Well, the “cut right to the chase” answer is more Ethernet.
I’m pretty satisfied looking back on my public record on this that I’ve been consistent. Started here. Then here. Then here. Of course, the “Multivendor” iSCSI and NFS posts. Ethernet will be the storage standard in almost all use cases. Just a matter of time.
I’m also happy to see that EMC’s is living up to the commitment that I put out there publicly here when we launched Ultraflex. That commitment then was that we were making I/O choice fluid, dynamic and modular – such that as new technologies arrive, as pricepoints hit sweet spots, and as standards make interop mature – our customers can non-disruptively add them to their existing arrays.
Customers who bought EMC gear with 4Gb FC could add 1GbE iSCSI at launch. Today they can add 8Gb FC, and 10GbE iSCSI and 10GbE NAS connectivity non-disruptively. This means all the thousands and thousands of customers can simply add the new protocols – no forklift, no downtime. Ultraflex modules are customer-installable. Commitment made, commitment delivered.
I think that that’s the sort of thing customers look for in vendors that want to be partners.
So – what’s next? Well, obviously FCoE. FCoE is still in it’s formative stages. Certain parts are mature, others are still coming along. Stu Miniman does great coverage of the current state of the union here. It is however mature enough to start using today – just use it first where it’s mature (host to switch). So what about end-to-end models?
We do think that FCoE is important to our customers – and know that they want it end-to-end. Like I’ve stated in the past – FCoE isn’t about “extending FC”, or “better/worse than iSCSI/NAS”. It’s not about “either/or” – it’s about “AND”. It’s about getting rid of any reason not to converge the networks. An FCoE adapter is more accurately described as a NIC that also does FCoE.
To that end, we’ve been working furiously on the standards body, in interop. We’re actively selling and supporting Cisco and Brocade’s FCoE/FC switches.
We intentionally didn’t put Gen1 ASICs in our array targets (even though we uniquely could have upgraded by just hotswaping to Gen2 Ultraflex modules). That would not have been customer-centric thinking – as it was just not ready. The Gen2 CNAs are now available in volume.
NOTE: for those of you adopting now on vSphere with Gen2 CNAs from Emulex and Qlogic – I have had a pop in the number of questions about Gen 2 CNAs on the EMC support matrix and the VMware HCL. They will be on the EMC October ESM update. Re: the VMware HCL, the interface vendors go through a IOVP certification harness with VMware, and the harness for vSphere and FCoE CNAs isn’t done. It’s a VERY high priority and is firm for Q4 (and will likely be soon).
So – what about end-to-end designs including the array target? Well – in the same way that at the CX4 launch, I posted a picture of the 10GbE and 8Gb UltraFlex engineering prototypes in the basement of my house (a weird thing perhaps, but highlights that it’s real and we’re not just talking smack), here is Ultraflex FCoE card.
There’s still work to be done – in engineering, in interop, in the standards (see Stu’s post). But….
Commitment made. No marketing-centric efforts here. Move forward with FCoE with confidence in your hosts and in your aggregation switches, and start making FCoE part of your plans. You will be able to use it with your EMC infrastructure. You can count on us to deliver array targets when the time is right.
Ok, the followup to my earlier post on the latest in the ongoing Oracle/VMware saga has to be heard to be believed. If you haven’t read the original, please go back there and start there.
So, I’m still not going to post the Oracle President’s email address (those furious enough can easily find it by looking at other posts). I’m also not going to post his original comments, which were paraphrased, so I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt (being a public face can be hard – trust me). But, I’ve seen the form response (clearly an automated response or a cut/paste based on some typos) – so I will put it here, it shows incredible insight into what we’re dealing with here.
If you’re curious – and who couldn’t be – read on…
I’ve asked the teams that do our webcasts to do a technical series – no product advertising, just the facts. These assume that you have the products, and are trying to get the most out of them – my kind of webcast.
If you have any of the following – these will be very good sessions. Click on the links to register.
Thursday, October 1, 2009 - 8 am PT / 11 am ET Learn more about EMC Symmetrix V-Max system features and functionality relevant to VMware vSphere environments, as well as new tools that support VMware data center products.
Thursday, October 15, 2009 - 8 am PT / 11 am ET Discover how Celerra can be used to deploy vSphere environments—including NFS, iSCSI, and Fibre Channel, as well as how to better protect and store vSphere data with Celerra.
Thursday, October 22, 2009 8 am PT / 11 am ET Learn how to achieve the long-term goal of service-level, policy-based control of the private cloud, focusing on today's technologies that can drive significant automation and efficiency benefits.
UPDATE: 9/23/2009, 12:07am EST – There’s another chapter in this saga here. If you haven’t read this, start by reading this, and then follow to the next chapter (the Oracle response).
Folks, you know that I’ve been on this fight for a while.
But today, the blogosphere is starting to light up – and I’m hoping it’s the beginning of the end.
The long and short is that Oracle senior execs are saying “no one is telling us that our support stance for VMware is a problem for them”. See posts at Yellow-Bricks here, OracleStorageGuy here, and NTPRO.NL (Eric Sloof) here.
Now, I’m not going to ask to flood that poor Oracle dude’s mailbox, but will ask you – dear reader – for action.
I’m not just an iSCSI-post-writing nerd (though am that guy too) – but for better or worse (sometimes it’s better, sometimes it’s worse :-), the buck stops with me when it comes to VMware-related things at EMC, and for our larger customers, this is one of the pain points.
We’ve been working behind the scenes on something we think might help with this situation. If you are a large enterprise customer, and are serious (no crazies please), I would like to bounce our proposal off you. The question is “does it make you more willing to virtualize Oracle on VMware if….”
If you’re serious about Oracle, and you’re serious about VMware – I want to talk to you. You can find my email address, or just post a comment (I will anonymously see your email address).
I need to talk to you about this in the next 2 weeks.
Thanks – and let’s not just take it – either follow the advice on the two posts I linked to, or if you want a more formal approach please reach out to me.
One of the most popular posts we’ve ever done was the original “A ‘Multivendor Post’ to help our mutual iSCSI customers using VMware” that focused on the operation of the software iSCSI initiator in ESX 3.5 with several iSCSI targets from multiple vendors. There’s been a lot of demand for a follow-up, so without further ado, here’s a multivendor collaborative effort on an update, which leverages extensively content from VMworld 2009 sessions TA2467 and TA3264. The post was authored by the following vendors and people: VMware (Andy Banta), EMC (Chad Sakac), NetApp (Vaughn Stewart), Dell/EqualLogic( Eric Schott), HP/Lefthand Networks (Adam Carter)
One important note – in this post (and going forward we’ll be trying to do this consistently) all commands, configurations and features noted apply to vSphere ESX and ESXi equally. Command line formats are those used in when using the VMware vMA, which can be used with both ESX and ESXi. Alternate command line variants are possible when using the remote CLI or service console, but we’re standardizing on the vMA.
This post covers a broad spectrum of topics surrounding the main point (changes in, and configuration of the iSCSI software initiator in vSphere ESX/ESXi 4) including:
Multipathing using NMP and the Pluggable Storage Architecture
Other configuration recommendations
If this sounds interesting – or you’re a customer using (or considering using!) iSCSI and vSphere 4 – read on!
So – we do an annual company-wide survey of the employees, and it gets rolled up by manager, functional group, and the whole company. We get a report with good/bad/ugly, that we then talk about with the team.
For the folks on my team – I just love you all – this “highest performing items” report is one of my proudest moments at EMC. The scale is on 1-5, and the 100% means that 100% of my team answered with the highest score against each of the questions.
Now, of course, there’s another sheet with “areas for improvement” – which come down to how hard they are all working and the constant need for more resources. I commit to redouble on both counts team, and again – thank you for your huge 2009 efforts!
There’s some internal dialog today on our “VMware Champions” and “CLARiiON Champions” EMC distribution lists – I want to share this with the outside world (customers/partners) – as it’s pertinent. While the second point (SRM and FLARE 29) is CLARiiON specific – the first point (ALUA and vSphere) is pertinent for multiple vendors (though I have written it up with a CLARiiON-specific bent and notes).
If you’re a CLARiiON customer, and using either vSphere or SRM – firstly thank you for being VMware and EMC customers!, secondly please read on…
Folks – the very popular VMware Applied Tech Guide for CLARiiON has been updated – please download it here. The author (Sheetal Kochavara) does an excellent job. It’s not a light read, but highly, HIGHLY recommended for VMware customers using CLARiiON.
In particular, note the sections on configuring multipathing, includig round robin, and ALUA in vSphere.
While I’m at it – Scott Lowe prompted me to pull up the “essentials” on EMC documentation with his post here. I commented on his post, but will also post here….
The most important place for EMC info is EMC.com (public) and Powerlink (customers, partners, EMC folks). I'd of course also subscribe to http://virtualgeek.typepad.com
NOTE: the search is REALLY stupid (yes, yes, working on it) - single keyword only. If you use more than a single keyword you get no results. Best way is to single-keyword search, limit to technical documentation, whitepaper and tech book (a techbook is the EMC version of an IBM redbook). Then, you can filter the results using a second set of terms which can be free search. For example, search for "Celerra", then filter results with "VMware" or "Best Practice". If you use "Site Recovery Manager" or "SQL Server" or "Exchange" as the filter, you will get the associated docs.
The opinions expressed here are my personal opinions. Content published here is not read or approved in advance by Dell Technologies and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Dell Technologies or any part of Dell Technologies. This is my blog, it is not an Dell Technologies blog.