VMware sells off vCloud Air to OVH

Hmm…. so that was an interesting announcement from VMware last week!….. although if I’m honest it makes perfect sense!

OVH Group announcing it’s intent to acquire the vCloud Air Business from VMware: https://www.vmware.com/radius/vmware-cloud-air-evolves/

Last year when VMware announced their tie up with AWS – vCloud on AWS – many had already started wondering what that partnership would do to VMware’s own cloud offering. The talking point was made more real when VMware also announced their Cross-Cloud Architecture which would allow a customer to choose which cloud platform to deploy their workloads onto – all from a single common operating environment. Then to make things worse, VMware announced VMware Cloud Foundation on IBM Cloud (or what was Softlayer)… an SDDC stack running VMware goodies on IBM Cloud compute!

That triple whammy pretty much made everyone think that vCloud Air’s time was up!!

I had a number of discussions at VMworld Europe last year where we talked about whether VMware would just shut down vCloud Air, or would they migrate it all onto AWS. Although the general consensus was that maybe they would sell off/spin off that part of their business – after all, VMware is a software business and vCloud Air was always seen as a ‘weird’ sibling…. not to mention that it competed against all it’s vCAN (VSPP) partners who were offering their own cloud services built on VMware technology!

I guess there’s no shame in what VMware are doing, Cisco, Dell and HP tried and failed to do what Amazon and Google are doing well at… although surprisingly Microsoft have managed to get Azure up and running well!

In a way, VMware are getting rid of what they probably saw as a hefty investment on infrastructure and hosting for little returns (I doubt there were many customers using vCloud Air to justify the expense of keeping it). Makes more sense to sell it to an existing cloud provider who knows how to sell Public Cloud services and IaaS! Although, I kind of have to wonder what OVH will do given VMware hosted vCloud Air in Equinix/Telstra data centres around the world….. guessing they’ll run down the contract with those providers and bring it all back in house!

In my opinion, selling off vCloud Air is probably a smart move….. VMware’s vision is to enable a customer to run “Any Application on Any Cloud, accessed by Any Device”, and it was going to be difficult to be Cloud-Agnostic if they owned a Public Cloud service! The whole Cross-Cloud Architecture would have produced a conflict of interest if they kept vCloud Air…. now that they’re shot of it, they can concentrate on pushing out their vCloud stack onto Azure and maybe even GCP given that they’re well on their way with the AWS partnership. Why try and beat them at their own game? It’s far easier to embrace them and partner!!

VMware are positioning themselves to be the broker of cloud services…. a single management point that allows end users to decide which public cloud is best for their workloads! In a way it’s a clever move, firstly because it puts the decision-making back with the end user, and secondly it now means that VMware can state that it’s the only virtualisation company that doesn’t tie you into a single cloud vendor (much like how Microsoft tries to ram Azure down the throat of Hyper-V customers).

Interesting times ahead……

vShield Endpoint with vSphere 6.0 – Explaining the confusion around the product range!

So I had a customer ask me what was going on with vShield Edge and vCloud Networking & Security, and whether the products are still available or has NSX replaced them…. and what is with this vShield Endpoint feature?

Anyways, after explaining my take on vShield and vCNS I decided to do a bit more digging into vShield Endpoint and why there has been so much confusion with the product range regarding licensing, support, and availability of the products!

I came across this great blog post by Josh Townsend which pretty much explains the history behind vShield, vCNS and NSX and also talks about how you can deploy vShield Endpoint. Rather than me regurgitating what he wrote, I’ll advise you to definitely click through to his blog and have a read! Hopefully all will become clear!

http://vmtoday.com/2015/05/vshield-endpoint-vsphere-6-0/

vSphere 6.0 update 1 and Virtual SAN 6.1 released (plus other goodies)

…. and so just a week after VMworld 2015 US, VMware have released vSphere 6.0 update 1 and a number of other product updates….. without ANY fanfare….. it was such a silent release that the first I heard about it was when all the community bloggers started posting up announcements!

Anyways, here are the products released today:

vSphere ESXi & vCenter Server 6.0 update 1 Download
vSphere ESXi 6.0 update 1 Release Notes
vCenter Server 6.0 update 1 Release Notes

Note: There has already been a KB released regarding the upgrade:
https://blogs.vmware.com/kb/2015/09/alert-important-information-before-upgrading-to-vsphere-6-0-update-1.html

In addition to vSphere and vCenter Server, all the other components of vSphere/vCenter received an update:
vSphere Update Manager 6.0 update 1
vSphere Replication 6.1

vSphere Data Protection 6.1
vRealize Orchestrator Appliance 6.0.3

The good news is that VUM is now integrated into the Web Client!! =)

SRM got an update as well:
Site Recovery Manager 6.1 Download
Site Recovery Manager 6.1 Release Notes

This brings some cool stuff to SRM like:

  • Policy-based management – offering New protection groups using vSphere storage policies for protection of VMs.
  • Support for Auto-mapping of stretched NSX networks (using Universal Logical Switches).
  • Support for stretched storage (like EMC VPLEX), that now includes the ability to use vMotion to move VMs from Site A to Site B.

Although no news on whether Site Recovery Manager Air (for vCloud Air DR) has been launched yet….. =(

Most importantly is the launch of Virtual SAN 6.1:
Virtual SAN 6.1 Download
Virtual SAN 6.1 Release Notes

This new update now:

  • Supports stretched VSAN clusters that span two geographic locations to protect data from site failures or loss of network connection (using the feature of Fault Domains).
  • Support for 2 node ROBO configurations.
  • Enhanced Replication (RPO of 5mins with vSphere Replication)
  • Support for SMP-FT
  • New hardware options (such as support for the new flash devices: Intel NVMe, Diablo UltraDIMM)

Also loads of updates to the vRealize Suite of products:
vRealize Operations Manager 6.1.0 Download
vRealize Operations Manager 6.1.0 Release Notes
vRealize Log Insight 3.0 Download
vRealize Log Insight 3.0 Release Notes
vRealize Automation 6.2.3 Download
vRealize Automation 6.2.3 Release Notes
vRealize Code Stream 1.2.0 Download
vRealize Code Stream 1.2.0 Release Notes
vRealize Business Standard 6.2.3 & vRealize Business Advanced/Enterprise 8.2.3 Download
vRealize Business 6.2.3 Release Notes
vRealize Business Advanced/Enterprise 8.2.3 Release Notes

In addition, the new version of vCloud Director was released for Service Providers (no long available for end-users) which offers vSphere 6.0 and NSX 6.1.4 support, there are also some minor Org vDC template and vApp Enhancements.
VMware vCloud Director 8.0 for Service Providers Download
VMware vCloud Director 8.0 Release Notes

Horizon also got a minor update earlier this month:
Horizon 6 version 6.2 Download
Horizon 6 version 6.2 Release Notes

Improvements to vCloud Air Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)

When DRaaS was launched by VMware the backend of last year, everyone was pretty excited about the ability to ‘get rid’ off their secondary/DR site and offload it all into the cloud – A subscription based DR solution which would allow customers to decrease their Capex and offset it with an Opex model.

It kind of boils down to the old accounting argument regarding whether Capex or Opex is a better spending model for IT Infrastructure. Now I’m not an accountant, nor am I pretending to understand the ins-and-outs of tax-deductible benefits, but from my understanding an Opex model is more tax efficient – especially on the P&L balance sheet. (Obviously correct me if I’m wrong!)

Usually a Capex model means:

  1. You require a large amount of cash outlay to purchase all the goods
  2. You have to make an ‘educated’ guess to estimate future capacity needs
  3. Once you’ve purchased the goods, you’re pretty much stuck with it, despite advancements in technology of company growth

However, some CFOs still think that Opex is more expensive as they only consider the cost of the physical server required for the applications.
Whenever you have to do any sort of capex/opex comparison, you have to take the direct costs such as power, cooling, floor space, storage and IT resources to manage the physical hardware.
Plus then there’s all the indirect costs – network and storage, procurement and accounting costs, transportation/logistics, etc. Once all these other costs that accompany the physical tin are considered, it becomes a different argument!

Anyways, I digress…..

So When VMware launched vCloud Air DR, I thought it would become a viable solution for customers looking to get rid of their DR site….. but upon closer inspection there were some flaws in the solution – namely trying to automate your DR (like SRM) and the process of failback once your primary site comes back online (the vCloud Connector process was clunky and required VMs to be powered off before a full data copy occurs back to the primary site – not a viable solution as who would switch off their VMs in order to copy them back over? And we’re talking hours offline if you’re copying a 100GB VM over a 100Mb link!!).

Quick overview of the benefits:

  • RPO configured on individual VMs from 15mins to 24hrs.
  • DR protection is per VM (allowing individual VMs to be failed over)
  • Secure asynchronous replication of VMs (using vSphere replication)
  • Self-service DR testing of VMs (up to 2 tests per 12mth period with a 7 day testing period)
  • Guaranteed resource availability (especially during DR failover)
  • Monitoring and management via Web Client
  • Integrates seamlessly with vSphere environments
  • VMs can run for up to 30 days in a failover scenario without incurring additional costs
  • Ability to transition out of the DRaaS into vCloud Air Private or Dedicated Cloud
  • SLA of 4hrs or less

DRaaS

I’m happy to say that the current release now offers Native Failback using vSphere Replication to reverse the replication from vCloud Air DR into your on-premise environment. Unlike vCloud Connector, this does not require the VMs to be powered off during the reverse replication. It can also be managed from your Web Client – similar to how you originally setup the replication process to vCloud Air.

In addition to this, VMware are now offering Multiple Point-in-Time Recovery using the ability of vSphere replication to retain multiple recovery points, up to a total of 24! Great if you need to recover to an earlier point in time if the latest replication set is corrupt or the VM experiences errors.

Finally, Automation is now possible with full integration with vRealize Orchestrator via a plug-in. This will allow you to create multiple VM recovery plans and automate the failover process – similar to what SRM can do.

For more information about the new version of vCloud Air DR, head along to VMware’s blog announcement: What’s new with vCloud Air DR?

For more information about the vCloud Air offerings, point your browsers here: vCloud Air

Should IT be Cloud?

A while back I was asked to write an article about Cloud Computing for my company’s blog site…… which they decided to publish during my snowboarding trip to Serre Chevalier! (Hence the late publication on my blog).

http://www.mtibytes.com/post/Should-IT-be-Cloud

Have a read and feel free to let me know your thoughts, whether you agree or disagree on my points. =)

In the mean time….. here’s a quick picture of my snowboarding trip…. ;oP

Day 2:
20150211_102334
Final day white out!
20150214_101039

vCloud Air Tutorials

Want to know more about the VMware vCloud Air services? Well pop along to the tutorial page in the vCloud portal! =)

http://vcloud.vmware.com/uk/using-vcloud-air/tutorials

Excellent material for how to use the vCloud Air services, how to setup and deploy VMs if you purchase a Dedicated or Virtual Private Cloud….. and most importantly how the vCloud Air Disaster Recovery works (which was what I was after).

We’ve had a huge number of customers interested in DRaaS and vCloud Air DR seems a very viable solution!

MTI Webinar Series – VMworld Update Session

As you all know, VMworld took place in Barcelona last month. During this event, VMware made a series of announcements regarding its three strategic initiatives – software defined datacentre (SDDC), hybrid cloud, and end-user computing (EUC).

My company is currently holding a series of webinars in November covering VMware and complementary parter offerings, and I’ve been asked to kick-start the series with a VMworld update session on SDDC and Hybrid Cloud.

The first webinar, The software-defined datacentre & hybrid cloud, will take place on Tuesday 25th November 2014 at 11am. During this session, I will be discussing what’s new in vSphere 6.0, Virtual Volumes (vVol), EVO:Rail, vRealize Suite and vCloud Air.

If you wish to attend the webinar then feel free to register here:
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1836954438946370306

…. I ask that if you do join not to heckle….. =P

(The other webinars this month will cover VMware’s EUC offering; discussing agentless security for the software-defined datacentre with Trend Micro; and EMC’s portfolio around data protection and availability – specifically RecoverPoint for VM and VPLEX virtual edition)

Upgrading vCenter Operations Manager to 5.7

So….. the penultimate piece of upgrade work planned for the DR environment is the upgrade of vCenter Operations Manager from 5.6 to 5.7.

The great thing about vCOPs is the ease of upgrading the appliance. Simply navigate to the administration page (https://vcops-ip/admin) and browse to the upgrade zip bundle! =)

1. Navigate to the admin page of vCenter Operations Manager and click on the Update tab. Click Browse and locate the vCOPs zipped upgrade bundle.
vcops1

2. Wait for the file to unpack and upload.
vcops2

3. Click Update to start the update process.vcops3

4. Click OK to proceed with the update.
vcops4

5. Watch the update, or grab a cup of tea!
vcops5 vcops6

6. Once complete, reboot the appliance.
vcops7

7. You may find that the registration of vCOPs to the linked vCenter Server will require updating. To do this browse to the Registration tab and click Update under vCenter Server Registration.
vcops7a

8. Enter the vCenter Server details and click Test Connection. If successful, click Apply.
vcops8

9. Accept the security alert that moans about the SSL certificate not being trusted – this is the new SSL certificate that was generated when I upgraded my vCenter Server Appliance.
vcops9

10. Reboot the appliance and Bob’s your uncle….. it should be up and running the latest version!

 

Simples…… *squeak*