Art Wittmann

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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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Startup Gear6 Speeds Storage

For most applications, the storage industry is fairly adept at delivering requisite performance. All, that is, except for large data set processing. Think: Financial market modeling, or digital image rendering, or seismic analysis for the gas and oil industry. For these applications, thousands of servers churn away for days before the job is finished. And when there's a lot of data fetching, the speed of the storage system is critical, and in most cases, currently inadequate. Gear6 thinks it can help. The company has been around since 2002 but has been focused on the problem of storage access speed since 2005. Announced in June, but shipping since January, its cacheFX products sit in front of NFS filers (CIFS and other protocols are on the road map)with lots of networking bandwidth and lots of cache memory. Lots.

The company's smaller cache appliance packs 250 Gbytes, and its larger weighs in with 500 Gbytes (apparently two of the smaller ones stuck together). It claims a performance for its appliances of 250,000 IOPS and 500,000 IOPS respectively, each with a response time of .5 milliseconds or less. Half a Terabyte not big enough for you? Don't worry, the appliances are meant to be stacked together to build larger systems. The cache coherency software is the company's secret sauce.

The system is a write through cache, so no changed data is held in the system for longer than it takes to transmit the data to the filer. That means read-mostly applications are the ones that will primarily benefit from this technology.

While clearly not useful for many applications, a technology like this makes immediate sense to those who need it. It takes environments with hundreds or thousands of servers before the advantages will make sense. At its rated latency, the system couldn't possibly meet its peak IOP rate without at least 125 servers beating on it. In practice, it should require a lot more.

The cacheFX is a beefy product with complex software, but a rather simple and direct use. For those who need it, the $400,000 entry price won't be a deterrent. If you can cut a financial simulation's run time in half or better, the TCO upside won't be hard to figure.

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