We (Presidio South Florida Team) a while re-defining our lab and figuring out just what we wanted it to look like. We have finally released the 1.0 of the lab and are proud of it. So now, not only do we have an office with about 15 very talented engineers in it, but we have a playground that represents a significant investment of company resources and employee sweat.
Our lab now has some amazing equipment in it. For example we just added a Nexus 7000, nicely loaded with Dual Supervisors, M1 and F1 modules, 5 fabrics, 10GB and 10/100/1000 ports. What company makes these kinds of investments in their engineering team and manufacturers? This lab has Tipping Point, F5 BigIP, HP, Cisco UCS, Catalyst 3700 and 6500, EMC Celerra, and much more all represented. Our engineers know are able to run proofs of concepts, demo’s, and work out complex engineering solutions in our own environment. If you’re a customer of our competition, your network is likely their lab!
Our office is significant. A nice pleasant place to work, all fully re-modeled within the last couple of years. We are in fact next door to one of our biggest vendors, Cisco Systems. There is still much to do and much being done in the lab. Adding 6100’s and Nexus 2k for example so we can take advantage of UCS Manager. Making sure more of our line card is represented with solutions from Ironport, 3Par, NetApp and more!
The other side to our lab has the CCIE Storage lab. You can read a lot about this on my blog. It has four Cisco MDS switches, three of them have IPS modules and one has an SSM module. All of these are fully licensed and have connectivity to 3 servers with multiple HBA’s and multiple JBOD’s. You can also make out on the right of the picture my VMware Lab setup. I have spent almost any of my recent free time messing around on the Celerra VSA’s, NetApp OnTAP VSA’s, VMware vCenter Server, VMware SRM and building out a quite substantial Microsoft Active Directory environment using Server 2003 and Server 2008. It’s amazing how much time it takes just to stand up a bunch of virtual servers and get them all updated and staged properly. You can see on the top of my two “cube” style servers is my Synology DS-1010+ array which I can’t say enough good things about. I am doing FTP, CIFS, NFS and iSCSI out of this bad boy. I have it running a RAID5 of 5 x 2GB drives. I had a drive even go out, and since I am not running a hot spare it went into degraded mode, which made performance take a big tank. For those of you that understand RAID and the way it works, when you lose a RAID drive it is true you have parity to make up the lost data. But this parity has to be calculated, so technically when you lose a drive in a RAID-5, your writes become faster (Since there is no parity calculation that needs to take place, this saves you a few I/O’s), however, your reads take longer. For every 4 bits of data you read for example, you must calculate the 5th bit (this is an oversimplification to explain the concept). Thus taking up significant processing power from the storage controller. I am happy with this Synology and I will write more on it. I connected it to my 3750 via a 2GB 802.3ad LACP Port Channel and it’s working well, I pound the hell out of it. It’s not uncommon to have at least 10 servers or more powered up across my two ESXi hosts and only more to come!
I have to say I am very impressed with the work that EMC and NetApp have put into making VSA’s for their products, it really goes a long way in helping us leverage these tools to build our internal professional development and assist our customers.