EMC World 2010 is coming to an end. I am in my last session here and finally have some time to update you all on what I have seen. Really it is what everyone has seen as it was announced here. The star of the show, VPlex. This allows for active/active storage using synchronous distances.
The theme this year is “The Journey to the Private Cloud”. My company started this journey years ago so it’s nice to get a conference dedicated to what we have been working to accomplish for years. We have been looking for some technology to allow us to “flip the switch”. We want our workloads to be mobile and unbolted from the physical machines. This process started with VMware many years ago. As we close in on 95% of the workloads virtualized the next task is to unbolt the workload from the data center.
Now moving a workload from a data center has been possible for a while. However moving that workload back has been tricky. The main factor is time and effort. You could restore a work load and then update clients to point towards it. Then you had to do the same to go back. VMware SRM made this a little easier but it isn’t quite “flip the switch”.
Flipping the switch is an action. We want this to be a repeatable action. We want the effort reduce to a minimum as well as the time. Days and Weeks is not good enough for us to be able to move a workload. Hours is better but still not what we are looking for. We want minutes and seconds. We also do not want the workload to be halted when we “flip the switch”. This meant a few things had to exist that just were not possible until recently. You needed uninterrupted network access to the workload. You also needed writable access to the data in all locations. You then need the workload to move between physical computing devices without interruption.
Moving a workload between physical computing devices is possible with vMotion when using VMware. This has been in existence for many years but only inside of a data center.
Cisco has solved the issue of uninterrupted network access to the workload with Nexus. A new paid for feature for Nexus 7K’s called Overlay Transport Virtualization. OTV allows for stretching a vlan but stops all of the bad stuff your network people will tell you about doing this. The IP of the vm now does not have to change even though it is running in a data center that is 100km away from where it was.
EMC has solved the uninterrupted access to storage, both reading and writing. Active/Active access to storage with disks that are separated by 100km. VPlex allows for synchronous access to both storage arrays while presenting a single LUN to the vSphere host.
You then simply vMotion the VM and no one is the wiser. This is all brand new technology and information is trickling out about it. The next year or so will be very interesting with this new capability. EMC has said they are working on increasing to asynchronous distances which will open up a new world to mobile workloads.
Very interesting indeed.