StarWind/Mellanox Add Datacenter Storage Efficiency

May 7th, 2011 by jason 1 comment »

Press Release:

StarWind iSCSI SAN software coupled with Mellanox Ethernet-based high speed end-to-end infrastructure accelerates storage networking connectivity and lowers overall power consumption

StarWind SAN iSCSI software running over a Mellanox ConnectX®-2 40GE networking solution provides better performance, high availability (HA) and redundant iSCSI storage solutions at 40Gb/s bandwidth and high IOPS.

Burlington, Mass. – April 27, 2011StarWind Software, a global leader and a pioneer in SAN software for building iSCSI storage servers, today announced that StarWind SAN iSCSI software has achieved a record level of 27 Gb/s throughput and 350K IOPs running over a Mellanox ConnectX®-2 40GE networking solution.

StarWind has recently conducted the test under Mellanox Enterprise Datacenter’s initiative where the following testing configuration has been used: 3 servers of Zorro (HP DL380 G6 with 2*167GB disks, 24GB RAM, 8 cores); 6 Mellanox HCAs with 40Gb/s single port, 2 HCAs in each server; connected with 3 subnets, copper QSFP cables; OS: Windows 2008 Server R2.

Testing showed StarWind software has achieved record connectivity performance:

  • With the non-HA configuration (one node of the HA cluster and the client were performing I/O through the single 40Gb/s connection in both directions utilizing full-duplex Ethernet connection) the cluster got 25Gb/s of an iSCSI traffic (due to PCIe Gen 2 system limitations full 40Gb/s wire speed has not been reached). More than 300K IOPs at 25Gb/s have been achieved with 16 clients using StarWind iSCSI SAN software.
  • The full HA (two nodes: HA 1 and HA 2 processed requests served under Round-Robin) has achieved the same results as the non-HA configuration, but with more workers and deeper I/O queue.

In the near future 40Gb NIC will provide four times higher performance compared to 10Gb NIC for the same price.

“We thank Mellanox Technologies for helping StarWind iSCSI SAN software to continue setting new performance records. Just one year ago StarWind was used in the iSCSI performance tests by Microsoft and Intel, achieving a groundbreaking one million I/Os per second,” said StarWind’s CEO Artem Berman. “StarWind Technology Alliance Program builds relationships with best of breed technology companies to align technology, create leading solutions and help customers adopt our collective products.”

For more information on the test and performance benefits using StarWind iSCSI SAN software version 5.6 with Mellanox ConnectX-2 EN Adapters plus 10Gb/s or higher speeds (preferably 40Gb/s), for current and future x86 servers along with PCIe Gen2 and PCIe Gen 3-enabled systems, visit: http://www.mellanox.com/pdf/case_studies/CS_StarWind2.pdf

About Mellanox Technologies
Mellanox Technologies (NASDAQ:MLNX, TASE:MLNX) is a leading supplier of end-to-end InfiniBand and Ethernet connectivity solutions and services for servers and storage. Mellanox products optimize data center performance and deliver industry-leading bandwidth, scalability, power conservation and cost-effectiveness while converging multiple legacy network technologies into one future-proof architecture. The company offers innovative solutions that address a wide range of markets including HPC, enterprise, mega warehouse data centers, cloud computing, Internet and Web 2.0.

Founded in 1999, Mellanox Technologies is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California and Yokneam, Israel.

About StarWind Software Inc.
StarWind Software is a global leader in storage management and SAN software for small and midsize organizations. The flagship product of StarWind is SAN software that turns any industry-standard Windows Server into a fault-tolerant, fail-safe iSCSI SAN. StarWind iSCSI SAN is qualified for use with VMware, Hyper-V, XenServer, and also with Linux and Unix environments. StarWind Software is focused on providing small and midsize organizations with affordable, high availability storage technology that previously was only available in high-end storage hardware. Advanced enterprise-class features in StarWind include Automated HA Storage Node Failover and Failback (High Availability), Replication across a WAN, Snapshots, Thin Provisioning and Virtual Tape management.

Since 2003, StarWind has pioneered the iSCSI SAN software industry and is the solution of choice for over 30,000 customers worldwide in over 100 countries, from small and midsize companies to governments and Fortune 1000 companies.

For more information on StarWind Software Inc., visit: www.starwindsoftware.com

VMUG Advantage

May 6th, 2011 by jason 2 comments »

SnagIt CaptureHave you seen the new VMware User Group website?  As a VMUG member or a VMware enthusiast, you need to made aware of a limited time offer which is tied to a new exclusive offer available to VMUG members only.  I’m going to introduce the program in more detail at the May 20th Minneapolis VMUG but you need to know about this offer now because there is an opportunity to purchase the package at a discount between now and May 21, 2011.

  • VMUG Advantage (click the link & view the major benefits) is a new, exclusive offering for all VMUG members around the world.
  • VMUG Advantage provides you an opportunity to enhance your VMware experience and knowledge through specific offers for training, VMworld and product licenses for VMware Workstation and VMware Fusion.
  • Be the first to experience these great offers with VMUG Advantage promotional pricing.
  • Purchase in the first 60 days (now through May 21), and save even more!
  • In a time where the term “return on investment” is more important than ever, VMUG Advantage delivers. Save upwards of USD $1,700 while increasing your knowledge and network.

Shown below is the calculated savings when purchasing now versus waiting until after 5/21:

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VMUG Advantage isn’t for everyone.  Click the earlier VMUG Advantage link and view the benefits.  Depending on your VMware spend for 2011, the discounts you achieve may more than pay for the cost of the VMUG Advantage subscription.  However, if you aren’t planning on a VMworld trip or if you don’t need the eLearning, VMUG Advantage may not be a worthwhile membership for you.  At any rate, you owe it to yourself and your budget to check it out.  There may be something in there for you.

Updated 5/8/11: Following is the list of titles in the All Access eLearning bundle:

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Open Source for Managing Cloud – Developer/Administrator Meetup May 18th

May 5th, 2011 by jason 1 comment »

Event: Open Source for Managing Cloud – Developer/Administrator Meetup May 18th

Just a quick heads up on an upcoming event which was brought to my attention by Steve Jin.  A meetup to be held in Palo Alto is scheduled for folks who would like to discuss cloud management with open source tools.  Although the meetup is being held at VMware HQ, live remote access is being made available to those who register.

When:
May 18, 2011, 6:30PM to 9:00PM PDT

Location:
Building C Café
3401 Hillview Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94304
* Online access links will be emailed to registerers. *

Speakers/Panelists:
Jeff Hu, Principal Engineer at VMware
Steve Jin, Author of VMware VI and vSphere SDK, Creator of open source VI Java API
Giridhar Padmanabh, Sr. Director of newScale
William Lam, vExpert 2010/2009, Creator of vGhetto project
Boris Strongin, VP Engineering, Hytrust
Dave Briccetti, Independent consultant, opensource Lift framework committer

Register:
http://www.doublecloud.org/event-registration/

More Details:
http://www.doublecloud.org/2011/04/mark-your-calendar-for-our-first-community-event/

VMTurbo Free Performance and Efficiency Reporter

May 4th, 2011 by jason No comments »

Press Release:

VMTurbo Announces Availability of Free Performance and Efficiency Reporter

Reporting joins Monitoring application as a complimentary, useful productivity tool that provides valuable insight into virtual environments

Valhalla, NY, May 4, 2011 — VMTurbo, provider of software to analyze, optimize and control the virtualized data center, today announced free, immediate availability of VMTurbo Performance and Efficiency Reporter. Available for download at the VMTurbo site, VMTurbo Performance and Efficiency Reporter joins VMTurbo Monitoring as a complimentary, useful productivity tool that provides valuable insight into the virtual environment.

With its breakthrough real time workload management algorithm, VMTurbo assures the performance of the applications running in the virtualized environment while utilizing the underline infrastructure as efficiently as possible. VMTurbo “ties the viewing with the doing” by proactively providing corrective actions for any potential performance bottleneck as well as workload placement and configuration actions to maximize resources utilization. Furthermore, leveraging the same algorithm for planning, VMTurbo maximizes the ROI from the virtualized environment in real time and all the time.

“The real value of VMTurbo is its ability to automate and optimize the virtual environment in real time, so it makes sense to give away both our monitoring dashboard and performance reports, which are really just table setters for IT management,” said Shmuel Kliger, president and CEO, VMTurbo. “Now any organization can experience the benefits of VMTurbo in their own data center without having to spend a single dollar.”

The VMTurbo Performance and Efficiency Reporter package is a collection of reports that fall into two categories.

Performance Reports

  • Host/VM Utilization Heat Map contains an ordered ranking of utilization (UI) for both physical hosts as well as virtual machines. Raw data for each host and each VM also is provided. Useful metrics include the peak utilization. This data enables both an “at-a-glance” indicator of workload as well as useful information for provisioning.
  • Host Top CPU Ready Queue provides a detailed breakdown of the metric surrounding CPU ready states. By showing both the host total wait times (aggregated over a sample period) and the total times waited by virtual machines for each multiple of vCPUs, the report provides insights into how either a re-allocation of vCPUs or the re-location of a VM would impact this raw performance metric.
  • Storage Access IOPS delivers a raw ranked standing of data stores in the environment. By aggregating and displaying the raw average sustained IOPs to and from these datastores, users can evaluate the suitability of the datastore against the applied workload and potentially make a better allocation. Further, by looking at the total storage used (vs. capacity), users are better able to plan for anticipated growth.

Efficiency Reports

  • VM Over/Under Provisioning looks at the resources consumed (taking into account historical peaks) to make meaningful recommendations as to right-provisioning. This potentially frees up additional resources that could be re-allocated to improve performance or accommodate additional VMs.
  • Storage Wasted Allocations provides immediate visibility into data stored on the managed drives that is not associated with any VM. With this ranked data, users can quickly free up potentially vast amounts of unused storage at a considerable cost saving.
  • Storage Allocated to Dormant VMs both identifies dormant VMs and enables the reclamation of their disc space. This can yield significant cost savings through resource reclamation and the ability to subsequently host additional VMs on the same hardware.
  • VM Rightsizing Recommendation is based on configurable thresholds as well as analyses of specific time ranges for each VM to make intelligent configuration recommendations based on the actual resource demands of the VM. This ability to intelligently right size represents a significant efficiency improvement over other more wasteful allocation strategies.

Pricing and Availability

VMTurbo Performance and Efficiency Reporter is currently available for free download at http://www.vmturbo.com/downloads/performance-reporter/

Related Links

Find out more about the VMTurbo Performance and Efficiency Reporter at: http://www.vmturbo.com/products/performance-and-efficiency-reporter/

About VMTurbo

VMTurbo provides an integrated software suite for proactive and automated management of workload and resources in virtualized data centers. Only VMTurbo provides a holistic view of your virtual infrastructure as well as detailed action plans with respect to workload placement and resource allocation.  Our customers accomplish ever more, with less IT resources, by using our suite to analyze, optimize and control their virtual infrastructure. 

Test Drive the VMware View App for iPad

May 1st, 2011 by jason 31 comments »

Nearly two months ago, the VMware View app was released by VMware for the iPad and I wrote about it here.  Since then, many in the community have been curious as to what the end user computing experience was like.  They have iPads and of course they have free access to the View app but they lacked a VMware View environment to connect to, particularly a remote over-the-internet scenario using View 4.6 5.0 5.0.1 GA and PCoIP.

Early on I worked with a few individuals on a 1 on 1 basis, providing access to a test VDI desktop intance in my lab.  They tested for up to a week and demoed for upper management in the company.  When testing was complete, they went on their way.  After a few iterations, I decided that there was some value in what I was doing, but the continuous setup and retirement of accounts isn’t something I wanted to continually track.  As a result, I’ve set up a persistent VDI instance in my View 4.6 5.0 GA lab which can be accessed any time using generic credentials from your iPad by following these steps:

How to connect:

Step 1) Grab yourself an iPad if you don’t already have one (1st or 2nd generation both work).

Step 2) Connect your iPad to the internet.  Be sure TCP/UPD 4172 ports are not blocked.

Step 3) Get yourself the VMware View for iPad app:

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Step 4) Provide the following connection specifications in the VMware View for iPad app:

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Step 5) If you’re prompted for credentials at Windows 7 logon, use the credentials shown above.

Step 6) Enjoy but do try to limit the duration of your connectivity.

Environment:

The Windows 7 test VM provides basic desktop application access.  Bandwidth from the VDI lab standpoint is 16Mpbs down, 2Mbps up.  On your end, that’s 2 down, 16 up.  It is the internet; performance and speeds will vary.  By design, one user session is allowed at a time.  There is only one desktop instance.  The idea is to use the session for a few minutes to get a feel for the client experience.  The session is not for long term or production use.  No warranties, use at your own risk, etc.  In reality, the longer you maintain connectivity, the more chance you have of being interrupted by another user requesting to use the desktop.  If you’re trying to log on and you receive a message stating “The View agent reports that this desktop is currently logging off a previous session.”, you are probably interrupting someone elses session.  Try again later.  If you are currently in a session and it abruptly ends, it is likely the result of someone else submitting a logon request – sorry – At this point I do not know how to prevent the session interruptions which is essentially a “following” feature which would commonly be used in a health clinic.  If you have any ideas, please share in the comments section below.

To maintain a safe environment, web browsing and access to some other areas of the OS has been disabled.  All activity is logged.  The VM will reset at regular intervals in an effort to restore back to its original clean starting point.

Updated 9/18/11:  The environment has been upgraded to View 5.0 GA

Updated 11/6/11:  Thanks to the notification of a few friendly folks, I found out the environment was no longer functional. In short, the computer password for the VDI workstation was out of sync.  I’ve fixed this an enhanced the environment for longer term use which should prevent future implosions.  The demo environment now supports two concurrent demo sessions using the same credentials. In addition, each demo session is deleted upon a disconnection and a new VDI workstation is built.  This is all done by the addition of VMware View Composer to the environment.

Updated 3/28/12:  The environment has been upgraded to View 5.0.1 GA

Palo Alto VCDX Defense Application Due Date June 6th

April 22nd, 2011 by jason 2 comments »

The application due date for the VCDX Defenses in Palo Alto, CA is fast approaching.  Applications are due June 6, 2011, 5:00 PM Pacific Time.

For those who may be interested in an upcoming Palo Alto defense date, plan accordingly to make sure you meet the pre-requisite exam requirements.  Details for the application process can be found here:

vmware.com/go/vcdx > VCDX Defense Overview

Product Review: Veeam Backup & Replication v5

April 21st, 2011 by jason No comments »

Do you like free?  Do you like backup and replication?  Do you like VMware?  If you answered “yes” to any of the three, then you might like this:  I wrote a product review on Veeam Backup and Replication 5 which discusses the following:

Pros and Cons of different approaches to data protection

An in-depth look at Veeam Backup & Replication v5

What Veeam Backup & Replication v5 is missing

Register for your free download:

Product Review: Veeam Backup & Replication v5



Sound familiar? It should.  This isn’t the first time I’ve written about Veeam.  Check out a few of my previous posts about Veeam Backup & Replication:

Veeam Backup & Replication 5.0

Gestalt IT Tech Field Day – Veeam