VMworld 2013 Europe – Day 2 Round Up

So there are only 2 real things worth mentioning in todays’ round up (as I said yesterday, today and tomorrow are more tailored to what I want to learn)….. The General Session and the VMworld Party…. ;oP

1. This mornings’ General Session was delivered by Carl Eschenbach and focused on the key products within the VMware portfolio. He was duly joined on stage by Kit Colbert (Chief Architect and Principal Engineer) and Joe Baguley (EMEA CTO) for a technical demonstration. Each had a part in a role-play to recreate what would happen in a real life situation. Carl was a line-of-business end-user who had an application he wished to deploy, Kit was the IT Admin in charge of the Private Cloud infrastructure, Joe was the IT Admin in charge of monitoring and managing the Private Cloud infrastructure.

It was a really great demonstration of what the VMware products could actually do!
Giving an in-depth look at how each product worked…… they covered off NSX, vCAC, vSAN, vCOPs, vCHS……

It was amazing to see how all the products fit together and what they were capable of, but I kind of left the session wondering if it was a little too perfect! In reality, what was demo’ed would take a heck of a long time to put together in order to get it functioning like the ‘well-oiled’ machine it was! Not to mention from past experience, it doesn’t always go that smoothly or as planned! =)

Anyways, if you have an hour and a half to spare….. the general session is definitely worth watching!!

2. So the VMworld party was very good…. nice to see VMware putting on a very decent spread of food and drink, plus some entertainment to help the attendees unwind and socialise! Although I do have to say it’s a bit of a shame that it ended SO early (10:50pm).

Highlights were:
High on Heels

Mr. Doris

Roller Disco

And of course Mr Taio Cruz

TBH, I think maybe 70% of the attendees who were at the party didn’t know who Taio Cruz was! =P

All in all, a pretty good day…… albeit a very long one for me (6 sessions + key note)…. And let’s not forget I still have 5 sessions tomorrow too!! >_<“

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……!

VMworld 2013 Partner Day

First day of VMworld is dedicated to Partners and TAMs..

As a representative of MTI I’ve signed up for the Partner track in order to gain some insight on what VMware has planned for their partners.

Although that said, my first port of call will be to register at VMUG in order to pick up my VMUG t-shirt… Second port of call will be the EMC stand In order to sign up for their party tomorrow… Then it’ll be off to find the food hall! =)

So my schedule for the day looks like:


And to round it off there’s a partner reception this evening.

Good start to the week!

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