July 19, 2011

Storage Efficiency and High Performance validated on Hyper-V

I'd like to share with you a nice post from Glenn Sizemore, a VMware vExpert and a technical expert in our Microsoft Business Unit. He's one of the many talented folks designing Hyper-V on NetApp solutions and architectures to run virtualized instances of Microsoft applications on Hyper-V, VMware, Citrix, etc.

Glen authored a nice post that demonstrates storage capabilities unique to NetApp that simultaneously deliver high performance and unimaginable storage savings from commodity hardware (aka low price point) while also delivering storage virtualization and integration unmatched in the industry.

Want to learn how a 1TB VHD (Hyper-V virtual disk) can be cloned 256 times in seconds, without consuming any additional storage on LUNs formatted with NTFS Cluster Shared Volumes? if so, read on...

Glenn's post is another example why NetApp is the fastest growing storage vendor in the storage industry and in the cloud market. Our ability to drive down infrastructure and operational costs through advancing the performance, resiliency, and integration of commodity priced disk is separating NetApp from the pact in the minds of those looking to advance their cloud initiatives.

Storage isn't just about spinning tin! Hope you enjoy Glen's post!

July 18, 2011

Cisco Live Q&A – EMC vSpecialists Tee Glasgow, Scott Lowe, Rick Scherer & Nick Weaver

As Cisco Live comes to a close I was able to sit down with some good friends in the vSpecialist organization at EMC to share their perspectives on Cisco Live and the adoption of Cloud computing. Joining me this morning is (from left to right):

Rick Scherer - VCDX, Author of VMwareTips.com and vSpecialist at EMC.

Tee Glasgow - Former WAN Engineer, UNIX SysAdmin, Solaris bigot, VMware employee #700-ish, and current EMC vSpecialist. Husband to 1, father to 2, and homeslice to many.

Scott Lowe - An IT pro specializing in virtualization, VMware, storage, servers, and Macs; currently working for EMC Corporation

Nick Weaver – IT Architect & geek extraordinaire. VMware vExpert, EMC vSpecialist, Cisco junkie, Microsoft coder, Linux lover. I make things.

Note: This interviewed originally occurred on Thursday, July 14th; the last day of Cisco Live. I should also point out, that while these guys are employees of EMC, the views expressed in this interview are their own and are not official statements of EMC.

Vaughn: "Good morning guys, my sincerest thanks for making the time to get together to chat. It can be tough to find the motivation to make it to the show floor early on the last morning of a conference. With that said, let’s jump into the interview. I’m rather interested in your thoughts around the types of conversations you were having at with the Cisco Live attendees around the show and cloud computing."

Tee: "This week we’ve had a lot of discussions with attendees that are well beyond the scope of storage. Theses conversations may start with storage but quickly expand into areas like the network or virtualization layers. It’s apparent that Cisco Live has evolved from a network-centric tradeshow to one focusing on advancing the capabilities of the data center."

Continue reading "Cisco Live Q&A – EMC vSpecialists Tee Glasgow, Scott Lowe, Rick Scherer & Nick Weaver" »

July 14, 2011

Cisco Live : Blogger Techminute with NetApp on Flexpod Solutions

Check out the great conversation I had with Abhinav Joshi of Cisco and Joe Onisick of WWT around our partnership, FlexPod, SMT, Automation, CVDs, and enabling partners. Thanks to Didier Rombaut of Cisco and Friea Berg of NetApp for bringing us together for this conversation.


Cisco Live Q&A – Natalie Lambert of Citrix on Desktop Virtualization Trends, Obstacles, and Opportunities

Last September Cisco and Citrix announced the first desktop virtualization Cisco Validated Design (CVD) to help customers implement standard, repeatable architectures for XenDesktop with NetApp storage. Many saw this as an indicator that desktop virtualization was (finally!) reaching a tipping point, a perception strengthened with Cisco’s November launch of its Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI) vision and our joint release of FlexPod. Cisco and NetApp now offer Citrix XenDesktop on FlexPod and joint customers worldwide are deploying and benefiting from our 3-way solutions.

I finally had the opportunity to meet Citrix director of product marketing Natalie Lambert in person here at Cisco Live shortly before we jointly recorded a Cisco Live TechMinute with Cisco’s Doug Dooley. We talked about this being the first year that Citrix has a presence at Cisco Live and the impact of Cisco’s emphasis on desktop virtualization. As Natalie put it, “When Cisco talks about desktop virtualization, people really listen.

Natalie absolutely gets the criticality of storage to a successful desktop virtualization project:

Continue reading "Cisco Live Q&A – Natalie Lambert of Citrix on Desktop Virtualization Trends, Obstacles, and Opportunities" »

July 13, 2011

Cisco Live chat with J Metz of Cisco on FCoE & Putting the Cart Behind the Horse

My Cisco Live misadventures continued with Cisco FCoE product manager J Metz. This was my first time meeting J, a former university professor who these days promotes, evangelizes, and drives the development of FCoE products and technology. I've followed him online for sometime and was pretty jazzed once learning he agreed to our interview. I hope you enjoy...

Vaughn: "What do you think the most difficult questions you’ll be asked here at the show will involve?"

J: "Attendees here are wicked smart. They know their networks better than anyone else on the planet. Very humbling. I’m expecting to get some very specific questions about their environments, and some of those will probably be pretty darn tough."

Note: We quickly ditched the interview script and in favor of last week’s interview with Andy Sholomon where we discussed Ron Fuller’s Virtual Device Context session, was rumored to have attracted 1800 registrants.

Vaughn: "What do you feel is driving interest in Virtual Device Contexts (VDC)?"

J: "You know, Cisco creates wonderful pieces of equipment but there are some many cases where what a customer truly wants is for these technologies to work with in their existing environment, be it technically and operationally."

"Let’s change the approach on this topic shall we? We’ll put the cart back behind the horse… Typically, one of the things storage people are concerned about is that if they hand everything over to the Ethernet admins they will lose control but will be held accountable. For some crazy reason they don’t like that."

Continue reading "Cisco Live chat with J Metz of Cisco on FCoE & Putting the Cart Behind the Horse" »

Cisco Live chat with Abhinav Joshi of Cisco & Wade Holmes of VMware

My week here in Vegas started with breakfast with Cisco’s Abhinav Joshi, VMware’s Wade Holmes, and NetApp’s Friea Berg. You probably already know this bunch from Twitter or their blogs, but for those who may not know them allow me to share a quick intro:

Abhinav is a Sr. Cloud Solutions Architect at Cisco. He was recognized as a VMware vExpert in 2011 & 2010, and has many technical certifications from VMware, NetApp, Cisco, EMC, & Citrix. His blog can be found at http://blogs.cisco.com/author/abhinavjoshi.

Wade is a Technical Solution Architect at VMware focusing on cloud solutions. He is VCDX#15, and holds a number of industry certifications including VCAP-DCD, VCP4, VCP3, VCP2, CISSP, CCSK, and ABCP. His blog posts can be found at: http://vWade.com.

Friea works in NetApp's alliance organization and is passionate about 'all things' involving Cisco & NetApp like FlexPod.

Here's our conversation from Monday morning...

Continue reading "Cisco Live chat with Abhinav Joshi of Cisco & Wade Holmes of VMware" »

July 12, 2011

Real-World Clouds Built on Cisco and NetApp

Feeling inspired by a conversation over lunch on day 1 of Cisco Live with Walz Group Chief Information Security Officer Bart Falzarano. In just 20 minutes Bart outlined not just his company’s architecture today but their decision process for and logic behind evolution to cloud. Our conversation started with a discussion about how a couple years ago exponential growth - combined with consistent failures on key platforms running on bare metal – started having a significant impact this was having on his data center operations. Although he’d started virtualization, there was a clear need to standardize, drive down costs, and fix platforms supporting apps on bare metal.

The solution: FlexPod based on Cisco UCS, Cisco Nexus and NetApp storage.

Bart introduced a great new term that I immediately decided to adopt: technology debt. Once Walz moved from the older, legacy server and storage technology that was failing to deliver to the current needs of his business he found that the benefits weren’t just incremental gains. Instead, the company achieved a complete paradigm shift with failures dropping from once every few months to 1x per year, and from an RTO of <12 hrs to <10 minutes for bare metal recoveries.

There are 7 key building blocks to achieving a real world cloud environment.

Continue reading "Real-World Clouds Built on Cisco and NetApp" »

July 11, 2011

VMware to Announce the Next Generation of their Cloud Infrastructure Offerings

On Tuesday July 12th, VMware CEO Paul Maritz and CTO Steve Herrod will announce the next generation of VMware cloud infrastructure offerings. This worldwide event titled “Raising the Bar, Part V” begins at 9:00AM PDT. The event will be broadcasted live.


  • 9:00-9:45 Maritz and Herrod present
  • 10:00-12:00 five tracks of deep dive breakout sessions
  • 10:00-12:00 live Q&A with VMware cloud and virtualization experts

By viewing the live stream you will become eligible to win a free pass to VMworld.

Look for a number of posts from our cloud and virtualization experts following the event. I expect there's a lot to discuss. :^)

July 08, 2011

Cisco Live chat with Andy Sholomon of Cisco

Next week I’ll be supporting the NetApp team at Cisco Live. Worldwide conferences can be a somewhat of a challenge for me, as I’d like to share the buzz and news of the show in blog posts yet my schedule tends to be booked solid with customer and partners meetings. This type of scheduling makes it rather difficult to find time to author a post.

This situation may be leading some to ask, “Does that mean we’re not going to read about what’s going on at Cisco Live next week?

That’s a fair question; to which I am excited to share that I think we have a come up with a creative way to address this challenge! Each day of next week we will share the thoughts and perspectives from some of the most brilliant minds at Cisco, VMware, and our partners via interviews that we will be conducting during the show!

We’re pretty excited about this format. We’re hoping it’ll prove to be a great way to share the excitement of the event, and with that said we’re going to kick-off our reporting in advance of the show…

Continue reading "Cisco Live chat with Andy Sholomon of Cisco" »

Thank You VMware for the vExpert Award

From time to time I tend to overcommit myself, which results in a drop in blog posts. My sincerest apologies for the recent dip. I have number of posts and conversations I have to follow up on and to begin I’d like to extend my sincerest gratitude to John Troyer and everyone at VMware including me in their list of community advocates who they have recognized as VMware vExperts for 2011.


A vExpert is someone who shares their technical expertise and experience, provides guidance and direction, and evangelizes the value of VMware virtualization solutions. One of the best attributes of the vExpert community is it’s diversity. As it is comprised of administrators, engineers, and architects from VMware, their customers and technology partners; they collectively bring an unmatched breadth of perspective, knowledge, and innovation to help others achieve their virtualization goals.

I'd like to acknowledge and congratulate all of the NetApp vExperts for 2011. They are all rock stars who if you aren’t already following, I’d encourage you to begin.

Chris Gebhardt aka ‘Dr. Desktop’ @chrisgeb

Scott Baker @lilbaker83

Nick Howell @that1guynick

Glenn Sizemore @glnsize

Thanks again VMware!  


June 22, 2011

Will Vivek Kundra’s Departure Impact Federal Cloud Computing Initiatives?

I recently had an impromptu run-in with Greg Gardner, our Chief Architect for Defense Solutions in NetApp U.S. Public Sector. One of the topics we discussed was the recent resignation of the Federal CIO Vivek Kundra and how his departure may impact the Federal Cloud Computing Strategy. I admit that I was somewhat surprised when Greg offered to author a post on the topic in order to share his perspective and insights with a broader audience. Thus, it is my privilege to share them with you here.

Greg's Perspective:

As most who watch the Federal IT market closely know, Federal CIO Vivek Kundra, architect of the Federal Cloud Computing Strategy and the 25 Point Implementation Plan to Reform Federal Information Technology Management, announced his resignation. What does this mean for the future of cloud computing in the Federal government and how will Vivek’s initiatives be executed going forward? Allow me to addresses these questions.

Continue reading "Will Vivek Kundra’s Departure Impact Federal Cloud Computing Initiatives?" »

June 10, 2011

Simple Versus Complicated - Verified

One day after sharing with you my customer engagement where we discussed provisioning 'Storage for Desktops - Simple VersusComplicated' I was informed of a post from another storage vendor that verified my premise.

While my post discussed 500 desktops with VMware View and the latter covered 1,000 with Citrix XenDesktop, the information I shared relating to the storage complexities was verified by a team leader of a storage vendor.

I don't understand the need for this level of rigidity and complexity. Why would anyone want the following attributes from their storage platform?

  • A requirement to provisioning physical RAID groups and map each to a function in the solution
  • No sharing of capacity or IOPs between the RAID groups
  • No dynamic resizing of the capacity in a RAID group if it is sized incorrectly
  • SSD to compensate for the slow performance of the spinning media
  • The increased financial cost of SSD drives (roughly still around 20X price premium per GB)
  • The increased CPU cost to process the multiple RAID calculations of each group

I still believe the NetApp model is a much simpler & efficient model.

June 08, 2011

Storage for Desktops - Simple Versus Complicated

I’ve had some great meetings with a number of customers this week and in one of them they were very interested in understanding NetApp’s value proposition with VMware View. They were specifically interested in understanding how NetApp could deliver high levels of storage I/O from a dense, and cost-effective, storage footprint.

As a point of reference they drew what they perceived as a ‘simple’ storage layout on the whiteboard. They believed that such a storage configuration was an optimal means to deliver performance, cost savings, and operational simplicity for a View deployment of 500 users.

I was really surprised at what they drew and thought this would be a simple example to share with you how different NetApp arrays are from offerings from the traditional array vendors.

The image they drew included the layout I have recreated below.

Continue reading "Storage for Desktops - Simple Versus Complicated" »

Backup: Collateral Damage on the Journey to the Cloud

Last week I introduced you to SnapProtect, our unified business continuance suite that leverages NetApp’s hardware-accelerated data protection capabilities to enhance and simplify business continuance processes.

I believe the best way to share all of the goodness we have to offer with SnapProtect is to begin by reviewing the current state of business continuance. With a common point to communicate from, I’ll proceed into our integrated data protection technologies and additional partner solutions in follow-on posts.

Let’s get started…

Business Continuance is Backup & Disaster Recovery

I want to begin by asking you to look at backup and disaster recovery (DR) as two ends of the business continuance spectrum. Both functions provide processes and procedures as a means to return an application, or set of applications, to a normal operational state in the event of corruption, loss or disaster.

What truly separates backup from DR is the costs associated with each process. On a per copy basis, backup is much less expensive, and as such is the standard data protection process for all systems. By contrast DR is very expensive, which commonly relegates its use to a select set of applications and systems.

Outside of the desire for applications, systems, and facilities to never go offline, businesses truly only care about restoring services as quickly as possible. The means of recovery is irrelevant, it can be accomplished from either backup or DR.

Time is money.

Backup is Broken

Continue reading "Backup: Collateral Damage on the Journey to the Cloud" »

June 01, 2011

Kudos to the Winners of the 2011 NetApp Innovation Awards!

Each year we sponsor the NetApp Innovation Awards for customers who find new ways to utilize NetApp technology in order to benefit their business. This year we received more than 100 submissions for our award categories from executives to the uber-geeks of the data center in industries ranging from healthcare and financial services, to entertainment and energy, to education.

I’d like to personally congratulate the 2011 winners:

Innovator of the Year – Americas

Continue reading "Kudos to the Winners of the 2011 NetApp Innovation Awards!" »