Recommended Viewing : Apache Cloudstack Collaboration Conference 2013 Videos Available

Anyone interested in Cloudstack, like me, should be interested in the videos from the recently concluded Apache Collaboration Conference in Amsterdam. Like OpenStack, Cloudstack offers a wealth of cloud features in the form of a cloud stack. The presentations from the Cloudstack Collaboration EU 2013 conference have been made available on YouTube :


Recommended Viewing : OpenStack Summit 2013 Videos Now Available

If you are interested in OpenStack, as I am, you will be happy to learn that openstack500from the recently concluded conference, OpenStack has made available  a wealth of video presentations and keynotes available from OpenStack Summit 2013.  This is an incredible collection of knowledge about OpenStack and people and companies involved with it.


Also of interest, you should follow what eBay/PayPal is doing if you are interested in an implementation in-progress.  At the recently concluded OpenStack Summit 2013 in Hong Kong eBay/PayPal did six sessions.


Recommended Reading : Systems Performance, SmartOS and the Cloud

There is a new book out, Systems Performance : Enterprise and the Cloud by Brenden Gregg, and if you have to put up with slow software, book_brendenthen on a Monday, you need this book.  If you don’t know who Brenden Gregg is, then you haven’t been paying attention to a revolution in some of he  software that came from his team at Sun just a few years back. And this book constitutes an excellent way at  looking at system performance.  As described on Amazon : “Large-scale enterprise, cloud, and virtualized computing systems have introduced serious performance challenges. Now, internationally renowned performance expert Brendan Gregg has brought together proven methodologies, tools, and metrics for analyzing and tuning even the most complex environments. Systems Performance: Enterprise and the Cloud focuses on Linux® and Unix® performance, while illuminating performance issues that are relevant to all operating systems. You’ll gain deep insight into how systems work and perform, and learn methodologies for analyzing and improving system and application performance. Gregg presents examples from bare-metal systems and virtualized cloud tenants running Linux-based Ubuntu®, Fedora®, CentOS, and the illumos-based Joyent® SmartOS™ and OmniTI OmniOS®. He systematically covers modern systems performance, including the “traditional” analysis of CPUs, memory, disks, and networks, and new areas including cloud computing and dynamic tracing. This book also helps you identify and fix the “unknown unknowns” of complex performance: bottlenecks that emerge from elements and interactions you were not aware of. The text concludes with a detailed case study, showing how a real cloud customer issue was analyzed from start to finish.”   You can get a quick overview of the book by looking at his presentation and for the first time being introduced to the DTrace pony (page 6, but we will come back to the DTrace pony later) you can experience modern performance tools.


Any so begins your magical mystery tour if you don’t know DTrace. If you haven’t experienced it you have missed out on a tool capable of literally

DTracegiving you deep observability into your system.  Though the best versions of DTrace run on open-source Solaris-based operating systems like SmartOS and illumos-based variants, their are also versions that run on Linux.  Couple with DTrace are utilization and latency heat maps and flame graphs which offer a visual view of what DTrace is reporting. As you get more interested in this tool you may want to examine what people like Brendan Gregg and Joyent are doing with DTrace in the Cloud –


Joyent is using a forked version of OpenSolaris based on the illumos (open source) version.  Joyent’s open source version, SmartOS,  which they have customized around cloud deployments provides a large number of features unavailable on Oracle’s version of Solaris. And because SmartOS leverages OpenSolaris, one more thing becomes useful, ZFS, one of the most sophisticated file systems available.


Another virtualization aspect of SmartOS is that it leverages Solaris zones (extremely lightweight) and Linux KVM (ported, debugged and tuned via DTrace).  And this all has given Joyent very special insight into dense virtualization and the architectures that virtualized clouds are built on.


All of this is very interesting and offers an alternative to the usual VMware cloud, it also offers very strong open source enterprise-tested features of virtualization, file systems, tracing software and a suite of great features both server, storage and software-centric.  You can learn more about Joyent’s cloud version of Solaris at

Recommended Reading : Today, IOPS Matter Less Than A Good Architecture and Storage Features

chinesedragonIf you have a fire-breathing dragon of a flash array that can deliver millions of IOPS  but you can’t leverage the features you need to increase the storage capacity (deduplication, compression and thin provisioning), upgrade the array while it’s running in production, or can’t easily replicate the data on it, can’t cluster multiple arrays or have high availability  – what do those IOPS serve ?  Features that support cloud and enterprise operations within these flash storage arrays are more important than IOPS and certainly architecture and price are important considerations as well.  In an interesting and excellent article in the author looks at the IOPS competition and further points out that producing huge benchmark numbers can be even done with consumer grade SSDs. I carry this further.  When I asked one vendor, who was touting a 2 million IOPS benchmark they had just finished and  were busy trying to convince the world of its value, if they had used linked clones on this VMware benchmark  – they answered ‘no’ as if it was a surprising question, or at least an inconvenient one.  Compression was ‘no’, de-duplication ‘no’, etc. You get the picture.  Today, I understand that this storage vendor didn’t have de-duplication and some other features found in competing systems. The native storage features of an array’s operating environment can offer huge value – companies like Nimbus Data, SolidFire, Pure Storage, Hitachi and others get this.  All of these companies can produce impressive IOPS benchmarks and have, but the battle has ceased to be about delivering mega-huge IOPS benchmarks  – it’s about how those IOPS can be used in production settings and the storage features around those IOPS.


More at : Top Thirteen Questions Questions To Ask Your Storage Array Vendor.

[ Photo : Dragon, Shanghai Art Museum.  ]


gotostorageGo to more posts on storage and flash storage at


Recommended Reading: Use-Case – All-Flash Cloud Deployment, 1PB of Flash Storage

European cloud provider, Colt, has deployed 1 PB of SolidFire flash arrays for their rollout of cloud-computing services.  In their cloud roll-out they had some very specific needs around quality-of-service.  Their evaluation looked at 21 storage array suppliers before they settled on SolidFire.  Key criteria :

  • guaranteed IOPS performance levels for each customer
  • custom applications using the array’s APIs to link to their self-service portal
  • price

More details :



gotostorageGo to more posts on storage and flash storage at


Recommended Reading : Getting Started with Hazelcast

hazelcast02I just got my hands on a new book, Getting Started with Hazelcast.  The book covers how to get started with Hazelcast, how to leverage concurrency in your application, how to build solutions using a divide-and-conquer strategy, using REST and a number of other topics.  If you are interested in getting started in building distributed solutions you should look at this book.  I got through Amazon as a Kindle book – which I read on my Mac desktop using the Kindle Reader.  This is not a bad way to get started with Hazelcast.

Recommended Reading : Performance and Best Practices – VMware vFabric Postgres 9.2

VMware just released Performance and Best Practices for VMware vFabric Postgres 9.2. VMware offers vFabric Postgres (vPostgres) as a distribution with drivers and utilities chosen by VMware.  This whitepaper presents the performance characteristics of vPostgres 9.2 on VMware vSphere 5.1. Showing vPostgres 9.2 on a 32 vCPU virtual machine on vSphere and a 32 core physical machines as a comparison point.  It shows that virtualized Posgres performs on par with bar-metal hosted Postgres.