VMware’s annual love fest that is VMworld kicks off in a few days time. VMworld isn’t just any vendor conference, it has become THE central meeting place to network and trade. Due to VMware technology being ubiquitous at the heart of the data center, nearly every vendor selling to the SMB, government or enterprise partners or interoperates with VMware meaning attendees can not only gorge themselves on VMware goodies but meet and catch-up with all the other vendors they also use, a very useful one-stop-shop conference.
VMware’s community has been the social gathering ground for much of the industry so getting up to date with technology is only half the fun, catching up with Twitter friends and meeting people from across the world is often the real reason people attend. Speaking to peers often teaches you more about the real world of IT compared to any amount of vendor marketing.
The world of IT doesn’t hang around, there’s constant change in how we do things and VMware is a prime target for change as everyone wants a piece of their pie. Nowadays there are options, VMware’s hypervisor isn’t the only viable one any more, Microsoft’s Hyper-V is good enough but without the bells and whistles and KVM, based on code you can change yourself is being rejigged and added to by many companies eager to fill in its shortcomings. Speaking of bells and whistles and shortcomings, these are the things that VMware’s hypervisor excel at which has made them rich but the bells and whisles are now no longer mandatory. New apps don’t need to rely on available infrastructure, you dont HAVE to have vMotion.
VMware is seen as rich pickings on so many fronts it must feel it is fighting battles in every corner it operates but that’s a sign of healthy competition which ultimately benefits customers. The fight is not just on the private infrastructure front but every type of cloud possible and also new ways of application development. There’s a lot going on in the IT world and much to infer by what is said or even not said at VMworld!
The People Juggling
HP has announced the latest version of its intended all encompassing converged infrastructure management application HP OneView. HP plans to ship this in the autumn(no specific date mentioned)
OneView was built initially to support the configuration of HPs version of the Vblock, the ConvergedSystem 300s and 700s. This has extended to be able to manage blade systems and 3PAR storage, The December 2014 1.2 release added a standard version so you could monitor any HP G6-Gen9 servers for free without having any of the configuration options. There is still a “tax” to upgrade your existing HP iLO Advanced license to a full management included OneView license but HP is looking into this. Make your feelings heard loud and clear that HP shouldn’t be charging extra on top of extra to manage their own hardware.
HP is putting a lot of effort into OneView. At HP Discover every infrastructure component is managed via OneView. This is from Hyper-Converged, stand alone blade chassis to Converged Systems. They have plans to extend this into HP and now Arista networking. HP has a whole new initiative called “Composable Infrastructure” which I will go into in more detail in a future post but this is all about Infrastructure as Code with using OneView with a single API call to create physical infrastructure from automation tools like Chef, Puppet etc.
So, what’s new:
Last year, one of the highlights of HP Discover for me was spending some time one-to-one with HP Software’s VP of Strategic Marketing, Paul Muller, who walked and talked around the show floor going through some of what HP Software is doing in a forthright and honest way which I appreciated. HP Software has a pretty diverse portfolio including LoadRunner, Fortify, TippingPoint & Arcsight on the infrastructure side and a ton of other stuff from Haven, Vertica, Idle for Big Data and a number of performance analysis suits and tools for application engineering and testing.
Paul spoke again today about the “continuous innovation enterprise”. Paul said enterprises are struggling to differentiate through “digital” (a buzz term I don’t particularly like BTW). He says 25% of companies will miss the shift and lose market position (does this include HP!?). He then went to on to talk about how HP is trying to help business and IT leaders understand this transformation. I was kean to hear concrete examples of software HP is developing to do this rather than just though leadership or some advisory service. Paul used the examples of their Application Lifecycle Management product suite which is used by developers for testing, performance engineering and lifecycle management all delivering apps to various places including mobile delivery. An interesting piece he spoke about what using Big Data analytics to be able to predict bugs in software development using historical defect rates before code is shipped which can dramatically reduce the bug rate and increase user experience.
Last year when we chatted about buzzword “Big Data”, Paul had mentioned he preferred the term “Connected Intelligence” which I liked.
The HP Storage Coffee Talk session that we attended was first of all to introduce the new New SVP & GM of HP Storage, Manish Goel, who takes over from David Scott who worked for HP, left to start 3PAR and then brought it into HP.
David has been credited with revitalising HPs storage portfolio with its now flagship product range based mainly on 3PAR based. Manish therefore has big shoes to fill. He started at HP storage in March having being a 7 year NetApp veteran, another storage titan facing difficulties at the moment. He left in 2013 and tried his hand at retirement and a startup which apparently didn’t agree with him and he’s now at HP.
HP has some announcements around the 3PAR storage platform which you are read more about:
A new StoreServ 20850
HP 3PAR Streaming Remote Copy Replication
I asked how with the move away from central SAN storage towards server SAN and hyper-converged how HP Storage manages this transition. HP is in a unique position hardware wise that they sell both servers and SAN but its is separate business units and separate product portfolios (3PAR vs. Lefthand VSA vs. VSAN etc on HP DAS).
I’ll be heading to HP Discover in Last Vegas next week to find out about all things HP.
Where to from here?
It’s no secret HP is having a terrible time at the moment. They are in the middle of a very expensive, very distracting, very time consuming split into two new companies, HP Inc and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Will two separate companies make any difference to HP? They just reported their worst revenue since 2007. They are spending as much of this declining revenue on Capex as stock buy-backs to prop up the share price. This means they are spending even less money to be able to create future money.
All big IT companies have been transitioning themselves away from tin sellers to service companies, well HP Enterprise Services has been told to find another $2 billion in savings in 3 years. That’s because in the last quarter they had a 16% drop in turnover. Are they going to continue to cut costs so drastically that there isn’t anything left to build on? They just can’t seem to compete with the cloud.
Storage which is one of the shining product portfolios has seen its revenues head down by 8.4%. Luckily for them they are still not doing as badly as NetApp but that’s only very very slight consolation. Storage buying is changing, it’s moving to converged, hyper-converged and cloud. Storage is becoming more of a server thing so I wonder how HP is going to show its figures when external storage and internal storage just become two options delivery mechanisms for the same thing.
HP still make very very good enterprise hardware, reliable servers, fast storage but this matters less and less when workloads are moving to the cloud. EMC just bought Virtustream for $1.2B to further build out its Hybrid Cloud offering. HP has made similar investment and a lot of noise about its HP Helion public OpenStack based cloud but this doesn’t seem to be translating into sales or a strategy that enterprises can buy into for the long run.
HP says it is not competing against AWS, in my opinion that’s just admiting you are not in the cloud business. You may as well change your company name to HP Legacy.
Lots of uncertainly about HP, can they turn this sentiment around?
Back to HP Discover, HP has the world watching, what are they going to say?
Software Read more…
I have just had the pleasure of presenting at SpiceWorld, the conference for IT Pros put on by SpiceWorks. SpiceWorks provide software for managing your IT environment and is targeted mainly at SMBs. The software is free to use and is funded with advertising and other hook-ins from vendors so you can for example inventory your PCs and then link to HP to get warranty information or purchase more RAM. They also run a very good community forum for IT Pros to help each other with any of their issues or get recommendations on how to manage their environment.
Back to the conference, plenty of sessions on the SpiceWorks software itself but also many other sessions on other technology that IT pros use on a daily basis as well as some cool presentations on the TOR Network, Malware and the Enigma Machine.
I was asked to talk about vSphere and so of course presented on the new vSphere 6.
I went through some of the editions particularly looking at what would be interesting for SMBs, highlighting the free ESXi version to be able to get started with virtualisation for free. I went through some of the new features, everywhere vMotion, SMT-FT, Enhanced Linked Mode, new stuff with vCenter, the PSC, the VCSA and then spent some more time on Virtual Volumes, then onto install and upgrades.
The session was recorded, I will post the recording when it is available, here are the slides.
I had the great pleasure today of presenting at the London VMware User Group. I did a presentation called “Hands on with vSphere 6.0” where I briefly covered what’s new and then went into some of the architectural changes with the new vCenter and Platform Services Controller (PSC) and Enhanced Linked Mode.
I warned about the vast amount of incorrect information currently on the interwebs as the architecture and recommended layout changed from the Beta to the released product so make sure what you are reading is up to date. This particularly relates to VMware not recommending you run an embedded PSC if you need to link even two vCenters together but rather have an external one which requires a load balancer for true continuous availability.
I went through some of the install and upgrade steps which may mean you need to split out your vSphere 5.x SSO to an external one before upgrading to the vSphere 6 PSC. I then covered some new things related to security and how certificates are now handled with the new VMware Certificate Authority in the PSC.
Here’s a copy of the presentation.:
HP server users may be glad to know that HP has released the latest update to its Service Pack for Proliant which will be supported until April 30, 2016.
vSphere 6.0 support has been added so super-keen upgraders now have HP driver and firmware to match.
This latest SPP has added support for:
- New HP ProLiant servers:
- HP ML10 v2
- HP XL730f Gen9
- HP XL740f Gen9
- HP XL750f Gen9
- HP ML110 Gen9
- HP XL170r Gen9
- HP XL190r Gen9
- HP WS460c Gen9 Graphics Server Blade
- New HP ProLiant options
- Red Had Enterprise Linux 6.6, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12, VMware vSphere 5.5 U2 and VMware vSphere 6.0
- HP USB Key Utility for Windows v18.104.22.168 for downloads greater than 4GB
- Select Linux firmware components available in rpm format
- HP Smart Update Manager v7.2.0.
Release Notes are here:
The contents list is here:
HP ESXi image for vSphere 6.0 available here:
I was very fortunate to attend Virtualisation Field Day earlier this year. One of the companies presenting was CommVault who bill themselves as a “data” company.
They spent the majority of their time at Virtualisation Field Day going through all the details of how they can do backups and restores and to be honest it was rather dull. Backups are hugely critical to your infrastructure and just like insurance you don’t want to find out you are not protected when it is too late. The thing though is backup nowadays is such a utility service. It would be unfair to say that backups haven’t evolved because they have particularly with virtualisation but ultimately you are still taking a copy of your data and storing it remotely from your live data. The what hasn’t changed much even if the how has.
This makes talking about backup a difficult task because your audience always certainly knows what backup does and generally how it works even if your tool may have a few differences. Being able to back something up and restore it is a given, being able to mount backups of VMs and restore files within those backed up VMs is now a given as well however your backup vendor choses to do it.
I feel CommVault did itself a disservice at Virtualisation Field Day which is evident by the lack of post game talk and analysis about their solution compared to some of the other presentations, proof that backups are not sexy.
However I feel that CommVault has an interesting story to tell if they could just elevate themselves from the backup bandwagon.
CommVault Simpana’s USP is not in the backup but in the use and analysis of the data that has been ingested. I use ingested deliberately to make the distinction between it just being a backup used to recover something some time in the future. Companies are being asked to do more and more with their data, some of it is in live databases or files but a huge amount is actually archive data, old log files, old emails, old text messages, old voicemails, old x-rays, old files. Companies are often required legally to keep this old stuff around for a long time and you know how this is stored, in a completely separate copy from backups. Emails are journalled by product x. text messages by product y, voicemails by product z. These products may be even separate companies with completely separate data formats, there’s no way you could search across them.
VMware has finally officially announced what is to be included in vSphere 6.0 after lifting the lid on parts of the update during VMworld 2014 keynotes and sessions.
See my introductory post: What’s New in vSphere 6.0: Finally Announced (about time!) for details of all the components.
vCenter Linked Mode provides a single management overview of multiple vCenter instances.
Linked Mode also provides a single login for multiple vCenter Servers and then shows you a common inventory view and allows you to search for objects across vCenters. Licenses, roles and permissions are replicated between vCenter instances.
Linked mode has always been only available for Windows vCenters (ADAM is used as the replication engine) so you couldn’t share licenses, roles and permissions with any vCenter appliances you had.
With the release of the new Platform Services Controller in vSphere 6.0, some of the Linked Mode functionality is changing and its been given a new same.
vSphere will also now include an Enhanced Linked Mode which will require and work in conjunction with the Platform Services Controller.
This will not rely on ADAM but have its own replication system which is a multi-master replication technology also called VMDir based on Open LDAP which means replication now works across Windows vCenter as well as vCenter appliances.
Replication will be expanded to include Policies and Tags along with Roles and Permissions. In fact the replication engine will allow VMware to sync any kind of information between Platform Services Controllers which can then be used by vCenters and other management products. Bye bye ADAM, you won’t be missed.
Categories: ESX, vCenter, VMware esx, FT, linked-mode, networking, nfs, SDDC, storage, Update Manager, vcenter, vCloud Director, vmware, vmworld, vVols