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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:

Nominate a Non-Profit for Nutanix’s $500k Web-scale Wish Datacenter Makeover

November 13th, 2014 No comments

Nutanix has initiated a rather big, bold and generous program to donate to a non-profit organisation $500,000 in data center infrastructure.

The program is called Web-scale Wish and the community will get to choose the non-profit who wins the Grand Prize makeover which is made up of:

  • three Nutanix NX-3050 nodes
  • three Ultimate Software Licenses
  • three years of Nutanix Platinum Plus support
  • two-day on-site installation service by Nutanix

Anyone can nominate an organisation they feel would benefit and nominations are open until Friday November 21st. There are so many non-profit organisations doing such amazing work but often the benefits of a modern IT infrastructure are just a dream and certainly way out of reach financially for organisations committing their finances to helping others.

There are some requirements to be met from the non-profit to be considered:

  • Be a non-profit, non-partisan organisation based in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or the United Kingdom
  • Have a currently working data center that could benefit from web-scale converged infrastructure
  • Be able to complete and meet Environment Assessment criteria

All the submissions will be initially judge and I’m honoured to be one of the community judges along with Stu Miniman,Douglas Brown,Michael Webster and Steve Greenberg.

The final three organisations we select will then be featured in a virtual event on Wednesday, December 10 where the entire community will have the opportunity to vote to determine the Grand Prize recipient.

This is a fantastic initiative where you can help Nutanix make a real IT difference to a non-profit you care about that needs an IT makeover and I am very proud they’ve asked me to help with the judging.

Head over to http://www.webscalewish.com/ to nominate your non-profit.

Categories: VMware Tags: ,

UK VMUG 2014, VMworld enhanced!

November 7th, 2014 2 comments

The fantastic National UK VMUG is being held at the National Motorcycle Museum near Birmingham on Tuesday 18th November (note it’s a Tuesday, not the normal Thursday).

This isn’t just your run of the mill, normal VMUG (if there is such a thing!) and has been seriously enhanced over the already phenomenal 2013 version. What takes it to another level is the content that you can’t even get at VMworld…and remember, it’s free!

See the full agenda here. Sign up NOW!

The opening keynote is by VMware EMEA CTO, Joe Baguley who always delivers and as his talk is titled “CTO Rant-as-a-Service”, you can expect an inside look into what Joe sees out in the world and what gets under his skin! Of course he will be punting the VMware SDDC vision but as he talks to people day in and day out, he has a very good idea how the real world of IT works with invaluable insight into how your own company and its competitors actually do IT.

In addition, never before seen at a VMUG as far as I know, is a round table discussion with Joe called “Ask the CTO Anything”.  Seriously can you imagine having direct access to one of VMware’s most senior strategists and being able to ask him anything. Joe isn’t just your strategy marketer with a good stage presence, he’s seriously technical himself so make sure you take advantage of the opportunity.

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Categories: VMUG, VMware, VMworld Tags: , ,

VMworld US 2014: The Day 4 Buzz

August 28th, 2014 1 comment

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image Was excellent to have the final Run VMworld this morning although it didn’t feel like it until we started. Thanks to everyone who joined over the week, it was great to meet everyone and chat.

General Session

Today’s General Session isn’t the usual VMware announcement session but named People + Machines: Redefining The Possible featuring three innovators exploring new ways of connecting people and machines.

Jane McGonigal - http://janemcgonigal.com/ who is a designer of alternate reality games and is also an author talked about creating games that bring everyday people together as teammates.

Jane has done a TED talk previously on this topic.

 

Next up was James Patton  – http://www.jamespatten.com/index.php who is an inventor, visual artist & designer and also TED fellow. James basically takes the computer interface off the screen and puts it into your hands.

Here’s James TED Talk.

 

Sean Gourley who is a physicist and Collective Intelligence Researcher and another TED Fellow and Rhodes Scholar. Sean’s work is a collaboration between people and machines, as a way to understanding very complex information. http://seangourley.com/

Here’s Sean’s TED Talk.

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Categories: VMware, VMworld Tags: ,

VMworld 2014 US: vCloud Automation Center Overview and Glimpse into the Future #MGT2175

August 28th, 2014 No comments

Notes from a VM world session from VMware product managers Nikunj Nemani, Rich Bourdeau and Long Wang.

The session highlighted how the world now very much revolves around applications which are not easy things to manage and deliver in a fast moving cloud world. Apps are often delivered in very siloed manually processes that take forever to commission holding back the business from being able to deliver what they need. The session looked at how IT efficiency is being driven by cloud automation and management with vCAC.

Automation is the catalyst that empowers the SDDC and is the next major efficiency drive within IT.

2013 saw a product consolidation with vCAC 6.0 with a common self-service interface based on policy based governance with automated delivery (their words to play buzz word bingo!)

vCloud Automation Center is now called vRealize Automation which has been built to automate across multi-vendor and multi-cloud infrastructure.

There will be a vRealize Suite available in September consisting of:

  • vCenter Operations Management Suite
  • vCloud Automation Center
  • IT Business Management Suite Standasrd
  • vCenter Log Insight

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Categories: vCenter, vCOPS, VMworld Tags: , , ,

VMworld 2014 US: VSAN Architecture Deep Dive #STO1279

August 27th, 2014 4 comments

Quick notes while attending VSAN deep dive by Christos Karamanolis, the architect of VSAN and Christian Dickmann one of the lead developers for VSAN.

They went into the technical details of some of the functional components and how VSAN decides to distribute data across the cluster to meet availability and performance requirements, they showed some of the performance numbers.

VSAN key benefits, radically simple, high performance, lower TCO.

VMware increasingly sees vSphere admins also managing storage and VSAN is targeted at them.

VSAN performance is with very low host CPU performance

2M IOPS for 100% read possible with 4PB of disks, 640k IOPS with 70% read, 30% write

VSAN clusters aligned to vSphere clusters for ease of management rather than a technical limitation

VSAN policies it can present:

  • object space reservation
  • number of failures to tolerate
  • number of disk stripes per object
  • flash read cache reservation
  • force provisioning

Went through disk layouts and use of flash devices

VSAN asynchronously retires data from flash write buffer to HDD sequentially for performance

With VSAN license you get vSphere Distributed Virtual Switch even if you don’t have Enterprise Plus licensing

VSAN is an object store not file store

VM home directory object is formatted with VMFS to allow a VMs configuration files to be stored on it, mounted under the VSAN root directory, this is similar to VVols

Advantage of objects:

    • storage platform designed for SPBM
      • per VM per VMDK level of service
      • application gets exactly what is needs
    • high availability
      • per object quorum
    • better scalability
      • per VM locking, no issues as number of VMs grows
      • no global namespace translations

SAN write stays in write buffer for as long as possible as it often changes after initial write so is kept in cache

Host load balances VSAN reads across replicas but only reads block from same replica to keep single cache copy

VSAN remote cache read latency negligible as local SSD latency increases anyway with more data

VSAN supports in-memory local cache for very low latency, used with View Accelerator (CBRC)

VSAN has a scheduler that throttles replication traffic in the cluster but will always leave a little room so replication can at least continue

HA has been heavily modified to work with hyper-converged and VSAN

VSAN gives users 3 options for maintenance mode

  • ensure accessibility
  • full data migration
  • no data migration

VSAN monitoring and troubleshooting with:

  • vSphere IO
  • command line tools
  • Ruby vSphere Console
  • VSAN Observer.
Categories: Storage, VMware Tags: , ,

What’s New in vSphere 6.0: vCenter

August 27th, 2014 3 comments

VMware has used its VMworld keynotes and sessions to lift the lid on parts of what is included in the vSphere 6.0 Public Beta. This is still in beta, remember, so some functionality may not actually make it into the finally released version and there may still be further bits and pieces revealed.

VMware continues to build out its hypervisor core management application vCenter with more functionality. There are no dramatic architectural changes but VMware is moving slowly to pull apart vCenter into its component parts to be able to run more vCenters at scale and is creating a central services function.

Platform Services Controller (PSC)

image VMware is introducing a new component called the VMware Platform Services Controller (which had a previous beta name of Infrastructure Controller)

SSO was the first component to be spun out into what is now being built up as the PSC. SSO was first released in 5.1 and had major issues and was rebuilt as SSO 2.0 for vSphere 5.5

vCenter, vCOPs, vCloud Director, vCloud Automation Center can use the PSC as a shared component.

The PSC now contains the following functionality:

  • SSO
  • Licensing
  • Certificate Authority
  • Certificate Store
  • Service (Product) Registration

The Certificate Authority and Certificate Store are new components to at last tame the wild and woefully inadequate management of vSphere certificates. The new VMware Certificate Authority (VMCA) can act as a root certificate authority either managing its own certificates or handling certificates from an external Certificate Authority. VMCA provisions each ESXi host with a signed certificate when it is added to vCenter as part of installation or upgrade. You can view and manage these certificates from the vSphere Web Client and manage the full certificate lifecycle workflow.

Service (Product) registration is a component that all other services register to and is the lookup service in vSphere. It is the service that will tell you all the services that are running in the system.

Other services will be added to the PSC in future releases.

The PSC is built into vCenter and runs as a vPostgres database so there’s no additional database to worry about and it runs in both the Windows and appliance version. The PSCs self replicate and importantly don’t use ADAM so it can replicate between Windows and appliance vCenters.

You can either have the PSC embedded within vCenter Server or run it as an external component to vCenter Server.

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What’s New in vSphere 6.0: Content Library

August 27th, 2014 1 comment

VMware has used its VMworld keynotes and sessions to lift the lid on parts of what is included in the vSphere 6.0 Public Beta. This is still in beta, remember, so some functionality may not actually make it into the finally released version and there may still be further bits and pieces revealed.

Content Library is a planned new addition to vSphere 6.0 which was talked about for the first time in a session at VMworld. Content Library is a way to centrally store VM templates, vApps, ISO images and scripts.

This content can can be synchronised across sites and vCenters. Synchronised content allows you to more easily deploy workloads at scale that are consistent. Having consistent content is easier to automate against, will be easier to keep things in compliance and make an admin’s life more efficient.

image Content Library provides basic versioning of files in this release and has a publish and subscribe mechanism to replicate content between local and remote VCs which by default is synchronised every night. Changes to descriptions, tags and other metadata will not trigger a version change. There is no de-dupe at the content library level but storage arrays may do that behind the scenes.

Content library can also sync between vCenter and vCloud Director.

The content itself is stored either in vSphere Datastores or actually preferably on a local vCenter file system since the contents are then stored in a compressed format. A local file system is presented directly to the vCenter Servers, for a Windows VC it can be another drive or folder added but for the vCenter Appliance the preferred approach is to mount a NFS share directly to your vCenter appliance. This may mean you need to amend your storage networking as many installations have segregated storage networks which are directly accessible by hosts to store VMs but not by vCenter.

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What’s New in vSphere 6.0: Virtual Volumes

August 26th, 2014 1 comment

VMware has used its VMworld keynotes and sessions to lift the lid on parts of what is included in the vSphere 6.0 Public Beta. This is still in beta, remember, so some functionality may not actually make it into the finally released version and there may still be further bits and pieces revealed.

Virtual Volumes (VVols) is one of the new addition to what has been revealed about the vSphere 6.0 Beta. VMware has been talking about it publicly since VMworld 2011 (I called VVols “VMware’s game changer for storage”) and  is a very significant update. VVols completely change the way storage is presented, managed and consumed and certainly for the better. Most storage vendors are on board as their software needs to be able to support VVols and they’ve been champing at the bit for VVols to be released. Talk was it was technically ready for vSphere 5.5 but VMware decided to keep it back, perhaps to let VSAN have its year in the sun and to give 6.0 something big.

VVols is all about changing the way storage is deployed, managed and consumed making the storage system VM-centric, VMware likes to use the term “making the VMDK a first class citizen in the storage world”.

 

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Virtual Volumes is part of VMware’s Software Defined Storage story which is split between the control plane with Virtual Data Services which is all policy driven and the data plane with Virtual Data Plane which is where the data is actually stored.

 

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What’s New in vSphere 6.0: Multi-CPU Fault Tolerance

August 26th, 2014 1 comment

VMware has used its VMworld keynotes and sessions to lift the lid on parts of what is included in the vSphere 6.0 Public Beta. This is still in beta, remember, so some functionality may not actually make it into the finally released version and there may still be further bits and pieces revealed.

It’s been many many years in the making but at last Fault Tolerance for Multi-Processor VMs has seen the light of day and was announced during the VMworld keynote today.

FT will now support VMs with up to 4 x vCPUs and 64GB RAM. SMP-FT as it’s called works differently than FT for single CPUs. There is a new fast check-pointing mechanism to keep the primary and secondary in sync. Previously a “Record-Replay” sync mechanism was used but the new fast check-pointing has allowed FT to expand beyond 1 x vCPU. Record-Replay kept a secondary VM in “virtual lockstep” with the primary. With fast check-pointing the primary and secondary VM execute the same instruction stream simultaneously making it much faster. If the FT network latency is too high for VMs to stay in sync, the primary will be slowed down to the point that the secondary can keep up. You can also now hot-configure FT.

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