UNMAP – Do IT!

Pretty sure my friend Cody Hosterman has talked about this until he turned blue in the face.  Just a point I want to quickly re-iterate here for the record. Run unmap on your vSphere Datastores.

Read this if you are running Pure Storage, but even if you run other arrays (especially all-flash) find a way to do UNMAP on a regular basis:

http://www.codyhosterman.com/2016/01/flasharray-unmap-script-with-the-pure-storage-powershell-sdk-and-poweractions/

Additionally, start to learn the ins-n-outs of vSphere 6 and automatic unmap!

http://blog.purestorage.com/direct-guest-os-unmap-in-vsphere-6-0-2/

Speaking of In-n-out…. I want a double double before I start Whole 30.

in-n-out

Pure ELK Dashboards

Previously I blogged about getting PureELK installed with Docker in just a couple of minutes. After setting up your intitial array’s you may ask what is next?

Loading a preconfigured PureELK Dashboard

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Click load saved dashboard and select one of the Pure Storage dashboards.

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Remember there is a 2nd page page of Dashboards.

Pure Main Dashboard

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Top 10 Volumes

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Alert Audit

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Max vs Average Pure Performance

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Pure Space Analysis

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Space Top – Bar Charts

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Volume List View – Space and Performance

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You can see there are several pre-made dashboards that you can take advantage of. What if you wanted to make your own Dashboard.

Create your Own Dashboard

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To create your own Dashboard:
1. Click the Plus to Add a Visualization
2. Select a visualization
3. Once you have all of your Visualizations added you can click the Save icon and keep your new Dashboard for later use.

Some tips is you can resize and place the visualization anywhere you like on the dashboard. Just remember to click save. Also, You can can use the powerful seach feature to create tables of useful information that you are looking for.

 

Easy Storage Monitoring – Setting Up PureELK with Docker

[UPDATE June 2016: Appears this works with Ubuntu only, maybe a debian flavor. I am hearing RHEL is problematic to get the dependencies working.]

I have blogged in the past about setting up vROPS (vCOPS) and Splunk to monitor a Pure Storage FlashArray using the REST API. Scripts and GETs and PUTs are fun and all but what if there was a simple tool you can install to have your own on site monitoring and analytics of your FlashArrays?

Enter Pure ELK. Some super awesome engineers back in Mountain View wrote this integration for Pure and ELK and packaged it an amazingly easy insatllation and released it on Github! Open Source and ready to go!
https://github.com/pureelk

and

http://github.com/pureelk/pureelk

Don’t know Docker? Cool we will install it for you. Don’t know Kibana or elasticsearch? Got you covered. One line in a fresh Ubuntu install (I used Ubuntu but I bet your favorite flavor will suffice).

go ahead and try:

curl -s https://raw.githubusercontent.com/pureelk/pureelk/master/pureelk.sh | bash -s install

(fixed url to reflect no longer in Dev)

This will download and install docker, setup all the dependencies for Pure ELK and let you know where to go from your browser to config your FlashArrays.

I had one small snag:

Connecting to the Docker Daemon!

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My user was not in the right group to connect to docker the first time. The Docker install when it is not automated actually tells you to add your user to the “docker” group in order to

$sudo usermod -aG docker [username]

Log out and back in that did the trick. If you know a better way for the change to be recognized without logging out let me know in the comments.

I re-ran the install
curl -s https://raw.githubusercontent.com/pureelk/pureelk/dev/pureelk.sh | bash -s install

In about 4 minutes I was able to hit the management IP and start adding FlashArrays!

Quickly add all your FlashArrays

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Click the giant orange PLUS button.

This is great if you have more than one FlashArray. If you only have one it still works. Everyone should have more Flash though right?

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Fill in your FlashArray information. You can choose your time-to-live for the metrics and how often to pull data from the FlashArray

Success!

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I added a couple of arrays for fun and then clicked “Go to Kibana”
I could have gone to
https://[server ip]:5601

Data Already Collecting

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This is just the beginning. The next post I will share some of the pre-packaged dashboards and also some of the cusotmizations you can make in order to visualize all the Data PureELK is pulling from the REST API. Have fun with this free tool. It can be downloaded and setup in less than 10 minutes on a linux machine, 15 minutes if you need to build a new VM.

Top 5 – Pure Storage Technical Blog Posts 2014

Today I thought it would be pretty cool to list out my favorite 5 technical blog posts that pertain to Pure Storage. These are posts that I use to show customers how to get things done without re-inventing the wheel. Big thanks to Barkz and Cody for all the hard work they put in this year. Looking forward to even more awesomeness this year.

SQL Server 2014 Prod/Dev with VMware PowerCLI and Pure Storage PowerShell Toolkit – Rob “Barkz” Barker

Enhanced UNMAP script using with PowerCLI and RESTful API – Cody Hosterman

VMware PowerCLI  and Pure Storage – Cody Hosterman
Check out the great script to set all the vSphere Best Practices for the Pure Storage Flash Array.

Pure Storage PowerShell Toolkit Enhancements – Rob “Barkz” Barker

PowerActions – The PowerCLI Plugin for the vSphere Web Client with UNMAP – Cody Hosterman

JO-Unicorn-Rainbow

Not the Same Ol’ Sessions from Pure Storage at VMworld

I am really excited to be going to VMworld once again. I will be wearing my Orange Nike so most likely my feet won’t hurt quite as bad. Also expect the Pure Orange Superman to make an appearance.
IMG_2992
More about the sessions. So I will be attending VMworld San Francisco, and speaking in EMEA.

STO2996-SPO – The vExpert Storage Game Show

The session I am stoked to be a part of is STO2996-SPO – The vExpert Storage Game Show. It will be a fun and informative time about next generation storage architectures presented in the form of a game show.  PLUS,  two members of the audience will join the session to help the vExpert teams. I know everyone will want to be on my team in EMEA.

STO3000-SPO – Flash Storage Best Practices and Technology Preview 

This very exciting session with Vaughn and Cody (super-genius vExperts) will go into what to consider when moving your datacenter to all flash. Plus previews of the Pure VVOLs.  If you think you are not ready for all flash, come to this session and learn how Flashy you can be.

STO2999-SPO – Customers Unplugged: Real-World Results with VMware on Flash

I wish I had thought of this. Customers using All Flash with VMware. All Tech, No Slides.

STO1965 – Virtual Volumes Technical Deep Dive

Dive into Virtual Volumes with Rawlinson Rivera – VMware, Suzy Visvanathan – VMware and Vaughn Stewart – Pure Storage. So many customers have asked me what will VVOLS actually do over the last 3 years. This will be a great chance to find that out.

VAPP2132 – Virtualizing Mission Critical Applications on All Flash Storage 

How does Pure storage enable that final 10% of critical applications that just a few years ago people said would be impossible? Meet my friend Avi Nayek from Pure and Mohan Potheri from VMware and learn how flash eliminates storage as the road block to critical applications becoming virtual.

MGT1265 – Improving Cloud Operations Visibility with Log Management and vCenter Log Insight

Cody Hosterman, Did I tell you he is smart? Yeah. He is. Join Cody and Dominic Rivera from US Bank and Bill Roth from VMware on how to increase your Cloud Operations Visibility.

SDDC2754-SPO – New Kids on the Storage Block, File and Share: Lessons in Storage and Virtualization

Lessons from all the upstarts in the storage industry. Most of them are not “startups” anymore. Finding new ways to solve the issues of using Virtualization with legacy storage. Pure Storage, Nimble Storage, Tintri, Tegile, Coho Data, Data Gravity and moderated by Howard Marks from DeepStorage.net.

STO2496-SPO – vSphere Storage Best Practices: Next-Gen Storage Technologies

The Chad and Vaughn show. Now with Rawlinson Rivera! Storage is changing. Did I say that yet?

More information on Pure Storage Sessions

Coming Soon: Support for VMware VVOLs
Pure Storage set to paint VMworld 2014 orange!

I am now at Pure Storage

Thought that after 2 weeks I would put it on my blog. It is long past official as I have already done “New Hire” and I am officially part of the Puritan family. My Orange pants are on order. One thing I am excited about is getting to install the array for my customers. Not just talking about how awesome it is but getting to see it. This should definitely inspire blog posts to share what I learn along the way.
I know many people probably already knew this, but someday I would like my blog to be a FLASH of the progression through my career.
 

Cisco – EMC Webcast: … An Optimized End User Experience

 

No matter what you do to accelerate, optimize and transform your desktop environment (physical or virtual) if the presentation is sub-par, no one cares. The common message from any vSpecialist when it comes to EUC (End User Computing, VDI is so 2011) is focus on the end user experience. Make it easy to access my data and applications from anywhere at any time and I am a happy user.

This is something I really believe in. Having delivered VDI (or TS) solutions in the past, starting as a Citrix Metaframe XP administrator. So when I noticed this webcast I wanted to be sure share it with everyone. EMC is a huge place and there is ALWAYS something going on, but I wanted to take special notice when Cisco, EMC, VCE and VMware team up with a focus on getting the end user experience done right.

Save the date and sign up! August 22, 2012 11:00 AM EDT / 8:00 AM PDT.

So sign up now here: http://bit.ly/vdia22

What to expect?

When it comes to EUC there are so many “best” practices out there many times you just need someone to tell you what works. I will take a few seconds to detail the high level bullets I always share with customers when speaking about EUC.

  • From the EMC perspective it often relates to putting the right data in the right place. When using Flash drives to lower cost and footprint knowing how VDI I/O works is very important.

 

  • Also from the EMC realm is the amazing impact FAST Cache can have on these deployments vs. trying to account for all unexpected I/O with spinning media. This additionally lowers your cost and spindle count. That is right, someone at EMC saying buy less drives.
  • Use the money you save to put more RAM in your Cisco UCS B – series blades. Memory being the second bottle neck after storage when it comes to your VDI role out.
  • Speaking of memory make sure you use the best hypervisor for consolidation and memory management. vSphere 5 is still years ahead of even the promised products from the other guys. The TCO picture for hardware is ONLY part of the story, so make sure you get every last drop out of those Cisco UCS blades.
  • Lastly, if you want to deliver this in a tested and proven manner AND you realize your time to market is critical, EMC VSPEX and VCE Vblock take the world’s best components and software and make it work for you. No more testing for 9 months before pushing the go button.

Get to the WEBCAST Already

Once again, if you are exploring, testing, POC’ing, or running in production VDI in any way shape or form. Join the webcast on August 22 and see when EMC and Cisco have in store.

Save the date and sign up! August 22, 2012.

So sign up now here: http://bit.ly/vdia22

More on VSPEX

More on VCE and End User Compute and FASTPATH

EMC Reference Architecture -one of many…

From the Cisco Site <-Cisco UCS / EMC VNX RA

 

Extents vs Storage DRS

I was meeting with a customer today and had to stop for a second when they said they were using 10 TB datastores in vSphere 4.1.

At first I was going through my head of maybe NFS? No they are an all block shop. Oh wait yeah, extents. They were using 2 TB -512 byte luns to create a giant Datastore. I asked, why? The answer was simple, “so we only manage one datastore.”

I responded with well check out Storage DRS in vSphere 5! It gives you that one point to manage and automatic placement across multiple datastores. Additionally you actually can find which VM lives where, and use Storage Maintenance mode to do storage related maintenance. Right now they are locked into using extents. If they change their datastores into a Cluster the gain flexibility while not losing the ease of management.

I wanted to use the opportunity to list some information I think about Extents with VMware.

  1. Extents do not equal bad. Just have the right reason to use them, and running out of space is not one.
  2. If you lose one extent you don’t lose everything, unless that one is the first extent.
  3. VMware places blocks on extents in some sort of even fashion. It is not spill and fill. While not really load balancing you don’t kill just one lun at a time.

An extent with a datastore is like a stack of luns. Don’t knock out the bottom block!

 

Some points about Storage DRS.

  1. Storage DRS places VMDK’s based on IO and Space metrics.
  2. Storage DRS and SRM 5 don’t play nice, last time I checked (2/13/12).
  3. Combine Storage DRS with Storage Policy and you have a really easy way to place and manage VM’s on the storage. Just set the policy and check if it is compliant.

A Storage DRS cluster is multiple datastores appearing as one.

Some links on the topics:

Some more information from VMware on Extents
More on Storage DRS (SDRS)

In conclusion, SDRS may be removing some of the last reasons to use an extent (getting multiple lun performance with single point of management). Add that to being able to have up to 64 TB Datastores with VMFS and using extents will become even rarer than before. Unless you have another reason? Post it in the comments!

vSphere Metro Stretched Clusters – Some Info/Links

A lot of questions lately about vSphere Clusters across distance. I really need to learn for myself so I collected some good links.

Make sure you understand what “Only Non-uniform host access configuration is supported” means. Someone correct me if I have this wrong but your device that enables the distributed virtual storage needs to be sure that hosts in site A are writing to their preferred volumes in site A and vice versa in Site B. Probably way over simplifying it.


LINKS

http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2007545

http://virtualgeek.typepad.com/virtual_geek/2011/10/new-vmware-hcl-category-vsphere-metro-stretched-cluster.html

http://www.yellow-bricks.com/2011/10/07/vsphere-metro-storage-cluster-solutions-what-is-supported-and-what-not/

http://www.yellow-bricks.com/2011/10/05/vsphere-5-0-ha-and-metro-stretched-cluster-solutions/

Big thanks to Scott Lowe for clearing the details on this topic.

Storage Caching vs Tiering Part 2

Recently I had the privilege of being a Tech Field Day Delegate. Tech Field Day is organized by Gestalt IT. If you want more detail on Tech Field Day visit right here. In interest of full disclosure the vendors we visit sponsor the event. The delegates are under no obligation to review good or bad the sponsoring companies.

After jumping in with a post last week on tierless caching I wanted to jump in with my thoughts on a second Tech Field Day vendor. Avere presented a very interesting and technical presentation. I appreciated being engaged on an engineering level and not a marketing pitch.

Avere tiers everything. It is essentially a scale out NAS solution (they called it a FXT Appliance) that can front end any existing NFS. Described to me by someone else as file acceleration. The Avere NAS stores data internally on a cluster of NAS units. The “paranoia meter” lets you set how often the mass storage device is updated. If you need more availability or speed you add Avere devices. If you need more disk space you add to your mass storage. In their benchmarking tests they basically used some drives connected to a CentOS machine running NFS front-ended by Avere’s NAS units. They were able to get the required IOPS at a fraction of the cost of NetApp or EMC.

The Avere Systems blog provides some good questions on Tiering.

The really good part of the presentation is how they write between the tiers. Everything is optimized for that particular type of media, SSD, SAS or SATA.
When I asked about NetApp’s statements about tiering (funny they were on the same day). Ron Bianchini responded, “that when you sell hammers, everything is a nail.” I believe him.

So how do we move past all the marketing speak to get down to the truth when it comes to Caching and Tiering. I am leaning toward thinking of any location where data lives for any period of time as a tier. I think a cache is a tier. Really fast cache for reads and writes is for sure a tier. Different kinds of disks are tiers. So I would say everyone has tiers. The value comes in when the storage vendor innovates and automates the movement and management of that data.

My questions/comments about Avere.

1. Slick technology. I would like to see it work in the enterprise over time. People might be scared because it is not one of the “big names”.
2. Having came from Spinnaker. Is the plan to go long term with Avere, or build something to be purchased by a big guy?
3. I would like to see how the methods used by the Avere FXT appliance can be applied to block storage. Plenty of slow inexpensive iSCSI products that would benefit from a device like this on the front end.