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In early May at EMC World 2015, EMC announced new updates to the EMC VMAX3, the industry's leading data service platform, fundamentally changing what has been possible with enterprise storage by delivering new levels of automation, modernization and consolidation to customers. EMC is extending enterprise data services to multiple platforms with the launch of FAST.X, automating storage tiering across the data center.

 

VMAX3 is a radically new approach to enterprise storage architecture, separating software-based data services from the underlying hardware, allowing the hallmark VMAX capabilities – local replication, remote replication, and storage tiering – to extend to other platforms from EMC and third-party vendors. VMAX3 also dramatically simplifies management at scale through service level objectives (SLOs), improving overall staff productivity and allowing them to focus on the needs of the business, rather than the management of technology.

 

This VMAX3 data service platform architecture allows customers to build a flexible storage infrastructure in which decisions are not bound by what is possible within a single "frame". Customers can now choose the optimal platform for each workload while consistently protecting and managing them based on their service levels, using industry-leading VMAX capabilities.

EMC is announcing an expanded set of VMAX3 data services and capabilities that further automate, consolidate and protect mission-critical IT operations.  Key highlights include:

 

  • VMAX3 Introduces FAST.X – Next Wave of Storage Tiering  VMAX3 offers automated tiering beyond and across the data center with FAST.X, extending enterprise data services to multiple platforms and extending service level objectives from VMAX3 to other storage devices.
  • ViPR Controller and VMAX3 Integration  VMAX3 integration with EMC® ViPR® Controller software allows organizations to automate delivery of differentiated classes of storage services through the ViPR Controller self-service catalog. EMC is showing a proof of concept of ViPR Controller running in a VMAX3 guest container for simple SDDC deployment.
  • Automated Storage Tiering to XtremIO  VMAX3 integration with EMC® XtremIO™ flash storage allows customers to benefit from the data reduction of XtremIO while leveraging VMAX3's reliability and simplicity. EMC is also previewing an option to purchase a VMAX3 platform with integrated XtremIO X-Brick™ building blocks for easier deployment and management of low latency, compressed data tiers.
  • Automated Storage Tiering to the Cloud  VMAX3 integration with EMC® CloudArray® cloud-integrated storage moves less active workloads to more cost-efficient cloud storage resulting in up to 40% lower storage costs and highly scalable back-end capacity.
  • VMAX3 Active-Active ReplicationLater this year, VMAX3 will deliver active-active high availability for non-stop data access and resource balancing with newly enhanced SRDF®/Metro™ functionality.

 

 

Oracle Database OLTP applications tend to be mission-critical, with low I/O latency requirements, Enterprise Flash drives or even All-Flash-Array can dramatically increase performance for these applications.  However, to get the maximum benefit from Flash drives or All-Flash-Array, without increasing total cost of ownership (TCO), administrators must continually identify and place only the most active data on these devices.

 

 

The traditional VMAX FAST VP storage tiering has evolved over the past years from a completely manual process to the automatic process.  FAST VP in conjunction with Oracle database provides benefits such as increasing storage utilization, enhance capability and flexibility for deploying Oracle database throughout the entire range of business application from mission-critical to test and development, support wide range of performance and reliability at minimum cost.  FAST VP integrates very well with Oracle database to optimize performance of data files, indexes, and at times even temp files within the single VMAX frame.

 

 

 

FAST.X fully automates data movement to storage across the data center and to the public cloud. It extends trusted VMAX3 data services to those assets, allowing them to leverage our industry-leading RAS and software functionality as well as our radically simple, business-oriented service level objective (SLO) management.

 

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VMAX3 tiering to EMC XtremIO with FAST.X combines XtremIO data efficiency (6:1 data compression with de-dupe) with VMAX data services offering the ultimate high performance/high availability platform for mixed workloads. VMAX3 tiering to public or private cloud with FAST.X and EMC CloudArray also allows customers to take advantage of the cloud’s greater scalability, lower costs and reduced maintenance.

 

 

With VMAX3, EMC is pioneering new storage-tiering strategies, taking services honed in the VMAX family and applying it to other storage platforms – and even the cloud.  We hope that the flexibility, automation and control this offers, will empower organizations to make swift strides in their journey to transform their IT infrastructures in order to take advantage of new opportunities to redefine their business.

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In this first of a 3-part blog series discussing announcements at the recent EMC World 2015 conference in Las Vegas, I want to focus on what is described as “software-defined”, that is actually rooted in the commoditization of hardware-based solutions.

 

As EMC’s Federation Chairman and CEO is known to say, “we live in interesting times”, we do indeed, the Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) as first envisioned by VMware is becoming a reality – what does it mean for us? As DBAs and System Admins working in today’s traditional IT environments, we are familiar with Storage Arrays (VMAX, VNX, XtremIO) and Archive/Backup Appliances (Avamar, Data Domain, Isilon). So, let’s consider a traditional Admin’s journey to the SDDC.

 

With the advent of the Software-Defined Data Center, attention is shifting in IT from achieving consolidation and efficiency from Server Virtualization to making a fully automated, zero-downtime Cloud infrastructure a reality.

 

Today, EMC’s Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud (EHC) solutions are delivering on the promise of the Software Defined Data Center to those ready to explore and embrace a journey to IDC’s Third Platform of IT, we are also seeing some very interesting shifts in IT to embrace IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) and Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) using EMC’s EHC solutions and Oracle's Enterprise Manager 12c.

 

From a traditional IT standpoint, the introduction of vVNX Community Edition and virtual Data Domain (vDD) give you the possibility to establish known modes of IT with VNX and Data Domain being able to be deployed within your VMware vSphere infrastructure.

 

Particularly with vDD, the opportunity to establish Data Domain running as a VM in a remote location syncing back to a central Data Domain DD9500 opens up new architecture design possibilities for protection storage.

 

Further, with the availability of a FREE unlimited-use Community Edition of EMC’s ScaleIO, massively-scalable, software-defined storage software, you now have the opportunity to re-deploy existing hardware and establish a new storage paradigm within your data centers, at no cost for dev/test environments – how great is that!

 

Let me know your thoughts on these developments, there’s much more detail to come with the next two blogs in this series, not least the announcement of VCE’s VxRack rack-scale hyper-converged infrastructure and the preview of EMC’s DSSD – the future of rack-scale flash with microsecond latencies!

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On May 04, 2015 VCE Unveils VxRack:Industry's First Hyper-Converged Rackscale System. VCE is the market leader of converged architecture VCE is the market leader of the converged infrastructure which integrates the previous “technical silos” of compute, network and storage by simplifying and transforming IT processes and operations. Now let us try to understand what has triggered the emergence of the Hyper Converged Rackscale System.

 

As mentioned earlier, converged architecture helped us to consolidate the different components of the infrastructure (like compute, networking, storage) which were operating in silos .Furthermore it has also helped us to simplify the process of consolidation, management and scalability of the infrastructure. Now we have the 3rd platform applications – which are very much in cloud and largely tied to the megatrends of mobile computing and social media and by this it gives rise to a new phenomenon where all the complexities in the IT infrastructure and operations are taken care by the software defined storage. Earlier we saw many data services were incorporated into storage arrays, Storage array network fabrics and compute blade systems to provide business continuity, disaster recovery and data protection capabilities. But now , we see that the hyper-converged appliances are used with software defined storage, clustered together through high speed ethernet switches which help us to get the greater economies of scale, scalability, performance and rovisioning speed which organizations are craving for .  

 

VCE VxRack System 1000 Series represent the path to highly scalable platform 3 and XaaS for distributed tier 2 applications to deploy hyper-converged offerings that can start small and scale to many thousands of servers. In other words, it is a new hyper-converged offering where self-contained units of servers and networking are well-suited for the rapid growth in next-generation applications incorporating alternate software-defined storage technologies, a choice of hypervisors, and bare metal workloads. It can start with just the right number of nodes for the business need—especially tier-2 mixed workloads, third platform applications, and anything as-a-service. As the business/environment expands, more nodes are re added, scaling from a couple of terabytes to multiple petabytes. VCE hyper-converged infrastructure provides many of the benefits (as stated below) while enabling a pay-as-you-grow consumption model. The 3 major benefits are:-

 

  • Ultimate Agility and Simplicity, Accelerating Time-to-Value
  • Flexible Scale to Align with Business Growth
  • Mitigating Business and IT Risk

 

The first version of the hyper-converged infrastructure product is the VCE VxRack™ System 1032. It combines EMC ScaleIO software on servers with an integrated 10 GB network Switches. EMC ScaleIO software makes it easy to scale the VxRack System 1032. Each rack can contain storage and compute, or just storage only node types. If a growing application needs more storage only, for example, provision software-based storage using EMC ScaleIO. The ability to configure just the right amount of each resource makes hyper-converged infrastructure highly efficient. And the integrated 10 GB network switches keep the network from limiting growth. The VCE VxRack™ System 1000 series supports multiple hypervisors and non-virtualized bare-metal deployments—depends on the requirements of the customers. And the VCE VxRack System 1000 series can participate in the VCE Vscale™ Architecture and scale with it, allowing consistent operations and management throughout the data center.

 

Big data has put a big squeeze on businesses, as data grows much faster than IT budgets: Gartner forecasted a worldwide overall IT spending increase of only 2.4% for 2015, while mobile data traffic is  rising over 59% each year. This is turning to be an ominous challenge for Oracle Database DBAs who are looking for ways to handle exploding data volumes while reducing costs, increasing scalability, maintaining performance and also enhancing the high database availability. It is becoming an interesting trend for the organizations to manage both databases and budgets, especially with Oracle databases, which is ruling the roost. Scaling Oracle solutions is not only difficult and expensive but to manage large volumes and with greater IOPS/performance may be challenging.

Here comes the VxRack which not only scales-out on commodity hardware but also allows  customers to use own choice of hypervisors and storage. For businesses already utilizing Oracle Database, the two most common scaling options are RAC and Exadata, which are expensive. The shortcomings of RAC is that here the storage is shared and therefore creates bottleneck for scaling scenarios and in case of Exadata , there are many shortcomings.

 

In the end, I would like to say that VxRack Systems are fully software-defined leveraging ScaleIO storage and including built-in networking to ensure seamless networking to ensure seamless scaling. Database teams will be interested in the capability to decouple scaling of compute and storage enabling them to balance the VxRack system to meet the demands of their applications. Key benefits include:

 

 

  • A VxRack System offers flexibility by enabling customer to choose hypervisors like VMware vSphere, KVM, or bare metal.
  • Customer can choose to use Cisco top of rack Nexus switching and can optionally incorporate factory integration of VMware’s vRealize management and orchestration suite.
  • A VxRack System offering tailored for VMware environments offers a fully integrated VMware stack based on VMware’s EVO:RACK technology and VMware’s virtual SAN.

 

The VxRACK systems are ideal for database teams looking for a solution with massive scale, cost optimization, ease of management, and can be used in minutes after delivery. This is the ideal platform to use with VMware’s vRealize suite that can enable quick delivery of Database-as-a-Service. Availability for VxRack Systems will be orderable in July and will begin shipping in the third quarter.  Please contact your local EMC/VCE rep. for procurement and for further details on VxRACK.

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#Oracle #Exadata - Time to think part 4.

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In my last blog, I was talking about the 2 products in converged architecture/engineered product segment viz. VCE's Vblock and Oracle's Exadata. We know that VCE's Vblock is the market leader in the converged architecture segment and found out that there are lots of positives to use Vblock vis-à-vis Oracle's Exadata. In this blog I am going to delve deep into the comparison issue again.

 

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Exadata is a standard, off-the-shelf server and networking technology, which runs the standard, off-the-shelf Oracle12c database and Oracle RAC. The only thing different about the Oracle database on Exadata is that it has code inside it that can detect the Exadata storage cell servers and communicate with them. That’s it. You can run this same database(RAC or non-RAC) on EMC XtremIO or Vblock and get the same value at a much cheaper way.

 

The most important thing to remember is that the Exadata “Accelerators” are not predictable and depend on a certain workload to enable the following technologies: Smart Scans, Indexes, HCC & Flash Cache all may work and sometimes may not depending on the workload environment. For example, HCC, Indexes & Smart Scans (restricted to full table scans and fast full index scan operations) only apply for data warehouses. Flash Cache can apply for OLTP but you only get so much flash cache before we like to resort to back-end disk. Unfortunately, customers are paying 60% of their money for Exadata accelerators and not sure whether they will get their “value for money”. The rest of the Exadata stuff is standard off-the-shelf hardware we can run on XtremIO alone or in a Vblock. In other words, we can run the exact same Oracle Database on the top of compute & networking (like Exadata) on Vblock when we are not sure of the value of “Exadata Accelerators”.

 

Vblock Systems optimizes services for a converged infrastructure and integrates directly into VMware technologies. VCE Vision Intelligent Operations also provide an extensible API for leading management tools to protect investments in existing management frameworks. It is also optimized in the factory for the cloud and oracle infrastructure. In Exadata, customers need to perform rigorous manipulation of the hidden parameters and init.ora parameters to attain the above objective. Sometimes after many rounds of trail and errors the desired performance level may not be achieved.

 

While Oracle is a tremendous technology at the database level,  VCE(Vblock) can do a better job running it at the infrastructure level.
Vblock provides higher IOPS at lower price than Oracle's hardware does. While VCE (Vblock) can be used as a viable solution for the infrastructure below Oracle databases, it can still be used as a general-purpose system, which makes Vblock much flexible to Exadata which is to be used with Oracle database only.


In short, Customers want to be able to run other applications on these machines, not just databases  .So, its high time that the customers would like to think whether they would like to continue using Exadata in the long run or start using Vblock. It is also the time to think hard and really know your current and future workloads if you are evaluating an Exadata solution.  It may cause you to lock-in on technology that will not return value to the business with respect to business process and performance .

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