If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then VMware has just told the world that Nimble Storage is a really great company.
Virtzilla has signalled an intention to give its VSAN software-defined storage code the backing of an analytics service that Nimble Storage has had since day dot.
Nimble's secret sauce is called “InfoSight” and sees the company regularly suck performance data out of its arrays and cram it all through a big data inisght-o-tronic. That rig blends data from all Nimble users and from one's own array, eventually producing reports based on the performance of all Nimble boxen but also individual customers' own usage patterns.
VMware looks like it's noticed Nimble's offering, as in this post by Christos Karamanolis. a VMware Fellow and CTO of Virtzilla's Storage and Availability Business Unit.
Our goal is to extend this service with a SaaS model of Infrastructure Analytics covering a range of use cases from Day-0 system sizing and planning to Day-2 performance and capacity analysis and trending, automated troubleshooting and pro-active customer expert advice.
Karamanolis adds that “Where applicable, cloud-based features and recommendations will also trickle back into the on-premise product offerings. That will be important for customers who run critical infrastructure on Virtual SAN, where Internet access is not an option due to security policies.”
Another new feature that looks to be coming to VSAN is support for VMware's Photon Controller, the company's infrastructure stack built for containerised applications and running the lightweight Photon Machine “microvisor” instead of ESX.
“We are currently working on supporting Photon Controller on VSAN-based hyper-converged infrastructures,” Karamanolis writes. “With Photon Controller, we are building logic to provide cluster-wide access to Virtual SAN’s’s control plane through any host in the cluster. We will still provide single-pane of glass visibility to one’s infrastructure. And, of course, we will be supporting all management workflows through DevOps-friendly command-line tools.”
VSAN recently received an upgrade to version 6.2 that added data de-duplication and compression and therefore made the product a real SAN rather than a capable SAN missing mainstream features. The plans Karamanolis reveals look to be catch-up on the analytics front, but an interesting step forward on the cloud-native front. Sadly the post doesn't mention time-frames for the arrival of the features it discusses, but the two we've mentioned do get a rather more detail than some hints that refer to how VSAN will cope with secular trends like the arrival of NVMe and other, faster, storage technologies. ®