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    Does Your World Include Storage? Don’t Miss SDC!

    August 18th, 2017

    Whether storage is already a main focus of your career or may be advancing toward you, you’ll definitely want to attend the flagship event for storage developers – and those involved in storage operations, decision making, and usage  – SNIA’s 19th annual Storage Developer Conference (SDC), September 11-14, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara, California.  Continue Reading…

    SNIA Storage Developer Conference-The Knowledge Continues

    October 13th, 2016

    SNIA’s 18th Storage Developer Conference is officially a success, with 124 general and breakout sessions;  Cloud Interoperability, Kinetiplugfest 5c Storage, and SMB3 plugfests; ten Birds-of-a-Feather Sessions, and amazing networking among 450+ attendees.  Sessions on NVMe over Fabrics won the title of most attended, but Persistent Memory, Object Storage, and Performance were right behind.  Many thanks to SDC 2016 Sponsors, who engaged attendees in exciting technology discussions.

    For those not familiar with SDC, this technical industry event is designed for a variety of storage technologists at various levels from developers to architects to product managers and more.  And, true to SNIA’s commitment to educating the industry on current and future disruptive technologies, SDC content is now available to all – whether you attended or not – for download and viewing.

    20160919_120059You’ll want to stream keynotes from Citigroup, Toshiba, DSSD, Los Alamos National Labs, Broadcom, Microsemi, and Intel – they’re available now on demand on SNIA’s YouTube channel, SNIAVideo.

    All SDC presentations are now available for download; and over the next few months, you can continue to download SDC podcasts which combine audio and slides. The first podcast from SDC 2016 – on hyperscaler (as well as all 2015 SDC Podcasts) are available here, and more will be available in the coming weeks.

    SNIA thanks all its members and colleagues who contributed to make SDC a success! A special thanks goes out to the SNIA Technical Council, a select group of acknowledged industry experts who work to guide SNIA technical efforts. In addition to driving the agenda and content for SDC, the Technical Council oversees and manages SNIA Technical Work Groups, reviews architectures submitted by Work Groups, and is the SNIA’s technical liaison to standards organizations. Learn more about these visionary leaders at http://www.snia.org/about/organization/tech_council.

    And finally, don’t forget to mark your calendars now for SDC 2017 – September 11-14, 2017, again at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara. Watch for the Call for Presentations to open in February 2017.

    A Deep Dive into the SNIA Storage Developer Conference – The File Systems Track

    September 9th, 2015

    SNIA Storage Developer Conference (SDC) 2015 is two weeks away, and the SNIA Technical Council is finalizing a strong, comprehensive agenda of speakers and sessions. Wherever your interests lie, you’re sure to find experts and topics that will expand your knowledge and fuel your professional development!SDC15_WebHeader3_999x188

    For the next two weeks, SNIA on Storage will highlight exciting interest areas in the 2015 agenda. If you have not registered, you need to! Visit www.storagedeveloper.org to see the four day overview and sign up.

    Year after year, the File Systems Track at SDC provides in depth information on the latest technologies, and 2015 is no exception. The track kicks off with Vinod Eswaraprasad, Software Architect, Wipro, on Creating Plugin Modules for OpenStack Manila Services. He’ll discuss his work on integrating a multi-protocol NAS storage device to the OpenStack Manila service, looking at the architecture principle behind the scalability and modularity of Manila services, and the analysis of interface extensions required to integrate a typical NAS head.

    Ankit Agrawal and Sachin Goswami of TCS will discuss How to Enable a Reliable and Economic Cloud Storage Solution by Integrating SSD with LTFS. They will share views on how to integrate SSD as a cache with a LTFS tape system to transparently deliver the best benefits for Object Base storage, and talk about the potential challenges in their approach and best practices that can be adopted to overcome these challenges.

    Jakob Homan, Distributed Systems Engineer, Microsoft, will present Apache HDFS: Latest Developments and Trends. He’ll discuss the new features of HDFS, which has rapidly developed to meet the needs of enterprise and cloud customers, and take a look at HDFS at implementations and how they address previous shortcomings of HDFS.

    James Cain, Principal Software Architect, Quantel Limited, will discuss a Pausable File System, using his own implementation of an SMB3 server (running in user mode on Windows) to demonstrate the effects of marking messages as asynchronously handled and then delaying responses in order to build up a complete understanding of the semantics offered by a pausable file system.

    Ulrich Fuchs, Service Manager, CERN, will talk about Storage Solutions for Tomorrow’s Physics Projects, suggesting possible architectures for tomorrow’s storage implementations in this field, and showing results of first performance tests done on various solutions (Lustre, NFS, Block Object storage, GPFS ..) for typical application access patterns.

    Neal Christiansen, Principal Development Lead, Microsoft, will present Support for New Storage Technologies by the Windows Operating System, describing the changes being made to the Windows OS, its file systems, and storage stack in response to new evolving storage technologies.

    Richard Morris and Peter Cudhea of Oracle will discuss ZFS Async Replication Enhancements, exploring design decisions around enhancing the ZFS send and ZFS receive commands to transfer already compressed data more efficiently and to recover from failures without re-sending data that has already been received.

    J.R. Tipton, Development Lead, Microsoft, will discuss ReFS v2: Cloning, Projecting, and Moving Data File Systems, presenting new abstractions that open up greater control for applications and virtualization, covering block projection and cloning as well as in-line data tiering.

    Poornima Gurusiddaiah and Soumya Koduri of Red Hat will present Achieving Coherent and Aggressive Client Caching in Gluster, a Distributed System, discussing how to implement file system notifications and leases in a distributed system and how these can be leveraged to implement a client side coherent and aggressive caching.

    Sriram Rao, Partner Scientist Manager, Microsoft, will present Petabyte-scale Distributed File Systems in Open Source Land: KFS Evolution, providing an overview of OSS systems (such as HDFS and KFS) in this space, and describing how these systems have evolved to take advantage of increasing network bandwidth in data center settings to improve application performance as well as storage efficiency.

    Richard Levy, CEO and President, Peer Fusion, will discuss a High Resiliency Parallel NAS Cluster, including resiliency design considerations for large clusters, the efficient use of multicast for scalability, why large clusters must administer themselves, fault injection when failures are the nominal conditions, and the next step of 64K peers.

    Join your peers as well – register now at www.storagedeveloper.org. And stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog on Cloud topics at SDC!

    Block Storage in OpenStack Q&A

    June 10th, 2015

    The team at SNIA-ESF and I were very pleased with how many people attended our live “Block Storage in the Open Source Cloud called OpenStack.” If you missed it, please check it out on demand. We had several great questions during the live event. As promised here are answers to all of them. If you have additional questions, please feel free to comment on this blog.

    Q. How is the support for OpenStack, if we hit a roadblock or need some features?

    A. The OpenStack community has many avenues for contacting developers for support. The official place to report issues, file bugs or ask for new features is Launchpad. https://launchpad.net/openstack. It is the central place for all of the many OpenStack projects to file bugs or feature requests. This is also the location where every OpenStack project tracks its current release cycle and all of the features, called blueprints. Another good source of information are the public mailing lists. A good place to start for the mailing list is here, https://wiki.openstack.org/wiki/Mailing_Lists. Finally, developers are also on the public Internet Relay Chat channels associated with their projects. The developers are live and interactive, on each of the channels. You can find the information about the IRC system that OpenStack developers use here: https://wiki.openstack.org/wiki/IRC.

    Q. Why was Python chosen as the programming language? Which version of Python is used as there are incompatibilities between versions?

    A. The short answer here is that Python is a great language for rapid development and deployment that is mature and has a wide variety of publicly available libraries for doing work. The current released version of OpenStack uses Python 2.7. The OpenStack community is making efforts to ensure that we can eventually migrate to Python 3.x. New libraries that are being developed have to be Python 3.x compatible.

    Q. Is it possible to replicate the backed up volumes at the OpenStack layer or do you defer to the back end array for data replication?

    A. Currently, there is no built in support for volume replication in Cinder. The Cinder community is actively working on how to implement volume replication in the next release Liberty, which will ship in the fall of 2015. As with any major new feature in Cinder, the community has to design the new feature core such that it works with the 40+ vendor arrays, in such a way that it’s consistent. As the array support grows, the amount of up front design becomes more and more important and difficult at the same time. We have a specification that we are currently working on that will get us closer to implementing replication.

    Q. Who, or what, creates the FC zones?

    A. In Cinder, the block storage project, the component that creates and manages Fibre Channel zones is called the Fibre Channel Zone manager. A good document to read up on the zone manager is here: http://www.brocade.com/downloads/documents/at_a_glance/fc-zone-manager-ag.pdf. The official OpenStack documentation on the zone manager is here: http://docs.openstack.org/kilo/config-reference/content/section_fc-zoning.html. The zone manager is automatically called after Cinder Fibre Channel volume driver exports its volume from the array. The zone manager then adds the zones as requested by the driver to make the volume available to the virtual machine.

    Q. Does the Cinder and Nova attachment process work over VLANs?

    A. Yes. It’s entirely dependent on how the OpenStack admin deploys the Nova and Cinder services. As long as the Nova hosts can see the Cinder services and arrays behind the Cinder volume drivers, then it should just work.

    Q. Is the FCZM a native component of the Cinder project? Or is it an add-on?

    A. As I mentioned earlier, the Fibre Channel zone manager is part of the Cinder project. There has been some discussions, as part of the Cinder community, to possibly break out the zone manager into it’s own Python library, in which case it would be available to any Python project. Currently, it’s built into Cinder itself.

    Q. Does Cinder involve itself in the I/O path as well or is it only the control path responsible for allocating storage?

    A. Cinder is almost entirely control plane provisioning mechanism only. There are a few operations where the Cinder services actually does I/O. When a user wants to create an image from a volume, then Cinder attaches the volume to itself, and then copies the bytes from the volume into an image. Cinder also has a backup service that allows a user to backup a volume to an external service. In that case, the Cinder backup service directs copying the bytes into the configured backup storage. When Cinder attaches a volume to a Nova VM, or a bare metal node, Cinder is not involved in any I/O. Cinder’s job is to simply ensure that the volume is exported from the back-end array and make it available to Nova to see. After that, it’s entirely up to the transport protocol, iSCSI, FC, NFS, etc. to do the I/O for the volume.

    Q. Is Nova aware of the LUN usage %?

    A. Nova doesn’t track statistics against the volumes that it has attached to its virtual machines.

    Q. Where do the vendor specific parts of Cinder fit in? Are there vendor specific “volume managers”?

    A. The vendor specific components of Cinder exist in what are called Cinder volume drivers.   Those drivers are really nothing more than a python module that conforms to a volume driver API that is defined by the Cinder volume manager. You can get an idea of what the features that the drivers can support on the Cinder Support Matrix here:


    Q. If Cinder is only for control plane, which project in OpenStack is for data path?

    A. There isn’t a project in OpenStack that manages the data path for volumes.

    Q. Is there a volume detachment process as well and when does that come into play?

    A. My presentation primarily focused around one aspect of the interaction between Nova and Cinder, which was volume attachment. I briefly discussed the volume detachment process, but it is conducted in basically the same way. An end user asks Nova to detach the volume. Nova then removes the volume from the VM, then removes the SCSI device from the compute host itself, and then tells Cinder to terminate the connection from the array to the compute host.

    Q. If a virtual machine is moved to a different physical machine, how’s that handled in Cinder?

    A. This process in OpenStack is called live migration. Nova does all of the work of moving the VM’s data, from one host to another. One facet of that is migrating any Cinder volume that may be attached to the VM. Nova understands which volumes are attached to the VM and knows which one of those volume(s) are Cinder volumes. When the VM is migrated, Nova coordinates with Cinder to ensure that all volumes are attached to the destination host and VM, as well as ensures that the volumes are detached from the originating compute host.

    Q. Why doesn’t Cinder use SNIA SMI-S API to manage/consume SAN, NAS or Switch fabric instead of each storage vendor building Cinder drivers? SMI already covers all scenarios for the Cinder scenarios for FC, iSCSI, SAS etc.

    A. Cinder itself doesn’t really manage the storage array communication itself. It’s entirely up to the individual vendor drivers to decide how best to communicate with its storage array. The HP 3PAR volume driver uses REST to communicate with the array, as do several other vendor drivers in Cinder. Other drivers use ssh. There are no strict rules on how a Cinder volume driver can choose to communicate with its back-end. This allows vendors to make the best use of their array interfaces as they see fit.

    Q. Are there Horizon extensions or extension points for showing what physical resources your storage is coming from? Or is that something a storage vendor would need to implement?

    A. Horizon doesn’t really know much about where storage is coming from other than it’s a Cinder volume. Horizon uses the available Cinder APIs to talk to Cinder to do work and fetch information about Cinder’s resources. I know of a few vendors that are writing Horizon plugins that add extra capabilities to view more detailed information about their specific array. As of today though, there is no API in Cinder to describe the internals of a volume on the vendor’s array.







    New Webcast: Block Storage in the Open Source Cloud called OpenStack

    May 26th, 2015

    On June 3rd at 10:00 a.m. SNIA-ESF will present its next live Webcast “Block Storage in the Open Source Cloud called OpenStack.” Storage is a major component of any cloud computing platform. OpenStack is one of largest and most widely supported Open Source cloud computing platforms that exist in the market today. The OpenStack block storage service (Cinder) provides persistent block storage resources that OpenStack Nova compute instances can consume.

    I will be moderating this Webcast, presented by a core member of the OpenStack Cinder team, Walt Boring. Join us, as we’ll dive into:

    • Relevant components of OpenStack Cinder
    • How block storage is managed by OpenStack
    • What storage protocols are currently supported
    • How it all works together with compute instances

    I encourage you to register now to block your calendar. This will be a live and interactive Webcast, please bring your questions. I look forward to “seeing” you on June 3rd