Wednesday, August 27, 2014

vCloud Automation Center Overview and a Glimpse into the Future

Virtualization on its own will not deliver on the software defined enterprise. Management through automation is the catalyst that empowers the software defined datacenter.

Management automation accelerates your service delivery model to your customers. It also delivers improved operational efficiency, better resource utilization and reduced complexity and standardization. vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) amalgamated vCAC, vFabric Application Director and vCenter Orchestrator under a single framework. The new name for the suite is vRealize Suite (vCAC becomes vRealize Automaton, vCOPs becomes vRealize Operations and ITBM becomes vRealize Business).

Unifying these products delivers a common service catalog of applications, infrastructure, XaaS and Desktops. vCAC allows both single and multi-tenant deployments. Services are defined through blueprints which allow you to define infrastructure and layered application provisioning (leveraging Application Director). In addition through the vCO integration you can define service blueprints allowing you to define custom processes through either standard or customized workflows.

ITBM can be plugged into vCAC to auto-populate the cost profiles using standard and reference industry costs. ITBM also allows you to compare other public clouds costs to ensure your resources are efficiently deployed.

Moving forward with vCAC, VMware is investing in comprehensive infrastructure management to ensure they can manage many platforms (hypervisor, converged infrastructure and public cloud) without compromising IT policies. VMware has also placed a strong focus on automated release management to deliver a DevOps solution using the product. The target is to deliver anything as a service and deliver on the IT as a Broker concept.

From a vendor perspective, support is coming for IBM, HDS and Fujitsu servers. NSX integration will become more seamless. VMware will build enhancements on other hypervisors and Clouds such as AWS. These orchestration plugins will be certified by VMware so it is simple to hook them in and start automating.

One area of focus is to be able to switch from on-premise to off seamlessly. This will include synchronization of blueprints between Clouds. Blueprints will also be enhanced to provide infrastructure and applications authoring that is simple and straight forward. In addition the product will monitor drift protection and auto-remediate them (very Puppet like).

Work is being done to allow multiple catalog selections by the user that consolidates them using a single approval process ("similar to a shopping cart approach"). vCOPs will be more tightly integrated to allow you to look at resources and build in reclamation and right-sizing workflows through vCAC.

What is new with vCloud Suite - Presented by Karthik Narayan and GS Khalsa

The vCloud Suite consists of many products; this session will only cover the major ones. The presenters start with a definition of what "vCloud Suite" is:

"It is an integrated offering based on SDDC architecture for managing a vSphere environment."

The main components are: vCAC, SRM, ITBM, and vCNS (NSX and virtual SAN can be used to extend the suite but are not a part at this time)

Karthik introduces the SDDC framework. The foundation is based around defining business and investment priorities leading to key infrastructure initiatives. It is based on certain IT outcomes such as standardized, streamlined, secure, resilient infrastructure as well as automated services. The benefit of the SDDC framework is driving savings, providing quality control and finally to deliver speed and agility.

What is new in the basic vSphere and vCenter stack is vCenter Support Assistant; it is a pluggin which alerts you before a problem, directs you to KB (knowledge base) and allows you to file a SR (support request) easily. It is targeted for administrators and managers to provide status and information on what is going on in the environment.

GS Khalsa is introduced to talk about vSphere Replication. vSphere replication is VMware's host based replication which means it does not require any special storage. The RPO is 15 minutes up to 24 hours. The configuration is very simple. It is included in essentials plus and higher licensing and is fully supported on virtual SAN. You can use it as an alternative or enhancement for backup or DR. There is no automation so a recovery is done on a VM by VM bases. Once you get beyond 10 - 15 VMs you probably want to look at SRM. In 5.5 you can replicate to a VMware Service Provider or vCloud Air. In addition with vSphere Replication you get improved reporting.

SRM is a DR orchestration solution. It will turn up and down VMs in a certain sequence and create a runbook for recovery. In addition SRM integrates with over 50 storage vendor products. Most customers use SRM to do disaster avoidance or a planned migration from one-site to another.

With SRM the test functionality you can create an exact copy that can be used for testing patching for example. In SRM 5.8 their is a vCAC\vCO workflow plugin. Allot of work has been done on scale and simplification. With the workflows in vCO, you can build SRM into a service blueprint. You can also use this outside of vCAC within the vSphere client.

In addition anything you can do with the vCO plugin you can also do with PowerCLI. SRM will protect 5000 VMs (formerly 1500) and will do concurrent recovery of 2000 VMs (from 1000). To accomplish this enhancements were done on vSphere and SRM. Batch commands are now sent for a protection group vs. one command at a time. SRM has been fully integrated into the vSphere Web Client. You can also now map entire subnets rather than individual addresses vs. mapping an IP to an individual VM or importing an excel spreadsheet. In addition SRM now has the option of an embedded vPostgres database which simplifies the installation.

VMware has also revised the documentation for the Cloud Suite so it is focused at the suite level addressing things like the order to install the products vs. treating each product individually.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

End-User Computing for the Mobile Cloud Era

VMware is building a complete portfolio that is all connected in three major pillars: desktop, mobile and content.  This session highlights a new suite "VMware Workspace Suite" with Horizon, AirWatch and Secure Content Locker.

Horizon 6 was launched in April and their has been tremondous interest from customers.  It delivers both VDI and App delivery in a single platform.  Horizon 6 provides a unified workspace and central image management that can be delivered on a virtual SAN platform.  Virtual SAN eliminates complexity and cost.  In addition with vCOPs you get management from the datacenter to the device.

VMware introduced Horizon DaaS on vCloud Air earlier this year.  Enhancements to this service include Cloud Bursting or monthly terms for seasonal use cases.  In addition Apps-as-a-Service will be available.  The service will also be expanded to EMEA.

The session makes mention of a customer using Mirage for a 60 - 70,000 seat environment.  The session moves to a live demo that starts from a Mac laptop with access to workspace integrated with Horizon Application delivery and the nice seamless windows interface with seamless printing.

The next application that is demo'd is Lync running on Mac.  The demo then moves over to the chrome book with the NVIDIA integration.  The NVIDIA demo uses GPUs on hosts and standard based codex's on the client as well as HTML5 on the wire.  

Project Meteor was profiled again which is the Just in Time desktop technology based on the ability to fast clone a VM in seconds (Project Fargo) and provision aplications using CloudVolumes.  This allows the VM to be created a few seconds before the session request and destroyed after logoff.

CloudVolumes adds a 2nd layer of abstraction for the applications.  It leverages a vmdk that can be mounted quickly.  You simply install the application into the vmdk (CloudVolumes refer to these as App Stacks) and link them back to the desktop.  This allows you to organize and manage applications in layers.  VMware recommends that you organize yourself into logical abstraction layers so by department or user segment for example.  CloudVolumes actually supports vmdk and vhd.  In addition they support RDSH servers.

The discussion switches to mobility which is very complex when consider the number of devices, compliance, security and regulator requirements.  AirWatch is designed with scale and multitenancy so you can seperate different business groups and different compliance requirements.  There is also a strong focus on enablement to ensure you can unlock the power of the content for your customers or end users.

To deliver this, AirWatch starts with device management which is entirely customizable.  Once the device is managed you tie it to the framework.  This is all done on a consistent code base which allows AirWatch to scale.  The framework allows you to manage the full device or a container on the device.  

The cost of managing a mobile device is much less than a PC.  In addition the device is not that important as the data lives in the Cloud.  VMware is attempting to bring this concept to a destop.  To do this VMware is looking at a mobile cloud architecture.

What VMware looked at was a few integration points that benefit end users and administrators.  For users it is the ability to access apps anywhere, sso. file synchronization between devices and finally the users social framework.

For administrators this is a centralized and consistent management framework, a service catalog and a single access point with policies.

The session ends with a summary of the announcements: VMware Workspace Suite, the partnerships with NVIDIA and Google and VMware and SAP as well as Project Meteor.  


VMworld General Session (Day 2) - Live from VMworld

Ben Fathi VMware's Chief Technology Officer takes the stage.   Ben reiterates Pat's message on a liquid world that requires a friction free IT system.  In todays session they will be delivering some demos of the product announcements yesterday.  Ben introduces Sanjay Poonen the Executive Vice President and General Manager, End-User Computing.  

Sanjay mentions that they have done 3 aquisitions.  Sanjay says the world is changing and sites the fact that their is more technology in todays automobile than in some of the original rocket ships.  VMware's mission is Secure Virtual Workspace for Work at the Speed of Life.  Sanjay is here to explain what VMware is doing in three key areas: Desktop, Mobile and Content.  In each category the software must be world class but tie into a SDDC architecture.  VMware is bringing the entire stack together.

Sanjay mentions that with Horizon 6 they delivered unified VDI and App Publishing on a single platform.  In addition they have launched DaaS using DeskTone and today are announcing Application as a Service from VMware vCloud Air.  He teases a CloudVolumes demo.  A video is shown of google chrome users leveraging View desktops on the NVIDIA grid to deliver a rich 3D user experience.

Sanjay introduces Kevin Ichhpurani the SVP from SAP to discuss the VMware and SAP partnership.  Kevin explains that mobility is key in their customer base.  Through the partnership SAP is integrating their APIs with VMware AirWatch to deliver seamless management.  The benefit for customers is with preintegrated solutions their is less TCO.  

Sanjay mentions United Airlines who is one of Apples largest iPad customers who are managing the devices through AirWatch for security.  Sanjay announces a new suite which is is modelled after the vCloud Suite.  Sanjay mentions that they have leap frogged the competition and are now number one according to the analysts. 

Sanjay introduces Kit Colbert (@kitcolbert) the CTO of End User Computing who is going to dive into some sample use cases.  Kit mentions healthcare and works through a day in the life of a doctor.  It begins with VMware workspace portal for using applications.  The doctor then moves to his iPad with no loss of applications.  Then the doctor leverages a View desktop for high resolution imaging and finally the secure content locker is used to transfer files through AirWatch.  The final piece is a demonstration of both doctors collaborating on the shared image.  In the end this is about more time to focus on treating patients.

Kit then shows a demo of CloudVolumes.  From within the CloudVolume Admin UI the user is entitled to an application enabling the application to integrate into a View desktop.  CloudVolumes leverages hypervisor technology to deliver the applications vs. streaming or pushing.  The old delivery methods are not very scalable.  Kit mentions project Fargo which clones a running virtual machine is about a second.  Project Fargo will be used to clone a virtual machine while CloudVolumes delivers the applications in seconds.  The desktop is then destroyed when the user logs out.  This really simplifies management and provides tremendous cost reduction along with better secure.  This wholestic approach to "just in time desktops" is under development and is called project meteor.

Sanjay summarizes with the value message which provides customers with a complete stack from SDDC to EUC.

Raghu Raghuram the Executive VP of the SDDC and Ben return to stage to demonstrate EVO:Rail.  EVO rail is a 2 U form factor built from 4 independant nodes runing compute, storage and networkinig (leveraging virtual SAN).  It can perform a rolling upgrade so that maintenance can be done in realtime. It can scale upto a 16 node cluster.  The web UI has been simplified but allows some customization.  The entire process to stand it up is 15 minutes.  

EVO Rack is the second member of this family and comes vCloud Suite, Virtual SAN and NSX.  It is built to be deployed within 2 hours.  It also includes rack management and 20% of the labs at vmworld are running on EVO Rack. 

Raghu mentions that VMware has put in a tremondous amount of effort in Openstack since joining the Openstack project.  Raghu believes that the best way to run Openstack is on VMware.  This will be a fully supported offering from VMware.  The benefit from an IT perspective is that you do not need new skills to run Openstack.

Raghu goes on to mention the vSphere 6 beta which will provide 4 vCPU support for FT.  In addition vSphere 6 will have cross vCenter vMotion or the ability to migrate VMs from one vCenter datacenter to a second vCenter datacenter.  In addition with long distance vMotion you can literally migrate a VM from coast-to-coast.  With NSX you can also ensure that none of the network properties change irrespective of the distance between networks.

Ben explains that VMware is working very hard to deliver "Containers without Compromise" by running them in VMs.  Ben makes the point that Containers on their own don't offer many management points however running them on VMs does.  VMware is working to make containers a first class citizen on their virtual infrastructure.  Ben announces that they are working with Pivotal, Google and docker to run containers on SDDC.

Raghu highlights the vRealize Suite which provides management of the SDDC.  You can sign up for the vRealize beta now.  

Monday, August 25, 2014

VMworld General Session - live from VMware

"The limits of the possible can only be defined by going beyond the limits"

Robin Matlock the Chief Marketing Officer takes the stage.  Over 22,000 attendees representing 85 countries around the world are in attendance. Robin explains that change is either a barrier or an opportunity.   This week is about pushing boundaries.  This week the SDDC will be covered indepth.  In addition Hybrid Cloud and End-User Computing will be a major focus.  

Robin introduces Pat Gelsinger Chief Executive Officer.  Pat mentions that he has been the CEO for two years now.  Pat describes a liquid world where static structure is giving way to the dynamic.  He uses the anology of education nolonger taking place in a classroom but extending to where you are.  Work, retail and all aspects life are becoming more fluid and dynamic.

He mentions serveral customers including the Ministry of Education in Malaysia pushing curriculum through the remote areas of Borneo using View and virtualization.  He mentions the advent of companies like Uber having a higher market capitilization than traditional brick and motor companies.

In this new world the brave will survive.  He sits several examples of bravery.  Pat mentions however that bravery is seldom a solo act.  When Pat talks about bravery he thinks about his team of engineers and software delivering the next generation of software.  Everyday Pat challenges this group of engineers to be disruptive for the benefit of VMwares customers.

Pat mentions that they are eating their own dog food at VMware, their internal ERP system is migrating to vCloud Air, in addition Airwatch will enable their own BYOD program at VMware.

Pat mentions Apollo Education Group who delivers university curriculum over the internet who have migrated from public to private cloud and reduced costs while improving services.  He all introduces Tim Garza from the California department of water resources who have become IT leaders using VMware software.

Pat explains that right now the discussion is locked in "or" i.e. on premise or off.  VMware believes that they can be the bridge between these two and deliver the "and" vs. "or" delivering on a hybrid cloud model.  VMware is executing on the SDDC, Hybrid Cloud and End-User computing.

The announcements around the products begin with a focus on vSphere.  Pat mentions that they are announcing vCloud Suite 5.8  and are in beta with vSphere 6.0 beta which adds increase scale.  In addition virtual san 2.0 beta is in the works.  In addition with vSphere 6.0 they are delivering virtual volumes.  He mentions that vCenter Operations Suite will be VMware vRealize Suite.

Pat mentions that their are 3 wasy to deliver SDDC 1) build your own, 2) Converged Infrastructure and now Hyper-converged infrastructure and VMware EVO. EVO is SDDC is packaged with hardware in a single solution delivered through VMware's OEM partners.  VMware EVO Rail is profiled. designed for SMB for deployment in 15 minutes based on a physical appliance that will run 100 VMs and sold in clusters of 4.  The second member of EVO is EVO rack which is designed to scale data centers in two hours.  Another component is that EVO will be part of the open compute project as well.

But why do infrastructure?  To deliver applications.  Pat announces VMware OpenStack which is a openstack and VMware integrated product that delivers VMware APIs and OpenStack APIs.  This enables OpenStack development native on VMware.

Pat then announces a common platform for all applications based on containers:  Docker, Google and Pivotal container constructs will be fully supported on VMware.  This will be done through the OpenContainer API.  They are demonstrating "VMware Fargo" which enables containers to be delivered on VMware with little or no overhead.

Pat then uses the anology of an egg which is hard and brittle on the outside and soft on the inside.  This is similar to way datacenters are designed.  This means that once breached you are vulnerable.  Pat explains that with NSX and SDDC micro segmentation is possible and is a fundamental shift in how security is applied.  Pat explains that VMware was positioned in the magic quadrant by Gartner of networking which is the first time a software company has appeared in this quadrant.

Pat shifts to EUC.  Pat explains the number of innovations and aquisitions including the recent aquisition of CloudVolumes.  In tomorrows session we will hear from Sanjay on how this vision is evolving. 

Pat then announces that vCHS is now vmware vCloud Air and a commitment to bring all their products to Air.  Pat then introduces Bill Fathers the Executvie Vice President and General Manager of Hybrid Cloud.  Bill says that they launched Air 1 year ago.  

vCloud Air is based on compatability with the enterprise.  If you do not have compatability then you get a very fragmented cloud.  But if you think about if from the perspective of the enterprise applications.  Like SAP and Oracles of the world it is very important for the infrastructure to be the same.  vCloud Air has a distinct advantage as you can easily meld the application with the pieces and data that live in the enterprise.  In addition, because this is the foundation you can quickly add value services ontop.  

Bill then annoounces, Devops as a Service, Database as a services (including DR), Object Storage or Cloud storage (based on EMC ViPR), Mobility Services (based on AirWatch) and Cloud Management (Based on VMware vRealize Suite).  In addition vCloud Air ondemand is highlighted based on true pay-as-you go service.  You can try the beta at

Pat concludes with a summation of the announcements and how VMware provides choice without compromise, opportunities to build the Hybrid Cloud of the future and the ability to connect users securely to the datacenter.  Pat then challenges the audience to go bravely into this new future and introduces Carl Eschenbach, President and Chief Operating Officer.

Carl explains that the current presures on IT trying to provide end user freedom while maintaining control is very high.  In order to enable transformation we need to take a different approach through software and automation.  We need to automate IT so that IT can thrive and support the business.  

Carl introduces Medtronic's vice presedent who explains that they leveraged the VMware Accelerate Consulting Services to transform their IT.  They have implemented the SDDC model to fully automate the server build process while maintaining their corporate standards.  In addition they are an AirWatch customer for enabling mobile device management.  The next phase for Medtronic is Hybrid Cloud through integration of NSX and vCloud Air.     

Carl then profiles MIT who is 99% virtualized and is looking to put openstack ontop of VMware.  MIT has also adopted NSX for network virtualization to provide a secure multi-tenant environment.  In addition some of the faculty is testing VMware Air.

The last guest, Ford Motor Company is introduced.  Ford has also adopted a SDDC model as well.  Carl wraps up with a video profile of the companies that have been part of the EVO Rail beta trail.  The theme was the time to value and lower overall cost of the solution.