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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:

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:

VMworld EU 2015 Buzz: A Group Discussion that made me worry about the future of vCenter Server – INF6383-GD

November 5th, 2015 7 comments

After attending a group discussion on vCenter I left perplexed by what was shared of the product roadmap and current customer feedback. On reflection I wondered whether something big enough was on the horizon that they were deliberately throwing us off the scent as I couldn’t believe how some questions raised in the discussion were not recognised as problems. Virtualisation management is so incredibly important, customer experience is key. Although great steps are being taken to address some functionality gaps, vCenter design-wise remains the same which isn’t good enough any more. I’ll go through the discussion and then add my thoughts.

This post adds some more colour to the highlights from my VMworld Europe 2015 coverage:

Mohan Potheri and Madhup Gulati both from VMware led the discussion interactive by design rather than a presentation.

2015-10-15 13.29.22

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Categories: vCenter, VMware, VMworld Tags: ,

VMworld EU 2015 Buzz: Meeting Virtustream + the updated BIG news

November 3rd, 2015 1 comment

Since VMworld there’s been a huge amount of news about EMC(Dell)+Virtustream_vCloud Air. Basically EMC(Dell) will be consolidating most of its cloud assets under Virtustream which will be spun out as a separate company with EMC(Dell) owning 50% and VMware the other half. I’ll go into more details of the spin out but first here’s what I learnt speaking to them at the show.

Adding some more colour to the highlights from my VMworld Europe 2015 coverage:

I had a chat to Andy Sugden from Virtustream who EMC acquired recently. I had some misconceptions about Virtustream and how they competed with vCloud Air. Virtustream basically has software called xStream which big enterprises (on or off-prem) or service providers use to create managed instances of SAP and some other big applications. This takes a lot of the complexity away from managing these apps and provides a secure wrapper around the whole app up and down the entire stack so it can work in a multi-tenant environment and ticks all the security and compliance boxes. You can also create and manage performance and availability SLAs using the software. IBM use it (mmm, not for much longer I guess!). I can certainly see integration with vCloud Air by bringing some more of that secure multi-tenancy to vCloud Air but the big apps Virtustream manage aren’t the first applications people are moving to the public cloud so its normally a managed cloud offering, it was certainly interesting to get a better understanding.

What’s new and what does it mean?
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VMworld EU 2015 Buzz: The VMworld Parties

October 30th, 2015 No comments

Adding some more colour to the highlights from my VMworld Europe 2015 coverage:

vRockStar

vRockstar kiked off VMworld Europe with a community gathering at the Hard Rock Cafe. This is a now yearly event organised by Marco Broeken, Patrick Redknap & team who put on a fantastic party.

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2015-10-11 22.09.52 2015-10-11 22.10.40  2015-10-11 23.26.27

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2015-10-11 22.08.20  2015-10-11 22.36.18

vExpert Party
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Categories: VMware, VMworld Tags: ,

VMworld EU 2015 Buzz: Office of the CTO Stand: vRDMA & Unifying Virtual and Physical Desktops with Synthetic Block Devices

October 30th, 2015 No comments

Adding some more colour to the highlights from my VMworld Europe 2015 coverage:

2015-10-13 14.42.28vRDMA

I made a point as I always do at VMworld to head to the VMware Office of the CTO booth to have a glimpse into the future. I spoke to Jorgen Hansen about vRDMA.

This is an interesting research project within VMware to create a new class of distributed application in a virtual environment by allowing very fast transport by bypassing much of the VMware kernel and accessing memory on another host. This will allow applications to reserve VM memory via the hypervisor but be extremely scalable and fast, think HPC and financial trading. Expand the pic to look into the project:

Unifying Virtual and Physical Desktops with Synthetic Block Devices

2015-10-13 18.03.58Later on they also had a new research project to talk about: Unifying Virtual and Physical Desktops with Synthetic Block Devices. Rami Stern talked me through it which is all about having a single instance storage across the physical and virtual world so a single store of Mirage data as well as VMDK. Users would be able to move OS data from physical to virtual with very little data transfer, very much linking the different technologies VMware has acquired. Again VSAN is being looked at to do this, image deduped storage for OS + File + VM + Mirage + Cloud Volumes Data, again very interesting.

Max the pic for more details:

 

Categories: Storage, VMware, VMworld Tags: , ,

VMworld EU 2015 Buzz: Hot Topics in VMware Research – CTO6660

October 30th, 2015 No comments

Adding some more colour to the highlights from my VMworld Europe 2015 coverage:

Presented by David Tennenhouse – Chief Research Officer (cool title), VMware

VMware has always been very academic research focused likely due to it being founding and having its head office in Palo Alto, home of Stanford University. Founders Mendel Rosenbaum and Diane Green were academics. VMware still maintains a serious academic programme partnering with researchers in systems and networks and invests significantly to maintain its innovation pipeline. David started the session talking about the challenges of being an industry leader where being a fast-follower is no longer an option. David went on to talk about some recent research trends and how he sees them shaping the industry.

More and more things are being virtualised including what he called heterogeneous computing such as GPUs and FPGAs.

There are new ways to build scalable and consistent distributed systems (he says this is having your cake and eating it)

David talked about the previous predictability for Moore’s law which allowed so many companies to plan their future on ever increasing compute resources. The increase of transistors is running out of room as the silicon space of the atoms is just getting too small. The only way to surpass this is to change how transistors are made. We will need to get improvements in other ways, in coordination across the industry. He said not to worry, it’s OK, there will be innovation beyond this with new materials.

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Categories: VMware, VMworld Tags: ,

VMworld EU 2015 Buzz: VMware Video Game Container System

October 30th, 2015 No comments

Adding some more colour to the highlights from my VMworld Europe 2015 coverage:

VMware Video Game Container System

I then spent some time at the fascinating VMware Video Game Container System. This is basically a demo of running MS-DOS in a linux container and then launching the awesome DOS Prince of Persia game within that container. Seriously impressive technology.

You can see the demo:

I spent time with Ben Corrie (the guy in the demo) who was the guy to worked it all out and put the demo together. He developed Project Bonneville which is running containers as VMs which is something I’ve spent a fare amount of time exploring at VMworld. Ben gave me a great overview of Bonneville and explained how docker and the container host and ESXi interact. I discovered that the stripped down VM appliance which is the base of the system is extremely light weight without even the docker client installed. As it is not on Linux but rather ESXi means you can run any VM that ESXi can run, hence being able to run Windows MS-DOS!

Why MS-DOS?:

We chose MS-DOS 6.22 partly for nostalgia, and partly because it neatly encapsulates a simple legacy OS. In 48 hours, we were able to use a vanilla Docker client to pull a Lemmings image from a Docker repository and run it natively in a 32MB VM via a Docker run command. The image was built using a Dockerfile, layered on top of FAT16 scratch and DOS 6.22 OS images with TTY and graphics exported back to the client

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Categories: Containers, DevOps, VMware, VMworld Tags: ,

VMworld EU 2015 Buzz: Group Discussion: DevOps and Continuous Delivery – MGT6401-GD

October 29th, 2015 No comments

Adding some more colour to the highlights from my VMworld Europe 2015 coverage:

This was held by Thomas Corfmat from VMware who currently works with vRealize CodeStream although the discussion wasn’t product specific.

Group discussions by nature aren’t presentations but rely on everyone giving input.

The session started with introductions from everyone to get an idea of what kinds of companies are in the session, as the introductions started quite a few people left immediately! Must be the pressure of a group discussion or wanting to stay anonymous!

2015-10-14 15.45.40Went through what was Continuous Integration / Continuous Delivery.

A poll was done as to where people were on the DevOps journey. 6% said they can release code into production within the hour, 60% were split between having no DevOps and starting to look at it and the rest were somewhere further along on the journey.

Some people shared stories about how they started, from changing from waterfall to agile approach, others being forced by the business.

The consensus was to start with continuous integration to get started, establishing toolsets like TFS or Jenkins for example and work on the people and process.

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Categories: DevOps, VMware, VMworld Tags: ,

VMworld EU 2015 Buzz: Running Cloud Native Apps on your Existing Infrastructure – CNA5479

October 29th, 2015 No comments

Adding some more colour to the highlights from my VMworld Europe 2015 coverage:

2015-10-14 14.04.32This session was delivered by Martijn Baecke and Robbie Jerrom, both from VMware, who were on the earlier panel. The session started talking about the transition from the client/server era into mobile/cloud. There have been huge changes in how software is being engineered, witness VMworld having a DevOps day today. There still needs to be a way to host both the apps of what they call yesterday (in reality 99% of apps running anywhere!) and the new generation of cloud native apps. VMware wants to ensure it can provide the platform to support both these worlds. The term used was future proofing so the idea is to build an infrastructure for your current workloads that can also be extended to deliver the new cloud native apps. The work needs to be done to transform current infrastructure but keeping one management later.

They looked at various strategies such as starting with a new cloud and rebuilding apps but this is a good choice for cloud native only, something not feasible for many companies. Greenfield can be done, starting again, but yet this is another environment to manage with upfront investment. Unsurprisingly they suggest using vSphere as the cornerstone of your infrastructure. Use software defined storage with hyperconverged/VVOLs and NSX for networking. Having a single platform makes it much easier to automate and orchestrate.

A great quote was given “Automation=Speed, Orchestration=Control”.

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Categories: Cloud, DevOps, VMware, VMworld Tags: ,