VMworld 2013 Europe – Day 1 Round Up

So those of you who read my VMworld 2013 US round up will already have read about all the juicy bits that was announced in San Fran….. basically vSphere/vCloud 5.5…..

The keynote session by Pat Gelsinger pretty much repeated a lot of what was announced in the US, with a little bit of juicy extras (see below)…… Pat did a good job engaging the audience, the dialogue flowed and it certainly kept my attention on what was being announced!
I don’t know why, but I tend to find some of the speakers from the US more interesting than those from the UK….. Not sure if it’s the accent or the way they’re more animated, or maybe it’s the way they deliver their presentations…..? Anyways, if you’re a speaker and you find me falling asleep – it’s because you’re not interesting….. ;oP

First up was the announcement of VMware’s acquisition of Desktone!
I first read about Desktone after VMworld US as there were a lot of discussions regarding vCHS and possible Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) offerings… rumours were awash about Desktone being a ‘good fit’ for VMware…… guess those rumours turned out to be true!

One of the key points about the Desktone acquisition is that it brings the added advantage for on-premise VDI customers to burst out into the cloud (like a vCHS provider) if they suddenly require the need to spin up more desktops then they have resources for. From what I could gather speaking to the people at the Desktone booth, they have a piece of software, very similar to vCloud connector, that manages the connection of on-premise and off-premise VDIs, including the ability to transfer between the two….. interesting!
And obviously to bean-counters, the idea of DaaS gives them the opportunity to move all the outlay from CAPEX into a more “easy-to-budget” OPEX…. afterall, you’ll know how much it would cost to spin up and consume a desktop in the cloud. It would also save time and money because it allows remote users to spin up desktops on any device (tablet, laptop, smartphone, thin clients, etc).

The next main announcement was that vCloud Hybrid Service was coming to Europe, with Sungard being the first vCHS provider. (No photo here because some bozo in front of me decided to stand up and block my shot).

Whilst we’re talking about Cloud, updates to some products were also announced to enhance Cloud Management: vCAC 6.0, vCOPs 5.8, vCenter Log Insight 1.5 and vITBM.

Next up was the announcement of the General Availability of VMware NSX!
Network has always been an issue with virtualisation, you spin up a VM in minutes yet always have to rely on some sort of configuration to be carried out on your physical network device….. NSX was launched to bring the Network layer into the virtualisation stack as a ‘Software Defined’ device.
Think of it as a Network Hypervisor….. what ESX did for Compute, NSX will do for Networks! NSX abstracts network operations and configurations from they underlying hardware into a distributed virtualisation layer. It will allow you to define switches, firewalls, loadbalancers, routers, plus other networking elements.
It’s vendor-agnostic…. supporting most hypervisors and physical network devices.
An interesting slide (and one I didn’t get a photo of) was the ability to define network policies that had the switch configuration, the firewall configuration and other network elements and then just simply ‘assign’ it to a VM…. bobs your uncle, your VM is now fully configured!

The slides below were from a technical breakout session that introduced NSX and delved into it a bit more then what was presented at the keynote session…. This slide shows the various components of NSX:

We then saw a list of partners that had already been engaged by VMware to work on integrating products with NSX.

What’s very interesting from the partner slides we saw was that Cisco was missing as a partner!! It’s quite obvious that the relationship between Cisco and VMware have gone off the boil again…… and I’ve heard a rumour that Cisco maybe announcing something big in the SDN arena sometime soon!

The last thing I’m going to talk about was the announcement of the GA of vDP 5.5 Advanced (vDP 5.5 std was announced at VMworld US).
The key items to note about this product is that it now integrates with both EMC Data Domain and EMC Avamar!

The integration with Data Domain allows you to use VDP as the front-end scheduler and back off to a Data Domain as the target. VDP will store all the Meta-data whilst DD stores all the backup data. This will be great as you’ll be backing off all your data onto a DD which means you will get global dedupe as your data is all in one location!

The following slide was very interesting as it shows you what targets you can use to replicate your vDP to:

Finally the last take-away point from the vDP advanced announcement was the fact that it will allow you to consider Backup-as-a-Service by replicating your backup from the vDP appliance to a service provider who may be running something like Avamar!IMG_0053

So hopefully that has rounded up the key points that I got out of Day 1’s general session and announcements!

To be honest, there’s probably a lot more I could waffle on about, but given it’s now 2am and I’ve had a very long day followed by a stint at the EMC party… I’m quite mentally exhausted!

I doubt there’ll be much for me to blog about for the remaining 2 days as I’ve gone over the key announcements in this post… and if I’m honest, the technical sessions I’ve booked myself onto are more for me to enhance my knowledge of existing products and solutions.

Time for bed……!

VMware Walk-throughs

So, some clever person at VMware has built some awesome walk-throughs of a few of the new features/products that were announced at VMworld 2013.


There’s a solid walk-through of VDP, showing step-by-step overviews of:

  • creating a backup job for a VM using web-client
  • restoring a VM using web-client
  • restoring a VM directly to a vSphere host (from the VDP appliance)
  • performing a file level restore
  • replicating VDP backup to EMC Avamar (a very useful walk-through!)

There are also additional overviews of App HA, vSphere Replication, vSphere Flash Read Cache and vSAN…

VMware had loads of ‘canned demos’ which I have used in the past to show clients demos of their products, but they were all on my laptop which I then had to lug around to every meeting… not to mention they always expired!!
I find this new walk-through website a far better option, not to mention it’s a far cleaner interface…. plus because it’s online, I can now leave my laptop at home! =)

Just need some walk-throughs of vCOPs….. =)

VMworld 2013 US ends…… so here’s my round up!

So VMworld 2013 has come to an end in the US….. and with no real big announcements, many people may have come away a bit disappointed.

But as I mentioned in a previous post, “VMware-the-company” has gone through quite a bit over the past year or so…. restructuring/redundancies, new CEO, new focus….. so you can kind of understand why nothing BIG was going to be announced.

However, that said, I believe they’ve still managed to excite the VMware community with the announcements made….

  • Official launch of NSX – details of the Nicira product has been floating around for months and it’s good to finally see what it can do!
    Announcement here: http://cto.vmware.com/introducing-vmware-nsx-the-platform-for-network-virtualization/
  • vSphere 5.5 – whilst no real ground-breaking announcements, the 5.5 release builds on what vSphere 5.1 achieved.
    I think some people might have hoped for a new version release (The “Tock” to 5.1s “Tick”), given how in the past it was always 1 major release before a new version, but given what 5.1 brought to the table (SSO, web-client, VDP, etc) I guess it didn’t make much sense to bash out a brand new version before the new functions had bedded in.
    But what’s great is that every time VMware announce a new release, there are a ton of new functionalities and features to go with it! =)

    • SSO – Glad to see they’ve listened to some of their customer frustrations and improved SSO to make it more streamlined and easier to deploy!
      I’ve read that it’s a complete rebuild/rewrite of the SSO architecture to enable it to scale and serve vCloud Director and Horizon View.
      SSO replication has been redesigned and it sounds like multi-SSO deployments will become easier to implement (in part due to no longer requiring an external DB which was a major PiTA to make available between multiple SSO instances!).
      It also has an improved AD authentication system which speeds up AD searches (especially if you have a super-large AD).
    • vSAN – a software based distributed storage solution built directly IN the hypervisor – so no virtual appliance required! Whist not GA with 5.5, this will probably show up at the next update (Q1 2014??).
      From what I have read, it takes all the disks on a host (at least 1 SSD and 1 magnetic HDD) and uses them to create the virtual SAN (it is very much like the vSphere Storage Appliance). It’s easy to deploy, scalable (although the beta limits to 8 hosts) and allows granular polices to be set on the VMs rather than on the LUN/datastore.
      Seems the SSD will be used as a read cache/write buffer and the HDDs as the actual storage.
      Hosts in the vSAN cluster can either be storage nodes (ie their local disks are put into the storage pool) or compute nodes (which just leech off the storage pool).
    • vFlash Cache – Much like how VMware pools CPU and RAM, this new feature does the same with local host flash devices (like SSDs). It’s a local host caching solution (using local SSD drives to offload IO), although currently it only operates as write-through caching (hmm… EMC vfcache or XtremeSW cache anyone?!?)
      VMs can be configured to use this pool of Flash resource to accelerate the read performance (so acceleration of applications) – it can’t be used as storage!
      I believe a write-back mode is in the pipelines for a future release.
    • vCenter Server Appliance – embedded Postgres DB has been re-engineered and supports up to 500 hosts or 5000 VMs. Now a GREAT alternative to deploying vCenter Server on Windows! Sounds production ready now (rather than just for PoCs and test/dev)!
    • App HA – application level HA. vSphere HA only currently recovers a VM, it isn’t application aware! vSphere App HA has the ability to monitor certain applications and can be configured to restart an application service when issues are detected. (Although it requires vFabric Hyperic to be deployed in order to gain the insight into the application)
    • Other updates:
      • vCO – new debugging mode, updated workflow schemas, integrations with vCAC
      • Web Client – faster UI, drag & drop
      • VDP – disk level granularity (backup/restore of VMDKs), replication to the cloud.
      • VUM – integrated with Web Client (although baseline creations still in vSphere client)
      • VMDK size – now up to 62TB
      • VM Hardware version 10
      • Increased maximums
  • vCloud Suite 5.5:
    • vCloud Director – improvements to the content catalog, provisioning vApps, vApp lifecycle management, importing/exporting vApps to OVFs.
    • vCloud Networking & Security – improvements to LACP (bonding uplinks together to increase bandwidth) and flow based marking & filtering (ability for granular filtering of traffic). Improvements to Firewall rule management.
    • Site Recovery Manager – Looks like it now supports Storage DRS, Storage vMotion and the new vFlash and vSAN feature (using vRA).
      • vSphere Replication – improved UI in the web client. Improved feature to allow multiple Points-in-Time snapshots (allowing you to select earlier snapshots rather than just the last known snapshot – max 24 replicas). Support for Storage DRS, Storage vMotion and vSAN. Scalability improvements allowing up to 10 vRAs per vCenter Server. Ability to replicate (vRA) to a remote site that doesn’t have a vCenter Server deployed.

And lastly, vCloud Hybrid Services (vCHS)…
Pretty well known that VMware have been looking at taking on Amazon and Azure with their own Public Cloud offering, however they’ve been taking a slightly different approach where they are engaging service providers to deploy vCloud Suite and join their ‘vCloud Hybrid Service’ (vCHS) program. So it’s announced that from Sept 2013, the vCHS will be available in 6 datacenters in the US.

The BIG difference between vCHS and the other competitors is that it’s designed to be a true extension of a clients private enterprise cloud running on vSphere and vCloud. VMs can easily be moved to and from the vCHS without any modifications – so pretty much allowing customers to burst out of their private cloud into the vCHS!

So the recent press release also mentions that they will be offering Desktop as a Service (DaaS), Platform as a Services (PaaS) and Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) in addition to IaaS!
This pretty much means you can run VDI in your private cloud and then burst out to the vCHS, allowing you to run both server and desktops either on-premise or in vCHS.

Whilst not yet being rolled out in the UK, I can only assume that Saavis will be one of the first to roll it out (given they’re involved in the US roll out).


So…. that’s my summation of VMworld announcements…… there was a whole load of other stuff (like EMCs VNX2 and ViPR), but I would be here all day writing this blog if I had to digest all the sessions that occurred!

Roll on Barcelona!! =)


VMworld 2013 announcements – vCloud Suite

So there are times when a blogger becomes just pure lazy (ie this is one of those times), so rather than regurgitate everything I’ve been reading today that came out of the first 2 days of VMworld, I thought it would just be far easier to link to a blog that pretty much sums up what has been announced.

http://www.wooditwork.com – Justin Wood’s Blog

VMworld 2013 just round the corner!

So with VMworld 2013 kicking off in San Francisco on Sunday, the internet (or at least the VMware community) are awash with what could be announced…..
With it being the 10th Anniversary of VMworld, you would expect some big announcements to go alongside a big shindig……!
However, from what I’ve read we might be in for a bit of a disappointment (that or VMware have been taking a leaf out of JJ Abrams’ books by keeping their cards really close to their chest!).

It’s been interesting reading what’s happening within VMware’s ranks this year…..
Their new(ish) CEO – Pat Gelsinger – decided quite early on in his reign to refocus the company’s route to market – focusing on their core server virtualisation (vSphere) and their cloud business (vCloud Suite).
There’s been a big push on the Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) messaging as it’s a key foundation to the direction VMware are moving…..
As such, they went through a bout of restructuring in Q1 (even though their revenue increased over last years), and cut a lot of their workforce….
And they’ve sold off some of the smaller apps/solutions which now fall out of scope:
Zimbra – which let’s be honest never got anywhere!
WaveMaker – which was a Java development tool that they didn’t really build upon or integrate (obviously bought to try and integrate with the vFabric solutions)
Shavlik – patch management tools which didn’t quite get rolled into vCenter or other management products….
(Just to name a few)

VMware have refocused on 3 key strategies:

  • SDDC (vSphere)
  • Hybrid Cloud (vCloud)
  • Mobility (Horizon)

Whilst already established in server virtualisation (vSphere being market leaders and probably the best hypervisor in the market – IMO), they’re still quite new into cloud computing and still struggling to go up against the likes of Amazon.
vCloud Suite, for all it’s advancement over the past year or so, still falls short of usability……
It’s great for deploying and managing the underlying cloud virtual infrastructure (albeit not great with DR of cloud resources – see my previous blog posts), but it is very lacking on the orchestration and self service portal front…… something they’re trying to address with vCloud Automation Center (the old Dynamic Ops product). But this is yet another layer upon a layer upon a layer….. It’s becoming like Microsoft!!
End users love Amazon because it’s EASY to use and administer……. something you can’t really say about vCloud Director.

Cisco have also waded into the cloud management market by buying out Cloupia and re-branding it UCS Director (lol)……. whilst the re-branding doesn’t go down well with all, it’s undeniable that the Cloupia product itself is quite a good tool!
It’s easy to use, easy to administer, easy to setup, a single pane of glass to manage virtual AND physical infrastructure, plus a decent end-user portal!
(Probably something I’ll post about at a later date)

Then there’s the spin off by EMC and VMware – The Pivotal Initiative – chucking big data Greenplum, Pivotal Labs, and Cloud Foundry together (headed by the old VMware CEO – Paul Maritz)…. pretty much a cloud PaaS offering.
(Which I won’t go into as I haven’t read up enough about them)


Anyways, I’ve digressed away from VMworld……. So to summarise what I’ve read/heard:

  1. vSphere 5.5 release (not the big v6.0 that most people were expecting)
    • A re-written, simplified SSO (yay!)
    • Enhancements to vSphere Replication
    • Increased maximums
    • Possibly another new VM hardware version (v10)
    • Improved Web Client (given that the vSphere client will probably be dropped at the next big version release)
  2. Tighter integration of the vCloud Suite products (possibly doing away with all the different products by rolling some of it into vSphere – like vCNS)
  3. Enhancements to Horizon Suite

Unfortunately I couldn’t find much info on the feature upgrade/enhancements on the latter two…. but then again, it’s all rumours at present. We’ll find out next week!

A few things I would like to see announced at VMworld:

  1. Product launch of NSX which they’ve been working on since the acquisition of Nicira.
  2. Re-engineered version of SRM which will protect cloud resources.
  3. Integration of vCAC and vCD into a single product. Or at least making vCAC easier to deploy with vCloud.

Anyways, should be a good show next week…… and I’m still hoping to head on out to Barcelona when VMworld hits Europe in October!