VMworld US 2016 Buzz: Office of the CTO Stand: Enabling vMotion with Passthrough SR-IOV Network Devices for Latency Sensitive Apps

September 14th, 2016 No comments

Adding some more colour to the highlights from my VMworld US 2016 coverage:

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 Xin Xu.

Currently VMware has a number of features for allowing latency sensitive apps to have a more direct path to the hardware which obviously speeds things up. However this breaks some other useful functionality. VMware is working on allowing vMotion for latency sensitive apps when using SR-IOV Network devices.

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You can read more details of the research paper here:

http://dl.acm.org/ft_gateway.cfm?ftid=1703154&id=2892256

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VMworld US 2016 Buzz: Office of the CTO Stand: Exo-Clones: Better Container Storage Management Across the Clouds

September 14th, 2016 No comments

Adding some more colour to the highlights from my VMworld US 2016 coverage:

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 had had a look at the stand talking about Exo-Clones and then also attended a session by Christos Karamanolis, who is also a VMware Fellow, I blogged about the whole sessions: VMworld US 2016 Buzz: An Industry Roadmap: From storage to data management – STO7903 which covers more about the portable snapshots part of it, very interesting tech, well worth reading.

Portable snapshot functionality allows snapshots to be exported as stand-alone files which can then be imported into somewhere else. They work in the same way as git commits work in a distributed source control system so you always know the source tree of where the snapshots have come from. These portable snapshots are called Exo-clones.

During the session Christos talked about extending the portable snapshots idea with a distributed file system for cloud native apps, called VFS which would sit on top of VSANs file system, VDFS (vSphere Distributed File System) and provide a file system that could massively scale for cloud native apps.

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You can then also do better dedupe and manage container images.  If you are refreshing thousands of containers in multiple sites, currently you can’t do block level differential updates, Exo-clones would give this to you. You can also use Exo-clones to do rapid copies of Big Data, Christos did a demo of just this.

Here are the pics from the Office of the CTO booth in the solutions exchange to give you more of an idea.

The portable snapshot functionality would be there to for example be a

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There is also an excellent and very in-depth paper written by VMware’s Richard P. Spillane, Wenguang Wang, Luke Lu, Maxime Austruy, Christos Karamanolis, and Rawlinson Rivera

https://www.usenix.org/system/files/conference/hotstorage16/hotstorage16_spillane.pdf

Again, we see the VSAN team pushing advancements which are useful in other areas of vSphere, here being cloud native apps.

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VMworld US 2016 Buzz: An Industry Roadmap: From storage to data management – STO7903

September 14th, 2016 No comments

Adding some more colour to the highlights from my VMworld US 2016 coverage:

Next up to another storage session with one of the fathers of VSAN, Christos Karamanolis, who is also a VMware Fellow, I’ve heard Christos speak a number of times and he’s very much worth listening to.

Christos started reiterating that data provides tremendous business value potential with a huge uptick in the amount of data stored.

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Storage is not going to traditional storage arrays, analysts say disk arrays are rapidly declining compared to the amount of data produced. This is due to the rise of Software Defined Storage, either via hyperscale server SAN storage or enterprise server SAN storage.

Data is also becoming more mobile in a hybrid cloud world which is an IT nightmare, CIOs have no idea what data goes to AWS/Azure.

Today’s storage products do not meet the requirements of the evolving IT industry, HCI overcomes legacy limitations with a seamlessly integrated architecture.

Christos talked about Data LifeCycle Management.

Read more…

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VMworld US 2016 Buzz: The VMworld Store

September 14th, 2016 No comments

Adding some more colour to the highlights from my VMworld US 2016 coverage:

I took some pictures of the things for sale in the VMworld Store, one of the ways to buy presents for your kids

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VMworld US 2016 Buzz: The Solutions Exchange

September 14th, 2016 No comments

Adding some more colour to the highlights from my VMworld US 2016 coverage:

I didn’t actually spend as much time as I normally do in the Solutions Exchange this year. I didn’t have any burning questions for particular vendors or new lines or inquiry. I was super busy covering other things anyway. However I think I messed up and should have (somehow) made more time. I did walk through all the aisles and worked out who was there and importantly who was on the outside of the hall with the newer stuff.

I should have chatted to them more, I probably had badge scan fatigue!

I took some pics:

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VMworld US 2016 Buzz: VMware Chief Technology Officer Panel & Trends and Futures – CTO9943

September 14th, 2016 No comments

Adding some more colour to the highlights from my VMworld US 2016 coverage:

VMware CTOs, Shawn Bass, Ray O’Farrell, Paul Strong & Chris Wolf took to the stage to give their perspectives. The role of a CTO is two fold, looking outward to understand technology and business trends to define a companies strategy and then look inward to direct that strategy internally and also to connect customers to R&D.

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I had been fortunate recently to interview VMware Europe CTO Joe Baguley so it would be interesting to see what his colleagues said.

Introductions from everyone, they see their role as to “Drive thought leadership and accelerate technology leadership.”

Ray: Focused on digital transition, cloud, multi-cloud, new apps, containers, DevOps, take the same abstraction of hardware virtualisation and apply it to abstract clouds.

Shaun: Seen plenty of bad user interactions, wanting consumer simplicity with enterprise security. Users wanting self service, push button approach, getting data quickly, combining web, windows, mobile apps together

Chris: IT people generally started managing desktops and then tried to get out of it as quickly as possible! EUC is now becoming strategic rather than connecting just employees to data but now also customers. Also focused on enterprises operating multiple clouds.

Paul: How everything comes together, driving the VMware simplicity of mission, bringing clouds together, helping people so they don’t have to worry about infrastructure. We’re also moving from managing just virtual machines to managing virtual cars, virtual aeroplanes, virtual pumps, all these virtual things to model physical things.

There was talk of moving from centralised computing with cloud to more edge analytics for IoT. There will be too much data for all IoT devices to send data centrally. The devices themselves will aggregate and possible crunch the data to make it more efficient and do some actions before sending it to the cloud.

Read more…

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VMworld US 2016 Buzz: Open Source as a Critical Ingredient in Enterprise Computing – CTO9606-S

September 14th, 2016 No comments

Adding some more colour to the highlights from my VMworld US 2016 coverage:

IMG_4502_thumb2I was interested in this session to get a take on how VMware’s new Chief Open Source Officer, Dirk Hohndel, sees the role of open source in Enterprises where I’m seeing more and more adoption. Interestingly there were only 30 people in a large room, does this indicate not much interest in open source software (OSS) or just a time that was during lunch?

Drives the Internet

Dirk started by saying open source software drives the internet, the more you head towards the infrastructure, the more you find open source.

Amazon, Google, Facebook etc. use open source as the base of their business, Yahoo runs on FreeBSD.

The major companies that use the internet are also therefore the developers of the infrastructure of the internet. By infrastructure, Dirk includes web servers such as Nginx or Apache.

Read more…

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VMworld US 2016 Buzz: Virtual SAN Management Current & Future – STO7904

September 14th, 2016 No comments

Adding some more colour to the highlights from my VMworld US 2016 coverage:

IMG_4466_thumbAlthough I’m fairly up to date with the new features of VSAN, I wanted more of a peak into the future. VSAN Architect Christian Dickmann was one of the initial developers for VSAN and has done an incredible job bringing VSAN to market.

As a quick summary of the vision, VSAN is bringing “appliance like experience” on “your choice of hardware” with “different storage policies per VM”.

HCI is the driver for further revolution in simplicity, the next stage for VSAN is to double down on simplification and this wasn’t just for VSAN but for vSphere as a whole. They are questioning every knob in the vSphere + VSAN universe and seeing if they can make it simpler.

The biggest simplification opportunities include:

  • install / upgrade for both software and hardware
  • setup of the entire vSphere stack
  • introducing infrastructure analytics
  • take data centre management to a new level

Christian went on to say they are thinking about this by being able to provide both Choice and Simplicity. You can chose your hardware and yet still get the same simplicity of install and operations.

The theme was not really about just VSAN and this was very good to hear, so much more integration between products planned and a huge focus on automated and simpler deployments.

He then went through 6 demos:

Read more…

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VMworld US 2016 Buzz: Group Discussion: vSphere Integrated Containers with Ben Corrie – CNA10737-GD

September 12th, 2016 No comments

Adding some more colour to the highlights from my VMworld US 2016 coverage:

I attended a group discussion hosted by Ben Corrie who was the clever guy who put together last year’s VMworld demo of the game Prince of Persia running in MS-DOS in a container!

It was a pretty high level group discussion, Ben asked for agenda things to go through:

He went through the reasons for vSphere Integrated Containers which is to provide a Docker API consistent experience to developers yet also provide a VM consistent experience to operations people. Each container is spawned as a VM so all the security, availability, backup, scheduling and management procedures you have for VMs can now work with containers as well.

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Containers 101 – VMs have a private name space with resource constraints, containers also have the same construct of a private name space but without a shared OS.

Docker made containers easier to deploy by bringing a daemon to act as control plane, also layered image management.

Problem solving/value proposition: portability, state management, operational efficiency, automation

vSphere integrated Containers: Docker commands send from docker client, VIC deploys a regular VM, image pulled from docker registry, the VM is booted with small PhotonOS .ISO just to be able to connect over serial port. Container as a VM, you get same networking / storage / scheduling / availability etc. as a regular VM.

Photon Platform: orchestration platform for creating container hosts

Also went through roles of what developers and operators do.

Discussion on portability, from laptop to production, same image.

Direct VIC integration with NSX is coming in the future, if you already have NSX it will work and be available as a network but currently you can’t add new NSX constructs. So, the demos of container management with NSX and VIC are a little premature.

As for compatibility Mesos, etc that don’t use native Docker APIs don’t work as they normally expect an agent within Linux to look at the processors and iptables. This isn’t in the VM, anything that is native Docker API compatible will work. This is going to get interesting if your operational people are going to want to use higher level container management tools which are then not compatible with VIC which your ops people want to use to get visibility.

You can go and have a try for yourself at : http://github.com/vmware/vic-product

I was actually genuinely interested that very few people in the session actually knew how containers worked even at a high level. I expected the group discussion to be more of a deep dive considering Ben’s deep architectural knowledge. It seems containers are very new after all or perhaps there were other deeper dive container sessions on at the same time. Containers are going to be deployed very badly in many cases, existing apps are just going to be repackaged to run in containers. This fits perfectly into VMware’s vision for running containers as VMs. Packaged apps running as they did in VMs but now as containers will need the underlying infrastructure availability and operations that vSphere is great at providing. This is however the wrong way to approach the true benefits of containers which should be microservices but its not going to stop people heading down that road and VIC is there to help.

Scott M. Fulton III from http://thenewstack.io/ was also in the sessions and has also written some more on the tech at VMworld.

VMworld2016 has made the recording of many sessions publicly available but not this one it seems.

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VMworld US 2016 Buzz: Chatting to Satyam Vaghani from PernixData/Nutanix

September 12th, 2016 No comments

Adding some more colour to the highlights from my VMworld US 2016 coverage:

I luckily managed to bump into PernixData CTO Satyam Vaghani who had just been on theCUBE talking about his companies acquisition by Nutanix.

Satyam was gracious enough to talk and hear my ramblings, so I’m not quoting him here, all my words! I think it is good tech for Nutanix to acquire, I believe Pernix was caught between two technology shifts, they solved the traditional storage speed problem but the fast rise of Flash and it being good enough meant Pernix’s tech wasn’t needed. Remember however that Pernix also does the same clever caching for memory but we’re not ready yet with applications that can take advantage of this so Pernix didn’t have the time to stand alone until its tech found it next incarnation as a super fast memory cache tier so had to sell.

I hope culturally they work out a fit as they are very different companies. I would presume they’re looking at porting Pernix FVP to run on AHV which is very heavily modified KVM and the Architect product is an immediate fit for storage analytics especially for Nutanix’s push into business critical applications. Where I see the future with Nutanix’s aim to make clouds invisible is being able to store your VM data off-prem in some cloud and being able to run the VMs on-prem using Pernix as the caching layer. You can take advantage of public cloud backups / DR / etc. at a storage layer yet have on-prem compute which can be run from anywhere.

Ex- Pernix’s Frank Denneman also announced he is “going home” back to VMware. Satyam is heading to Nutanix, they could use his deep smarts with how ESXi storage works, no idea if he’s planning on staying for the long term or has the itch to do his own thing again. I wish them both luck, they’re awesome people!

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