I’m interviewing VMware CTO Joe Baguley on Monday, what would you like to ask?

April 22nd, 2016 6 comments

VMware is one the IT companies of the past decade or more that has truly revolutionised IT.

But this is the past, what about the future? How is VMware placed to take on the challenge of cloud? Is VMware still relevant in the future cloud-native containerised unikernel DevOps cloud world!?

Who better to ask than VMware’s EMEA CTO, Joe Baguley and I have an exclusive chance to ask him any questions in person on Monday 25th April which will be recorded and available to watch fairly soon afterwards.

This is your chance to send me your questions and get answers from Joe directly.

What would you like to ask Joe? Send your questions to me @julian_wood

Categories: VMware Tags:

ZeroStack’s full stack from Infrastructure to Application

January 13th, 2016 No comments

ZeroStack is a recently out of stealth company providing a cloud managed hyper-converged appliance running OpenStack. It is targeting private cloud customers who are wanting to stand up their own OpenStack instances but don’t want the hassle of getting it all working themselves. What ZeroStack also does which is unique is combine this infrastructure part with application deployment which for me is the exciting bit.

It is early days for the company but it has seasoned financial backers, advisers and founders and after just a year has an impressive amount of functionality in its product.

Private Cloud

imageThe use case is companies wanting to replicate the ease of public cloud but in as a private cloud. Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft’s Azure make spinning up VMs or even direct application instances easy and allow you to pay per use. It’s all about lowering the admin of deployment and moving to an IT consumption model.

This is all great but companies at the moment need to replicate this functionality in-house and may like to built out a private cloud. They may need data kept on premises due to perceived security concerns or even legally requiring data to be held in a particular location. There may be more practical concerns like the amount of data to be stored/analysed that makes it impractical to move externally. The issue of cost may be an issue with scare stories of AWS bills racking up quickly although I do find companies are very poor at working out their own internal data center costs so comparisons are not necessarily accurate.

The point where deployment happens is also shifting away from infrastructure support teams to application support teams and further along to applications themselves managing their own infrastructure resources via API calls to a cloud to spin up new VMs with automated deployment and scaling of applications.

Suffice to say companies are wanting to replicate public cloud functionality internally to give applications the resources they require. Current software options are generally VMware which is feature rich with excellent infrastructure resiliency with a cost model to match the functionality or OpenStack which is open source, not as feature rich with deliberately less infrastructure resiliency but doesn’t have license costs due to a vendor.

ZeroStack uses the tagline “Public Cloud Experience, Private Cloud Control” and as I see it is attempting to give its customers four key things:

1. Hardware: Hyper-Converged Appliance

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London VMUG shakes up its leadership

December 10th, 2015 No comments

vmug-logoThe London VMware User Group has been running for I believe 11 years which is a remarkable length of time and has arguably been at the forefront of the global VMUG movement. I have been involved as an attendee and regular presenter for a number of years. At the National UK VMware User Group in November 3 of the 4 leaders dropped the bombshell that they have decided to stand down. There was no coordinated reason, they just felt that they’d had their turn and it was time to bring in new blood and new ideas.

First of all I would like to publicly thank Alaric DaviesStuart Thompson and Jane Rimmer for the sterling service they have performed over so many years. It takes time, effort and commitment to run a VMUG and over so many years this is a remarkable achievement. Simon Gallagher stays on as chief to continue their sterling work.

I would also like to highlight some of the reasons the London VMUG has been so forward thinking over the years

The VMware User Group ideal is actually all about the Users, hence “U” in VMUG. This isn’t just about gathering users to hear from vendors but making users active participants in the VMUG process. Hearing what your peers have to say, their successes and troubles is hugely valuable. I’m pretty sure every single VMUG I’ve attended (and that’s quite a few) I have learned something by talking to or hearing from another attendee, an idea for a script, a better way to apply some firmware, an interesting tool to add to my collection, a different way to approach a design. Sure, the vendors are important, they sponsor the event as a marketing opportunity and have experts on hand to tell you about their products but tapping the resources of fellow attendees is as important if not more so.

This user participation isn’t actually easy to achieve though as people need to be convinced to stand up and present in their own time, possibly without their company’s backing or even knowledge. They need to move outside their comfort zones to share knowledge and may sometimes be highlighting issues in vendor products which vendors don’t often want to hear. Tip for product managers, go to a VMUG to hear the truth from presenters and speak to other users! It takes time to find people to present and this isn’t something that can be mass produced. The London VMUG has always made this a high priority by always having community tracks to encourage users to present and for it to be independent information. They have also started mini presentations of 10-15 minutes called lightning talks to allow users to get involved without the commitment of a full presentation which can be intimidating. This means more organisation for the committee but they’ve gone ahead and done it for the benefit of users. It saddens me when I see the agendas of some other even big VMUGs around the world with little or no non-vendor presentations. Bring back the U into VMUG!

VMUG now has a global organisation which deals with some of the sponsorship opportunities and organisation of the local events but this wasn’t always the case and I know that there are sometimes conflicts where the VMUG organisation would like to prescribe how certain things should be done. I know the London VMUG leadership have had to face these conflicts and as far as I know have always sided with what the users want rather than what the global organisation would prefer. Same has happened with VMware, obviously a rather important supporter but still not the boss, a community presentation on a product has been scheduled rather than someone from VMware doing it. I applaud this independence and hope it continues.

The “virtualisation” industry is changing, sometimes even having the virtualisation tag puts people off, witness the change of the Virtualisation Field Day series of events to generic Tech Field Days. Cloud, cloud-native apps, DevOps etc. are all things IT practitioners are dealing with on a daily basis along with virtualisation, storage, networking and VDI so User groups are going to have to evolve to take this into account.

New chair, Simon Gallagher, is now joined by Dave Simpson, Chris Dearden and Linda Smith who are fantastic additions. I can’t wait to be involved with the new team to carry on and advance the great community the London VMUG provides. Next meeting is on 21st Jan at the new venue called Tech UK, sign-up!

Simon, Dave, Chris and Linda, good luck and thank you for stepping up.

Alaric, Stu & Jane, thank you so much, you’ve given us a huge amount, now enjoy the extra time!

Categories: VMUG, VMware Tags:

FalconStor’s rebirth with FreeStor

December 7th, 2015 No comments

image In my preview post before attending: Virtualisation Field Day 6 Preview: FalconStor I raised my concerns whether FalconStor was “yet another storage company”. I thought it would be useful to detail what I learned during its Virtualisation Field Day presentation as well as speaking to other delegates.

Rebirth

FalconStor as a company seems to have had a much needed rebirth which it sorely needed after legal issues and a tragic CEO loss 4 years ago started to sink the ship. FalconStor then bled cash for a while and lost another CEO before current boss Gary Quinn took the helm. Current management as expected takes pains to distance themselves from the dark times and are passionate about the company’s future and believe they have what it takes to succeed.

I’ve also learned FalconStor previously didn’t have the best reputation for code quality leading to products with less than stellar stability. Apparently this has been rectified with a new team who managed to ink a lucrative partnership with Violin Memory to provide data services software to the lacking Violin arrays. Violin is in the business of high performing storage so this must have been a win partnership for FalconStor as it could learn all about high performing flash as part of the deal. Unfortunately it seems this buddying up dissolved a year or so ago and there doesn’t seem to be much information on why. I get the impression FalconStor wanted to continue but Violin didn’t so hopefully FalconStor received enough of what it needed to improve, speed up and modernise its codebase. Violin is going through its own issues including a tanking stock price yet FalconStor hasn’t been dragged down as well so the market sees Violin as overvalued and has some faith in FalconStor. More recent OEM deals are being done with X-IO Technologies, Kaminario as well as Huawei so FalconStor software seems in high demand.

FreeStor

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Virtualisation Field Day 6 Preview: ZeroStack

November 10th, 2015 No comments

Virtualisation Field Day 6 is happening in Silicon Valley, California from 18th-20th November and I’m very lucky to be invited as a delegate.

I’ve been previewing the companies attending, have a look at my introductory post:I’m heading to Virtualisation Field Day 6.

image Zerostack is another start-up just emerging from stealth mode. It offers a hyper-converged OpenStack appliance with cloud management.

As a start-up its worth looking at who is involved & it has quite a pedigree. Founded by Ajay Gulati who spent 6 years at VMware working on Storage I/O control, Storage DRS and DRS, and Kiran Bondalapati who was a founding engineer at Bromium which has a very clever product for secure OS and hardware virtualisation. Justin King who used to work for VMware and was heavily involved in vCenter is now Technical Marketing at ZeroStack. Very interesting, I wonder if he saw the future and was as worried as I am which I wrote about in my recent article on the issues surrounding vCenter!

Advisers

ZeroStack also has some interesting people as board members and advisors from across the industry. Mark Leslie, now an investor and past Veritas boss, Mohit Aron, founder of storage start-up Cohesity,  Carl Waldspurger, ex-VMware and DRS architect, Umesh Maheshwari co-founder of Nimble Storage and Denis Murphy, Nimble’s Sales boss as well as Mike Dvorkin, co-founder of Insieme Networks which became Cisco’s ACI. That seems some serious cross-industry advice. It has raised $21.6m in funding.

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Virtualisation Field Day 6 Preview: Spirent

November 10th, 2015 No comments

Virtualisation Field Day 6 is happening in Silicon Valley, California from 18th-20th November and I’m very lucky to be invited as a delegate.

I’ve been previewing the companies attending, have a look at my introductory post:I’m heading to Virtualisation Field Day 6.

Spirent Communications.svgSpirent is a company I’ve never dealt with. It’s heavily on the networking side of virtualisation which is not my area of expertise but luckily at Virtualisation Field Day we have experts in all the things so networking is well covered!

Spirent is a publicly traded telecoms testing company which has its corporate headquarters just south of London, about an hour from where I live. It employs 1700 people and had £457m in revenue in 2014 so a fairly

It’s been going since 1936, was originally called Goodliffe Electric Supplies then Bowthorpe. In 2000 it changed its name to Spirent which is apparently from “inspired innovation”.

Spirent traditionally has been all about network infrastructure testing. Think performance, security and functional testing with automated orchestration. The internet+cloud means networks are getting larger and they all need to work as designed so testing is critical. Think of how SDN/NFV complicates the visibility of possible network paths from an underlying infrastructure point of view.

Spirent has made some acquisitions to bolster its wireless technologies so is able to bring its smarts to 4G & 3G mobile networks as well as satellite positioning devices. Think voice over 4G, device performance and GPS location, all needing testing.

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Categories: Tech Field Day, VFD6 Tags: , ,

Virtualisation Field Day 6 Preview: FalconStor

November 10th, 2015 No comments

Updated on 11/11/2015 with some changes based on additional information.

Virtualisation Field Day 6 is happening in Silicon Valley, California from 18th-20th November and I’m very lucky to be invited as a delegate.

I’ve been previewing the companies attending, have a look at my introductory post:I’m heading to Virtualisation Field Day 6.

FalconStor SoftwareFalconStor is a company I’ve heard of over the years (it’s been going for 15 years) but haven’t had any direct experience with their products previously. It seems to have had a chequered history with fines for paying bribes and then covering it up in its books but that’s a few years ago so I’m sure FalStore is putting that behind them!

FreeStor

FalconStor has recently release a brand new product called FreeStor. Don’t get too carried away, its not a Free product in terms of price (more on that later) but rather Free as in Freedom. FreeStor is a product to build a distributed storage resource pool across almost any type of underlying storage. It’s basically virtualised storage using FalconStore’s “Intelligent Abstraction” core so you can easily move, protect and dedupe data on or off cloud without being reliant on any particular hardware, networks or protocols. This means you can freely choose the right storage for the right price and have FreeStor manage and protect it all.

This virtualised platform then allows you to seamlessly move workloads across different underlying storage. There is WAN optimised space efficient replication and everything is globally deduped.

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Virtualisation Field Day 6 Preview: AppFormix

November 10th, 2015 1 comment

Virtualisation Field Day 6 is happening in Silicon Valley, California from 18th-20th November and I’m very lucky to be invited as a delegate.

I’ve been previewing the companies attending, have a look at my introductory post:I’m heading to Virtualisation Field Day 6.

AppFormix is a company that has recently come out of stealth mode. It is basically a monitoring and analysis tool for cloud infrastructure to help people manage a shared and multi-tenant infrastructure.

It is founded by Sumeet Singh who comes from a network analytics background having co-founded NetSift as a graduate student. NetSift sold a product based on his university research for doing deep network packet processing at high speed to detect security issues. A year in, his company was acquired by Cisco for $30m where he then worked for 7 years. He then spent just over a year at Microsoft working on Azure networking and then started AppFormix two years ago. So, AppFormix’s pedigree comes from network analytics.

Obviously, just coming out of stealth, they are brand new and I hadn’t heard of them before their name popped up as a presenter at Virtualisation Field Day.

I have to say they have done a great job with their website clearly articulating what they do:

AppFormix is a cloud infrastructure monitoring and analysis software that runs in any public, private, multi-tenant, or hybrid environment. Our goal is to help companies build better, more efficient, application-agnostic environments by providing them with deep, real-time insights into their infrastructure.

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Virtualisation Field Day 6 Preview: Cirba

November 10th, 2015 No comments

Virtualisation Field Day 6 is happening in Silicon Valley, California from 18th-20th November and I’m very lucky to be invited as a delegate.

I’ve been previewing the companies attending, have a look at my introductory post:I’m heading to Virtualisation Field Day 6.

I briefly met Cirba at VMworld Europe and they presented briefly at Tech Field Day Extra at VMworld US this year. Cirba is a privately owned company and has been operating since 1999.

Define demand. Optimize supply. Automate.Cirba is a Canadian company with a product which is all about optimising workload placement. You use it to analyse your environment and it will tell you where you have overprovisioned resources and extra capacity or where you have underprovisioned resources and your VMs aren’t getting what they need. Knowing this allows you to right size your environment and save money by cleverly mixing workloads and also deciding where best your workloads should run or be provisioned.

They use a good analogy of using Tetris to try and fit all the resource pieces together but this is rather a more multi-dimensional game. You need to fit CPU/RAM/Network and storage pieces together where they don’t necessarily all have the same shape and size. You also need to overlay your business policies on top of this which makes for some interesting number crunching.

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I’m heading to Virtualisation Field Day 6

November 10th, 2015 No comments

VFD LogoExcitement is mounting as I’ve been asked to be part of Virtualisation Field Day 6 next week, part of the Tech Field Day series of events. I was hugely humbled to have been asked to be part of Virtualisation Field Day 4 so being asked back is a real honour, means I wasn’t a total waste of space at the last one, right!

This time we’re heading to Silicon Valley, the cradle of our IT world. I’ll be joined by Chris Evans, Craig Kilborn, Gabrie van Zanten, James Green, Jon Hildebrand, Keith Townsend, Mariusz Kaczorek, Sonia Cuff, Teren Bryson & Tim Carr.

What is notable is that half the delegates are doing their first Tech Field Day events. This is fantastic to get new voices, opinions and and a testament to organisers, Stephen Foskett and Tim Hollingsworth for expanding the laager. We have fantastic experts across storage and networking even though they have their own Tech Field Day events which is great to be able to go broad and deep. This is the last of the current Virtualisation Field Days as next year it will revert back to where it all started and be called Tech Field Day which I think is a great move. Virtualisation is ubiquitous so it is better to build above the commonality with all things Technical.

The format is the same as other events, companies get a chance to present their products which is all streamed live for anyone to view, there’s no closed door policy, what we see is what you see. More importantly you can also join in publicly via the connectedness of social media on #VFD6 or privately via DM/email if you prefer to keep a low profile.

I’ve been having a look at the companies presenting and here are my thoughts:

Virtualisation Field Day 6 Preview: Cirba

Virtualisation Field Day 6 Preview: AppFormix

Virtualisation Field Day 6 Preview: FalconStor

Virtualisation Field Day 6 Preview: Spirent

Virtualisation Field Day 6 Preview: Zero Stack