A Season’s Analysis : AC Milan’s Comeback Season

Hey yo…

19 months since I last blogged. Doesn’t seem that long ago, but what the heck. I’m writing my second blog post on soccer after Not another #WorldCup2014 blog post !!??!!. My favorite soccer club AC Milan seems to be rebuilding and starting a new cycle in the process. While the coming season seems intriguing, the season past has been pivotal. Securing Europa League qualification, winning the Copa Super Italia and some breakthrough player performances have been the highlights of the season. Hence, commences the analysis of AC Milan Season 2016-17. Here we go…


The AC Milan squad for Season 2016-17:
Goalkeepers : Gianluigi Donnarumma, Alessandro Plizzari, Marco Storari
Defenders : Ignazio Abate, Luca Antonelli, Davide Calabria, Mattia De Sciglio, Gustavo Gomez, Gabriel Paletta, Alessio Romagnoli, Leonel Vangioni, Cristian Zapata
Midfielders : Andrea Bertolacci, Giacomo Bonaventura, Matias Fernandez, Keisuke Honda, Juraj Kucka, Manuel Locatelli, Riccardo Montolivo, Mario Pasalic, Andrea Poli, Jose Sosa
Forwards : Carlos Bacca, Patrick Cutrone, Gerard Deulofeu, Gianluca Lapadula, Lucas Ocampos, Fernandez Suso

I’m going to focus on Milan’s midfield only. Why ? The most dominant teams over the years, including Milan’s championship winning sides, have had the best midfield of that time. So, brace yourselves for facts, stats and metrics…

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Bonaventura has played just 19 matches this season. But the 1541 minutes he did play were enough to depict his influence on Milan’s midfield. With 788 minutes, Bonaventura becomes the 3rd midfielder with most minutes in Milan’s victories. He’s the only midfielder to have both scored and assisted goals in the 00-15 minute mark of the game this season. The injury incurred at Round 22 against Udinese drastically affected Milan’s performance thereafter. Milan struggled for consistency and at times goals.


The most forgettable and consequently the last season of Keisuke Honda at AC Milan. With 8 appearances and 257 minutes played, the talented and diligent midfielder has played just one full game this season. But he bid addio to the Milanista in fine style. A trademark freekick against Bologna @Round 37 helped Milan seal Europa League qualification. #ThankYouHonda !!!


The 2006 South American Footballer of the Year came on board as a loanee from AC Fiorentina. Known for ball control, dribbling and balance, he may not have been a revelation in his 13 appearances but has contributed nonetheless. The winner against Genoa and the two assists against Bologna, Mati had his moments. But at Milan, more was expected. So whether he returns to Fiorentina or re-joins Colo-Colo… #ThankYouMati


Jose Sosa was another player who tried to fill the void after Bonaventura’s injury. Like him, Sosa provided 3 assists. Signed from Napoli last summer, the free-kick and corner specialist never got on the scoresheet all season. However, Sosa played 545 minutes in Milan’s victories. The Argentine doesn’t seem likely to play in the coming season, but his diligence and lack-of-a-good-deal from other clubs could see him get another season for the Rossoneri. #GoodLuckSosa


Juraj Kucka has undoubtedly been the workhorse of Milan’s midfield in season 2016-17. Aggression, strength, stamina and tackling have been Kucka’s key attributes. Kucka’s 1071 minutes out of 2201 minutes played were in Milan’s victories. Kucka contributed 2 goals and 2 assists throughout the season. One of the 2 goals was in a victory against Fiorentina. His contribution to Milan’s season and Europa League qualification was significant. The Slovak needs a deputy or understudy for the coming season. #WellDoneJuco


One of the revelations in this Milan side whose name isn’t Donnarumma is Manuel Locatelli. The 19-year old is tipped by some as ‘the new Pirlo’. I think he’s more like Guardiola, but that’s my opinion. Montolivo’s injury helped him get more opportunity this season – 1807 minutes in 25 matches. But, Bonaventura’s injury left him with more responsibility than he could handle I think, trial by fire. An important player for the future. Ball control, dribbling, short passing, long passing and long shots are some of his strengths. The winner against Juve was sublime. With Kessie joining the team, Locatelli should evolve in the coming seasons. #GoodLuckLoca


Pasalic has been another revelation this season for Milan. The loanee from Chelsea had shown strength, stamina, aggression, short passing and interception skills. Add to that the most prolific goal-scoring midfielder for Milan, scoring 5 goals. 2 of these goals have been in Milan’s victories. Chelsea have expressed their of desire for bringing him back. With Kessie coming on board, Mario could be returning to Stamford Bridge for UCL action with the Blues. #ThankYouMario


Bertolacci seems to be having an injury prone spell with Milan. Season 2016-17, was one the player should use to introspect, grow and then forget. He made 15 appearances, played 766 minutes and scored a goal. His season’s solitary goal came in the comeback draw with Torino. Berto needs to live up to the price tag, but could be offloaded as Milan looks to rebuild for loftier goals. #GoodLuckBerto



Montolivo missed most of the season due to injury. The Italian international could’ve helped Locatelli as his understudy. I think Monto should leave if Milan’s summer signing spree would’ve him lower down the order. The Premier League would be a good destination considering his ability for long passing, long shots and shot power.

Andrea Poli’s made 13 appreances this season playing 407 minutes. It seems Poli’s departure is imminent. No goals nor assists doesn’t help his case either. #GoodLuckPoli


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The slideshow above, depicts some team stats of season 2016-17. It can be noted, Milan has been most active in the final half-hour of the game. They’ve scored 28 goals and by the same token conceded 16 goals in the 61-90+ mark all season. The last 15 minutes the 76-90+ time range where Milan scored 15 goals and conceded 10 goals. What it seems is that the attack is tenacious and looking for a goal even at the final minutes. Again, the conceded goals show lapses of concentration or getting caught on the counter for going all out for goal. Now, they can’t control the outcome all the time but it seems they should score more goals earlier in the game and add quality in defence.

In defence, Milan made most interceptions (21) against Cagliari, made most defence recoveries (72) against Atalanta and most defence clearances (36) against Fiorentina and Sassuolo. The numbers state the diligence and effort the team performs while defending. But, a lack of quality in defence, and sometimes in attack, has cost the team games that could have been won.

My “2 cents”… numbers, stats and insights aside, this team has talent and has shown the heart to win. The new signings – André Silva, Ricardo Rodríguez, Franck Kessié, Mateo Musacchio, (though not official yet) Lucas Biglia and Andrea Conti, is building the team in the right direction and at the right places. I think Kucka, Locatelli and Bonaventura are the 3 midfielders I would hold on to from last season. Pasalic would make a good permanent signing, and wants to stay with the club. Lets see how things unfold with that. I would start Suso-Silva; Bonaventura-Locatelli-Biglia-Kessié; Conti-Romagnoli-Musacchio-Rodríguez; Plizzari for the pre-season friendlies and tournaments

I agree that competing for the top 4 places is and should be Milan’s primary goal for Season 2017-18. But, I think Milan should end the duck in the Europa League. Yes fellow Milanistas… it may seem far fetched, unrealistic and dreaming-with-eyes-bigger-than-the-stomach. But, lets vie for the UEFA Europa League 2017-18 !!??!!

#MilanforUEL #ForzaMilan #weareacmilan #allinACM

result (1)


AC Milan sign Andre Silva to take summer spending to €99 million

South American Footballer of the Year


AC Milan 2016/17 – One Last Time





15 startups Storage Admins should venture

Hey yo…

A couple of weeks ago, I read an article online on HP. It stated HP laying off employees as it restructures into split companies. After finishing the article, it felt nauseating. But, HP is going through a cycle of growth, then decay and finally transformation. Is this series of layoffs the last of HP’s decay and the split the beginning of transformation ?
I hope so. On the same token, IBM isn’t picture perfect by any stretch of imagination. 13 straight quarterly revenue falls. Though my fingers are crossed and my prayers for them, I foresee 13 to 14 consecutive quarters. Michael Dell showed us that things can change by taking ownership. But, this route doesn’t imply to HP and IBM. What would it take for these IT giants to turn it around. I don’t know, maybe holocracy. But, I do know when it comes to storage, competition is at breakneck pace.
Storage giants like EMC and HDS are doing okay and NetApp seem wayward but growing still. And speaking of growing, not only the market but so has the competition. Today when companies discuss storage, arrays aren’t the only discussion but also Public/Private Cloud, Hyper Converged/Converged Infrastructure and Software-defined Storage. Not only new technologies but new companies providing these new technologies are at the fore. Storage admins, these are your new opportunities.
Hybrid array companies, Hyper converged infrastructure companies and All-flash companies are 3 areas I would like to present in this post for the storage admin. Growing markets, competitive companies and new technologies, buckle up Storage Admins. Here we go…

Startups for Storage Admins

Hybrid Array Companies

When it comes to Hybrid arrays, EMC VNX series, HDS HUS VM and NetApp FAS series would come to mind first. But now there are new players in the market who are not only going against the big guns and but are also making inroads. Some of these companies also offer All-flash arrays and Converged Infrastructure systems, which means one thing. They are here!

Hybrid Array Companies

Hybrid array companies


Kieran Harty and Mark Gritter established Tintri in 2008, with HQ located at Mountain View, CA. With $260 million in funding received and an expanding portfolio, Tintri seems to be gearing up for an IPO somewhere down the road.

Funding for Tintri

Tintri’s funding till date*

Tintri’s flagship product has been the Tintri VMstore hybrid arrays. August this year, Tintri introduced All-flash arrays – T5060/T5080 and Converged Infrastructures – VMstack. The company is flexing up 🙂

Tintri Products

Tintri Product Portfolio

Influencers to follow on social media-

1. Chris Sears         (@csears)
2. Todd J. Lewey    (@tlewey)
3. Aaron Frazier     (@aaronafrazier)


In 2010, ex-Cisco workers Rohit Khetrapal and Rajesh Nair established Tegile Systems in Newark, CA. With $117.52 million in funding received, details given below, and a growing reputation Tegile looks like a solid bet.

Funding for Tegile

Tegile’s funding till date*

Based on Tegile’s IntelliFlash architecture the company offers both Hybrid and All-flash arrays. Tegile positions these arrays as per workload demand. Product portfolio is listed below-

Tegile Product Portfolio

Tegile Products

Influencers to follow on social media-

1. Rohit Kshetrapal      (@rohitkshe)
2. Amy Rushall             (@AmyRushall)
3. Rob Commins          (@robcommins)

Coho Data

In 2011, Ramana Jonnala, Andrew Warfield and Keir Frasser established Coho Data in Palo Alto, CA. With $65 million in funding received, details given below, Coho Data aims to deliver storage for the cloud generation.

Coho Data Funding

Funding for Coho Data till date*

Coho Data’s product portfolio constitutes software-defined networking integrated storage appliances for private clouds.

Coho Data Product Portfolio

CohoData Products

Influencers to follow on social media –

1. Andrew Warfield       (@andywarfield)
2. Forbes Guthrie         (@forbesguthrie)


Infinidat brings a new generation of highly reliable and efficient storage systems, supporting needs for future growth. Established in 2011, by the man behind EMC’s Symmetrix and IBM’s XIV storage systems – Dr. Moshe Yanai. With $230 million in funding received, details given below, Infinidat aims to provide next generation enterprise class hybrid storage.

Series funding for Infinidat

Infinidat Funding till date*

Located at Needham, MA, but most of product development is done primarily in Israel with senior marketing personnel split between the U.S. and Israel. Infinidat claims that with the InifiniBox series traditional storage paradigms are eliminated as the storage system is superior, scalable and innovative.

Infinidat Product Portfolio

Infinidat Products

Influencers to follow on social media-

1. Bas Broekarts         (@Bascloud61)
2. Randy Arseneau     (@dorkninja)


DataGravity is an up-and-coming startup being led by one of the founders of EqualLogic, Paula Long, and John Joseph, her co-founder and former VP of Marketing and Product Management at EqualLogic. Established in 2012 and based Nashua, NH, DataGravity has accumulated $92 million in series funding, details given below.

Series funding for DataGravity

DataGravity funding till date*

DataGravity states, “Storage needs to evolve from just focusing on the “5 9’s” to including the “5 W’s” – shining a light on the what, where, when, who and why of your data.” To achieve that DataGravity brings its Discovery Series offering Data-aware storage.

DataGravity Product Portfolio

DataGravity Discovery Series Systems

Influencers to follow on social media-

1. David Siles        (@dsiles)
2. Todd Barton      (@virtualocracy)
3. Samkit Shah      (@samkit777)

Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) Companies

IDC estimated that hyperconverged systems, including hardware and software solutions, market grew 162.3% in 2014 to a market value of $373 million. According to a new forecast, hyperconverged systems sales in 2015 will generate $807 million in revenue globally, up 116.2% over 2014.

Hyper Converged Infrastructure Companies

Hyper Converged Infrastructure (HCI) Companies


In 2009, Dheeraj Pandey, Mohit Aron and Ajeet Singh established Nutanix in San Jose, CA. With $312.2 million in funding received, details given below, Nutanix is the first company to offer a radically simple compute and storage infrastructure for implementing enterprise-class virtualization disrupting the market.

Series funding for Nutanix

Nutanix funding till date*

Nutanix has been a key player in the emergence of the hyperconverged market and the products that helped establish that are listed below.

Nutanix Product Portfolio_2

Nutanix Products

Influencers to follow on social media-

1. Andre Leibovici         (@andreleibovici)
2. Josh Odgers             (@josh_odgers)
3. Alexander Ervik         (@ervik)


Doron Kempel established SimpliVity in 2009 with its HQ located at Westborough, MA. With $276.5 million in funding received, details given below, SimpliVity’s OmniCube platform provides enterprise computing, storage services and network functionality at a fraction of today’s traditional operating costs with a game-changing reduction in complexity.

Series funding for Simplivity

SimpliVity funding till date*

According to SimpliVity, OmniCube is the industry’s first and only globally-federated and hyperconverged infrastructure solution. Speed time to deploy infrastructure for new workloads, Streamline operations with VM-centric management and mobility are some of the listed benefits OminCube provides.

SimpliVity Product Portfolio

SimpliVity’s Products

Influencers to follow on social media-

1. Sean Thulin          (@sthulin)
2. Ron Singler           (@rsingler_)
3. Jeff Mercier           (@jmercier131)


Gridstore, found by Kelly Murphy in 2009, is the leading provider of grid-based scale-out converged infrastructure for Hyper-V based clouds. Based in Mountain View, CA, Gridstore has received $25.47 million in funding, details shown below, and is the leading provider of grid-based scale-out converged infrastructure.

Series funding for Gridstore

Gridstore’s funding till date*

The Gridstore HyperConverged Appliance (HCA) is a single system that includes both compute and storage. Native bare metal integration, end-to-end control per VM and end-to-end flash architecture are some the unique features listed by Gridstore for the HCA. Products listed below.

Gridstore Product Portfolio

Gridstore products

Influencers to follow on social media-

1. George Symons      (@gjsymons)
2. Kelly Murphy           (@KellyMurphyGS)


In 2009, Yoram Novick established Maxta in Sunnyvale, CA. With $35 million in funding received, details given below, Maxta aims to redefine enterprise storage to enable customers to realize the full potential of the SDDC.

Series funding for Maxta

Maxta’s funding till date*

According to Maxta, MaxDeploy Hyper-converged Appliances enable the convergence of applications, server virtualization and storage on industry standard servers. The architecture delivers the ability to combine best-in-class technology for compute and storage components.

Maxta Product Portfolio


Influencers to follow on social media-

1. Kiran S Murthy (@kirans_murthy)
2. Delya Jansen (@delyabak)


In 2012, ex-CTO of Galactic Computing Corporation David Cauthron established Nimboxx in Austin, TX. With $12 million in funding received, details given below, Nimboxx aims to bring the benefits of the hyper-scale data center model to companies of all sizes.

Series funding for Nimboxx

Nimboxx’s funding till date*

The NIMBOXX platform isn’t just a virtualization platform; it’s a software-defined data center in-a-box. The NIMBOXX architecture includes the MeshOS operating system installed directly on bare metal that can be deployed in <10 minutes.

Nimboxx Product Portfolio

Nimboxx Offerings

Influencers to follow on social media-

Jeremy Gaither (@jeremygaither)

All-flash Companies

According to a report from Transparency Market Research, the global SSD market was valued at $15.1 billion in 2014 and is expected to reach $229.5 billion by 2022. SSDs in arrays, Server-based flash storage solutions and PCI-e cards have been ways flash is deployed, but, new architectures like NV-based DIMMS are also emerging in this space. Flash is undoubtedly a huge disruption in storage economics.

All Flash Array Companies

All Flash Companies

Nimbus Data

In 2006, Thomas Isakovich established Nimbus Data in San Francisco, CA. With $2 million in funding received, details given below, and Nimbus Data’s arrays serve virtualization, Databases and Cloud Infrastructure needs.

Series funding for Nimbus Data

Nimbus Data funding till data*

Nimbus Data’s Gemini series arrays are intelligent, efficient and fault-tolerant unified (SAN/NAS) solid state storage platform engineered for server and desktop virtualization, databases, HPC, and next-generation cloud infrastructure.

Nimbus Data Product Portfolio

Nimbus Data Gemini Series

Influencers to follow on social media-

Thomas Isakovich        (@tisakovich)

Pure Storage

John Hayes and John Colgrove established Pure Storage on September 1, 2009 and on October 6, 2015 the company went public raising $425 million. Based in Mountain View,CA, Pure Storage raised $530.8 million is funding, details given below and has amassed approx 18% of Worldwide All-Flash Array Revenue.

Series funding for Pure Storage

Pure Storage funding till date*

Prior to going public, Pure Storage has been building a brand in the storage industry. It’s flagship product the FA-400 played a major role in that. The company’s products, listed below, accelerate random I/O-intensive applications like server virtualization, VDI, DB (OLTP/OLAP) and cloud computing.

Pure Storage Product Portfolio

Pure Storage Products

Influencers to follow on social media-

1. Vaughn Stewart        (@vStewed)
2. Bill Plein                    (@billplein)
3. Rob “Barkz” Barker   (@barkz)


In 2010, ex-Jungle Disk President Dave Wright established SolidFire in Boulder, CO. With $150 million in funding received, details given below, and a growing reputation SolidFire looks like another solid bet.

Series funding for SolidFire

SolidFire funding till date*

SolidFire has positioned itself as the storage of choice for Cloud Service Providers (CSP). Also, SolidFire’s benchmark for true storage Quality of Service (QoS) sets the standard for delivering an exact level of performance and bandwidth within multi-tenant infrastructures.

SolidFire Product Portfolio

SolidFire products

Influencers to follow on social media-

1. Aaron Delp              (@aarondelp)
2. Jeramiah Dooley     (@jdooley_clt)
3. Dave Wright            (@jungledave)


In 2011, Vishal Misra and Arun Aggarwal established Infinio in Cambridge, MA. With $150 million in funding received, details given below, and Infino addresses storage performance in virtual environments.

Series funding for Infinio

Infinio funding till date*

Infinio’s flagship product the Infinio Accelerator creates a software-based storage acceleration layer that improves storage performance in virtualized environments for any SAN or NAS array.

Infinio Product Portfolio

Influencers to follow on social media-

1. Scott Davis (@shd_9)
2. Sheryl Koenigsberg (@storagediva)
3. Sarah Locke (@Social4Sarah)


AccelStor a relatively new name in the SSD market is a company founded in November 2014 as a spinoff from Innodisk. AccelStor’s NeoSapphire series is optimized with an operating system (OS) and specially designed solid-state drives (SSDs) powered by FlexiRemap technology. FlexiRemap technology adopts the software-defined flash approach with flash-collaborative architecture to provide high IO/s performance

Accelstor Product Portfolio

AccelStor Products

Influencers to follow on social media-

Charles Tsai (@charlestw)

My “2 cents”… Firstly, lets be real. All these companies are less than 10 years old. They have initiated disruption but haven’t survived one like the big boys. Any of the above companies, could either be the new VMware or Data General for all we know. We are fortunate to witness the growth of these startups and apart from Pure Storage none have gone public yet. Startups are like causes. Hence, identify the cause you associate with.

I won’t deny the benefits that come working for an IT major like IBM, HP or Microsoft. But the problem with most big companies has always been reluctance to change. Another reason for their falling revenues is their slow tech refresh cycles. That is where startups disrupt. But, when it comes to storage EMC is still the king of the mountain and seems would be so in the foreseeable future. And trust me, working for a startup and going up against EMC is not a walk in the park. Also, Pure Storage’s Wall Street debut wasn’t really Christmas morning.

What startups are, are opportunities. Opportunity to change the game, opportunity to be part of organic growth. Think about it, slogging at a big company that makes billions in sales in a year with revenue percentage falling flat Y/Y. Or help build a company that could change things for better. As Peter Economy stated in his article, “Staying with one company is not the top consideration of a career. And neither is the sole emphasis on the bottom line. There is a strong expectation for businesses to expand the impact they are making. Their role in the world includes improving it for the better.” Gartner has deemed DataGravity, Infinidat, Infinio, Maxta and Pure Storage as Cool Vendors in Storage Technologies. Tegile Systems was selected among the Red Herring Top 100 North America Tech Startup in 2012. Other startups worth honorable mentions are listed below. So, as the industry changes so should the knowledge worker.

Honorable Mentions to these startups

Honorable Mentions to these startups

Place your bets Storage Admins!

*Funding data collected from crunchbase.com profiles
**The post was edited on 10/12/2015

References –
This is how HP lost its way | http://fortune.com/2015/09/16/hp-layoffs-hewlett-packard-meg-whitman/
IBM revenue falls for 13th straight quarter; shares dip | http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/20/us-ibm-results-idUSKCN0PU29920150720
ESG #TechTruth: Integrated Computing Platforms (#ICP) are supporting private #cloud environments | http://www.slideshare.net/ESG_Global/tech-truths-june-2014-icp

Tintri Profile @CrunchBase.com – https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/tintri#/entity
Tegile Systems Profile @CrunchBase.com – https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/tegile-systems#/entity
Coho Data Profile @CrunchBase.com – https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/coho-data#/entity
DataGravity Profile @CrunchBase.com – https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/datagravity#/entity
Infinidat Profile @CrunchBase.com – https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/infinidat#/entity

Nutanix Profile @CrunchBase.com – https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/nutanix#/entity
SimpliVity Profile @CrunchBase.com – https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/simplivity#/entity
Gridstore Profile @CrunchBase.com – https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/gridstore#/entity
Maxta Profile @CrunchBase.com – https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/maxta#/entity
Nimboxx Profile @CrunchBase.com – https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/nimboxx#/entity

Pure Storage Profile @CrunchBase.com – https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/pure-storage#/entity
SolidFire Profile @CrunchBase.com – https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/solidfire#/entity
Infinio Profile @CrunchBase.com – https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/infinio#/entity
Nimbus Data Profile @CrunhBase.com – https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/nimbus-data#/entity

Tintri Products | https://www.tintri.com/products/tintri-vmstore
Tegile Systems Products | http://www.tegile.com/products/
Coho Data Products | http://www.cohodata.com/product
DataGravity Products | http://datagravity.com/products
Infinidat Products | http://www.infinidat.com/products/

Nutanix Products | http://www.nutanix.com/products/
SimpliVity Products | https://www.simplivity.com/products/
Gridstore Products | http://www.gridstore.com/products/gridstore-3/
Maxta Products | http://www.maxta.com/products/
Nimboxx Products | https://www.nimboxx.com/products/

Pure Storage Products | https://www.purestorage.com/products.html
SolidFire Products | http://www.solidfire.com/storage-system/product-specifications/
Nimbus Data Products | http://www.nimbusdata.com/hardware/overview.php
Infinio Products | http://www.infinio.com/product
AccelStor Products | https://www.accelstor.com/products.php?id=1

Global SSD Market to Post CAGR of 41% Until 2022 Reaching $230 Billion – Transparency Market Research | http://www.storagenewsletter.com/rubriques/market-reportsresearch/global-ssd-market-to-post-cagr-of-41-until-2022-reaching-230-billion-transparency-market-research/
Cool Storage Vendors in 2015 – Gartner | http://www.storagenewsletter.com/rubriques/market-reportsresearch/cool-storage-vendors-in-2015-gartner/

4 Ways Millennials Are Changing the World | http://www.inc.com/peter-economy/4-ways-millennials-are-changing-the-world.html

5 Worth It Certifications for the Storage Admin

Hey yo…

We’ve heard the tune of June and drenched in the rain of July. Within this timeline, Gartner gave the Magic Quadrants for some segments in Enterprise IT. First up, EMC is positioned as Leader for Enterprise Backup Software and Integrated Appliances. EMC also maintains its lead in the overall PBBA market with a 52.4% revenue share in the first quarter of 2015. In the Solid State Array segment, EMC is once again positioned as Leader along with Pure Storage, in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant. The EMC-Pure Storage rivalry took another turn as Pure Storage seems to have lured Jonathan Martin to be their new CMO. But I digress, readers and Storage Admins. This post is about IT certifications, which the storage admin ought to pursue in the SSDC era. In my last post, I discussed the new skills a storage admin ought to equip oneself with. Now, to validate those skills with certifications, this is an extension, as for what to do next. Here we go…

5 Certifications for the Storage Admin

Certifications for the Storage Admin

1) VMware Certified Professional

Despite saturation seen in the market and pricing pressure from competitors, VMware continues to surge and dominate market share. And for the 6th year in a row, VMware sits at the top, as a Leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for x86 Server Virtualization Infrastructure. VMware’s offering for the Software-defined Data Center in Compute, Networking, Storage and Management is changing and disrupting the industry as a whole. This certification continues to be a hot skill and may stay that way for a long time.

According to a study by Global Knowledge the average pay of a VCP is $94,181. For more info on VCP-DCV, click here. For a quick reference on the details of the exam, check the pic below:



2) AWS SysOps Admin

AWS SysOps Admin

AWS Certifies SysOps Administrator – Associate

For 5 consecutive years, AWS has been ‘The Leader’ in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for IaaS. And now is turning out to be the runaway market leader for IaaS too. Storage Admins if you would ask that is AWS for IaaS what VMware is for Server Virtualization. My response would be – Safe Bet!

DR-as-a-Service, DB-as-a-Service, Desktop-as-a-Service etc AWS may enter your enterprise in any/more ways than one. Hybrid cloud seems to have become the route most companies would like to take. Storage Admins adhere yourselves with the Cloud and AWS in particular. I would like to go on a limb and say, “AWS is not only a #MustHave skill but a #WorthIt certification too”. For a quick reference on the details of the exam, check the pic above.

3) Veeam Certified Engineer

How would you describe Veeam? A virtualization-centric backup and recovery solution? Or The leading VM backup vendor in the market? Or More than 145,000 customers worldwide have paid for a backup and recovery solution with simplicity, reliability and integration into VM management UI all included in one product?

Whatever you may describe it, Storage Admins I urge you to think big picture. In the SDDC era, x86 server virtualization has 2 major players – 1) VMware vSphere; and 2) Microsoft Hyper-V. Veeam provides backup solutions for both hypervisors with the same tools. Calling Veeam a hot skill would be an understatement.

As a VMware partner, Veeam supports VMware Virtual Volumes (VVols) and Virtual SAN (VSAN) 6.0. Plus, Veeam helps users move VMs around when using vMotion is not an option. #WorthIt certification indeed !

VMCE exam

Veeam Certified Engineer Exam

4) VCE Certified Administration Engineer

VCE Vblock appliance falls under the Integrated Infrastructure or Converged Infrastructure segment. VCE likes to describe it as “Data Center in a box”. According to IDC, global sales of integrated infrastructure in Q1 ’15 totaled up to $2.1 billion. This is up 8.3% year on year. VCE is a bona fide leader in this market. Gartner’s Magic Quadrant Leader, 24.1% market share and 29.3% revenue growth, should be reason enough to pursue Vblock System Administration and add to your skillset. For a quick reference on the details of the exam, check the pic below.

VCE Certified Converged Infrastructure Administration

VCE Vblock Systems Administration Exam

5) EMC Product/Technology Specific Certification

Storage Admins, I would like you all to take a stroll down memory lane with me. A time, when we took classes on Storage Fundamentals and prepared for an exam titled – Information Storage Management (ISM). Some would ace it, while some couldn’t even pass. Once that ISM hurdle was crossed, the EMCSA specialist exam would be the next frontier. Anyone wearing their EMC Specialist T-shirt in office would be the target of envy. And those wearing T-shirts of Expert level were considered lords. Alas! Those were the days.

Today, transformation is seen not only in the product portfolio, in marketing, in the operations but in their certification framework as well. The new Emerging Technologies Division @EMC has been making the rounds. And the certification track for most of the technologies under this new division is the new EMCP/T track. What makes this track unique is the one exam approach. ScaleIO, ViPR Controller, ViPR SRM and XtremIO are technologies covered under this track.

As per ESG, EMC ScaleIO is a flexible software-defined solution that leverages host-based internal storage to create a scalable virtual SAN with performance that is comparable to or better than an external SAN, at a fraction of the cost and complexity. Deployment options are – 1) as storage only; and 2) converging storage, compute and networking resources into a single scalable building block that is easy to manage. A worthy competitor for VMware’s VSAN and PernixData’s FVP. For a quick reference on the details of the exam, check the pic below.

EMCP/T Proven Certification for ScaleIO

ScaleIO 1.x Server-Based SAN Exam

The market segment for All Flash Arrays doubled in 2014 compared to 2013, with the total market revenue totalling up to $1.43 billion. The XtremIO Storage Array from EMC is an all-flash array (AFA), based on scale-out architecture. According to EMC, the XtremIO design unlocks flash’s full performance potential and deliver array-based capabilities that leverage the unique characteristics of SSDs. Performance, Scalability, Efficiency, Data Protection and a wide range of functionality is what XtremIO is all about. Strengths and shortcomings aside, EMC has been able to successfully sell and market XtremIO due to its vast sales force, channel bandwidth and execution prowess. Thus, the certification enlisted below ~ #WorthIt !!!

EMCP/T Certification for XtremIO

XtremIO 3.x Flash Storage Solutions Exam

The ViPR Controller is a storage automation software that centralizes and transforms storage into a simple and extensible platform by abstracting and pooling resources. It is designed to deliver automated, policy-driven storage services on-demand.

EMC’s ViPR Controller has got to be the single most exciting product from the Emerging Technologies Division. And EMC is taking this commercial product and releasing it to a community-driven development. The open source project, named CoprHD, makes the code for ViPR Controller available to the open source community. EMC, though, shall continue to sell EMC ViPR Controller as a commercial offering enhanced with service, support, training etc.

Simple, Extensible and Open are what describes the ViPR Controller. Optimizing resources and providing the IT team with the ability to deliver Storage-as-a-service. The ViPR Controller is bound to be a hot skill and a #WorthIt certification.

EMCP/T Proven Certification for ViPR Controller & Data Services

ViPR Controller and Data Services 2.x Exam

EMC describes ViPR SRM, as a storage management software to manage the complexity of growing, heavily virtualized storage environments. While the ViPR Controller abstracts and pools arrays into virtual storage pools, integration with SRM helps you understand the physical to logical relationships. In other words, relationships between ViPR tenants and the underlying storage are simpler to fathom. However, unlike the ViPR Controller, SRM isn’t open source yet.

Visualize. Analyze. Optimize. ViPR SRM aims to optimize capacity and improve productivity to get the most out storage assets. With ScaleIO, ViPR Controller and ViPR SRM, EMC’s Software-defined Storage position seems solid.

EMCP/T Proven Certification for ViPR SRM

ViPR 3.x Storage Resource Management Exam

Honorable Mentions

There are 5 more certifications that I believe deserve honorable mentions. Certifications, listed in the pic below, from Cisco-NetApp, HDS, EMC, DataCore and Nutanix. These certifications are for technologies that are market leaders in their own right and may find their way in your data centers if not already. Storage admins, you may want to keep tabs on these as well.

5 alternatives for the storage admin

Certis worth honorable mention

My “2 cents”… Why these certifications ? I’ve got two reasons. First, they are recognized as the cream of the crop from one of the most revered market analysis firm – Gartner. Second, these technologies are market share leaders, which means more opportunities up for grabs. Rich Simmons, from EMC, stated “What was once considered a “boring” sector in IT is now hot again. We have new vendors entering the market at a furious pace, trying to gain position in all-flash, flash attach and software-defined storage”.

Remember some of these challenges in the days of traditional storage. Challenges like-

  • Manual and slow provisioning
  • Performance bottlenecks
  • Alignment with applications
  • End-to-end visibility
  • Specialized hardware requirements

5 Certifications for the Storage Admin

Storage Admins, I urge you to check out these 5 certifications. If honorable mentions seem more appropriate then go ahead with those. It’s not about overkill but looking at the big picture. Companies are undergoing restructuring and transformation. IT vendors are offering solutions to “Redefine IT” ( I know, EMC’s punch line ). Certification in these technologies would mean –

  • Acquiring hot skills
  • Competency in market leading technology
  • Staying ahead of the curve
  • As Seth Godin stated, you can potentially lead, contribute and demonstrate that the attention you are asking to be spent on you is worthwhile.

Storage Admin Memes

So, if you folks agree, somewhat agree or completely disagree I would like to read your comments on this topic below.

**In countries where English isn’t first language, an extra 30 minutes are allotted to candidates who take the exam in English

***Course is available to candidates in Instructor Led Training (ILT) and Online Instructor Led Training formats.

VMware Exam

AWS Exam

Veeam Exam

VCE Exam



Skills that a Storage Admin #MustHave

EMC World 2015

EMC World 2015*

CoreOS FEST 2015

CoreOS FEST 2015**

Hey yo…

May is always the fully loaded month in the IT calendar. Microsoft Ignite, CoreOS Fest, SAP SAPPHIRE, EMC World, IBM Edge and more. Keynotes, hands-on labs, mentoring sessions and  disruptive new tech on display. With that said, where does that leave the IT guy. For the technologist, new tech means new skills. And right now in the Cloud-SDDC era, what skills are in demand and what are going to be ? Which ones to pick ? What route to take ? Well, the answer seems… “It depends”. I know it sounds cliche perhaps even vague. All this new tech may mean new skills for the techie, but for the business owners it means new options. So, what are our options, what new skills does the storage admin need to adopt. From my crystal ball, just kidding folks ;), I foresee 16 skills in demand for the storage guy. I’m presenting them in 2 sets . First set of five, are the Skills in Demand. And the second set of eleven, the New Tricks. Here we go… !!!

Skills in Demand

1) Data Migration

Data Migration covers storage platform migration, application migration to new storage, moving operating systems to new storage, consolidation of data or database instances etc. Most migrations today are P2V conversions, V2V conversions, Cloud migrations etc. The tools we are accustomed to are still in demand like rsync, Hitachi’s Universal Replicator or EMC’s Open Replicator but the new stuff like EMC VPLEX, VMware’s Storage vMotion, NetApp MetroCluster are becoming the norm if not already. Every storage admin should seek to undertake as many migration projects as possible and those who have are golden. Storage admins, experienced and new, this skill is certified #MustHave !

2) Replication

Often referred synonymously with Business Continuity Management, local and remote replication are among the routine tasks of the storage admin. Yes, automation has crept in this realm. But, without expertise in replication the storage admin’s toolkit is incomplete. EMC’s SRDF/TimeFinder for VMAX, Hitachi’s TrueCopy/Shadow Image and NetApp’s SnapMirror/SnapVault are the industry’s leading remote/local replication solutions. However, over the years EMC RecoverPoint (RP) has been a revelation in the sphere of BC/DR. Admins once had to use different tools for every platform, whether physical or virtual, and RecoverPoint (RP) changed that with its “One Solution” approach. And now with EMC RecoverPoint for Virtual Machines, we have a VMware hypervisor-based, storage agnostic, software only data protection tool enabling local, remote and concurrent local and remote replication with continuous data protection for recovery to any PiT. #RP4replication #MustHave !

3) NAS

The dedicated, high performance, file sharing and storage device that provides ease of deployment, improved efficiency, flexibility and centralized storage (I know it sounds textbook), has not only entered datacenters but seems to be staying put for the foreseeable future. With its cousin Scale-Out NAS becoming more mainstream as we speak, embracing NAS seems inevitable. Scale-Out NAS has already carved a niche in Big Data and CCTV-Security solutions and traditional NAS a prominent feature in vSphere and Hyper-V. Hence, NAS ~ #MustHave

4) Shell Programming Languages

Shell programming languages have been used for repetitive task automation and will be doing so. Tasks like monitoring systems, data backups or creating snapshots, creating email based alert systems, finding available and free memory or finding info about local or remote servers, are automated with shell programming languages. With VMs and Containers taking helm, more processes would be preferred automated. Korn (ksh), Bourne Again (bash), Tickle (tcl) or C (csh), pick one and learn or as many as possible. If you are a Windows guy, then PowerShell is your weapon of choice. Bottomline, definite #MustHave for the storage admin’s toolkit.

5) VMware vSphere

The vSphere/ESXi hypervisor is the market leader in server virtualization. Yes, Hyper-V is hot on its heels. RedHat KVM and Oracle VM have improved leaps and bounds as well. But with vSphere 6, VMware is taking the fight to the competition. According to Bill Ferguson, author of The Official VCP5 Certification Guide, the new vSphere 6 is more powerful, more manageable, more secure and more flexible than any previous release of vSphere. It will be fun to learn how you can use it best for your own IT environment. And storage guys know that storage is an essential component of a vSphere design and provides the foundation for the vSphere environment. A successful vSphere design is based on a solid storage design that addresses capacity, performance, availability and recovery. So, Storage admins this is #MustHave indeed !!!

The New Tricks

1) Software-defined Storage (SDS)

According to techtarget.com, SDS is an approach to data storage in which the programming that controls storage-related tasks is decoupled from the physical storage hardware. It also states that, SDS places the emphasis on storage-related services rather than storage hardware. With the rise of DataCore and their SAN Symphony-V solution, SDS may be in your datacenter sooner rather than later. EMC and VMware are catching up with their offerings of SDS. With that said, EMC announced that the ViPR Software-defined Storage would become open source in June this year. Another vendor offering open source SDS like RedHat. IT is undergoing a paradigm shift and storage is a big part of it. Check the playlist below for SDS offerings from VMware, DataCore, EMC, HP and IBM

2) Cloud-based Disaster Recovery

Expensive and complex are two traits connected with traditional Disaster Recovery (DR) solutions. The challenge in supporting the ongoing maintenance of traditional  DR solutions would force organisations to operate within limitations. Cloud-based DR, however, seems to have changed the game. How ? By providing simple, affordable and automated processes for recovering  data. As per 451 research, Cloud-based DR is expected to grow at 21% CAGR over the next several years and the storage admin should probably sleep on it. For more info on Cloud-based DR check out this ebook from VMware on this link.  Also below, is a playlist from vendors offering cloud-based DR solutions – AWS, VMware, Microsoft and Zetta – 

3) Hyper Converged Infrastructure (HCI)

SimpliVity states, at the highest level hyperconvergence is a way to enable cloud-like economics and scale without compromising the performance, reliability and availability you expect in your own datacenter. It has also been stated in techtarget.com, Hyper-Convergence (hyperconvergence) is a type of infrastructure system with a software-centric architecture that tightly integrates compute, storage, networking and virtualization resources and other technologies from scratch in a commodity hardware box supported by a single vendor like Nutanix, VMware, SimpliVity, Scale Computing, NiMBOXX etc As IT transforms in the direction of SDDC, HCI have been deemed the building blocks of SDDC, especially by VMware. And also, the hyperconverged systems market grew 162% in 2014 that shows rapid adoption. This skill is certified #MustHave !

4) Open Source Software (OSS)

Open source software has penetrated in datacenters and has become integral. And it all started with Linux. The big names like IBM and Oracle supported it and the newcomers that have become big names selling it – RedHat and Suse, have made OSS mainstream. Now, there is a new generation of OSS on the horizon that shall change and disrupt – OpenStack, Docker, CoreOS, Kubernetes and Flocker.

OpenStack is for service providers, enterprises, government agencies and academic institutions that want to build public or private clouds. 150+ companies support the mission of OpenStack and boasts of one of the fastest growing open source communities in the world. OpenStack provides redundant, scalable object storage using clusters of standardized servers capable of storing petabytes of data. It also provides persistent block level storage devices for use with OpenStack compute resources. For more info click here.

In my earlier post I had stated, “Docker is the software architecture that is eating the world. It also seems that Docker and LXC have won the market’s heart. And like Google, AWS, Microsoft, Red Hat and VMware, I too find myself on the Docker bandwagon. Why ? As I look past the hype and hyperbole, Docker is the real deal. How so ? When VMware came out with their server virtualization solution they offered features and functionalities like vMotion which none did, initiated P2V transformations across workloads in the datacenter. VMs have come a long way. Migrating mission critical workloads like Oracle, SAP, Microsoft etc to virtualized environments and new solutions in the offering like VSAN, VVOLS, NSX etc. VMs are the norm for SDDC. But, Docker being open source, meaning agility and elimination from vendor lock-in, offering light-weight virtualization and better performance than VMs depicts the potential of this technology.“. Every major IT solutions vendor is embracing this technology. Storage admins shouldn’t ignore either.

Launched in 2013, CoreOS had raised $20 million in Series A funding. It is also listed in CNN.com‘s 11 Startups to bet on in 2015, and has started a Linux Container as a Service to go up against the Cloud’s next big thing – Docker. Apart from Google, RedHat and VMware are also avid supporters of CoreOS. VMware announced support for CoreOS’s appc and shipped rkt in its Project Photon, making rkt available to VMware VSphere and VMware vCloud Air customers. Worth the hype ? I guess so.

The rise of Docker and CoreOS are evidence to the claim that Containerization has become one of the most important areas of innovation for modern computing. And Google doesn’t plan to sit idle, thus Kubernetes. Kubernetes is an open source manager for Docker containers. It helps you squeeze multiple Docker containers onto the same machine so that you can get the most out it. With Microsoft, RedHat, IBM, Docker, CoreOS, Mesosphere and SaltStack as active contributors it won’t take long for Kubernetes to creep in your environments.

ClusterHQ have created an open source tool named Flocker. It is a data volume and container manager that enables a container holding a stateful component to be live-migrated from one server to another without any loss of transactions, service or downtime. It is based on the ZFS file system and utilises ZFS based volumes at the back-end in combination with a network proxy at the front-end to enable stateful containers

5) New Stuff

Splunk, Veeam and Druva inSync are 3 new and exciting solutions the storage admin should make note of. Splunk Enterprise is a software platform to search, analyse and visualise the machine-generated data gathered from the websites, applications, sensors and devices, that comprise your IT infrastructure or business. Current features include – Indexing, Data Model, Pivot, Search, Alerts, Reports & Dashboards. As far as industry adoption is concerned, Hyperconverged Infrastructure market leader Nutanix have had success virtualizing Splunk workloads. And the Splunk app for NetApp’s Data ONTAP provides an essential building block  in data infrastructure monitoring. Fast Company has listed Splunk in its Top 10 most innovative companies in Big Data of 2015.

Veeam Software was born on July 1 2006. Its flagship product the Veeam Availability Suite has helped this company grow exponentially with 145,000 customers worldwide. Veeam brings backup and replication in a single solution to increase the value of backup and reinvent data protection for both VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V virtual environments. HP, EMC & NetApp are partners with Veeam and provide GTM solutions. This skill is certified #MustHave !

Formed in 2008, Druva is a specialist in backup for mobile devices. It is currently “the brand” in BYOD backup. It offers continuous backup for mobile devices with data deduplication and connection awareness. The flagship product inSync, provides automated backup of laptops, smartphones and tablets, data-loss protection on portable hardware via encryption and centralised visibility of devices and content. November 2014, Druva Inc earned the new AWS Partner Network (APN) storage competency designation from AWS and is sponsoring the AWS Summit in Tokyo on June 2nd. This company is definitely one to keep tabs on and Druva inSync may soon become DevOps’ favourite tool if not already.

My “2 cents”… the role and responsibilities of the storage admin aren’t going to change completely. Tasks of the admin like Zoning, ISL trunking, Creating RAID groups, Creating LUNs, Provisioning LUNs etc aren’t going to be irrelevant. But on the same token, paradigm shifts are taking place across the entire stack with disruptive technology. Hence, I reiterate, new tech means new skills for the techie. The skills I deemed #MustHave I think shall have a demand if not already across the industry. The ones I haven’t are the ones I would keep tabs on because they are disruptive in their own right and shall affect the daily tasks of the storage admin eventually. Still, does it seem overkill ? It may now. But, as techies we need to stay ahead of the curve as there is always the next big thing looming on the horizon and as knowledge workers, investing in our expertise is quintessential.

So, if you folks agree, somewhat agree or completely disagree I would like to read your comments on this topic below.

*I do not own copyright of the images presented in the collage. It is attributed to its owners and the original version can be found here.

**I do not own copyright of the images presented in the collage. It is attributed to its owners and the original version can be found here.

Sources –

Ravello Systems : A 4 year-old startup you got to keep tabs on

Hey yo… Social Media Week at Bangalore last month was fantastic. Cool venues, awesome keynotes, lots of networking and to-the-point Q & As. Make sure to search for #SMWBangalore on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Anyway, I digress. Allow me to bring to you – Ravello Systems


Ravello Systems was found in early 2011. Today it is based in the US and Israel. Back in January 2015, Ravello Systems raised $28 million in its 3rd round of funding bringing the total capital raised to $54 million. This venture, as stated in the company website, is brought to you by the same team that gave us the KVM hypervisor. With Ravello Systems, they plan on changing the way companies, large and small consume the public cloud.

Ravello states migration of a VM (or set of VMs) from a private cloud into a public cloud or between different public clouds, is complicated or even impractical for many uses. To address this issue they came up with the HVX stack. HVX is a virtualization platform that enables abstraction of underlying cloud infrastructure from the application VMs completely.

Ravello’s vision, to have an infrastructure that normalizes the public cloud and the data center from the application’s perspective. And their product line, to accomplish this, comprises – 1) HVX; 2) Nested Virtualization; 3) Overlay Network; 4) Storage Overlay; 5) Management; 6) and SaaS Operations.


HVX is a thin virtualization layer running on Linux. Linux supports para-virtualization and device driver availability, for all VMMs, make it a good weapon of choice. Also utilization of Linux schedulers, memory management and the network stack simplifies overall system design and implementation. HVX comprises of 3 major components -a) Nested hypervisor; b) Virtual networking layer; and c) Cloud storage abstraction layer

HVX Architecture

HVX Architecture

Nested Virtualization

A nested hypervisor or VMM capable of running unmodified guests on top of already virtualized hardware is what the HVX experience is. Note that, while other hypervisors – VMware ESXi, KVM and Xen are designed to run on physical x86 hardware and use virtualization extensions offered by modern CPUs ( Intel VT and AMD SVM ), the HVX employs Binary Translation to implement high-performance virtualization that does not require these extensions. According to Ravello, HVX fully controls the extension of its guest VMs. This feature is a foundation that enables other features like –

a) HVX allows to intercept all network traffic and therefore allows the implementation of their software-defined network.
b) HVX allows to intercept all storage access making storage overlay possible.

Overlay Network

According to Ravello, multi-VM applications can run unmodified in the cloud using a software-defined network that virtualizes the connectivity between the VMs in an application. In SDN, we separate the network control plane and service plane. The control plane of Ravello’s SDN includes a distributed router and also distributed DNS and DHCP servers. Each service is located at every HVX node. The data plane of the virtual network is formed by a fully distributed virtual switch. It also includes a virtual router software component residing within HVX. Packets that are sent by VMs are intercepted and injected into the switch. Their switch operates very similar to a regular network switch.

Overlay Network*

Overlay Network*

Storage Overlay

Storage Overlay

Storage Overlay Solution**

Storage is different compared to compute and network in the HVX stack. Ravello’s Storage Overlay focuses on performance, persistence and security. It abstracts native cloud storage primitives such as object storage and various types of block devices into local block devices exposed directly to guest VMs.

Some features to take note –

a) The Ravello HVX Storage Overlay solution acts as a global overlay on top of a distributed object store that contains the VM images.
b) Cloud storage abstraction and presentation as a local block device, coupled with the HVX overlay networking capabilities allow for running various NAS appliances and their consumption over network based protocols such as iSCSI, NFS, CIFS and SMB.
c) The Ravello HVX Storage Overlay even natively supports the attachment of CDROM drives to guest VMs with inserting and ejecting media which was uploaded to the Ravello Image Store. This enables the unique capability of installing an OS from scratch in the cloud.
d) The Ravello HVX Storage Overlay, together with the Ravello Management System, implements an algorithm to use various disk primitives in the different cloud providers and constructs an ad-hoc RAID 0 transparently to the guest to support high performance storage as well as large volumes.


Ravello management system is a highly available enterprise-grade system, which is deployed in the public cloud. In order to isolate different tenants, and eliminate any risk of data leak or data corruption, the management follows industry’s best methodologies. It is responsible for all aspects of defining, running and controlling an application running on HVX.

SaaS Operations

Ravello’s deep technology is wrapped up and presented to users as an easy to use service. Ravello leverages AWS’s and Google’s best-in-class hardware, scale, economics, and operational practices to provide a robust enterprise grade cloud service to its customers.

My “2 cents”… Tech that allows the user to “do more with less” always intrigues me. With Ravello Systems, you get to do so much. Now, Hybrid Cloud seems to the buzz in cloud computing. Everyone from EMC, HDS, NetApp, IBM, VMware etc are on the bandwagon. And the situation in IaaS is a bit complex as different cloud providers utilize different hypervisors. Amazon EC2 is based on Xen hypervisor, Microsoft’s Azure on Hyper-V and we are all aware that VMware’s ESXi is the leading hypervisor out there. Network & Storage configurations, too, vary from vendor to vendor.

Ravello’s HVX stack allows the user to migrate VMware workloads to Amazon’s EC2 or Google Compute Engine, almost seemlessly. I know there are similar offerings like Xen-Blanket and the Turtles Project. But, Ravello’s solution have an offering that is #MustSee. 888 Holdings PLC, the famous online gaming website, felt alike and use Ravello’s cloud service powered by nested virtualization. 888 selected Ravello as they were able to successfully encapsulate and manage the application environment as a whole, and successfully recreated on AWS, the same complex network.

Thesedays, the DevOps community is big on Docker. So am I. And with Ravello’s technology, it is possible to implement a Hybrid Docker + VM based solution. It enables convergence of deployment – deploy and run VMs, Docker containers, Virtual appliances, Linux and Windows machines, all running within a single unified environment. For more info, read this post.

So, before you believe hype and hyperbole, try it and check the links listed below.

Ravello Systems @CrunchBase
Ravello Systems @YouTube
Ravello Systems @Bloomberg

*I do not own copyright of this image. It is attributed to Ravello Systems and the original version can be found here.
**I do not own copyright of this image. It is attributed to Ravello Systems and the original version can be found here.


1) HVX: Virtualizing the Cloud by Alex Fishman, Mike Rapoport, Evgeny Budilovsky & Izik Eidus
2) HVX: Virtual infrastructure for the cloud – http://www.ravellosystems.com/technology/hvx
3) HVX: High performance nested virtualization – http://www.ravellosystems.com/technology/nested-virtualization
4) HVX: Software defined networking (overlay network) – http://www.ravellosystems.com/technology/software-defined-network
5) HVX: Storage overlay – http://www.ravellosystems.com/technology/storage-overlay
6) The Ravello management service – http://www.ravellosystems.com/technology/management
7) SaaS operations overview – http://www.ravellosystems.com/technology/saas-cloud-infrastructure

#VNX-F, #HUS VM and #Zebi #HA2800

Hey yo…

Last month’s #OSIDAYS was great. In case you missed it, you can read this post on The Telegraph. Oracle VM, Oracle Linux, HP Helion and Microsoft Openness took centre stage. A couple of days hence, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, announced .Net going open source. This post, however, is not based on any of the above. This post is about a 3 way dance (not a deep dive) among the Giant, the Cult-icon and the exciting Rookie. So readers, allow me to introduce – EMC’s VNX-F, Hitachi Unified Storage VM and Tegile’s Zebi HA2800.

Source: tegile.com, emc.com & hds.com

Source: tegile.com, emc.com & hds.com

The purpose behind this post are – I) All 3 arrays are VMware Ready certified and suffice it to say purpose-built for virtualization; and II) All 3 arrays have All Flash and Hybrid variants. The Product Overview playlist and the tale of the tape on hardware and software, shown below, makes for a nail biting encounter indeed.

Hardware Specs

Hardware Specs


Software Specs

Software Specs

* Information Sources are listed below. In case of any inaccuracies, kindly list it in your reply and with the url of your source (if any)

EMC VNX- F (The Giant)

As a product it is arguable whether the VNX-F is a giant, but EMC is one without question. DCIG ranked the VNX-F 13th in its Flash Memory Array Guide 2014-15 with a Good rating. Unlike its hybrid cousin, the VNX, the VNX-F is a block-only All-Flash array. As per store.emc.com, the starting price of VNX-F is $78,155. The VNX-F comprises EMC’s new awesome sauce – MCx. The MCx is an advanced I/O kernel. It is designed to achieve – a) Scale on multi-processor architectures; b) Deliver Active/Active capability; c) Improve performance and scalability; and d) Optimize memory efficiency. EMC has developed a “Multicore Everything” mindset as a design rule with the introduction of MCx. Now, this along with EMC’s tested and proven replication technology and a management suite consisting Unisphere and Watch4Net, the solution set seems complete. As per EMC, the VNX-F can peak up to 400,000 IOPS for 100% Reads throughput. Definitely more than just a niche product.

According to EMC, the VNX-F offers <$5/GB. But, with Permabit‘s Albireo SANblox installed, the Data Efficiency solutions company claims that the VNX-F ”effective cost” would drop to below $0.83/GB.

Hitachi Unified Storage VM (The Cult-icon)

The HUS VM is another critically acclaimed array from the HDS stable. The HUS VM is a receipient of DCIG’s Recommended rating in its Enterprise Midrange Array Buyer’s Guide, an Excellent rating in Hybrid Storage Array Buyer’s Guide and an Excellent rating in Flash Memory Array Buyer’s Guide. As of November 2014, Gartner ranked the HUS VM 8th in its Critical Capabilities for General-Purpose, High-end Storage Arrays report.

HUS VM supports up to 64PB of internal and external virtualized storage capacity and up to 256GB of directly addressable cache. The controller-based storage virtualization of the HUS VM dramatically simplify the storage infrastructure. Virtualization enables the consolidation and aggregation of all multi-vendor storage resources in a single pool of enterprise storage capacity. With Hitachi Command Suite software there is ease in managment so you can provision, monitor, migrate and replicate data from a single interface for Hitachi and 3rd party storage.

Another feature in the HUS VM is Hitachi Accelerated Flash. It features an innovative Hitachi-developed embedded flash memory controller designed to achieve higher performance and greater capacity compared to SSDs. As per HDS, the HUS VM All Flash array with Accelerated Flash can peak up to 1,000,000 IOPS.

Tegile Zebi HA2800 (The Rookie)

Tegile Systems Inc, is an exciting startup with a solid product line. The Tegile Zebi HA2800 earned 1st place in Storage magazine/SearchStorage.com’s Product of the year category in 2012, an Excellent rating in DCIG’s Flash Memory Storage Array Buyer’s Guide and Best-In-Class rating in Hybrid Storage Array Buyer’s Guide. This is one product you need to keep an eye on. The Zebi HA2800 incorporates Tegile’s IntelliFlash architecture. It is designed to provide  flexibility of using flash, or a Flash + HDD mix in your storage system. At the core of IntelliFlash is Tegile’s patented Metadata Acceleration and Media Optimization technologies that deliver predictable, low latency data access along with high performance Data Services. All this with management simplicity + flexibility of unified (block & file) storage access.

My “2 cents”… According to David Floyer of Wikibon, “EMC has validated the market for flash-only arrays, and all senior executives responsible for storage should embrace and apply low latency and consistent latency arrays as best practice for appropriate workloads.” The VNX-F, however, may find itself in the shadows of its hybrid cousin – VNX and XtremIO. Thus, underlining EMC’s status as The Giant. EMC hasn’t showcased the VNX-F/SANblox solution yet, but it looks promising in terms of providing cost-effective solutions.

Gary MacFadden stated,”Tegile also offers multi-protocol support including iSCSI and NFS and claims to have a total cost of ownership (TCO) five or more times less expensive than comparable solutions delivered by traditional storage vendors.” Point noted. Consumers seem to believe this too, which is why Tegile (The Rookie) has had a run of competitive wins over NetApp, Dell, HP and EMC.

Based on the specs, features, awards & recognition, the HUS VM may seem to be the best among the three. Some may even agree. According to Hu Yoshida, “What sets HUS VM apart from all other midrange storage systems (and why we often position it as entry-enterprise) is its enterprise performance, availability, and functionality which is enabled by a unique hybrid architecture based on a combination of multicore processors, ASICs, and global cache modules that are connected through an internal switch. These are features of our enterprise Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform (VSP). HUS VM actually runs the same microcode as VSP, enabling HUS VM to virtualize external storage and participate with VSP in replication and non-disruptive migration operations, where one controller virtualizes an existing storage controller, migrates the data, then does a device ID take over without any disruption to the host system.

Thus comes the verdict… the winner is undoubtedly – the consumer. The value proposition provided by these three arrays give the consumer options to strategize, innovate and transform. As I mentioned earlier, these arrays are purpose-built for virtualization. The integration with VMware offer an easy-to-use experience. EMC and HDS are already onboard with VMware’s Virtual Volumes (VVOLs) initiative. Tegile prefers to wait and watch, but they are onboard too. So, if you are looking to invest for the next 3 or 5 years, these 3 arrays should be on your evaluation list.

Information Source-

A hyperbole on Docker !!!

The 11th edition of the Open Source India conference – OSI Days is less than a week away. Not to mention, the recently concluded NetApp Insight 2014 and IBM Insight 2014. In case, you missed it check it out on Twitter and YouTube. This post, however, is not based on those events. In the spirit of Open Source, I would like to delve and share info on the software architecture that is eating the world. The light-weight Linux containers (LXC) – Docker.

Source : blog.docker.com

Source : blog.docker.com

What is Docker ? According to docker.com, Docker is a platform for developers and sysadmins to develop, ship, and run applications. Assembling application from components, elimination of friction that can come when shipping code or getting your code tested and deployed into production. Docker gets it done as fast as possible.

Docker architecture is quite like the client-server architecture. The components of Docker are –

  1. Docker Daemon – It is the persistent process that manages containers and runs on the host machine. Docker uses the same binary for both the daemon and the client. The daemon can listen for Docker Remote API requests via 3  types of Socket – unix, tcp & fd
  2. Docker Client – The primary user interface to Docker. The user does not directly interact with the daemon, but the Docker client.
  3. Docker Images – These are Read-Only templates and each image consist of several layers. This is also known as the BUILD component.
  4. Docker Registries –  Registries to store Docker images. Also known as the DISTRIBUTION component.
  5. Docker Container – It consists of OS, user added files & meta-data. Container gets built from an image which provides information about the process to run. This component is known as the RUN component.

The workflow, shown below, describes the steps how a container is built from an image that tells Docker what the Container holds, what processes to run when the Container is launched and a variety of other configuration data.

Information source : https://docs.docker.com

Information source : https://docs.docker.com

Kenneth Owens wrote in his blog post, DevOps has widely adopted containers because of the key value of configure once and run anything. Containers make the entire SDLC cycle more efficient, consistent and most importantly repeatable. Keeping the big picture of application devlopment in mind this is benediction. He also mentioned, the major customer focus for container technology is Enterprise IT, Application Developers, and DevOps. The new Enterprise IT business model has transformed to an agile model where internal infrastructure and cloud infrastructure must be supported as a cohesive system of resources. As the market grows with solutions for the Software-defined Data Center to achieve this, Docker proves to be a game changer.

An important study made on VMware blogs, titled Docker Containers Performance in VMware vSphere, configuration and benchmark details as well as performance results were discussed across 4 scenarios – i) Native, ii) vSphere VM, iii) Native Docker, and iv) VM-Docker. It was seen that running an application on a Docker Container in a vSphere VM adds very little performance overhead, close to 1-2%, compared to running the application in a Docker Container on a native OS. The one question that kept hitting me was, why is VMware implementing Docker Container in VM rather than a Docker Container (or) VM option ? The latter could provide the customer with more suitable options from a hypervisor standpoint. Maybe for a future release, I suppose.

My “2 cents”… as I mentioned earlier, Docker is the software architecture that is eating the world. It also seems that Docker and LXC have won the market’s heart. And like Google, AWS, Microsoft, Red Hat and VMware, I too find myself on the Docker bandwagon. Why ? As I look past the hype and hyperbole, Docker is the real deal. How so ? When VMware came out with their server virtualization solution they offered features and functionalities like vMotion which none did, initiated P2V transformations across workloads in the datacenter. VMs have come a long way. Migrating mission critical workloads like Oracle, SAP, Microsoft etc to virtualized environments and new solutions in the offering like VSAN, VVOLS, NSX etc. VMs are the norm for SDDC. But, Docker being open source, meaning agility and elimination from vendor lock-in, offering light-weight virtualization and better performance than VMs depicts the potential of this technology. And now with Flocker, from ClusterHQ, Docker Containers and their data can move together between Linux hosts. Thus, one can run databases, queues and key-value stores in Docker and move them around as easily as the rest of your app. A little like vMotion.

For more info on Docker checkout the links, resources and video provided.

Resources –

Docker communities –


References –

  • blog.docker.com
  • docs.docker.com
  • Kenneth Owens blog post – Application Enablement and Innovation Leveraging Linux Containers from Cisco blogs
  • Banit Agrawal’s post – Docker Containers Performance in VMware vSphere from VMware VROOM! Blog
  • clusterhq.com
  • YouTube channels of – Twitter University, dotcloudtv, Joshua Barrate, Google Developers & Docker

EVO:RAIL is here…

Hey yo…

Since my previous post on VMworld and VMware’s new hyperconverged offering – EVO:RAIL, a lot has happened. One was NetApp expanding its low-profile StorageGrid object storage. But before I dig deep with EVO:RAIL lets start with an elevator pitch from VMware…

In my last post, I remember calling EVO:RAIL “potential game changer” and “…SIs and VARs can offer hyper converged infrastructure on optimized and, in some cases, cost effective hardware using VMware’s awesome sauce for virtualized infrastructure or data center-scale cloud infrastructure. Thus, vBlock, Flexpod and more options to choose from.” Now,  I’m not trying to be a rooster taking credit for dawn but with NetOne releasing their Integrated System Appliance for VMware EVO:RAIL following Dell’s announcement on VMworld. Add to that Early Adopter Program participants like Department of Technology Management and Budget (DTMB), Oakland Unified School District (Technology Services) and Rackspace.  EVO:RAIL is gaining momentum so it is better to take notice sooner rather than later.

If you are keen to learn more or want to stay tuned with the latest news, please join the following online communities right now-

On Twitter, please follow the accounts below –

My “2 cents”… Try first, trust second. Make no bones about it, I’m onboard with VMware and EVO:RAIL. But, lets suppose, I’m a consumer. I’ll watch demos, read testimonials, and run a trial. I’ll evaluate costs both CAPEX and OPEX. I’ll discuss, brainstorm and have a clear picture before I imbibe EVO:RAIL in my enterprise. Why ? Because I’ve options. Options that should allow me to do more with less. So, when SIs, VARs and IT vendors pitch their technical offerings, I’ve to be convinced if it is the best option that allows me to do more with less. Which leads to “is EVO:RAIL the best option to do more with less ?”

So go ahead and find out for yourself. Why ? Because it is worth your while…


  • searchstorage.techtarget.com’s article on NetApp’s new version on StorageGrid
  • VMworld Youtube Channel
  • Kawahara Jun’s article on IT Leaders (http://it.impressbm.co.jp/)
  • Dell Engineered Solutions for VMware section on dell.com
  • evorail community page on communities.vmware.com
  • evorail group page on linkedin.com
  • VMware EVO:RAIL twitter account
  • Mike Laverick twitter account
  • Duncan Epping twitter account
  • Dell Convergence twitter account

#VMworld2014 – the hottest tech conference of the summer !!??!!

Hey yo…

Last month, VMware hosted perhaps the most #trendsetting tech conference of the summer – VMworld 2014. With that said no disrespect intended towards Cisco Live! and HP Vertica 2014. Anyone who attended VMworld this year would say that the company is well poised for the BYOD era, the SDDC era and the Cloud era. Is there any other company that strategically positioned ?

VMware has to be the only company offering virtualization solutions across all stacks – Compute (vSphere, VC), Network (NSX) and Storage (VSAN & VVols), for mission critical applications like SAP, Oracle, Sharepoint etc, end-user computing, Hybrid cloud and more. Those aware of Pat Gelsinger and his legacy at Intel, wouldn’t have expected less.

Some keynote sessions of the conference and the days’ highlights:

Day 1:



Day 2:



Day 3 & 4 highlights:


My “2 cents” – The hype is believable. VMware had shown us a vision back in 2008 and has executed on it. VMware offers virtualization solutions across all stacks. And now with EVO:RAIL and EVO:RACK, they have introduced Hyper Converged Infrastructure Appliance (HCIA) solutions, which is a potential game changer. How so ? 2 reasons come to mind.

First, with EVO:RAIL & EVO:RACK we now have the building blocks for the SDDC. As both software bundles are offered via single SKU, licensing has been made simple. EVO-RAIL comes with vSphere Enterprise Plus, vCenter server, vCenter Log insight, VSAN & Rapid Deployment, Configuration and Management (DCM) engine. EVO:RACK comes with vCloud suite, NSX, VSAN & Rapid Deployment, Configuration and Management (DCM) engine. For more information click here.

Second, both EVO:RAIL & EVO:RACK solutions are offered via VMware’s OEM/ODM network. This means SIs and VARs can offer hyper converged infrastructure on optimized and, in some cases, cost effective hardware using VMware’s awesome sauce for virtualized infrastructure or data center-scale cloud infrastructure. Thus, vBlock, Flexpod and more options to choose from. Mr. Customer, spoilt yet ?

With EVO:RAIL, EVO:RACK and the upcoming Project Fargo, which would introduce Docker for app deployment along with VMs, VMware has underlined its status as the innovation leader in the SDDC arena. To Hyper-V (Microsoft) and KVM (RedHat), time to play catch-up again.



  • SiliconANGLE Youtube Channel, VMworld 2014 playlist
  • VMworld Youtube Channel
  • VMware Blogs – Tribal Knowledge post from Duncan Epping
  • VMware CTO Blog – Raj Yavatkar and Chris Wolf posts

Virtual SAN Software Defined Self Healing

Live Virtually

I think one of the hidden gem features of VMware Virtual SAN (VSAN) is it’s software defined self healing ability.  On the surface this concept is simple.  The entire pool of disks in VSAN are used as hot spares.  In the event of a failure, data from the failed disks or hosts are found on other disks in the cluster and replicas (mirrors) are rebuilt onto other disks in the cluster to get back to having redundant copies for protection.  For VSAN, the protection level is defined through VMware’s Storage Policy Based Management (SPBM) which is built into vSphere and managed through vCenter.  OK, lets get into the details.

Lets start with the smallest VSAN configuration possible that provides redundancy, a 3 host vSphere cluster with VSAN enabled and 1 SSD and 1 HDD per host.  And, lets start with a single VM with the default # Failures To Tolerate…

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