Tech Field Day : MDS Micro & Xsigo

imageThis was my first ‘Tech Field Day’.  I was not sure what to expect and at first it seemed like the beginning of a strange Technology Reality TV Show.  Everyone loaded up on a bus, most meeting for the first time only hours before and headed to a vague location for an unknown agenda.  I felt like someone might get voted off by the end of the day.  In reality, I have been incredibly surprised.  This is definitely a well run professional event.   The Attendees are all VERY SMART and excited to be here and the Sponsors seem equally excited to present to us.  It’s great to learn more about technology but it has been a welcome surprise to also meet the people whom I have been reading blogs and tweets from and put a name/face/personality to the avatar. 🙂

The day started off bright and early (7AM on the Bus!) and headed to the VMware Briefing Center.

imageFirst set of presenters : MDS and Xsigo ; Dense hardware and Virtualized I/O.  Something completely new to me.  Living in a software world, I don’t get into hardware so much. It was very interesting to see how VMware has used these exact technologies at major events including VMWorld 2009 where they used this gear configuration to run 30,000+ VMs for all their labs.

From the MDS Micro side, they showed off a very cool QuadV server.  Basically, it is a 2U 4 server chassis fully loaded for about 25k.  (If I heard them right.)  Of course fully VMware certified as an ESX host platform.   This allows for a very utilized efficient use of space and power.

For the Xsigo, The hands on demo was GREAT.  Although not a real deep dive, it give us a chance to play with the interface and allowed me to relate the slides to actual real world situations.  For starters, I love that the Xsigo interface is embedded in the vCenter client (notice the button on the top bar).  Being the virtualization guy that I am, I like using VC as my central console for management.  The more visibility and management that I have in the VI console, the better.  

From what I gathered from the Xsigo demos, the product further abstracts the hardware from the base OS (ESX hosts in our demo).  For example, I was able to add an additional NIC and HBA to an ESX4 host without rebooting the host!  Cool! Apparently, the appeal of this product is it’s ability to reduce and maximize overall connections and do this abstraction of hardware (MACs, WWNs, etc).  Not sure if it is a ‘Must Have’ for a VI environment unless you are running super dense machines [VMWorld].  Definitely a ‘Nice to Have’ though.

Check out some of the screenshots below :