FCoE between Data Centres

February 14, 2012 Leave a comment

FCoE is possible between two Data Centres by using VE ports to build multi-hop FCoE fabrics that interconnecting FCF, the VE port functions as a FC E-port on top of a lossless ethernet fabric.
The maximum distance between two Cisco Nexus 5000 Series switches is 3000m for FCoE (lossless Ethernet) traffic with NX-OS 5.0(2)N1.1. It can be enabled using the pause no-drop buffer-size buffer-size pause-thresholdxoff-size resume-threshold xon-size command in QOS configuration. Here are the maximum distances:

Nexus 55xx to Nexus 55xx – 3km
Nexus 50×0 to Nexus 50×0 – 3km
Nexus 50×0 to Nexus 55xx – 3km
Nexus 55xx to Nexus 2232 – 300m
Nexus 50×0 to Nexus 2232 – 300m

Refer:Cisco FCoE questions and answers

Categories: Cisco, UCS, Uncategorized

Think different

January 4, 2012 Leave a comment

My first Apple experience was an Apple IIe back in the late 1980s, it belonged to a friend of mine and was the first computer I ever used, we played load runner most of the time. We also had Apple IIs in my primary schools computer room but we barely got to use them, later on in intermediate school we did touch typing on Apple computers.
I didn’t use an Apple computer again until recently in August 2009 when I purchased a MacBook Pro (unibody). Being the first apple I owned I made sure to purchased an extended AppleCare warranty. Two and a half years later I have never needed to use the warranty and the MacBook continues to age gracefully and is by far the best engineered laptop I have ever owned.
Since 2009 we have been getting more Apple consumer devices and slowly have become an “Apple Family”. We now own six devices being the MacBook Pro, an iPad, two iPhone 4s and two iTouch for the kids. I never intended to purchase Apple exclusivly but each time I looked into the different products the Apple ones were always the best.
Today I performed my first Apple warranty claim, it was for my iPhone, its home button had become unreliable. I started by jumping on the web and going into the Apple support section. Apple has an express lane http://www.apple.com/au/support/contact/ that allows its customer to lodge the support request and provides online assistance, troubleshooting steps and contact numbers. I was provided a contact number in response to my answers and called it. You get prompted to leave your details with an IVR system and then wait for a call back. I got a call back immediately and the Apple support representative confirmed I had attempted the required troubleshooting steps including a software upgrade and factory reset. Once confirmed she organised an appointment for me at the Chermside Apple store, the appointment was at midday the same day.
I arrived on time for my appointment and the store’s concierge checked me in and told me to wait next to the MacBooks for someone to come and assist. The Apple store has easily over hundred people and it was a hive of activity with Apple staff of all shapes and sizes (most had a slight geek or alternative look, the hallmark of Apple). An Apple store employee Dan came up to me and advised he would be assisting me, I told him about the problem and he took the phone away to check it out. The phone still had 80 days warranty left and was therefore covered by the standard Apple twelve month warranty. Dan returned and informed me Apple would be replacing the phone completely and providing a 90 day warranty. As I had already backed up the phone we wiped the old handset and I waited for a few minutes while Dan retrieved a new handset. We registered it over the store wireless and iCloud downloaded my contacts so I was good to go. I thanked Dan and headed home after getting a new screen protector, the only very small downside to getting a new handset.
In short, from first contact to replacement handset it took 4 hours and I talked to two Apple employees to get the warranty claim completed. Not only can Apple boast some of the best consumer products on the planet but it also has the best support and warranty service I have ever experienced. Having had previous experience with several consumer and business IT product vendors support and warranty claims, I think Apple is setting the standard and the other vendors should take note. Most IT vendors are outsourcing, off shoring and reducing their bricks and mortar to reduce costs. Apple’s approach seems to be orientated around the customers experience and not cost cutting.
I’m no Apple fanboy and I certainly don’t buy brands for the sake of it or to be in the cool gang. The quality of their products and the support they provide, Apple is the leading IT consumer vendor!

Categories: Uncategorized

FCoE end to end and the trough of disillusionment

December 23, 2011 2 comments

Current customers with fibre channel environments looking to refresh their infrastructue always ask me one question, can we replace fibre channel with FCoE end to end for my whole environment.
For most customers, 100% virtualisation is a dream that wont be happening in the near future, replacing fibre channel with FCoE is in the same boat.
Unfortately unless you are replacing all of your compute, storage and connectivity end to end FCoE is simply not possible and if you have non-virtualised workloads its even further away!
I have vendors consistently telling me they have customers going 100% FCoE only to find it a small environment where the requirements are specific enough to make FCoE end to end happen.
Unfortunately we are at the stage where hype/vendors/expectations dont meet expectations and that lands us fair and square in the trough of disillusionment.

Categories: Cisco, EMC, IBM, UCS, Uncategorized, VMware

vSphere 5 moves the goalposts on LUN sizing for VMFS

July 20, 2011 1 comment

vSphere 5 will totally change the way you design/size your LUN’s for VMFS. Features like VAAI (Hardware Offloaded Locking), VMFS max size increasing up to 64TB, block size 1MB only, SDRS and Storage Profiles mean the old notions of VMFS design are no longer true.

Previously both SCSI reservations and the VMFS max size of 2TB placed a ceiling on LUN size but this ceiling has been removed. Although the ceiling is gone this doesn’t mean you should create 50TB VMFS’s, I suggest the number and size of vmdk’s will influence LUN size.

Good design principles still consider the workloads being placed on the LUN’s to correctly size VMFS’s but I expect average VMFS size to increase considerably from 500GB to 2TB on vSphere 4 up to say 2TB to 10TB or even larger depending on use case.

Categories: VMware

VCP upgrade from VCP4 to a VCP5

July 18, 2011 3 comments

Update: Thanks to Scott and Joe for pointing out like VCP 3 to VCP4 there is approximately six month period where existing VCP’s need only sit the exam (until Feb 2012). This is great news!

So the upgrade path from VCP4 to VCP5 requires you attend a “Whats new V5” course (after Feb 2012). I personally have always found introduction courses a light on technical content and heavy on marketing and general features overview.

I would much prefer a specific upgrade course that was a heavy technical deep dive followed by a difficult exam. Considering VMware is will be requiring this course they must ensure that their customers and partners get value for money.


Categories: VMware

vSphere 5 licensing changes

July 13, 2011 2 comments

Unless you have been living under a rock, you would have heard VMware announce the release of vSphere 5 today. I have spent a few hours sifting through the information on the new features and changes. There is a lot of great content been released today, from bloggers but more importantly on the Partner Portal. VMware have obviously invested a lot of time and resources in getting the content out so quickly and this is something other vendors should take on board.

Although there are a lot of great new features in vSphere 5, I believe its release will be remembered for the changes to the licensing model. This is shame as there are some great new features being released and these may well not get the focus they deserve. I totally understand why VMware made changes to the licensing model and the market has been expecting VMware to make some sort of change. As Intel continues to produce CPU’s with more cores and Servers are capable of being fitted with more and more RAM the old license model was doomed.

New Licensing Details:http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/vsphere_pricing.pdf

I personally believe the new licensing model (vRAM) is the right model but that the amount of vRAM allocated per license is in-adequate. Instead VMware should have used numbers that reflect what customers are using in their environments now (probably nearly twice what VMware decided).

In my experience, customers deploying VMware using new hardware with 4.1, Enterprise plus on dual socket servers would allocate between 96 to 146GB of physical RAM. Factoring in the over subscription of about 30% vRAM to physical RAM with 80% utilization of a host with 146GB of RAM. I would estimate about 152GB of vRAM total, divide that by two for Dual socket makes 76GB of vRAM per socket. Therefore to ensure customers who have existing infrastructure, that are looking to upgrade to vSphere 5 from 4.1 can without purchasing additional licenses, VMware should look to increase the vRAM to about 76GB for Enterprise Plus per processor.

The new licensing model will no doubt be attacked by many people, customers, competitors and partners but ultimately everyone should agree something had to change.

Categories: VMware Tags: ,

Cisco UCS 2.0

June 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Recently I attended Cisco’s brisbane partner update of their UCS product. There have been some changes since UCS was first released about 19 months ago (ANZ). I went to the first partner briefing in Sydney early last year and the primary take away was that the Fabric extenders, the 6400’s could only connect to a Nexus product like the 5K or 7K switches. This was due to the Fabric operating native FCoE requiring FCoE aware infrastructure. This meant that customers without 5K or 7K switches were required to also invest in this technology at the same time or prior to moving to UCS.
Its great that Cisco has changed its stance on this with a software release in April using NPIV. Also in smaller environments you can now directly connect FC front end ports of storage to the 6100 Fabric interconnect.

Categories: Cisco, UCS