Category Archives: VMAX

I’m an EMC’er

Now that I ripped the band aid off (yes, I’m a ripper – I find it best to just get it over with!), I guess I should explain myself.

I worked at Heritage Auctions (HA.Com) for just shy of 10 years.  I can’t say enough great things about the opportunity, the company, the people, and especially the owners there.  Over the last 3 years of my illustrious career, I primarily focused my efforts as VP of IT on converging the data center.  After much research, debate, and negotiation a vast majority of our infrastructure landed on VMware for virtualization, Cisco UCS for compute, and EMC for storage.  And thus, the love affair began.

I’ve said it a thousand times, and I’ll say it again – thanks to great partners like Presidio, and a great friend in Tommy Trogden (@vTexan) – we were able to start the transformation of our data center into an amazing tool for the business.  UCS made compute sexy.  VMware is the leader in the hypervisor market for a reason.  And, EMC storage provided drastically needed performance, scale, and availability like we’d never had before.

One of our investments was in EMC’s VMAXe – thanks to some cunning sales work by Aaron Skogsberg (@dweebiak) we ended up with the 16th one off the line after the gigantic enterprise customers grabbed theirs up.  This VMAX was supposed to bring Tier1 to a new sector of customers, making it easier to use / manage / implement / install.  Everything he promised was true, and I was in love (not just with Aaron, but with EMC).   After being asked to be a reference customer, I got sucked into a whirlwind of events that included speaking to other prospective customers, doing roundtables, videos, speaking at Brian Gallagher’s ESD all hands!!!, two Chad’s Worlds, speaking at EMCWorld with Fidelma Russo, speaking at VMworld, and the list goes on.  I even got elected to be part of EMCElect in 2013!  I was in love with the EMC product, I was infatuated with the EMC culture, and I had made hundreds of great friends at EMC.

My staff joked constantly that I was going to leave any day, and I told them they were being foolish.  I had a great job, at a great company, with no reason to leave.  Why start over?  Why take the chance?  Besides, EMC has thousands of customers who love them as much as I do – I’ve seen them all pack into a Bruno Mars concert and come out wearing blinky schwag.  I’d received plenty of calls from recruiters, etc asking me to put myself out there, and I’d always said no, until now.  One day, I got a call asking me to interview at a manufacturer and I said no.  A few days later, knowing that my (now manager) Trevor Starnes was looking for someone, I started that fateful conversation.  The ‘ol “what if I….” and that was all she wrote.  A few interviews and a resume (that I hadn’t written in 15 years) later, and I was in.

I’m excited, and scared, and excited.  I haven’t felt more overwhelmed and useless in my life and I love it.  I’ve got so much to do, and it’s just day 2.

This change isn’t a sprint, but rather one of those awesome hardcore Ultramarathons.  I’m going to document my transition from VP of IT to PreSales Engineer and all of the things I learn between.  From perfecting the art of chest-bumping, to crying at night after some VP of IT tells you that your beloved EMC sucks.  As embarrassing as it is, coming from the Ops/IT world, I’ve already had to visit the local IT support numerous times to beg forgiveness as I’ve been locked out of every system I’ve tried to get into.  I think I’m gunna have to bring him some Hypnotic Donuts tomorrow to make amends.

VMAX Cloud Edition Part 1 : User Interface

Over the past few months I’ve been hearing whispers about an EMC VMAX Cloud Edition that was coming soon to a Data Center near me.  It piqued my interest, and I kept bugging people to let me know more as they could.  My *pestering* finally paid off, as Aaron Skogsberg (@shuckndrives) and Matthew Yeager (@mpyeager) gave me a full on sneak peek and I’m sharing it with you.  Here are links to Aaron’s Blog and Matthew’s Blog – check them out!

Your VMAX Cloud Edition portal will hosted in a Primary Data Center at EMC in Hopkinton, Mass, while the secondary Data Center is in Cork, Ireland.  The general architecture is that a user will log into a portal hosted by EMC that’s configured to the needs of their company and the company’s business units.  There they will request storage based on performance SLO’s that are pre-defined by IT and the business.  The goal of the VMAX Cloud Edition is to give Enterprises a customer portal for dynamically provisioning storage as a service that they can request, configure, scale, and remove on their own without requiring IT intervention all in just a few minutes and a few clicks of the mouse.

This is all pretty exciting when you think about it.  Tier 1? sure.  Easy? uh huh.  Quick?  yep.  Pay as you grow? gots.   Everyone wants enablement and abstraction from IT, and the VMAX Cloud Edition delivers exactly that.

Rather than talk more about what it can do, let’s just have a look from a user’s perspective:

 

Login Page:

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Home Page:

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On the Home Page you can see things like your Applications, Service Summary, and Service Catalog (as well as their status, health, etc.):

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So, as a user you can see what is being used, how the service health is, etc. all from a simple dashboard.  You’re here for new storage, so let’s go get some.  Personally, I think my blog is about to blow up and my WordPress needs a better service level.  Let’s give my blog the horsepower of a VMAX!

I’m going to click Add Storage on the Service Catalog window – Here you will see things like the SLO, cost, and a few other pieces of information in the GA release:

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So, I clicked Add Storage and I’m off.  I don’t think I’m golden (yet) so let’s go with Silver 1.  I’m going to fill out some crucial Volume Details and click Next.  A few things to note on this page:

– Volume Capacities are in 32GB increments
– You can pick a number of volumes, which will multiply against the Capacity
– Performance Volumes, think Performance/IOPS; Expandable Volumes think Scale Out/Growth

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Next we fill out the Application Section.  If there’s already an existing app defined, you can choose it.  Otherwise, make your own.  This one’s a bit unique, so I had to make a new app.  Normally I might choose vSphere 6.0 Cluster…

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Next we need to fill out a bit of information about the Business Unit / Need / Application:

– I’ve split this out between Sales and Marketing, they’re going to have to share the expense on this one.  it’s a 50/50 split, although Marketing feels it should have been 60/40! (seeing any application to charge-back?)

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We’re almost done!  The last major decision is what host to apply this to.  I’m not real sure what host, so I’m just going to search ALL and find what I want.

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I didn’t find what I wanted with a global search, so I filtered it down a bit to just a single Business Unit:

– After getting the filtered results and a nice short host list to choose from, I selected the host and gave it a nice unique Host Group name so everyone would know it was for me!

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Let’s review one last time before we commit everything:

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Solid, right?  OK, let’s go!

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After just a short wait, as an end user I have good visibility into what is going on with my storage.  No proverbial IT “black hole”.. My storage has been approved (it was automatic, but could go through an approval process depending on the business setup), and is In Process!

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And after a few minutes… I have storage!

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Back on the Home Screen, I filter by the Business Application and there I am right next to some of my peers.  Status is healthy, and the storage is 0% used.  I’m good to go!

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Let’s check out my details:

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This page is where some of the really exciting stuff comes out.  It was already so easy to request and provision storage, but am I stuck?  NOPE.  You can change service level, add additional storage, and delete it all if that’s what you want to do.  Let’s look:

Click Change Levels:

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From there you can change the level of all volumes at once:

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Or change the Volume Service Levels individually:

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Back on the details screen, let’s click Modify this time:

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Here’s a few options, presented another way.  Let’s remove this volume, just for fun:

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After clicking Next, you can schedule the deletion.  It also informs you of the hosts that will have the storage removed.

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Check the box at the bottom, making sure you know you understand the impact.  if not, EMC warns you again! (thanks for the head’s up EMC.. I’m prone to fast-nexting):

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Bye Storage, Door’s Closing.

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So, we’ve discussed adding new storage.  Really easy, right?  What haven’t we discussed?   We didn’t have to think about or talk about engines, ports, zoning, etc.  Just Storage.  Quick, Fast, and Easy!  Sign me up, right?

This is a multi-part series.  Forthcoming posts in the next few weeks on:
– Admin View
– Reporting
– Deployment / Setup / Configuration for first use
– Suggestions? Requests?  You better bring it!

 

 

Here’s a few other articles for reference:

http://www.50mu.net/vmax-cloud-edition-4all/

http://pulseblog.emc.com/2013/02/26/self-service-breakthrough-with-emc-vmax-cloud-edition/

http://searchcloudstorage.techtarget.com/news/2240178621/EMC-adds-VMAX-Cloud-Edition-for-private-clouds-providers

http://geekfluent.com/2013/02/26/emc-announces-vmax-cloud-edition/

http://it-tna.com/2013/02/26/emc-upgrades-replaces-vmax-sp-with-vmax-cloud-edition/

http://itechthereforeiam.com/2013/02/756/

EMC Elect 2013, Chad’s World 16, and VMAX 10K Press Release–Oh My!

I’ve spent most of 2012 with my head spinning in the world of EMC, Cisco UCS, and heavy virtualization.  After a whirlwind year that included the honor of speaking engagements at both EMCWorld 2012 and VMworld 2012, I was looking forward to an even better year in 2013!

If the last 24 hours are any sort of indicator, the year has started off on the right foot.

First of all, I am humbled to be considered in the presence of my peers as I was chosen to be a member of EMC Elect 2013 “on behalf of the community of EMC users who have benefitted from your technical expertise and passion for knowledge-sharing in 2012”.  Quite a compliment coming from Matthew Brender and the rest of the selection panel!  I hope I can live up to the honor they’ve paid me this year!

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Early yesterday, EMC put out a press release regarding the VMAX 10K v2 which included a nice quote from me.  We filmed a video segment as well during the beta test from my office – I haven’t seen that in the wild just yet but I look forward to it!

Finally, to cap the evening, Chad’s World Episode 16 was released – which included my second appearance on Chad’s World.  I can’t easily put into words my immense respect and admiration for Chad and his entire organization, but I try as often as possible!

What an exciting day, and hopefully a taste of what’s to come for 2013.  I’m going to put my nose down, blog up all the things sitting in my blog drafts, and share more of the knowledge and excitement that keeps me fired up to come to work every day.  If I do it right, hopefully I can earn a spot in EMC Elect for ‘14 as well as a 3rd spot on Chad’s World – I’m thinking Avamar + DataDomain + DRaaS in the Cloud?