Everyone is talking about â€œsoftware-definedâ€ everything lately, so it was only a matter of time before industry buzz turned to software-defined storage. VMware and EMC really stoked the flames with a constant barrage of marketing directed in this direction. But how exactly do you software-define storage? And what does this mean?
Scaling storage is a serious challenge for the industry, but there is a great deal of thought, effort, and creativity going into it right now. Companies like Gridstore, Oxygen Cloud, and Cleversafe have come up with effective client-side solutions to enable scale-out storage to sing. If you’ve got an appropriate application, client, or gateway, scale-out is a real possibility!
Samba is becoming more and more important. Windows servers will increasingly use SMB 3.0 as their networked storage protocol in Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V 3. And EMC’s purchase of Likewise means the rest of the storage industry is looking for an SMB stack. But I’m most interested to see what Active Directory support means for future home and business devices.
Open up VMware vSphere with a high-end license and you’ve got the best product on the market, and the VMware ecosystem is where all the coolest stuff happens. But less-demanding customers are increasingly turning to alternative offerings from Microsoft, Citrix, and others.
As I have done since version 3.5, I’m charting the storage changes in VMware’s latest release of vSphere, 5.1. Unlike version 5, which included many new technical storage features, 5.1 mainly tweaks existing features and adds these new elements to the mix.
Microsoft is about to release the third major revision to their ubiquitous network storage protocol, SMB. Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V 3 will really highlight this technology, and I predict it will transform the way people think about networked storage for Windows systems. But SMB 3 is big in another way, too: there are tons of new features, and not all will be implemented by everyone.
The latest beta of the server version of Microsoft’s forthcoming Windows 8 operating system includes a handy tool related to the new data deduplication feature. DDPEVAL will test a given dataset using the new deduplication and compression engine and report the savings to be expected. And it works even on non-Windows 8 systems!
Moving cold virtual machine images from system to system, or even across great distances, is one of the main selling points of server virtualization. But it becomes much more difficult to manage movement of virtual machines that are still running, especially outside cluster or across WAN links. When talking about virtual machine mobility, it is important to consider what is being moved, the state it is in, and where it is going.
The next version of Microsoft Windows Server includes integrated data deduplication technology. Microsoft is positioning this as a boon for server virtualization and claims it has very little performance impact. But how exactly does Microsoft’s de-duplication technology work?
VMwareâ€™s introduced the â€œvStorage APIs for Array Integrationâ€ (VAAI) in vSphere 4.1, and block-heads like me went nuts. Weâ€™ve been trying to integrate storage and servers for decades, and VMwareâ€™s APIs finally allowed this to work in truly seamless fashion. But the world of VAAI is a thicket of bizarre naming and puzzling functionality. Some VAAI primitives are ignored or even hidden! Letâ€™s take a look at the complete list.