Not long ago, I met with a customer not too far from where I live. After a quick commute to their office and navigating their oddly named multi-building campus (I circled the building at least 3 times), I met with the account team to get a little more background on the customer and the issues they were facing.
We got signed in at the front desk, and then walked through a few hallways, down past a few cube farms. The meeting got started a little slowly. They were waiting for someone – Eddie - to get finished with something… so before he showed up they were talking Eddie this, Eddie that and how the meeting couldn’t possible start without this guy Eddie. By the time he showed up, in my mind Eddie was already a legend.
Eddie was their virtualization guru and like virtualization technology, the guy was highly efficient. He wasted no time in getting right to the point:
- They needed storage to keep up with their server virtualization efforts.
- They didn’t care what technology could do it – they just wanted it done.
- Their main datacenter was in Building B and their secondary datacenter was in Building E. They also pushed their data to a remote site thousands of miles down South.
- They had been happy with EMC products and support for years, but they were willing to look elsewhere. (sales rep didn’t like that one)
Eddie then walked us through the basic scenario:
“If I’m in Building B and I’m on an ESX Cluster, I can easily VMotion a VM around as I need it. This helps me rebalance the workload and VMs as I need to for a bunch of things. But with storage, I’m stuck. Why can’t I VMotion storage just as easily?”
I jumped in and talked about Microsoft applications and how we’ve been able to provide Cluster Enabler support for many years. Although you cannot VMotion with Cluster Enabler, it does integrate with Microsoft Failover Clustering and provide a stretch cluster type of …
“That’s nice, but we have more than Microsoft here.” Slap 1.
Someone else jumped in and talking about using a switch-based connection and stretching that across a distance and…
“That sounds like a nightmare.” Slap 2.
If we had then what we have now – the perfect answer would have been:
So, you would like to move existing applications or databases between different data centers without interrupting operations? What if you could federate your storage? Have you seen EMC’s new VPLEX?
That would have won a few points with Eddie and I’m sure could have led to a more positive response that we were hoping to hear in the meeting that day:
“I want to see it, show me a demo”
What really happened that day?
Well, virtual Eddie was left wanting more, but I did have a nice chat with their Exchange team about the right way to put together a CLARiiON configuration and get better performance than what they were getting today.
I’ve got another post coming soon that will describe the testing we did to show how we tested distance VMotion with a SharePoint farm (with Oracle and SAP too).