So that is Day 1 of the Seattle Tech Field Day out of the way and what a day it has been. We’ve been out to Microsoft Redmond HQ, or “the temple” as John Obeto calls it. We saw some new products from Veeam and were privileged enough to be the first port of call for a new and very exciting storage start-up, Nimble Storage.
There has been a lot of information flowing about today, an awful lot. My plan is to spend some time assimilating all the information and doing more detailed posts on everyone we’ve seen, so for now I think a summary will suffice.
Veeam are a company that needs very little introduction. They’ve not been around long (3 years to be exact) but they are a well known and well respected brand in the virtualisation space. Today Veeam were announcing a new product / concept that they have at the development stage, one that got delegates quite excited.
Veeam were introducing vPower a new product made up of 3 products, SureBackup, Instant Restore and CDP (a much debated point). What stood out most for Tech Field Day delegates was the some of the Instant Restore functionality, the ability to run your VM direct from backup image was well received. My personal thought at the time was who wouldn’t want to have a mechanism available to test your backups actually work. The added bonus was that Veeam also provide network isolation and an almost Lab Manager ability to create groups of machines that should be recovered together. The idea of verifying your backups by running them from the back up storage was one thing, Veeam had however written their own NFS in order do this. This means that technically in the event of an outage you can run your machine directly from the Veeam backup server NFS datastore. It’ isn’t going to be fast but it’s running which is the main thing you should be concerned about. It was all good stuff and general consensus was that it was a step in the right direction and quite a shift in the VM backup space.
Our surprise for the day was a new Tech start-up who were launching themselves and their product for the very first time. Nimble Storage is a new start company who consist of a number of high pedigree employees with a proven track record at companies such as NetApp and DataDomain. This is further backed up with an experienced board of directors and top venture capital investment and last but not least, a pretty good product at a good price point.
Without going into to much detail Nimble storage have produced a new array that probably reshapes the way people think about primary and backup storage as well as the use of flash storage within an array. Right at the outset they stated that their aim was to introduce flash storage to the mid size enterprise while also utilising a lot of the features being pioneered by other vendors. Nimble’s approach is different in that it provides a converged appliance, one that does primary and secondary storage within the same device while also introducing flash caching to provide high performance. Through the use of inline compression, flash cache, sequential write down to disk, efficient snapshots and replication as well as zero space cloning, Nimble is packing a lot into their product. At the top end you are paying a list price of $99,000 + $6,000 annual maintenance. For this you are looking at 18TB of primary storage (not including flash cache) + 15,000 IOPS from a SATA / Flash Mix. They were also looking at 216TB of backup capacity within that same device, driven primarily by their use of space efficient snapshots. I have a lot of notes on this particular presentation and will be expanding upon this in the coming weeks.
Now F5 was a company I was really interested to see, primarily because I wasn’t entirely sure what they offered. Sure I knew they were into networking but even then what did they do in the networking space, I had no idea. We were treated to 4 different presentations that covered the following.
- WAN optimised geographical vMotion
- Coding of IRules and IControls for the BIG-IP appliances
- Intelligent client VPN connectivity via BIG-IP’s Edge gateway module.
- Data Management and Routing using F5’s ARX appliance, file system virtualisation.
All were very impressive and I will definitely be looking to dig a little deeper and examine in full some of the technology presented and discussed. I was particularly impressed with F5’s vision for data management / file level virtualisation, as they seem to be one of the only companies in this space that I am aware of. This vision was demonstrated to us as a mix of onsite primary tier 1 storage and off site cloud storage. The ARX appliance would sit as a director presenting a unified view of the storage to the end user, while internally keeping a routing table of up to a billion files. This will allow IT departments to place files across multiple types of storage, whether that be differing internal storage devices or storage in the cloud. The concept sits well with the current cloud strategies being developed by most major IT companies, what’s surprising is that nobody else is doing it. There is a lot more to be said about F5, I plan to delve a little deeper and write some more,
It’s been a very busy day, one however that has been exceptionally rewarding. Tech Field Day has been everything I expected it to be so far, there has been a wealth of information shared and a lot of feedback given. The biggest win for me though is getting the time to learn more about vendors and their product offerings, that and hearing the comments of my fellow delegates. There is a good mix of intelligent people from varied backgrounds and that has only added to the experience so far.
We ended the night with a tour of the Boeing museum of flight and a couple of drinks with dinner. It’s now midnight and after just 6 hours sleep last night and a busy schedule ahead for tomorrow, I am going to call it a night there.
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