Tag Archives: London

vRetreat February 2019- Secondary Storage with Cohesity

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the latest #vRetreat blogger event. This edition featured a day of presentations and labs from enterprise storage vendor Cohesity held at Chelsea Football Club in London. In my first blog post from the event I look at what Cohesity are doing to distinguish “Secondary Storage” from “Backup Storage”.IMG_20190222_105103399_sm

There’s a number of vendors on the market who can provide enterprises with a backup appliance and support for public cloud storage. Cohesity have looked at this and asked what other business operations can leverage this (comparatively) cheap storage media? I’ve heard their message of “we’re not backup, but secondary storage” before, but at this event the distinction really clicked with me.

IMG_20190222_110747824_smWhilst front-line production services often demand the best-performing storage possible, storage for backups doesn’t (hopefully) need to be accessed regularly and doesn’t require the speed of access that front line production systems might. Where possible organisations will purchase cheap(er) storage for this task, and this can lead to a separate backup storage silo.

If nearly 80 percent of stored data goes unused after 90 days then the majority of data on NAS/SAN filers also fits these access and performance characteristics, so why not combine the two and reduce the silo count? The Cohesity platform offers SMB and NFS, and can also function as an object store. This also helps justify the outlay on the storage for backup which, like an insurance policy, you hope to never actually need.

CohesitySimilarly test and development workloads can often (but not always) be run on lower performance storage than their production counterparts. Again these functions are looking for similar attributes to backup when it comes to storage- keep the cost/GB low and don’t impact on the performance of our primary production storage.

Cohesity’s DataPlatform consolidates the traditional backup storage platform along with the ability to spin out test and dev workloads directly from this data, whilst also providing host file and object storage. For example, when the primary storage is upgraded to all flash, the NAS or test workloads that don’t need this level of performance can use the Cohesity platform.1550869582007_sm

This was an interesting briefing, and for me this part definitely showed the potential for not thinking of your backup infrastructure solely as an insurance policy but continuing to find new ways to leverage that investment elsewhere in the IT function.

Please read my standard Declaration/Disclaimer and before rushing out to buy anything bear in mind that this article is based on a sales discussion at a sponsored event rather than a POC or production installation. I wasn’t paid to write this article or offered any payment, although Cohesity did sponsor the lunch, T-shirt, and stadium tour at the event. Attendees were also given a pair of bright green socks and matching branded shoelaces so you should be able to spot them.

London VMUG January 2017

Last week saw the first London VMware User Group of the year, another great meetup with many of the usual faces along with some new ones. This was another informative event at the TechUK site just off Fleet Street, and was again very community orientated. If you want to go and find out how people are using VMware products (and others in the surrounding ecosystem) then I’d thoroughly recommend these events- there’s just the right balance between real technical accounts direct from the coalface and marketing of new and interesting products Continue reading

VMUG Banner

VMUG London January 2016

The New Year brought a new venue and new committee members to the London VMUG meeting, now held at TechUK near Fleet Street. It was another great event, an informative and educational presentation of the latest and greatest in the VMware ecosystem without anyone pushing too hard for sales.

After some introductions and awards from the outgoing committee chair, the in-depth content started with a talk on endpoint security challenges and the solutions offered by Bitdefender presented by Solutions Architect Andrei Ionescu. With at least 12 million new malware detections every month keeping on top of protection is vital, but can get resource intensive- particularly with thousands of VM instances in environments such as VDI. The presentation covered how the scanning can be offloaded to a central, shared, resource within the Virtual Infrastructure and compared the benefits and downsides of using traditional “Fat” AV clients, Agentless solutions, and a “Light Agent” middle ground.

vSphere Core Storage Overview

vSphere Core Storage Overview presentation


Next up was Paudie O’Riordan giving an overview of vSphere’s Core Storage. A very interesting talk which touched on the history of features such as VMFS, UNMAP, NFS etc and the new and improved technologies coming to a Virtual Infrastructure near you soon. Highlights for me included the improvements to UNMAP (something I spend more time than I should using) including a pointer to William Lam’s blog on scheduling the function and new ways of dealing with APD (All Path Down) situations in vSphere.

Before lunch I saw Stuart Thompson (@Virtual_Stu) and Simon Greaves (@SiGreaves) give their “Full VMware Stack Deployment Case Study”. This was an impressive design, taking all the components from ESX to NSX, vRA to vSAN and everything imbetween, and deploying them at scale. I was amazed by the size of the management infrastructure that was produced by integrating all these components into the design.

Andrew Lawrence from Tegile gave a presentation entitled “Top 5 Reasons for Using Tegile with VMWare & How Barnsley College has Modernised Its VDI Environment”. Spending my days in an Education institution I was hoping for a bit more focus on the work in the College than we got, but it was still a productive session as Andrew took us through the benefits of a Caching Architecture over a Tiered one and how to increase IOPS and decrease capacity requirements by using their technology.

I followed this up with a session on vRealize Automation 7 with Atif Qadeer. Automation is a vital cornerstone of the Software Defined DataCentre (SDDC), the technology can present self-service provisioning of not just Virtual Machines, but the entire surrounding infrastructure- taking in storage with VSAN datastores, networking with NSX, and the application layer- deploying and preconfiguring applications. Once this is in place, an end-user can (if they are entitled to) go to a webpage and request a load-balanced WordPress deployment for example in a few clicks and vRA will deliver and configure the required components. Also of note was the post-install automation, the VM can be deployed with the user having snapshot rights for example.

vRealize Automation Presentation

vRealize Automation Presentation

The day was finished off with an “Ask the Experts Panel”. It’s great after a day like this where my brain and notebook get filled up with not just solutions but more questions to be able to tap into the knowledge of the community. I even got some pointers on an upcoming vSphere upgrade I have planned, sparking further discussions at the 10Zig sponsored #vBeers afterwards.

The next London VMware User Group is in April, see you there?

Hitachi Information Forum

A couple of pics from the Hitachi Information Forum event at the Emirates Stadium, home of Arsenal Football Club, yesterday.