So, eh, what did you say you do again?

October 5, 2009

To follow on from where I left off….let’s face it, it was getting soppy!

What exactly do I ? 
  I design and build solutions around SharePoint (and SQL).  I illustrate how a customer’s life can become easier through technology, but hold on, through a well tought-out and well tested solution, not just a badly packed kebab of products and hardware…

The primary output of my work is documentation and consulting to EMC personnel (field, engineering, support, etc)
A picture is worth a thousand words…

A quick overview of what I have been involved in…

May 2008
-Enterprise SharePoint in a VMWare 3.5 environment on our mid-range storage platform the EMC CLARiiON CX3 (nowadays is CX4).
  Take a wee peek at the Reference Architecture  (short overview document of the solution).
  If you would like the hefty Integration Guide, let me know, people call it the SharePoint infrastructure bible.

We tried to make the solution suffer.  Honestly.  We went full misfit.
We pulled power from 1 of the 3 ESX servers in the HA cluster, we pulled CX3- storage processors, we pulled disks from R5 raid groups, we profiled the effects of VMotion on a Web Front End, we profiled when DRS is configured too aggressively, we failed over the physical SQL cluster backend during full-flight load…we make pretty graphs and tell the true stories.  This is what we do.

After that I decided to make best use of a another case, exactly identical to my virtualized solution but a physical environment and compare and contrast savings that virtualization can make to customers in real terms.  The magic number 74%!  Savings.  Chad Sakac, EMC’s VMWare technology alliance guru, used it, it got take up, and was presented at VMWorld – point here – not me – the tests – these tests are invaluable in getting the “real” data out there.  EMC invests ALOT of money to allow us to do this in the labs, trust me.

Being the majority shareholders of VMWare, we in solutions decided not fall to that.  As soon as Hyper-V was in a steady state near beta end, we decided to drop VMWare as our hypervisor in my workstream for virtualized SharePoint on CLARiiON and test out what Hyper-V meant to us and customers.

March 2009
We completed our testing on that solution.  Reference Architecture
Interesting, in this use case we decided to try to lower the cost of the entire solution by using iSCSI where we could (why not, the array supported both FC and iSCSI).
We tried out SCVMM (System Center Operations Manager), in conjunction with SCOM (Systems Center Operations Manager) in order to see how PRO (Performance Resource Optimization) worked.  PRO is the equilivent to VMWare DRS.  We did some really interesting tests with some really interesting results.  I’ll share the Integration Guide with you for a story 🙂

May and June 2009
EMC’s flagship storage array, the Symmetrix took a fair leap into the next decade of technology with the VMAX offering.
We took a look at the array, and said to ourselves, “what would a customer do”.  Buy it JUST for one application, no, buy it for maybe the top three mainstream applications, well yes.

So, we set off from the Shire, three application experts in SQL, SharePoint and Exchange, a storage nut and a VMWare nerd and decided on what we would do.  Virtualization – eh, yes…..maximum efficiency for storage – yes (Virtual Provisioning)……storage tiering for performance – yes (Virtual LUN).
Protect the entire environment online with no production impact, well, let’s see….

The Reference Architecture, the White Paper

July 2009
I started to get excited. 
I know what difficulties SharePoint admins have in their daily lives for enterprise-level SharePoint backup and recovery, not to mention the ability to recovery subsets (like single documents) from these backups.  Recovery farm requirements, etc, its just messy.

I knew what EMC had planned in September….. wait for my next post, where I will reveal…this is for you SharePoint admin!