Diggin' technology every day


Crazy Seagate Statistics

TechOps Guy: Nate

Been a while since I clicked on their blog but I just did and as the most current entry says, those are pretty eye popping.

  • A drive’s recording head hovers above the disks at a height of 100 atoms, 100 times thinner than a piece of paper
  • Seagate clean rooms are 100 times cleaner than a hospital operating room
  • Seagate can analyze over 1.5 Million drives at a time
  • Seagate builds 6 hard drives, hybrid drives, and solid state drives every second
  • Every single drive travels through over 1000 manufacturing steps

[Begin First Tangent --]

If your using a Seagate SATA disk, do yourself a favor and don't let the temperature of the drive drop below 20 degrees celcius :)

I read an interesting article recently on the various revenue numbers of the big drive manufacturers, and the numbers were surprising to me.

Hitach GST had revenues of $4.8bn in 2009.
Seagate's fiscal 2010 revenue of $11.4bn
Western Digital's latest annual revenue of $9.8bn

I really had no idea Western Digital was so big! After all since they do not (not sure if they ever did) participate in the SCSI / Fibre Channel / SAS arena that leaves them out of the enterprise space for the most part (I never really saw their Raptor line of drives get adopted, too bad!). Of course "Enterprise SATA" has taken off quite a bit in recent years but I would think that would still pale in comparison to Enterprise SAS/SCSI/FC. But maybe not I don't know, haven't looked into the details.

I thought Hitachi was a lot bigger especially since Hitachi bought the disk division from IBM way back when. I used to be a die hard fan of IBM disks, up until the 75GXP fiasco. I'm still weary of them even now. I still have a CDROM filled with "confidential" information with regards to the class action suit that I played a brief part in (the judge kicked me out because he wanted to consolidate the people in the suite to folks in California), very nteresting stuff, not that I remember much of it, I haven't looked at it in years.

The 75GXP was the only drive where I've ever suffered a "double disk failure" before I could get a replacement in. Only happened once. My company had 3 "backup" servers, one at each office site. Each one had I think it was 5 x 100GB disks, or was it another size, this was back in 2001. RAID5, connected to a 3Ware 7000-series controller. One Friday afternoon one of the disks in my local office failed, so I called to get an RMA, about 2 hours later, another disk failed in a remote office, so I called to get that one RMA'd too.  The next day the bad disk for my local server arrived, but it was essentially DOA from what I recall. So the system kept running in degraded mode( come on how many people's servers in 2001 had hot spares, that's what I thought). There was nobody in the office for the other server in degraded mode so the drive was set to arrive on Monday to be replaced. On Sunday that same weekend a 2nd disk in the remote server failed, killing the RAID array of course. In the end, that particular case wasn't a big deal, it was a backup server after all, everything on the disk was duplicated at least once to another site. But it was still a pain. If memory serves I had a good 15-20 75GXP disks fail over the period of a year or so(both home+work), all of them were what I would consider low duty cycle, hardly being stressed that much. In all cases the data lost wasn't a big deal, it was more of a big deal to be re-installing the systems, that took more time than anything else. Especially the Solaris systems..

[End First Tangent --]
[Begin Second Tangent -- ]

One thing that brings back fond childhood memories related to Seagate is where they are based out of - Scotts Valley, California. Myself I wouldn't consider it in Silicon Valley itself but it is about as close as you can get. I spent a lot of time in Soctts Valley as a kid, I grew up in Boulder Creek, California (up until I was about 12 anyways) which is about 10 miles from Scotts Valley. I considered it(probably still is) the first "big town" to home, where it had things like movie theaters, and arcades. I didn't find out Seagate was based there until a few years ago, but for some reason makes me proud(?), for such a big giant to be located in such a tiny town so close to what I consider home.

[End Second Tangent --]

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Google waves goodbye to Mapreduce

TechOps Guy: Nate

From the group of people that brought the Map Reduce algorithm to a much broader audience (despite the concepts being decades old), Google has now outgrown it and is moving on according to our friends at The Register.

The main reason behind it is map reduce was hindering their ability to provide near real time updates to their index. So they migrated their Search infrastructure to a Bigtable distributed database. They also optimized the next generation Google file system for this database, making it inappropriate for more general uses.

MapReduce is a sequence of batch operations, and generally, Lipkovits explains, you can't start your next phase of operations until you finish the first. It suffers from "stragglers," he says. If you want to build a system that's based on series of map-reduces, there's a certain probability that something will go wrong, and this gets larger as you increase the number of operations. "You can't do anything that takes a relatively short amount of time," Lipkovitz says, "so we got rid of it."

I have to wonder how much this new distributed database-based index was responsible for Google to be able to absorb upwards of a 7 fold increase in search traffic due to the Google Instant feature being launched.

I had an interview at a company a couple of months ago that was trying to use Hadoop + Map Reduce  for near real-time operations (the product had not launched yet), and thought that wasn't a very good use of the technology. It's a batch processing system. Google of course realized this and ditched it when it could no longer scale to the levels of performance that they needed (despite having an estimated 1.8 million servers at their disposal).

As more things get closer to real time I can't help but wonder about all those other companies out there that have hopped on the Hadoop/Map Reduce bandwagon, when they will realize this and try once again to follow the food crumbs that Google is dropping.

I just hope for those organizations, that they don't compete with Google in any way, because they will be at a severe disadvantage from a few angles:

  • Google has a near infinite amount of developer resources internally and as one Yahoo! person said "[Google] clearly demonstrated that it still has the organizational courage to challenge its own preconceptions,"
  • Google has a near infinite hardware capacity and economies of scale. What one company may pay $3-5,000 for, Google probably pays less than $1,000. They are the largest single organization that uses computers in the world. They are known for getting special CPUs,. and everyone at cloud scale operates with specialized motherboard designs. They build their own switches and routers (maybe). Though last I heard they are still a massive user of Citrix Netscaler load balancers.
  • Google of course operates it's own high end, power efficient data centers which means they get many more servers per kW than you can get in a typical data center. I wrote earlier in the year about a new container that supports 45 kilowatts per rack, more than ten times your average data center.
  • Google is the world's third largest internet carrier and due to peering agreements pays almost nothing for bandwidth.

Google will be releasing more information about their new system soon, I can already see the army of minions out there gearing up to try to duplicate the work and try to remain competitive. ha ha! I wouldn't want to be them, that's all I can say :)

[Google's] Lipokovitz stresses that he is "not claiming that the rest of the world is behind us."

Got to admire the modesty!

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Availability vs Reliability with ZFS

TechOps Guy: Nate

ZFS doesn't come up with me all that often, but with the recent news of the settlement of the suites I wanted to talk a bit about this.

It all started about two years ago, some folks at the company I was at were proposing using cheap servers and ZFS to address our 'next generation' storage needs, at the time we had a bunch of tier 2 storage behind some really high end NAS head units(not configured in any sort of fault tolerant manor).

Anyways in doing some research I came across a fascinating email thread, the most interesting post was this one, and I'll put it here because really I couldn't of said it better myself -

I think there's a misunderstanding concerning underlying concepts. I'll try to explain my thoughts, please excuse me in case this becomes a bit lengthy. Oh, and I am not a Sun employee or ZFS fan, I'm just a customer who loves and hates ZFS at the same time

You know, ZFS is designed for high *reliability*. This means that ZFS tries to keep your data as safe as possible. This includes faulty hardware, missing hardware (like in your testing scenario) and, to a certain degree, even human mistakes.

But there are limits. For instance, ZFS does not make a backup unnecessary. If there's a fire and your drives melt, then ZFS can't do anything. Or if the hardware is lying about the drive geometry. ZFS is part of the operating environment and, as a consequence, relies on the hardware.

so ZFS can't make unreliable hardware reliable. All it can do is trying to protect the data you saved on it. But it cannot guarantee this to you if the hardware becomes its enemy.

A real world example: I have a 32 core Opteron server here, with 4 FibreChannel Controllers and 4 JBODs with a total of [64] FC drives connected to it, running a RAID 10 using ZFS mirrors. Sounds a lot like high end hardware compared to your NFS server, right? But ... I have exactly the same symptom. If one drive fails, an entire JBOD with all 16 included drives hangs, and all zpool access freezes. The reason for this is the miserable JBOD hardware. There's only one FC loop inside of it, the drives are connected serially to each other, and if one drive dies, the drives behind it go downhill, too. ZFS immediately starts caring about the data, the zpool command hangs (but I still have traffic on the other half of the ZFS mirror!), and it does the right thing by doing so: whatever happens, my data must not be damaged.

A "bad" filesystem like Linux ext2 or ext3 with LVM would just continue, even if the Volume Manager noticed the missing drive or not. That's what you experienced. But you run in the real danger of having to use fsck at some point. Or, in my case, fsck'ing 5 TB of data on 64 drives. That's not much fun and results in a lot more downtime than replacing the faulty drive.

What can you expect from ZFS in your case? You can expect it to detect that a drive is missing and to make sure, that your _data integrity_ isn't compromised. By any means necessary. This may even require to make a system completely unresponsive until a timeout has passed.

But what you described is not a case of reliability. You want something completely different. You expect it to deliver *availability*.

And availability is something ZFS doesn't promise. It simply can't deliver this. You have the impression that NTFS and various other Filesystems do so, but that's an illusion. The next reboot followed by a fsck run will show you why. Availability requires full reliability of every included component of your server as a minimum, and you can't expect ZFS or any other filesystem to deliver this with cheap IDE hardware.

Usually people want to save money when buying hardware, and ZFS is a good choice to deliver the *reliability* then. But the conceptual stalemate between reliability and availability of such cheap hardware still exists - the hardware is cheap, the file system and services may be reliable, but as soon as you want *availability*, it's getting expensive again, because you have to buy every hardware component at least twice.

So, you have the choice:

a) If you want *availability*, stay with your old solution. But you have no guarantee that your data is always intact. You'll always be able to stream your video, but you have no guarantee that the client will receive a stream without drop outs forever.

b) If you want *data integrity*, ZFS is your best friend. But you may have slight availability issues when it comes to hardware defects. You may reduce the percentage of pain during a disaster by spending more money, e.g. by making the SATA controllers redundant and creating a mirror (than controller 1 will hang, but controller 2 will continue working), but you must not forget that your PCI bridges, fans, power supplies, etc. remain single points of failures why can take the entire service down like your pulling of the non-hotpluggable drive did.

c) If you want both, you should buy a second server and create a NFS cluster.

Hope I could help you a bit,


The only thing somewhat lacking from the post is that creating a NFS cluster comes across as not being a very complex thing to do either. Tightly coupling anything really is pretty complicated especially it needs to be stateful (for lack of a better word), in this case the data must be in sync(then there's the IP-level tolerance, optional MAC takeover, handling fail over of NFS clients to the backup system, failing back, performing online upgrades etc). Just look at the guide Red Hat wrote for building a HA NFS cluster with GFS. Just look at the diagram on page 21 if you don't want to read the whole thing! Hell I'll put the digram here because we need more color, note that Red Hat forgot network and fiber switch fault tolerance -

That. Is. A. Lot. Of. Moving. Parts. I was actually considering deploying this at a previous company(not the one that brought up the ZFS discussion), budgets were slashed and I left shortly before the company (and economy) really nose dived.

Also take note in the above example, that only covers the NFS portion of the cluster, they do not talk about how the back end storage is protected. GFS is a shared file system, so the assumption is you are operating on a SAN of some sort. In my case I was planning to use our 3PAR E200 at the time.

Unlike say providing fault tolerance for a network device(setting aside stateful firewalls in this example), since the TCP stack in general is a very forgiving system, storage on the other hand makes so many assumptions about stuff "just working" that you know as well as I do, when storage breaks, usually everything above it breaks hard too, and in crazy complicated ways (I just love to see that "D" in the linux process list after a storage event). Stateful firewall replication is fairly simple by contrast.

Also I suspect that all of the fancy data integrity protection bits are all for naught when running ZFS with things like RAID controllers or higher end storage arrays because of the added abstraction layer(s) that ZFS has no control over, which is probably why so many folks prefer to run RAID in ZFS itself and use "raw" disks.

I think ZFS has some great concepts in it, I've never used it because it's usability on Linux has been very limited (and haven't had a need for ZFS that was big enough to justify deploying a Solaris system), but certainly give mad props to the evil geniuses who created it.

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ZFS Free and clear.. or is it?

TechOps Guy: Nate

So, Sun and Oracle kissed and made up recently over the lawsuits they had against each other, from our best friends at The Register -

Whatever the reasons for the mutual agreement to dismiss the lawsuits, ZFS technology product users and end-users can feel relieved that a distracting lawsuit has been cleared away.

Since the terms of the settlement or whatever you want to call it have not been disclosed and there has been no apparent further comment from either side, I certainly wouldn't jump to the conclusion that other ZFS users are in the clear. I view it as if your running ZFS on Solaris your fine, if your using OpenSolaris your probably fine too. But if your using it on BSD, or even Linux (or whatever other platforms folks have tried to port ZFS to over the years), anything that isn't directly controlled by Oracle, I wouldn't be wiping the sweat from my brow just yet.

As is typical with such cases the settlement (at least from what I can see) is specifically between the two companies, there have been no statements or promises from either side from a broader technology standpoint.

I don't know what OS folks like Coraid, and Compellent use on their ZFS devices, but I recall when investigating NAS options for home use I was checking out Thecus, a model like the N770+ and among the features was a ZFS option. The default file system was ext3, and supported XFS as well. While I am not certain, I was pretty convinced the system was running Linux in order to be supporting XFS and ext3, and not running OpenSolaris. I ended up not going with Thecus because as far as I could tell they were using software RAID. Instead I bought a new workstation(previous computer was many years old), and put a 3Ware 9650SE RAID controller(with a battery backup unit and 256MB of write back cache) along with four 2TB disks(RAID 1+0).

Now as and end user I can see not really being concerned, it is unlikely Netapp or Oracle will go after end users using ZFS on Linux or BSD or whatever, but if your building a product based on it(with the intension of selling/licensing it), and you aren't using an 'official' version, I would stay on my toes. If your product doesn't compete against any of NetApp's product lines then you may skirt by without attracting attention. And as long as your not too successful Oracle probably won't come kicking down your door.

Unless of course further details are released and the air is cleared more about ZFS as a technology in general.

Interestingly enough I was reading a discussion on Slashdot I think, around the time Oracle bought Sun and folks became worried about the future of ZFS in the  open source world. And some were suggesting as far as Linux was concerned btrfs, which is the Linux community's response to ZFS. Something I didn't know at the time was that apparently btrfs is also heavily supported by Oracle(or at least it was, I don't track progress on that project).

Yes I know btrfs is GPL, but as you know I'm sure a file system is a complicated beast to get right. And if Oracle's involvement in the project is significant and they choose instead to for whatever reason drop support and move resources to ZFS, well that could leave a pretty big gap that will be hard to fill. Just because the code is there doesn't mean it's going to magically code itself. I'm sure others contribute, I don't know what the ratio of support is from Oracle vs outsiders. I recall reading at one point for OpenOffice something like 75-85% of the development was done directly by Sun Engineers. Just something to keep in mind.

I miss reiserfs. I really did like reiserfs v3 way back when. And v4 certainly looked promising (never tried it).

Reminds me of the classic argument that so many make for using open source stuff (not that I don't like open source, I use it all the time). That is if there is a bug in the program you can go in and fix it yourself. My own experience at many companies is the opposite, they encounter a bug and they go through the usual community channels to try to get a fix. I would say it's a safe assumption to say in excess of 98% of users of open source code have no ability to comprehend or fix the source they are working with. And that comes from my own experience of working for, really nothing but software companies over the past 10 years. And before anyone asks, I believe it's equally improbable that a company would hire a contractor to fix a bug in an open source product. I'm sure it does happen, but pretty rare given the number of users out there.

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We need a new theme

TechOps Guy: Nate

Do you know WordPress? Good because I sure as hell don't.

We need a new theme, can you give us some suggestions? My main complaint about the theme we have now is that it doesn't make effective use of screen real estate for larger resolutions. I mean I feel like I'm stuck in the 90s when viewing our page at 1080p resolutions. Though with a firefox zoom plugin it's more usable, I have to zoom it in 170%., even then there's quite a bit of dead space.

Beyond that just something that is pretty simple I guess? I don't know, none of us are web developers I don't think so we aren't able to customize it or whatever.

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Only HP has it

TechOps Guy: Nate

I commented in response to an article on The Register recently but figure I'm here writing stuff might as well bring this up to.

Unless you've been living under a rock and/or not reading this site you probably know that AMD launched their Opteron 6100 series CPUs earlier this year. One of the highlights of the design is the ability to support 12 DIMMs of memory per socket, up from the previous eight per socket.

Though of all of the servers that have launched HP seems to have the clear lead in AMD technology, for starters as far as I am aware they are the only ones currently offering Opteron 6100-based blades.

Secondly, I have looked around at the offerings of Dell, IBM, HP, and even Supermicro and Tyan, but as far as I can tell only HP is offering Opteron systems with the full 12 DIMMs/socket support.The only reason I can think of I guess is the other companies have a hard time making a board that can accommodate that many DIMMs, after all it is a lot of memory chips. I'm sure if Sun was still independent they would have a new cutting edge design for the 6100. After all they were the first to launch (as far as I know) a quad socket, 2U AMD system with 32 memory slots nearly three years ago.

The new Barcelona four-socket server comes with dual TCP offloading enabled gigabit NIC cards, redundant power supplies, and 32 DIMM slots for up to 256 GBs of memory capacity  [..] Half the memory and CPU are stacked on top of the other half and this is a rather unusual but innovative design.

Anyways, if your interested in the Opteron 6100, it seems HP is the best bet in town, whether it's

Kind of fuzzy shot of the HP DL165 G7, anyone got a clearer picture?

HP DL385 G7

HP BL685c G7 - I can understand why they couldn't fit 48 DIMMs on this blade(Note: two of the CPUs are under the hard disks)!

HP BL465c G7 - again, really no space for 24 DIMMs ! (damnit)

Tyan Quad Socket Opteron 6100 motherboard, tight on space, guess the form factor doesn't cut it.

Twelve cores not enough? Well you'll be able to drop Opteron 6200 16-core CPUs into these systems in the not too distant future.


All I want is a DB9

TechOps Guy: Nate

Ok maybe that's not all I want, but it's a good start.

I got a new laptop recently, a Toshiba Tecra A11, really nice laptop. A couple of jobs ago I had a Toshiba Tecra M5 and liked it a lot, it had a couple glitches with Linux but for the most part it worked well. The Tecra A11 by contrast, no glitches with Linux, at least not yet. I've been using it about three weeks now, everything from wireless, to audio, to 3D,  microphone(first time I've ever used a microphone in linux, first time in easily ten years I've used a microphone on a PC period), and even webcam worked. And most importantly, suspend/resume has been 100% reliable. Really nice to see. It is certified with Ubuntu 10.04 64-bit which is what I'm running.

But that's not really what this post is about, I wasn't expecting it, so didn't look for it, but was overjoyed when I looked and saw that this brand new business laptop had a DB9 serial port, a REAL serial port! Woohoo! I mean my M5 had one too and that was great, I just thought Toshiba had jumped on the train of let's get rid of serial ports.

What a sight to see. I mean what Linux/Unix/Network geek in their right mind can get by without a serial port? Yeah I know you've been able to get those piece of crap USB serial adapters for some time, but I'll take a DB9 any day! Especially when my favorite network gear uses native DB9 on their stuff too.
(Sorry couldn't resist getting some purple in there, not enough color on this blog)

I was a fan of the IBM Thinkpad T-series for the longest time, until Lenovo bought them, was introduced to Toshiba a few years ago and they are by far my favorite laptop. If it's going to be my main machine for work, then it's gotta be something good. The Tecra line is it, the new T series for me.

Laptop specs:

  • Intel® Core™ i7-620M Processor 2.66 GHz (3.33 GHz with Turbo Boost Technology), 4MB Cache,
  • Genuine Windows® XP Professional, SP3 with Windows® 7 Professional Recovery Media,
  • 8GB DDR3 1066MHz SDRAM (4096MBx2)
  • 320GB HDD (7200rpm, Serial ATA),
  • Nvidia® NVS™ 2100M with 512MB DDR3
  • Keyboard without 10-key numeric pad (black)
  • 15.6" Diagonal Widescreen HD+ (1600x900) TFT LCD display,
  • Dual Point pointing device (Accupoint + Touchpad) and Media Control Buttons
  • Integrated Webcam and Microphone
  • Bluetooth® Version 2.1 +EDR
  • Toshiba 4-Year On-Site Repair + 4th Year Extended Service Plan

Customized pretty good they built it special for me! Mainly the "non standard" but "reccomended" keyboard(and custom matte LCD I hate the reflective screens). At first I was kind of upset they only offered ground shipping, I would be willing to pay more for faster shipping, but turns out it wasn't ground after all, and they shipped it directly from China. Once it shipped it got here in about 4 days I think, through Alaska, then somewhere out midwest at which point I thought it was going to be put on a truck and driven back to Seattle only to find it hopped on another plane and flew to me instead.


vSphere VAAI only in the Enterprise

TechOps Guy: Nate

Beam me up!

Damn those folks at VMware..

Anyways I was browsing around this afternoon looking around at things and while I suppose I shouldn't be I was surprised to see that the new storage VAAI APIs are only available to people running Enterprise or Enterprise Plus licensing.

I think at least the block level hardware based locking for VMFS should be available to all versions of vSphere, after all VMware is offloading the work to a 3rd party product!

VAAI certainly looks like it offers some really useful capabiltiies, from the documentation on the 3PAR VAAI plugin (which is free) here are the highlights:

  • Hardware Assisted Locking is a new VMware vSphere storage feature designed to significantly reduce impediments to VM reliability and performance by locking storage at the block level instead of the logical unit number (LUN) level, which dramatically reduces SCSI reservation contentions. This new capability enables greater VM scalability without compromising performance or reliability. In addition, with the 3PAR Gen3 ASIC, metadata comparisons are executed in silicon, further improving performance in the largest, most demanding VMware vSphere and desktop virtualization environments.
  • The 3PAR Plug-In for VAAI works with the new VMware vSphere Block Zero feature to offload large, block-level write operations of zeros from virtual servers to the InServ array, boosting efficiency during several common VMware vSphere operations— including provisioning VMs from Templates and allocating new file blocks for thin provisioned virtual disks. Adding further efficiency benefits, the 3PAR Gen3 ASIC with built-in zero-detection capability prevents the bulk zero writes from ever being written to disk, so no actual space is allocated. As a result, with the 3PAR Plug-In for VAAI and the 3PAR Gen3 ASIC, these repetitive write operations now have “zero cost” to valuable server, storage, and network resources—enabling organizations to increase both VM density and performance.
  • The 3PAR Plug-In for VAAI adds support for the new VMware vSphere Full Copy feature to dramatically improve the agility of enterprise and cloud datacenters by enabling rapid VM deployment, expedited cloning, and faster Storage vMotion operations. These administrative tasks are now performed in half the time. The 3PAR plug-in not only leverages the built-in performance and efficiency advantages of the InServ platform, but also frees up critical physical server and network resources. With the use of 3PAR Thin Persistence and the 3PAR Gen3 ASIC to remove duplicated zeroed data, data copies become more efficient as well.

Cool stuff. I'll tell you what. I really never had all that much interest in storage until I started using 3PAR about 3 and a half years ago. I mean I've spread my skills pretty broadly over the past decade, and I only have so much time to do stuff.

About five years ago some co-workers tried to get me excited about NetApp, though for some reason I never could get too excited about their stuff, sure it has tons of features which is nice, though the core architectural limitations of the platform (from a spinning rust perspective at least) I guess is what kept me away from them for the most part. If you really like NetApp, put a V-series in front of a 3PAR and watch it scream. I know of a few 3PAR/NetApp users that are outright refusing to entertain the option of running NetApp storage, they like the NAS, and keep the V-series but the back end doesn't perform.

On the topic of VMFS locking - I keep seeing folks pimping the NFS route attack the VMFS locking as if there was no locking in NFS with vSphere. I'm sure prior to block level locking the NFS file level locking (assuming it is file level) is more efficient than LUN level. Though to be honest I've never encountered issues with SCSI reservations in the past few years I've been using VMFS. Probably because of how I use it. I don't do a lot of activities that trigger reservations short of writing data.

Another graphic which I thought was kind of funny, is the current  Gartner group "magic quadrant", someone posted a link to it for VMware in a somewhat recent post, myself I don't rely on Gartner but I did find the lop sidedness of the situation for VMware quite amusing -

I've been using VMware since before 1.0, I still have my VMware 1.0.2 CD for Linux. I deployed VMware GSX to production for an e-commerce site in 2004, I've been using it for a while, I didn't start using ESX until 3.0 came out(from what I've read about the capabiltiies of previous versions I'm kinda glad I skipped them :) ). It's got to be the most solid piece of software I've ever used, besides Oracle I suppose. I mean I really, honestly can not remember it ever crashing. I'm sure it has, but it's been so rare that I have no memory of it. It's not flawless by any means, but it's solid. And VMware has done a lot to build up my loyalty to them over the past, what is it now eleven years? Like most everyone else at the time, I had no idea that we'd be doing the stuff with virtualization today that we are back then.

I've kept my eyes on other hypervisors as they come around, though even now none of the rest look very compelling. About two and a half years ago my new boss at the time was wanting to cut costs, and was trying to pressure me into trying the "free" Xen that came with CentOS at the time. He figured a hypervisor is a hypervisor. Well it's not. I refused. Eventually I left the company and my two esteemed colleges were forced into trying it after I left(hey Dave and Tycen!) they worked on it for a month before giving up and going back to VMware. What a waste of time..

I remember Tycen at about the same time being pretty excited about Hyper-V. Well at a position he recently held he got to see Hyper-V in all it's glory, and well he was happy to get out of that position and not having to use Hyper-V anymore.

Though I do think KVM has a chance, I think it's too early to use it for anything too serious at this point, though I'm sure that's not stopping tons of people from doing it anyways, just like it didn't stop me from running production on GSX way back when. But I suspect by the time vSphere 5.0 comes out, which I'm just guessing here will be in the 2012 time frame, KVM as a hypervisor will be solid enough to use in a serious capacity. VMware will of course have a massive edge on management tools and fancy add ons, but not everyone needs all that stuff (me included). I'm perfectly happy with just vSphere and vCenter (be even happier if there was a Linux version of course).

I can't help but laugh at the grand claims Red Hat is making for KVM scalability though. Sorry I just don't buy that the Linux kernel itself can reach such heights and be solid & scalable, yet alone a hypervisor running on top of Linux (and before anyone asks, NO ESX does NOT run on Linux).

I love Linux, I use it every day on my servers and my desktops and laptops, have been for more than a decade. Despite all the defectors to the Mac platform I still use Linux :) (I actually honestly tried a MacBook Pro for a couple weeks recently and just couldn't get it to a usable state).

Just because the system boots with X number of CPUs and X amount of memory doesn't mean it's going to be able to effectively scale to use it right. I'm sure Linux will get there some day, but believe it is a ways off.


Dell concedes to HP

TechOps Guy: Nate

It's over. Dell has said it will not raise it's offer any more.

Dell Inc. says it will not match Palo Alto-based Hewlett-Packard's offer to pay $33 per share for 3Par Inc., or about $2.07 billion.

Probably will write more later :) Been a busy morning.

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Dell’s last stand

TechOps Guy: Nate

So apparently the news is official, 3PAR has determined the new $33/share bid is superior. Dell seems to be conceding defeat at this point. Apparently as part of Dell's recent $32/share increased bid they also negotiated a long term reseller agreement that would somehow continue even if HP ends up buying 3PAR.

From 3PAR -

HP’s revised proposal of $33 per share values 3PAR at approximately $2.4 billion

Although 3PAR previously notified Dell of its intention to terminate its merger agreement with Dell, the merger agreement was not terminated and remains in full force and effect. Following 3PAR’s notice of intent to terminate the merger agreement, and prior to receiving HP’s revised acquisition proposal, 3PAR received a revised acquisition proposal from Dell in which Dell increased its offer price from $27 per share to $32 per share. Dell’s revised acquisition proposal also included an increased termination fee of $92 million payable by 3PAR to Dell as a condition to accepting a “superior proposal,” and a multi-year reseller agreement with Dell, which would by its terms be assumed by an acquirer of, or successor in interest to, 3PAR in the event of a change in control of 3PAR (including the acquisition of 3PAR by HP or another third party), and which contained fixed pricing and other terms that the 3PAR board of directors determined to be unacceptable.

So it sounds given the length of time that elapsed for Dell to get this new deal done and how decisive HP has been, Dell likely won't come back again, and will instead rely on the reseller agreement to get 3PAR technology on the side. Interesting strategy,

I wonder if HP will try to terminate that, even if it means going to court just to block Dell from capitalizing on their pending investment. I would put money down that they will.

If they don't I wonder how it will make Dell's customers feel buying HP product from Dell? I mean with all of the sparkling HP logos plastered all over it.

I also believe Dell is putting the final nails in the coffin with their partnership with EMC with this move. EMC has a lot to lose if both HP and Dell are pitching 3PAR technology to their respective customers.

Just goes to show the value that 3PAR brings to the table.

(edited to strike out references to the reseller agreement since I obviously read too quickly before posting, just shows how excited I am I guess!! (not uncommon!) )

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