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Invista becomes visible or does it?

by Hu Yoshida on Dec 12, 2007

On Monday, this week, December 10,  EMC made a press release entitled ” EMC Advances SAN Virtualization Capabilities with New Version of EMC Invista“.  This announcement claims that this “newest version of EMC Invista – Invista 2.0- is immediately available”, and a “follow on version, Invista 2.1 which will includes heterogeneous mirroring and storage pooling will be available in December 2007″.  While it took two years for EMC to come out with Invista 2.0, with in the next 2 and a half weeks they will come out with a new point release. Heterogeneous mirroring means that they will finally be able to mirror data between heterogeneous storage in Invista 2.1. I thought this capability was announced back in May 2005 when they made the first announcement of Invista,  which we now know as Invista 1.0.  What is going to change between December 10 and December 31?

This EMC announcement also goes on to say that “Invista support for VMware ESX Server 3.0.2 is expected to be posted to the VMware SAN Compatibility Guide before the end of the year.” This is the end of the week and I just checked the VMware Hardware Compatibility List.  The last update was on December 11, and it does not mention Invista. On page 22 you will see that the HDS USP is supported with a footnote (4) which states that both internal and virtualized storage are supported. VMware support includes the following basic criterea:

Basic Connectivity
Multipathing with HBA failover
Multipathing with storage port failover
Microsoft Clustering Support 
Boot from SAN

We will wait to see how Invista 2.0 support is posted on the VMware HCL, or should we wait for Invista 2.1?



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Comments (4 )

Chris M Evans on 12 Dec 2007 at 2:19 pm


Invista is 2 years old and a dead product. It is miles behind the competition. I think EMC only have the product in their portfolio for lip service to their customers. At the end of the day, EMC sell and support EMC products. They have no desire to support products from their competitors.

Dave V on 13 Dec 2007 at 12:22 pm

Despite the past knocks on Invista it’s safe to say all of the big 3 block-based storage suppliers have credible offerings now in this important space. I’ve personally interviewed customers of the SVC, USP and, yes, even Invista, and by all accounts each is effectively solving customer problems. Is there really any doubt that Invista will support VMware ESX Server?

I’d like to propose that the discourse be more forward looking (even though big, public companies sometimes don’t like forward-looking statements). Specifically, it seems all three approaches have similar challenges with respect to what happens when it’s time to retire/upgrade the installed virtualization engine? How will this be done non-disruptively?

As well, what happens when a customer hits the PRACTICAL limitations of the virtualization engine and needs to put in another one. How will the storage behind each engine participate in a virtual pool?

I have no doubt that companies with the resources of Hitachi, IBM and EMC are hard at work on these problems, and maybe there are answers today that I’ve just missed. If so I’d appreciate being pointed in the right direction. Thanks. Dave from Wikibon.

Dave V on 21 Dec 2007 at 11:37 am

Hu, I think the bigger question customers should be asking is how will the migration from Invista 2.0 to 2.1 software go down? I’m not saying EMC doesn’t have an answer but customers should be crystal clear on how that is all going to work, what pre-requisites there are and what disruptions if any they should expect. Will two versions of Invista software run simultaneously? What does that mean? As I said in an earlier post (which unfortunately didn’t seem to get posted), I don’t believe VMware support is going to be an issue for EMC.

The other thing EMC customers should be assessing is what software they can get rid of with virtualization, whether it’s using Invista, SVC or USPVM. This should go into the business case along with all the other virtualization benefits. -dave from Wikibon.

Scott V on 05 Mar 2008 at 8:33 am

Dave, just wanted to let you know that IBM’s SVC does do completely non-disruptive hardware and software upgrades and has done so for many years. I have personally been involved with this process many times and it has always worked flawlessly.

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