Varrow Madness – what’s the big deal?

March 16th, 2015 No comments

I was pondering the fact earlier today that this will be my 5th Varrow Madness — after joining Varrow in late 2010, we put on our first Varrow Madness in March 2011.  This also got me thinking…looking from the outside in, it may be hard to realize what the big deal is. Or…if I say it a bit more politically, what makes Varrow Madness different? Why should you care?

Side-note: for those not keeping score previously, Varrow Madness is a 1 day “free to all” IT conference hosted by Varrow and in Greensboro, NC this year on March 19 (i.e. this Thursday!). Full official conference details and agenda here – session breakdown by theme here. Total attendance last year was over 1,000 people. 

Let’s get right to it – in no particular order…

  • VCDX Concentration – Varrow has (4) VCDX’s (5 if we count Jason Nash’s double VCDX) — Josh Coen, Bill Gurling, Jason Nash, Thomas Brown. Check out the presenter list — I skimmed it and see at least 4 more VCDX’s if not more. Want to talk to a real live VCDX? (they do come outside occasionally believe it or not) There’s not a better place to do so.
  • CCIE Concentration – take two on the previous comment. Let me highlight two specifically — Jeremy Waldrop is one of the first CCIE Datacenter and Michael Bruton is (to my knowledge) the only CCIE Wireless in the Carolinas not working for Cisco. What’s crazy is that I feel bad for not highlighting each and every other one of our CCIE’s (and there’s a double CCIE (Samir Rabbi) and triple CCIE in there too).
  • Sessions – let’s pick a few…
    • vSphere PowerCLI 6.0 – Automate Your Life – Alan Renouf - regularly a top 5 session at VMworld. If you like scripting, go.
    • EUC Layering – Earl Gay – anyone think we have more options in EUC than we did 3-5 years ago? Anyone have every single layering option straight in their head? If not, go.
    • Endpoint Protection with Bit9 – heard of security breaches this last year? (i.e. have you been alive? ;-) ) Heard of a company that does next generation endpoint security and has DOUBLED its sales last year? If not, go.
    • VMware NSX & Cisco ACI at the same event – yep….got that covered. I dare you to find another conference with both given equal billing. And yes, you’ll have various CCIE’s & VCDX’s presenting these (including Scott Lowe, Jason Nash, and Carly Stoughton).
    • VMware vCloud Air Disaster Recovery – Chris Colotti – sure, this is about the topic listed….but if you’ve not heard Chris present, just go to hear him period. It doesn’t really matter what the topic is….you’ll always learn something.
    • Cisco iWAN – Andy Gossett - want to hear a real hands-on Varrow CCIE (i.e. troubleshoots external OTV for fun…to give a recent example) discuss what some might call marketecture? (We don’t.) Come listen.
    • And here’s what’s sad…I’ve left out way more sessions than I’ve included (and my apologies to all those I left out).
  • Keynotes – want to hear some of what makes Varrow tick? Jeremiah Cook‘s keynote (Varrow CEO) always captures a slice of what makes Varrow unique. You can see his keynote from last year here. Want to hear a fascinating internet startup story and more? Alexis Ohanian (Reddit founder) will be giving the second keynote. Details here on Nash’s blog.
  • Vendor Booths – this is an industry event. As such, some of the vendors are not actually Varrow partners — this is intentional believe it or not. We want to give back to the community overall and a conference like this is one way to do it – come chat with everyone and learn about what’s going in the IT industry overall.
    • For those who have followed Varrow over the years, you may watch our blog site — this conference is really an outgrowth of that same energy.
  • Discussions – this is an IT conference by IT people for IT people. You’ll meet a lot of good IT folks here (mostly Varrow customers but not all). Looking for good off the cuff IT conversations with like-minded folk? There’s not a much better place to find them.

So….I think I’m out of reasons — hopefully that’s enough. ;)

Categories: Varrow Tags:

EMC Elect 2015! (with a Varrow thought)

March 16th, 2015 1 comment

In the category of “hopefully better late than never”, I wanted to acknowledge the honor of being selected for EMC Elect 2015 as well as jot down a few thoughts.

For those not familiar, EMC Elect is a community-driven recognition program with core characteristics focused around Engagement, Commitment, and Leadership. Read more here if not familiar with the program as well as for the full list of all 102 Elect for 2015.

EMC Elect Overview

The EMC Elect of 2015 – Official list

This is my second year as EMC Elect — this year was a bit different as I am Elect primarily due to being one of 12 judges. While definitely not a simple process (and took a good bit of time), it was quite interesting to see how the process works from the inside. For those wondering, no one can be a judge two years in a row and the judges are separate from those who run the program (currently Mark Browne & Mary Kilgallen but also included Sean Thulin and Dennis Smith). For a great write-up of the judging process and some general number-crunching, you can’t do any better than Dave Henry‘s post here.

Journey to EMC Elect 2015 (with Bonus Number-Crunching)

The one statistic that Dave didn’t include is the partner with the most Elect outside of EMC – Varrow (my employer – surprise surprise). We are an incredibly committed EMC partner – EMC Americas Partner of the Year last year actually – press release on that here. While I wasn’t in that picture, I was sitting in the front row about 20 feet away. Given our EMC focus, it frankly only makes sense that we have such a high concentration of Elect. I believe Varrow actually has the most Elect outside of EMC (although am not 100% sure on that — am checking). For that matter, we also have the most vExperts (19) of any partner and we’re #3 for all companies. EMC and VMware are rather in the water around here.

Finally, I do hope to write a later post with some thoughts about my experience as Elect in 2014 and why I’m looking forward to 2015.

Here’s to a great year to come.

Categories: EMC, EMC World, Uncategorized, Varrow Tags:

Varrow Madness – Session Breakdown by Theme

February 26th, 2015 No comments

In case you’re not aware, Varrow Madness is almost here — lots of details at the main site (go look if you haven’t already). To the best of my knowledge, this is the largest technology conference in the Carolinas. While Varrow as a company isn’t a vExpert or EMC Elect, to me this conference lets people see why we have so many of each…it’s who we are as a company.

Along with the keynotes, vendor booths, and basketball games on TV, there are a LOT of sessions (that’s the point after all, right?) — almost 40 actually. On the main site they’re organized by time slot (so you can decide which one for each time slot) but Matt Kushner (Varrow Account Representative) put together a very helpful breakdown by theme. I wanted to give him credit but post here given it was quite interesting to see it organized by theme.

IT Transformation

  • VMware EVO:Rail – Technical Deep Dive and Demo – Kevin Tuffner, Varrow
  • Cloud Panel – IT Transformation from an Application Owner’s Perspective – Miguel Viera & Aaron Dawson, Varrow
  • Accelerating Your Cloud with Converged Infrastructure – Trey Layton, VCE
  • Sun Setting the Silos (Around Data/ Content Management in Healthcare) – Jeremy Hyman & Stephen Willis, RezHealth
  • Future Proof Your Cloud by Orchestrating App Workloads with CloudPlatform – Derek Cassesse, Citrix & Jason Heinrich, Varrow
  • IT Transformation Explained – A Journey to the Cloud – Brandon Hyde & Aaron Dawson, Varrow
  • Open Stack 101 – Scott Lowe, VMware


  • Speed to Care: Securely Improving Clinician Sat. with Instant-On Awareness – John Gobron, Aventura
  • EUC Layering – Comparing & Contrasting the Options – Earl Gay, Varrow
  • AirWatch by VMware Enterprise Mobility Management – Jeff Pool, VMware
  • What Can Smokejumpers Teach Us About Successful Desktop and Application Delivery? – Jason Heinrich, Varrow
  • Future Proof Your Cloud by Orchestrating App Workloads with CloudPlatform – Derek Cassesse, Citrix & Jason Heinrich, Varrow
  • Security Teams Need More Firepower – Carlos Bonet, RSA
  • APPDNA: Alleviating Application Migration Pains, Automate the Application Virtualization Process – Art Harris & Sarath Velagaleti, Varrow
  • Future of Endpoint Security – Marty Kaise, Kaspersky
  • Citrix Workspace Suite – Apps, Desktops, Data, And Services In One Solution – Geremy Myers, Citrix
  • Mobility Panel – Thomas Brown, Earl Gay, Phillip Jones, and Jim Ryland (Varrow Engineers)
  • Bit9 – Leveraging Endpoint Protection to enhance Visibility into Your Hybrid Cloud – Bit9


  • Cisco Next Generation Firewall and BYOD – Sourcefire Integration and Identity Services Engine (ISE) – Neil Humphrey, Cisco
  • Transforming Network Security for the Software Defined Datacenter – Jefri Hillon, Palo Alto & Jason Nash, Varrow
  • VMware NSX – Deep Dive – Scott Lowe, VMware & Jason Nash, Varrow
  • Security Panel (Round Table Discussion about what IT Departments are facing today) -
  • Security Teams Need More Firepower – Carlos Bonet, RSA
  • Future of Endpoint Security – Marty Kaise, Kaspersky
  • The Good, The Bad, and the Compromised: A Complete Lifecycle Approach to Advanced Threat Protection – Kevin Flynn, Blue Coat
  • Security vSphere Hardening – Mike Foley, VMware


  • Intelligent WAN – Visibility and Control – Andy Gossett, Varrow
  • VMware NSX (Securing your Network) – Scott Lowe, VMware & Jason Nash, Varrow
  • Redefining Data Center Networking with Cisco ACI – Jon Onisick, Cisco & Samir Rabbi, Varrow
  • Cisco Next Generation Firewall and BYOD – Sourcefire Integration and Identity Services Engine (ISE) – Neil Humphrey, Cisco
  • UCS Director and IntraCloud


  • VPLEX Unmasked – Functionality, Use Cases, and What it Can Do for You – Joe Kelly & Joel Cason, Varrow
  • EMC XtremIO’s Amazing All-Flash Technology and Capabilities Explained – Josh Goldstein, EMC
  • Backup & Recovery – How Varrow Can Help Make your Critical Environment Backups and DR Planning Easy – Josh Williams & Paul Lozada, Varrow
  • VSAN 2.0 – Deep Dive – Rawlinson Rivera, VMware
  • I Want my DFTM: FVP, Memory, and Unmatched Application Performance – Tom Queen, PernixData

Business Intelligence

  • Leveraging an Open Architecture for the Big Data Opportunity – Mark Greenlaw, EMC
  • Are You Afraid of the Dark (Data)? Here’s how to Conquer Your Fears and Make Sense of all the Data you Have Racked Up Over Time – David Siles, DataGravity & Josh Coen, Varrow
  • CA Technologies Session
Categories: EMC, General, Varrow, VMware Tags:

Analysis Paralysis – USB Battery Pack Style

October 5th, 2014 No comments

So what happens when you’re a detail-oriented individual with an engineering background, need a new USB battery pack (my very faithful New Trent 7000 mAh died after 3 years of use), cannot afford to have peripherals run out of battery power during the day, are semi-obsessive about optimizing what you carry into your car/meetings every day (i.e. you unpack/repack your laptop bag multiple times a day), and have WAY too many options for battery packs on Amazon? (As of 10/5/14, searching for “usb battery pack” yields 901,574 results.)

It’s time for Analysis Paralysis – USB Battery Pack Style. For those who need the TL:DR version, I bought the Anker® 2nd Gen Astro E3 10000mAh battery pack. The reasons I bought it were….

  • Good capacity – 10000 mAh is decent for multiple iPhone recharges, iPad recharge, USB headset, iPad keyboard, etc. – means I can always get through an entire day without power (except for the laptop of course – having an iPad + keyboard is my safety net there).
    • Note: any battery pack doesn’t give you the full power rating due to power conversion. This seems to be one of the better ones though.
  • Charging – can charge at 2 Amps (use an iPad power supply or an Anker one)….much faster charging to fill it up (can charge in 5-6 hours vs. 10+ hours at 1A).
  • Brand Name/Reviews – Anker is one of the best brand names on Amazon at this point (5,046 reviews for this with 4.5 starts) and I have other items from them that are working well (4 port charger, iPad keyboard, cables).
  • IQ Ports – a bit of circuitry to figure out the max charge the device can take automatically (vs. just having a 1A and 2.1A port). Very nice to not worry about which port you’re plugging into. With the iPhone 6 being able to handle 2.1A charging, this is more relevant as well.
  • Size – one of the smaller and thinner options (although not the thinnest). This is important given the bag I currently use – STM Linear Shoulder Bag.
  • Carry bag – nice to put a short cable into to keep it with the battery pack.
  • Price – a bit more than the cheapest options on Amazon but not much.

Combine all that and I decided on the Anker 10000 mAh option. BUT….I ended up making a snazzy spreadsheet comparing…

  • Brand
  • Length/Width/Height
  • Cubic Inches
  • Power (mAh)
  • Power (mAh) per Cubic Inch
  • Price
  • Power (mAh) per $$
  • URL/notes

I’ve embedded and linked it below in case anyone finds it interesting. I almost went with the PowerAdd but the IQ ports + 2A charging swung me to the Anker. The RealPower AirX was VERY tempting (40% smaller for same battery capacity) but ultimately too pricey for me at 2x the cost.

Hopefully this saves someone else time on their own Analysis Paralysis – or at the very least accelerates it. ;-)

NOTE: the AllPower options should NOT be purchased IMHO….they’re too close to ones that have been found to be filled with sand.

Link to Google Docs version – or see below.


Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

EMC Elect Nominations – Do It

September 19th, 2014 No comments

It’s that time of year again – EMC Elect nominations! If you want the official writeup, go here.

I was honored to be selected as EMC Elect last year. Looking back at the last year, EMC Elect has been the most impactful manufacturer/partner program I’ve been involved in from my perspective — have met a lot of very cool people, great conversations, awesome events, etc. (see link above for more details there)

For me, the highlight was being able to attend the EMC MegaLaunch in London (in return for some social media coverage of course….not a bad trade IMHO).

If you think you have a chance of making it, I’d strongly recommend applying.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

EMC Redefine Possible – Analyst Breakfast & Executive Q&A (Good event summary)

July 8th, 2014 No comments

Summary – this ended up being a good summary of the highlights of the keynote later in the day – see my live blog post for details on that (not just text…lots of picture there too). I always like hearing what executives choose to focus on and how they say it when only have 2-3 minutes to summarize a huge amount of items.

EMC Redefine Possible – Live Blog

This will be a somewhat live blog although posted later (that is, not analysis per se….noting what was stated, asked and answered). Panelists were Bill Richter (Isilon), CJ Desai (Emerging Technologies), Fidelma Russo – VMAX, Stephen Manley – CTO of DPAD

Focus for this session is on today’s announcements and their impact and the business units – not roadmap (that’s for other times). Each exec is first giving an overview.

Bill starting – 4 things

  1. 2 brand new hardware platforms – S210, X210. This is significant b/c we don’t do too many Isilon hardware releases – 2-3 years since last hardware release so this is a big deal.
  2. New version of OneFS is huge – ‘flash is cache’ is huge.
  3. Brand new access methods – SMB multi-channel – big deal for media and entertainment sector – OpenStack Swift direct support.
  4. Brand new solutions – both within EMC and also across the Federation. VCE, etc. Also a joint solution between XtremIO and Isilon within VCE for VDI – scale-out for both Flash and File for VDI

CJ Desai – introducing Josh Goldstein (runs Product Management and Marketing for XtremIO). After GA in November XtremIO has exceeded all EMC expectations. 2.4 focused on snapshots (innovations in delivered), Data at Rest Encryption, etc. 3.0 will be out in a couple months – HUGE feature is inline compression (Andrew’s note – this is truly huge) – supported with all features – allows addressing many more traditional workloads (databases, etc. is the goal). Moving very aggressively on the roadmap. Also a starter edition of XtremIO at 5 TB (half X-Brick). Cluster expansion up to 6 X-Bricks coming.

Fidelma Russo – VMAX focus. Refreshing the entire VMAX product line – going to 100k, 200k, 400k. Ivy Bridge, fully SAS, Infiniband faster. Entering lower and scaling higher from an engine perspective. Really around new OS – calling it HyperMax. Vastly increasing the amount of metadata that can handle in order to give cloud scaling capabilities. Doing fully dynamic core allocation – can dynamically shift from front-end to back-end based on workloads. Large machine is up to 384 cores – lot of compute power. Newly redesigned snaps in the data servers for TimeFinder – scales up to 16 million snaps. Zero space snaps until restored. Embedded storage hypervisor in the box to embed other applications within VMAX – examples are embedded file based on VNX code (compatibility across transactional file), embedded management such as Unisphere, embedding FAST enhancements around database and pattern recognition. Many more features…more than can cover in 60 seconds. Announcement – acquired cloud access company called TwinStrata. Working closely with Data Domain team – use new snap technology to use Data Domain as target – bypassing backup servers, backup network, etc – this is called ProtectPoint.

CTO of DPAD – talking for years about how ‘backup is broken’. Driving multiple initiatives around that – snapshot-based incremental backup, tighter integration with VMware, etc. ProtectPoint is the next stage in that – solution that lets backup happen without needing any traditional backup architecture. Removes weight on the infrastructure and crushing application/database servers – data moves from VMAX to Data Domain directly. Data stays in native format – not a tar format or otherwise. Data protection happens in so many places in the infrastructure – goal is to give app teams and storage teams control without stepping on each others toes. Goal = data protection becomes a feature embedded in the infrastructure – not a standalone feature.

Commentary on TwinStrata acquisition – everyone is looking at hybrid clouds – how do you build a gateway between on-prem and off-prem? Looked at many companies and saw this one as best – also local to MA which is good for VMAX team as well. Goal = giving customers choice especially around cold data that want to handle with a policy-driven approach to move off-prem in various ways. Planning to use FAST technology to drive this.

Q&A Time…

  • Will Twinstrata stay OS-agnostic/target cloud agnostic? Answer = no plans to change anything.
  • What do you see as the Total Addressable Market for this? (rephrasing the question) Answer = all enterprise customers are talking about this. Also looking at this in the Isilon area as well. Around the world everyone is trying to come up with their public cloud or off-premise strategy. Theme of EMC is around choice for the last couple years – this continues that theme.
  • Technology transitions – much talk about all-flash datacenter – but also talk about a hybrid strategy – when do you foresee the death of all hard drive arrays? (no flash) Answer = that’s already happened pretty much on enterprise storage. Only place is still hard-drive arrays is on the mainframe side – seeing adoption of flash and array tiering in the mainframe arrays increasing this year though. It’s happening in Isilon soon – DPAD will likely be last just for practical reasons.
  • Given increasing focus on flash portfolio, what are you doing to right-size the amount of flash for customer needs? Answer = very good sizing tools already, to some extent don’t know all customer workloads and how customers will use this (i.e. customers can innovate too). From a OneFS perspective, will always get 100% utilization of SSD’s. VMAX3 – tied to SLO provisioning, based on tons of data from VMAX and current FAST VP tiering. DPAD – no one wakes up and asks “how can I balance flash vs. disk today?” – amount of data that VMAX team has on this is a researchers’ dream.
  • If I’m the head of IT, how do I sell this to my management board who don’t ‘speak IT’? Answer = VMAX traditional values are power, trust, smart – have added agility. Value to business is more agility – agility in deployment/provisoning, agility in consuming it, etc.
  • Followup – can you say that in other terms? Answer = all about lower cost of ownership. Summary = cost-optimization and first step to Business Intelligence (consolidate your data – then with EMC partnerships with many other companies easier to start getting value out of the data).
  • Foskett asking – what about VIPR and TwinStrata? Answer = it’s day one…and we’re all here. But…in general, yes – no idea of details yet.
  • David Ring asking – as data/workloads grow, will there be any remediation to the SLO? Algorithms within HyperMax – places you in best place possible within SLO. Will fill up IOPs and/or capacity (but not to detriment of higher priority SLO’s). Workload planner in Unisphere so can model out. Also doing FAST Sideways. 

That’s a wrap…heading over to Old Billingsgate Market now for the actual event.

Categories: EMC Tags:

EMC Redefine Possible – Live Blog

July 8th, 2014 No comments

Note: this is a live blog…apologies for typos – this will be relatively analysis-light (focused on keeping up).

IMG 5099

Walked in to live music and customer quotes on the big screen – one of them was TIAA-CREF (customer who Varrow works with in Charlotte, NC).

3D Glasses on all the seats – opening video uses 3D – quite cool.

David Goulden coming out of the Tardis (blue telephone box) – CEO of EMC Information Infrastructure.DSC 5235 Major challenges are 1) Existing Workload Growth and 2) Infrastructure Application Drag (58 cents of every application dollar are spent on backend infrastructure drag – backups, replication, etc.), 3) Performance Hungry Workloads.

And what about new applications? What are you investing in? New apps have major differences in their infrastructure demands – but we don’t want to create new silos for new apps – we’ve all been there and know how painful that is long-term.

Big announcements today – XtremIO, VMAX3 (brand new family, Dynamic Virtual Matrix, HyperMax OS), VIPR 2.0 and SRM 3.5 shipping and available – free for first 50 TB, Isilon (next gen of Isilon systems and OneFS file system.

DSC 5270

First shipments of ECS are to the Vatican – 3 PB Object Store (one full Rack). 

Jeremy Burton now on stage – ‘No instructions on the inside of the Tardis – almost got stuck pushing instead of pulling on the door.’ First – XtremIO…

DSC 5273

  • In six months went past $100 million of revenue for XremIO – fastest ever revenue growth for EMC (faster than Isilon, than VMware, anything). Why so fast? Because architecture matters – ability to deliver low-latency with features inline. 40% of customer base is more than a single X-Brick. Seeing 99.999% availability from field data.DSC 5305
  • Baby X-Brick – 5 TB – non-disruptive expansion from 5 TB to 10 TB.
  • Now going to 6 X-Bricks as well.
  • Data services – always inline, all the time. Before this was Thin Provisioning, Deduplication, Data Protection. Today we add At Rest Encryption (Hardware Accelerated, Existing or New Hardware if have SEDs. Boom! Adding Data Compression – seeing 2-4x results. Finally – writable snapshots. And now doing a live magic act – swallowing live needles because that’s related to snapshots. Writable snapshots previously had issues with metadata bloat. XtremIO = instant creation, instant everything (I missed the whole list).DSC 5309DSC 5344
  • Walking through a Prod/Dev/Test scenario – a 10 TB prod database can easely balloon to 100-200 TB of actual data on storage arrays. XtremIO Example – 19 DB copies of a 10 TB database in 19 TB.
  • Miroslav Klanisky demonstrating writable snapshots with Jeremy. Cloned many Prod DB VM’s – using SLOB to generate workload. One VM generating 60,000 IOPS of traffic under a millisecond.DSC 5367
  • All the new data services are covered by the same $1 Million guarantee they will always be live/inline.
  • Major tweaks to current code to improve performance – 2x faster SSD rebuilds, 50% faster DB performance, a couple more.
  • Integration points – VPLEX for RecoverPoint, ViPR for object and other.
  • Interview with Boston Scientific – DSC 5399
  • XPect More Program – 7 year maintenance protection, 3 year money back guarantee, 7 year flash endurance guarantee.DSC 5410
Now on to VMAX3…
  • Models change to 100K, 200K, 400K
  • Dynamic Virtual Matrix – up to 384 cores on a fully built out VMAX. Many things require CPU and memory inside the VMAX – can switch cores between front-end ports and backend ports.DSC 5420
  • HyperMax OS can run not just data services but also infrastructure services – storage hypervisor on the array itself.
  • Running things on the storage hypervisor – data-centric workload services. File gateways, cloud gateways, FAST algorithms. This can broaden out to things like VPLEX, replication, ETL tools – much more coming over time.
  • HyperMax OS = ‘a little bit of magic’….good excuse. Magic trick of a phone magically appearing inside of a balloon….fun stuff.DSC 5424
  • Most importantly, a cool new VMAX rack.
  • Cool higher maximums – New VMAX maximums – 16 TB Cache, 384 Cores, 5760 drives, 6.4M IOPs, 1792 Gb/S
  • VMAX vs. HDS – 2x more drives, 3X more cores, 3x more density, 6x more flash, 8x more cache.
  • Expressing it in Virtual Machine terms – think that a VMAX 400k can go up to 40,000 Virtual Machines (5,000 VM’s for VMAX 100k, 20,000 VM’s for VMAX 200k).
  • Base of 6 9’s with VMAX, 7 9’s with VPLEX
  • Traditional Backup = workload hated by datacenter admins. Very true.
  • Introducing ProtectPoint – why not let the primary storage array drive the copy of the data.DSC 5439
  • Now into a demo of Oracle Enterprise Manager with ProtectPoint.DSC 5444
  • Agile – not a word usually associated with Symmetrix (more about powerful, trusted, stable, etc.).
  • New Service Levels (SLO’s) as part of VMAX – Diamond, Gold, Silver, Balanced. Vince from the VMAX team now demonstrating this
  • SLO Modeling tool inside Unisphere – can check ahead of time if can guarantee service level. I saw a deeper dive on this previously as part of the VMAX beta program.
  • See which workloads are ‘Stable – Marginal – Critical’ in meeting their SLO guarantees.
  • Now a customer interview with USAA – Fidela Maruso introducing Rick Webster with USAA (IT Technical Manager, Enterprise Storage)DSC 5451
Now a focus on VIPR and ECS (backfilling pictures during this section). Design point for ECS is public cloud – that’s what it’s meant to be competitive with – not enterprise storage.

DSC 5459

Now Scale-Out NAS…4 main items below after general notes.
  • New Isilon hardware models – S-Series, X-Series – tier of flash to accelerate delivery.
  • Insane amounts of unstructured data growth – 2013 = 37 EB, 2015 = 71 EB, 2017 = 133 EBDSC 5462
  • Bringing the magician back on stage for the final trick – got 3 random bits of data from the audience..then they were written on a piece of paper inside a locked box that had been hanging in front of the audience for the last 1.5 hours.DSC 5476DSC 5485
  1. New Platforms – S210, 2X more IOPs, Ivy Bridge Based. X410 – high throughput, 70% more throughput over X400. 144 node cluster max = 200 Gb/s – applicable to big bandwidth systems (Hadoop, etc.). 
  2. SmartFlash capability – previously could add up 37 TB of DRAM, now can add up to 1 PB of Flash as Cache. DSC 5496
  3. New Access Methods – SMB Multichannel allowing 4k content (Microsoft), HFS 2.3, native Openstack Swift interface coming soon.DSC 5499
  4. Solutions – VDI vBlock including both Isilon and XtremIO – scale-out higher performance block and scale-out NAS for user files.DSC 5503
    1. Hadoop Market Leadership – see this as a big deal. #1 Market Leader in Hadoop Shared Storage, 400+ Customers, 250% YoY Growth. Not just with Pivotal – also with Cloudera and Horton.

And that’s the wrap on everything David Goulden promised at the beginning…that’s a lot of stuff in the last hour.

DSC 5507

Thanks much to Sean Thulin for all the pictures – much appreciated.
Categories: EMC, Varrow Tags:

EMC Redefine Possible – The Day Before…

July 7th, 2014 No comments

I’m greatly looking forward to the EMC Redefine Possible event tomorrow – otherwise known as MegaLaunch 2014.

From what I’m hearing there’s some very good stuff coming (surprised, eh? ;-) ) — I know that’s vague but I don’t want to steal the thunder from tomorrow’s announcements. What’s most fascinating to me is the ‘feel’ – the pace and level of innovation even as EMC dominates many market segments. This is not a complacent company – in one conversation earlier today with an EMC employee he described the feel in his specific product group as being that of a startup (and it was spoken by someone who has had previous startup experience).

Thanks to EMC and the EMC Elect program I’m actually in London currently to cover this live — live-blog tomorrow morning along with Twitter + some post-event analysis. Look for a couple blog posts. For those in the US, I realize much of it will be done by the time you get online (starts at 10:30 AM UK Time – 5:30 AM on the US East Coast). I appreciate the coordination by Sean Thulin especially on this (along with everyone else – it’s interesting to see firsthand how much work goes into these kind of events).

It was great to meet up with both old and new friends tonight at the Analyst reception – Sean Thulin, Roy Mikes, Jon Klaus, David Ring, Stu Miniman, Rob Peglar, Steven Foskett, Courtney McShane, Danielle Schimp, and many others (apologies to anyone I missed). Picture here courtesy of Sean.


Note: standard disclaimers apply – EMC paid for my flights/hotel but not for what I choose to write (or not write). Anyone reading this blog knows I work with a lot of EMC technology (as does Varrow – we were the EMC Partner of the Americas this year after all)…but also have to provide truly workable solutions to customers so am looking for things that will have a real impact. Nuff said…

Categories: EMC, Varrow Tags:

EMC World 2014 – Blog Posts Reference

May 26th, 2014 No comments

Just a wrap-up post given I wrote 10 blog posts at EMC World 2014 – general sessions, keynotes, breakout sessions, and NDA items.

Please note while I did post general notes from the NDA sessions, my longer notes are not posted – please email me (amiller at varrow dot com) or catch me on Twitter or LinkedIn if you would like them (along with sufficient proof that you’re under the relevant NDA’s with EMC).

In case you’re interested, I also put up a similar post for EMC World 2013 – lots of good info there as well – EMC World 2013 – Blog Posts Reference.

General Sessions & Keynotes

Breakout Sessions

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EMC World 2014 – NDA Session Notes

May 26th, 2014 No comments

This EMC World was different from previous conferences for me as I spent almost as much time in NDA sessions as regular breakout sessions.

The good = hearing lots of roadmap info and being able give input. The bad = I can’t blog as much. ;-)

Varrow side-note: wouldn’t you want to work with a partner who has access to this kind of info ahead of time and can give guidance based on knowing what’s coming? (even if I can’t talk about it publicly yet? ;) Ok…..end of advertisement.

Second side-note: if you have sufficient NDA with EMC, contact me and I can send you links to notes from the various sessions – contact me at amiller at varrow dot com.

Note: apologies for the prior lack of clarity – in general this is partner only info (have had some customers under NDA contact me asking for info – I’d recommend checking with your EMC account team for this kind of info).

So what were the sessions? Here are some high-level notes…

  • VNX/VMAX Futures – 1 hour Monday morning
    • Met with Denis Vilfort (Sr. Evangelist, VNX & VMAX) and Matt Cowger
    • Great thanks to Matt Cowger for setting this up – I was basically the +1 with Chris Horn and Jason Nash. Discussion around…
    • VNX and VMAX similarities and differences.
    • Potential for how the new VNXe impacts the current lineup and sweet spots/positioning
    • Cores – lots of cores in the various platforms and what we do with them/what we could do with them
    • More info on Project Liberty – virtual VNX – first mentioned by Chad here
    • VMAX & XtremIO – where overlap and where don’t
    • SSD endurance and impact
    • VNX roadmap (both VNXe and core VNX/VNX2)
    • Some of this may sound vague…but suffice it to say there was a lot of highly NDA discussion under each topic
  • VMware Software Defined Storage NDA Roadmap & Input Session – 1.5 hours Wednesday morning
    • Sponsored by Chuck HollisVijay Ramachandran presenting and multiple other VMware folks/Product Managers there to review
    • Focused on partners – Chris, Jason, and myself were there along with 2 other partners
    • LOTS of feedback from Chris/Jason/myself on what we’re seeing in the market and what to focus on as far as roadmap priority – felt almost like a focused PTAB session at times.
    • Next 3 year roadmap of Software Defined Storage
    • Focus on the application – SDS allows us to do that much more than before.
    • Roadmap info = I can’t even really hint at this….suffice it to say VMware is heavily investing into VSAN and the roadmap reflects that. Having been doing storage for the last 12 years now, it’s fascinating to see ideas from other platforms come back around with mild to major variations.
    • Organizational impact – if the operational team isn’t already converged, there’s usually not much interest. BUT….that environment is ripe for major financial disruption like it or not.
  • VMAX Beta Briefing – this was all day Thursday.
    • I was able to attend this due to being EMC Elect (thanks Sean Thulin). Chris Horn and Jason Nash were there due to Varrow getting a VMAX beta unit in our lab soon.
    • Review of upcoming hardware – engine sizing, drive types, DAE types, flash impact.
    • Changes in FAST – lots coming here.
    • TimeFinder – new and improved items.
    • ProtectPoint – first mentioned in Area 52 Keynote (live blog on that here) and much deeper dive on how it works/how to set it up
    • New FAST VP management methods – major changes coming here….the room gave a lot of feedback.
My notes were about 10x longer than what’s above but can’t post that publicly. :-)
Suffice it to say this was a very productive EMC world. :-)


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