Monthly Archives : June 2011

bva’s Recommended SAN for Virtualization

BVA has been performing many virtual implementations in recent months and over the course of 10 years we have been involved with many different types of SANs on the market.  Shared storage for the small to medium size businesses are starting to become a norm and with lower cost points for virtual server software it more advantageous for companies to go with that architecture. Our most common project these days are moving 6 to 15 production servers into a three-cluster virtual node architecture with shared storage leveraging VMware or HyperV.  After testing and playing with a few different SAN’s, bva favorite is the The NetApp FAS 2040.  It has up to 136 disks (136 TB) storage capacity, FC-SAN, IP-SAN (iSCSI), and NAS (CIFS/NFS) protocol support.

Full SAS capable which is more than capable to handle the typical i/o for small businesses today.  Full Fiber Channel capable, full SATA or FC/SAS/SATA disk mix.   Single and dual active-active controller models are capable for an aggressive price point. The SAN also has (2) two 4Gb FC ports as well as (4) four GbE ports and 1 SAS port per controller which is very versatile.  (4) Four GB cache per controller which is the standard configuration when we are doing our typical installation.

The NetApp 2040

The FAS 2040 systems offers unified file and block storage. That means one solution for CIFS, NFS, iSCSI, and FC SAN storage protocols. The units Data ONTAP operating system provides storage efficiency through higher utilization of capacity via thin provisioning and SnapshotTM technology.  The unit is also very scalable by way of having the option to add more drives to an existing original enclosure. It means being able to combine existing and expanded data-management resources in the fastest, most elegant solution.

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI); Session Based Computing

Spring is fully upon us and the summer heat is looming in the not too distant future. Many of us are planning out our summer vacations to beat the heat and spend time with our friends and families. While our minds are probably already off to some beachside locale, there is still a bit of time before we’ll be flying there ourselves. In the meantime, perhaps now is as good a time as any to look into moving your business over to an older and simpler way of computing.  Session based technology has been around for many years and at one point in the late 90’s/early 2000’s it was a very popular desktop architecture.  For a variety of reasons it became less popular primarily due to the desktop hardware cost decreasing significantly.  Session Based computing is where you take all the data and processing activity off the local desktop and have it take place on a robust server.  By doing this you can have multiply desktop sessions running on a single server if you were so inclined.  For best practice methodology, bva recommends putting all sessions spread over two (2) servers to ensure up-time and load balancing for the user community.  The great advantages of Session Based Computing are the following:

  • Smaller Footprint
  • Eco-Friendly and More Green
  • All Data on Servers, No Loss of Data
  • Seamless and Consistent Interface over Different PC’s
  • Ability to Leverage Older PC Hardware for Production
  • Ability to Leverage Newer Operating Systems Virtually Without Conflict
  • Application Virtualization Ensures Seamless User Experience

The most popular products leveraged today for this type of architecture are as followed:

  • Remote Desktop Services (Terminal Server)
  • Citrix Systems
  • Vmware View

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is another name for Session Based Technology. VDI is an emerging architectural model where a Windows client operating system runs in server-based virtual machines (VMs) in the data center and interacts with the user’s client device such as a PC or a thin client. Similar to session virtualization (formerly known as Terminal Services), VDI provides IT with the ability to centralize a user’s desktop; instead of a server session, however, a full client environment is virtualized within a server-based hypervisor. With VDI, the user can get a rich and individualized desktop experience with full administrative control over desktop and applications. However, this architecture, while flexible, requires significantly more server hardware resources than the traditional session virtualization approach.

Key benefits of VDI are:

  • Better enablement of flexible work scenarios, such as work from home and hot-desking
  • Increased data security and compliance
  • Easy and efficient management of the desktop OS and applications

Apple to Reveal iCloud and iOS 5

I read today that Apple will deliver the keynote on June 6th announcing some exciting news.  The annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is held in San Francisco and has become a cult event almost.  This year they are not letting anyone down, with some exciting leaks news involving the next-generation versions of Apple’s software platforms, namely iOS 5, the Mac OS X Lion (new operating system), and the cloud service called iCloud.  The iCloud will directly compete with many other services now in production.  Unconfirmed reports appear to indicate iPhone 5 won’t be revealed until late summer, and won’t be in stores until fall.  Apple’s iCloud allow consumers to mirror their music libraries online for playback anywhere, on any PC or iOS device. Apple obtained the domain icloud.com in early 2009 and have been rumored to try to tap the commercial market but looks like they are simply targeting the residential for their service offerings.  Mac OS X Lion (version 10.7) is the eighth major release of of the OS X operating system.