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back to article Cisco reps flog Whiptail's Invicta arrays against EMC and Pure

A recent report based on views gathered from resellers reveals Cisco reps are enthusiastically selling Invicta all-flash arrays as both stand-alone and UCS converged arrays against EMC's XtremIO and Pure Storage. William Blair's Data Networking and Storage Tracker findings are based on "in-depth interviews with 41 US and …

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EMC?

What does this statement mean? "continue to lack high-end features for Oracle and VMware environments that are only available on Simpana."

Which features? From a VMWare standpoint, I'm a bit shocked seeing as how EMC owns a significant stake in VMware, VDP is Avamar, and EMC sales tout the vmware features of avamar 7 and Legato/Networker 8.1

As for Oracle, integrate with RMAN, do backup, get dedupe. What else is needed?

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Anonymous Coward

Margin of error?

41 resellers! That's it? That has to represent a % closer to 0 than to 1 of the overall resellers the major vendors have. It's worse than an election poll! What's the margin of error?

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Anonymous Coward

This market is going to consolidate

IBM FlashSystem, EMC extremeio (just because EMC owns it), and probably Cisco Whiptail will be the final arrays left standing.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This market is going to consolidate

Really? People are betting against IBM, EMC and Cisco. I'm not saying that these technologies are far beyond what others, e.g. Pure Storage, are doing (other than FlashSystem, that is different technology), but those guys are just too large to not eventually own this market. If Pure Storage, or whoever, starts to win some big deals, they will get acquired.

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Anonymous Coward

"Nimble’s key deficiencies are its lack of Fibre Channel, CIFS, and NFS support, also Oracle snapshot management integration."

but other than that, it's great!

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Anonymous Coward

...but Nimble's data protection architecture is great right? First time i've heard of a system that seemingly protects against double disk failures shutting down with 2 simultaneous disk failures! Incredible! and these are SATA drives we're talking about!

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Troll elsewhere...

Nice troll, AC. Like to correct you on a few things though...

As any storage professional will tell you, if you have a double drive failure at THE SAME TIME in a RAID set then chances are your system is suffering from something outside of your control rather than just a random drive failures. Could be rack/drive vibration problems, air conditioning failure, or even a rogue employee pulling drives maliciously. If that's the case, the chance of a THIRD drive failing is exponentially higher, which in a RAID 6 means your data is toast.

Gracefully stopping array data services is a pre-emptive measure to ensure NO data is lost and is the default behavior which can be changed should a customer wish to. But any customer who values data protection would rather err on the side of caution and protect their mission critical data rather than run the gauntlet of having no safety net should another drive fail. This idea comes from the Data Domain heritage of Nimble and over 25 years of experience in the field of enterprise storage & backup.

PS - Nimble systems are running at >5x9 in the field right now, and have been since early 2013 (proven from autosupport data) which means your trolling remark means nothing in reality as your described problem would have huge effect on these figures as it would be unplanned downtime.

PPS - all drives are NL-SAS, not SATA.

People really need to stop using this sort of stuff as FUD. It makes you look a tad silly.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Troll elsewhere...

First of all, you not should be assuming i am a storage vendor...

Double disk failures are very real and maybe in your world they indicate other issues given the Supermicro enclosure Nimble uses but that doesn't mean it's the same in everyone elses storage world does it? That said, fundamentally Nimble's architecture has only one spare. Am I wrong? Furthermore, the spare is local to that chassis, No? So even if you wanted to, you couldn't even do it today.

Furthermore, you should learn that NL-SAS differs from SATA only in the interface. The underline error rates are the same 10^15.

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Re: Troll elsewhere...

Nimble's architecture has one spare per RAID set, which is per shelf... today. I'll let your competitive intelligence team update your FUD in a few months to learn what's going to change..

And correct the interface is different - the interposers converting SAS to SATA have been known to cause quite a few of the overall failures in 7.2K drives in the past from my experience in other companies.

Finally, yes we use Supermicro chassis (as do the majority of newer vendors, and VMware recommend the Twin2 themselves for VSAN) - but as said above, having continuously measured >5x9 availability across the entire user base this is a non-issue. I wonder how many other vendors can honestly say that...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Troll elsewhere...

So since you're using a supermicro enclosure like the newer vendors do how come you can't protect against simultaneous failures and they can? Tintri for example can and they use the identical chassis as nimble. So your initial argument just went out the window and the reason you can't do appears to be purely architectural.

Also, why do you, even on a single failure, feel the need to temporarily stop data services? Is there a particular reason for doing so?

Additionally, if I'm an admin, and my system shuts down, what's my recourse? Do I need to call in the "troops"? How do I recover? Do I just plug in new drives? which ones? Do I need to have spares in the closet? What happens if I have a nimble scale out cluster with data stripped across? Is my cluster out to lunch? How does the rebuilt happen if the array is shutdown? These are fundamental data protection questions and i'm sure customers would like to see you address because while cheap and fast is good, cheap, fast and inaccessible is not.

So fire away. Educate us all.

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Re: Troll elsewhere...

Yo troller. You are missing what I said. DUAL drive failure, services are halted. Not a single drive failure. As soon as a single failed drive is replaced, everything runs as expected. Keep up.

So whilst you may be enjoying throwing your out-of-date and easy to combat FUD - real customers (of which we have lots now) understand (and are thankful for) the data protection services we've built into our systems.

Final comment - i hate to keep banging on about it... but we've proven we have >5x9 availability across all of our installed systems in the field. All of your FUD bombs are meaningless when we've had <15 minutes of cumulative unplanned downtime across all installed systems in the last 18 months.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Troll elsewhere...

I'm disappointed that you need to resort to personal attacks rather than addressing the "FUD" as you call it, which in reality are nothing more than fundamental data protection questions many many vendors have been addressing for years.

So since this FUD is outdated as you say, then you should have no problem educating me along with everyone else but instead have chosen to call me names. Too bad.

So when an SSD fails, don't you temporarily Halt Data Services? SSDs are drives too...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Troll elsewhere...

How is Nimble any different than storage systems which have been around for years? They seem to just throw SSDs in front of TB drives (which has been done for years), auto-tier (nothing new), use standard RAID, have less than a full set of functionality, and only are able to use iSCSI... not suitable to enterprise class workload. Why could EMC, for example, not do exactly the same thing and more with VNX or IBM not do exactly the same thing and more with V7000?

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Anonymous Coward

Nimble shutting down with 2 simultaneous disk failures!

Hadn't heard that one before, not sure how they can claim it is a five nines box if that is true.

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Anonymous Coward

RE: Nimble’s key deficiencies

But at least the article said they are trying to add Fiber Channel. Too bad that is the protocol most customer are moving away from, not to. Not sure why they would even waste their time on that. Seems like a waste of R&D when they could be working on protocols like NFS, CIFS and SMB where the market is heading.

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Re: Nimble shutting down with 2 simultaneous disk failures!

Erm - because two simultaneous drive failures are statistically *extremely* improbable? Two drives failing from internal defects within RAID rebuild times has not *EVER* happened in the field on any Nimble away, and we are talking about *thousands* of years of combined soak time between the arrays out in the field. And since we have the InfoSight™ telemetry data, we can state that authoritatively.

As was stated before - Two drives failing within RAID rebuild window indicates some external force acting on the array - water rising in the data center, crazed sysadmin with a sledgehammer, etc. In those cases, if two drives HAVE failed within RAID rebuild window, Nimble's view is that the third failure is imminent.

Rather than run with no parity, Nimble has made the design choice to protect the data on the SAN, which will ensure fast recovery whenever the external force is mitigated.

-Disclaimer : Proud Nimble Employee

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Troll elsewhere...

Coming from a long time EMC customer, they are different.

Nimble's secret sauce is their CASL file system. That and the way they handle the data flowing into the box. It's interesting, and from a customer standpoint, it's worth looking at, especially if you've got a VNX that may require an upgrade or replacement. Even more so if your dataset will compress well.

EMC's FAST cache (which is different than FAST storage tiering) in the VNX is amazingly handy. It's about the closest thing to the Nimble architecture the VNX has. Without it, there is a very noticeable impact on performance.

I'm just happy there's some more options when it comes to the SAN market. Anything to force EMC to start bundling their separate license fees for their SANs would go a long way. Because if you don't buy the license for whatever feature you need when you buy the SAN, prepare for some sticker shock later.

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Re: Troll elsewhere...

OK -

Nimble Employee here. NOT anonymous.

I will give you the benefit of the doubt. If you are NOT a Troll from some other storage vendor, you are reading off of a competitive placard that NetApp provided to their partners recently. I know that because one of those same partners just could not wait to share it with me. NetApp has played favorites between a few of their excellent resellers, and this excellent partner had several deal registrations denied. They went in with Nimble instead. We won - every time.

If you are not familiar with the term FUD, I will enlighten you. It is an industry acronym for "Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt" and the stuff you are citing falls clearly in that category. Focus on the SuperMicro chassis, SATA drives, the two drive shutdown stuff...la la la. It's sad to see a terrific company like NetApp stoop to EMC style FUD-slinging - but I guess it is to be expected with the migration of so many excellent people from NTAP, and the hiring of so many ex-EMC Sales people and moreover, Sales management.

The FUD you are spreading is largely outdated, and/or irrelevant. Jabs at the hardware layer on Nimble and implying that the device is therefore unreliable completely belies the fact that we have completely documented >99.999% availability across our customer base.

The mechanics of CASL may be a bit past you, but with a bit of research, you could figure out for yourself why data services do not need to be paused against an SSD failure (note that we have seen exactly 2 SSD failures in our company history). SSDs are Flash media in a harddrive form factor - we do not treat them as hard drives, because they are not.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: RE: Nimble’s key deficiencies

What you mean is Netapp would like everyone to move to NFS / SMB, that way they don't have to deal with those pesky open block protocols that cause them so much pain and anguish. Not actually that the market is heading that way, other than those whose devotion to a particular vendor allows them to be suckered into a classic lock-in.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Troll elsewhere...

Oh the irony of Netapp being lectured on the superior features of CASL, when we've all had to sit through the WAFL blurb for the last 10+ years :-)

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Re: RE: Nimble’s key deficiencies

Thank you so much for your opinion into the direction Nimble should take. Many large shops are on FC and have no desire to change. FC vs. iSCSI isn't as much as a performance discussion as it once was - Nimble delivers <1ms latency on iSCSI now - but sometimes we do need to addressees the top three layers (layers 8-10) of the OSI model.

For those that only are familiar with the classic seven layer model:

Layer 1: physical layer

Layer 2: data link layer

Layer 3: network layer

Layer 4: transport layer

Layer 5: session layer

Layer 6: presentation layer

Layer 7: application layer

The full model adds the business environment that solutions must exist in:

Layer 8: political layer

Layer 9: financial layer

Layer 10: religious layer

As a company gets into bigger and bigger shops and opportunities, Layers 8-10 can become barriers to entry. A classic example is the storage admin who will not allow iSCSI because IP solutions mean engaging the network team, and the storage guy thinks the network guy is a tool (Layer 8). Or the company has an existing FC implementation that it wants to leverage (Layer 9). Or the DBA insists he must have FC for mystical reasons (Layer 10)

I agree, at <1 ms latency, FC is irrelevant for most shops and iSCSI will work just fine. Adding file level protocols, on the other hand, opens a new can of worms. We have many customers deploying Nimble for file services, and the choice has usually been a native gateway server (physical or virtual) for the protocols needed. In particular, Windows 2012R2 has got REAL potential for this usage.

Call me crazy, but not until you've tested it...With well deployed multipathing on a 10 GbE iSCSI network and a Nimble CS-400 device behind it - I've seen performance that tripled the incumbent "Multi-protocol" solution that cost 5x as much as the new solution...and that solution was from one of the major players well known for their fantastic NFS product.

That customer runs on Nimble now.

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Re: Troll elsewhere...

Not all that ironic. Nimble was founded in part by Varun Mehta - who was employee 11 at NetApp. WAFL was very good stuff when Varun and his team built it - but it was constructed in a different age. It is not perfect but it is very good. CASL was written for the state of the world today - multi-core CPUs, large geometry disks, and flash media. WAFL had none of those advantages, so it is the superior file system if you rely on mid 90's hardware architecture.

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Re: Troll elsewhere...

Nope. and your final sentence just shows how little you understand about the architecture & the value proposition of the technology...

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Anonymous Coward

Re NetApp

I can attest that NetApp sales reps are leaving, not that it is unusual in IT, and that EMC has been eating their lunch... at least in these parts.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re NetApp

Piper Jaffray disagrees with you and The Reg their reseller survey published last week. While NetApp may be "getting their lunch eaten" in your region it looks like they're doing a good job eat other people's lunches elsewhere.

Interestingly enough, the resellers surveyed by PJ seem to disagree with The Reg's resellers. 81% of PJ's resellers were located in the US though, so perhaps The Reg only surveyed those in EMEA/APAC?

Piper Jaffray - Storage Picks for Strong First Quarters: EMC, NetApp and Nimble showed well in a reseller survey. EMC, NetApp and Nimble Storage exhibited the strongest results.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re NetApp

Seems that Piper Jaffray survey turned up more bad news for Netapp.

"NetApp's next-generation FlashRay appears to been delayed, with resellers now expecting a calendar third-quarter release"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re NetApp

Actually the opposite, it was supposed to be released in Q4 originally, so it is coming a quarter early.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re NetApp

So why do Netapp resellers think it's late, weren't they informed of the dates ?

Quarter early for new products smacks of rushed to market.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re NetApp

It's not that EMC is wiping out NetApp across the board. People are still buying NetApp. The issue is that NetApp used to be the defacto choice for NAS. Kind of like Cisco in networking, you could buy something else but no one did. Last year, when EMC came out in full force with Isilon, NetApp started to no longer be the defacto choice. You can see that in their revenues. They were basically flat last year after many years of rapid growth. NetApp is going to have a difficult time competing with EMC Isilon because it clustered and scale-out. People are getting tired of having many dual controller NetApp arrays all over the place. They have been working on cluster mode for a decade, but it seems that OnTap is just not amenable to clustering.... In addition to EMC, and probably more of a long term problem, is that Amazon, Google, etc are willing to give away cloud file storage for less than NetApp costs and it is completely managed.

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Anonymous Coward

Is Invicta the watch?

It was expensive and average watch at best, kinda like Cisco's. When it's all said and done, people will realize this was a flop acquisition. You heard it here first.

Cheerio lads

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Whose Domain is it anyway?

Mark Kulacz from NetApp here. My thoughts and comments do not reflect NetApp's - they are my own.

Data Domain - Interesting product. Is there another product on the market that only does RAID 6 ? Maybe one that puts everything into a 4.5MB container, regardless of RAID group size ? Limit of one raid group per shelf? Maybe one that strives for data locality? One where the metadata discourages a true dual-controller architecture? One that doesn't use per-sector 520-byte checksums (ie - knowing the RAID stripe checksum is bad doesn't help you know which sector went bad)? Is there another product that relies heavily on the NVRAM to sort inbound data - that is limited in stream count, or maybe even LUNs ? Maybe a system where the performance is limited by the CPU and must do all compression before data is committed to disk? Maybe a system that is fairly true log-structured file system and demands enough compute to keep up with the container cleaning? Gee - I just don't know. Probably not. Yea, definitely not. Ya know if you put some SSDs on a Data Domain, what would lit look like? Nevermind, Im just rambling - just back from the gym and my energy drink is fading, and really wishing the contestants on The Voice would stop trying to sing Journey songs.

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Re: Whose Domain is it anyway?

Mark!

Nice response ...I cannot imagine *WHO* would have a crazy system like that!

But we are hiring excellent SEs...

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Anonymous Coward

as someone who has spoken directly to whiptail sales/technical staff after the acquisition by Cisco recently, this is a load of horseshit.

Whiptail is acceleration cache, it is NOT storage in the traditional sense, this is how its being sold to distributors and to resellers and is not being positioned to replace current storage offerings from other vendors, but to augment UCS with fast cache.

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Anonymous Coward

Not what Ive seen where Cisco are perfectly happy about selling Invicta as storage. This is not third hand information, heresay or trolling. This is from a customer which has a 'big 5' infrastructure where Cisco has been supporting the vendor with one of its faces and then selling its own platform to the customer with its other face.

Those who think Cisco will not be selling this as a storage platform in its own right, perhaps not to compete with NetApp, EMC, HP et al for the main bulk of the storage but for discreet (initially) workloads, are naive at best.

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Anonymous Coward

You never can trust Cisco - neither as a customer nor as a partner.

Oh yeah baby, you like it: to license active ports of a switch you already paid twice as much as for other vendors.

What's next? Replacing VMware with ACI? Are Nexus 7k switches already ACI-ready?

Buahahaha.... Cisco, u made my day!

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We must be having some success...

You know what? With all the pandemonium on this thread from various AC's and disclosed competitors, it sure shows Nimble are making an impact in the marketplace and their incumbent customers & deals.

FINALLY storage has become fun again - rather than "who should I buy next; HP? EMC? Netapp? No budget, hmmm Dell?"

Disclosure - Nimble employee and very proud of that fact :)

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Re: We must be having some success...

Ironic for an article with Pure and EMC in the title, and Nimble in the very last paragraph...

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