End of Availability of vSphere Data Protection

Wow…. ok….. so this was an interested announcement to receive. Whilst I kind of understand that VDP wasn’t really deployed by the masses, it was still nice to be able to have a free backup solution if you were deploying a small VMware environment.

The EoA of vSphere Data Protection pretty much means anyone wanting to backup their VMs will now need to pay for a 3rd party product! That kinda sucks!

VMware vSphere 6.5 is the last release which includes the VDP product!

You can read more about the announcement here: http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere/data-protection.html

Also worth checking out the VMware KB article for more info: https://kb.vmware.com/kb/2149614

And if you have VDP deployed then don’t worry, any installations where you have an active Support and Subscription (SnS) will continue to be supported until the End of General Support (EOGS) date – the EOGS date can be found on the VMware Lifecycle Product Matrix.

It’s worth noting that this does not affect the vSphere Storage APIs – Data Protection (VADP) which most 3rd party vendors utilise.

It’s also worth noting that Dell EMC are helping those who have VDP deployed by offering them 3 years of free Avamar Virtual Edition (AVE) licensing to protect the first 4TB of protected data – although Maintenance costs will continue to apply during this 3-year period. Offer valid through October 15, 2017.

The offer can be found here: http://dellemc.com/vdpeoa

 

Finally, the FAQ released will assist with any questions you may have: http://www.vmware.com/content/dam/digitalmarketing/vmware/en/pdf/products/vsphere/vmw-vdp-eoa-faqs.pdf

The Journey to the Secure Software-Defined Data Center

So one of the key differentiators that my company, MTI Technology, has over some of the other VMware partners in the UK is that we have quite an established Security Practice (We even hold the Royal Warrant for security work for the Royal Household!)

I’ve been asked to present a short deck on MTI’s Secure Software-Defined Data Center solution at an upcoming event (non-technical, it’s aimed at C-level or decision makers). If you haven’t already signed up, then register below!


Organisations across the public and private sectors have been steadily consolidating their IT infrastructures, as they seek improved efficiency and better performance. While this activity will undoubtedly continue, many organisations are now setting their sights on the next big thing – securing their software-defined datacentre.

In a secure software-defined datacentre, an organisation’s entire infrastructure is virtualised. This empowers the integration of compute, storage, network, and security solutions, and enables you to deliver IT as a service, and provision services securely via the cloud. In turn, this allows IT departments to keep pace with growing business and technology demands, and to achieve the speed and agility that IT users require.

The journey to the secure software-defined datacentre

Join MTI at the Institute of Directors, London, on Friday 15th April as we explore how you can advance the way you deliver IT today to meet the needs of your business tomorrow, while combatting ever-evolving security threats. During the half-day workshop, you will learn how a secure software-defined datacentre can:

  • Help you to ensure strong alignment between your IT and business objectives
  • Deliver ‘built-in’ security that evolves as your IT infrastructure grows and adapts
  • Offer the balance of performance, capacity, and availability demanded by your critical business applications
  • Deliver simple and cost-effective test & development environments with management and delivery services to reduce application overheads
  • Drive improved efficiencies and cost saving for your business
  • Turn large volumes of commodity servers into a high-performance, low cost infrastructure
  • Protect your data, infrastructure, and environment, detect and, if necessary, remediate against intrusions

To register, please visit https://www.mti.com/about-mti/events/journey-secure-software-defined-datacentre/

Where qualified partners stand with EVO:RAIL + What does the Future Hold for the product?

SearchVMware.com have just published a two-part article of mine where I’ve discussed the different QEP offerings in EMEA and what the future holds for EVO:RAIL….

I couldn’t believe how hard it was to get decent technical material regarding some of the partners EVO:RAIL appliance… Fujitsu and HDS were the hardest to get any info from – and by info I mean how it integrates with their other products, what value-add they bring to the table, etc.

Anyways, have a read here and let me know if you agree:

http://searchvmware.techtarget.com/tip/Where-qualified-partners-stand-with-EVORAIL

http://searchvmware.techtarget.com/tip/What-the-future-holds-for-VMware-EVORAIL

EMC/VMware Buy Out Rumours

Earlier this week a colleague of mine brought two articles to my attention…. The first was an article about “Why EMC may buy out VMware”, the second was a complete reversal – “Why VMware may buy out EMC”.

http://recode.net/2015/08/03/why-emc-may-soon-buy-out-not-spin-out-vmware/
http://recode.net/2015/08/05/emc-considers-a-buyout-by-its-own-subsidiary-vmware/

Interesting articles to read…..

 

EMC buying out the remaining stake of VMware and taking it in house has always been talked about! I don’t think a month goes by without someone within EMC suggesting this route of action.

In my opinion, EMC’s acquisitions have more often than not been really clever in leveraging emerging technologies (or plugging gaps in their portfolio) – Data Domain, Avamar, Isilon, XtremIO. Even the software acquisitions have been smart – Legato Networker, Documentum, VMware, TwinStrata, Virtustream. I was a bit surprised when EMC decided to offload 15% of VMware shares back in 2007 for an IPO, previous acquisitions had been completely absorbed by the corporation, but with VMware they decided to give them their own free rein and identity.

With the vast expansion into virtualisation and cloud technologies, EMC have probably realised that sooner or later software is going to be the way to go….. Software intelligence deployed on commodity tin! So it comes as no surprise that a so-called buy out is on the cards again.

The keen financiers amongst us will have noticed that VMware’s share price is significantly higher than EMCs ($86 compare to $26 as of market close yesterday), and that they account for almost 75% of EMCs valuation – which means any sort of VMware spin-out will severely weaken EMC as a corporation!

An EMC/VMware merger would obviously save them quite a bit in operating expenditure as there is probably quite a lot of overlap, it was reported cost savings if such a merger occurred could be up to $1bn. Not to mention it would allow EMC to reap the benefits of reporting on VMware’s earnings as their own!

 

However, whether EMC buys out VMware or vice-versa, I don’t hesitate to think that the end-user would be the most affected by such a merger.

Because VMware is its own entity, it offers virtualisation across heterogeneous hardware… any sort of merger would surely mean that there would be a shift towards favouring its own products – ie EMC storage, backup, etc. What would happen to VMware’s future R&D and partner relationships with the likes of NetApp, Cisco, HP, etc? Yes, a merger may bring closer ‘federation’ between EMC products and VMware, but it would have a detrimental effect to customers who don’t have EMC products. (Just look at how Oracle prefers its customers to run Oracle on Exadata – yes you can run it on other systems, but licensing is so complex!)

What about the products that overlap, Virtual SAN and ScaleIO being two products that immediately come to mind – they both compete in the Software Defined Storage market using local hard drives to create a storage pool. Then there’s RecoverPoint for VM against vSphere Replication and vCenter Site Recovery Manager, both are DR solutions. Another semi-competing product is EMC Storage Resource Manager and VMware vRealize Operations – both can do monitoring and reporting of virtual environments.

Whilst a merger sounds enticing to shareholders and both corporations, I feel that it’ll be end-users that lose out on the innovations that VMware brings without being shackled to one hardware vendor – I’m guessing some sort of legal guarantee has to be put in place to offer fair competition if such a merger was to occur.

EMC VSPEX Blue Launch

So last year after VMware announced EVO:RAIL at VMworld I held a quick tech session with my colleagues at MTI and we discussed what effects the Hyper Converged Infrastructure Appliances (HCIA) would bring to the market…. of particular we contemplated what EMC would bring to EVO:RAIL when it was announced that they would be a QEP (Qualified EVO:RAIL Partner). Just so you know, EMC were the only QEP that didn’t have a physical appliance on show at VMWorld last year!

We were all in agreement that there were 2 things missing from the EVO:RAIL product which we hoped that EMC would address by leveraging their vast product portfolio:

  1. Backup
  2. Replication/DR

….. and last Tuesday we were mightily impressed with how EMC had taken the EVO:RAIL product and added their own twist to the whole package! Including tackling the 2 points above (and then some!)…… Welcome to the world of EMC VSPEX Blue!

vspex blue

So some of the highlights of the new VSPEX Blue appliance:

  • Two versions: Standard provides 128GB RAM, Performance provides 192GB RAM.
  • VSPEX Blue Manager – a UI that EMC have written that builds on the simplistic and functional EVO:RAIL Manager and allows you to easily deploy, configure and manage the whole VSPEX Blue solution.
  • EMC Secure Remote Support (ESRS) – this is just like what they offer with their storage arrays, it’s built into the Blue Manager and provides end-to-end support, which could either be via a live chat, community forums, or knowledge based articles. With ESRS (and Premium support), EMC can periodically monitor the EMC VSPEX Blue appliance and will be notified of any failures (like a “Phone home” service) enabling support to take preventative measures to help avoid downtime.
  • VSPEX Blue Market store – The Market provides customers with access to trusted solutions and technologies that are developed by EMC and technology partners that are pre-validated for the VSPEX Blue appliance and then made available to download. These additional Market Apps are simple and easily integrated into the VSPEX Blue appliance. (Think of Apple’s App Store or Google Play). Although at launch there are only 3 offerings:
    1. RecoverPoint for VMs – offering business continuity/disaster recovery, with replication and continuous data protection at the VM level to a remote site. 15 full licenses are offered free per appliance (licensed per VM which means protection of 15 VMs, and up to 60 if you expand the VSPEX Blue to 4 appliances).
    2. VDP Advanced – providing centralised backup and recovery (based on EMC Avamar) including disk based de-duplicated backup (ie attaching a Data Domain as the backup target).
    3. Cloud Array Virtual Edition – this is a gateway to hybrid cloud storage (AWS S3, vCloud Air, etc)! The Cloud Array solution allows you to connect to external cloud storage and present it as an iSCSI target or NAS device (SMB/NFS) to the appliance. It’s a software based solution and you will get a free license per appliance to access 10TB of cloud storage with 1TB of local cache. (So unlike NetApp who are planning to hang a FAS array off their EVO:RAIL – breaking the whole ‘hyper-converged’ concept – this allows you to access more storage without breaking the appliance mould!)

EMC’s offering of EVO:RAIL is by far the best ‘packaged’ product available from QEPs…. they’ve really taken some time to address the question of “What would an EVO:RAIL customer want to do with this product apart from run VMs”….. I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up as the #1 EVO:RAIL partner!!

Anyways, if you wish to delve a bit more into the product then pop along to Chad Sakac’s blog as he has a very good article on it: http://virtualgeek.typepad.com/virtual_geek/2015/02/vspex-blue-hello-world.html

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! =)