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  • Commvault GO 2017 Recap

    Commvault GO 2017 Recap

    November 13th, 2017
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    Commvault GO 2017 Recap

    Last week, thousands of IT professionals gathered in Washington, D.C. for Commvault GO 2017. Commvault GO is Commvault’s annual technical conference for storage and data management professionals. Now in its second year, Commvault GO was created to showcase the newest products and solutions from Commvault and to give end-users an update on the strategic direction of the company.

    The agenda was jam-packed with fascinating presentations, breakout sessions, and technical trainings. Luckily, I created a thorough plan for each day so I could make the most of my time at Commvault GO! However, after walking the floor and attending several breakout sessions and technical trainings, I quickly recognized two recurring themes:

    1. Organizations need to shift to a “Data-Centric” approach
    2. Commvault is making strides to simplify the deployment and management of their solutions

    So, let me break down these two themes:

    Robert Hammer, CEO of Commvault, did a brilliant job in his keynote presentation speaking to the “Data-Centric” approach. Hammer spoke about how customers today are starting to change their mindset from infrastructure-centric to data-centric due to a dramatic increase in the new data generation, which is predicted to grow 10x each year from today (163 zettabytes for those keeping score at home) up until 2025. He explained that customers will be forced to focus less on their IT infrastructure and more on the data stored and moving between that infrastructure. Commvault’s answer to this challenge is the Commvault Data Management Platform.  Simply stated, the platform is designed to help organizations achieve better data insights for compliance, e-discovery and a variety of other digital transformation use cases. 

    Today, customers are trying to figure out how to distribute and share their data across multiple platforms, which makes where the data lives irrelevant. At the same time, data protection is critical.  There seems to be a concession that it’s no longer a matter of “if” a ransomware attack will hit but rather “when.”   No matter the severity of the breach, whether just a few servers were affected or your entire system crashed, the goal is to get operations back online quickly and with minimal data loss. With tools like Intellisnap & Live Sync, customers are provided with the resources to rapidly recover in place or restore operations in another location with minimal downtime, even on a completely different infrastructure.  The key to making this all work is planning.  In fact, every customer that presented spoke about their S.O.P. when it comes to ransomware attacks. To say “measure twice and cut once” is an understatement, especially when factoring public cloud into the equation. The industry is trying to carefully navigate these waters and ultimately, we are all going to have to get to this place to continue to innovate and grow in all of our respective industries.

    The second theme of simplicity I found very refreshing.  While Commvault’s capabilities are vast and go far beyond the limits of just backup and recovery, that robust feature set has in the past carried the misperception of the solution being complex to manage.  As a result, Commvault has come out with new and innovative solutions to streamline these processes to become more operational and efficient. The first new streamlined solution, and one of the most talked about products of the conference, is Commvault Hyperscale.

    Commvault Hyperscale can be used as an appliance or as software. It consolidates all the roles performed by discrete servers in the traditional data protection architecture into a single software defined stack. As mentioned previously, this new offering follows Commvault’s new simplistic and stripped-down approach:

    1. Setup time is 30 minutes for the appliance
    2. You only buy what you need today since growing the solution is a simple as adding 3 nodes at a time growing out the CPU, compute and memory resources at the same time
    3. No more data silos along with fork lift migrations when it’s time to refresh
    4. More resiliency built into solution as losing a drive or even an entire node does not take down the back environment
    5. Operation efficiency (especially when using the appliance) as less “components” to maintain (no storage, no SAN, etc…)
    6. Supported by 7 platforms and can be consumed as an appliance or as software

    This is definitely a step in the right direction for Commvault. Eliminating what used to be several weeks of work to just days is every IT professionals dream, especially when a lot of automation is required.

    To summarize, Commvault GO 2017 was fascinating and I could not be more pleased with the direction Commvault has chosen to take. Their understanding of the customers thought process and their simplified solutions show that Commvault has listened to our feedback and is growing as an organization. I can’t wait for Commvault GO 2018!

  • High Availability, Inc. Receives Execution Excellence Award as Regional Partner of the Year at Cisco Partner Summit 2017

    High Availability, Inc. Receives Execution Excellence Award as Regional Partner of the Year at Cisco Partner Summit 2017

    November 9th, 2017
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    Last week at Cisco’s annual partner conference in Dallas, Texas, Cisco named High Availability, Inc. their Regional (U.S. East) Partner of the year for innovation, leadership and best practice as a Cisco business partner. Bill Volovnik, Partner Account Manager for Cisco, accepted the award on behalf of the entire organization.

     

    “We couldn’t be more excited and honored to receive the America’s Regional Partner of the Year award from Cisco,” said Steve Eisenhart, Chief Executive Officer of High Availability, Inc. "Cisco has become our most strategic business partner over the last three years.  We have an amazing team of sales people and engineers focused on designing, delivering and supporting Cisco’s entire portfolio.  We look forward to continuing our success, and strengthening our Cisco partnership even more in FY18.”

     

    Steve Eisenhart, CEO and founder of High Availability, Inc., will formally accept the award on behalf of the entire organization in a private awards ceremony with Cisco later this month.

     

    Cisco Partner Summit Theatre awards reflect the top-performing partners within specific technology markets across the United States. All award recipients are selected by a group of Cisco Global Partner Organization and regional and theatre executives. 

     

    Cisco Partner Summit is attended by more than 2,100 global attendees from Cisco’s eco-system of partners representing more than 1,000 companies worldwide from more than 75 countries.

     

  • Introducing NetApp HCI: The Next Generation of Hyper Converged Infrastructure

    Introducing NetApp HCI: The Next Generation of Hyper Converged Infrastructure

    October 12th, 2017
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    Last week, thousands of IT professionals gathered in Las Vegas for the 2017 NetApp Insight conference. NetApp Insight is NetApp’s annual technical conference for storage and data management professionals. The conference was full of technical sessions, round-table discussions, self-paced hands-on labs, certification courses and much more.

    One of the highlights of the year’s conference was the official unveiling of NetApp HCI, the next generation of hyper converged infrastructure, and the very first HCI platform designed for enterprise-scale. Chief Product Architect Adam Carter presented a brief overview of NetApp HCI which touched on hardware specifications, an installation/administration demo, performance guarantees, ONTAP select integration, and Data fabric consumption options.

    Let’s dive a little deeper into what NetApp HCI has to offer:

    Hardware

    Each 2U chassis holds four half width (1RU) storage and/or compute nodes. The base model starts with a dual chassis (4RU) solution consisting of two blank slots for expansion, four storage nodes, and two compute nodes for high availability (HA) and N+1. The minimum configurable model includes 32 cores for VMs, 512GB memory, and 5.5TB-11TB (depending on storage efficiency) of all flash capacity. Node sizes can be mixed and matched to achieve the desired host and storage specifications. Each node can push a staggering 50-100k IOPs depending on the type of workload. The best part is there isn’t a controller VM (CVM) for operations so the CPU and Memory shown will be dedicated to VMs (no “HCI tax”).

    Cloud Scale and Datacenter Integration

    Because the network is decoupled vs a traditional HCI model, storage and compute nodes scale independently and can coexist within the same 2U chassis. The ability to incrementally and independently scale storage or compute nodes creates a cloud like “grow-as-you need model.” This eliminates the need for a large investment every time there is a requirement to scale out. Nodes can scale into the “100s” according to Chief Product Architect Adam Carter. For additional cost savings, the cloud scale model eliminates the need to purchase additional ESXi licenses to add storage nodes vs traditional HCI platforms.

    To scale, you add the node and run through a simple two step process. The node is then non-disruptively and seamlessly assimilated into the ESXi cluster or single storage pool. The same rule applies to a node failure. After replacing a failed node, the self-healing functionality of the cluster kicks in and brings the node back into the cluster with a short two step process.

    Traditional HCI models are difficult to phase in and often require a full datacenter refresh. NetApp HCI leverages existing SAN/NAS switches and can present iSCSI storage to external servers for permanent use or to utilize a phase out approach. 

    Installation and Administration

    With over 400 steps automated by the NetApp Deployment Engine (NDE), the NetApp HCI cluster is VM ready in under an hour. To deploy NetApp HCI, the user accepts the VMware and NetApp EULAs, sets the admin password, then enters the IP information for storage and VM networking. The HCI cluster then automatically installs the SolidFire Element OS on the storage nodes, installs VMware ESXi on the server nodes, deploys a new vCenter or alternatively integrates with an existing vCenter, then installs NetApp HCI management plugins and the lightweight management VM used for alerting, management, and phone home. The system is now fully VM ready.

    NetApp HCI is integrated with vSphere eliminating the requirement to learn a new UI. The automatically injected NetApp HCI plugins allow administrators to add new volumes by selecting the size, performance SLA, and target hosts (how big, how fast, and who needs it). The volumes are then automatically created and presented to the appropriate resources. Alerting is further integrated giving users the ability to view storage related events directly through vCenter. 

    Advanced Storage Services

    Simplicity is one of the key components to most HCI implementations. The tradeoff to simplicity usually means administrative capabilities are limited and unlocking advanced features is cumbersome. NetApp has considerably simplified their APIs and added what I think is a learning feature. Not only did NetApp consolidate and simplify their API commands, they added a checkbox to the GUI which will give administrators the API output. The administrator can then modify the API output to gain higher-level and repeatable management, orchestration, backup, and disaster-recovery options.  

    For even greater advanced functionality, NetApp HCI goes beyond SAN. ONTAP Select comes prepackaged and deployed at no additional CPU, memory, or storage cost. This gives organizations best in class NAS file services for advanced CIFS and NFS configuration and protection.

    Performance Guarantee

    NetApp HCI storage is built on the SolidFire platform which was originally designed for cloud providers with multiple customers sharing the same infrastructure. Besides building in multitenancy, SolidFire added comprehensive Quality of Service (QoS) capabilities to guarantee performance of all tenants and workloads. NetApp HCI leverages QoS at the aggregate level or granular control at the VM level though the automated VVOL integration. Administrators can define and enforce performance guarantees with minimum, maximum, and burst settings for each volume or application independent of capacity.

    Data Fabric Ready

    It was also announced that SnapMirror will be added to NetApp HCI in the very near term. Administrators will soon be able to migrate data between NetApp portfolio products. In the near term, workloads will have the ability to be moved between or protected at endpoints between NetApp HCI, FAS/AFF, ONTAP Select, and ONTAP Cloud deployments. Below are the fundamental components of the NetApp Data Fabric ecosystem HCI can leverage:

    • File services with ONTAP select
    • Data protection with Snapshots and cloning capabilities
    • Data Management and Monitoring with Active IQ and OnCommand Insight (OCI)
    • Backup and recovery with Altavault, CommVault, or Veeam Snapshot integration
    • Object services with Storage Grid
    • Replication via SnapMirror
  • New Features in Cisco UCS Version 3.1 and 3.2

    New Features in Cisco UCS Version 3.1 and 3.2

    October 1st, 2017
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    The Cisco UCS platform has proven to be a leading enterprise solution for converging network and compute into one manageable system. The UCS Manager Graphical User Interface (GUI) allows users to manage an entire UCS domain, including the chassis, servers, and interconnects, from one central place, all while using a state of the art java-based UI. Wait, did you say java?

    Like most vendors at the time, Cisco chose java as the basis for their management GUI. Now, I don't know about you, but I haven't come across anyone in the IT world that likes dealing with java. Incompatibilities between different architectures and versions have created an IT nightmare.

  • Embedded Security with Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE)

    Embedded Security with Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE)

    September 29th, 2017
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    Why Cisco ISE?

    Ever wonder if it is possible to provide network access (wired, wireless and VPN) to departments within your company, yet restrict access to certain parts of the network to only specific departments?  

    Do you have a new corporate policy to allow "Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD) to work, where those devices will need access to the network, and you need enforce compliance to your company's security policy prior to providing access to the network?

    Is there a need to lock down management access to your company's network infrastructure, offer appropriate authorization to the different teams managing the network, and provide detailed accounting regarding the commands entered?

  • High Availability, Inc. Hosts 15th Annual Golf Outing

    High Availability, Inc. Hosts 15th Annual Golf Outing

    September 18th, 2017
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    Last Thursday, the mid-Atlantic region’s top IT professionals gathered for High Availability, Inc.’s Annual Golf Outing at the Downingtown Country Club. The event, which is now in its 15th year, is a customer appreciation event through and through. It brings our top clients, the entire H.A. team, and leading IT vendors together to kick-back, play a round of golf, and enjoy a few Rubrik Cloud Mojitos! The day began with a shotgun start, which sent golfers on their way to the course. Each platinum-level sponsor had a branded tent on a designated hole, with activities and beverages to keep golfers entertained. In fact, golfers were often seen taking breaks from their round of golf to play a game of flip at the Cisco tent, hydrate with a Pure Smokin’ Sweet Bourbon at the Pure Storage tent, or battle it out at the NetApp tent with rounds of Baggo or lawn Jenga.

  • High Availability, Inc. Raises $10,000 for Hurricane Harvey Relief

    High Availability, Inc. Raises $10,000 for Hurricane Harvey Relief

    September 15th, 2017
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    The aftermath of Hurricane Harvey has been absolutely devastating for the state of Texas. Hurricane Harvey, which is now being classified as a Category 4 storm, has dumped over 27 trillion gallons of rain over Texas and has forced over 30,000 people to seek temporary shelter. Moreover, according to Enik Research, a disaster relief modeler, Hurricane Harvey could be the costliest hurricane to hit the United States in over a decade.

    After the storm passed, High Availability, Inc. acted immediately and set up a relief fund program for those affected by Hurricane Harvey and even matched each contribution dollar-for-dollar. Within just a few minutes – the H.A. team had raised over $3,000!

    “Everyone stepped up and was happy to help in any way they could,” said Greg Robertson, President and CFO at High Availability, Inc. “I feel very fortunate to be working with individuals who see the importance of helping those in need.”

    Within three days, High Availability, Inc. had raised exactly $10,000, which will be donated to the J.J. Watt Foundation. The J.J. Watt Foundation specializes in raising funds and support for after-school athletic programs in both Wisconsin and Texas, but has temporarily shifted their focus in the wake of the hurricane. They are now working with the Houston Flood Relief Fund to collect supplies and funds to help those affected by the storm. 

    Click Here to learn more about the J.J. Watt Foundation.

  • For the 2nd Time, High Availability, Inc. Appears on the Inc. 5000 list, Ranking No. 3297 with Three-Year Sales Growth of 96.91%

    For the 2nd Time, High Availability, Inc. Appears on the Inc. 5000 list, Ranking No. 3297 with Three-Year Sales Growth of 96.91%

    August 18th, 2017
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    Inc. magazine today ranked High Availability, Inc. NO. 3297 on its 36th annual Inc. 5000, the most prestigious ranking of the nation's fastest-growing private companies. The list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment— its independent small and midsized businesses. Companies such as Microsoft, Dell, Domino’s Pizza, Pandora, Timberland, LinkedIn, Yelp, Zillow, and many other well-known names gained their first national exposure as honorees of the Inc. 5000.

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