Category Archives: Pure Storage

Gartner Critical Capabilities Report–Virtualization

FlashArray Receives the Highest Scores for Server Virtualization in 2019 Gartner Critical Capabilities for Solid State Arrays Report

This is a semi-non-technical post for once here, but somewhat of a state of the union which is something I’ve been meaning to write. A great thing to provide me with the impetus to do this is the recent 2019 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Primary Storage and the even more recent 2019 Gartner Critical Capabilities for Solid-State Arrays.

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Podcast Appearance: Develop Great Managers

I’ve been on a few podcasts in the past couple of years, though pretty much all of them have been very tech-focused (shocking, right?). vSpeaking a few times, Pure Report, PowerScripting. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure to do a guest spot on a different type of podcast hosted by my friend Dale Ferrario. Dale is “retired” now (I use quotes because he is busier in retirement than most people I know who are in the height of their careers). He used to be a VP at VMware–in a variety of roles, most recently on the VVD team then GSS until retirement. Interestingly, my connection to him is not VMware believe it or not. His son, Anthony Lai-Ferrario is my wife’s sister’s husband. Anthony is also currently a Product Manager at Pure Storage (he manages things like vVols, PSO, and other Purity features).

All of us spend a great deal of time together (dinners, weekend trips, holidays), so suffice to say this interview with Dale was not the first time we spoke.

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VMworld Europe 2019 and Pure Storage

It’s that time of the year again…again! Pure Storage is back at VMworld in Barcelona.

Before we get into what’s happening at Barcelona, let’s recap a bit what happened in the US conference. As the best way to look to the future sometimes is to analyze the past.

Also check out this panel session I did with Rubrik on VMworld US.

  • VMware Cloud on AWS was once again a major topic–this is increasingly getting more attention and something we are paying a close eye on. The most important step around this for Pure is our new offering that is now fully GA, called Cloud Block Store. Our FlashArray software (Purity) now fully running AWS. See my posts here and here on that.
  • VMware Cloud Foundations. This is the basis for pretty much all automated VMware stacks–SDDC manager allows you to deploy vCenter, NSX, vRealize (etc. etc.) and of course their lifecycles. SDDC Manager (the management point of vCF) provides the ability to create on “management” domain–this is where all of the VMware services are deployed, and also one or more “workload” domains. Workloads domains are basically a new vCenter server–which gets hooked in via ELM. When deploying a workload domain the storage options used to be only be vSAN or NFS. You could then add block after the fact. In the 3.9.0.0 release, you can now choose Fibre Channel storage as the option. Check out our KB here on it. I expect to hear more about this in Barcelona.
  • Containers, K8s, and more containers. VMware’s work since the Heptio acquisition has not slowed down. I would be fairly comfortable saying that the announcement of Project Pacific and Project Tanzu were the talk of the town during and certainly after VMworld. I have no doubt this will bubble up more in Barcelona. The use case around First Class Disks and vVols I think is particularly intriguing.
  • vRealize Automation Cloud and vRealize 8.0. vRealize Automation 8.0 is now GA. There are two major things here to unpack. First VMware Cloud Automation Services was renamed to vRealize Automation Cloud. This in and of itself doesn’t mean anything (VMware loves to name things) but what is actually important about that is the “traditional” vRealize Automation set. vRealize Automation 8 is now entirely based on the features/design/architecture of vRealize Automation Cloud. Meaning that what vRAC offers is what vRA on-premises offers (same tools, integrations, features). This makes choosing between the two easier (one question to ask, do I want to host it, or do I want VMware to?). I expect details on this to be expanded in Barcelona.
  • vVols. Did you think I wouldn’t bring this up?! Of course I would. vVols is coming back in a big way, and in no small part due to VMware’s renewed push on vVols in their products and with their partners. The automation, integration, and benefits of vVols are making more and more sense these days. VMware gets that, and so do the storage partners. A major topic around vVols is Site Recovery Manager support. Expect to see more vendors talking about that as they furiously work on vVol replication support.
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Deploying the Pure1 VM Analytics Collector OVA with PowerShell

So I just posted on deploying the Pure1 VM Analytics Collector via manual methods. But how about PowerShell? Well you are in luck! I’ve built a new cmdlet to help you with this.

For background on the OVA, check out this post:

https://www.codyhosterman.com/2019/10/vm-analytics-collector-now-an-ova/

To use my cmdlet, either install the PureStorage.FlashArray.VMware PowerShell module, or update it to at least the 1.2.4.0 release.

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VM Analytics Collector Now an OVA

Hear ye, hear ye! The VM Analytics Collector now comes in a new flavor! And OVA! Yay! I understand this is more of a “about time, why didn’t you have this in the first place?” kind of a thing, and fair enough, but here we are.

Now the current OVA is somewhat a shadow of what we expect it to be, a lot of the work that went into this was to build the ground work to use this for many other things. So certainly expect this to be developed and offered in more advanced and flexible ways. But for now, it is an OVA that is locked down that contains one thing: the collector.

Image result for the collector

No, not that collector. The vCenter collector for our VM Analytics tool.

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Installing the Pure Storage vSphere Plugin with vRealize Orchestrator

A few months back I published a new PowerShell cmdlet for installing the Pure Storage vSphere Client Plugin. Get-PfavSpherePlugin and Install-PfavSpherePlugin. This works quite well and we’ve had a fair amount of use of it so far, but another place we are certainly investing in right now is vRealize Orchestrator and continuing to enhance our plugin. Filling in any gaps around workflows and actions, especially on initializing an environment is important.

One of those gaps was installing the vSphere Plugin. One common use case we have seen around vRO is day 0 config, but day 2 stuff is done in vCenter (deploying VMs, datastores, etc). So the vSphere Plugin comes in handy here. So how do I install it from vRO?

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Musing on In-Guest iSCSI

Image result for throw up emoji

Sorry I had to throw up in my mouth a bit.

Anyways. In general I am not a fan of using in-guest iSCSI for VMware environments (or really any virtualized environment), but the question does come up. And I find a surprising amount of customers using it in secret. So what of it? Why do I hate it? Why should one use it? Are there reasons to?

So let me preface this post with, is in-guest iSCSI inherently evil? No, of course not. Are there situations where it makes sense? Yes, and I go into that. The post is focused on this use case: I need to provision storage from the FlashArray to my VMware VMs. What is the best method? I expect this to be a living document. So please let me know if there are more downsides or upsides and I will add them in.

Let’s take a look.

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Can Pure make cloud storage better?

Cloud Block Store is now GA! About a year ago, we announced our intentions–to bring Purity (the OS for the FlashArray) to AWS. I wrote a post about it here:

https://www.codyhosterman.com/2018/11/announcing-pure-storage-cloud-block-store-for-aws/

In the past 10 months I have been pretty focused on learning AWS. Not just how to use it, but more importantly, how others are using it. It has been a fun ride–definitely already incorporated some of my learnings into my solution work for on-premises integration and have some cool stuff coming. A lot of my work has been of course on using it, how to deploy EC2, how to deploy VMware Cloud on AWS, managing S3, CloudFormations, IAM, SSM, using the billions of other services in AWS. But much of my focus has been on listening to what people have seen, learned, and want to do with public cloud. AWS and the like have had a decent amount of runway now, so there have certainly been some lessons learned.

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End-to-End Encryption with vVols Part I: Introduction

No that’s not a typo–VVols are now capitalized as vVols. So, FYI.

Anywho…as you may or may not be aware, we just released our 5.3.0 version of the FlashArray Purity Operating Environment, with quite a few things in it. One of the features is part of a larger solution that I think is a really good example of the power of VMware vSphere Virtual Volumes (vVols). One of the main arguments I have been making for VVols is that they allow you to use features on your array as they were intended (snapshots is a great example there) but also allows us (the storage vendor) to do things that simply weren’t possible, or were rather difficult to do with VMFS without compromise.

This particular feature I am referring to is what we are calling EncryptReduce. Previously called (in its beta form) End-to-End Encryption, this is a solution we partnered with Thales with its Vormetric Transparent Encryption product. We initially announced it here.

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FlashArray HTML-5 vSphere Client Plugin VVol Support

Not long ago I posted about our initial release of our vSphere Plugin that supports the HTML-5 UI–the main problem though is that it did not yet support the VVol stuff we put in the original flash/flex based plugin.

So accordingly, the most common question I received was “when are you adding VVol support to this one?”. And my response was “Soon! We are working on it”.

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