Last year I did a presentation on NVMe for Beginners along with Craig Waters for vBrownBag at the Melbourne VMUG UserCon. It was a daunting experience as it was a new cohort to present in front of and NVMe is a topic I had no expertise in. It’s something I wanted to learn more about and I thought that doing a presentation on it would mean I’d have to pull my finger out and really get down to understanding it. Nothing like a bit of pressure to learn something :-). Thankfully with Craig I had someone that had been through the mill a few times when it came to presenting. His mentorship and guidance made the presentation so much easier, and it gave me the confidence to do the presentation on my own a few months later at a normal VMUG.
Unfortunately the presentation contained proprietary information so it cannot be circulated online but I’ll run through the premise of the presentation and hopefully provide a brief introduction to NVMe. If you want to get the best understanding possible about NVMe I cannot recommend enough that you take time to read J Metz’s article on Cisco blogs NVMe for Absolute Beginners. It’s a phenomenal breakdown on NVMe and it’s so well written that even I was able to comprehend it.
I’ll run through the presentation as much as possible here. So, why NVMe?
It’s already in consumer devices
It’s faster and more parallel that SAS
It’s required to take advantage of tomorrows advances
NVMe fills a price performance / performance gap between low cost per GB and low throughput vs. high cost per GB, high throughput DRAM
Pure Storage are just after running their first community event, Pure //Accelerate, and by any measure it can be classed as a success. Pure made a number of announcements about new products in their portfolio but the one that caused the most excitement was the announcement about their new FlashBlade product. More on that in just a moment. Pure made announcements about a new baby flash array, the //M10, to bring flash storage to the masses at under $50k and more details about their collaboration with Cisco on the UCS based FlashStack. Both of these announcements by themselves are substantial enough for most storage vendors but Pure stepped it up a notch with the FlashBlade.
I’m not going to go into the components of the FlashBlade, more information on that can be found on the Pure Press Release, a run-down by Alex Galbraith or Enrico Signoretti’s blog post. As with just about every other storage geek out there I got extremely excited when I heard the announcement and imagining the use-cases for the FlashBlade pretty much made my head explode. After a bit of time letting it sink in over a coffee and digesting the cost per GB on the FlashBlade, the scalability and the form factor size I decided that I hadn’t over-reacted in my excitement. Read More
There’s a quality scene in Monty Python’s Life of Brian where the dead are being called out to be loaded onto a cart to be taken away. Are new players in the market doing the same to NetApp? Even though they continue to say that they’re not dead everyone is writing them off and chucking them on the death-cart.
It’s easy to see why NetApp is being called to bring out its dead. There’s more and more players appearing in the storage market with serious differentiators to NetApp. Just look at the list of potential competitors like Pure Storage, Tintri, Simplivity, Nutanix and Nimble. And that’s not including the fully software defined storage groups such as Maxta, Stratoscale and a host of others. There’s also the old adversary EMC. All of these vendors have released new and innovative products in the past year and they have managed their marketing message far better than NetApp has. NetApp has been painfully slow at getting a smooth transition in place for its 7-Mode customers to Cluster Data OnTap (C-Dot). A lot of critics of NetApp also point to the fact that they are so heavily reliant on the OnTap software. I personally don’t see an issue with that reliance. Don’t change something just to create a new release for the sake of it. But the marketing message and the perception by the community of NetApp has caused a number of issues for them.