VMworld US 2014: The Day 4 Buzz

August 28th, 2014 No comments

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image Was excellent to have the final Run VMworld this morning although it didn’t feel like it until we started. Thanks to everyone who joined over the week, it was great to meet everyone and chat.

General Session

Today’s General Session isn’t the usual VMware announcement session but named People + Machines: Redefining The Possible featuring three innovators exploring new ways of connecting people and machines.

Jane McGonigal - http://janemcgonigal.com/ who is a designer of alternate reality games and is also an author talked about creating games that bring everyday people together as teammates.

Jane has done a TED talk previously on this topic.

 

Next up was James Patton  – http://www.jamespatten.com/index.php who is an inventor, visual artist & designer and also TED fellow. James basically takes the computer interface off the screen and puts it into your hands.

Here’s James TED Talk.

 

Sean Gourley who is a physicist and Collective Intelligence Researcher and another TED Fellow and Rhodes Scholar. Sean’s work is a collaboration between people and machines, as a way to understanding very complex information. http://seangourley.com/

Here’s Sean’s TED Talk.

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Categories: VMware, VMworld Tags: ,

VMworld US 2014: The Day 3 Buzz

August 28th, 2014 1 comment

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IMG_4906Another Run VMworld with a smaller group of us today. Last night’s parties must have been good!

Meet the Virtual Volumes Product Team

There was no general session today so I started with a group discussion with the Virtual Volumes Product team of Patrick Dirks and Suzy Visvanathan. Groups discussions are smaller groups rather than presentations so there are plenty of audience participation. VMware has been discussing VVols publicly since VMworld 2011. The discussion revolved around the things that VVols is trying to solve and ultimately provide true VM centric storage where you can manage each virtual disk independently rather than lumping them all together in a big LUN where the storage system doesn’t have any visibility. VVols also push more storage processing down to the array with VASA 2. Policy is very central to VVols. Policies are built from capabilities that the array can provide such as replication, encryption and performance guarantees. As with VSAN you don’t provision VMs to a datastore but rat her against a policy. The storage array then decides where physically to place the VM based on the policy rather that you picking a physical datastore yourself.

IMG_4908Some other things that I picked up were:

VADP APIs are fully supported with VVols.

There were concerns about the queue depth for PEs and where performance bottlenecks could be. Array’s won’t necessarily have a single PE, in fact it could dynamically create them on the fly to spread out load and increase performance.

Many partners in the session asking questions to help them with their additional products like backup etc..

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VMworld 2014 US: vCloud Automation Center Overview and Glimpse into the Future #MGT2175

August 28th, 2014 No comments

Notes from a VM world session from VMware product managers Nikunj Nemani, Rich Bourdeau and Long Wang.

The session highlighted how the world now very much revolves around applications which are not easy things to manage and deliver in a fast moving cloud world. Apps are often delivered in very siloed manually processes that take forever to commission holding back the business from being able to deliver what they need. The session looked at how IT efficiency is being driven by cloud automation and management with vCAC.

Automation is the catalyst that empowers the SDDC and is the next major efficiency drive within IT.

2013 saw a product consolidation with vCAC 6.0 with a common self-service interface based on policy based governance with automated delivery (their words to play buzz word bingo!)

vCloud Automation Center is now called vRealize Automation which has been built to automate across multi-vendor and multi-cloud infrastructure.

There will be a vRealize Suite available in September consisting of:

  • vCenter Operations Management Suite
  • vCloud Automation Center
  • IT Business Management Suite Standasrd
  • vCenter Log Insight

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Categories: vCenter, vCOPS, VMworld Tags: , , ,

VMworld 2014 US: VSAN Architecture Deep Dive #STO1279

August 27th, 2014 No comments

Quick notes while attending VSAN deep dive by Christos Karamanolis, the architect of VSAN and Christian Dickmann one of the lead developers for VSAN.

They went into the technical details of some of the functional components and how VSAN decides to distribute data across the cluster to meet availability and performance requirements, they showed some of the performance numbers.

VSAN key benefits, radically simple, high performance, lower TCO.

VMware increasingly sees vSphere admins also managing storage and VSAN is targeted at them.

VSAN performance is with very low host CPU performance

2M IOPS for 100% read possible with 4PB of disks, 640k IOPS with 70% read, 30% write

VSAN clusters aligned to vSphere clusters for ease of management rather than a technical limitation

VSAN policies it can present:

  • object space reservation
  • number of failures to tolerate
  • number of disk stripes per object
  • flash read cache reservation
  • force provisioning

Went through disk layouts and use of flash devices

VSAN asynchronously retires data from flash write buffer to HDD sequentially for performance

With VSAN license you get vSphere Distributed Virtual Switch even if you don’t have Enterprise Plus licensing

VSAN is an object store not file store

VM home directory object is formatted with VMFS to allow a VMs configuration files to be stored on it, mounted under the VSAN root directory, this is similar to VVols

Advantage of objects:

    • storage platform designed for SPBM
      • per VM per VMDK level of service
      • application gets exactly what is needs
    • high availability
      • per object quorum
    • better scalability
      • per VM locking, no issues as number of VMs grows
      • no global namespace translations

SAN write stays in write buffer for as long as possible as it often changes after initial write so is kept in cache

Host load balances VSAN reads across replicas but only reads block from same replica to keep single cache copy

VSAN remote cache read latency negligible as local SSD latency increases anyway with more data

VSAN supports in-memory local cache for very low latency, used with View Accelerator (CBRC)

VSAN has a scheduler that throttles replication traffic in the cluster but will always leave a little room so replication can at least continue

HA has been heavily modified to work with hyper-converged and VSAN

VSAN gives users 3 options for maintenance mode

  • ensure accessibility
  • full data migration
  • no data migration

VSAN monitoring and troubleshooting with:

  • vSphere IO
  • command line tools
  • Ruby vSphere Console
  • VSAN Observer.
Categories: Storage, VMware Tags: , ,

What’s New in vSphere 6.0: vCenter

August 27th, 2014 2 comments

VMware has used its VMworld keynotes and sessions to lift the lid on parts of what is included in the vSphere 6.0 Public Beta. This is still in beta, remember, so some functionality may not actually make it into the finally released version and there may still be further bits and pieces revealed.

VMware continues to build out its hypervisor core management application vCenter with more functionality. There are no dramatic architectural changes but VMware is moving slowly to pull apart vCenter into its component parts to be able to run more vCenters at scale and is creating a central services function.

Platform Services Controller (PSC)

image VMware is introducing a new component called the VMware Platform Services Controller (which had a previous beta name of Infrastructure Controller)

SSO was the first component to be spun out into what is now being built up as the PSC. SSO was first released in 5.1 and had major issues and was rebuilt as SSO 2.0 for vSphere 5.5

vCenter, vCOPs, vCloud Director, vCloud Automation Center can use the PSC as a shared component.

The PSC now contains the following functionality:

  • SSO
  • Licensing
  • Certificate Authority
  • Certificate Store
  • Service (Product) Registration

The Certificate Authority and Certificate Store are new components to at last tame the wild and woefully inadequate management of vSphere certificates. The new VMware Certificate Authority (VMCA) can act as a root certificate authority either managing its own certificates or handling certificates from an external Certificate Authority. VMCA provisions each ESXi host with a signed certificate when it is added to vCenter as part of installation or upgrade. You can view and manage these certificates from the vSphere Web Client and manage the full certificate lifecycle workflow.

Service (Product) registration is a component that all other services register to and is the lookup service in vSphere. It is the service that will tell you all the services that are running in the system.

Other services will be added to the PSC in future releases.

The PSC is built into vCenter and runs as a vPostgres database so there’s no additional database to worry about and it runs in both the Windows and appliance version. The PSCs self replicate and importantly don’t use ADAM so it can replicate between Windows and appliance vCenters.

You can either have the PSC embedded within vCenter Server or run it as an external component to vCenter Server.

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What’s New in vSphere 6.0: Content Library

August 27th, 2014 1 comment

VMware has used its VMworld keynotes and sessions to lift the lid on parts of what is included in the vSphere 6.0 Public Beta. This is still in beta, remember, so some functionality may not actually make it into the finally released version and there may still be further bits and pieces revealed.

Content Library is a planned new addition to vSphere 6.0 which was talked about for the first time in a session at VMworld. Content Library is a way to centrally store VM templates, vApps, ISO images and scripts.

This content can can be synchronised across sites and vCenters. Synchronised content allows you to more easily deploy workloads at scale that are consistent. Having consistent content is easier to automate against, will be easier to keep things in compliance and make an admin’s life more efficient.

image Content Library provides basic versioning of files in this release and has a publish and subscribe mechanism to replicate content between local and remote VCs which by default is synchronised every night. Changes to descriptions, tags and other metadata will not trigger a version change. There is no de-dupe at the content library level but storage arrays may do that behind the scenes.

Content library can also sync between vCenter and vCloud Director.

The content itself is stored either in vSphere Datastores or actually preferably on a local vCenter file system since the contents are then stored in a compressed format. A local file system is presented directly to the vCenter Servers, for a Windows VC it can be another drive or folder added but for the vCenter Appliance the preferred approach is to mount a NFS share directly to your vCenter appliance. This may mean you need to amend your storage networking as many installations have segregated storage networks which are directly accessible by hosts to store VMs but not by vCenter.

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VMworld US 2014: The Day 2 Buzz

August 27th, 2014 No comments

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Another Run VMworld with an ever bigger group and plenty to talk about.

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American style breakfast, hey there was fruit though!

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General Session

IMG_4806 The second general session which is usually the more technical show-and-tell of the mass presentations was led by VMware’s CTO Ben Fathi making his first VMworld keynote appearance. Wearing jeans and talking to the engineers in the audience, his job is to show some of the technology announced. He went through the story of businesses stuck in silos battling the change from traditional apps to cloud-native apps. VMware wants to make things much easier to deploy all kinds of workloads from your private data center using vCloud Suite to Public cloud with vCloud Air but with a common management framework and toolset covering both. Quite a bit of time spent talking about the power of “and”, saying you can use multiple things (hybrid cloud) over having to make a decision and being stuck with “or”.

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Categories: Cloud, EUC, Storage, VDI, VMware, VMworld Tags:

What’s New in vSphere 6.0: Virtual Volumes

August 26th, 2014 1 comment

VMware has used its VMworld keynotes and sessions to lift the lid on parts of what is included in the vSphere 6.0 Public Beta. This is still in beta, remember, so some functionality may not actually make it into the finally released version and there may still be further bits and pieces revealed.

Virtual Volumes (VVols) is one of the new addition to what has been revealed about the vSphere 6.0 Beta. VMware has been talking about it publicly since VMworld 2011 (I called VVols “VMware’s game changer for storage”) and  is a very significant update. VVols completely change the way storage is presented, managed and consumed and certainly for the better. Most storage vendors are on board as their software needs to be able to support VVols and they’ve been champing at the bit for VVols to be released. Talk was it was technically ready for vSphere 5.5 but VMware decided to keep it back, perhaps to let VSAN have its year in the sun and to give 6.0 something big.

VVols is all about changing the way storage is deployed, managed and consumed making the storage system VM-centric, VMware likes to use the term “making the VMDK a first class citizen in the storage world”.

 

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Virtual Volumes is part of VMware’s Software Defined Storage story which is split between the control plane with Virtual Data Services which is all policy driven and the data plane with Virtual Data Plane which is where the data is actually stored.

 

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What’s New in vSphere 6.0: Multi-CPU Fault Tolerance

August 26th, 2014 No comments

VMware has used its VMworld keynotes and sessions to lift the lid on parts of what is included in the vSphere 6.0 Public Beta. This is still in beta, remember, so some functionality may not actually make it into the finally released version and there may still be further bits and pieces revealed.

It’s been many many years in the making but at last Fault Tolerance for Multi-Processor VMs has seen the light of day and was announced during the VMworld keynote today.

FT will now support VMs with up to 4 x vCPUs and 64GB RAM. SMP-FT as it’s called works differently than FT for single CPUs. There is a new fast check-pointing mechanism to keep the primary and secondary in sync. Previously a “Record-Replay” sync mechanism was used but the new fast check-pointing has allowed FT to expand beyond 1 x vCPU. Record-Replay kept a secondary VM in “virtual lockstep” with the primary. With fast check-pointing the primary and secondary VM execute the same instruction stream simultaneously making it much faster. If the FT network latency is too high for VMs to stay in sync, the primary will be slowed down to the point that the secondary can keep up. You can also now hot-configure FT.

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What’s New in vSphere 6.0: Virtual Data Center

August 26th, 2014 1 comment

VMware has used its VMworld keynotes and sessions to lift the lid on parts of what is included in the vSphere 6.0 Public Beta. This is still in beta, remember, so some functionality may not actually make it into the finally released version and there may still be further bits and pieces revealed.

Briefly shown in the VMworld Day 2 keynote demos was deploying a VM to a Virtual Datacenter which is in fact planned as a new addition to vSphere. Well, I say new addition which is true but its an old name brought back to life. The whole message of vSphere 4.0 was about creating a “Virtual Datacenter”. You could move physical machines into your virtual datacenter! Now we’ve progressed full circle and “Virtual Data Centers” are back!

image In vSphere 6.0, a Virtual Datacenter aggregates compute clusters, storage clusters, network and policies. In this first release, a virtual datacenter can aggregate resources across multiple clusters within a single vCenter Server into a single large pool of capacity. This will benefit large deployments such as VDI where you have multiple clusters with similar network and storage connections and now you can group them together.

Within this single pool of capacity, the Virtual Data Center will automate VM initial placement by deciding in which cluster the VM should be placed based on capacity and capability.

You can then create VM placement and storage policies and associate these policies with specific clusters or hosts as well as the datastores they are connected to. This policy may be a policy to store SQL VMs on a subset of hosts within a particular cluster for licensing reasons. You can then monitor adherence to these policies and automatically remediate any issues. When you deploy a VM, you would select from various policies and the Virtual Datacenter, based on the policies would decide where a VM would be placed. This again is to try reduce the opex admin decisions of where VMs are placed.

imageVirtual Data Centers require clusters with DRS enabled to handle the initial placement, individual hosts cannot be added. You can remove a host from a cluster within a Virtual Data Center by putting it in maintenance mode, all VMs will stay within the VDC moving to other hosts in the cluster. If you need to remove a cluster or turn off DRS for any reason and can’t use Partially Automated Mode, you would remove the cluster from the Virtual Data Center. The VMs would stay in the cluster but will no longer have VM placement policy monitoring checks done until the cluster rejoins a Virtual Data Center. You could manually vMotion VMs to other clusters within the VDC before removing a cluster.

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