So – VPLEX Geo is now GA. For the first time, it’s possible to have active-active geographically dispersed storage models across Async distances (~50ms). It’s going to take some time for this to “sink in”.
The VPLEX Geo announcement is an the GA (and literally available now) of VPLEX GeoSynchronicity 5.0 (the software) and new VPLEX hardware (bigger, faster, stronger).
So – what does this mean in a nutshell?
- VPLEX now has a 3rd site witness option.
- The VPLEX Metro (synchronous) use cases with VMware have been hardened (partition behavior works much better now, and has been developed hand in hand with VMware folks working on the next version of vSphere). BTW – stretched vSphere clusters over async distances are, as of right now, still not supported though VPLEX Geo is out. Stay tuned for more on the topic.
- There’s a new class of options – where certain workloads can be active-active across asynchronous distances.
BUT – beyond that (which on its own is awesome and extends the “category creator” nature of VPLEX), there’s a lot more.
The core technology (distributed, coherent transactional cache) behind VPLEX is what we think of as a “foundational technology”. While it’s first manifestation is as a product (VPLEX) which virtualizes external storage and makes it active/active across geographic boundaries – it has MANY interesting applications. BTW – if you look at the Project Lightning blog post, you can imagine how the technology inside VPLEX could also help there.
But – here’s another FASCINATING idea of how it could be used. This is a real Proof-of-Concept developed by the EMC CTO office in conjunction with the VMware vmkernel team. It’s a response to an interesting customer challenge…
This customer runs large HPC workloads, and like many in their position, one frustration is that sometimes a job runs for several days, and then, before it finishes, a new job comes that MUST run immediately, making the days of prior work wasted.
They asked: 1) Could we capture distributed system state as “one big consistency group” – both the compute, memory, and dataset all together; 2) could we “push those workloads to a public cloud”. We said “sure, let us work on it”. Then, they added a tough twist: “we don’t want to ACTUALLY move our dataset to the cloud provider – but some of them would suck over a WAN – can you help with that too”
So… After developing a custom vSphere vmkernel that enabled capturing system state across many VMs with exact synchronicity and a dramatic acceleration of the snapshot and resumption process… we integrated in something REALLY cool – the ability to “push out” a virtual VPLEX (vVPLEX if you will) instance which presents the storage to the VMs as they are running in the cloud – without the dataset ever actually really existing at the service provider using VPLEX’s AccessAnywhere approach.
Check it out:
So – here’s an interesting question dear readers… This customized vmkernel would expose this “consistency group accelerated snapshot via an API” and could be used for all sorts of stuff. Right now, this may/may not ever make it in, the main question being “is this something customers would like, and partners would leverage, or is it just relegated to HPC?” I can think of MANY use cases, a ton of which cross all sorts of use cases.
But – would you want this to become a general vSphere capability?