VMware vSphere 5.5 launched

Typical Sod’s law…..
I’ve been eagerly waiting to get my hands on vSphere 5.5 ever since VMworld 2013 US – unfortunately I’m not one of the lucky ones who had Beta access or pre-launch access (like some of the more renown VMware bloggers) – and the week that I decide to head off on holiday to Northern Cyprus, VMware decide to release everything 5.5!!
Dammit……

I could say that I was having sleepless nights dreaming about installing all the goodness of the newly released products, but that would be lying…… instead I was enjoying the Sun, Sea and Sand! =)
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I’ve already written about what was announced in VMworld 2013 and the new features in vSphere/vCloud 5.5, so won’t repeat myself….. have a look here if you missed that post:
https://thevirtualunknown.wordpress.com/2013/08/30/vmworld-2013-us-ends-so-heres-my-round-up/

Rather than regurgitate everything about vSphere 5.5 that every-man-and-his-blog has already done (whilst I was in Cyprus catching the sun), there’s a good blog by VMware which practically groups all the ‘need to know’ stuff in one handy webpage that I definitely recommend you bookmarking!

http://blogs.vmware.com/kb/2013/09/vsphere-5-5-is-here-kbs-you-need-to-know-about.html

So as I complete this blog, I’m glad to say that all the new products have finished downloading….. let the fun begin! =)

I’ll leave you with one of my underwater pictures, goes to show there’s still plenty of fish in the sea! <groan>Image

Cisco acquires Whiptail

Opened up my work email this morning to be inundated with mails about Cisco acquiring the flash-array startupWhiptail – for $415m…

What makes this interesting was several years ago when I attended the launch of UCS blades, someone in the audience questioned whether Cisco would enter the storage arena…. the answer at that time was “No Way… Cisco won’t do storage!”
This has pretty much been their response for the past few years – even though the market has always been awash with rumours that they were on the prowl for a storage company (*cough* NetApp *cough*).

Cisco is one huge beast….. it has its paws in every part of the IT infrastructure…… and if I’m honest, they’ve probably pissed off a lot of people along the way….. =)
VMware – UCS Director (Cloupia)…… HP – UCS servers…… and now EMC/NetApp.

So it seems all the noise coming out of Cisco is that this acquisition is so that they can build a “flash tier within their UCS platform”….
Makes sense as the market view is that since storage is getting faster (flash/SSD), bringing it closer to the compute resources will help accelerate application/OS performance by using flash as some sort of caching tier.

It’s an clever acquisition by Cisco….. a flash-array start-up which already has products that could be pushed to market or integrated. Plus the arrays leverage a ‘scale-out’ approach to storage where a customer would start small and then just bolt on additional nodes when required – sound familiar?!? Isn’t that what blade servers are supposed to offer? The ability to scale out compute by just slotting in new stateless blades. So what UCS does for compute, Whiptail may offer Cisco for storage!

Cisco marketing bods have stated that they’re still 100% behind their involvement with VCE, so it will be interesting to see what they end up doing with the flash-arrays that Whiptail sells….. surely they won’t just kill all off the work that has gone into these arrays!
Yes, they’ll strip out some of the flash tech to build into UCS, but I still reckon that they’ll release some sort of flash-array to the market!
Afterall, that would be the smart (and logical) thing to do……
Imagine:
Compute – Cisco UCS
Storage – Cisco Whiptail
Network – Cisco Nexus
Cloud – Cisco UCS Director (formally Cloupia)

… all they need now is a hypervisor and they will pretty much OWN a cloud stack!!
Hmm… there’s probably some KVM-based hypervisor offering out there that could be gobbled up! Any suggestions?

So yes, while in the short term Cisco will still buddy up to EMC/NetApp for their vBlock/VSPEX/FlexPod offerings, in the long term I guess this will all be answered by how Cisco go to market with Whiptail….. whether they will continue offering it as a standalone storage array, or whether (like their other acquisitions) they roll it all in as part of a solution bundle.
And whether they push the Whiptail products as being a Direct Attached Storage to their UCS platform rather than NAS/SAN storage (which will directly challenge the likes of EMC/NetApp).

In fact…. I wouldn’t be surprised if they went the way of HP and offered a Cisco/Whiptail storage blade!! (Remember, you read that prediction here first…..) ;oP

Watch this space…… Interesting times ahead!

 

Edit: Just read a really good article by Jason Nash regarding Cisco’s acquisition of Whiptail…. he’s put forward some good points about why Whiptail and how it fits into Cisco’s view of SDDC!

VMware Walk-throughs

So, some clever person at VMware has built some awesome walk-throughs of a few of the new features/products that were announced at VMworld 2013.

http://vmwarewalkthroughs.com/vCloudSuite5-5/
http://vmwarewalkthroughs.com/VSAN/

There’s a solid walk-through of VDP, showing step-by-step overviews of:

  • creating a backup job for a VM using web-client
  • restoring a VM using web-client
  • restoring a VM directly to a vSphere host (from the VDP appliance)
  • performing a file level restore
  • replicating VDP backup to EMC Avamar (a very useful walk-through!)

There are also additional overviews of App HA, vSphere Replication, vSphere Flash Read Cache and vSAN…

VMware had loads of ‘canned demos’ which I have used in the past to show clients demos of their products, but they were all on my laptop which I then had to lug around to every meeting… not to mention they always expired!!
I find this new walk-through website a far better option, not to mention it’s a far cleaner interface…. plus because it’s online, I can now leave my laptop at home! =)

Just need some walk-throughs of vCOPs….. =)

Link

vCloud Director Convergence and Transition Plan

Very good blog post regarding how vCD will be integrated with vSphere and vCAC…..

So it seems vCD is being phased out of Enterprise customers with vSphere handling the cloud infrastructure and vCAC the automation and cloud management.

It sounds like vCD will become a VSPP product specifically aimed at service providers…..

EMC Mega Launch Event Report

Hmm….. so the Mega Launch really didn’t turn out to be that ‘MEGA’….. dribs and drabs of info released that most people in the room already knew from what they had seen and heard at EMC World (and from NDAs sessions with EMC)…..
Not to mention the poor show from the Italian marketing team with regards to the F1 pit-stop challenge – in real life EMC would have been fined as the front wheels would have come off long before the driver reached the end of the pit lane! ;oP
I’ll have to speak to the marketing people at MTI to see if we can get a team together to take part in the pit-stop challenge at EMC Forum 2013 London.

The theme was Speed2Lead, and whilst there was a lot of performance stats being thrown around, it seemed EMC marketing went into ‘overdrive’ <sic> with some of the PR stunts….. (hmm, I wonder who would win between a Scooby and a Saab?!? http://youtu.be/F0F_eAybom8)

So, what was talked about in the 6 hours at Lord’s Cricket Ground and at the MegaLaunch in Milan?

  • VNX2 – (VNX5200, VNX5400, VNX5600, VNX5800, VNX7600, VNX8000 and VNX-F), new MCx software, flash optimised, 4x performance, increased capacity, etc….. No info on the new VNXe yet…. maybe Q1 2014….. VNX5200 due soon(ish)….. Basically a faster box for (almost) similar prices as the old VNX! Obviously what most people realised is you could get away with stepping down a model from the old VNX (so if you had a VNX5500, a VNX5400 would be more than adequate) and still get better performance!
    EMC announced a single node VNX8000 SPECsfs2008 NFS benchmark result of 580,796 IOPS (impressive considering the old benchmark was using a VNX VG8 gateway with four arrays).
    VNX-CA suite – uses VPLEX virtual storage for continuous access to block data if a VNX array fails.
  • Lotus F1 sponsored VNX 5400 – looks very nice with the re-hashed front grill, but one wonders what the uplift in cost will be just to get the Lotus F1 badge on your box! Wouldn’t be surprised if they end up on eBay! =P
  • ViPR – EMC’s new Software-Defined Storage platform planned for GA end of September! ViPR delivers the ability to both manage the storage infrastructure (the “Control Plane” through the ViPR Controller) and the data residing within that infrastructure (the “Data Plane” through ViPR Data Services).
    Whilst it can manage both, you can use just the controller to manage your underlying storage arrays (EMC, NetApp, etc).
    The Object Data Services  gives you the ability to store, view and manipulate objects as files, providing “file access” performance without the latency inherent in current object storage models.
    More info can be found here.
  • VSPEX/VBlock –  VSPEX reference architectures are now powered by the new VNX arrays doubling the VM capacity….. VBlock announcement to come (Q4 2013)
  • XtremSW Cache 2.0 – update to EMC’s server-flash caching software, with integration into Unisphere and increased support of server SSDs or PCIe flash cards.
  • Project Nile – This was a surprise announcement. Project Nile is an Elastic Cloud Storage platform that EMC reckons will be the first “complete, web-scale storage infrastructure for the data centre”. It’s focused on delivering “Private Cloud control, security and flexibility with the scale, economics and ease-of-use generally associated with the public cloud”. So it sounds like they’re basically enabling IT the ability to deliver self-serve storage under a consumption model (bit like Cloud computing).
    As we were told at the event, it’s still in “Project” phase so features could change by the time it goes GA next year (?).

 

On a separate note, looks like Lotus are doing quite well in free practice at Monza! 5th & 12th in 1st practice, 3rd & 4th in 2nd practice.
Will be interesting if it rains during the race as then it’ll be down to driver skill rather than the aerodynamics and pace of the car….. Wet races are always more exciting to watch! =)

VMware Workstation 10 and Fusion 6 released

New edition of VMware Workstation released:
http://www.vmware.com/uk/products/workstation/

What’s New in VMware Workstation 10?

  • Unity Mode Integrated to work with Windows 8.1 Ability to convert a Windows 8.1 physical PC to a VM.
  • Support for 16 vCPUs, 8 TB SATA disks and 64GB of RAM
  • New Virtual SATA disk controller
  • Now supporting 20 virtual networks
  • USB3 streams support for faster file copying
  • Improved application and Windows VM startup times
  • SSD Pass through
  • Advanced Restrictions on VMs allowing you to set predefined date and time for a VM to expire.
  • When you run Workstation VM on a tablet, the VM can use accelerometer, gyroscope, compass and also the ambient light sensor (I assume this is to allow developers to use Workstation to develop apps).
  • Multi-monitor setups easier than before. Can use 2, 3, or 4 monitors


New edition of VMware Fusion released:
http://www.vmware.com/uk/products/fusion/

What’s New in VMware Fusion 6?

  • Designed for OS X Mavericks (extending features of Mavericks into your Windows environment – like multi monitor and AirPlay).
  • Supports Windows 8.1.
  • Support for 16 vCPUs, 8 TB SATA disks and 64GB of RAM
  • Support for 3D graphics and support for OpenGL 2.1 and DirectX 9.0c Shader Model 3 graphics
  • Virtual networks editor
  • Advanced Restrictions on VMs allowing you to set predefined date and time for a VM to expire.
  • Linked Clones.
  • Improved VM deployment wizard.