Archive for March, 2011

Choose Your Technology Partners WYSE-ly

March 27, 2011

We recently sponsored a day long technology event based around “the cloud” and virtualization.  For our company it was a 1st annual event so to say we had a lot riding on the outcome is an understatement.  We had sponsorship from the primary manufactures that we are VAR’s for, EMC – Cisco and VMware as well as many other key technology vendors which graciously invested their time, money and resources in the event.

One of the biggest challenges for this event was the two live virtual desktop labs we had setup throughout the event.  This gave people the opporunity to play around with Citrix XenDesktop and VMware View and see what they could do.  For any of you who have attended trade shows or events that have had labs go sideways you know what a disaster this can be.  We had over 200 people cycling through these labs so failure was not even remotely an option.  The portable labs didn’t have me too worried as I knew we had our crack team of VDI Ninjas working as hard as possible for weeks prior to the event to make things stable and fast for the final show.  What I was a little worried about was where I was going to get 50 thin clients capable of showing off all the capabilities of Citrix and VMware….. WYSE to the rescue.

We’ve been resellers of WYSE for several years now and they continue to impress me both with the quality of products they put out and the quality of personel and customer service we always seem to get from them.  For these reasons WYSE is almost always the first product we recommend to customers looking for thin clients for their VDI environments.  So let me get back on my soapbox about quality people and customer service for a minute.  Here I was needing 50 loaner thin clients for a 1st annual event with no historical attendance numbers.  To say the least I really didn’t think it would be possible to get that may devices in the short time frame that I need them in but I picked up the phone and called our WYSE representative.  I explained the event we had planned and within 2 days everything had been worked out.  I had been put in touch with multiple people from WYSE Corporate from engineering to marketing – each one extremely helpful and willing to help our event be a success.

This experience is exactly what we get when  we call asking for 1 or 2 demo devices for clients to use in their environments as well as 50 for a trade show.  There is very little paperwork, no hassle and a genuine desire to do what ever it takes make people believe in their products and technologies.

So I’d like to use my blog this week to say THANK YOU to WYSE for their help over the past few weeks and encourage anyone interested in thin computing to take a look at what WYSE has to offer – you won’t be disappointed.

Isilon – Scale-Out NAS

March 12, 2011

EMC recently aquired Isilon.  This is a technology geared toward storing LOTS of data on an single huge filesystem.  Prior to the EMC acquisition and some recent product training I had no exposure to Isilon or even knew what they did.  When I sat through the first product training for Isilon my first impression was “damn that is awesome”….. and that doesn’t happen often.

First let me say that this product has very specific market and most people reading this blog (if there are any ) will probably not have a dying need for it but the capabilities and ease of configuration are impressive.  Isilon is a Scale-Out NAS solution that allows you to have one big file system.  By “big” I mean Petabytes!  It is a RAIN based system similar to EMC Avamar where you have a series of redundant nodes comprising the solution.  These nodes are integrated together on the backend using a very fast Infiniband network.  On the frontend it supports most of the industry standard protocols such as NFS, CIFS, HTTP, FTP……    With this RAIN type architecture your data is written across the nodes and provide incredible redundancy. On top of that you can set your redundancy level from N+1 to N+4 whereby you could loose 4 complete nodes and still not loose any data. RAIN architecture and N+ availability is certainly nothing new but the capability to do this with a single file system up to 10PB is definitly impressive.

All this is great but by far the coolest part of this system is how easy it is to expand it.  Just like Avamar if you need more capacity you slap on another node.  Unlike Avamar once you slap on that node – configuration of that node takes 60 seconds!  The system automatically rebalances itself across all nodes which obviously takes more than 60 seconds but from an end-user effort standpoint a minute or two is all that is required.  Why can’t all storage be that easy?!

There are lots of uses for this technology including archiving and backup but it really made its name is in the video and multimedia industry such as TV stations and cable networks.  If you are a company that creates and stores huge video and audio files this is the solution for you.  Even if you’re not CNN you can still benefit from this technology though.  From a cost per GB standpoint you can get down in the neighborhood of $1/GB and systems start with as few a 3 nodes.  So depending on your environment, this could make a very feasilble backup target or archiving platform.

The nodes for Isilon systems come in a couple flavors from high speed with SSD disks to large capacity with SATA disks.  The cool part is that these various type nodes can all be combined in the same system.  There is also a full array of enterpise software for snapshots, replication, data protection and content delivery to handle just about anything you throw at it.

Isilon is certainly no replacement for a production SAN but I am impressed with what it can do and its easy of management.  So if you’re a company with large amounts of NAS data give Isilon a look.