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Ask the Expert: Managing your Software-Defined Data Center with ViPR

Mark

The phrase software-defined has recently become a popular buzz term.  What does software-defined mean?

 

  Join these EMC Experts for the first in a series of Ask the Expert  events to discuss:


Managing your Software-Defined Data Center with ViPR

  • How shifts in provisioning deliver storage service levels

 

  • What object on file to different storage types means to Global Data Services

 

  • Discuss how interoperability works between EMC’s Software-Defined Storage and other platforms

 

This discussion begins  on Monday,  May  13th  at 12 pm EST. Get ready by bookmarking this page or signing up for email notifications. The thread will be open and moderated through May 24th.

 

Your hosts:

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Mark Prahl is a high-tech business professional experienced in mobility, Internet, and storage technologies. Currently, he is a member of the Advanced Software Division at EMC working with software-defined storage, cloud computing, and infrastructure management software and more.


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Andrew Sirpis  has a bachelor of science from Bentley University in Finance and Information Technology.  He has been in the IT world for over a decade and has strong expertise in storage/SAN, replication, cloud, and virtualization technologies.  


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Brion Stultz  has been with EMC for over 12 years.  He has broad product experience in SAN hardware, virtualization, and storage management software.


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Puneet Lal is a Product Manager for the new Software Defined Storage product that is being developed by EMC Advanced Storage Division. He has over 22 years experience in software engineering and product management and over 15 years of industry experience in the storage, data protection, and storage management.  His experience includes engineering management, software architecture, building new products, product and portfolio strategy and taking products to market. Puneet holds an MBA degree from Northeastern University and MS in Computer Science from California State University

 

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Vinay Narayana  joined EMC in January 2001. Since joining, he has worked in various areas of Control Center and ProSphere developing automation and leading multiple teams. Vinay has a Master’s Degree in Computer Science from Virginia Commonwealth University. Vinay currently runs the Quality Engineering organization for EMC ViPR.

  • 1. Re: Ask the Expert: Managing your Software-Defined Data Center with ViPR
    John_F_Kim

    Does ViPR present underlying block/file storage as object or underlying object storage as block/file?  Or can it do both?

  • 2. Re: Ask the Expert: Managing your Software-Defined Data Center with ViPR
    Allen Ward

    Since storage virtualization products have been historically much easier to implement then they are to get back out of, I'm curious how this will work if you decide to back some (or all) of your systems out from under ViPR once you implement. With ViPR out of the actual block storage data path, is it just a matter of shutting ViPR down and pretending it was never there?

     

    Please understand, I'm not suggesting that there is something wrong with ViPR that would make you want to run screaming after implementation, but reality is that an implementation with no defined backout plan is not the easiest thing in the world to get through a proper Change Management process.

  • 3. Re: Ask the Expert: Managing your Software-Defined Data Center with ViPR
    Steve

    Hi experts,

     

    I have some questions, hope they are not too much.

     

    1. Is viPR a pure software? Is it installed on a general server or a dedicated appliance hardware?
    2. How to understand the virtualization of control path? Does it mean we only need a single mgmt. interface to access, configure viPR platform? If so, would we still retain a specific array's specific feature? How to use these feature as I don't think we could do them all in a single user interface?
    3. Another abstraction means another overhead is going to be added. For example, to leverage VPLEX for ViPR, we need to build logical storage object on another logical abstraction done by VLPLEX. Is the overhead too much in such cases?
    4. We have different hardware storage from different vendor, different access protocol (file, block, object), even different market range (low end, mid range, high end). Put all of these storage resources together into a single pool for customer consumption, how to guarantee performance and availability? Would we get performance inconsistency due to dispersed data location in terms of the different storage concepts just as I mentioned above (access protocol, market range, vendor)?

     

    thanks a lot!

  • 4. Re: Ask the Expert: Managing your Software-Defined Data Center with ViPR
    Puneet Lal

    All good questions

     

    1. Yes ViPR v1.0 is software-only. It is a vApp made up of multiple VMs (scale-out architecture) that you can run on an ESX cluster.
    2. ViPR provides a single control point for your storage infrastructure. To manage storage lifecycle, customers would create Virtual Storage Pools (VSP)in ViPR, for each VSP storage attributes need to be specified (e.g., FAST VP, RAID, # of paths etc), ViPR will then aggregate all physical storage array pools the match VSP attributes. ViPR then assumes the responsibility to find the right array and pool to satisfy a provisioning request that is made against a VSP.
    3. ViPR is not in the data path hence it does not add any latency when host reading/writing to a block device or a file system.
    4. ViPR has intelligent placement algorithms to distribute the load evenly. Customer can also add their policies so that placement is done based on their best practices / KPIs. But since ViPR is not in the data path it can’t throttle or guarantee IOPS.  

     

    Hope this helps

  • 5. Re: Ask the Expert: Managing your Software-Defined Data Center with ViPR
    Vinay

    Hi John_F_Kim,

     

    ViPR Object-on-File Data services is supported on NFS file storage only. Isilon, VNX file and NetApp are the only NFS storage systems that are supported in the first ViPR release. Block is not supported.

     

    Hope this helps

    Vinay

  • 6. Re: Ask the Expert: Managing your Software-Defined Data Center with ViPR
    Vinay

    Hi Allen,

     

    Glad to see you on the ViPR board. I interacted with you maybe a couple of years ago while I was working on ProSphere/CC.

     

    ViPR involves the following 3 steps in its usage:

    1. Discover and register the arrays

    2. Virtualize using ViPR constructs (i.e. create Virtual Storage Arrays and Virtual Storage Pools)

    3. Consume

     

    Removing ViPR from your environment just means that you will manage your storage devices like you did before implementing ViPR. There would be no impact to how you did things prior to using ViPR.

     

    Please let me know if you need further info.

     

    Vinay

  • 7. Re: Ask the Expert: Managing your Software-Defined Data Center with ViPR
    John_F_Kim

    Thanks, Vinay. After reading Chuck's Blog on ViPR, I realize it is designed to take NFS storage (the models you mentioned) and presents it as object storage via REST APIs or HDFS.

  • 8. Re: Ask the Expert: Managing your Software-Defined Data Center with ViPR
    Vinay

    Hi John,

     

    Glad to hear that you are reading up on ViPR. I would love to hear if there are any plans in your company around using ViPR Object or in general object storage.

     

    Feel free to share more thoughts/questions on ViPR.

    Vinay

  • 9. Re: Ask the Expert: Managing your Software-Defined Data Center with ViPR
    Steve

    Really nice reply, plal, I have some followings:


    1. Ok, so VMware ESX/ESXi is the only supported hypervisor to run ViPR, right?

     

    2.  So VSP is a customer-defined storage pool to meet different requirements on performance, availability (RAID) and etc.. Different VSP represents different grade of storage service it could provide, like Gold, Silver, Bronze or something like that...Is my understanding on VSP correct?

     

         A VSP's storage could be from different storage HW, like VMAX + VNX + Isilon, as long as they all match the same storage attributes defined for that VSP, right?

     

         Do we still need to create say native RAID Group or Pools on VNX-Block so that ViPR can discover different storage profile on a specific array to match storage attributes for different VSP? (Same question on other underlying storage arrays.)

     

    3.  I'm trying to understand the control path here...please let me know if the following understanding was correct:

     

         (1) ViPR doesn't like VPLEX which adds another abstraction (Storage Volume) above underlying storage array.

         (2) Where does host connect to? Still connect to the front end ports of the underlying storage array? If so, what if the requested storage is dispersed on different or all the arrays, which means the host needs connections to all the arrays. What if the storage requests change, which might need to reconfigure the connections. How ViPR handle such kind of dynamics?

         (3) What kind of storage object does ViPR present to the host? I mean that at least the hosts need to see something it could act on, like LUN on VNX, storage volume on VPLEX, right? If ViPR doesn't add another abstraction, how does the host see the exact object it could operate on?

     

    4. Hummm....looks like that the algorithms/policy here is the key thing to understand how ViPR present right storage resources to the host. I will come back to that later once I got any questions.

     

    Again, lots of questions....thanks a lot for help!!!

  • 10. Re: Ask the Expert: Managing your Software-Defined Data Center with ViPR
    Steve

    Hi Vinay,

     

    What if we need block and object storage? Doesn't ViPR support that?

  • 11. Re: Ask the Expert: Managing your Software-Defined Data Center with ViPR
    Vinay

    Hi,

     

    No, ViPR doesn't support block arrays for Object. Is there any specific use case that you have for exposing object on block? I would be interested to know.

     

    Vinay

  • 12. Re: Ask the Expert: Managing your Software-Defined Data Center with ViPR
    Steve

    No, I was not meaning block storage on object. I was talking about pure block storage, just like a LUN assignment to servers.

  • 13. Re: Ask the Expert: Managing your Software-Defined Data Center with ViPR
    Vinay

    Hi, Sorry I misunderstood your question. I think you are asking if ViPR supports block storage that involves provisioning to servers. If so, the answer is yes. ViPR supports block storage from VMAX and VNX (n and n-1 versions as of ViPR GA). Hope this helps

     

    Vinay

  • 14. Re: Ask the Expert: Managing your Software-Defined Data Center with ViPR
    Steve

    So currently, only EMC block storage is supported. The support for non-EMC storage is only for File or Object access, right?

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