DEC 15th, 2010 – updated a bit based on feedback.
Interest from customers on EMC VPLEX is very, very hot, and that’s keeping us very, very busy. Interest highlights that the core idea of active/active geographically dispersed transactional storage (“access anywhere”) is something people gravitate towards as they dream their next “active/active” virtualized datacenter dream.
The most common use case I see (admittedly, this will be biased towards things my team and I support) are stretched vSphere clusters.
The topic of geographically stretched vSphere clusters complex topic, and sometimes the customer doesn’t understand what they are asking for specifically, and sometimes we (the vendor community) don’t do a good job explaining the complexities involved.
Inter-site vMotion also makes for a SUPER COOL demo - and everyone loves a cool demo :-) Couple that with the first paragraph of this post (the core idea resonating), and you have every sales person’s dream – customers who start reaching for their checkbooks…
Put that all together – stir in new technology and new ideas that people don’t fully understand, and you have a recipe for bad stuff to happen :-)
Ok – most of the stuff from my article WAY BACK WHEN (still worth a read – wow 2.5 years later) around geographically stretched clusters still holds true.
I keep repeating myself (look in the QnA from this first big VPLEX post) – but it bears repeating: stretched vSphere clusters are possible, but you REALLY need to know what you’re doing.
At VMworld Copenhagen, I met with the VMware High Availability team (responsible for VM HA, VDR, SRM) over dinner. we discussed at length the confusion that exists in the market between disaster recovery, disaster avoidance, and the common refrain of “I could just script that”). Then we moved on to a more productive discussion – realizing that we collectively (VMware + storage vendor community) weren’t helping by not being explicit enough about the solution pros/cons, as well as the longer term direction EMC is taking.
Here’s my first stab at trying to helping and clarify – but it’s a long topic, so I’ve broken it into 3 posts.
In Part I of this post: I’m going to try to summarize the 4 major categories of Disaster Avoidance (“I know the hurricane is coming”) and Disaster Recovery (“oh oh, the hurricane hit, and my datacenter is dead”) and do it in a way that applies to multiple vendor solutions in this space.
This is important – I’ve found that with customers, they mentally seem to just “blend these all together” (heck, people mentally blur VM HA and vMotion!), but they are VERY distinct choices. Like all design choices - these 4 options always involve some trade off (doesn’t everything!). If you’re interested, I’m going to outline them in the simplest way I can, and I’ll highlight the pros/cons,
In Part II of this post: I’m going to explain what you need to know IF you pick the stretched vSphere cluster using VM HA using EMC VPLEX, with a particular focus on the “partition” state. Much of this will apply broadly to the category. I don’t claim to be an authority on other vendors’ storage platforms – but many of the considerations are intrinsic to vSphere.
In Part III of this post: I’m going to explain what the next couple of years look like in this space (both product development and R&D). As the VMware team and I discussed that dinner, we need to show people the path we’re working on if we want them to understand our advice today, tomorrow, and in the future.
It’s a nerdy (and long) journey – but if you’re in the market for vSphere in two or more sites, and looking for vMotion between sites AND disaster recovery, read on. I’ll try my best to keep it focused – it’s not a “sound bite” topic.