Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Safely Transitioning Users to the digital age

The IT industry is going through a huge change. Key trends driving this change are cloud, mobility, social networks and big data and analytics. The Economist recently reported that by the year 2020 80% of adults will have a mobile device equivalent to today’s supercomputers.

image This drive towards mobility is creating an explosion of devices within our environments. In addition these new mobile platforms are forcing development of Cloud first, “as-a-Service” applications. These applications are designed for volume and velocity and are fundamentally different from our legacy enterprise applications.

These new Cloud first applications are providing analytics by default driving big data usage. As the ability to measure user interaction within mobile devices grows, an increase in the volume and number of data points provides more information and greater intelligence.

This drive towards mobile and increased digitization is creating both friction and pressure for our traditional IT organizations as they struggle to manage risk and compliance while enabling freedom and choice for users. The risk to not responding to these demands is not an option as our Lines of Businesses actively look to Cloud options to deliver lower costs and greater mobility with our without our blessing.

From an IT perspective, this leaves us caught between two worlds with limited flexibility and fairly static budgets. From an End User perspective, we have large high touch enterprise desktop environments that create tremendous operational demands on our time and resources, leaving little left over for proactively planning for Cloud and Mobility.

In developing a strategy to break this cycle it is important to drive new operational efficiencies into the management of desktops by redefining our desktops as software. This can be accomplished today by introducing virtualization at the desktop, application and user metadata layers. This allows us to drive to a more non-persistent, cached desktop. A cached based desktop can provide a similar user experience as a traditional physical desktop at much less operational cost and overhead.

Making an investment in a end user virtualization software stack should include tools to both virtualize a desktop environment and deliver enterprise mobility and policy management. Only in this way can we drive down operational overhead, plan for mobility and future proof our desktop and mobility strategies. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

#VMware #vForum Shawn Rosemarin and Greg Davidson Welcome Address & VMworld 2015 in 10 minutes

Greg, welcomes the audience and encourages everyone to pick a technology that you are not familiar with. In addition make some contacts and enjoy the show and encourages attendees to take advantage of the hands-on labs. Greg introduces Shawn who is about to do VMworld in 15 minutes.

Shawn mentions that it is all about the application; at the bottom of the stack is the infrastructure. This infrastructure is  extended to One Cloud (Public,Private or Managed). This One Cloud model is used to enable applications to be delivered to any device.

Software-Defined Data Center and Hyper Converged. Virtual San has been ungraded to 6.1. EVO Rack has been rebranded EVO SDDC. Currently available from Dell, Quantum and VCE.

VMware introduced the Unified Hybrid Cloud Platform which connects an Enterprise SDDC with VMware vCloud Air. In addition vCloud Air, SQL, Object Store and DR where all announced last week. Project “Skyscraper” is cross cloud VMotion and content sync.

In addition VMware announced vRealize Operations 6.1 with Intelligent Workload Balancing (managing and moving workloads to where they should live). Hyperic has been collapsed into vR OPs so that OS monitoring is done from a single appliance. Also look for Log Insight to continue to move closer together.

Site Recovery Manager 6.1 was announced with closer ties to NSX so that the network fails over with the workload. In addition SRM Air was announced so that vCloud Air is a target for SRM deployments onPremise.

In addition VMware Photon Platform was announced. For additional details go here. This is VMware’s Platform for container support.

Shawn reiterates the industries evaluation that VMware is leading the industry in End User Computing “EUC”.


NSX 6.2 was also announced at VMworld and Shawn mentions that they have many customers in production with this technology and encourages attendees to go to the NSX guided lab session.

#VMware #vForum Keynote: Brave New IT – Accelerating Business Innovation in a Liquid World: Paul Strong Global CTO

Paul Strong connects all VMware’s R & D with VMware as a company, as well as it’s partners and customers.


Technology has ceased to be about optimizing software and hardware, but rather is about doing things differently. With VMware it is important to understand how the world in changing so that we ensure we are going in the right direction to add value to our partners and customers.

Paul begins to discuss trends and brings up Cloud. What we have discovered about Cloud is that it is not just about technology. The reason Cloud is so compelling is that it is about a consumption model. It is about self-service, instant provisioning, pay-per-use, cost-efficient and elasticity. What people are addicted to is the experience. Cloud is really transforming things in 4 dimensions:

    • Is allows people to consume technology as a commodity. People can defocus on the plumbing and focus on the activity that drives their businesses.
    • Cloud democratizes innovation which creates a very different world as technology is available to the masses.
    • Cloud has reset expectations around IT. I can get “IT as a Service” so I want the same from my IT organization. This is really about an experience that users are searching for.
    • The technology that enables the Cloud is changing the way we think of a system. “The Cloud is now the System”

Paul moves to his thoughts on trends. The first trend is around applications and services; from Mainframe, monolithic, distributed to micro services. Reusable components that inherently small and are designed to work together.

The second trend is around infrastructure; we have moved from a discrete set of resources within and enterprise to a fabric that extends all the way out to your mobile devices. Both trends have really influenced each other; this fabric is a natural environment for micro service development.

Although evolution happens all the time, what has changed is where we are on the trajectory which has turned our assumptions on its head. For example if you wanted scale you would build a scaled out architecture as part of the build. With Cloud we build highly reliable systems out of a great number of inherently unreliable systems. In addition we can scale out applications without a large monolithic architecture supporting. Paul sites the example of large databases that were built based on the number of customers and transactions.

Paul would like to call out the assumptions around Security. We use to built walls and moats (the analogy of a castle is used). The trouble with this approach is that they were always surmountable in the end. This is how we have viewed security over the years. NSX enables us to do this, similar to mechanized warfare in the 20th century. Security is built into the mobile units; tanks can dissipate and move around separately for example.

Paul argues that we were lazy in the past; creating client server applications that required input to deliver value. In the new world rich mobile content is preempting what you may want to do or buy or be interested in. These capabilities are allowing companies to redefine and retarget their business almost in real-time using analytical data.

The enablers for this shift is the standardization of the datacenter through virtualization and containerization. Diversity in the datacenter is your enemy as it makes development extremely hard and drives operational complexity. In addition x86 has become the de facto platform for compute and data. This standardization is an enabler for automation. This is now occurring in the network as well with Software Defined Networking “SDN”. This allows us to enable routers, firewalls and networking within the hypervisor level. In addition we have moved from discrete building blocks, to converged to hyper-converged.

Paul describes virtualization as magic because it separates applications from infrastructure. What we see happening now is virtualization happening higher up the stack from the VM level with containers and technologies like Docker and VMware’s Cloud Native Application initiative.

This separation enables automation; for example if you automate a container you automate all the applications you can put in it. And that is the whole purpose of the Software Defined Datacenter “SDDC”.

This drives real choice as to what compute resources you use however you retain a singular approach to managing and viewing resources. This makes your lives easier; VMware calls this “One Cloud. One Cloud is about having one model to manage leading to simplicity.

This turns on the faucet of innovation as it allows people to try many ideas cheaply to determine what will be successful and drive business. There is no barrier to getting technology. This is highly, highly disruptive. This is the democratization of technology.

Technology is now being used to undermine the assumptions upon which establish players are founded (i.e. Taxi Cab’s vs Uber). This allows you to pull the rug out from under existing industries. Paul provides the example of the Encyclopedia Britannica under competition first from Microsoft Encarta and then totally collapsing completely with the introduction of Wikipedia. 2012 was the last year you could buy an encyclopedia Britannica.

These mobile devices will be delivering Zettabytes of data that creates a real intimacy as we understand the relationships between things. This drives what Paul calls “Systems of Intimacy” as analytics are used to greater effect to maximize the value of every transaction in real-time. This opens the door to simulation which allows you to more accurately predict without the cost to optimize your product. Paul mentions that automobile manufacturers are moving from physical crash tests to virtual crash tests using simulations.

The road of IT is shifting from manual to automation, from analog to digital. This enables new use cases. IT gets curated. What gets curated is non-differentiating IT; if it does not differentiate then curate it; if it does differentiate then invest in it. 

VMware’s role is to provide these technology to its customers and partners.

Monday, September 7, 2015

#vmworld VMworld 2015 Wrap Up

What an amazing week; so much great content and so much fun meeting and connecting with everyone. Over the last few years I have had a chance to release our Horizon book with my good friend Stephane (@VirtualStef) and present at the show. This year I was able to blog the show which gave me a completely different perspective. VMware did a great job allowing us to ask questions of all the executives including Pat Gelsinger, Carl Eschenbach and Sanjay Poonen.

It was also great to introduce our upcoming project with Pearson LiveLessons that will focus on VMware’s SDDC at the show (stay tuned for additional details as we near the release date).

Support from the community and the attendees was fantastic for the site virtualguru.org. Your interest and support had us trending around 4-5,000 hits a day. Please keep the comments coming so we can continue to tailor our content to the things you are interested in.

Interestingly, although VMware was clearly proud of the improvements in the marquee products like vSphere and Horizon, the messaging was squarely on Cloud and mobility. Keynotes focused almost exclusively on the products sitting squarely in the Cloud (SDDC and Cross Cloud VMotion) and Mobility space (AirWatch).

I had to attend the breakouts to find out about proactive HA in which vRealize Operations is being used to predict capacity and rebalance workloads across a federated vSphere and vCloud Air environment. In addition creating zero trust environments using NSX and Horizon were equally as relevant in today's hyper cyber security sensitive environments but were absent from the keynotes.

While I understand why VMware is pushing the Cloud focus, I think a little thunder around what’s been accomplished in the latest 6.X versions would have galvanized the IT and vSphere administrator audience a little better.

In the open discussions we had with Pat and Carl, it was clear that ensuring the focus is right is a bit of a fine balancing act. Given how we are all evaluating how Cloud fits in to our strategies moving forward, its nice to hear frank opinions that this balance is not easy even for VMware. It was great meeting the other vExperts (@vExperts)and many thanks to the folks that took time to say hello and comment on the posts, looking forward to seeing you all again next year.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

#vmworld Horizon and NSX Reference Architecture with Tristan Todd and Kausum Kumar

Horizon 6 with NSX dramatically simplifies networking and security. For example a good majority of customers using Horizon and NSX have one primary rule “not to let desktops talk to each other”.

NSX provides Firewalling & Security, Load Balancing, Logical Switching and Routing in software. Virtual Firewall distribution attached to a View desktop is a common use case without compromising the flexibility or mobility of virtual desktops. In addition we can also protect the Horizon Infrastructure, Desktop Pools and User Access Control using NSX.

One great capability, is firewalling based on USERID. Imagine firewall rules that apply no matter what desktop the user logs into. One new thing on the Horizon Roadmap is “Access Point” which is an virtual appliance based Security Server.

There is a fling (A tool provided for free from VMware labs but not supported from VMware) coming out that allows you to inject the service groups from within Horizon to NSX. This allows you to apply security natively to Horizon service groups within NSX’s distributed firewall interface.

In addition you can use NSX Load Balancing for rudimentary load balancing of your Horizon Connection Services. The integration of NSX and Horizon creates new design opportunities. In a traditional Horizon environment you typically create pools by team functionality. With AppVolumes and NSX integration you come closer to a one Pool rule. The idea is that eventually you would have one Pool and use AppVolumes and Firewall rules to segment vs. logically by pool. While the Horizon development team is almost there, it is still the very early stages for this “One Pool” type architecture.

It is possible with NSX and Agentless AV in VDI to quarantine a View desktop when a security flag is tripped. This does not require the user to log on or off, it is dynamically applied removing the vulnerability in the View desktop off the network.

#vmworld #neuroscience David Eaglemen (@davideagleman) Director of the Laboratory for Perception and Action

David explains that we are made of very small stuff in a very big universe and we have difficulty comprehending scale in the world we perceive. Take colors for example, we only perceive about 10% percent of the spectrum. We can’t see these spectrums because our biology filters out other perspectives such as radio waves. If you look across the animal kingdom, different species sample different spectrums to understand their slice of the world. We call this filtration of the world around us the Umwelt.

David asks what it is like to be blind? David asks the audience to imagine you are a blood hound which understands its whole world by smells. Imagine you are the blood hound imaging what it would be like to have an impoverished human nose. The point being that if we don’t have any awareness of it, we don’t perceive it.

As a nero scientist David is interested in whether we can expand our Unwelt. Implants have been used for a while; both retinal and cochlear (ear) implants. When they where first introduced, Dr’s did not believe that they would work because they do not interpret the world in the same way as our biological parts. Amazingly they worked just fine because the brain was able to interpret these signals and assign meaning to them.

David believes that these are just examples of peripheral devices that the brain figures out how to use. We see examples of this in the highly specialized peripheral devices in nature such as heat pits in snakes. As they are all peripherals, David figures that we should be able to add additional peripherals.

In David’s lab they are working on sensory substitution for the deaf. The idea is that when we make sound in the world it is translated to a set of signals to allow someone to understand it. David shows a vest that translates sound via Bluetooth to a vest that translates it to a vibration signal. In tests, a subject is able to wear the vest over a certain number of days and then interpret words even though they are completely deaf. The technology is also very cheap compared to implants and surgery.

Dave goes on to explain that they are testing the vest to see if a wearer can add additional senses beyond our native ones by gaining a direct perception of data that has been transmitted to the vest. For more information on David’s research click  https://www.ted.com/speakers/david_eagleman

#vmworld VMworld 2015: Greg Gage (@phineasgreg) Founder of Backyard Brains

Greg explains that it takes so much education to understand neuroscience even though many people will suffer neuro diseases which have no cures. Inside the Brain we have 80 million neurons that use electrical currents. Greg demonstrates his invention “the Spiker Box” using cockroaches. Greg anesthetizes a cockroach and removes a limb (don’t worry cockroaches can grow back limbs). The reason Greg uses cockroaches is that the neurons in cockroaches are similar to those in humans. Greg attaches the limb to their invention the “Spiker Box” a.k.a. the cockroach beat box. Greg is able to see the neurons through the Spiker Box.  

Greg then takes electrodes and hooks them to a volunteer and demonstrates how then can listen to neurons firing inside the body. The audience is also able to see the neurons react when the volunteer flexes his arm. Greg then takes two volunteers and demonstrates how when connected through the Spiker Box that one volunteer can control the hand movements of the other.


#vmworld VMworld 2015: Dr Fei Fei and Computer Vision and General Learning (@drfeifei)

Ray O’Farrell (@ray_ofarrell) takes the stage and mentions that the Thursday session focuses on innovation. With that Ray introduces Dr. Fei-Fei Li (@drfeifei) who is the director of the Stanford research labs. The Dr. contrasts the capabilities of a three year child who recognizes the world around them with our current compute devices. While a child can comprehend things around them, even our most powerful computers lack these basic skill sets. While computers can take incredibly detailed pictures, they cannot “see” the world around them.

Dr. Fei-Fei has led the Computer Vision and General Learning Lab at Stanford. The goal is for computers to see an object and understand what is happening around it. To do this they have to train the computer through a series of images to understand what an object is.

Dr. Fei-Fei’s team used images from the internet through a project called Imaginet which categorized billions of images. It took 50,000 people working across 167 companies. They then opened up the images through www.image-net.org project. Now that they had all this big data they could leverage the Convulotional Neural Network algorithms to recognize objects.

Using this algorithm they were able to learn things by analyzing google street view images. The algorithm was able to see patterns  and define objects in cluttered images. The next step is to connect words and phrases based on snippets of the image to form sentences such as “the cat is lying on the bed”.

Think of a world where Dr’s can have a tireless set of eyes to monitor patient, robots that can search disaster zones and travel and explore new worlds.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

#vmworld #EUC5733 VMware Horizon 6 Cloud Pod Architecture Best Practices and Futures

In this session we will look at Cloud Pod Architecture “CPA” as it relates to Horizon View. As VDI matures adoption is leading to scaled out deployments, across multiple locations with complex designs.

Initially customers wanted single site HA for virtual desktop environments. As customers grew in certain verticals like healthcare multi-site solutions were introduced such as the the “AlwaysOn Desktop” model.

Early multi-site configurations required heavy orchestration on the management, user and virtual desktop metadata synchronization. With CPA we move to a federated model where Pods are aware of other Pods in other sites. A single Pod architecture can scale to 10,000 seats; to scale higher you need CPA. Between two Pods an intercommunication protocol is responsible for syncing information between sites.

The benefit of CPA is you can manage policies globally because of Global ADLDS replication. It is important that the intra-pod network is reliable to ensure information is insync. VMware has tested 2 sites and 4 pods and 20,000 concurrent sessions within their labs.

CPA takes the original Horizon Pod architecture and moves it to a federated pod architecture. To build this you have to understand your Mission critical applications to understand how much capacity you truly need to deliver capacity in the event of a failure. With CPA there is the concept of the Global Entitlement vs. Entitlement within a Pod. The user is automatically directed to a local Pod instance, if this is not available it looks to a site instance or lastly, any desktop that exists in the federation.

To configure you enable CPA on one pod and join the remaining pods. After pods are federated you configure global entitlement. You entitle users to both local and remote pools within the federated pods. A user is always served a virtual desktop from the local pool first; if it is not available then if uses the remote site.

The latest version of Horizon essentially wraps a GUI around the lmvutil utility that was introduced in View 6.0. With CPA you know see the remote pods show up in the dashboard along with their status. CPA does not do anything for the user metadata but it will replicate the entitlement information between sites. In addition to CPA you need a Load Balanced/Geo-DNS to redirect sessions properly for the client connection.

You can deploy multiple pods in a single site in a scale-up model. In the event that one pad fails the user is directed to the second pod. Another valid architecture is for roaming users; as the entitlement always prefers local the user will always receive the desktop in the local site even when travelling between New York and London. Another use case is for Disaster Recovery. In the event that the local pod failed the user would receive a desktop from the pod in the DR datacenter.

Inter-pod communication uses VIPA “View Inter-Pod API” over port 8472 which is TLS protected. Global ADLPS happens over port 22389.

Road mapped is Global Application Entitlements which is CPA for RDS applications. It requires Agent 3.5 or higher. Currently this works over HTML/Blast. In addition VMware is working on how high they can raise the scalability.

#VMworld Lakeside Software’s SysTrack Cloud Edition announced at show

I sat down for an interview with Tal Klein (@virtualtal) for a discussion about Lakeside’s (@lakesidesoft) SysTrack Cloud Edition. The big news is SysTrack Cloud Edition which is built on vCloud Air. This solution brings all the power of Systrack to customers in a Software as a Service model.

Tal mentions that they have also been working very hard to allow customers access to all the analytics that SysTrack collects. “You know user experience is like the canary in the coalmine” says Tal. “A small problem with user experience can be an early indicator of general service problems on a broader scale”.

Lakeside has developed a method to anonymize customer data to remove any security sensitive information. In doing so Lakeside has enabled customers to run comparison analytics against their industry peers to understand how well they are managing their environment.

This is a unique capability that allows customers to understand whether they are providing a good user experience in a meaningful way. SysTrack has always been able to tell you how you are doing within your organization, but the external comparison allows them to understand how they are doing on a much broader scale. Lakeside calls this feature the Systrack Community. This feature will eventually lead to more awareness of how customers are fairing with issues like risk and compliance. Systrack Community is fully integrated with Systrack 7.2 and is shipping now.

#vmworld Atlantis says HyperScale This! (#hyperscalethis!)

Atlantis (@AtlantisSDS) has been pushing the innovation aggressively with the introduction of Atlantis USX just a few short years ago. They have double-down’d on this strategy with Atlantis HyperScale which you can tell the team is happy about.


The engineering group continues to move quickly and has announced several key new features at the show. With the introduction of Atlantis USXTM 3.0, the solution now supports:

  • Replication (volume to volume)
  • data store level snapshots
  • Full support for VMware vVOL’s for any storage device

A great feature for customers is “Atlantis Insight” which is a combination of call home, auto update and service history built right into the software. Thanks Mark Nijmeijer (@MarkNijmeijerCA) for the great overview at the booth and congratulations to Chetan (@chetan_), Ruben (@rspruijt) and the team for a great release!.

#vmworld #EUC5762 End-to-End Security with AirWatch NSX and Intelligent Networking

Mobile Device Management “MDM” is the ability to secure any endpoint and understand what is connected to your network. A baseline capability of MDM is ensuring a device is not compromised and corporate data is secure. AirWatch has an automated compliance engine that provides periodic checks to make sure no corporate policies have been violated. For example if Android has a vulnerability, you can ensure that the device is patched before allowing access and dynamically remove access if it is not.

AirWatch provides an AirWatch tunnel that enables access to enterprise applications in a very secure and specific manner. Unlike traditional VPNs that provide general access, the AirWatch tunnel is an App specific VPN tunnel. Because AirWatch is securing the entry point it is easy for the policy engine to revoke or grant access to corporate data.

With the integration of NSX you have the ability to provide micro-segmentation inside the datacenter. Micro-segmentation allows you to containerize and secure through policy, any object within your virtual environment. When you add NSX to the virtual environment and combine AirWatch’s policy based security engine with NSX’s micro-segmentation ability you create a zero trust environment.

The demonstration video of AirWatch and NSX integration can be found at the following URL https://youtu.be/ftYr4UKzlhQ

#vmworld #EUC4825 Horizon for Linux Technical Deep Dive

Why Linux Virtual Desktops? They are generally less costly than Windows desktops as you do not require a VDA license for connectivity. When a Linux desktop is required you can protect and centralize them using Horizon. In addition Linux is often used for graphic rendering. Horizon for Linux supports Ubuntu, RedHat Enterprise, CentOS and Neokin (a Chinese distro).

You need Horizon 6.1.1 with vSphere 5.5 Update 2 and the Horizon Client 3.4 or higher and View Linux desktops running the latest Linux Horizon Agent. In addition the Linux desktops require:

  • Java Runtime version 7 Update 75 (76 for Ubuntu) for the Agent (Note: this is bundled with the latest install)
  • DNS resolution must work throughout the environment
  • The Linux desktop must be running VMware tools
  • The desktop must be joined to the Active Directory

Audio and HTML Access is supported as well as 3D (vDGA,vGPU) graphics. There is no concept of linked clones (View Composer) at this point in time. Deployment works with a vCenter template or clone. Automated provisioning is supported through the vCenter template deployment mechanism.

In addition you can use PowerCLI to create a Linux template, clone desktops, deploy the Agent and add the desktops to the pool. Linux Virtual desktops are natively supported in Horizon so no additional licensing is required.

Linux desktops do not use PCoIP but rather use Secure WebSockets to remotely display the desktop through the Blast Secure Gateway (used for HTML 5 access). Session Shadowing is supported however.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

#vmworld DRS Advancements in vSphere 6, Advanced Concepts and Future Directions

Most customers are using DRS on full automation with Affinity rules. Less than 1/2 are using Resource Pools although 99.8% are using maintenance mode. This discussion focuses on the specifics of how it works.

A variety of stats and metrics are considered during Initial Placement (IP) and Load Balancing (LB). There are a few that are key such as CPU and Memory reserved. The same holds true for VM performance statistics. For example active memory and CPU. All these stats are taken into account to ensure the VM has sufficient resources.

In addition the constraints within the cluster are looked at as well. These include HA and the admission control policies. As well as affinity and anti-affinity rules. The number of concurrent vMotions and how long it would take to vMotion the VM are also taken into account. Data store connectivity is also a factor when DRS considers load balancing. Finally the vCPU to pCPU ratio, existing shares and agent or special VMs (e.g. vShield Edge or Fault Tolerant (FT) VMs).

For every move DRS makes a cost vs. benefit analysis is done. The general idea is that the VM benefits must be higher than the overall negative impact of moving the VMs. The last consideration is the threshold setting configured by the vSphere administrator. VMware recommends not changes the default aggressiveness settings for most environments (the setting is set to 3 by default).

In vSphere 6.0 you can now specify a network bandwidth reservation on VMs as one of the metrics. This will invoke DRS if you have either a pNIC saturation or failure.

In addition vSphere 6 introduced a Cross-VC xvMotion placement. In this case we make a unified host and data store recommendation for x-VC motion. In this case a combined DRS and Storage DRS (SDRS) algorithm is run. All the same constraints are respected in a x-VC motion. To preserve affinity or anti-affinity rules they are migrated in an x-VC motion as well. This is referred to as a rule migration.

vSphere 6 increased the Cluster scale to 64 hosts and 8,000 VMs running DRS and HA. In general the operational throughput has been increased by 66%. VMs will Power-on quicker, clone faster, vMotion quicker and provide faster transition to host maintenance mode on vSphere 6.

vSphere Upgrade Manager uses DRS extensively to facilitate a upgrade. In addition many other components of the SDDC leverage either DRS directly or the DRS algorithms.

If you want Uniform distribution across all hosts you can set either of these advanced options

  • LimitVMsPerESXHost
  • LimitVMsPerESXHostPercent

Note: this will not violate DRS algorithm to ensure capacity and resources for the VM.

There are some best practice guidelines that VMware recommends:

  • Full connectivity to all storage pools for all hosts
  • Set BIOS power management on the host to “OS control” (note: OS control is a min BIOS setting; High Performance is a max but provides no power savings)
  • Make sure the power mode on ESXi is set to balanced
  • Fully automated is considered a best practice
  • Don’t dilute Resource Pool Shares by powering on to many VMs within them when you create them
  • Do not set CPU-affinity as it pegs the VM to that core vs. guarantying any resources.

In the future DRS will support proactive High Availability. The proactive HA will trigger based on hardware health metrics. For example if the host is partially degraded, DRS will quarantine the host. This means that DRS will opportunistically evacuate VMs and not use it to migrate VMs to. If it is fully degraded then the VMs would be proactively evacuated from the host. Like DRS, there will be a aggressiveness setting to allow you to throttle the reaction of DRS with proactive HA. With tighter integration with NSX, flow-id’s can be used to co-locate chatty VMs. This is not easy to do on significant scale but with NSX the information is already available.

With integration to vRealize Operations, DRS will use the predictive demand algorithm to allow the environment to adjust based on demand that is expected.  VMware is already running Hybrid DRS which allows DRS to seamlessly burst into vCloud Air. This will be available in future releases of the solution as well.

#vmworld Architecting Site Recovery Manager 6.1

SRM 6.1 delivers policy driven protection groups. The difference is rather than explicitly adding the VM to a protection group, you simply select the storage volume and the VM is automatically protected. This is the same if the VM is deployed or storage VMotion’d to the storage volume.

If you tend to create more Protection Groups in your SRM deployments you have more granular flexibility for testing failover. Creating less protection groups is less complex, but provides less flexibility. The right combination will vary by customer.

SRM supports Active-Passive, Active-Active (production in one site development in another), Bi-directional Failover (production in both sites and each one serves as a failover to the other) and multi-site (think remote branch to central site). In the past there was no way to leverage stretched storage with SRM. In SRM 6.1 you can now use stretched storage. The failover differs in this model as it can now be orchestrated through a cross-vCenter vMotion (latency is typically 5-10ms or 50 to 100 km in this model).

SRM is a paired topology so with a multi-site topology for each remote site you need a SRM server in the central datacenter per branch. You can also consolidate several remote sites to a central single vCenter SRM model before failing over to the central site. Keep in mind that each VM can only be replicated once so multi-hope scenarios are not natively supported in SRM. It is recommended that you do not make these topologies anymore complicated than you need to.

Recovery Time Objective “RTO” is a very important measurement when designing your DR strategy. RTO is the time between when the disaster occurs to when the system is fully recovered. IP customizations (changing IPs during the recovery) actually takes a number of steps and takes a fair bit of time. One way around this is to use technologies like OTB or NSX to enable stretched layer 2 networks between datacenters to keep the network IPs unchanged. With the integration of NSX and SRM 6.1 you have the concept of a universal network switch which enables the switching to be automatically mapped between sites.

Other things you can consider for lower RTO in an SRM architecture is:

  • Fewer larger NFS datastores (a large NFS datastore can take up to 10 seconds to mount)
  • Fewer Protection Groups
  • Don’t replicate VM swap files, put them on non-replicated datastores (weigh this against the overall complexity)
  • Fewer Recovery Plans

Recommended VM Considerations

  • Install VM tools in all VMs
  • Suspend VMs on Recovery. Although this can increase your RTO, it frees up your resources at your recovery site (works best with an active-active model; a production and development failover site)
  • PowerOff VMs ( the consideration is similar to suspending)

Recovery Site

  • Ensure that the vCenter is sized properly, it works hard during recovery situations
  • If you have an active-active model you may need more hosts as you potentially double the workload during failover

VMware has a few best practices in implementing SRM such as being clear with the business by providing a menu of SLAs .

#vmworld VMware Virtual SAN – Architecture Deep Dive

The VMware Software-Defined Storage Vision is app-centric and provides policy driven automation. VMware Virtual SAN is a Hyper-converged architecture that can leverage flash, and provides scalability through a distributed architecture. VMware’s product goal was to empower the vCenter administrator to manage there own storage without having deep storage skill sets. It is also important that it works seamlessly with all VMware’s product portfolio and vSphere features.

This vision is reflected in the architecture decisions that were made in developing Virtual SAN. It was decided to use a hyper-converged architecture integrated into the host hypervisor. Because it is a distributed architecture there is no single potential bottle-neck in the framework.

Within Virtual SAN you have the concept of Disk groups. Each host can have up to 5 disk groups per host and up to 40 drives. There are two tiers; a hybrid tier (flash and spinning) and an all flash tier (Note: a different algorithm is used for hybrid and flash tier so you do not want to create a hybrid tier and then manually adjust the disks to flash). In a hybrid tier there is 1 caching device per disk group and 1 – 7 spinning disk (HDD) per disk group. You can let the system autodiscover the drives during the setup or select specific disks.

Virtual SAN uses the flash device for delivering the performance you need. The flash is split between a 70% Reach Cache and a 30% Write-back Buffer. Virtual SAN 6.1 (6.2 is in beta testing) now supports stretched clusters which allows a cluster to span datacenters within a metropolitan network (there is a latency tolerance is this model).

Virtual SAN is tightly integrated into the hypervisor. The storage algorithms are built right into the hypervisor. A demo is displayed showing how vCenter is aware that Virtual SAN data needs to be considered when putting the host in maintenance mode. You have three options: ensure accessibility, full data migration or no data migration. Ensure accessibility is designed for short term maintenance, full data migration for replacing the host.

Virtual SAN is an object-based storage which means it stores a number of objects. Each VM consists of a number of objects which are individually distributed. Virtual SAN is a highly scalable solution. As you increase hybrid disk groups you increase the performance (almost double according to VMware’s internal testing).

VMware is doing allot of work with Tier One Applications like Oracle 11g RAC workloads to measure performance. Results show high performance that is very predictable from a scalability perspective.

Virtual SAN 6.0 also introduced vsanSparse snapshots and clones which allows greater snapshot depth (up to 32 snapshots per object). The important point of vsanSparse is that it has a negligible performance impact. Virtual SAN provides an plugin to provide you all the metrics and measurements within the vSphere Web Client. This allows you to see exactly what is happening in the Virtual SAN cluster performance. This visibility has been extended to vRealize Operations so that you have visibility on multiple Virtual SAN clusters.

From a roadmap perspective deduplication as well as end-to-end protection for data over the network and at rest through software based checksums.

#vmworld How to Drive Intelligent Provisioning and Operation of VMs Using vRealize Automation and Operations

A title written by engineers ;-). VMware’s approach to the Cloud Management Platform “CMP” is an integrated set of tools for managing Private and Public Clouds. This contrasts other CMP solutions which tend to provide a distinct set of tools just for managing 3rd Party clouds. VMware’s approach is to Automate the SDDC at Scale, enable collaboration and self-service as well as delivering continuous remediation and optimization. This presentation focuses on SDDC automation as well as remediation.

vRealize Automation “vRA” management PAK is introduced. It requires vRealize Operations and Automation 6.X or higher and management PAK 1.0. From native vRealize Automation you can see basic information around utilization. You do not however, see true health information. You can see this from vRealize Operations “vROPs” Manager by installing the Pak. Installing the Management PAK enables vRealize Operations to talk to Automation and pull in all the objects. You can now see Automation objects such as business groups, blueprints and tenants from within vRealize Ops.

One useful benefit is seeing the usage patterns for the reservation created in vRA. Several dashboards are provided with the PAK that now appear in the vROPs console including a reservation and tenant view.

There are several things to be aware of when integrating the PAK; you need the sysadmin username and password from vRA as well as a SuperUser account. The SuperUser account is not a native account and needs elevated access to all tenants and fabrics. One of the gotcha’s is ensuring the vRA self-signed certificate is replaced with a a certificate that supports a higher cipher level than TLS 1.0.

#vmworld Keynote with Pat

Pat takes the stage and mentions that it is his 6th VMware and 4th as CTO. In 2019 1/2 the population in the world will be online. The connectivity described is not expected to be uniformly distributed across the world. Pat explains the ubiquity of IT, how it is used to provide connectivity from the perspective of the stratosphere to medical procedures within the human body. This is having huge economic impacts; internet growth is impacting global GDP growth.

Pat introduces 5 major concepts:

  • Asymmetry in Business or an imbalance in power between the incumbents and upstarts. Upstarts have nothing to lose and can embrace new models. What has changed is that mobile-cloud technology has provided an unlimited set of resources to these new startups allowing them to reach global markets. This is changing industries.

Pat sites the thinking around 3D printing that may allow North America to repatriate manufacturing as it is more about science and technology while reducing costs. Pat then sites the current utilization of your typical automobile being around 4%. With the shift to shared autonomous cars this utilization is expected to increase to 75%. The bottom line is that you need to innovate like a startup and deliver like an enterprise

  • Professional era of Cloud is one that is enabled by the Unified Hybrid Cloud. This is enabled by Hybrid Applications that are aware that they will span Private and Public Domains. Pat describes a post Snowden era which has changed the thinking around Cloud. It has made a home grown Cloud a necessity. The idea that “I will use Cloud but is will reside within my borders or boundaries” as a key requirement.

The bottom line in the Professional ERA of Cloud is that the Unified Hybrid Cloud is the Future.

  • Security or the ability of security to protect people. The security industry has been messy. Never before have we had this much innovation in security. Security spend is growing quickly while IT budgets are declining. The virtualization provides the Rosetta Stone for security because it fits in the middle of everything (Apps, Data and Users). It allows us to deliver trusted services on untrusted devices.

Security is enabled through a Virtualization Security Architecture that allows you to integrate it vs. bolting it on.

  • Automate Everything With the emergence of AI we will move from being reactive to proactive with technology. This proactive technology era will be enabled by big data, analytics and real-time application development at scale. it will enable us to automate everything.

Imperative five is taking risks

  • Taking risk becomes the lowest risk nolonger is being an incumbent a guarantee to success. In this new world taking risk will become the least risky option.

Pat closes with a promise to the audience that in this time of fundamental change VMware will be there to help you weather and navigate this new world.

#vmworld VMworld 2015 General Keynote NSX 6.2 @martin_casado

Martin introduces several challenges in delivering applications, especially mobile applications. Applications have evolved into a network, while infrastructure has evolved into a software platform. Martin begins to explain network virtualization and NSX. NSX 6.2 was announced yesterday and brings with it a broad range of new services. VMware NSX 6.2 adds better integration with physical infrastructure. The use cases for NSX driving adoption are Security, Automation and Application Continuity (Application High Availability).

A demo is introduced which showcases a development cloud. An overview is provided of a Three Tier Application which is provisioned and reports a problem.  The demo cuts over to the vRealize Operations Manager console. The console shows the integration of NSX and the new release of vRealize Operations. Because of the integration of NSX and the physical networking devices, the status of the CISCO switching is available in the dashboard as well and quickly resolved (Note: not sure if this is leveraging the now integrated native Hyperic proxy monitoring of network devices or native NSX 6.2 features).

#vmworld VMworld 2015 Keynote Day 2 @spoonen

Sanjay Poonen takes the stage and shows The Economist “Planet of the Phones” cover. The message is 80% of the world will have advanced computing power in their pockets. “It will be the remote control for your lives”. At the core of this movement two things need to come together; consumer simplicity and enterprise security. VMware believes they are well suited to deliver this to the market.

The challenge of “Any Application to Any Device” is delivered through VMware Workspace Suite. VMware announced the Workspace suite last year. Sanjay mentioned that VMware was the first to introduce the term Workspace several years ago. This year they introduced Identity Manager. But how do all these products connect?

The source of the connection is the hypervisor with virtual storage and networking. Along with management, these roll up into the SDDC. But this has to integrate into the End User Computing Platform. VMware’s solution ties strongly together with virtual Desktop, Mobile and Content Collaboration.

In each of these areas VMware is leading innovation. Today VMware is the leapfrog leader in this space. Mobile is the new desktop and it is a category that will grow exponentially. As VMware considers Identity Management they see the need for simplicity without the complexity seen from other vendors. Identity Management is built on the Horizon Workspace framework.

Jim Alkove from Microsoft is introduced and Jim explains that Windows 10 is geared for enterprise mobility management. Microsoft sees tremendous opportunity to make Windows 10 the simplest OS to manage without compromising security.

Sanjay keys up the demo in which AirWatch seamlessly manages Windows 10. Compliance can be done in real-time using the AirWatch policy engine. In the demo AirWatch is used to orchestrate AppVolumes to deliver applications (The project :Project A2(squared) is in Tech Preview). The demo now shows AirWatch auto-configuring a host of mobile applications. The demo now focuses on the integration of Horizon View (VDI) into AirWatch. Now the demo switches to the integration of AirWatch and NSX. In this case they are tying the AirWatch VPN and AirWatch and NSX policy engines together.

Monday, August 31, 2015

#vmworld #MGT5962 What’s New and Next in VMware Cloud Suite

Every company wants to be faster and more agile without sacrificing their security policies to do so. Companies have been able to weather this pressure of leveraging disparate Cloud solutions by embracing the SDDC. vCloud Suite is made up of vRealize Business, Operations, Automation, vSphere, SRM, Virtual SAN and NSX (Note: Virtual SAN and NSX are add-on’s to the suite).

vSphere 6 delivered a platform for virtualizing any application. This includes the SQL, Exchange and Oracles of the world. In addition support has been added for containers as first class citizens. 6 delivered cross vCenter and cross switch VMotion. vSphere 6 enables the content library to synchronize templates between sites. vSphere 6 provided higher performance and improved scalability compared to 5.5.

The next update of vSphere comes out shortly (6.0 Update 1). In Update 1, the Web Client now supports Update Manager and provides a UI for the Platform Services Controller (PSC). The vCenter Server Appliance (VSA) in Update 1 provides more deployment options such as:

  1. Deploying from another vCenter
  2. Deploying from the CLI

With SRM 6.1 NSX is now integrated. SRM can recognized NSX networks so that it can reattach the recovered VM to the same logical network. SRM 6.1 now supports active-active storage provided by 3rd party vendors (EMC VPLEX, IBM SVC etc). SRM 6.1 respects storage policy management so that a VM is placed on the right storage. Finally the next release of SRM is integrated with vRealize Automation.

It the next release of vRealize Automation, a unified blueprint model is delivered. This means that all blueprints can be configured from a single pane of glass and that the Application Services VM has been fully integrated into the vRA VM. NSX services can also be defined within the unified blueprint.

The architecture of vRA has been simplified so that the vCO, App Services and Identity management has been integrated into a single appliance, dramatically simplifying the installation.

With the next release of vRealize Operations the Hyperic Application monitoring is now integrated into vR OPs through an native adapter.

vRealize Business Manager is also part of the suite so that you can analyze the cost of your SDDC infrastructure, meter the resource usage by a specific consumer and publish prices to a service catalog in vRealize Automation.

#vmworld #EUC5430 Why Everybody Needs VMware User Environment Manager UEM

UEM works with the wider ecosystem of EUC software partners as it ties to the application. UEM is user profile and user personalization driven by contextual policies. This means that if I launch an application, any settings that you configure will travel with the application. UEM allows you to break out User environment, app configuration and personalization metadata so that whenever you launch an application the configuration can be applied dynamically and consistently. This allows you to set the environment as the user logs in. For example changing the printers as the user logs in from different floors.

As with ThinApp there is no large backend infrastructure requirement only a file share, application profiler and the service itself. To create your configuration you launch the Application Profiler and configure the application. This creates a profile which is stored in an *.ini file containing the settings. The product scales from 100s  to 1000s of users.

Contrast this with the current approach in which all these settings are stored in one single profile. UEM compartmentalizes everything so that you only load a stripped out or base profile when you login. From there UEM injects very specific information (keyboard, mouse etc). As you launch applications additional settings are injected on an application by application bases. This leads to greater flexibility, efficiency and consisted settings across devices as you launch the application.

To conceptualize this, imagine simple adjustments such as resizing an application window between logins persisting no matter what device you log into. This is one example of the flexibility; in addition you can lock out different application settings so that users cannot change them and have them persist between application launches.

The session introduces project VERA which allows you to to apply policies to secure documents in real-time. In addition, access to documents is logged and users can apply and revoke their own policies. This is a collaboration between App Volumes, UEM and 3rd party vendors.

#vmworld #HBC5474 VMware vCloud Air Roadmap

vCloud Air is now 2 years old; VMware now has 11 datacenters located around the globe (including Europe UK, Germany, Australia South and through partnership, Western Japan). Additional services have been integrated such as Horizon Air (launched a year and a half ago).  There are two models; Dedicated Private Cloud and Virtual Private Cloud.

vCloud is bringing Autoscaling to vCloud Air (dynamically adding VMs or capacity to an individual VMs). It is currently in tech preview and is exposed through a rest API which allows customers to easily take advantage of the technology.

VMware offers data at rest encryption through a partnership with Hytrust within vCloud Air. New to the vCloud storage portfolio is Object Storage in addition to standard, SSD-accelerated, and guaranteed performance storage based on pure flash storage. The Object store supports files, backup and structured and unstructured data.

With object storage you need petabyte scale; vCloud Object Store will be delivered through partnership with Google Cloud Platform and EMC. The high performance storage actually exposes something VMware has been leveraging for a while for its DaaS solution so that customers can purchase high performance/flash storage.

vCloud Air Disaster Recovery adds easy failback and a multi-VM recovery plan option (being able to rollback to previous snapshot). vCloud Air will bring vCloud Air Site Recovery Plan which has been designed by the SRM team to provide full Cloud multi-site support (replication Cloud site to Cloud site) delivered as a SaaS service. In addition it will be released with an OnDemand cost model which provides a much more efficient price point for customers.

Networking has been beefed up by integrating NSX to deliver advanced Networking Services. This provides a mechanism to expose more NSX features to vCloud Air customers. vCloud Connector has been industrialized to provide much more robust ability to extend your Layer 2 network segments to a single Edge over one WAN connection. For migrations to Cloud, you can now prestage the VM to the Cloud before the final migration allowing a cutover to happen in seconds vs. being determined by the size and copy speed of the VM.

vCloud Air Monitoring Insight will expose performance to both a rich dashboard and API so you can plumb it to any monitoring and managing workloads. vRealize Operations will be extended to report on the advanced network and migration metrics to provide visibility on the migration and networking information between the enterprise and VMware’s cloud. In addition a vCloud Air Adapter will be available for visibility from vR Ops and Air.

vCloud Air SQL is a pay-as-you-go Database-as-a-Service for Microsoft SQL Server initially. All announcements including 600 dollars of free credits for all VMworld attendees can be found on http://vcloud.vmware.com.

VMware has natively integrated Kinvey software which manages reusable mobile application development building blocks to allow you to quickly develop mobile applications on vCloud Air.

#vmworld #EUC6807-S Future of End User Computing

This session will focus on the state of End User Computing from VMware’s perspective. VMware Workspace Suite brings together innovation in desktop, mobile and identity management space. VMware did a polling of their customers to understand what the focus is in the End User space. According to polling, customers are trying to shift from individual mobility, to team mobility and true business mobility. Most are still looking at individual mobility however 2/3rds are aggressively investing to achieve business mobility.

VMware talks about this as Desktop Virtualization Redefined. Historically this focus has been on desktop and application delivery. VMware believes in a hybrid End User Computing model. So within the portfolio Horizon 6 fits on-premise, Horizon Air off premise and Horizon Flex delivers distributed desktop virtualization but expect these to interoperate at some point in the near future.

VMware has seen tremendous adoption of DaaS which is available on every continent. The discussion moves to Project ENZO. The inspiration for ENZO was to fundamentally change the way that desktops and applications are delivered. The heart of ENZO is just in time desktops and apps (based on Fast Clone technology).

A video is shown which shows the ENZO appliance interface (ENZO is bundled software and hardware). When you login you have a getting started tab which steps you through what you need to do. You have the option of deploying applications or desktops (based on a pre-created catalog). Once you configure the appliance ENZO deploys the desktops and applications.

The presentation switches to a discussion on AirWatch. VMware has really seen the mobility and EUC discussion merge. It is not just the Operating System that is changing but also the Applications. Windows 10 is cited as an example of an OS that is designed to connect to both an On-Premise and Cloud domain.

A demo is shown of AirWatch delivering and applying policy to Windows 10 desktops. In addition with Windows 10 you can monitor all the primitives to ensure the user has not turned off a feature that violates compliance. If the user has violated the policy, applications can be removed in real-time from the OS.

#vmworld Ray O’Farrell and Kit Colbert and Cloud Native Applications

Cloud Native applications are the driver between digital transformation. The challenge is to deliver a single platform that can support in-house and cloud native applications. VMware is looking at two very different approaches; extending the existing vSphere platforms and introducing a brand new platforms. Ray introduces Kit Colbert to expand on this comments.

Kit starts with an argument that containers have the ability to rapidly evolve the development process, however it does not come without some management challenges. Kit starts with a demonstration of the deployment of several containers but highlights that these are transparent to the IT organization. The challenge is around partial visibility and security as it is hard to manage what you cannot see.

VMware vSphere integrated containers are introduced which make containers first-class citizens on vSphere. With vSphere Integrated Containers a micro hypervisor based on ESXi is used to enable visibility by delivering a virtual container host. From a VI admin perspective the containers are now visible within the vCenter management console. Kit extols the value as now all the lifecycle management tools built around vSphere work natively with containers.

Kit reintroduces Photon OS which provides the virtual container host as well as the instant Clone feature (this allows you to power-on a VM in less then 1 second). VMware refers to this as “Just enough Virtualization”

The second approach is a brand new platform which is focused on running a pure container environment. To deliver on this platform it must provide scalability, be API driven and be focused on containers and simple to run. Kit introduces the VMware Photon Platform which has been built API first as a scalable multi-tenant environment. This is a different stack form vSphere. The two components of the platform is the Photon machine. The Photon machine provides the micro-host hypervisor software for installing on the physical hardware. In addition a Photon Controller provides the API driven multi-tenant control plane.

vSphere integrated containers is targeted to customers running smaller developer shops. Photon Platform is designed for customers that have significant scale and need a fully optimized platform just for containers.

#vmworld #gs-mon Bill Fathers and Raghu Raghuram Cross-Cloud VMotion

Bill Fathers reminds the audience that VMware was all about hybrid cloud during VMworld 2014; but what exactly is it? Put practically, it is the combination of Private and Public Cloud to solve complex IT and business problems. Bill explains this using three examples DR, Application Scaling and Mobile Applications. Bill mentions quickly that SRM will be coming to vCloud Air before switching to an Application Scaling discussion. For application scaling to work seamlessly you need to look at your onsite and off-premise compute pools as one set of resources.

Bill runs through the challenge of mobile applications and securing and managing them across a hybrid platform. Bill introduces a new term, "Hybrid Applications" which are applications that span this hybrid platform. VMware believes they are ahead of the curve on considering this challenge. Bill introduces Reghu Raghuram and team who introduces the base components of the SDDC;vSphere, NSX, Virtual SAN and vRealize Suite.

They extend the discussion to EVO SDDC which was mentioned by Carl. EVO SDDC is a management solution that allows you to scale out the SDDC solution. This dramatically simplifies the deployment of the SDDC down to 2 hours vs. weeks of highly specialized resources. In addition it introduces lifecycle automation by allowing you to patch the software when updates occur.

A demo is keyed up showing the vSphere content library which allows you to sync templates between both the enterprise and vCloud Air. Once you complete an update within the content library in vSphere you switch to the vCloud Air portal and sync the template to the Cloud.

The last piece of the focus is on the networking; VMware introduces Hybrid Network Services which are based on NSX capabilities. This includes technologies such as VXLAN, Direct Connect, WAN Acceleration, Strong Encryption and Intelligent Routing make up VMware Hybrid Network Services.

The next demo shows a workload being VMotion'd from On-Premise vSphere to vCloud Air. You can do this from within the vCenter interface as vCloud Air has been added as a native target for VMotion. To reverse this process it is done again from within the vCenter interface through a wizard allowing you to migrate back. The Cross-Cloud vMotion capability is in tech preview at this moment. The secret sauce that enables this is VMware's Hybrid Network Services.

#vmworld #gs-mon VMworld Keynote 2015 Day 1

This years tagline is "Ready for Any"

Session begins with a video on looking after applications at the "Cloud Academy". Really a testimonial on the benefits of VMware's Hybrid approach over others. Carl Eschenbach (@carl_eschenbach) is introduced.

This year there are more than 23,000 attendees; a record for the event. In addition over 50,000 people are watching the event online. There are 6,000 VMUG members and 7,000 customers.

Carl explains the "Ready for Any" theme. In speaking to customers VMware recognizes the challenges for customers; go faster, drive productivity and become more agile and responsive. In addition customers need to curb costs and drive top line revenue growth. What if we could collectively deal with these challenges?

VMware wants to enable you to run a hybrid cloud platform, build and embrace traditional applications and containers, deliver any application from any device and last but not least, provide enhanced security. To do so we need to be able to accelerate security from the datacenter to the device.

Carl wants you to think of VMware as a platform; this platform has a south bound interface to run on any device and a north bound interface for integrating with any OS. VMware brings freedom, flexibility and choice within this platform.

VMware believes in One Cloud. This means that through VMware software you have seamless integration between enterprise, public or managed cloud. This is the idea of a Unified Cloud. Operations can now run as if they are managing one environment with the same toolset. For users the distinction between on and off premises is eliminated. A unified Cloud provides a common security layer such as NSX which spans enterprise cloud and federated models. In addition VMware strives to support any application which includes Cloud Native applications. The last piece of a unified vision is security to the device all the way through to the application.

Carl introduces the concept of the "Architecture for IT" which is unified hybrid cloud. This architecture can be built either "do-it-yourself", using converged or hyper converged infrastructure and managed by EVO SDDC.

Carl runs through the example of DirectTV leveraging VMware software to double capacity to meet demand and the introduces Ben Fathers and team.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

virtualguru blogs the show!!!


VMworld 2015 brings together thought leaders, subject matter experts, and IT professionals to immerse themselves in the latest in virtualization and cloud technology. Attended by over 20,000 attendees from technical professionals to business decision-makers from organizations of all sizes, representing a wide range of industries.
This year, I am happy to be an official VMworld blogger for the 2015 event. Follow my updates on all the new announcements, exclusive interviews and technology updates released on http://virtualguru.org, twitter (@podoherty) and our rss feed.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Business Transformation Through Innovation

Based on a presentation by Jim Walsh the Vice President and Chief of Staff at CISCO

Jim’s opening statement is “Our customers success drives CISCO success”. To understand CISCO’s strategy we must first understand what our customers are going through. This is one of the most difficult times for our customers. “IT” is under siege from:

  • Emerging technology
  • The business Implications of this new technology
  • The expectations that come with new technology

The two most profound are Mobility and Cloud. Cloud is very disruptive and accelerates the pace of development, delivers pay-as-you-go models and is dynamic in nature. If you contrast this to the pace of regular IT, it tends to be slower and less efficient. Mobility has changed customer expectations; users can interact wherever and whenever they like; Application changes in-flight are accepted because they deliver the latest features and additional value.

Compounding this problem is the internet of everything. Cloud applications are built on different platforms such as OpenStack. We need to innovate and adopt these technologies however IT is challenged by flat budgets and having to deal with the complexity of security and compliance.

80% of Money in enterprise IT is locked in lights-on spending and very little leftover for innovation. Gartner predicts that 90% of current IT budgets will be spent outside IT by 2020. 52% of customers are using SaaS solutions and 55% of companies are turning to Cloud for lower costs(according to Gartner). Based on CISCO’s own review of customer environments, IT tends to underestimate the amount of Cloud usage by a magnitude of 5 to 10 times in their environments.

All industries are being impacted. In every industry this technology is disrupting the business model. In addition existing customers of an industry are being impacted by non-traditional competitors entering the market. Amazon has delivered 852% revenue growth between 2005 – 2013. Uber billed 2.8 Billion in 2014. New models in finance like Lending Club which crowd funds loans are appearing. Services like Apple Pay are getting in front of financial transactions formerly delivered through traditional financial institutions.

Digitization is creating new value everywhere. This scares internal IT organizations however the opportunities are boundless. Digitization is based on device-to-device communications and the data being used to drive analytics. It is a 19 trillion dollar industry. To deliver services in this new era you will need to up your game in order to be relevant to customers.

CISCO is finding that the public sector is adopting digitization faster than anyone else. CISCO believes every city will become digitized in order to compete for business and citizens on a global scale like the City of Mississauga.


CISCO is in the process of building the largest distributed development platform for business to deliver applications on (see Intercloud below). CISCO refers to the new architecture approach for this platform as Fast IT. You cannot talk about Fast IT unless you talk about software. CISCO has committed to making everything that is provided in hardware, software.

CISCO believes security has to move from the perimeter to something that is fully integrated into every base level component. Without security the internet of everything will end. Where the magic happens is in taking the software, integrating automation and accelerating decisions by leveraging analytics. Many customers are going to be looking at partners to help them through this complexity.

Digitization will drive a necessary network refresh as all this analytics will need to be move to a distributed model, Take for an example an autonomous car; the decision making needs to happen at the vehicle not centralized and then responded to as the inherent delay is problematic. This means that we need an application centric network. The network will advertise its features to the application and the application will leverage that information to respond accordingly.

CISCO is looking at the current environment which is a world of standalone clouds. CISCO believes in an “Intercloud” concept which connects any Converged Infrastructures to any Cloud provider with no compromise. This provides Choice, Compliance and Control. This is how you keep the game fair as no individual service provider can lock customers into a vendor specific solution. The Intercloud model is a partner driven solution which will launch in August. This allows partners to offer there service globally without building there own infrastructure.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

VMware’s Brave New IT A summary of Eric Gales, VP of VMware Canada’s Presentation

Eric has been with VMware for two years; prior to that he was with Microsoft. There is 3 things Eric wants to provide perspective on during his presentation; the Market according to Gartner, VMware’s perspective and Eric’s own insight.

Eric starts with Nicholas G Carr’s book, “Does IT Matter”. Nicholas the author, prophesized that IT would go the way of electricity. Once upon a time if you had it, it was a competitive advantage as others did not. When everyone had electricity it was no longer of significant value as it became an assumed and a necessity. In this sense Eric mentions Nicholas was both right and wrong.

Eric references Netflix, and Amazon, YouTube and Uber whose business models did not exist when the book was written. So the wrong part was that IT would cease. IT did not cease but rather grew to support new business models.

VMware believes that these new business models are good examples of what it calls a liquid world. Companies that don’t adapt will be gone like the Blockbusters of the world (sorry Blockbuster, I still miss video store Friday’s) . The liquid world is a more adaptable environment which has also created a new scale of non-traditional competitors; Amazon is now considering large scale entry into the grocery market for example and Apple is moving into the credit card transaction business. Traditional manufacturers such as the auto industry are worrying about the threat from silicon valley.

Digital transformation is the new business agenda requiring enterprises to:

  • Drive Operational efficiency
  • Increase Employee Productivity
  • Develop Stronger Customer Loyalty
  • Find New revenue streams

Digital Transformation is Fueled by the 3rd Platform (the 3rd Platform is an IDC term used to describe the convergence of Mobility, Data Analytics, Social Networks and Cloud). Enterprises will either adapt or be exposed to these new market conditions brought on by the 3rd Platform.

Eric mentions if he were to rewrite the book he would call it “What IT Matters?” For example infrastructure is not critical but necessary. IT must appreciate that more than ever it must be an enabler to business initiatives. IT must drive innovation to ensure they are relevant to the business.

The focus areas for innovation are business growth, the experience to deliver a greater customer experience and more adaptable security to manage all the risk in a highly mobile world.

The driving forces behind VMware’s liquid world concept are mobility and cloud. Devices will communicate between themselves with more autonomy from end users (the Internet of Things “IoT”).

The new model for IT is defined by the following service characteristics

  • Instant & Accessible
  • Fluid & Adaptable
  • Secure & Mobile

Collectively VMware calls this shift the Brave New IT. VMware has been fearless innovators in this field. In response to the challenge from the market that hypervisors are commodity, Eric clarifies that “hypervising” or running multiple OS instances on a single set of resources is  a commodity. The hypervisor however, is not as they are all fundamentally different depending on the vendor. VMware for example links theirs to higher value in software defined networking, storage, hybrid security and mobility workspace to create a clear differentiator.

VMware unifies these technologies through the Software Defined Datacenter (“SDC”). VMware believes that both the Enterprise and DevOps can share this single SDC platform. This is a great value proposition for VMware’s customers. This software can be built on whatever foundational hardware you would like; Converged, Hyper-Converged or Cloud. The services living in the datacenter can be delivered to any endpoint including machine-to-machine (the internet of things “IoT”).

Eric switches to IDCs perspective and how the new focus is on outcome and value vs. infrastructure. A value added reseller needs to consider selling to both IT and the business. The business value requires greater emphasis than ever before. “We need to help our clients innovate”. “To service our customers we need to know their business”. IT is more critical today then it has ever been, but it is evolving. Value added resellers are also transforming to become strategic partner to their customers business.

Eric sites the organizations who are largely outsourced, they face a significant challenge as they are locked into a legacy way of doing things. Many are looking hard to repatriate in order to bring back innovation.

Eric pulls up a slide that shows VMware’s Strategic focus areas and how they align strongly with necessary change in the enterprise to meet these challenges.


Eric ends with a commitment to VMware’s partners to help them deliver innovation to their customers.

Friday, May 8, 2015

OnX Believe Event; New Brunswick

Many thanks to the event organizer, Sheri Renaud our Marketing Manager for putting together a great day for our customers on the East Coast. From our comedian and host Darrin Rose, sponsors, guest speakers, the attendees and the OnX East Coast team we had a fantastic time. Darren  demonstrated that technical conferences can be both entertaining and amusing (who knew?)
Darren had us laughing for the day but it is no wonder as he is a five-time performer at the Just For Laughs festival in Montreal and  won a Canadian Comedy Award for Best Live Performance during his appearance on Just for Laughs 2014.
In addition to some great keynotes from Chris Sator the CTO of Hybrid Cloud Solutions, Chris Jackson the Vice President of Client Development and Momentum Digital Solutions and Stephen Harris, the Director of Technology Solutions and Professional Services, for Atlantic Canada, our partners and sponsors provided some great information to the attendees.
I had great input from the audience during my speaking session on The Evolution of End User Management.
We had a great discussion on how the End User Computing space is evolving; we explored how desktop services have become so complex and now incorporate such a myriad of devices, solutions and choices. We had a chance to delve into these topics in-depth during the breakout session and talk about solutions.

Of course anyone who has been to the east coast of Canada knows that the people are both warm and friendly making our trip and event a fabulous experience for all. Many thanks to New Brunswick for a first-class event!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

vRealize Operations Insight: vRealize Operations Management and Log Insight “Better Together”

vRealize Operations Management  is about having the “Operational Intelligence” to more efficiently manage your environment.  In today’s operational reality you have multiple tools monitoring many different data points. Because of the number of tools, when something happens in the environment you get an alert storm.  Because everyone on the operations team is viewing things from different perspectives, correlation is difficult.  This leads to more time spent reviewing symptoms vs. discovering the root cause.

Key Issues for Operations:

  1. Downtime and Performance Degradation
  2. Cost Cutting and Reduced Budgets
  3. Silo-ed Operations Management with no single pane of glass

To address these challenges Operational Analytics are needed to take input from performance logs, topology and infrastructure, health, capacity and consumption data points. Taking a holistic view ensures you have actionable information to resolve problems and drive efficiencies in the environment.

VMware has combined vRealize Operations Management and Log Insight to provide this level of visibility.  vRealize Operations Management allows you to look at structured data while Log Insight provides insight into logs and unstructured data in the environment.  VMware has combined both into a single suite called “vRealize Operations Insight

Log Insight provides that last mile of visibility to operations.  vRealize Operations Insight can be added to existing customers vSOM licensing by upgrading. Upgrading adds vRealize Operations Advanced (vSOM includes vRealize Operations Standard) and adds Infrastructure Navigator and Log Insight.

New in vRealize Operations management is the improved user interface.  Now there is a single product UI vs. a standard and advanced UI as in the prior release (vCenter Operations Manager).  vRealize Operations Management is delivered as a single VM with a scale out architecture.  To scale, you add additional appliances simplifying the architecture and deployment. 

The Alerting with vRealize Operations has been enhanced to include remediation steps so that when an alert occurs the fix is provided.  In addition a new tab is included called Recommendations.  Recommendations are guided actions that can be taken which effect a virtualization object, such as changing the memory on a VM.  In addition you can perform VM operations directly from the User Interface as shown in “figure 1.01 VM Operations from within vRealize”.


figure 1.01 VM Operations from within vRealize

In addition risk is now checked against the VMware hardening guidelines by default along with the necessary steps to resolve issues. 

You can build and customize both Views and Dashboards in this version.  The Reports customizations have been significantly enhanced as well.  For example, you can also pull  information that is displayed in Views and Dashboards into reports. 

The Capacity Planning feature has been extended to 3rd party adapters.  In addition there is the concept of Projects in the Capacity Planning feature.  Projects enable you to plan forward capacity requirements which can be saved so that it can reviewed at a later time.  In addition you can specify dates to commit certain changes such as adding additional hosts and see visually how it effects capacity.

Log Insight has been enhanced in 2.5 to include Roll Based Access Control (RBAC) access control and a Linux Agent was added to the existing Windows Agent.  From within vRealize Operations Management you can access Log Insight as shown in “figure 1.02 Open Log Insight from within vRealize Operations”


figure 1.02 Open Log Insight from within vRealize Operations

In addition a “Log Insight Content Marketplace” was added to Log Insight which enables you to add adapters or content PAKs through the interface as shown in figure 1.03 Log Insight Content Pack Marketplace.


figure 1.03 Log Insight Content Pack Marketplace

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

SDDC 2015: Are you Ready?

Chris Wolf presented at the VMUG today and started with the concept of a liquid world. Chris mentions we are living in an increasingly liquid world in which we are facing new competition and new challenges at an increasingly rapid pace.  According to Gartner most CIO and CEOs are heavily focused on their datacenters.  This means allot of time is spent on lights-on with limited time spent on innovation.

We need to start asking ourselves if the day-to-day activities we are engaged in are commodity tasks or deliver real value.  Every business must provide network, compute and storage; there is little advantage in the task of provisioning these services.

Think of the datacenter as a series of modular interfaces that we can plug into.  These interfaces may be provided by OpenStack, Cloud Foundry or Docker Containers.  VMware wants to enable this flexibility by building it into the Software-Defined-Data-Center (SDDC).  Standardizing at the SDDC layer allows consistent tooling across disparate workloads. 

According to VMware, the SDDC is made up of:
Chris uses the analogy of the smart phone to explain how security should work; we no longer memorize numbers, we just select contacts from a list.  Security should be similar. We use it without having layers of complexity.

Approaching this with traditional security toolsets is both complex and difficult.  NSX is targeted to address this by delivering micro-segmentation through policy control.  This allows us to secure individual VMs so that an exploit of one does not present risks to the remaining.  VMware believes that through software and automation this can be delivered easily without operational overhead.

VMware has made some significant updates to the Software-Defined-Datacenter in the first quarter of 2015. 

vSphere 6

VMware has beefed up vSphere 6.0 to handle Scaled-out architecture in addition to providing integrated Openstack and Linux Container Support (Docker).

vSphere 6 has the ability to instantly clone a VM (Project Fargo). Initially it is targeted at VDI workloads.  A new child VM can be created from a parent VM in milliseconds.  This is similar to the way Linux Containers (LXC) work, delivering the speed of containers through a VM.  Think about the capability in combination with VMware App Volumes; delivery of both virtual desktops and applications dynamically on demand.

vSphere 6 supports 64 hosts and 6000 virtual machines per cluster.  In addition 480 CPUs, 6 TB  of RAM and 1024 VMs per host can be delivered through 6.

Long-Distance vMotion is delivered in vSphere 6 (supported within 100 ms of latency between locations).  This works not just cross cluster but also cross vCenters.

Fault-Tolerance is supported on 4-Way virtual SMP (4 vCPUs).  This enables many more mission critical workloads to take advantage of this “always-on” capability.

New to vSphere 6 is the Content Library which syncs templates, ISOs and OVFs globally.  This ensures images are consistent across the entire organization.

VMware OpenStack

VMware integrated OpenStack is designed to deliver simplicity while keeping your management stack consistent.  VMware Openstack is fully supported by the vRealize Suite and Log insight and enables single call support from VMware.  VMware OpenStack is delivered through an OVA that is deployed on VMware.  VMware Integrated OpenStack is free with all vSphere Enterprise Plus Editions.

Virtual SAN

Software Defined Storage is designed to simplify and accelerate the provisioning of storage.  VMware Virtual SAN 6.0 now supports all flash configurations and better scale.  Virtual SAN also adds snapshot and cloning as native features.

Virtual Volumes

vSphere Virtual Volumes (vVOLs) are designed to enable the native features of the storage array within the virtual infrastructure.  With vVOLs you could do native snapshots and replication at the Virtual Machine (VM)/volume level.  This is done using the VASA (VMware APIs for Storage Awareness) APIs, exposing the features of the SAN/NAS devise to vSphere.

Chris finishes by encouraging the community to have a look at these new capabilities to understand the value they bring.
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