Archive for August, 2013

VMworld US 2013: The Day 4 Buzz

August 29th, 2013 No comments

VMworld’s final day started a little later than the previous days to give everyone a little lie in after last night’s VMworld party at AT&T Park which was brilliant.

Today’s General Session isn’t the usual VMware announcement session but named Makers and Shakers featuring three innovators unlocking new ways to create and build.

Jay Silver was up first. Jay is a crazy innovator who is founder and director of JoyLabz and Maker Research Scientist at Intel Labs. His idea is the whole world can be made meaningfully interactive. He adds electricity to everyday objects to make fun stuff.  There is absolutely no way this can be explained in text so here is Jay doing a similar talk at TED.


Next up was Keller Rinaudo who is CEO of Romotive, these are the guys that make Tomo, a cheap $150 personal robot which uses a smart phone for its processing. Romo showed some new software. Again, he’s done a TED talk so you can see what he does.


IMG_2306 Last up was Bre Pettis, CEO of MakerBot who is a inventor, builder and open source guru. He was the guy who built MakerBot’s 3D printers and is keen on what he calls personal manufacturing. He shoed all number of home 3D printed things that can be made including amazing prosthetic robotic hands, architectural models

The Solutions Exchange wasn’t open today. I appreciate vendors and attendees are by now suffering from conference fatigue but this is also the time when people have been to their preferred sessions and labs and have some time to reflect on everything they’ve learned and can then look through the Solutions Exchange a little wiser than at the beginning of the week. I think it would be useful to still keep it open, maybe that’s something that will be looked at for future years.

VMworldTV has been out and about:

VMworld TV Exclusive Interview with VMware R&Ds Susan Gudenkauf

VMworld TV Meets VMware CTO Global Field Paul Strong

VMworldTV Checks out the Software-Defined Data Center at VMworld 2013

That’s all Folks!

Wow, what an amazing week! To attend a gathering of such interesting, passionate and engaged people is really inspiring. Sure, there are cynical people, jaded and bored by what they do. What I can see however is how IT can really be a force of change and good in the world. Sure, I appreciate that sounds wishy-washy and could easily be a quote from a politicians campaign speech but IT really is one of life’s great enablers, being able to bring real, tangible solutions to pressing problems all over the world. I’m super excited by NSX and VSAN.

Yes, we may get fed up of vendor FUD, cloud-washing, overzealous marketing people, know-it-all architects, internal company politics and rubbish procedures holding back progress but stepping back and seeing what is possible when we all get together and share is truly inspiring.

Even though we work with technology, remember, this is still very much a people business, putting together IT solutions to help people with things.

I’ve met and reconnected with an incredible bunch of people this week, too many people to mention but a whole bunch of engaging, caring, interesting and interested people so willing so share their expertise for us all to learn. Thanks to those who worked out who I was and came over to say hi. The community is truly alive!

Well, that’s the end of VMworld for me in San Francisco. Way too much to see, do and experience in way too little time but what a week!

I’m off on two weeks holiday so hopefully time to reflect and rest! See you all soon!

Categories: VMware, VMworld Tags: ,

VMworld US 2013: The Day 3 Buzz

August 29th, 2013 No comments

VMworld continues into day 3 with a noticeable slowing down of the average attendee walking pace after the festivities of the nights before! There was no keynote today with sessions starting at 8am.

I attended VMware Horizon Suite, Innovations for Storage Scalability, Performance and Data Protection by Christopher Wells and Chris Gebhardt from NetApp.

Christopher started by saying he doesn’t like load generation tools as they don’t represent reality. Vendors talk about IOPS with massive, seemingly impressive 1,000,000 IOPS figures but that doesn’t represent workloads in the real world.

All VDI decisions have implications for storage, using automated or manual pools, floating or  dedicated user assignments, linked clones, full clones, NetApp VSC clones along with all the user profile and workloads data. All these ways to create VMs and handle user data have an impact on storage and these need to factored into sizing and performance decisions. Cloning can hurt you if you don’t understand what is happening. hypervisor clones (snapshots) are the least efficient as it is 2 reads for every request as you need to read from two files and for writes, it is three writes including the metadata. All this lands up being a lot of writes and reads, 10 guest IOPS = 28 IOPS to storage. This must be considered for linked clones, its not a 1 to 1 relationship between guest IO and storage. More efficient to not copy any data and provision with storage VAAI.

Most IOPS generated are often actually user workloads and user profiles rather than the VDI image itself.

View Storage Accelerator from VMware is a host based memory cache for all types of desktops and is works transparently to the users and applications.

Christopher then went on to talk about the NetApp Virtual Storage Tier which alleviates boot and login storms. This uses a hardware Flash Cache or Flash Pools for platforms that don’t support Flash Cache.

NetApp suggest using separate volumes or Storage Virtual Machines (SVM) to separate the storage for VMs, corporate apps and user data. Use different storage capabilities and possibly disk types for each, such as not de-duping temporary data. All these SVMs for separate IOPS, capacity and availability can be managed under Cluster ONTAP.

Assessments and sizing are important for Horizon View, PoCs may not scale linearly. An example is the unexpected “lunch storm” which is when users start doing personal things during lunch and watching YouTube videos which isn’t likely captured during a PoC or with standard load testing tools. NetApp does partner with Liquidware Labs for a sizing tool.

Chris Wells then talked about User Data in Horizon Workspace. He said NetApp is a good fit for user data as it allows more users than competitors storage due to de-dupe, non disruptive operations and backup and recovery which all fits very well with Horizon Data.

NetApp will shortly have a beta coming out for SnapCreator for Horizon Workspace. I was hoping for more information about how Horizon Data integrated with NetApp for backups, recoveries & DR so will need to do some reading to work this out. Horizon Data runs as a virtual appliance which stores its data on local VM disks so it is going to be interesting to work out how this VM disk file can be managed but in a way to recover file level data.

Here’s a view of the outside chill out area.

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Categories: VMware, VMworld Tags: ,

VMworld US 2013: The Day 2 Buzz

August 27th, 2013 No comments

008 The VMware juggernaut continues into Day 2. The day started with another keynote. Historically this has always been delivered by the VMware CTO, Steve Herrod who has left VMware for the world of private equity. Steve was always knows for his excellent rather more technical keynotes where VMware had the opportunity to show off the techy side of things after the announcements of the first day.

Carl Eschenbach, VMware’s President and COO filled Steve’s well regarded shoes extremely well, great energy and an exciting feeling.  Kit Colbert, Chief Architect and Principal Engineer with the Office of the CTO also took part. Kit and Carl (the new comedy duo!) did a great demo together looking at vCloud Automation Center for deploying applications in the private, public or hybrid cloud with full cost visibility and auto-scaling. They then went on to demo the networking virtualisation with an NSX demo and showing how you can have switching, routing, firewalls and load-balancers but all built into the hypervisor which dramatically simplifies the network path. I’ll say it again, NSX is impressive stuff. They then went on to show

with policy based Per-VM storage management with simple scalability. Next up was an EUC demo looking at Horizon Workspace and how easy it is to provision applications and VDI desktops.

VMware’s EMEA CTO, Joe Baguley then joined Carl on stage and demoed an automated policy driven proactive response using metrics from vCOPS to deploy new application instances in vCA. This allows you to remediate performance issues while seeing the health of the app in vCAC. vCOPS can give recommendations from many third party data sources and can then recommend for example that you move your storage from a Silver tier to a Gold tier. This remediation could be automatic or fire off an email for approval with cost information included.

The presentation wasn’t streamed live today but the replay can be seen at

VMworld TV Checks Out the VMworld 2013 Hang Space

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VMworld US 2013: The Day 1 Buzz

August 26th, 2013 No comments


VMware’s huge US conference kicks off in San Francisco today. 22000 attendees are expected to attend to “Defy Convention”

The day started with the General Session by VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger in his first solo performance after he was handed the reigns at VMworld 2012 from Paul Maritz.


The year’s theme of “Defy Convention” is VMware’s challenging to its customers and the industry to look at their current ways of doing things, challenge the status quo and be bold designing the next generation of IT, hopefully by buying VMware products.

You can see a recording of the keynote at and the absolute guru of live blogging, Scott Lowe had all the details:

Pat talked about the four tenants of the data center, Compute, Storage, Networking & Automation and how this really forms the framework for the vision of VMware’s vision of the SDDC.

Pat then announced the next generation of the VMware bedrock suite of virtualisation products, vSphere 5.5. Here are all the details:

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Categories: VMware, VMworld Tags: ,

What’s New in vCloud Suite 5.5: vSphere Replication and vCenter Site Recovery Manager

August 26th, 2013 No comments

VMware has announced its latest update to version 5.5 of its global virtualisation powerhouse, vCloud Suite.

To read the updates for all the suite components, see my post: What’s New in vCloud Suite 5.5: Introduction

vSphere Replication

replication-image3.jpg What’s New:

  • The user interface within the Web Client has been beefed up. The VM and vCenter management panes have been enhanced to configure and monitor replication.
  • You can now deploy new vSphere Replication appliances to allow for replication between clusters and non-shared storage deployments and also to meet load balancing requirements.
  • There are now multiple points-in-time snapshots so if you have VM with an OS corruption that has already been replicated you can select an earlier snapshot to recover from before the corruption occurred. This isn’t the same is replicating VMs with existing snapshots which isn’t supported. Point-in-time snapshots are created at the recovery site after replication.
  • There is now Storage DRS Interoperability so replicated VMs can be Storage vMotioned across datastores without interrupting ongoing replication.
  • VSAN support has been added to protect and recover VMs running on the new VSAN datastores.

vCenter Site Recovery Manager

What’s New:

  • recovery Storage DRS and Storage vMotion are now supported when VMs are migrated within a consistency group.
  • VMs running on (Virtual SAN) VSAN datastores can be protected using vSphere Replication. You can use VSAN datastores on both the protected and recovery sites. There are a few considerations when using VSAN and SRM so read the documentation.
  • You can now recover and preserve multiple point-in-time snapshots of VMs that were protected with vSphere Replication.
  • VMs that reside on Virtual Flash (VFlash) can be protected. VFlash is disabled on VMs after recovery.
  • IBM DB2 is no longer supported as an SRM database

What’s New in vCloud Suite 5.5: vSphere App HA

August 26th, 2013 No comments

VMware has announced its latest update to version 5.5 of its global virtualisation powerhouse, vCloud Suite.

To read the updates for all the suite components, see my post: What’s New in vCloud Suite 5.5: Introduction

vSphere App HA is another new product from VMware in 5.5 to provide application level HA in addition to what is available with vSphere HA. vSphere HA can only recovers VMs when an ESXi hosts dies or restart a VM if the OS hangs. It is not application aware and can’t detect and remediate software failures.

24_7 vSphere App HA provides application protection by detecting application availability issues and automatically remediating them.

Applications and their availability status are auto-discovered and a remediation policy can be created with just 3 clicks.

The policy can be configured to restart the application service and attempt a safe VM restart using the HA API if the application restart fails.

App HA is integrated with VC alarms to provide visibility to application downtime.

It is deployed as a virtual appliance and is a plug-in to the vSphere Web Client.

App HA currently supports the following services and can run up to 400 agents:

  • MSSQL 2005, 2008, 2008R2, 2012
  • Tomcat 6.0, 7.0
  • TC Server Runtime 6.0, 7.0
  • IIS 6.0, 7.0, 8.0
  • Apache HTTP Server 1.3, 2.0, 2.2.

You can only install one vFabric Hyperic server on one vCenter server with one vSphere App HA plug-in installed.

It will be interesting to see how this product develops, support for more services must be on the roadmap. Perhaps this will also take over what vCenter Heartbeat currently does although I hope vCenter in the future works in a more active and federated way and doesn’t require active/passive nodes.

What’s New in vCloud Suite 5.5: vCloud Networking & Security

August 26th, 2013 No comments

VMware has announced its latest update to version 5.5 of its global virtualisation powerhouse, vCloud Suite.

To read the updates for all the suite components, see my post: What’s New in vCloud Suite 5.5: Introduction

sec vCloud Networking and Security has been updated with two networking enhancements, LACP and flow based marking & filtering.

Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP) is used to bond your physical network uplinks together to increase bandwidth, have better load balancing and improve link level redundancy. vSphere5.1 supported a simplified version of LACP with support for only a single Link Aggregation Group (LAG) per host and not much choice of load balancing algorithms.

LACP in 5.5 gives you over 22 load balancing algorithms and you are now able to create 32 LAGs per host so you can bond together all those physical Nics.

Flow based marking and filtering provides granular traffic marking and filtering capabilities from a simple UI integrated with VDS UI. You can provide stateless filtering to secure or control VM or Hypervisor traffic. Any traffic that requires specific QoS treatment on physical networks can now be granularly marked with COS and DSCP marking at the vNIC or Port group level.

Manageability has been enhanced in the vSphere Web Client with an object-policy based model.

Firewall Rule management has been made easier. You can now reuse vCenter objects in firewall rule creation and there is an option to create VM vNIC level rules with full visibility into the virtual network traffic via Flow Monitoring.


To upgrade vShield, you must first upgrade vShield Manager and then upgrade the other components in this order:

  1. vShield Manager
  2. vCenter Server
  3. Other vShield components managed by vShield Manager
  4. ESXi hosts

You can upgrade just vShield to 5.5 if you want and still run vCenter Server 5.1 and ESXi 5.0/5.1 hosts.

What’s New in vCloud Suite 5.5: vCenter Orchestrator

August 26th, 2013 1 comment

VMware has announced its latest update to version 5.5 of its global virtualisation powerhouse, vCloud Suite.

To read the updates for all the suite components, see my post: What’s New in vCloud Suite 5.5: Introduction

vCenter Orchestrator has a generous update to be optimised for bigger and better clouds with significant improvements in scalability and high availability.

There is now a more simplified and efficient development experience with new debugging and failure diagnostic capabilities in the vCenter Orchestrator client.


What’s New:

New Workflow debugger – You are now able to re-run workflows in debug mode without having to type the last known values for the workflow input parameters. User inputs are automatically stored and populated for the consequent workflow execution.

New Workflow Schema – Auto-scaling and auto-placing capabilities have always been part of vCenter Orchestrator Client. You can now also use non-stick placement while designing your workflow activity diagram.

New Scripting API Explorer – Consistent navigation is an important part of workflow development efficiency. The Scripting API Explorer has now been enhanced with out-of- the-box browsing history. The new Back button in the explorer allows you to navigate in reverse chronological order through the history of scripting objects they have recently worked with.

New Security Improvements – The latest vCenter Orchestrator Appliance contains a complete set of security improvements including OS updates and security hardening script enhancements.

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What’s New in vCloud Suite 5.5: vCloud Director

August 26th, 2013 No comments

VMware has announced its latest update to version 5.5 of its global virtualisation powerhouse, vCloud Suite.

To read the updates for all the suite components, see my post: What’s New in vCloud Suite 5.5: Introduction

director vCloud Director 5.5 has been updated with changes to the Content Catalog, vApp provisioning and lifecycle management process, an improved OVF import/export function and new browser support including Mac OS.

vCloud Director Virtual Appliance

The vCloud Director Virtual Appliance is still only to be used for PoC and Eval use for simple deployment and setup. With the appliance you can choose to use an internal/embedded database or an external MS SQL or Oracle database. Hopefully the appliance is extended in the future to be the default deployment solution in some highly available way or maybe even merged with vCenter.

vCD is still a standalone web client, not integrated as an extension to the vSphere Web Client. There are contextual shortcuts to help you navigate between the two. I don’t actually think that vCD in the future will become an extension to the vSphere Web Client but the admin functionalities of vCenter and vCloud Director will merge into a single appliance but this is just speculation.

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What’s New in vCloud Suite 5.5: VMware Virtual Flash (vFlash)

August 26th, 2013 No comments

VMware has announced its latest update to version 5.5 of its global virtualisation powerhouse, vCloud Suite.

To read the updates for all the suite components, see my post: What’s New in vCloud Suite 5.5: Introduction

speed VMware Virtual Flash (vFlash) or to use its official name, “vSphere Flash Read Cache” is one of the new standout feature of vCloud Suite 5.5.

vFlash allows you to take multiple Flash devices in hosts in a cluster and virtualises them to be managed as a single pool. In the same way CPU and memory is seen as a single virtualised resource across a cluster, vFlash does the same by creating a cluster wide Flash resource.

VMs can be configured to use this vFlash resource to accelerate performance for reads. vFlash works in write-through cache mode so doesn’t in effect cache writes in this release, it just passes them to the back-end storage. You don’t need to use in-guest agents or change the guest OS or application to take advantage of vFlash. You can have up to 2TB of Flash per host and all kinds of datastores are supported, NFS, VMDK and RDMs. Hosts can also use this resource for the Host Swap Cache which is used when the host needs to page memory to disk.

A VMDK can be configured with a set amount of vFlash cache giving you control over exactly which VM disks get the performance boost so you can pick your app database drive without having to boost your VM OS disk as well. You can configure DRS-based vFlash reservations, there aren’t any shares settings but this may be coming in a future release. vMotion is also supported, you can choose whether to vMotion the cache along with the VM or to recreate it again on the destination host. vSphere HA also is supported but when the VM starts the cache will need to recreate again on the recovery host.

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