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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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UKVMUG: The unofficial lowdown on everything announced at VMworld

November 18th, 2014 No comments

vmug-logoI have had the pleasure today of presenting at the 4th annual UK VMware User Group conference at the National Motorcycle Museum in Solihull near Birmingham.

I did a whirlwind tour of everything that was announced at VMworld and believe me, there was a huge amount. OK, so no major release which is the norm (but plenty of teasers) but enough other things going on in the VMware space to fill more than a UKVMUG! I know, I’ve done the research! Even though I was at VMworld US, so much was going on that I didn’t appreciate all the new shiny things being announced and once you start getting down to the nitty gritty of everything, you will be amazed at how much is going on.

I really didn’t have time to go through everything in detail so the presentation acts as an independently curated jumping off point for you to find out more information about the announcements that matter to you. You may not care particularly about hyper-converged or OpenStack so you can flick through the slides and then head off to continue your explorations.

Thanks for having me UKVMUG!

Here’s the presentation:

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.

Upgrades

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.

orchestra

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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What’s New in vCloud Suite 5.5: vCenter Server SSO

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

key vCenter SSO gets one of the major updates. This is welcome news to anyone who installed SSO in vSphere 5.1 which was plagued with an overly complex and restrictive design. SSO in 5.1 was apparently an OEM component which VMware customised. SSO in 5.5 has been completely rewritten from the ground up internally.

Evolving vCenter is a major undertaking as it was originally built as a monolithic platform with everything included in one place. VMware’s strategy is to pull out all the core central services from vCenter and have them run stand-alone.

In the future, vCenter may not in fact be the only management option. I can think of other future management options such as OpenStack or even Microsoft System Center or some other partner management ecosystem, all obviously at cloud scale. Today SSO has been re-built to scale serving vCloud Director, vCenter Orchestrator and Horizon View.

What’s New:
The whole architecture has been redesigned with a multi-master model with built-in replication both between and within sites. There are no longer primary and secondary SSO servers. Site awareness is part of the design, you can add new sites and SSO can be aware of the original site.

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What’s New in vCloud Suite 5.5: vCenter Server and ESXi

August 26th, 2013 3 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

vCenter Server has been tweaked with this upgrade keeping its two deployment options, installed on a Windows Server or as an appliance.

VMware is strongly recommending using a single VM for all vCenter Server core components (SSO, Web Client, Inventory Service and vCenter Server) or to use the appliance rather than splitting things out which just add complexity and makes it harder to upgrade in the future.

What’s New:

vCenter

vSphere5 vCenter 5.5 on Windows has been made much more efficient with many performance improvements in the database and overall system. vCenter 5.5 on Windows now supports up to 1,000 hosts and 10,000 VMs. The vCenter Appliance has also been beefed up and with its embedded database supports 500 hosts and 5000 VMs or if you use an external Oracle DB (No MSSQL support planned) the supported hosts and VMs are the same as for Windows.

The vCenter 5.5 installation has changed the order of the simple install from 5.1 by swapping the order of the Web Client and Inventory Service installations so you have the Web Client available earlier on in the install chain for troubleshooting if something goes wrong.

IBM DB2 is no longer supported as a database for vCenter Server 5.5.

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