage service for OpenStack.

Cinder directs the creation and deletion of volumes on a storage array.

Cinder attaches/detaches volumes from instances/virtual machines (VMs) created by OpenStack.

Storage resource allocation is performed on demand based on the OpenStack cloud requirements

XtremIO Cinder Driver

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XtremIO Cinder driver sends storage provisioning commands to the XtremIO array.

XtremIO Cinder driver implements the XtremIO REST APIs

The OpenStack cloud can access XtremIO using either iSCSI or Fibre Channel protocols.

XtremIO Cinder Operations support

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Cinder Driver Setup & Installation

Setup

–Make sure XtremIO array is connected to the OpenStack compute resources (initiators)

–For iSCSI

▪Configure iSCSI portals in XMS

▪CHAP initiator authentication is supported. If CHAP initiator authentication is required, set CHAP Authentication mode to initiator in XMS.

—The CHAP initiator authentication credentials (usernames and passwords) are generated automatically by the cinder driver

–Set up a dedicated account for Openstack with Admin role privileges (recommendation)

Installation

–The driver should be installed on the cinder host that has the cinder-volume component

▪Copy xtremio.py to cinder/volume/drivers/emc

Cinder Configuration

Edit cinder.conf /etc/cinder/cinder.conf

volume_driver=cinder.volume.drivers.emc.xtremio.XtremIOISCSIDriver

OR

volume_driver=cinder.volume.drivers.emc.xtremio. XtremIOFibreChannelDriver

san_ip=[xms IP address] à retrieve from show-xms CLI Command

san_user=[xms username] à the XMS user-name previously defined

san_password=[xms password]

Restart cinder

 

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Volume Created in XtremIO

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Create Snapshot in OpenStack

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Snapshot created in XtremIO

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Attach Volume to VM in OpenStack

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Volume mapped in XtremIO

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OpenStack Demo

wrapping it all up, you can see a video Iris Kaminer, a PM in our team made.

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VSI (Virtual Storage Integrator) 6.2 is Out, XtremIO is IN!

 

On the heels on the Mega Launch event in which we announced XIOS 3.0, another product release has just been GA, the VSI plugin.

if you are an EMC customer and never heard about it, it’s really time to wake up, this (FREE!) plugin is really a framework for the EMC products for VMware vCenter, at it’s core, it allows you to view storage array metrics and provision VMFS datastores or RDM’s devices, present them to the ESXi hosts and all of this without using the storage GUI. this release is the first release that support XtremIO AND the vCenter web interface, prior releases supported XtremIO but only worked with the classic vCenter.

attached below are two videos in case you find the documentation too complex:

01. Installing and Configuring the EMC VSI 6.2

 

02. Provisioning Datastores And RDM’s

 

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but this release has also another feature which ‘im proud to say was co-invented by Tamir Segal who is a PM in our XtremIO team and your’s trully.

it really started as me scratching my head around the new XtremIO Snapshots capability and how revolutionary it is (you can read more about it here:

https://itzikr.wordpress.com/2014/05/12/xtremio-redefining-snapshots/

my question was, why are we even using VDI full clones, the answer is of course, “because customers wants to have persistent desktops” but then my head start spinning, I was thinking, “well, we can still give you a persistent desktop that will look like a full clone but why waste XCOPY time or even logical capacity??” without the penalty of the VMware linked cloned technology (can’t replicate it, you always need to worry about the parent –> child relationship etc’ etc’) and so we started to toy with the following logic:

1. create one datastore that will have X amount of VDI VM’s in it (full clones, all cloned from the same replica)

2. snapshot this volume X amount of times.

3. present the snapshot to the ESX’s cluster and renaming the VM’s, run sysprep on them and upload their computer account configuration to the VDI broker.

4. repeat it on the other snapshots..

and so, we went with this request to the VSI team and they made it possible, so you see, I’m Xtremly happy now because this platform called “XtremIO” is so unique and it allow us to really think outside of the box and leverage technologies in a way that was never done before!

by the way, there is an even extra value in this plugin if you work with Citrix XenDesktop and EMC XtremIO since there is no native way in Citrix Studio to create full persistent clones!

in order to make the VSI VDI plugin to work with Horizon View, you will need to disable the message security mode (as the vm’s creation and communication about it is coming from an “external” source to Horizon.

view-security

 

VSI 6.2 Release Notes:

https://support.emc.com/docu54317_VSI_for_VMware_vSphere_Web_Client_6.2_Release_Notes.pdf

VSI 6.2 Download:

https://download.emc.com/downloads/DL54375_VSI_for_VMWare_vSphere_Web_Client_6.2.ova

VSI 6.2 Product Guide:

https://support.emc.com/docu54147_VSI_for_VMware_vSphere_Web_Client_Version_6.2_Product_Guide.pdf?language=en_US

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VPLEX/RecoverPoint Integration with XtremIO – A customer case study

 

It’s not a secret that one of my favorite products within EMC is VPLEX, it’s a product that means different things for different people, some look at it as a DR solution while others loos at it in it’s true flash and glory meaning, a distributed cache that is virtualizing your underlying storage and provide an Active – Active site topology so for example, you can have site A in NY distributed  to site B in a remote location (up to 10ms latency is the supported configuration as of 07/2014)

“but isn’t the latency between the sites defied the point of using an AFA like EMC XtremIO” ??

nope, you can have you site A VM’s, DB’s et’c doing their thing in site A and in a n event of a site failure, leverage vSphere HA to restart them in the remote site

Or…

you can leverage the VPLEX RecoverPoint splitter replicating to a remote site in an async fashion, in fact I have just the customer that is doing this to tell you about..

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CLAL INSURANCE

The Tel-Aviv-based Clal Insurance is Israel’s leading insurance, pension, and financial  services group. The Clal Group holds a 19% share of the Israeli insurance market and  manages hundreds of billions of shekel-denominated assets. Haim Inger is the CTO at  Clal Data Systems, the IT company that provides all IT services to Clal Insurance.

Their Challenges

For Inger, the main storage-related challenge facing his organization was end-ofmonth reporting on the life insurance systems. Even with high-end storage in the data  center, these core applications needed better performance.
“The end-of-month jobs would start around midnight, and they would not end until  around 2:00 p.m. the following day,” he recalls. “The result was that almost 600 users  were unable to do their work for most of the day on the first of every month, and  customers were unable to get any service during that same period of time.”
This situation was costing Clal Insurance an estimated $900,000 per year in lost  business and productivity. Inger could see that the main bottleneck was storage, and  he was looking for a solution that would make it possible to finish these jobs much  earlier.

The Solution

The answer was an EMC XtremIO All-Flash Array. Clal Insurance started by deploying  a two X-Brick cluster (X-Bricks are the basic scale-out building blocks of XtremIO  arrays) and replicating them locally with EMC VPLEX to another two X-Brick cluster.
The local VPLEX replication of the X-Bricks was in addition to a full disaster recovery  (DR) backup system, using EMC RecoverPoint.
With this configuration, which provides both data availability and storage virtualization
for data mobility, Clal Insurance was able to dramatically reduce the time needed to  run the end-of-month reports. “Our goal was to finish the reports around 8:00 a.m.,
even though users typically arrive at work an hour earlier,” says Inger. “We actually  finished at 5:30 a.m.”
And the story gets better. “We have seen the same benefit in an even more
demanding scenario, which is end-of-year reporting,” Inger continues. “On a usual  basis for end of year, we would be shut down for 24 hours. Thanks to XtremIO, we  were able to open the systems at 6:20 a.m. on January first of this year. Even with  local replication using VPLEX, plus RecoverPoint backup to our DR site, the reporting  goals and online day-to-day work were not affected. We don’t see any impact at all.

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Clal Insurance tried several ways to solve the end-of-month reporting issue before
deciding to deploy XtremIO. First they installed more flash drives in the existing
storage they had on the premises. This approach resulted in small gains — instead of  2:00 p.m., the jobs finished at around 12:00 p.m. — but it was not enough. Then they started looking at All-Flash Arrays, including XtremIO, and others.
“The reason we decided to go with XtremIO, even though it wasn’t yet generally
available, was the product’s ability to coexist with our current environment.” says Inger. “We already had VPLEX installed, and our existing DR configuration was based  on VPLEX and RecoverPoint. The only solution we saw that was really plug-and-play  was XtremIO.”
Clal Insurance evaluated two X-Bricks for almost six months before putting XtremIO into production. “We tested two things,” explains Inger. “First we tested the stability, to see that we didn’t get data corruption, downtime, or anything like that. XtremIO  was very stable, even during the early beta phase. The other thing we checked was performance. Depending on the application, we got from two to ten times better
performance with XtremIO compared to our existing storage environment.”
Specifically, the best average read time on the company’s existing high-end storage was about 5ms. Clal Insurance was looking for at least 3ms; they achieved 1.5ms with XtremIO.
Inger says XtremIO was the right choice. “From the moment we got the X-Bricks and installed them physically, it took us less than a week to move the first production database over, and then an additional two weeks to move the other four databases —a total of 14 terabytes,” he says. “And it just worked. I didn’t have to reinvent or rearchitect my DR system or anything else. With any other solution from IBM, NetApp,
or the All-Flash Array start-up vendors, I would have had to reinvent almost
everything about backup and DR. What’s more, the management is any storage guy’s dream. XtremIO is the simplest storage system I ever saw anywhere to manage.

 

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Unlike other insurance companies, Clal Insurance is 100% virtualized. The company has more than 1,300 servers, all using the latest VMware solutions. XtremIO fits right  in. “The benefit of XtremIO for a virtualized environment lies in its Inline Data  Reduction capabilities.” says Inger. “Our database servers previously consumed about  120TB of Fibre Channel disk. With XtremIO, we consume only about 40TB of SSD
because of the data reduction ratio. That is a real savings of money and footprint, with much better performance than we had before.”
Inger purchased several additional X-Bricks recently. “All of our database virtual  machines are going to reside on XtremIO,” he says.
In summary, XtremIO is used for two main purposes at Clal Insurance: The first is to  accelerate the day-to-day use of applications and to super-accelerate the nightly and  end-of-month jobs of the life insurance applications. The second is to accelerate the deployment of the company’s virtual servers with as small a footprint as possible on  the storage side.
“The greatest benefit we have realized from our XtremIO system is the ability to serve  our employees and our insurance brokers as fast as possible, and with no downtime,  for end-of-month batch processing times,” says Inger. “This project really shows that  investing in infrastructure can bring great ROI to our company while improving the  overall service we give our customers. And we have found XtremIO to be totally reliable, with zero problems.”
According to Inger, XtremIO has a bright future at Clal Insurance. “I plan to move all of the mission-critical databases and most of the mission-critical applications to  XtremIO over the next 12 months,” he concludes. “In my opinion, everything will go there within three to four years.”

below you can also see a demo of VPLEX + the RecoverPoint splitter on XtremIO

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XtremIO 3.0–Improved performance and Compression

 

 

A big part of the 3.0 release was the added ALWAYS INLINE compression and the extra performance boost on the SAME XtremIO hardware.

aren’t these suppose to SLOW you down, let alone provide you better performance??

Not for XtremIO, we have the best R&D team I have ever worked with, if you follow my twits, you know that I mean it, like one evening I sent a feedback on a 3.0 beta build and the next morning, a new build with the feature I have asked for was in, that’s agility and that’s EMC letting us work in a “startup mentality” and this is not a joke or a marketing phrase, it’s the way EMC acquire companies.

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Compression, yea, it’s a big one and like anything else in our product, we deliberately took the time to make it right, if you follow our messaging, we keep saying that the first GA release was about architecture, the corner stones if you’d like on which we can then build new features and boy we did, so compression for us, like deduplication is always on, we do NOT turn off or throttle data services, we don’t want to go back to the old days of unpredicted performance and from a price prespective, this feature is free and will allow you, the customer to reduce the TCO even further by being able to put more VM’s, more DB’s and more VDI vm’s on the same XtremIO array.

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MORE Performance

again ,we were able to do the impossible, give you more performance on everything using the SAME hardware, things that are heavily defendant on performance like DB’s (IOPS and bandwidth), now works even faster.

want to see a demo of this? click the demo below, it will show you a DB working on the 2.4 XtremIO software that is then being storage vMotion to another X-Brick that is running the 3.0 code…

 

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XtremIO 3.0–The Starter X-Brick

 

“Good things comes in small packages” is a common phrase, in many cases, the small package is “good enough” but nobody ever told us something in the line of “ small packages may perform as the big packages”

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Enter the Starter X-Brick, it contains half of the raw capacity (5tb) of it’s bigger brother (10tb) and a quarter of it’s even bigger sister (20TB) X-Brick and it’s ideal for small POC’s, environments that do not need all the physical capacity like small(er) VDI deployments or smaller DB’s but the crazy part is that from a performance point of view, it perform exactly in the same manner like it’s bigger brother and sister.

“ok, my VDI/DB/VSI environment was small at the time I purchased the Starter X-Brick and I now need to grow”

 

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No problem

you can order the other half of the SSD drives and grow to a full X-Brick while doing it ONLINE and non-disruptively, TODAY.

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XtremIO 3.0–Why Scale Out matters?

 

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As part of the mega lunch today, we have announced XtremIO 3.0, the interesting about this release for me is that we took was already the number 1 AFA in the market and made it better, better on the existing hardware which is no coincidence when you design your product on commodity hardware and the magic happens on software. part of this announcement was the new snapshot capabilities which we I already covered here

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http://itzikr.wordpress.com/2014/05/12/xtremio-redefining-snapshots/

but here’s another twist on the same topic, XtremIO is a true Scale Out based storage array, that means that with every X-Brick you are adding to the cluster, you capacity grows in ADDITION to the performance, this is done because each X-Brick contains two true Active-Active controllers.

now, one of the claims I hear from other vendors is “who needs so much performance” or “two active/passive (ALUA) architecture is good enough!”

here is why they are wrong

enter the iPhone 3Gs, that was the first iPhone I owned and for the time that it came out in, it was GOOD Enough. the apps were snappy and IOS in inteslf was pretty responsive.

But something happened on the way to paradise

Apple introduced the iPhone 4 and gradually, my iPhone 3Gs became outdated, it actually became SLOWER and things like my mail app and in general, IOS itself became slower and that begs the questions, WHY??

the reason is simple, we are living in an era where performance is a relative term and the moment a new piece of hardware comes out, the developers who write applications for this hardware, quickly leverage it and they leveraging the new performance capabilities of the new, more performing hardware.

ok, but how is this related to XtremIO 3.0 and more importantly, snapshots??

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well, think about a production DB, it can be other environments as well but just for the sake of the example, let’s stick with a DB.

in many cases, many spinning drives will be needed just to accommodate the performance needs of the core DB and if you are starting to talk about cloning your DB, the operation itself takes a lot of time and more importantly, consume so much more space which result in many cases of actually limiting the numbers of DB’s clones you can offer.

“but I thought dedupe / compression resolve this, no?”

dedupe and compression are data reduction technologies, they will definitely  assist in lowering the footprint the core DB and it’s clones will consume but how do you drive the IOPS / Bandwidth for all of these clones??

ENTER Scale Out

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XtremIO Scale out from the (new) Starter X-Brick to 6 X-Bricks (12 Active-Active controllers) which you NEED to leverage all of these copies, so now you can actually do very interesting things like giving each developer it’s own DB instance!

so the next time a storage vendor tells you that a two controller, let alone an Active – Passive archtecture is good enough, just tell them

“iPhone 3Gs was also good enough” …back in 2009

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