I am in Orland Florida for IBM Technical University this week. If I had to sum up the week so far with one word, it would be SPEED. How to get more of it (more flash and NVMe) and how to ensure that when you do deploy new products you can keep that speed. Related to that is how to store more data in less space. The cost of storage is dropping, but not as quickly as it was. Deduplication and compression are becoming even more and more important.
IBM Distinguished Engineer Brian Sherman gave a good talk on trends in storage and how IBM is implementing NVMe over FC.
Barry Whyte, an IBM Master Inventor presented the implementation of Data Reduction Pools in version 8.1.2 - the latest IBM SAN Volume Controller (SVC)
DR Pools support a mix of Fully-allocated, Thin-Provisioned, and Compressed-Thin volumes. Deduplication will be supported in the future, but only on the new DR pools. Legacy pools will still be supported however IBM expects DR pools to be the most used type moving forward.
There are restrictions with the DR pools available today. A few of the migration methods that Legacy Storage Pools use are not available. There is a limit of four DR Pools per cluster. The capacity of each pool depends on the number of I/O groups supported and the size of the extents.
With DR pools, all CPU cores can be used for either I/O or compression. This is a change from existing compression which uses a single core.
I presented two sessions today.
The first gives an overview of the tools that are available for monitoring a Cisco Fabric to both detect problems more quickly, and the actions that can be taken to isolate the problem device from the rest of the SAN. These include the tools - Cisco DCNM and Port Monitoring - to manage/monitor the SAN This is not my example but I thought it was a good one. It's like picking up the car that's limping along the interstate with the 50mph spare on and dropping it onto the frontage road. I had a long conversation after this session with a client and gave him some tips and tricks on what he can be doing now from the CLI to gan some visibility into his SAN.
My second session is more focused on what goes on inside a Cisco Director and the stages a frame goes through to make it through the switch. I also had a few tips on some areas customers can check if they suspect problems. It also explains some general FC concepts such as store-and-forward vs cut-through switching and exchange vs source/destination routing. I got some great questions from some of the attendees at this session.