Virtualisation Field Day 6 – Quick Preview ZeroStack

ZeroStack-LogoI have been invited to a number of Virtualisation Field Day (sorry have to spell it the correct way) by Stephen Foskett, but for one reason or another things didn’t work out at my end.  The stars have aligned and I’m pleased to say I will be attending VFD 6.

All of the companies that are presenting are new to me, which makes things a lot more interesting, as a tech we like shiny new things!  The last one is ZeroStack.

What Do They Do?

According to the strap line on the website it’s ‘Zero Ops. Complete Stack. Your Cloud’.

ZeroStack provides an on-premises hyperconverged system running KVM using OpenStack as a management layer. The hyperconverged system comes as a 2U node consisting of four servers providing 32 cores, 128GB of RAM, 4TB SATA and 1.6TB SSD drives  The on-premises system then extends into cloud by utilising the ZeroStack Cloud Portal.  To be honest I’m not sure what this means, does it allow you to provision and automate VM’s in Azure, vCloud Air and AWS or just to see them as consumers of resources via a single portal?

Whatever it means, ZeroStack has some extremley smart people working for them, including Ajay Gultai, previously of VMware, where he lead the design of DRS, Storgae DRS and Storage I/O Control.

ZeroStack is an early startup, emerging from stealth at the end of August 2015.  They have started some initial sales directly customers and are beginning to engage with the channel.

Personally, I’m interested in what sets ZeroStack apart from other hyperconverged providers such as Nutanix and SimpliVity.   Tune into Virtualisation Field Day 6 to find out more!

Virtualisation Field Day 6 – Quick Preview Spirent

SpirentI have been invited to a number of Virtualisation Field Day (sorry have to spell it the correct way) by Stephen Foskett, but for one reason or another things didn’t work out at my end.  The stars have aligned and I’m pleased to say I will be attending VFD 6.

All of the companies that are presenting are new to me, which makes things a lot more interesting, as a tech we like shiny new things!  The fourth one is Spirent.

What Do They Do?

According to the strap line on the website it’s ‘Enabling innovations, making connections’.

Spirent is a communications provider over traditional ethernet, WiFi, satellite and mobile devices.  They also offer data centre services for high speed etherent (100Gbps/400Gbps) and the ability to check data centre overlays such as VXLAN to validate switching fabric against failure scenarios.  Quite impressive is that Spirent have performed the largest Cisco Nexus 9000 Series test using a Nexus 9516 with 128 x 100G modules.  The full report can be found here.

Spirent have an extensive history with the company originally founded in 1936 as Bowthorpe Electric Company Limited.  Before numerous acquisitions, sell offs and market alignment have left them as a £457 million pound turnover company with 1,700 employees.

Personally, I’m interested in what Spirent have to say at Virtualisation Field Day 6.  They could provide a present on anything that they do (which is vast to say the least).  Will it be security, network virtualisation, automation, testing, the list goes on!

Virtualisation Field Day 6 – Quick Preview FalconStor

I have been invited to a number of Virtualisation Field Day (sorry have to spell it the correct way) by Stephen Foskett, but for one reason or another things didn’t work out at my end.  The stars have aligned and I’m pleased to say I will attending VFD 6.

Of all the companies that are presenting the only one that isn’t new to me is FalconStor, a good friend of mine used to work for them many years ago as a Pre-Sales Storage Architect, so I’m vaguely familiar with their CDP products.

What Do They Do?

FalconStor have been around for a while, founded in 2000 in New York.  They have offered Network Storage Server NSS and Continuous Data Protector CDP for a number of years, so I’m making an educated guess that they won’t be speaking about these products.

Most likely it will be the product FreeStor that will be presented during Virtualisation Field Day 6.  FreeStor is an abstraction layer that enables you to migrate data seamlessly between arrays, clusters or sites.  Apart from the normal questions around connectivity does this mean it can move VM’s from on-premises vSphere and migrate them to consume Azure resources or is it between like minded file formats?

FreeStor is a hardware solution that provides ‘Software Defined Storage’ (this bit I don’t exactly get) which has a rather interesting topology, that requires Management Server, Storage Servers and a Dedupe Repository, I’m not entirely sure why, but I’m sure this will become clear during the presentation.

Topology from FreeStor Solution Guide
Topology from FreeStor Solution Guide

One of the key benefits around ‘Software Defined Storage’ should be the ease of implementation (couple of clicks to enable), however FreeStor requires FalconStor Professional Services to install and configure.  This could be due to the fact that they want to protect the brand for a while whilst the platform matures.

Virtualisation Field Day 6 – Quick Preview Cirba

cirba-logo-160pxI have been invited to a number of Virtualisation Field Day (sorry have to spell it the correct way) by Stephen Foskett, but for one reason or another things didn’t work out at my end.  The stars have aligned and I’m pleased to say I will be attending VFD 6.

All of the companies that are presenting are new to me, which makes things a lot more interesting, as a tech we like shiny new things!  The second one is Cirba.

What Do They Do?

According to the strap line on the website it’s ‘Infrastructure Control for the Software-Defined Era’.

At first glance Cirba seems an hypervisor agnostic answer to vRealize Operations Manager, with capacity planning and resource efficiency analysis.  Where it comes into it’s own is the control of virtual machines based around software licenses to ensure compliance and drive down cost by ensuring VM density and isolating licensed VM’s.   I for one would be interested to see how the meta data is weighted e.g.

‘What is the weighting on license compliance cost savings versus vCPU to pCPU ratios, fault domains, complexity of maintenance using DRS rules’

Cirba also provides intelligent placement for new workloads, this is rather interesting, most application architects don’t really know what their application is gong to consume so they always ask for oodles (technical term) of resources.  Only when the application is deployed do they actually know what it is going to utilise in terms of compute and storage resources.  Again I’m interested in understanding do they believe if a VM requires 2 vCPU at 2 GHz and 4GB of RAM they will be 60% utilised.

Many customers will already be using other pieces of software to make decisions for them around VM placement, whether that is vSphere DRS or vRealize Operations Manager or VMTurbo for capacity planning or resource effiency.  So the question is why would I move away from one of these to Cirba and if I do whats the impact?

I’m sure these questions and more will be asked at Virtualisation Field Day 6

Virtualisation Field Day 6 – Quick Preview AppFormix

AppFormixI have been invited to a number of Virtualisation Field Day (sorry have to spell it the correct way) by Stephen Foskett, but for one reason or another things didn’t work out at my end.  The stars have aligned and I’m pleased to say I will be attending VFD 6.

All of the companies that are presenting are new to me, which makes things a lot more interesting, as a tech we like shiny new things!  The first of these is AppFormix.

What Do They Do?

According to the strap line on the website it’s ‘Analytics and Control for Cloud Infrastructure’.

From what I understand it’s a monitoring solution that has been designed from the ground up to work in either private, public or hybrid cloud environments.  The premise is if you choose their software then they can make your cloud more efficient, I guess they have an algorithm that looks at dynamic thresholds rather than static thresholds that measure compute and storage resources, but I will wait until the presentation to ask that question.

They key areas which are focused on are:

  • Capacity Planning
  • Resource Orchestration
  • Self Service IT

It will be interesting to see how they integrate with existing management and monitoring solutions.  Plus I’m keen to understand how compliance and security fits into the AppFormix model.