Following on from my blog post early August, it seems another article has been written on re/code:
I still think a downstream merger will signal the end of VMware being vendor agnostic!
Following on from my blog post early August, it seems another article has been written on re/code:
I still think a downstream merger will signal the end of VMware being vendor agnostic!
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”.
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.
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:
….. 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!
So some of the highlights of the new VSPEX Blue appliance:
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
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:
…. 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)
So Day 2 draws to a close…. and it’s been a really tiring few days for me… more so than last year! Maybe it’s just me getting old!
I kinda did a half-ass job of my update for Day 1 – mainly because it was very late and I was very tired. At some point I will go back and edit the post (just not tonight!).
The first half of this morning’s General Session was a summation of what was announced yesterday and then two customers (SAP and Vodafone) came on stage to share their experiences with Carl Eschenbach. Ben Fathi and Raghu Raghuram then took the stage for the second half of the session to describe how some of the new VMware products could be utilised to enhance the SDDC and Hybrid Cloud offering.
After the morning session I was privileged enough to be invited to the vSOM Partner Advisory Roundtable, where a select few VMware EMEA partners were asked to give their thoughts on the vSOM product and the partner-led vSphere Optimisation Assessments (VOA). Unfortunately this roundtable went on for quite some time which meant I missed my morning 2 sessions (OPT1547 Organizing for the SDDC and MGT2175 vCAC Overview and Glimpse into the Future).
So here’s a summary of the sessions I did manage to attend today:
INF1864-SPO Software Defined Storage – What’s Next?
Ever year Chad Sakac holds a ‘forward looking’ session on storage, and this year was no exception…. he spent quite a long time looking back at what was announced at the last VMworld and what has been achieved since. Briefly discussing the Four data plane architectures we all know and love and which ones could be achieved via software (SDS).
He also gave an overview of how EMC were implementing VVOLs and demo’d a VMAX3 solution. It was very interesting to hear that EMC would be releasing VVOLs on the VNXe3200 first and then VNX and VMAX3.
He then went into the SDS vision and common control planes before moving onto some of the new EMC products. It was good to hear him describe how to position VMware vSAN and EMC ScaleIO.
Whilst most of us EMC partners already knew about the forthcoming RecoverPoint for VMs, it was good to see him discuss the product along with ViPR and how they are positioned in the market.
And as always with Chad’s sessions, we ran out of time and unfortunately it meant he whizzed through his slides on Converged Infrastructure and Hyper-converged infrastructure.
However, I did get the nuggets of information I was moaning about yesterday on twitter (funnily enough a client of mine was at the EMC booth in the Solutions Exchange just as my tweet splashed across the huge screen!!) – how VVOLs will be implemented and also the possible appliance that EMC would release as their EVO: Rail product (EMC’s Project Phoenix – top left of the 3rd picture below).
EUC2321 When Mobile Met Desktop: AirWatch and Horizon Vision and Integration Strategy
It turns out that I was the only person in the room that attended last nights EUC session (EUC3319), so I was picked on throughout the session.
There was a bit of discussion around Content Locker replacing Horizon File and offering a secure and controlled way of sharing/syncing files across devices and to other users.
There was a small piece on AirWatch MDM/MAM for desktops, include Horizon Flex.
TBH, a lot of what was discussed was already news to me as Sumit Dhawan and Kit Colbert had already talked about the AirWatch integration in their session.
STO1965 Virtual Volumes Technical Deep Dive
This was my last session of the day and probably the most interesting of them all!
It really gave me a good understanding of VVOLs, how the VVOL architecture would look like and what to expect from vendors rolling out storage arrays that support VVOLs.
The session talked about the new VASA Providers (VP) and how they provide the communication between the ESXI host and the Storage Array. How there isn’t a filesystem involved or LUNs and hence the limits imposed by those are removed. And basically how VVOLs allow VM Admins to create the VMDKs directly onto the storage arrays and how Storage Admins get the granularity they sought for.
There was discussions around how Protocol Endpoints (PE) are a new component which sits in the data plane between the ESXi host and Array to act as an access point to the storage. Because LUNs and filesystems are being bypassed, PEs are setup by the admin to handle the industry standard protocols (FC/iSCSI/NFS/etc) required for storage access. Any number of PEs can be established, each with its own protocol type!
Storage Containers (SC) will be used to manage the storage capacity…. these are logical constructs to group together VVOLs. They will be seen as ‘datastores’ to the VM admin, but to the storage admin they will be configured as SCs (a so-called pseudo wrap). It is also on these SCs where the Data Services will be configured by the storage admin (such as allowing snaps, dedupe, replications, etc).
Finally they discussed how SLOs will be provided by Storage Policy Based Management (SPBM) – where policies can be used to publish the capabilities of an array and then used to enable the automation of storage provisioning.
In all, VVOLs looks like an exciting feature of vSphere 6.0 and I for one wish to get my hands on some EMC labs to see how they are deployed on their arrays!
Oh, and as for the VMworld Party….. well, unfortunately Simple Minds were from an era which doesn’t resonate with me and I don’t think I recognised many of their songs! I pretty much played pool the whole evening…. =)
So as a partner I had the opportunity to attend VMworld a day earlier than the general public…. which means I was at VMworld on Monday for a full day of partner breakout sessions.
Apart from the Partner General Session (which was taken by Carl Eschenbach as Pat Gelsinger had transportation problems), I pretty much packed my day out with breakout sessions which discussed the vision and strategy on the key focus areas for VMware – SDDC and EUC (Unfortunately due to a scheduling clash I couldn’t attend the Hybrid Cloud session).
There really wasn’t much to report back on because it was mainly a re-iteration of what was announced at VMworld San Francisco. There was a few NDA announcements, which unfortunately I cannot write about, but safe to say there are some cool things coming out with vSphere 6.0.
I have to admit that I have been very impressed with how quickly VMware have evolved their EUC offering…. from last years acquisition of Desktone (to provide desktop-as-a-service over vCloud Air)…. to this years acquisition of AirWatch (finally giving Horizon View the MDM feature) and CloudVolumes (now known as App Volumes which allows layering of applications ontop of the OS allowing app delivery and lifecycle management).
The first General Session of VMworld basically covered similar topics from VMworld US, with the following announcements:
So in a nut shell, here’s a summary of key take-aways in the sessions I attended on Day 1:
INF1349 – SDDC & vCloud Suite Roundup
SDDC2095 – Overview of EVO:RAIL
STO1963 – VVOLs Overview
EUC3319 – EUC for mobile-cloud era
My only major disappointment today was the lack of an EVO: Rail appliance from EMC on display in the Solutions Exchange and the lack of a VVOLs breakout session by EMC.
… rights, I’m now totally shattered as I hardly slept Monday night (due to the Trend Micro party at Salt, W Hotel) and tonight’s awesome EMC party at La Monumental Bullring…..
Roll on Day 2…. and LOTS of coffee!!!
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?
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! =)
So during my searches online for all things VMworld related, I stumbled across this interesting blog entry by VirtualGeek regarding backups….. always a bane of any VMware admin!
It seems that EMC and VMware have shacked up once again and the new features on Avamar 7 shows a tighter integration with vCenter…. it even looks like it’s using a vCenter web-client extension that we saw with VDP (not surprising since VMware took Avamar’s algorithms, so why shouldn’t EMC take stuff from VDP?).
The self-service recovery portal looks surprisingly similar to the VDP version (albeit with more functionality).
The demo showing Avamar working together with Data Domain to fire up a VM from within the DD storage was pretty impressive – EMC call this “VM Instant Access”!
Basically DD will be used as a backup target for Avamar (with Avamar itself determining whether to push the data to DD or to an Avamar grid – usually high changing data is sent to the DD), the VM will be restored via a NFS datastore mount from within DD itself.
Looks very simple and very effective…. especially since after firing up the VM in the mounted datastore, you can just simply Storage vMotion it back into your production environment!
Simple, Instant Access! =)
The Backup-as-a-Service demo was pretty interesting regarding how they use the vCHS and Avamar for BaaS…. whilst not fully released yet for production, it gives a good insight into what’s possible and the direction both VMware and EMC are taking.
Finally the Avamar and vCOPs/LogInsight integration demo was very cool……. vCOPs is a great management tool which I try to encourage all my VMware customers to buy and use…… having the Avamar integration would be very beneficial as you get a single dashboard which will show not only the health of your VMware environment, but also the health of your backups!
And with the integration you will also get to see all the metrics for Avamar (GB protected, dedupe, VM backup related information, etc) alongside all the usual VM metrics that comes as standard with vCOPs.
BTW, no keynote session on Day 3 of VMworld….. so pretty much most blogs are re-enforcing what was talked about during the first 2 days….. Seems day 3 was pretty much vendor related with a lot of people checking out what NetApp and EMC had to offer. A lot of blog entries about VNX 2 and MCx…..!
The problem about working full time is it’s really hard to find time to blog, and also to find topics to blog about! =)
One of the great things about my job is we have a solution centre in the office which allows me to play around with kit! =)
Our solution centre is based around an EMC VSPEX architecture….. so EMC VNX storage, Cisco UCS blades and VMware virtualisation!!
I’ve been busy the last week or so putting together a vCloud solution for some of the engineers to play around with, as well as finally completing the detailed installation guide for deploying the vCloud Suite (one of these days I promise I will post it up).
Anyways, so I ended up installing two RHEL 6.2 VMs as my vCD cells on a MS SQL 2008 R2 DB, load-balanced using a vCNS edge….. but when I tried to start the vCD services on my linux VMs, they would say they’ve started (simple service vmware-vcd status command) but wouldn’t give me the vCD web console/UI….. all I got was a Blank Grey Webpage and after a while it would error out saying it couldn’t connect to the website!! Hmmmm……
Anyways, this gave me a good opportunity to test out my troubleshooting skills and offer a topic for my blog! =)
So here goes……
The Log files for vCloud Director are located at /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/logs. There are three main files to look at (well there’s more than 3 but these are the ones I usually use and 99% of the time I can work out what’s wrong):
This log file provides information on the status of the vCloud Director cell services and the application as it starts up.
Use tail -f cell.log to view the live status when starting a vCloud Director Cell.
A successful start up will allow you to access the vCD web-console/UI and will display a ‘started’ status for each service, plus 100% for Application Initialization.
Usually if there is an issue with accessing the web-front end UI then it is more than likely that the services are still waiting to complete, as below:
If you’re seeing lots of services showing a “WAITING” status, then check the other logs to determine what could be causing this issue.
This log file shows any alerts, errors or information that the vCloud Director cell services maybe experiencing. A healthy vmware-vcd-watchdog.log looks similar to the below:
If there’s an issue, then you could get an ‘Alert’ entry, similar to the one below:
I believe vCloud Director will automatically try to re-start the services as I didn’t see a time stamp for an entry when I manually restarted the service. Also this log looks very similar to what you would get if you typed in ‘service vmware-vcd status‘ as that command reports on both the vmware-vcd-watchdog and vmware-vcd-cell services.
This log file shows the status of the initial installation of vCloud Director and will log how the application is currently functioning. If you have any errors or failures during installation, this log file will provide you with the details required to troubleshoot the cause of the failure.
In addition, this log will also provide information on any errors that may cause the vCloud Director services to fail to start.
In my case, after doing a cat vcloud-container-info.log | more I discovered the following error:
Turns out that the error shows that the vCloud Director cell could not resolve its hostname in DNS.
When I went through the pre-reqs before installation, I realised that I had only put in DNS entries for the two IPs used for the HTTP and the Remote Console access….. I forgot to put an entry into DNS that resolved the hostname of the Linux VM to the HTTP IP address.
A quick edit to DNS and then a restart of the vCD services fixed the problem I experienced.
This log file shows the debugging information. The detail in this log file will be dependant upon the level of debugging set. I didn’t actually end up looking at this log as the error was discovered in the -info.log…. However, it’s another port of call if you can’t work out what’s causing your vCD services to fail.
Rights….. blog entry over…… I’m off to eat my dinner! =)
Wow…. it’s exactly a month since I last posted on my blog! Not good signs….. =P
TBH, I’ve been some-what busy with work, exams, training courses, webinars…… plus the last thing I’ve wanted to do after a long day at work is to log on and blog (which can be read “I’ve been lazy!”).
It’s been a busy month – finally got round to taking and passing the HP0-S35: Implementing HP BladeSystem Solutions exam for the course that I took last November (… procrastination…), so finally have my HP ATP – BladeSystem Solutions Integrator certification! Although I can’t actually check because my HP SmartPortal access has been revoked as HP have killed off anyone with access linked with 2e2! So I can’t even check my HP certs now! ¬_¬”
Also been busy trying to complete the training and certifications required to enable MTI to achieve the VMware competencies! Currently working my way through the Management Competency as I already have a few clients in place that we can submit as case studies (this will be MTI’s 4th competency out of the 6 key ones! Although we’re also eligible for Cloud IaaS).
Did quite a lot of delivery work the past month…. upgrading VMware environments to the latest and greatest…. showing clients the pitfalls of SSO and informing them to ‘get use’ to the new web-client.
Been also busy hosting a MTI Webinar on vCenter Operations Manager – what it is and what it can do to your business! Went well, loads of new leads and quite a number of clients are trialing the product. Should be hosting a technical webinar soon to ‘deep-dive’ into vCOPs! =)
Finally I’ve been very busy deploying several versions of SRM…… VMware SRM and EMC SRM….. =)
VMware SRM = Site Recovery Manager (http://www.vmware.com/products/site-recovery-manager)
EMC SRM = Storage Resource Management (http://uk.emc.com/data-center-management/storage-resource-management.htm)
What I don’t understand is why choose the same acronyms?!? Coming from a VMware background, I always think SRM is going to be Site Recovery Manager – and so will pretty much most of the market!! So why EMC had to call their new management suite SRM is beyond me!!
Anyways, it’s quite a powerful suite of products – consists of:
The only issue is it’s really really expensive!! And not to mention a pain to setup and configure….. it would be much better when they finally put it all into one product! Also did I mention it is Stupidly expensive? I mean you’re looking at 5-6 figures!! When you consider products like EMC Storage Analytics or even VNX Monitoring & Reporting give you great functionality for monitoring and managing your EMC Storage for a couple hundred dollars, you really have to think twice when breaking open the chequebook for SRM! Anyways, EMC are trying to push us into selling this product…. but it’s just not priced for SMBs/Mid-markets…..!
Moving swiftly on….. today was VMware’s Partner Exchange on Tour 2013 @ Reading (http://www.partnerexchangeontour2013.com/reading), held at the Madjeski Stadium…… home to the recently relegated Reading FC! I thought it was ironic that the venue was the home of the Royals and that the theme of PEX was “Take Charge”….. Couldn’t help but think the theme came too late for Reading! No one really took charge of keeping them in the premiership last season! Lol….. =P
As always, some good sessions…… especially the keynote speech by Joe Baguley, describing the Software Defined Data Centre (SDDC) to be like ‘chicken farming’….. =)
TBH, the keynote was pretty similar to what was heard at VMware Forum 2013, although more cats/chickens in the story this time round…. plus a large african snail!
I found it interesting that VMware have now focused their strategy into 3 key areas:
I vaguely remember that a year ago this who area was very wishy-washy with the terms End-User Computing, Application Transformation and Infrastructure Transformation….. tbh, those terms could mean anything!! Glad that they’ve now got some good headlines (and some focus) that us partners can build on!
At least this year the venue was decent….. last year it poured with rain and we all had to park on the grass at Wokefield Park….. suffice to say there was a lot of damage to the grass at the end of the day when people tried to drive off in their cars! (Like the huge skid marks I left trying to get my 3-series going – 19″ rims don’t offer much grip on soggy grass!!)
Over the past year at both 2e2 and MTI, I’ve been trying to push home my own thoughts at how a customer’s journey to the cloud should look like:
It was nice to see a keynote slide that detailed a similar path that VMware see as the journey from server virtualisation to SDDC!
Ok, so my idea was pretty much squashed into 3 steps and had fluffy marketing spin on the names, but my thought process was pretty similar…. quite chuffed that I was heading in the right direction as the bods at VMware.
Anyways, enough of an update…… roll on VMworld 2013…..!
Oh, and before I sign off….. I’ve finally succumbed and registered myself on Twitter….. my handle is @anthony_poh (https://twitter.com/anthony_poh)……. no idea what I’ll be tweeting….. I’m hoping it will be IT related, but it may end up descending into tweets of my random thoughts and moans! =P