Google Drive has been released over the last couple of days, so it has prompted many sites to do comparisons of the different online storage cloud providers. A very good comparison that I have found is over at theverge.com. It’s over at: http://www.theverge.com/2012/4/24/2954960/google-drive-dropbox-skydrive-sugarsync-cloud-storage-competition
Note- if you are a Microsoft SkyDrive user, they are changing the “free” account from 25GB down to 7GB. However if you already have a SkyDrive account, you can “claim” your full 25GB by heading to your SkyDrive “Manage Storage” page (conveniently linked from the client’s menu bar icon). There is a link on that page to claim your full 25GB.
The article above basically mentions that they feel SugarSync is the overall best solution. I would agree with that, I used SugarSync for quite awhile, however one thing that I didn’t like about SugarSync, is some of the sharing capabilities of folders. To share a folder with someone, you choose the folder, click on “get share link” and you send the link out to the person you want to share it with. What you might not know/see, is the person you’ve shared the folder with cannot access your link until they sign-up for a SugarSync account themselves- something that I didn’t want the people I share links with to have to do.
Here’s an example of the above so you can see what I mean:
For the above, I made a test folder with a test file inside the folder. I then shared the folder with a link. When you click on that link however, you’ll see the above page- SugarSync wants them to signup for an account before they can get access to the files you’ve shared with them.
Personally I’ve switched over to Dropbox, as their sharing capabilities are quick, easy and I can share files or folders through links– and they don’t require the person I’m sharing the link with to signup for an account in order to access the files.
My MacBook Pro came with a 500GB 5400 rpm drive stock. I was looking at upgrading to a faster drive. I looked at traditional 7200 rpm drives as well as SSD drives, which are still quite expensive for $/GB.
So not wanting to drop like $450 for a relatively decent size SSD drive, NewEgg recently had a 500GB “Hybrid” drive on sale for $99 so I took the leap. It is a Seagate drive which is a 500GB 7200 rpm drive but it also has a 4GB SSD/Flash component. It then has the ability to “learn” what you use the most, which it moves that data to the SSD area. In theory, this should give you an awesome performance enhancement while still keeping the $/GB price down.
Initially just working with the new drive “seems” faster. Knowing I wanted to compare the results, I noted the time it took to do different things that are normally drive intensive. So here’s my test results for both drives:
||Cold Boot to Login
||Login to Usable
||Win 7 VM Power up to usable
|Old 5400rpm Stock Drive
|New Hybrid Drive
||1m 5s (1st time)
43s (2nd time)
|1m 50s (1st time)
49s (2nd time)
42s (3rd time)
Note – The data on the old drive and the new drive is exactly the same. I cloned the old drive onto the new drive. And overall, it’s getting snappier, it seems, as I continue using it. The above numbers also show that it’s “learning” as well. So for me, it’s been awesome and I’d definitely recommend taking a look at this drive if you’re in the same situation.
Here’s the links to the drive that I got. I did get mine for $99 so perhaps they’ll go back on sale sometime soon.
Hope it’s helpful!
We’ve definitely been noticing an uptick in SSD interest and I feel this is one of those transformational technologies…you know, the kind that are like shaking the etch-a-sketch. SSD not only is the cheapest $ per IO it also offers DRAMATICALLY faster response time. Imagine taking your “fast” 15,000 RPM SAS disk with a 3-5ms (or more in most cases) response time and knocking that down to something in the MICRO-second level…access that disk a few million times a day…yeah…that’s a big difference.
If you want to dive deeper on this topic email me email@example.com , this is a transformational technology!
Scott Lowe posted yesterday on how to setup Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCOE) on a Cisco Nexus 5000. He made a very easy to follow How-To guide, which is located here:
Here is a great Wiki article from Sun explaining how to work with iSCSI on Solaris as well as working with the ZFS filesystem on iSCSI devices:
Here is also a link for a HP Lefthand document which describes how to expand a Solaris UFS File System on the fly.
HP Lefthand How To – Expand a Solaris UFS File System on the Fly
Here’s a great Sun article on using Multipath (MPIO) on Solaris with iSCSI:
Here is a great article on how to install the iSCSI software initiator on Linux and then connect to volumes.
The article mentions the steps were tested on Redhat Enterprise (RHEL) v5, CentOS v5, Fedora v7 and Debian/Ubuntu Linux.
I went through the steps on a CentOS v5.3 x64 machine and it worked flawlessly.
Here’s another link when working with the Linux Device-mapper Multi-pathing with iSCSI:
Here is a link on working with SAN Snapshots and mounting that snapshot volume to a Linux host:
Here are also some useful Linux and iSCSI documents from HP Lefthand that we’ve uploaded to this blog:
Setting Up iSCSI volumes on CENTOS 5, RedHat 5, Fedora 7 and, Debian
Configuring CHAP authentication with the linux iscsi initiator
LeftHand Volumes with SUSE Linux iSCSI
One of the resources at HP (thanks Ben!) made the following comment to one of our customers and I thought it’d be a perfect post for the blog as it contains some useful information that some might not be aware of.
Here are the high-level differences between SAS and SATA disk drives:
- SATA (or now called NL-SAS for Nearline SAS) disk drives are the largest on the market. The largest SATA/NL-SAS drives available with widespread distribution today are 3TB.
- SAS disk drives are typically smaller than SATA. The largest SAS drives available with widespread distribution today are 600GB or 900GB.
- So, for capacity, a SATA/NL-SAS disk drive is 4X-5x as dense for capacity than SAS.
- A good way to quantify capacity comparison is $/GB. SATA will have best $/GB.
- SATA/NL-SAS disk drives spin at 7.2k RPMs. Average seek time on SATA/NL-SAS is 9.5msec. Raw Disk IOPS (IOs per second) are 106.
- SAS disk drives spin at 15k RPMs. Average seek time on SAS is 3.5msec. Raw Disk IOPS (IOs per second) are 294.
- So, for performance, a SAS hard drive is nearly 3X as fast as SATA.
- A good way to quantify performance comparison is $/IOP. SAS will have best $/IOP.
Reliability: there are two reliability measures – MTBF and BER.
- MTBF is mean time between failure. MTBF is a statistical measure of drive reliability.
- BER is Bit Error Rate. BER is a measure of read error rates for disk drives.
- SATA/NL-SAS drives have a MTBF of 1.2 million hours. SAS drives have a MTBF of 1.6 million hours. SAS drives are more reliable than SATA when looking at MTBF.
- SATA drives have a BER of 1 read error in 10^15 bits read. SAS drives have a BER of 1 read error in 10^16 bits read. SAS drives are 10x more reliable for read errors. Keep in mind a read error is data loss without other mechanisms (RAID or Network RAID) in place to recover the data.
Here are some good links for comparing disk types:
Here’s some RAW SAN network speeds that I found in some post somewhere (which I didn’t write down).. Obviously there are a lot of caveats related to this, but from a pure bandwidth perspective, I thought this was interesting for reference.
1 gig = 125 MB/sec
2 gig = 250 MB/sec
4 gig = 500 MB/sec
8 gig = 1000 MB/sec
10 gig = 1250 MB/sec
Sometimes you will be asked by either the manufacturers support or perhaps by Lewan for data from your Fibre Channel switch. Here is how you can gather that information in a format that helps support and/or Lewan:
Brocade – How-To Collect a “supportshow” from a Brocade Switch from a Windows Host with HyperTerminal
Follow these steps:
- Start the HyperTerminal program by selecting Start -> Programs -> Accessories -> Communications -> HyperTerminal.
- Make a new connection and select a name and icon for the connection.
- A “Connect to” window is displayed.
- Change the Connection using modem to TCP/IP (Winsock) and enter the IP address of the Brocade switch.
- Click the OK button.
- Log in to Brocade switch (default user: admin/default password: password), and then start to capture text. Select Transfer -> Capture text -> File C:supportshow.wri.
- Run the Brocade supportshow command.
- After the command completes, stop the “capture text” process (Transfer -> Capture text -> Stop).
- After completing this for all switches in all related fabrics, type quit and close the HyperTerminal session.
Cisco Support Logs
To capture support logs for a Cisco FC switch, following these instructions:
1) For firmware 1.2(x) and above telnet to the switch and open a capture session.
2) Run the following commands:
term len 0
show tech-support details
3) For firmware 1.0(4): There is not a single command like a supportshow or data collection. There are two ways to get the outputs needed to troubleshoot most Cisco switch issues. Contact Lewan for additional information.
McDATA Switch Data Collection
In order to collect data from a McDATA switch being managed by McDATA’s EFCM utility, follow these instructions:
- Select the switch that you want to collect data from.
- Select Maintenance and then Data Collection.
- Enter a file name to call the file and then select save. Note the directory where the data is saved. Once you select save, the data collection takes over and the files is downloaded to the local PC and stored in the directory specified.
How to collect switch information and related data from a McDATA DS-16M, DS-32M or another switch with EWS:
These switches (also known as ES3016 and ES3032) have an Embedded Web Server (EWS) GUI. You can access this through a web browser by entering the IP Address in the URL address line (that is, http:/10.14.1.92). Once you have logged in you can run a script that collects switch information including: Network Info, Operating Parameters, Zone Info, Port Login Data, Port Data and Port Types, and Switch Status.
Note: These model switches do not support serial port connectivity for information retrieval.
To collect this information, follow these steps:
- Once you have logged in to the EWS GUI, click on ” Operations ” from the left frame of the EWS GUI.
- Click the third tab called “Maintenance.”
- Click the secondary tab labeled Product Info.
- Click Product Information. This will generate a report.
- Click “File” on the web browser toolbar and select “Save As” to save the .txt file with either the default name or one that you rename it to. Save it on the desktop or to a directory where you can locate it so that you can email it to Technical Support.
To locate the switch firmware revision, follow these steps:
- Click “View” from the left frame of the EWS GUI.
- Select Unit Properties. The last entry of that page has the firmware level.
On my to-do list was to write up a How-To on using OpenFiler iSCSI storage appliance with VMware ESX. The OpenFiler appliance is a free appliance that you can use to turn local storage into an iSCSI target. Well, Simon over at TechHead in the UK did a bang up job (that’s London speak!) with a How-To detailing installing the OpenFiler software and using it with ESX.
I’ve heard great things about OpenFiler from our customers who are using it. Keep in mind, you’ll want to keep OpenFiler in DR environments or Test/Dev environments as there is some limits on performance. But those who are looking for a free iSCSI target or appliance, it’s a good one.
You might also check out our other post on some of the other common iSCSI appliances, very similar to OpenFiler: