Includes iSCSI, Fibre Channel or FC, InfiniBand or IB, SMI-S, RDMA over IP, FCoE, CEE, SAS, SCSI, NPIV, SSD.
All technologies relating to storage and servers are covered in this section. Taneja Group analysts have deep technology and business backgrounds and several have participated in the development of several of these technologies. We take pride in explaining complex technologies in a simple enough manner for IT, the press community and the industry at large to understand.
The era of IT infrastructure convergence is upon us. Over the past few years Integrated Computing systems – the integration of compute, networking, and storage - have burst onto the scene and have been readily adopted by large enterprise users. The success of these systems has been built by taking well-known IT workloads and combining it with purpose built integrated computing systems optimized for that particular workload. Example workloads today that are being integrated to create these systems are Cloud, Big Data, Virtualization, Database, VDI or even combinations of two or more.
In the past putting these workload solutions together meant having or hiring technology experts with multiple domain knowledge expertise. Integration and validation could take months of on-premise work. Fortunately, technology vendors have matured along with their Integrated Computing systems approach, and now practically every vendor seems to be touting one integrated system or another focused on solving a particular workload problem. The promised set of business benefits delivered by these new systems fall into these key areas:
· Implementation efficiency that accelerates time to realizing value from integrated systems
· Operational efficiency through optimized workload density and an ideally right sized set of infrastructure
· Management efficiency enabled by an integrated management umbrella that ties all of the components of a solution together
· Scale and agility efficiency unlocked through a repeatedly deployable building block approach
· Support efficiency that comes with deeply integrated, pre-configured technologies, overarching support tools, and a single vendor support approach for an entire-set of infrastructure
In late 2013, HP introduced a new portfolio offering called HP ConvergedSystem – a family of systems that includes a specifically designed virtualization offering. ConvergedSystem marked a new offering, designed to tackle key customer pain points around infrastructure and software solution deployment, while leveraging HP’s expertise in large scale build-and-integration processes to herald an entirely new level of agility around speed of ordering and implementation. In this profile, we’ll examine how integrated computing systems marks a serious departure from the inefficiencies of traditional order-build-deploy customer processes, and also evaluate HP’s latest advancement of these types of systems.
Storage performance has long been the bane of the enterprise infrastructure. Fortunately, in the past couple of years, solid-state technologies have allowed new comers as well as established storage vendors to start shaping up clever, cost effective, and highly efficient storage solutions that unlock greater storage performance. It is our opinion that the most innovative of these solutions are the ones that require no real alteration in the storage infrastructure, nor a change in data management and protection practices.
This is entirely possible with server-side caching solutions today. Server-side caching solutions typically use either PCIe solid-state NAND Flash or SAS/SATA SSDs installed in the server alongside a hardware or software IO handler component that mirrors commonly utilized data blocks onto the local high speed solid-state storage. Then the IO handler redirects server requests for data blocks to those local copies that are served up with lower latency (microseconds instead of milliseconds) and greater bandwidth than the original backend storage. Since data is simply cached, instead of moved, the solution is transparent to the infrastructure. Data remains consolidated on the same enterprise infrastructure, and all of the original data management practices – such as snapshots and backup – still work. Moreover, server-side caches can actually offload IO from the backend storage system, and can allow a single storage system to effectively serve many more clients. Clearly there’s tremendous potential value in a solution that can be transparently inserted into the infrastructure and address storage performance problems.
The age of the software defined datacenter (SDDC) and converged infrastructure is upon us. The benefits of abstracting, pooling and running compute, storage and networking functions together on shared commodity hardware brings unprecedented agility and flexibility to the datacenter while driving actual costs down. The tectonic shift in the datacenter caused by software-defined storage and networking will prove to be as great as, and may prove to be greater than, the shift to virtualized servers during the last decade. While software-defined networking (SDN) is still in its infancy, software-defined storage (SDS) has been developing for quite some time.
LeftHand Networks (now HP StoreVirtual) released its first iSCSI VSA (virtual storage appliance) in 2007, which brought the advantages of software-based storage to small and midsize company environments. LeftHand Networks’ VSA was a virtual machine that hosted a software implementation of LeftHand’s well-regarded iSCSI hardware storage array. Since that time many other vendors have released VSAs, but none have captured the market share of HP’s StoreVirtual VSA. But the release of VMware Virtual SAN (VSAN) in March of 2014 could change that as VSAN, with the backing of the virtualization giant, is poised to be a serious contender in the SDS marketplace. Taneja Group thought that it would be interesting to take a closer look at how a mature, well regarded and widely deployed SDS product such as HP StoreVirtual VSA compares to the newest entry in the SDS market: VMware’s VSAN.
The observations we have made for both products are based on hands-on lab testing, but we do not consider this a Technology Validation exercise because we were not able to conduct an apples-to-apples comparison between the offerings, primarily due to the limited hardware compatibility list (HCL) for VMware VSAN. However, the hands-on testing that we were able to conduct gave us a very good understanding of both products. Both products surprised and, more often than not, did not disappoint us. In an ideal world without budgetary constraints, both products may have a place in your datacenter, but they are not by any means interchangeable. We found that one of the products would be more useful for a variety of datacenter storage needs, including some tier 1 use cases, while the other is more suited today to supporting the needs some of tier 2 and tier 3 applications.
Two big trends are driving IT today. One, of course, is big data. The growth in big data IT is tremendous, both in terms of data and in number of analytical apps developing in new architectures like Hadoop. The second is the well-documented long-term trend for critical resources like CPU and memory to get cheaper and denser over time. It seems a happy circumstance that these two trends accommodate each other to some extend; as data sets grow, resources are also growing. It's not surprising to see traditional scale-up databases with new in-memory options coming to the broader market for moderately-sized structured databases. What is not so obvious is that today an in-memory scale-out grid can cost-effectively accelerate both larger scale databases as well as those new big data analytical applications.
A robust in-memory distributed grid combines the speed of memory with massive horizontal scale-out and enterprise features previously reserved for disk-orienting systems. By transitioning data processing onto what's really now an in-memory data management platform, performance can be competitively accelerated across the board for all applications and all data types. For example, GridGain's In-Memory Computing Platform can functionally replace both slower disk-based SQL databases and accelerate unstructured big data processing to the point where formerly "batch" Hadoop-based apps can handle both streaming data and interactive analysis.
While IT shops may be generally familiar with traditional in-memory databases - and IT resource economics are shifting rapidly in favor of in-memory options - less known about how an in-memory approach is a game-changing enabler to big data efforts. In this report, we'll first briefly examine Hadoop and it's fundamental building blocks to see why high performance big data projects, those that are more interactive, real-time, streaming, and operationally focused have needed to continue to look for yet newer solutions. Then, much like the best in-memory database solutions, we'll see how GridGain's In-Memory Hadoop Accelerator can simply "plug-and-play" into Hadoop, immediately and transparently accelerating big data analysis by orders of magnitude. We'll finish by evaluating GridGain's enterprise robustness, performance and scalability, and consider how it enables a whole new set of competitive solutions unavailable over native databases and batch-style Hadoop.
All Flash Arrays (AFAs) are plentiful in the market. At one level all AFAs deliver phenomenal performance compared to an HDD array. But comparing AFAs to an HDD-based system is like comparing a Ford Focus to a Lamborghini. The comparison has to be inter-AFAs and when one looks under the hood one finds the AFAs in the market vary in performance, resiliency, consistency of performance, density, scalability and almost every dimension one can think of.
An AFA has to be viewed as a business transformation technology. A well-designed AFA, applied to the right applications will not only speed up application performance but by doing so enable you to make fundamental changes to your business. It may enable you to offer new services to your customers. Or serve your current customers faster and better. Or improve internal procedures in a way that improves employee morale and productivity. To not view an AFA through the business lens would be missing the point.
In this Product Profile we describe all the major criteria that should be used to evaluate AFAs and then look at Violin’s new entry, Concerto 7000 All Flash Array to see how it fares against these measures.
There are a lot of game-changing trends in IT today including mobility, cloud, and big data analytics. As a result, IT architectures, data centers, and data processing are all becoming more complex – increasingly dynamic, heterogeneous, and distributed. For all IT organizations, achieving great success today depends on staying in control of rapidly growing and faster flowing data.
While there are many ways for IT technology and solution providers to help clients depending on their maturity, size, industry, and key business applications, every IT organization has to wrestle with BURA (Backup, Recovery, and Archiving). Protecting and preserving the value of data is a key business requirement even as the types, amounts, and uses of that data evolve and grow.
For IT organizations, BURA is an ever-present, huge, and growing challenge. Unfortunately, implementing a thorough and competent BURA solution often requires piecing and patching together multiple vendor products and solutions. These never quite fully address the many disparate needs of most organizations nor manage to be very simple or cost-effective to operate. Here is where we see HP as a key vendor today with all the right parts coming together to create a significant change in the BURA marketplace.
First, HP is pulling together its top-notch products into a user-ready “solution” that marries both StoreOnce storage and Data Protector. For those working with either or both of those separately in the past in conjunction with other vendor’s products, it’s no surprise that they each compete favorably one-on-one with other products in the market, but together as an integrated joint solution they beat the best competitor offerings.
But HP hasn’t just bundled products into solutions, it is undergoing a seismic shift in culture that revitalizes its total approach to market. From product to services to support, HP people have taken to heart a “customer first” message to provide a truly solution-focused HP experience. One support call, one ticket, one project manager, addressing the customer’s needs regardless of what internal HP business unit components are in the “box”. And significantly, this approach elevates HP from just being a supplier of best-of-breed products into an enterprise-level trusted solution provider addressing business problems head-on. HP is perhaps the only company completely able to deliver a breadth of solutions spanning IT from top to bottom out of their own internal world-class product lines.
In this report, we’ll examine first why HP StoreOnce and Data Protector products are truly game-changing on their own rights. Then, we will look at why they get even “better together” as a complete BURA solution that can be more flexibly deployed to meet backup challenges than any other solution in the market today.