Welcome to Hands OnVirtualization
Dell Storage Forum London – Interviews

It’s been a while since the Dell Storage forum in London and I am only just finding time to edit some of the audio I recorded at the event. The first few interviews are now online and available from the usual locations.

To catch up on all the news from Dell Storage forum check out Barry’s blog posts mentioned below

Dell Storage Forum Day -1

Dell Storage Forum Day 1

Dell Storage Forum – Fluid Celebration

Dell Storage Forum Day 2

The first interview was recorded with Nick Dyer and Steve Thwaites from Xsigo, discussing their product, where their product, its benefits and why you need it. For second interview I was extremely honoured to be able to interview Dell General Manager and Executive Director of Power Vault and Data Management Brett Roscoe regarding the announcements at the event of the DR4000 and a number of other recent launches from his area of the business.

The podcast can be downloaded from iTunes here >> http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/hands-on-virtualization-podcast/id431718920

Or for non i devices here >> http://feeds.feedburner.com/handsonvirtualization

Dell Light


The 5th Hands On Virtualization Podcast – Predictions for 2012 with multiple guests

Jonathan and I are joined by a number of people from the industry as we all discuss our predictions for 2012. We would like to thank our special guests for giving up their time to record their thoughts and predictions for 2012.

In this podcast we were joined by

Kendrick Coleman – Blogger at KendrickColeman.com + Senior Architect at VCE

Ricky El-Qasem

Doug Hazelman –  VP, Product Strategy, Chief Evangelist Veeam Software

Rick Claus - Senior Technical Evangelist Microsoft Canada

Scott Lowe – Blogger, Speaker and Author

Lance Boley – Storage Evangelist Dell

Kyle Murley – Lead of Server, Database and Web Services for Library Information Technology Digital Initiatives at San Diego State University

Please note the podcast may take a short while before they appear on the links below.

The podcast can be downloaded from iTunes here >> http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/hands-on-virtualization-podcast/id431718920

Or for non i devices here >> http://feeds.feedburner.com/handsonvirtualization

We are really looking forward to seeing what 2012 brings to the IT industry and we are looking forward to interviewing new special guests as we learn about what is taking shape in the industry throughout 2012.

As ever we would love to hear your feedback and your predictions for 2012 so why not tweet us on twitter @HandsOnVirt or Like us on Facebook, or comment below.

VMware Books

At the moment there are a wealth of books available from authors within the VMware community so we have dedicated this blog post to highlight some of the fantastic resources available, you will also find links to the relevant authors twitter accounts. The links will take you to Amazon.com for either the Paperback or Kindle versions of the book.

Mastering VMware vSphere 5 by Scott Lowe

Paperback | Kindle


VMware vSphere 5 Clustering Technical Deepdive By Duncan Epping and Frank Denneman

Paperback | Kindle


VMware vSphere 5 Administration Instant Reference By Christopher Kusek, Van Van Noy and Andy Daniel

Paperback | Kindle


VMware vSphere Design By Forbes Guthrie, Scott Lowe, Maish Saidel-Keesing

Paperback | Kindle


VMware vSphere PowerCLI Reference: Automating vSphere Administration By Luc Dekens, Alan Renouf, Glenn Sizemore, Arnim van Lieshout , Jonathan Medd

Paperback | Kindle


Administering VMware Site Recovery Manager 5.0 By Michael Gordon Laverick

Paperback | Kindle


Automating vSphere: With VMware vCenter Orchestrator By Cody Bunch

Paperback (Pre Order)


We will try and keep this post up to date, if you know of a book that should be added or an author that we haven’t linked too please let us know.
Dell Storage Forum 2012 – London


The Dell Storage Forum for the first time is coming to London and Barry will be attending, you may have heard Jonathan and Barry discussing the Dell Storage Forum on the Hands On Virtualization podcast and blog which has been until now a US only affair. The Dell Storage Forum is the opportunity for Dell Storage customers to get together, get hands on experience in the labs with Dell’s Storage range, learn about what is on the roadmap and how to make the most out of the technology you may already have. Dell Storage Forum London will take place between 9th and 12th of January at the Grange St Paul’s Hotel, full details can be found on their site >> http://www.dellstorageforum.com/?elqPURLPage=218


For those of you that are unable to make it we will be live blogging and recording some interviews for the HandsOnVirtualization.com podcast, if you are luckily enough to be attending we look forward to meeting you.

The 4th Hands On Virtualization Podcast is now available with special guest Devin Hamilton of Nimble Storage

Finally the 4th HandsOnVirtualization podcast is now available to download from the links below. The podcast was recorded in two parts in November / December, in the first half Jonathan and Barry sum up their collective experiences at VMworld US and Europe, discuss the latest releases from VMware and Dell EqualLogic, Jonathan discusses his recent attendance of Tech field day and some of the technologies that he saw whilst attending. Barry and Jonathan talk about the Dell Storage Forum that for the first time is coming to the UK, Jonathan gives us an idea what we can expect to see. In the second half of the podcast Barry and Jonathan chat to Devin Hamilton from Nimble Storage regarding their products and technologies.

The podcast can be downloaded from iTunes here >> http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/hands-on-virtualization-podcast/id431718920

Or for non i devices here >> http://feeds.feedburner.com/handsonvirtualization


Nimble Storage






Dell Storage Forum

VMworld Official Site

Barry’s VMworld Experience

Tech Field Day 8

Jonathan’s VMworld Review



If you have any comments, suggestions or would like to be on the podcast in the new year please catch Barry on twitter @virtualisedreal or email barry {[a t]} virtualisedreality dot com

New Dell Equallogic Models

Dell have recently announced the latest versions of their SANs the PS4100 and PS6100 Series.

These are the first Equallogic’s that Dell have completely manufactured in house. The previous models although running Dell controllers and firmware were manufactured by Xyratex. The new models utilise both 2.5” and 3.5” disks with the emphasis being on the 2.5” disks.

The new controllers also have some new technology such as vertical port failover previously their was only controller failover rather than per port failover. Gone is the battery write back cache and in with the new backup to flash, meaning you no longer have a limited time to repower your device before the contents of the cache is lost.


There are now 4 models in the PS4100 range

Model Disks Type Disk Quantity Size U’s
PS4100E 3.5” 7.5K Near Line SAS 12 2
PS4100X 2.5” 10K SAS 24 2
PS4100XV 2.5” 15K SAS 24 2
PS4100XV 3.5” 15K SAS 12 2


There are 6 models in the PS6100 range

Model Disks Type Disk Quantity Size U’s
PS6100E 3.5” 7.5K Near Line SAS 24 4
PS6100X 2.5” 10K SAS 24 2
PS6100XV 2.5” 15K SAS 24 2
PS6100S 2.5” SSD 24 2
PS6100XS 2.5” SSD + 10K SAS 17 SSD, 7 SAS 2
PS6100XV 3.5” 15K SAS 24 4
From what I have seen I see this as a good evolutionary step for Dell’s acquisition of Equallogic, the use of 2.5” disks across the new range has meant increased spindle count with less space requirements in your racks. Also as a nice to have all new SANs will now use Dell’s Rapid Rails, some of the previous Equallogic rails have been questionable but have got a lot better recently. I am particularly pleased to see the enhancements to the hybrid unit, the previous XVS had only 8 SSD’s and 8 15K SAS drives, meaning you were severely limited with capacity, with the new 24 disk model we are seeing a lot better use of a smaller amount of SSD’s with a larger amount of 10K SAS to give the increased capacity. Also the evolutionary steps for the controllers introduce some nice new availability features with the vertical port failover and the flash backed cache.
For more information head over to http://www.equallogic.com for more information about the latest range of SANS.
Breaking: EqualLogic Hardware Refresh – PS4100 & PS6100 Series Arrays Released!

Finally I can talk about the new EqualLogic Storage arrays! Today was a huge press day Dell/EqualLogic and I am happy to say the new storage arrays that I have personally been waiting for from Dell/EqualLogic have seen the light of day, for the public that is. There are some major hardware changes on this storage platform from Dell, a lot of the new changes will become more apparent over the new few weeks once the arrays have hit the market. In typical fashion, most major IT news blogs have already covered the press release and have pushed out the same usual change list and notes that were mentioned in the Dell press release, so in proper blog writing fashion here is the link to the official press release from Dell/EqualLogic. “http://goo.gl/SHzJT

One of the major items to note that no other blog/media sites have mentioned (that I have seen at least!) is that this is the FIRST major hardware redesign of the EqualLogic product line since the acquisition of EqualLogic back in 2007. Yes, there have been other “refreshes” of the product line, such as the addition of PS6000XVS hybrid storage array and the addition of some awesome new software management tools (SAN HQ, VMware integration, etc) but there hasn’t been a complete PLATFORM overhaul since the purchase. All arrays launched in the last few years have shared the same hardware engineering and technical design so this is a HUGE step forward for the EqualLogic product.

Now that the cat is out of the bag, here is a quick story I thought it was worth sharing. I remember sitting down in Dallas, Texas at the very first EqualLogic conference. It was right around the time that Dell got into social media and it was right around the time when twitter was starting to become ‘main-stream’ and the announcement of “no tweeting this information!” I remember the announcement in the NDA session that there was going to be a new hardware design released based on a 2U form factor. I was pumped, super pumped. A few months later I was sitting in the San Diego, California EqualLogic Conference and in the SAME NDA session the actual PS4100 and PS6100 were unveiled ON STAGE. I actually walked up and touched them, which at the time I thought was really, well…cool! A few months later here we are, the new hardware is released and its killer!

What is the lesson here? - – Get an NDA and go to the next Storage Forum Conference!! Here are some of the specs that I am MOST thrilled about:

-SAS 6GB Backplane – Finally. That’s all I can say. Will we see a big difference? With 24 drives SAS 6GB + SSD’s SAS 6GB is definitely needed. There have been independent review sites of other storage hardware showing that we are getting pretty close to maxing SAS 6GB out, especially with 24 SSD’s….I will be talking to the engineering team at EQL about the numbers on this in the future, I am curious.

-Cache to Flash Controllers – Bye-Bye battery backed cache, hello Flash Memory Based controllers. All I have to say is it’s about time! (this goes for ALL storage vendors- -hello? Its 2011!). Note*- In my review of the Dell R510, the PERC H700 was refreshed in the beginning of the year to support 1GB NV Cache, which is similar to what EQL using, and it rocks!

-2U Form Factor – Well, you can’t beat consolidation right? The more space we save in a rack the better + more drives in each array = more performance per U, per rack, per aisle. I have been a HUGE proponent of the 2.5in drive form factor for many reasons outside the room for this post. I have been running 2.5in server drives from Dell for about 4 years now and they have been rock solid.

-24 Drives vs 16 Drives- Well, you can’t beat more spindles, not much to say here but if you are a shop that thinks they NEED 15k drives you really need to take a look at the 2.5in 10k drives, their performance is steller, yes its slightly slower than its 15 3.5in counterpart, but performance is pretty close, especially with 24 of these.

There are some other awesome new features that I would love to talk about so I will be covering these in more depth over the next few weeks. With VMworld 2011 right around the corner it’s going to be a whirlwind of information, blog posts and news briefings occurring over the next few weeks. I am hoping to catch up with a couple of the EQL engineers to record a blog post about the new hardware in the coming days, so stay tuned! Nice work everyone at EqualLogic, this new hardware is AWESOME!! Jonathan

Special: Dell PowerEdge R510 Hardware & Performance Review

When I first started my blog one of my goals was to have some hardware type reviews. Sadly, that didn’t happen as much as I really wanted it to, however, I am going to post a great review of the Dell R510 server to hopefully make up for the lack of hardware type posts. If you attended my session or downloaded the slides from the Dell Storage Forum 2011, you will know how I feel about local storage virtual hosts. In my opinion, they are the pillar of strength in a small environment and give those questionable to virtualization a great entry level platform to the technology. There are also many applications that utilize local storage servers, like small development environments, small VDI deployments all the way up to medium sized virtual machine deployments and let’s not forget about disaster recovery hardware. Let’s be honest, server hardware in general has taken one heck of a jump in performance and reliability in just the last two years, at least from sitting on the Dell side of the fence. The servers we run today are light years ahead in performance, Westmere 6-core, hyper-threaded processors blow the doors off the older Harpertown class CPU’s, let alone the major drop in power use and heat output. These are only a few of the major improvements that we all have come to take for granted in the latest server hardware. The next two years ahead look even more promising, 12 core processors are going to be the standard in a few short months and new technologies like 3-D transistors, 22-nm processors and many other new processor inventions, it’s going to be an exciting new few years.

Hands on Virtualization Podcast 3 – With Special Guest David Davis of TrainSignal

Podcast number 3 is now available to download, in this episode of the Hands on Virtualization podcast our special guest is David Davis of Trainsignal

We discussed TrainSignal, the virtualization community and home labs with David.

For more information on TrainSignal please visit http://www.trainsignal.com and for David’s blog please visit http://www.vmwarevideos.com

Outside of the interview the podcast focused are the Dell Storage Forum and the new Equallogic 5.1 release or firmware and no surprise we started to discuss vSphere 5. We are going to have a number of podcast regarding vSphere 5 so in this podcast we have just started scratching the edge of the new features.

Topics discussed were

  • New licensing – Is it such a big deal
  • Storage Based Profiles
  • Storage DRS
  • VAAI API’s V2 and VASA API’s
  • Changes to HA
  • ESXi

For more information on these topics I would highly recommend these resources

vSphere 5 Licensing Guide

What’s new in vSphere 5 Storage PDF

Whats new in vSphere 5 Availability PDF

As discussed in the podcast if you would like to learn more about what is going on in vSphere 5 clustering I highly recommend Duncan Epping and Frank Denneman’s book

Available on Amazon in Print or Kindle format

To download the latest podcast please use the links below, as ever we would love to hear your feedback you can contact me at barry (at) virtualisedreality (dot) com or contact me on twitter @virtualisedreal or Jonathan @s1xth.

iTunes – http://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/episode3-special-guest-david/id431718920?i=95736734

RSS – http://feeds.feedburner.com/handsonvirtualization

Join VMware for the next major step forward in Cloud Infrastructure

VMware CEO Paul Maritz and CTO Steve Herrod are hosting an event next week to unveil the next major step forward in cloud infrastructure. The event will be live online and you can register here

VMware Event

Not only will you get to find our about this latest announcement but you can also get a chance to win a free ticket to VMworld US or Europe, for more information check out this blog post here