VMworld 2015 breakout sessions now on YouTube

Unknown to most out there, VMworldTV has been busy uploading recordings onto their YouTube channel.

All the General Sessions are available to watch, and currently there are around 54 breakout session videos available – sessions such as:

Definitely worth watching if you have (a lot of) free time on your hands! =)

….. and with that, it’s only 3 more weeks till VMworld 2015 Europe!! =)

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VMworld Europe 2014 – Day 3 round up

Well I was planning on posting this on Thursday night, but after the flight back to Gatwick, the drive home and the unpacking, I was just too knackered to sit in front of my laptop and write a blog entry…… yesterday I got bogged down with sorting out some stuff for work which means I’m posting this update 2 days late…

So the final day of VMworld is usually a very hard slog…. not only is everyone recovering from the aftermath of the VMworld party the night before, but they’re also suffering from the effects of lack of sleep, too much booze and an overload of information from the previous breakout sessions! =)
And with that in mind I decided to schedule 5 session to attend on day 3…. clever eh?
-_-”

MGT1918 – Extending vCOPs Capabilities using Hyperic

Now for some reason I can’t find the photos I took of the slides during this session, I think I may have inadvertently deleted them off my camera…. =(
The session focused on using the Hyperic agents to help extend the functionalities of vCenter Operations Manager (or vRealize Operations). Hyperic is agent-based and so doesn’t care if it is deployed on a physical server or a VM – it integrates with the OS and auto-discovers the system resources, processes and services, and can even discover applications and their dependencies.

The session demo’d quite a few plugins (MSSQL, SAP), the one that caught my eye was the Microsoft Exchange Plugin and showed how the Exchange environment was auto-discovered and how it was viewed within the vCOPs dashboard.
It’s an “out-of-the-box” plugin that auto-discovers mailboxes, CAS components, DAGs, etc….. and for each component it has custom health definitions to provide clear understanding of the Exchange environment.

SDDC1337 – Technical Deep Dive on EVO:RAIL

So this was the 2nd topic I was looking forward to (the 1st was VVOLs on Day 2) and I actually decided to choose this session over the annual Chad & Vaughn double act (STO2496) that was happening at the same time!! =(

Thankfully I wasn’t disappointed! We had key engineers from Project MARVIN (Modular Automated Rackable Virtual Infrastructure Node) give us a deep dive on how the project came about and show us the 8-9 months lifecycle from design to the EVO:RAIL solution.

So what is EVO:RAIL? Well it’s the worlds’ first VMware-integrated hyper-converged infrastructure solution. The engineers primarily set out to create a solution that would be simple to deploy, simple to configure and simple the manage…. and they’ve achieved their goals!
Once you’ve finished racking and cabling the appliance, all you need to know is how IP addresses work, and you go from power on to a fully working VMware environment in 15mins!! O_o”
The GUI is amazingly simple and user-friendly and the demo of it actually deploying looks so easy that my 3 year old nephew (or 63 year old dad) could probably do it! (For the more techie guys, you can still get into the guts of vCenter so the underlaying software is still accessible).

In a nutshell, EVO:RAIL is a single SKU product that consists of a 2U high 4-node appliance with approximately 100GHz of compute, 768GB of memory and 14.4TB of raw storage (plus 1.6TB of flash capacity for IO acceleration). It can scale out up to 4 appliances and scaling out is as simple as connecting it in and letting the appliances auto-discover each other!
Underneath the hood, it consists of vSphere Enterprise Plus, vCenter Server Appliance, virtual SAN, Log Insight, and the EVO:RAIL Engine.
IMG_0193

The recommended maximum of VMs on a single appliance is around 100 VMs or 250 VDIs.

Unfortunately due to scheduling constraints, I didn’t have time to get to play with an EVO:RAIL appliance…. I would have loved to take up the EVO:RAIL challenge that was going on in the hang space!

TEX2692 – How to Deliver Actionable Recommendations for Alerts with vCOPs

One of the new features of the forth-coming vCOPs 6.0 is the ability to create actionable recommendations to events triggered within vCOPs. You basically use adapters to capture metrics as well as trigger actions for remediation.

It was quite a technical session, delving into how you would create XML files and workflows within vCO to help implement recommendations to an alert generated by vCOPs.
TBH, it was too much depth for me and I should have really looked at one of the other vRealize Operations sessions instead.

INF1502 – What’s New in vSphere?

Alot was discussed around what features were in vSphere 5.5u2 and vCD 5.5u2, the new vSphere for ROBO SKUs and of course the vSphere 6.0 beta program.
IMG_0223

I’ve already highlighted some of the main talking points of vSphere 6.0:

  • vMotion Across vCenter Servers – builds on the ‘share-nothing’ principle already seen in Storage vMotion.
  • Long Distance vMotion – cross-continental deployments (UK->Paris/Munich) as long as the Round Trip Time (RTT) is less than 100ms. This would obviously help with migrating between data centres across the other side of the country, maybe even help with “follow the sun” type migrations of business services!
  • Multi-vCPU Fault Tolerance – well, at least support for up to 4 vCPUs to start with! Seems they’re moving from the old ‘record/replay’ technology to ‘fast checkpointing’. I believe at present it will be limited to 8 vCPUs used per host for FT.
  • Content Library – providing storage for VM templates, ISOs and OVFs and allows publishing and versioning of the content.
  • Virtual Data Center – aggregating of resources to help automate policy-based provisioning.

SDDC2370 – VMware + OpenStack

This was an overview session (funnily the deep dive was scheduled before the overview session!), so it mainly discussed the interaction between VMware and OpenStack over the past few years. What they’ve contributed to the open source project and how they are enabling customers to adopt OpenStack.

It seems that in the market, not many people know what OpenStack is for and they were very quick to highlight that some C-level members assume that they can get rid of their virtualisation technology and simply drop in OpenStack. OpenStack is actually a framework for providing developers with APIs and tools that has to sit on top of a virtual infrastructure!
IMG_0241

OpenStack is an area I’m not very clued up on, and this session was more for me to understand what the VMware Integrated OpenStack (VIO) was about. The following slide shows how certain VMware products will integrate with OpenStack.
IMG_0247

 

So now that VMworld is over, I have to say that I’m happy that the two topics that I had earmarked to learn as much as I could on was fulfilled – the technical deep dives on VVOLs and EVO:RAIL were the two sessions I was looking forward to the most, and they didn’t disappoint!

The only criticism I have for VMworld – and it’s the same problem I experienced last year – was that the whole event is REALLY hard going for those who actually want to go to VMworld to LEARN!! If you pack your sessions full like I did, you’re pretty much running to each room due to over-running sessions and you’re also trying to find some time in between to nip to the toilet, to grab a coffee or drink, or even to grab lunch! I don’t think I ate a proper lunch on any of the days of the conference!

Then again, maybe it’s a ploy by VMware to try and get you to exercise and diet in order to rid yourself of the liquid-rich dinners!! ;oP

All in all, it was another great VMworld for me, I learnt loads and left feeling a lot more knowledgeable! =)

…… all I have to do now is download the stacks of presentations for the other breakout sessions that I couldn’t attend! >_<”

Note: If you’re UK based, then stay-tuned for the VMworld 2014 update session that I will be running alongside my MTI colleagues in the not-too-distant future!

Project MARVIN morphs into VMware EVO: RAIL – VMworld updates

EVO: RAIL?? Really…. Ok, someone really needs to fire the marketing guys!! =P

VMware EVO: RAIL announced.

In a nutshell, VMware and ‘a-n-other’ partner to produce a hyper-converged infrastructure appliance.
As I previously mentioned VMware are NOT going to start manufacturing and shifting tin!

So far the partners listed are Dell, EMC, Fujitsu, Inspur, Net One and Supermicro – these partners will be offering the ‘physical’ hardware for the appliance (a 2U-4 nodes hardware platform) with possibly the following specs:

  • Two Intel E5-2620 v2 six-core CPUs
  • 192GB of memory
  • One SLC SATADOM or SAS HDD as the ESXi boot device
  • Three SAS 10K RPM 1.2TB HDD for the VMware Virtual SAN datastore
  • One 400GB MLC enterprise-grade SSD for read/write cache
  • One Virtual SAN-certified pass-through disk controller
  • Two 10GbE NIC ports (configured for either 10GBase-T or SFP connections)
  • One 1GbE IPMI port for remote (out-of-band) management

VMware will be pairing the physical appliance with vSphere, vSAN, vCenter Log Insight and a new product called the EVO:RAIL engine.

VMware whitepaper: Introduction to VMware EVO: RAIL

This new appliance is supposed to be super-simple to configure and manage. Scalable to 16 nodes with new nodes automatically discovered when integrated into the rig. It even hooks up to vCloud Air (vCHS) to allow end-users the ability to utilise a hybrid approach to their environment!

Target audience – mid-market and branch office environments.

As you can imagine, EMC are not really a server manufacturer – nor are they looking at starting to produce servers…… according to Chad Sakac they could be throwing in the Phoenix platform into the EVO: RAIL appliance.

http://virtualgeek.typepad.com/virtual_geek/2014/08/vmworld-2014-evorail-and-emcs-approach.html

Availability has been punted as being the “second half of 2014”, but given we’re halfway through Q3 already, I doubt we’ll see anything till Nov/Dec time or even Q1 2015!

For more information, pop along to the VMware blogs of Duncan Epping (he of the awesome Yellow Bricks blog) and Chris Wolf (CTO):

http://blogs.vmware.com/tribalknowledge/2014/08/vmworld-2014-vmware-evorail-building-block-software-defined-data-center.html
http://cto.vmware.com/introducing-vmware-evo-hyper-converged-infrastructure-solutions/

And in case you’re wondering, (according to Duncan) the EVO represents a new family of “Evolutionary” Hyper-Converged Infrastructure offerings from VMware, and RAIL represents the “rail mount” attached to the 2U/4-node server platform. One RAIL represents the smallest unit of compute/network/storage that you can purchase within the EVO family.

Other significant news to filter out of the 1st day of VMworld:

  • VMware looks like it’s jumping on the OpenStack bandwagon by releasing it’s own version called VMware Integrated OpenStack (VIOS).
  • VMware releasing vRealize Suite which will be a Cloud Management Platform (CMP) that essentially helps you manage and deploy applications across your cloud platform (private, hybrid, public). They will be rebranding vCAC to vRealize Automation, vCOPs to vRealize Operations and ITBM to vRealize Business.
    VMware rebrands vCloud Hybrid Service as vCloud Air and announces a larger uptake of the product (and greater coverage across the globe)

As always, Derek Seaman’s blog has a great rundown of the keynote and 1st day….. http://www.derekseaman.com/