Archive for August, 2014

What’s New in vSphere 6.0: Cross vCenter and Long Distance vMotion

August 26th, 2014 3 comments

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.

vMotion is one of most basic yet coolest features of vSphere, People generally consider the time they saw vMotion work for the first time as their “wow” moment showing the power of virtualisation. in vSphere 5.5, vMotion is possible within a single cluster and across clusters within the same Datacenter and vCenter. With vSphere 6.0 vMotion is being expanded to include vMotion across vCenters, across virtual switches, across long distances and routed vMotion networks aligning vMotion capabilities with larger data center environments.

vMotion across vCenters will simultaneously change compute, storage, networks, and management. This leverages vMotion with unshared storage and will support local, metro and cross-continental distances.

imageYou will need the same SSO domain for both vCenters if you use the GUI to initiate the vMotion as the VM UUID can be maintained across vCenter Server instances but it is possible with the API to have a different SSO domain. VM historical data is preserved such as Events, Alarms and Task History. Performance Data will be preserved once the VM is moved but is not aggregated in the vCenter UI. the information can still be accessed using 3rd party tools or the .API using the VM instance ID which will remain across vCenters.

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VMworld US 2014: The Day 1 Buzz

August 26th, 2014 No comments


Started the day with Run VMworld to work out last night social efforts. Plenty of anticipation among everyone for what is being announced.


VMworld TV has its customary welcome to VMworld.

Breakfast was croissants.

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General Session

I then found a space at Hangspace for the General Session which traditionally kicks off VMworld. Robin Matlock, VMware’s chief marketer started the show talking changes in IT and talked through the theme of this year slogan: No Limits. CEO Pat Gelsinger then had his a chance to highlight VMware’s vision and announcements. Pat talked about how the Software Defined Data Center is moving from a vision into a reality with customers realising the benefits and actually implementing it. He used a liquid analogy to say that things are always changing and we need to adapt.

The Hang Space


No Limits is the theme of VMworld 2014, Pat expanded on this message by talking about the “new possibilities” from the enterprise to the data center and from a unified user environment to the hybrid cloud with a number of announcements.



Pat then announced what the hotly rumoured and anticipated VMware Marvin is, a Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Appliance built by hardware partners running VMware software called EVO:RAIL. Hardware partners listed are. Dell, EMC, Fujitsu, HP, inspur, net one, Super  Micro. I’m pretty sure HP is in on this so perhaps they have an another announcement but very strange they were not in the keynote. Perhaps waiting for Gen9s to be released.

I covered this extensively in:

VMware vRealize

vRealize is a new cloud management platform which will take management beyond your on–premises vSphere environment to be able to manage your workloads in Public and Private Clouds as well as non-VMware infrastructures. VMware vCloud Suite will provide the infrastructure for on-premises implementations and the recently rebranded vCloud Hybrid Service, now called vCloud Air will provide the public cloud infrastructure. VMware vRealize will be able to seamlessly manage both environments.


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Categories: VMware, VMworld Tags: ,

EVO: Rail – Integrated Hardware and Software

August 25th, 2014 No comments


VMware has announced it is entering the hyper-converged appliance market in conjunction with hardware partners for them to ship pre-built hardware appliances running VMware software. See my introduction, VMware Marvin comes alive as EVO:Rail, a Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Appliance.

image Each of the four compute nodes within the 2U appliance has a very specific minimum set of specifications. Some hardware vendors may go above and beyond this by adding say GPU cards for VDI or more RAM per host but VMware wants a standard approach. These kinds of servers don’t exist on the market currently other than what other hyper-converged companies whitebox from say SuperMicro so we’re talking about new hardware from partners.

Each of the four EVO: RAIL nodes within a single appliance will have at a minimum the following:

  • Two Intel E5-2620v2 six-core CPUs
  • 192GB of memory
  • One SLC SATADOM or SAS HDD for the ESXi boot device
  • Three SAS 10K RPM 1.2TB HDD for the VSAN datastore
  • One 400GB MLC enterprise-grade SSD for read/write cache
  • One VSAN certified pass-through disk controller
  • Two 10GbE NIC ports (either 10GBase-T or SFP+ connections)
  • One 1GbE IPMI port for out-of-band management

Each appliance is fully redundant with dual power supplies. As there are four ESXi hosts per appliance, you are covered for hardware failures or maintenance. The ESXi boot device and all HDDs and SSDs are all enterprise-grade. VSAN itself is resilient. EVO: RAIL Version 1.0 can scale out to four appliances giving you a total of 16 ESXi hosts, backed by a single vCenter and a single VSAN datastore.There is some new intelligence added which automatically scans the local network for new EVO:RAIL appliances when they have been connected and easily adds them to the EVO: RAIL cluster.

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EVO: Rail – Management Re-imagined

August 25th, 2014 2 comments


VMware has announced it is entering the hyper-converged appliance market in conjunction with hardware partners for them to ship pre-built hardware appliances running VMware software. See my introduction, VMware Marvin comes alive as EVO:Rail, a Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Appliance.

image The EVO: RAIL management software has been built to dramatically simplify the deployment of the appliances as well as provisioning VMs. The user guide is only 29 pages so you can get an idea of how VMware is driving simplicity. Marvin actually exists as a character icon within the management interface with an embedded “V” and “M”.

VMware recognises that vCenter has had a rather large feature bloat problem over the years. They have introduced new components like SSO which do provide needed functionality but add to the complexity of deploying vSphere. VMware has also tried to bring all these components together in the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA).

This is great but has some functionality missing compared to the Windows version like Linked-Mode and some customers worry about managing the embedded database for large deployments. As EVO:RAIL is aimed at smaller deployments and isn’t concerned with linking vCenters together, the VCSA is a good option and the EVO:RAIL software is in fact a package which runs as part of the VCSA. There is no additional database required, it is all built into the appliance and uses the same public APIs to communicate with vCenter but acts as a layer to provide a simpler user experience, hiding some of the complexity of vCenter. vCenter  is still there so you can always connect directly with the Web Client and manage VMs as you do normally and any changes made in either environment are common so no conflicts.

EVO:RAIL is also also written purely in HTML5 even for the VM console, no yucky Flash like the vSphere Web Client and it works on any browser, even an iPad. Interestingly is has a look which is a little similar to Microsoft Azure Pack. Who would ever have thought VMware would have written a VM management interface built for simplicity that is similar to an existing Microsoft one!

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VMware Marvin comes alive as EVO:Rail, a Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Appliance

August 25th, 2014 1 comment

image image VMware will announce shortly today at VMworld US that it is entering the hyper-converged appliance market with a solution called EVO:Rail. This has been rumoured for a while since an eagle eyed visitor to the VMware campus spotted a sign for Marvin in their briefing center. Marvin was the engineering name and has still stuck around in parts of the product but its grown up name is EVO:Rail.

EVO(lution) is eventually going to be a suite of products/solutions, Rail is the first announcement named for the smallest part of a data center rack, the rail, so you can infer that VMware intends to build this portfolio out to an EVO:RACK and beyond.

EVO:Rail combines compute, storage and networking resources into a hyper-converged infrastructure appliance with the intention to dramatically simplify infrastructure deployment. Hardware wise this is pretty much what Nutanix and Simplivity as two examples do today. Spot the acronym, HCIA, to hunt for newly added VMworld sessions.

VMware is not however entering the hardware business itself, that would kill billions of marketing budget spent on the Software Defined Data Center message of software ruling the world. Partner hardware vendors will be building the appliance to strict specifications with VMware’s EVO:RAIL software bundle pre-installed and the appliance delivered as a single SKU. Some may see this as a technicality. VMware has always said if you need specific  hardware you are not software defined. Does EVO:RAIL count as specific hardware?

Support will be with the hardware vendor for both hardware and software with VMware providing software support to the hardware vendor at the back-end.


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VMworld US 2014: The Day 0 Buzz

August 25th, 2014 No comments


VMworld started its warm-up today with the TAM and Partner Day which have sessions designed for partners and very large customers.

IMG_4583I flew in yesterday from London and desperately needed some refreshment after the long flight working on blog posts (hint, hint, see tomorrow!) rather than movie watching. I had my choice of the annual VMworld #vBeers at The Chieftain or the vCommunity Meetup at Jillian’s. Choice wasn’t really an option so I went to both and networked with the massive global virtualisation community meeting up with some great old friends I hadn’t seen for a year and meeting some new. There’s plenty of excitement and anticipation for what for many is the biggest IT get together of the year.

Today was meant to start with our new initiative Run VMworld to literally kick start the day with a relaxed community #vRun at 7am.  I had an emergency phone call to deal with so unfortunately missed it but Eric Wright, Cody Bunch and Forbes Guthrie at least kept the initiative going.  Tomorrow’s another day.

Not as guilt free as I’d hoped to have been I still or course joined the vBreakfast organised by Shane Williford and tucked into good old American Diner fare with Alastair Cooke.

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Categories: VMware, VMworld Tags: ,

Running VMworld

August 13th, 2014 1 comment

VMworld is one of the largest IT conferences around. Sure there’s plenty of official stuff going on but the community aspect truly drives the spirit of VMworld making it one of the best people + social meets technology events there is.

I have nothing to do with actually running the VMworld conference (a rather big job I presume!) so the running aspect isn’t about conference logistics but about some VMworld social kickstarting to your day.

Last year at VMworld, London VMUG leader, Alaric Davies managed to convince myself, Eric Wright, Adam Eckerle, Cody Bunch and others into doing a short, easy and scenic jog every morning before VMworld which was an awesome idea to kick-start the day. Alaric unfortunately can’t make VMworld US this year so we’re determined to continue the tradition.

imageWe’ll be meeting at 7am every morning Sunday to Thursday outside Moscone South for a jog (+- 5km/3mi) down 4th, passed AT&T Park, along the water, under the Bay Bridge and back up to Moscone along Mission. If there are other route suggestions that don’t involve San Francisco’s hills, suggest one! You can run as fast or as slow as you’d like but if you go too fast you won’t be running with anyone else!

There is an official fun run/walk on the Sunday morning but if you don’t feel like joining something so official, join us, if you do join the official one, great, join us for the rest of the week.

You may be thinking, what the hell, I’m not doing that but let me help convince you why it may be a good idea.

  • It’s fun and social, you get to meet other community people and chat about what’s going on, Last year with only a few people we had a great time, we even bumped into Chad Sakac en-route so this year will be bigger, better & even more fun (VMworld is all about the hyperbole!)
  • No-one I know plans on running any faster than you can actually talk
  • You don’t need to bring any t-shirts, vendors will give them to you for free and you’ll be doing your part to show them off.
  • One of the best ways of getting over jetlag according to medical experts is starting off the day with some exercise followed by breakfast
  • If you’ve had a few beers the night before, this is a great way to clear the head regardless of how little sleep you’ve had before the day starts.
  • It’s early enough not to clash with other things and gives you time to shower and enjoy a well deserved breakfast before the conference starts.
  • Conference and hotel food isn’t going to be that great so you can run and convince yourself you’ve done your bit to try to be healthy and then tuck in guilt free

Looking forward to seeing you at VMworld!

Categories: VMworld Tags: ,