George Crump

Upcoming Events

Where the Cloud Touches Down: Simplifying Data Center Infrastructure Management

Thursday, July 25, 2013
10:00 AM PT/1:00 PM ET

In most data centers, DCIM rests on a shaky foundation of manual record keeping and scattered documentation. OpManager replaces data center documentation with a single repository for data, QRCodes for asset tracking, accurate 3D mapping of asset locations, and a configuration management database (CMDB). In this webcast, sponsored by ManageEngine, you will see how a real-world datacenter mapping stored in racktables gets imported into OpManager, which then provides a 3D visualization of where assets actually are. You'll also see how the QR Code generator helps you make the link between real assets and the monitoring world, and how the layered CMDB provides a single point of view for all your configuration data.

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A Network Computing Webinar:
SDN First Steps

Thursday, August 8, 2013
11:00 AM PT / 2:00 PM ET

This webinar will help attendees understand the overall concept of SDN and its benefits, describe the different conceptual approaches to SDN, and examine the various technologies, both proprietary and open source, that are emerging. It will also help users decide whether SDN makes sense in their environment, and outline the first steps IT can take for testing SDN technologies.

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Is NFS Right for VMware?

10:45 AM -- VMware 3.x provided the capability to utilize NFS mounted file systems to host VMware virtual machine image files known as VMDKs. After a slow start, NFS is starting to get a lot of attention on the VMware storage radar. However, there are some common misconceptions that you need to be aware of.

First, this is really not a Fibre Channel vs. IP protocol debate. It is really an NFS vs. VMFS debate. Actually, it is not even an NFS vs. VMFS debate. NFS is just a transfer protocol. This is really a VMFS vs. the file system of the chosen NAS debate. Each NAS manufacturer -- EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC), NetApp Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP), ONStor Inc. -- has its own file system, and the merits of that file system should be compared against VMFS. That said, there are some general capabilities that most of these suppliers bring to the table because of the sharing nature of a NAS.

VMFS is the file system that VMware provides on block-based systems to host virtual machine images, a file system that is sharable and clusterable on a SAN. That is no small feat, but as file systems go it has its limitations, and those limitations can be nicely answered by NFS. NFS and the NAS that utilizes it are by their nature a sharing-based device. VMDKs are essentially files, so it is not a great leap to propose that something designed to serve files might be well suited to the task.

Where VMware on NFS shines is in day-to-day operations. It is by far the easiest environment to live with. Creating and provisioning a VMware Datastore and configuring for VMotion using a NFS mounted service is simple. Resizing those stores, both larger and smaller, is just as easy and requires no service interruption with the virtual machines. In contrast, when using VMFS most VMware administrators will stop their virtual machines prior to attempting a datastore or even VMDK expansion just to be safe. Shrinking a datastore no matter how many precautions you take can cause big problems and is generally not advised.

The fact is that NFS is an IP-based protocol and not even an IP-based storage protocol. So that greatly simplifies operations and reduces cost. Planning however cannot be thrown to the wind. If performance problems develop, the complexity required to scale out an IP infrastructure begins to rival the alleged complexity of Fibre Channel.

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