Intel & VMware bring HyperSocket Infrastructure

History

Virtualization has come a long way. In 1987 RAID (redundant Array of Independent Disks) was the first introduction to obfuscating what was really happening on a lower level to one level above. Dozens of layers of obfuscation have been added over the last 30 years that it is today wildly know as virtualization. It wasn’t until VMware came to market with their server obfuscation that this methodology would be adopted by many competitiors.

Intel

The direct result of virtualization was that by adding more layers of obfuscation we were able to increase speeds and lower the overall latency. Lately there has been a great discussion whether or not the obfuscation should happen on top or within the kernel of the virtualization operating system.

VMware and Intel, whom have always had a great partnership, will now come forward with the next step; HyperSocket Infrastructure. The basic concept is that HyperSocket Infrastructure will run completely in the CPU, without the need of an operating system kernel. Today for a process to be completed it traverses the Hypervisor Kernel and the Hardware at least 7 times. The speed increase by doing everything within the processor will be exponential.

VMware has already succesfully reduced their kernel footprint when they changed from ESX to ESXi. This time the software will be even skimmed down so far that it will only use processor instruction sets instead of compiled program languages. The name HyperSocket was chosen to identify that to be able to run this new architecture one will need at least 4 sockets or more (hyper = 4 dimensions in geometry).

Future

It’s not yet known whether this will be in the next vSphere release (v10) or already in the next intermediate update. [note: VSAN was introduced in vSphere 5.5 so HyperSocket Infrastructure could be introduced in v6.6]. 

During the press briefing we already had a view on the future roadmap of Intel and VMware where they showed that HyperSocket Infrastructure is just the first step to a new era of Application Virtualization where the need of DataCenters will completely be eliminated and everything will virtualized within the processors of client devices such as self-driving cars and smartwatches.

Read more in the joint press release here.

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Veeam updates – sales reference

Lately I have been asked by resellers in the field in Belgium to help position Veeam at larger accounts. Most of those customers have tested Veeam at one point, either in a full PoC (Proof of Concept) or just in a lab. Some of them got the value immediately, others were not ready to jump but feel themselves forced today to review that statement because their legacy system is still lacking a modern approach to virtualization protection. One of the questions I get at that point is: what has Veeam done since version X.x ?

Reverse Roadmap

instead of making bold statements and hollow promisses like many do, Veeam has had this brilliant concept, and please don’t trademark this ;-) , of showing the reversed roadmap. I wish more vendors did exactly this.

I have made my slightly more extended version of it with the intermediate patches, release dates and links to the full release notes and some meta information. Feel free to share with your prospects!

v6.5 – 31 October 2012

release notes / what’s new

  • Veeam Explorer for Exchange
  • Veeam Explorer for San Snapshots (HP StoreVirtual)
  • Support for vSphere 5.1 (6 weeks after release)
  • Support for Windows Server 2012, incl Hyper-V 2012
  • Support for Win8
  • Support for SQL Server 2012
  • File Level Restore without staging

v6.5, Patch 1 – 24 december 2012

release notes: KB1714

v6.5, Patch 2 – 11 februari 2013

only for Cloud Edition, superseded by Patch 3

v6.5, Patch 3 – 29 April 2013

release notes: KB1751

v7.0 – 15 August 2013

release notes / what’s new

  • WAN-Acceleration for Backup
  • SureReplica (Virtual Lab for Replicas)
  • Virtual Lab for Hyper-V
  • Self-Service Recovery
  • Support for Tape (incl VTL)
  • Backup Copy Job
  • Veeam Explorer for Exchange (2010/2013)
  • Veeam Explorer for Sharepoint (2010/2013)
  • SAN Snapshot support for HP StoreServ (3PAR)
  • Grandfather-Father-Son retention
  • Parallel Processing engine
  • Support for vCloud Director

v7.0, Patch 1 – 30 September 2013

release notes: KB1823

v7.0, R2 Update – 13 November 2013

release notes: KB1831

  • Support for vSphere 5.5 (7 weeks after release)
  • Support for 62TB disks
  • Support for Windows Server 2012 R2 & Win8.1

v7.0, Patch 3 – 5 June 2014

release notes: KB1854

  • 1 click file level recovery for files larger than 4GB

v7.0, Patch 4 – 5 November 2014

release notes: KB1891

  • Support for VMware VSAN
  • Support for SQL Server 2014

v8.0 – 25 December 2014

release notes / what’s new / U-AIR extra release notes

  • WAN Acceleration for Replica
  • Replica from Backup
  • Failover Plans
  • Veeam Cloud Connect
  • Veeam Explorer for Active Directory
  • Veeam Explorer for SQL Server
  • Snapshot Hunter
  • Quick rollback
  • SAN Snapshot support for NetApp Cluster & 7-mode
  • Support for EMC DataDomain Boost
  • End-2-End Encryption (AES256)
  • Backup IO Control

v8.0, Patch 1 – 2 Februari 2015

release notes: KB1982

Future releases

One of the first things that jumps out is that Veeam has consistently been on top of new technologies. vSphere 5.1 and vSphere 5.5 were both supported within two months after their GA date. Do yourself a favour and compare those timings to any other competitor … (sitenote: anyone who is marketing Day-0 support is a threat to your environment and is using your companie’s production as a guinea pig!). So it’s probably safe to say that we can expect support from Veeam for vSphere 6 somewhere in April.

Secondly I have noticed in the Veeam Community Digest newsletter from Anton Gostev (@gostev) that Veeam will no longer call the intemediate releases a Patch but rather an Update as patches have a negative connotation and an Update gives them the ability to ship new small features between major cycles. I’d say I’m the last to hold them back on that promise :-)

 

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Production storage needs new benchmarks

Dragster Benchmarking

I’ve ranted on this more than once. Benchmarks are 99% of the time utter bull… and tell you nothing about what the solution’s real possibilities are, let alone what they mean to your environment. The dragster benchmarks (i.e. SPC-1) are just a show-off competition with little to no value to you. Allow me to bring up a couple of points why;

  • Generally speaking the dragster benchmark is based on 100% 4k-reads. Let me assure you that there is not a single system out there – certainly not yours – that does 100% 4k reads, let alone 4k in general. It’s when these blocks are bigger (16k, 64k and towards 128k/265k) when things get interesting and these machines will show different proportions towards those 4k reads.
  • Nowadays you’ll see that vendors will add ‘random’ reads, where it historically always was ‘sequential’ reads. This is mostly seen when the working set will come from flash where random and sequental hardly matter.
  • Writes will also show huge differences in the proportions towards those 4k reads as we now have a full IO-ack path to follow. In a 2 controller system you’ll have to take note of the system’s controller caching (& CPU) capabilities where in a scale-out architecture you’ll see penalties from traversing the network once or multiple times.

Bring in the data reduction

Some vendors are even excluded from performing [publishing] the standard benchmarks in the likes of SPC-1 because these benchmarks don’t allow datareduction to take place. A lot of new technologies have, because of the power of flash, put datareduction at the very foundation of their architecture. I’m thinking of SimpliVity for example with their “the best IO is the one you never have to write” and in the case of this post PureStorage.

I was quite pleased to read PureStorage’s blogpost last week where they prepared a version of the vdbench performance tool for you with a lenghtly post about the merits/necessities of a [new] tool like this. It is definitely worth a read! Of course this whole thing is self-serving for them but it certainly can’t do harm in moving the needle towards a more transparent and honest marketing.

image courtesy of PureStorage

My Take

I praise where possible, heckle where necessary. I will time and time again ridicule PureStorage when they go after EMC with another cheap-shot campaign (like others do as well where I heckle a well), but this is already the second time I have to praise them for doing what I feel is the right thing to help answer the real question the customer is asking; what is your solution going to do in my environment. And this, my friends, is what most vendors keep ignoring time and time again. So please, if you do yet another benchmark, tell them what that means … for ME.

Disclaimer: I am by no means compensated by PureStorage for this post. That being said both PureStorage and SimpliVity have used my consulting services in the past.

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My London Tech Week – 2 ducks in a row


I love London. Well, I like spending time in the UK in general anyhow but London is still a special place. Maybe it’s because it’s the only place in the world where I actually use public transportation (the Underground) without the feeling I need to kill people. If it wasn’t so ridiculously expensive I’d spend a lot more time there or even move.

TECH.UNPLUGGED – April 22nd

So no need to say I like going back whenever I have a reason. This time I have two! First of all I will be speaking at TECH.UNPLUGGED on april 22nd. Tech.Unplugged is a new concept, founded by Enrico Signoretti (Juku.it). The idea is to bring a day’s worth of top bloggers to one event. Partially sponsored but only to the bare minimum. The big value lies in the independent names we pull together:

  • Enrico Singoretti
  • Nigel Poulton
  • Chris Evans
  • Martin Glassborrow
  • Stephen Foskett
  • yours truly

Here’s the abstract of my session: 



Hans De Leenheer (@HansDeleenheer) talks about hyper-convergence. Drawing the line between hype and reality. When,where, why it makes sense. Is it manageable when it comes to large IT depts with silo’d teams? Does it really shrink infrastructure TCO? If so, how and why?

I will also be moderating a roundtable discussion at the end of the day.

Did I mention the event is FREE to attend? Go to our landing page for all the details on the agenda and to sign up. Be aware that the seats are limited and we already have 30% booked. If this first event is a succes, we’ll try to duplicate that succes to other cities/countries in Europe as well.

London VMUG – April 23rd

Apparently, and this was not the intent when scheduling the event, the day after (April 23rd) there is the London VMUG! The London VMUG has by far the most exprienced team I have seen (no offense to all others) and manages to bring top notch content with a perfect organisation every single time. So YES, I’ll be there as well! Sign up here if you heven’t done so yet.


Beers, Curry & Whatever!

I’ll be flying in the evening of the 21st so there are probably going to be arrival beers to have that night. We are planning a vWhatever with the VMUG crew at the night of April 22nd between the two events. That’s probably going to be beers & curry but more about that closer to the event. And as I am flying out the 24th in the morning there will definitely be beers after the VMUG as well, whether they be vBeers or other. Feel free to stick around!

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The Podcasting Setup

2 years ago I wrote my “mobile studio” post where I shared my 3-angle-camera-in-a-backpack setup. Almost every item in that backpack has been replaced by now so I may have to do an update to that post one day. More recently (since September 2014) I have shifted my focus to audio in favour of our new Podcast In Tech We Trust. So here’s my current audio setup;

Podcasting at Home

Early on, even before starting with the first recording I knew that audio quality is key to a succesful podcast. So I wanted to have a good microphone. After some research I choose the Blue Yeti Pro. It’s not only a good microphone for podcasting, it’s also a very versatile microphone. The reason is it actually has 3 capsules that together give you 4 different recording patterns: Cardioid / Omni / Figure 8 / Stereo. This gives me the opportunity to also use it for concert recordings.

The Yeti comes with a very sturdy foot. That also has its downside; it picks up every small tick through the table (contact sound) which can be pretty annoying. So in comes the boom arm and shockmount. Lastly I added a pop-filter. This not only helps to eliminate pop-sounds, it also helps you keep the same distance to the mic at all times. This is important to get a consistent sound.

  • Blue Yeti Pro: $199 – LINK
  • Rode PSA-1 boom arm: $99 – LINK
  • Blue Yeti shockmount: $69 – LINK
  • SE Metal pop filter: $49 – LINK
  • TOTAL setup: $416

For the recording software part we are using Skype to call in, capture it with Audio Hijack Pro,  Audacity for editing and lastly Levelator to get everyones voice at the same level. In a next phase I may switch to recording the audio from all hosts to eliminate Skype breaking up but that’ll require more logistics, especially if we have one-time guests on the call.

Podcasting on the road

When I bought the Yeti Pro, I knew I had a very versatile microphone. The downside is that it is a condensor mic that records even the slightest noise in the room. The mic is just too perfect for podcasting on the road. Therefor I decided to switch to a table-mic setup. First issue: my ZoomH4N recorder only has room for 2 XLR mics so I had to find a bigger mixer. I went for the max setup that is still quite mobile: the Zoom H6 with the aditional 2x XLR input.

Now I have the possibility to add up to 6 mics on the table. For the mics I found dirt cheap but more than good enough Behringer XM1800S, which is a cardioid dynamic microphone and comes in a 3-pack. Cardioid so it only records the audio right in front of it, dynamic so it doesn’t need phantom power (like condensors). Especially since the additional 2 ports on the Zoom do not have phantom power. 

Lastly I added some logistics stuff like a sturdy table stand and colored windscreens. The idea here is to combine it with coloured XLR cables (I’ll buy them next time I’m in the states). I don’t follow the numbering on the recorder but rather the physical setup of the mics on the table (circle wise, with the clock). This comes in very handy when you want to dial the gain down/up. 

The only thing I am still missing today is a Pelican Case (1510LFC $195.99) to keep it all safer than in that backpack. 

  • Zoom H6 recorder: $399 – LINK
  • Zoom EXH-6 Dual XLR input: $69 – LINK
  • Behringer XM1800S 3pack – 2x $39 – LINK
  • JB Systems JB52 table stand: 6x $15 – LINK
  • 6-pack coloured 3ft XLR cables: $33 – LINK
  • coloured mic windscreens: $13 – LINK
  • TOTAL setup: $682

For recording software in the field I either use the Zoom recorder natively (WAV-file, 6 channel) or I record in Audacity through connecting the Zoom via USB (Audio Interface > Multi-Track > PC/Mac).

Now what’s your favorit geek setup? Audio, video and combined?

!!! EDIT !!!

Some people may draw the wrong conclusion that podcasting is really expensive through what I have combined in my setup. This does not have to be true. I sometimes choose more than minimally necessary just because of versatility or high end quality. If the only thing you want to do is podcasting from your desk, you could get started with just a USB mic and be done. I do recommend using a mic over a headset as a headset has a very small mic cap and is mostly too close to your mouth.

Here’s your google search: cardioid + large diaphragm + USB and this is a good type of mic you’ll find: AT202USB ($129)

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So now you’re a vExpert?

aToday you’ll see plenty of blogposts about the vExpert 2015 nominations. I am proud to say I’ve got a hat-trick now, being recognized as one for the 3rd year in a row. Instead of just dancing around with the certificate in your/my hand, I urge you to now be grateful with that piece of paper and go do something with it! Go earn another one. But as you already know how to do that, here’s my message to your employer!


You are a Startup

I think if you are a startup in the VMware realm, you should have at least a minimum of 3 vExperts. If you don’t have 3 people in your company that passionate about being in this VMware community that it shows, I have my doubts about how passionate you are as a company to be here.

Now group those vExperts, let them organise webinars, whitepapers and demos as a team. But above all: let them be ambassadors of your company! You have no idea how valuable their presence in this community is until you start listening. Wanna do influencer marketing? Here’s your way in!

EXTRA: why don’t you try and get at least one of them to go for VCDX? This is where your white-papers get extra credit. This is where your VMUG presentation gets its wow-factor. But if you do so: don’t leave the weight on his/her shoulder. Give them everything they need to succeed!

You are a reseller

Most of the vExperts are consultants in the field (if not working at a vendor). Whether they are self-employed or working for a reseller, the company benefits in sales because of their presence in this community. Personal network right into the heart of VMware, weekly podcasts with subject experts, VMUGs all over the world and close to home, VMUG advantage, NFR licensing, pre-release briefings, sometimes even under NDA, early-access beta-software, … All of this together gives you a huge advantage over your competitors than don’t have vExperts.

Now go recognize that effort. Do you even know how much time in the evenings your employee has spent to be part of this community? ‘Cause it sure wasn’t while they were busting their asses off for that customer of yours. Incentivise that personal time and see what more they can do for you now. Now go send your vExperts to the VMUGs and VMworld, and don’t you dare taking it from their training budget, this is marketing budget! If your are lucky, they’ll be on stage next time, telling about the awesome projects they get to do for your company. How about that for exposure!

You are a customer

I have the utmost respect for vExperts that work at a customer. They have no commercial benefit of being active in the community. They are here for the sake of caring for the infrastructure they feel themselves responsible for.

If you are a customer and you have vExperts on your team, you should give them a bonus! But even more so: you make sure your vExpert gets to go to every single VMUG they can. And you know why? You’ll get the best infrastructure you could possibly think of! You’ll know that this man/woman has first access when things goes South.

If you don’t … vExperts tend to find their next step up the ladder quite soon. It’s just a matter of when.
All of the above of course also counts for Cisco Champions, EMC Elects, Dell Rockstars, Microsoft MVPs, …

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vSphere 6 NFS4.1 does not include parallel striping!

Oh how happy are we that VMware FINALLY decided to add support for NFS4.1 especially since the NFS3 client’s major problem has always been single-session connectivity. HOWEVER; going over Chris Wahl’s – extensive – coverage on this news item I did miss a key ingredient we were actually waiting for in NFS4.1: support for pNFS (parallel NFS). Chris mentions the following improvements from vSphere 5.5 to 6:

  • Authentication with Kerberos
  • In-band, mandatory, and stateful server side locking
  • Session trunking (true NFS multipathing)
  • Greater error recovery

So what does this session trunking do for us and what not?  I tried to simplify the story with some graphics. A couple of sidenotes/caveats before we start: 

  • I am only showing front-end connectivity from the storage client (ESXi) to the server (NFS). So it’s not becasue a folder/datastore only shows on 1 server that the data is not replicated/striped in the backend to other nodes
  • following this logic, two of these servers could in reality be two headers of a classical scale-up array or all headers could be independent members in a shared nothing scale-out environment
  • I have only used 1 datastore per server. I know this is a caveat people will want to use to show that multiple targets will create a better balance of resources. lets keep that for another post, ok?
  • I also know that pNFS is more than NAS traffic when we speak about data-plane & control-plane split but that also is for another post

Draw it on a napkin

That being said here’s my simplified view of what we have today (vSphere 5.5 and earlier)

What you see is that each target has a maximum of 1 session, no matter what the fabric design is. All other connections are merely helping with hardware failures (NIC & Switch).

What vSphere 6 is bringing to the table: adding another session to the same target. What this brings is bandwidth increase and latency decrease. Thank you VMware

What is vSphere 6 NOT bringing? True parallelism & striping. What you see below is how this would work if VMware would add support for pNFS.

My Take

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the fact that VMware has added support for NFS4.1. The only problem is that the scale-out architectures that have based themselves on NFS will still need that backend traffic for true parallelism and frontend striping. Maybe vSphere6.1? ;-)

I don’t call myself an NFS specialist so feel free to chime in and update my knowledge! I will happily be proven wrong and add your knowledge to my drawings and notes.

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The IT Hulk thoughts

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