Dandelions, DMX's and USP's (updated)

By | May 14, 2008

Even when Im snowed under, like I am at the moment, I try to keep half an eye on what's being said and spread in the blogsphere.  But despite being so busy, I feel a need to call attention to some of the foibles and FUD that is currently being tossed around like spring pollen by USP wanna-bees.

Stay with me on this………..  With the spring and pollen analogy in mind, there's not a many things better than a nice deep green lawn.  But on the flip side, there's not much that is more soul destroying than a lawn covered in dandelions!  The same can be said of blogs.  There are some blogs out there that have the potential to be as satisfying as a lushous green lawn, were they not littered with dandelions and broad leaved weeds that take over and spoil the content!

Where am I going with this……..

Our favourite closet USP fan Barry Burke (he owns one, uses it daily, has the latest microcode and its licensed for everything – seriously!), has been busy sowing his blog with dandelion seeds by spreading more FUD about Hu and the USPV.  Barry, speaking as though he were an authority on Hitachi storage, accuses USPV Dynamic Provisioning of not being able to see external storage.  In his own words "….. cant see external storage.  Nada.  Nothing. Kaput ".  (you will have to read the comments to see his statement)

He even goes on to suggest that because he can't get HDP to see external storage, the integrity of Hu's posts , suggesting that it can, are damaged!

I even offered to get it working for him, but for some strange reason he didn't take me up on the offer Tongue out

Then in another more recent post , Barry talks about the so called EMC SPEED gurus.  Apparently Barry has been arming them with in-depth understanding of DMX internals and performance characteristics.  Fair enough.  But apparently he has also been arming them with the same in depth know-how of the competitions kit.  The same guy who cant get HDP and external storage to work.  He says we ought to consider these SPEED gurus "armed and dangerous".  Im just hoping Barry's knowledge of the DMX that he has been passing on to them is superior to his knowledge of the USP.

So, a word of warning – expect the EMC SPEED gurus to be out and about in a neighbourhood near you, littering the streets and vandalising walls with scurrilous and inaccurate statements about the competition.

Oh, and one has to wonder why the EMC SPEED gurus would need to be trained up on the competition??  If you were to believe the propaganda that is coming out of the Hopkinton blogketing machine these days, you could be forgiven for thinking the DMX doesn't have any competition.  But I trust none of us really believes that…..right!  Its only when you read between the lines that you realise that they are well aware of the battle that's going on at the top.

Why else would Barry have a USPV with the latest code, licensed for everything that he uses every day?  I can only think of 3 possible reasons –
1.    He is closet fan of Hitachi storage
2.    EMC are big users Hitachi storage
3.   The EMC engineering guys are trying to copy/emulate the quality and functionality of Hitachi storage.

Oh and much of the above was on a post that is talking about trust!  

I trust none of us takes Barry's word for anything relating to Hitachi storage.  And the same applies to the so called SPEED gurus from EMC.  Its fair enough to hope they know their own product, but lets not think they know anything more than a few memorised sentences about their competition.

Nigel

NB.  Ive just realised that I didn't mention above that the USPV does indeed allow you to use external storage to build HDP (thin provisioning) pools.  Ive just tested it and it works fine.  No special option modes, no hidden buttons…. and all on ucode that is several months old!

UPDATE:  Since writing this post, and as a result of a question raised in a comment, I have successfully tested the following combinations of HDP, COW, normal LDEVs (all HDP volumes were built from pools comprising external storage) in Shadow Image operations – 

LDEV -> COW

HDP -> COW

HDP -> HDP

HDP -> LDEV 

As a result of the above, I would assume (and I am not an authority on this) that HDP will also work with Tiered Storage Manager.  After all, Shadow Image is the underlying engine.  And believe me, they all worked a treat and were extremely simple to set up.

8 thoughts on “Dandelions, DMX's and USP's (updated)

  1. ISG

    Interestingly caustic statements coming from the guy who last month still thought SRDF worked on a full track, rather than a partial track…

    If you look at his post at Hu's website, my interpretation is a bit different of it than yours, check out the last sentence.  I think he's tip-toeing the: what's on the "support matrix" rather than can it be made to work line that storage vendors love to walk (which I would say falls under the FUD category).  i.e. The external storage he's currently testing with is officially supported to be virtualized, but not officially supported to be thin-provisioned.  Without more data of the environment I don't know if one could really say he is truely wrong or he is right. http://blogs.hds.com/hu/2008/04/dynamic_provisioning_virtualize_it_snap_it_move_it_replicate_and_cow_it.html#comments

    In the same post he does make a direct statement about TSM not supporting DP which I would expect we do have enough data on as they are both HDS products.  You didn't say in your post here, do know if TSM supports it or not?

  2. the storage anarchist

    Plagerism is the grandest form of flattery. Perhaps I should copyright my posts so you can't steal them :*)

    FWIW, it may well be that Hitachi has released microcode to enable external storage to be used with HDP, but HP has not – they seem to impose additional testing before they release anything to their customers. HP also seems to be a bit more conservative on what they support on the USPs (and what they claim it can do, for that matter). Could explain our experience vs. yours.

    And for the record, I never actually said that "*I*" own it / use it, my comment was meant to refer to the fact my employer owns the product and that "we" use it every day…EMC has never made it a secret that we own just about all of our "wanna-bee(tm)" competitor products. Not to copy them (that would be illegal, don't you know), but to understand how they perform under various workloads. Turns out to be very useful – like understanding how Hitachi concocts their bazillions of IOPS by performing 100% hit I/Os to the buffers on the front-end controllers (never even touching global memory).

  3. Akro

    THP external storage Looks supported to me on XP's….

  4. Nigel Poulton

    Thanks for your comments Edwin.

    Firstly, re me thinking that SRDF was based on shipping full tracks……  I believe my language and approach was slightly different to Barrys –

    ME – “Isnt SRDF … based on tracks?……Im no authority on this… but I imagine this may happen…. Im asking, as I say Im no authority and may be the Symm doesn’t work this way, but I imagine it does”

    BARRY – “Hitachi (and Hu) claim that their DP works with externally virtualized storage.  NOT.  Own it.  Use it daily. Got the latest microcode upgrades… Licensed for everything.  No dice.  DP cant see external storage.  Nada. Nothing. Kaput…. So much for the integrity of Hu’s recent posts”

    Notice the difference in tone?  So much for the integrity of Hu’s recent posts indeed!

    Also, I purposefully only linked Hu’s site rather than the particular post.  Reason being, I didn’t know which post Barry was referring to.  I just felt a need to answer Barrys somewhat sweeping statements which were clearly inaccurate.  Oh and I also wanted to offer to help Barry get his configuration working 😉

    As for interoperability with TSM….. I don’t know the answer to that one.  However, if it works with Shadow Image then I would imagine it would work with TSM (Shadow Image being the underlying engine).  I will see if I can test with SI tomorrow.

    Barry, yes flattery indeed.  So do you have an XP24K or a USPV?  The latest ucode on the USPV certainly supports HDP on external storage, and you have the latest code.  I assume you have an XP and a contract with HP…..

    Its interesting that you suggest that HP may do additional testing before releasing to their customers and that they are more conservative on what they support.  I don’t know what HP do to certify, but you may be right.  It may on the other hand be that they don’t work as hard, quickly and closely with the factory as HDS to get the latest updates and features to their customers.  The same could be said for what they support.  Rather than being more conservative, may be they don’t invest as much in certifying…..  Im not having a dig at HP, but at the end of the day they are not a storage centric company like HDS, and dare I say EMC

    So Hu’s post not that bad after all then?

  5. Nigel Poulton

    Thanks for clearing that up Akro.  To be honest Im not surprised. 

    Can you shed any light on whether or not HP run behind HDS on ucode versions etc….   

  6. akro

    HP gets updates directly from Hitatchi of Japan.  Also I know noone beleives the marketing however it is true HP has an engineering relationship with Hitachi Japan which means HP does provide a significant amount of direct feedback to Hitatchi.  HDS really doesn't have anymore of an inside track to Hitatchi than HP.  In fact SUN and the others are HDS resellers and don't have direct relationship with Hit. Japan like HP. 

    As for firmware HP doesn't release it to the customers until it has been through some very thorough testing internally.  This has saved HP customers a couple of times.  It is even more critical now that Non-Stop has certified XP for backend storage.

    Also as for HP not being a storage company I would argue that in the fact that HP has a larger storage portfolio than any other company.  Yes some of the products are OEMed some are internally developed.  So off the top of my head  HP Arrays –  MSA2000 (i,FC) EVA, XP, exds 91000, smart arrays for DAS, Various Shelves (MSA20,60,70)  HP software – Data Protector, Storage Essentials, Polyserve, Storage Mirroring, Cluster Extension and various others   HP Tape Libraries – ESL, EML, MSL, Various Autoloaders   FC Switches – Brocade, Cisco, Qlogic   HBAs – Qlogic and Emulex  And this is just a partial list not including the legacy stuff out of HP and DEC like VA and EMA arrays.

    As for testing internally there is a huge amount of testing done before anything gets released.   Take a look at the SAN design guide on HP's website http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/DocumentIndex.jsp?contentType=SupportManual&locale=en_US&docIndexId=179911&taskId=101&prodTypeId=12169&prodSeriesId=406734 That isn't even the rev by rev supported streams for every supported OS, Array, Driver, HBA, Switch combination that are used to ensure customers have a supported config. 

    In short everything EMC does HP does.

  7. Nigel Poulton

    Interesting points Akro.

    I know HP gets ucode directly from Japan.  I was just being a little cheeky when suggesting HP may not work as closely with the factory.  But I guess it is possible that at any point in time either HP or HDS can run behind the other on ucode GA due to different internal testing.

    I am, however, serious when I say that I don’t think HP is as storage centric a company as the likes of HDS and EMC.  Of course there are people at HP who live and love storage, but at the very highest levels in the company storage is not the main focus.  The big wigs at HP do not live and breath storage (same could be said about Hitachi).

    I feel similar about products like CommVault and NetBackup versus Legato and Data Protector……  CommVault and NBU are hands down winners as, especially with CommVault, their life is data protection – it is the companies lifeblood.  CommVault for instance offers far more than Legato Networker (no offence EMC).

    Just my two pence.

  8. snig

    Thanks for the update Nigel.  And yes, HDP works with TSM.

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