MTI Secure Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Webinar

So last Thursday I was asked by the marketing peeps at my company, MTI Technology, to run a webinar with my colleague, Andrew Tang, around what Hyper-Converged Infrastructure is all about, why it’s suddenly become so popular within the industry, and how best to secure a HCI solution.

The webinar has now been uploaded for public consumption…. and since it kind of went ok – apart from me suffering from a runny nose throughout (sorry for all the sniffing) – I’ve decided to blog about the webinar for you all to watch.

I don’t really touch upon product in this webinar, as the last thing customers want is to be shoehorned into a certain vendor product… instead I hope the webinar gives enough information about what HCI is in general, why customers should be looking at HCI during their next infrastructure refresh, and more importantly what to consider when evaluating a HCI solution!

Feel free to pop along and access the webinar recording here: (sorry, you have to fill in your details to gain access….)

Finally, if you’re interested in talking more about HCI then feel free to contact me or register for one of MTI’s HCI Discovery Workshops:

VMware on Microsoft Azure….. interesting!

Earlier this week, Microsoft let slip that they were working with Premier VMware partners on a tech preview to deploy a full VMware stack on Azure bare-metal hardware, co-located with other Azure services.

Initially billed as a ‘stepping-stone’ to full Azure Cloud, Microsoft have made known that “sometimes there are specific VMware workloads that can be more challenging to migrate to the cloud” – and so customers may need the option to run these workloads on a VMware stack in Azure (for the time being). What I can’t quite work out yet is what these “workloads” would be… after all, nearly every workload I’ve ever deployed on VMware can be easily re-deployed on Hyper-V!

Microsoft have mentioned that this new VMware stack on Azure will GA in 2018. What they haven’t mentioned is who they’re working with, who will own and support the service and how it would be licensed…. for a start, it’s very interesting that it’s not being developed alongside VMware, and VMware have come out to say they’re not aware of any of their partners collaborating alongside VMware engineering to deliver this service – in fact VMware have stated it’s being developed independent of VMware and is “neither certified nor supported by VMware…. VMware does not recommend and will not support customers running on the Azure announced partner offering.” – which kind of makes you wonder what happens if a customer encounters problems with this Azure service?!? I highly doubt there will be any enterprise customers taking up this un-supported Azure service!!

I’m not sure why Microsoft have stated that “running your VMware stack in the cloud doesn’t address your hybrid requirements”… surely the fact that having a common framework on-prem and off-prem (ie VMware Cloud Foundation) is that “true consistency across your cloud and on-prem environment” that Microsoft say is missing….?!? Whilst it maybe true that Azure can provide a complete hybrid cloud package, let’s face it their Azure Stack offering is pretty limited – only a select few hardware vendors, no ability for customers to use their own hardware and lack of ability to expand/upgrade – plus I’m not aware of many customers jumping on board the Azure Stack on-prem platform! Also, when it comes to networking, Microsoft’s offering lacks the features of what NSX offers to VMware customers!

Should VMware start getting worried about this new announcement…..? On the contrary, they seem to have embraced the idea and even have the audacity to spin this announcement as Microsoft “recognizing the leadership position of VMware’s offering…. as a superior and necessary solution for customers over Hyper-V…..!!” TBH, they’ve never really seen much damage done to their vSphere install base when Microsoft started releasing tools to help people migrate off VMware, so I doubt this new announcement will trouble their new VMware Cloud on AWS offering.

It’s interesting that it was announce alongside the new Azure Migrate service which helps you discover and plan the migration of your on-prem VMware workloads and then execute the migration with Azure Site Recovery (ASR).

In my opinion, it’s all just a bit of hot air coming from Microsoft to try and take some of the plaudits before next weeks AWS re:Invent conference!


However, I do hope that Microsoft swallow some pride and reach out to VMware and start a combined engineering/development effort as that will go a long way to what every man and his dog wants to see – VMware Cloud on Azure! Only when Azure comes on board will VMware be able to say they are now a “broker of cloud” as only then will customers be given the option to migrate workloads seamlessly between the 2 biggest players in the public cloud market! (TBH given the relationship VMware has with GCP, I can see VMware Cloud on GCP happening first before Azure – although hardly anyone uses GCP!)

I mean, VMware and Microsoft already partner to offer VMware Horizon Cloud on Azure, surely they can put their differences aside and produce the one thing everyone is asking for!

…. watch this space….. (in eager anticipation!)

Horizon Cloud on Azure – GA

Interesting tie up between VMware and Microsoft…. is this the beginning of a new relationship? Have Microsoft woken up (post-VMworld) to the awesome VMware Cloud on AWS and realised they also want in on the party? (although if i’m honest this partnership has been bubbling in the background for a while now).

Anyways, after a round of beta testing in the US, Horizon Cloud has now gone GA on Azure:

When Horizon Cloud was launched earlier this year, the concept of enabling end-user organisations the ability to deploy feature-rich VDIs and applications across multiple deployment options was very promising. From a single management console, end users are able to deploy virtual desktops onto on-premise infrastructure, to the Cloud, or a hybrid combination of both. TBH, some of this concept was already available in Horizon Air (which came out of the Desktone acquisition), but this is an evolution of that product.

Horizon Cloud is a cross-cloud architecture for VDI – much like how Cloud Foundation is for SDDC – however, in the case of Horizon Cloud, the Portal which acts as the control/management plane resides solely in the cloud (you get a choice with Cloud Foundation’s SDDC Manager), administrators log into this portal to deploy and manage their VDI sessions – whether on prem or cloud.

3 offerings currently:

  1. Horizon Cloud Hosted – so VDI infrastructure provided by VMware (IBM Cloud is currently the only provider), where you just choose the type of desktop and apps to deploy via the portal – DaaS. Infrastructure management/maintenance/SLAs are fully undertaken by VMware.
  2. Horizon Cloud On-Premise – based on HCI technology and acts like a stepping stone to Cloud VDI. VDI stored locally on prem, but management is all from the Cloud, perfect for data-residency issues, for end-users who require high performance VDI, and for IT admins who wish to have greater control over their VDI infrastructure.
  3. Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure – delivering RDS VDI and apps hosted in Azure datacentres. Connecting a customers Azure IaaS subscription to Horizon Cloud. So VMware manages the VDI aspects and Microsoft the underlying infrastructure. Also worth noting that currently only Azure deployments support vGPU-accelerated infrastructure.

Whatever the deployment option, customers will get a VDI infrastructure that’s easily scalable (whether cloud or on-prem) and easy to deploy. The best part is you get the flexibility of subscription based pricing.

With Horizon Cloud on Azure, you can import gold images from Azure marketplace which will then be configured and deployed for Horizon.

One key element of the Horizon Cloud technology is justin-time (JIT) provisioning of virtual desktops and applications. Using the configurations made in the cloud-control
plane, Horizon Cloud leverages VMware App Volumes, User Environment Manager, and VMware Instant Clone technologies to assemble personalised virtual desktop and application environments when an end user logs in, giving IT administrators high flexibility in leveraging the infrastructure.

I like the idea that if I have a persistent VDI deployed in Horizon Cloud, then I can access that VDI or hosted apps whether I’m in the office or on the move (as long as there is data connectivity). I can start writing a document in the office, then leave it open mid-sentence as I leave the office, or jump on a train – I can even power off my endpoint device – then I can re-establish the session and carry on without any interruption… an Always On desktop!

I also like the idea that with Azure, I could deploy a VDI session to the datacentre in the UK, then as I jump on a flight to the US I can re-deploy that VDI session to an Azure datacentre in the US. Although, I’m not quite sure you can migrate live VDI sessions between datacentres yet – I haven’t seen any articles that say you can live-migrate VDIs (but one would think this would be the ideal end-goal).


Hopefully this new VMware-Microsoft partnership will lead onto Microsoft accepting to run Cloud Foundation on Azure (VMware Cloud on Azure) which will then give end users the freedom to move their workloads from on prem to either AWS or Azure!! Almost Cross-Cloud (just need GCP to step up).

Opinion Piece on VMware Licensing

So over the past few months I’ve been seeing a lot of customers within the Public Sector and Education looking at transitioning off VMware vSphere and onto Microsoft Hyper-V! With tightening budgets or even budget cuts, IT admins in these industries are looking for quick wins in slashing their IT bills and many see dropping VMware for the ‘free’ Microsoft hypervisor as an obvious choice!

The problem is, you can argue about VM densities per host, resource scheduling, live migrations, DR, and other technical aspects of why vSphere trumps Hyper-V…. However, the reply is always the same…. “Well Hyper-V is Good Enough for our environment…. and it’s Free!!”

Yes, Hyper-V is good enough as a hypervisor… and yes it’s free…. but when you have a large estate, the density ratio impacts the amount of servers you need to buy and you still need to invest in System Center with Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) if you want to effectively manage a cluster of Hyper-V hosts.

Unfortunately, I’m now of the impression that VMware advocates can no longer keep using the same argument when doing comparisons between vSphere and other hypervisors…. IT admins just don’t care any more…. “if the hypervisor is free and can virtualise my servers, then that’s the one I’m going for!!”

Anyways, I ended up sitting down and writing an opinion piece for on this topic….. you can view it here:

PS4 gripes……

Been a busy week trying to sort out bits and pieces for my new job…… not to mention re-adjusting to waking up really early in the morning in order to drive to the office! (Did I mention I’m not a great morning person? Good thing my wife is…. and helps kick me out of bed!)

The other day I was thinking that whilst my blog will predominantly be about VMware, I should at least expand it a bit and blog (or moan) about techie stuff in general….


So WHO watched the PS4 launch event? Pretty hard to miss considering every gaming internet site was abuzz with what could be talked about…. However, I’ve never been a fan of Playstation and pretty much lost my love for Sony years ago (see reason later on), so I pretty much found something better to do at 11pm on the 20th Feb 2013…… catch up on my sleep! =)

So why am I going to moan about the PS4 launch event? Well, the star of the show didn’t even turn up for the event!! Sony basically launched….. A CONTROLLER (and a camera)!

Yes….. A controller… but not just any old controller…… one that has a touch pad on it!! And a ‘share‘ button…..!! Oooooo…..

After watching the replay, I just felt that everything was so over-rated (again – *cough* PS3)…. the launch event was stuffed full of promises, but actually had very little concrete commitment (like a console)! Although if I’m honest, some of the announcements sounds neat and Sony are hedging their bets on a new type of ‘social gaming’ market!
Being able to capture and upload video, spectate each other’s games, even virtually pass the controller to someone else if you’re stuck in a game…. it all sound awesome, but in my opinion it’s just like how Facebook’s “Like” button has faired…. when it first came out, everyone went mad ‘liking’ everything…. as the novelty wore off, less people used it… and I can see this feature of the PS4 going the same way! In the first couple of months everyone will be doing it, but after a while it will just become too much of a pain-in-the-ass to share stuff with mates!
Plus some of the features (like sharing the game with others) will require your mates to be on at the same time, or else the novelty will be lost! (Not to mention the wait time if you’ve shared your game with a friend to ask them for help – assuming you can do ‘offline’ sharing).

TBH, I didn’t think the location of the touch pad was very clever either….. how are you supposed to reach and use the touch pad when gaming?!? You’ll be quite uncomfortable stretching your thumbs to swipe it…..


But my biggest question has to be “Why AMD?”

AMD have had a poor couple of years…. fallen waaaay behind Intel on the desktop and server CPU market and even face competition from the likes of ARM!

Don’t believe me? Well here are some of their failures over the past few years!

  • K10 chip delays….
  • Barcelona and Fusion issues, glitches, bugs, AND delays
  • …… and when they did finally make it off the production lines they had performance issues! (ie. Intel pissed all over them in the benchmarks with their Core i architecture – Nehalem/Sandy Bridge)
  • Phenom core issues (remember the 3-core phenom?)….
  • Bulldozer’s failure…..

5+ years ago AMD could do no wrong, the Athlon CPUs were THE cpus to have in custom gaming rigs…. Intel had been knocked off the top spot and looked very worried! And AMD were looking to gobble up ATI (Then makers of some of the best GPUs in the market having knocked Nvidia off their perch!)…. but it’s all gone wrong…… Intel have come storming back, and so have Nvidia!

Then again, it’s an interesting step away from the old PowerPC based PS3….. and the EmotionEngine of the PS2! Looks like Sony have decided to stop tinkering in the CPU market and go to a ‘proper’ CPU player!

…. Maybe it’s because the APU from AMD will be damn cheap compared to other cpus in the market! Considering Sony have been making a loss, this could be a good reason why!

……. I’m just waiting for Microsoft to announce they’re using Intel and Nvidia GPUs in their next Xbox…. boom, goodbye PS4!! LOL…… =)


So why do I hate Sony products?? Well I detest Sony products as much as I have now come to detest Apple products…. and for the same reason…. they think their customers are idiots (actually most are) and will pay excessive amounts of money for mediocre tech – just ‘because’ it carries their name and is ‘cool’!
I use to own several Sony products (walkmans, discmans) but soon realised I was paying over the odds for a piece of tech I could easily have bought cheaper from a competitor (and sometimes better performing).
Sony VAIO is a classic case…. stupidly high pricing on laptops that were pretty to look at, but pretty pants specs wise….. could easily have got a laptop twice as powerful for half as less from the likes of Asus or Acer!

As for Sony TV…. well, it’s the same…… Samsung/Panasonic are equally as good! Not to mention Sony/Samsung use to share a joint venture in manufacturing their panels!


Sony have lost money on PS3…. why? Overpriced for a piece of tech that matches the performance of the Xbox 360…. And without them announcing the price point of the console, I can see them having the same issues with the PS4!

IMHO, it feels like Sony are worried about what Microsoft will announce and just ‘wanted’ to be first to launch…….

Well, it’s over to you Microsoft…… knock my socks off and I may succumb to buying the new Xbox just like I did with the 360! =)