VMworld Day 2

VMworld EMEA day 2 kicked off with the keynote from Carl Echenbach, Ben Fathi and Raghu Raghuram. Unfortunately the keynote was again largely a repeat of the VMworld US day 2 one with all of the same jokes and mock up pictures also. Due to this I’m not going to break down the keynote but rather recommend you watch the keynote recording here.

After watching the keynote and writing up my VMworld Day 1 blog posting I helped the vBrownbag crew with preparations for the TechTalks for which the recordings are now available on the vBrownbag YouTube channel. I would highly recommend watching these as there were some really great presentations from some very big vendors and names within the industry. I then went to the hands on labs and did  HOL-SDC-1420 – OpenStack with VMware vSphere and NSX. The lab was really good and I plan to do the second part of it today.

Talking about containers VMware released a blog posting yesterday around Docker containers performance in VMware vSphere. some of the highlights from the article are that:

  • VMware find that for most of these micro-benchmarks and Redis tests, vSphere delivered near-native performance with generally less than 5% overhead.
  • Running an application in a Docker container in a vSphere VM has very similar overhead of running containers on a native OS (directly on a physical server).

To view the full blog post, you can visit :  http://blogs.vmware.com/performance/2014/10/docker-containers-performance-vmware-vsphere.html

After the HOL I attended the Solutions exchange and spoke to some of the vendors whose solutions interest me such as Nutanix, Hitachi Data Systems, PernixData, Simplivity , SolidFire and Colt stalls. Some amazing solution from these guys as well as many others, it’s scary how much the virtualisation ecosystem is changing.

From the solutions exchange I attended session STO2997-SPO The vExpert Storage Game Show EMEA which was really good fun and filled by really smart guys on the stage. I watched the recording of the one from the US a few weeks ago and it too was very informative and is a session I would recommend watching from both VMworld’s.

I then made my way back to the solutions exchange for the hall crawl where Hitachi were serving up sake and sushi at their stand which is two of my favourite things so I had to make sure I got myself some and they even gave us nice sake cups which I will personally use for a double espresso cup. A big thanks to Paul Meehan too for chatting us through their solution.

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I stuck around in the solutions exchange until the VMworld party as the party is in the convention centre. The party seemed smaller this year although there was a big roller rink in the middle last year so possibly this was the reason. It was good to chat to very vNerds and even some ex-colleagues whilst waiting for Simple Minds to come on. I’m only 31 so I only knew two or three of their songs but they were hands down better than Taio Cruz last year and most of the crowd seemed to really enjoy it and they even did an encore. From the party I met up with some of my Xtravirt colleagues for a night cap.

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VMworld Day 1

Tuesday is the real start of VMworld where both partners and customers of VMware come to attend sessions, do hands on labs, talk to vendors in the solutions exchange and attend the keynote/general session.

The day kicked off with the general session, I opted to not go into the general session hall but instead go into the hang space across from the hall where the keynote was being shown on big screens. This enabled me  to sit at the bloggers table to ensure my scheduled blog postings around a number of announcements could go out smoothly and in San Francisco the keynote overran into the first sessions and I had one booked at 11am. The blog postings I posted which the ones I had to make sure the scheduling worked for are:

I was planning to mention quite a bit about the keynote but it was 98% exactly the same as the VMworld US one with even the same jokes. If you missed the keynote you can watch it again here. The big announcements from the keynote for me was the announcement that there is now a vCloud Air datacentre in Germany allowing the selection of this datacentre as the location of your data. For those who aren’t from Europe, many countries in Europe have strict regulations about information leaving their countries and Germany is one of the strictest so giving the ability to have customers data in Germany makes things a lot simpler. The second big announcement for me was that HP and Hitachi Data Systems are  have joined the VMware EVO:RAIL program.

Just like in VMworld US, the keynote ran overtime so I started walking to my first session which was MGT1969 vCloud Automation Center and NSX Integration Technical Deep Dive . The session was really informative and the two speakers gave some great insight into the integration and capabilities of the two products as well as doing a live demo at the end. I always appreciate a good demo so i would highly recommend watching the session once the recordings are available.

I had a quick lunch as most of the 11am sessions were delayed due to the keynote and then went up to the solutions exchange to talk to some vendors I wanted to hear more things about. The solutions exchange certainly doesnt seem to have as many vendors as last year and it was also very interesting to see how some vendors stalls have doubled in size whereas a few others have got a lot smaller and moved to the outer edges.

I then went to the hang space to watch a few vBrownbag Techtalks which were really good and also to chat to some fellow vExperts. for me one of the best parts about VMworld is being able to chat to your peers about technology and also make good connections professionally with partners companies. whilst i was in the hang space I also attempted my paper airplane challenge for project Destination Give Back which allows you to create a paper airplane and then depending on how far you throw of if you land on one of the circles you “win” money for a charity cause of your choice. Yet again I threw mine too hard Smile but it’s a quick and easy way to give back to good causes and I applaud VMware for doing it. giveback

My next session to attend was TEX1991 vCenter Orchestrator – What’s Next? which was a good session giving insight into you guessed it, what’s new in vCO. it was a good session and there really are some great things coming out in vCO that will help both SMB and enterprise customers.

I again did a walk around the solutions exchange after this as it was then the hall crawl where drinks and snacks are supplied before making my way to the vExpert/VCDX party where I managed to chat to loads of people about my previous VCDX attempt and my plans for my next one and lastly I attended the Cisco vJamon party. Both parties were really good and I must be getting old as I quite liked that there was good food and no thumping music so that I could chat to people with ease.

If you spot me at the conference please do come say hi. I will be wearing a vBrownbag shirt with my name on the front and back.

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What’s New in vRealize Automation 6.2

Today at VMworld Europe, VMware are going to announce vRealize Automation 6.2 which is the renamed vCloud Automation Center solution but obviously the next version which is due to be available in Q4 this year. It does seem like there is a new version every six months of the solution as vCAC 6.1 was only GA 6 weeks ago which added a whole host of new features.

Below is an overview of what is being added in the vRealize Automation 6.2 product, fortunately there isn’t a change to the architecture so for those who have recently deployed vCAC 6.1 to customer like I have recently you don’t have to stress about doing the upgrade like it was between previous versions.

Upgrade and Migrate to vCAC 6.1

Release 6.0.1.1 to release 6.1

  • 6.0 must first be upgraded to 6.0.1.1
  • In-place upgrade from 6.0.1.1 to 6.1
  • Application Services (AppD) requires side-by side migration

Release 5.2.1 to release 6.1

  • Older versions must be first upgrade to 5.2.1
  • 6.1 will be installed side by side with 5.2.1
  • A migration utility will move data from 5.2.1 to new 6.1 deployment
  • Will require some system down time
  • Does not include AppD

vRealize Automation 6.2 Summary

Enhanced integration between vRealize Operations and Automation

  • Health status displays
  • Reclaims inactive VMs

Admin Friendly CLI

  • Simplify scripting of vRealize Automation commands

Enhanced Endpoint Support

  • vSphere 6 (Q1-15)
  • XenDesktop 7
  • Enhancements to vCloud Air

Proxy Support

  • Pay as you go support (Q1-2015)
  • OpenStack (Havana)

vRealize Automation 6.2 In-Depth

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CloudClient

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CloudClient Overview

  • Command-line utility that provides verb-based access with a unified interface across the vCAC APIs (including IaaS, Applications, vCO)
  • Focused on providing an easy-to-use command-line interface for the IT administrator where scripting and CLI use is more feasible than direct API calls
  • Stable interface while underlying APIs may change over time
  • Provides common security; exception handling; JSON, CSV and tabular formatting; file export; auto login for scripting (password and keyfiles); and auto-generated documentation.
  • Available as a separate Download in Early Q4 (supports 6.1)

Make sure you  watch the live VMworld keynote to learn more.

Posted in Automation, vCAC, vCloud, Virtualisation, VMware | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

What’s New In vCloud Automation Center 6.1

Not long after VMworld Europe vCAC 6.1 was released. For the past year I have been very fortunate to have been on some very large vCAC projects as an extension of VMware PSO and have seen the product change dramatically. there have certainly been some challenges but I’m super excited about vCAC 6.1 and from the experience I have gained of it so far it is looking very solid and now can work seemlessly with vCO along with a number of other great new feaures. So below is an overview of what is new in vCAC  6.1.

vCAC Extension

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Interested in Developing a VCO Plugin?
Free Access to the vCO Plug-in SDK

  • The SDK has samples and documentation to facilitate development
  • http://communities.vmware.com/community/vmtn/developer/forums/orchestrator
  • Additional Resources

    Distribution on VMware Solutions Exchange
    – Contact: Meenakshi Nagarajan
    mnagarajan@vmware.com for additional info

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    Automating Application and Infrastructure Services

    Simplifying the deployment and management of single machines and complex multi-tired applications.

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    User Experience

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    Posted in Automation, vCAC, VCDX, vCloud, Virtualisation | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

    vRealize Operations 6.0

    Today at VMworld EU there are going to be a number of announcements and as has become the norm for VMworld Europe, VMware are making a number of announcements around their new management solutions. One of these announcements is vRealize Operations 6.0.

    If you are wondering what I mean with the vRealize name then below is a very quick summary:

    vRealize Suite

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    VMware vRealize is changing the name of the management solutions into simpler packaging and suites and as announced at VMworld US, vRealize Air Operations,Automation and Business will be available soon to provide a new SaaS solution for VMware customers via the renamed vCloud Air offering.

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    vRealize Operations 6

    There are a number of new features and enhancements in vRealize Operations 6.0 one of these is the new scale-out architecture allowing high resiliency and availability as well as self monitoring to ensure that if an instance/slice is lost, it is reported and brought back seamlessly.

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    vRealize Operations 6.0 is now providing a public set of RESTful API’s to allow customers and partners to extend as well as get information in and out with ease so that it can be used for custom reporting or in the case of a project i have been on recently will allow monitoring of vCAC DEM’s and automatic provisioning of more if required.

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    The management dashboard of vRealize Operations 6.0 has maintained the same three panels on health Risk and Efficiency to  provide viewing and reporting of immediate and future problems as well as opportunities to optimise. With vRealize Operations 6.0 you now have a new section below each of the three panels there are now problem alerts which give you correlation of problems and the ability to click the alerts to see the details as shown below.

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    There is also the ability to dig deeper into the problems by using vRealize Log Insight which can send alerts into vRealize Operations 6.0 if certain problems arise and allow custom reporting and alerting for partners and bigger customers who are looking for custom reporting and deep analysis.

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    Below is a summary of all the new features and solutions in vRealize Operations 6.0 allowing reporting of public and private architecture as well as simplistic single pane of glass management.

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    One of the biggest abilities of vRealize Operations 6.0 that I really like and i think will make all the customers I see as a consultant very happy is the support for new SDDC and hybrid cloud platforms meaning you can now monitor and report on networking,storage, OpenStack and vCloud Air. This will truly allow you to manage and report on your whole SDDC environment.

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    vRealize Operations 6.0 NSX Management Pack

    With vRealize Operations 6.o as shown above is the ability to monitor and report on SDN solution NSX. With vRealize Operations 6.0 there is a new management pack for NSX.In the image below, you can see the heat map showing the transport layer. The transport layer is effectively all of the transport nodes (NSX term for hypervisors). These boxes are the ESX hosts registered with NSX, grouped by a particular transport zone. Transport zone is a group of hypervisors that share the same transport behaviour. On the bottom, the widget shows the top talkers. If there is a lot of traffic, this widget can help us figure out which VMs are responsible for the most network traffic.

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    There are three NSX dashboards: NSX main dashboard, NSX logical topology and NSX Edge services.

    The current view is from the NSX main dashboard. Currently, we are a seeing information for a particular NSX Manager instance. The control plane widget is all the objects corresponding to the NSX Manager (API and connection to the vCenter Server for configuration), Controllers (responsible for configuring switches), Edge (VMs that deploy certain logical network services like DHCP, Load balancer etc. ), Logical Routers (Distributed routers responsible for configuring the routing software on each individual host).

    All the alerts related to NSX are captured in Open Alerts widgets. This is based on hard threshold violations. We can see a number of High Availability violations. We have 40-50 alerts that are configured out of the box. We have detailed documentation on each of these metrics and what the alerts mean.

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    vRealize Operations Management Pack for OpenStack

    OpenStack is emerging as the leading cloud platform for enterprises and some SPs. VMware are going to provide a management pack to support OpenStack providers. It will mostly be sold to existing vSphere customers who have OpenStack deployments currently.

    Based on vRealize Operations 6.0image

    • Unified UI for vSphere, NSX, OpenStack and other resources
    • Health, Risk and Efficiency badges for OpenStack objects
    • Sub-badges for OpenStack objects (workload, faults etc.) and capacity model
    • Problem detection and remediation for OpenStack infrastructure and tenants
    • Reporting templates for activity, capacity and issue frequency

    OpenStack Compute, Storage & Network Infrastructure Analytics

    • Inventory, availability and capacity of ESX and non-ESX hosts, NSX and vSphere data stores registered with OpenStack
    • Integration with vSphere and NSX Multi Hypervisor Management Packs

    OpenStack Controller Services Dashboard

    • Correlation of OpenStack Controllers to vSphere VMs
    • Services availability monitoring

    Availability

    • Target GA date is Dec 2014

    vRealize Operations Management Pack for vCloud Air

    ’Hybrid Cloud ‘Analytics

    • Provides utilization for cloud resources and deep VM performance data
    • Supports shared and dedicated/private Cloud
    • Includes 40 VM metrics related to CPU/memory/disk/network
    • Collects change events and resource topology from vCloud Air

    Comprehensive vSphere like Out-of-box Dashboards

    • One operations console across private and public clouds
    • Out-of-the-box dashboards enable isolation and quick resolution of performance issue

    Multiple Resources Supported

    • vCHS Cloud, vCHS Region, vCHS vApp, VDC ,VM, Cloud Type

    All Form Factors Supported

    • vApp, Standalone – Windows and Linux

    What’s Coming Next

    • Storage and networking service resource details or metrics

    Summary

    vRealize Operations 6.0 is going to enable both SMB and Enterprise customers who have either or both on premise and off premise workloads in their private or public clouds to monitor, report and make more efficient their environments.  I am looking forward to working with vRealize Operations 6.0 and seeing all the capabilities especially through the RESTful API availability to enable my customers both large and small to get all the reporting and management they require integrated into their existing solutions.Make sure you  watch the live VMworld keynote to learn more.

    Posted in Automation, vCAC, vCloud, Virtualisation, VMware | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

    VMworld Day 0 – Partner Day

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    VMworld officially only starts tomorrow for most attendees but for those that are partners there is partner day where VMware done a number of sessions for their partners to allow them to understand the roadmap and the solutions on the roadmap.

    I flew in yesterday so that I was ready for partner day and also to attend the vRockstar party which has become an annual event on the Sunday night at the hard rock cafe before VMworld and is the only party that really happens on Sunday. I have attended for the last two years and this year they got the upper section booked out which was certainly cooler on the much more humid and hot Barcelona nights (compared to the UK in my case). The vRockstar party was sponsored by Cisco , EMC , VMUG and Nutanix which enabled us to have some champagne on arrival and then beers for the remainder of the night, so a big thanks to all the sponsors and thanks to the organisers Patrick Redknap, Marco Broeken, Robert Payne and Hans De Leenheer.

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    The remainder of my day was spent chatting to fellow vExperts and bloggers at the bloggers table and providing moral support to the vBrownbag crew (Alastair had it all done before I arrived). The vBrownbag TechTalks kick off tomorrow and just like it was in San Francisco we will be streaming it live as well as recording them so please tune in and we promise to try get the audio clearer this time. If you are at the conference then come watch them as they are happening in hall 7 near the bloggers table and across from the general session hall.

    My night will be spent at an exclusive VMworld drinks reception hosted by TD Azlan and then I will be attending the PernixData party held at an amazing venue on the Barcelona shorefront who are one of Xtravirt’s partners. I’m looking forward to all the announcements tomorrow and the reason i spent so much time at the bloggers table was scheduling a number of blogs around these announcements so keep an eye on my blog tomorrow.

    Also don’t forget to sign up for the Xtravirt SONAR beta bit.ly/1sjutrX .

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    #VMworld Announcement #1 VMware EVO:RAIL – What is it?

     

    imageAt VMworld US this morning VMware will announce numerous new solutions and one of these will be VMware EVO: RAIL I mean MARVIN I mean VMware EVO: RAIL, but what is it and what does it do. Below is a high level overview of the solution. Make sure you also  watch the live keynote to learn more.

    Introducing VMware EVO: RAIL

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    VMware EVO: RAIL™ combines compute, networking, and storage resources into a hyper-converged infrastructure appliance to create a simple, easy to deploy, all-in-one solution offered by VMware qualified partners.

    Simplicity Transformed

    EVO: RAIL enables power-on to VM creation in minutes, radically easy VM deployment, one-click non-disruptive patch and upgrades, simplified management…you get the idea.

    Software-Defined Building Block

    EVO: RAIL is a scalable Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) building block that delivers compute, networking, storage, and management to empower private/hybrid-cloud, end-user computing, test/dev, and branch office environments.

    Trusted Foundation

    Building on the proven technology of VMware vSphere®, vCenter Server™, and VMware Virtual SAN™, EVO: RAIL delivers the first hyper-converged infrastructure appliance 100% powered by VMware software.

    Highly Resilient by Design

    Resilient appliance design starting with four independent hosts and a distributed Virtual SAN datastore ensures zero application downtime during planned maintenance or during disk, network, or host failures.

    Infrastructure at the Speed of Innovation

    Meet accelerating business demands by simplifying infrastructure design with predictable sizing and scaling,by streamlining purchase and deployment with a single appliance SKU, and by reducing CapEx and OpEx.

    Freedom of Choice

    EVO: RAIL is delivered as a complete appliance solution with hardware, software, and support through leading
    systems vendors; customers choose their preferred brand.

    Hardware

    VMware is not entering the hardware market. The EVO: RAIL software bundle is available to qualifying EVO:RAIL partners. The partner, in turn, sells the hardware with integrated EVO: RAIL software, and provides all hardware and software support to customers.

    Appliance

    Each EVO: RAIL appliance has four independent nodes with dedicated computer, network, and storage resources and dual, redundant power supplies.
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    Nodes

    Each of the four EVO: RAIL nodes have:

    • 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 VMware Virtual SAN™ datastore
    • One 400GB MLC enterprise-grade SSD for read/write cache
    • One Virtual SAN-certified pass-through disk controller
    • Two 10GbE NIC ports (configured for either 10GBase-T or SFP+ connections)
    • One 1GbE IPMI port for remote (out-of-band) management

    Fault Tolerance and Reliability

    Each EVO: RAIL appliance has the following hardware components and reliability features:

    • Four ESXi hosts in a single appliance enables resiliency for hardware failures or maintenance
    • Two fully redundant power supplies
    • Redundant 2 x 10GbE NIC ports per node for all communication
    • ESXi boot device, HDDs, and SSD are all enterprise-grade

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    Automatic Scale-Out

    EVO: RAIL Version 1.0 can scale out to four appliances – for a total of 16 ESXi hosts, 1 Virtual SAN datastore backed by a single vCenter Server and EVO: RAIL instance. EVO: RAIL handles deployment, configuration, and management, allowing the compute capacity and the Virtual SAN datastore to grow automatically. New appliances are automatically discovered and easily added to an EVO: RAIL cluster with a few mouse clicks.

    Software

    EVO: RAIL delivers the first hyper-converged infrastructure appliance 100% powered by VMware’s proven suite of core products. The EVO: RAIL software bundle is fully loaded onto the EVO: RAIL qualified partner’s hardware.
    This software bundle is comprised of:

    • EVO: RAIL Deployment, Configuration, and Management
    • VMware vSphere® Enterprise Plus, including ESXi for compute
    • Virtual SAN for storage
    • vCenter Server™
    • vCenter Log Insight™

    EVO: RAIL is optimized for the new VMware user as well as for experienced administrators. Minimal IT experience is required to deploy, configure, and manage EVO: RAIL, allowing it to be used where there is limited or no IT staff on-site. As EVO: RAIL utilizes VMware’s core products, administrators can apply existing VMware knowledge,
    best practices, and processes.

    EVO: RAIL leverages the same database as vCenter Server, so any changes in EVO: RAIL configuration and management are also reflected in vCenter Server and vice-versa.

    Compute, Networking, Storage, and Management

    EVO: RAIL Compute

    Virtual Machine Density

    • EVO: RAIL is sized to run approximately 100 average-sized, general-purpose, data center VMs. Actual capacity varies by VM size and workload. There are no restrictions on application type. EVO: RAIL supports any application that a customer would run on vSphere.
      General-purpose VM profile: 2 vCPU, 4GB vMEM, 60GB of vDisk, with redundancy
    • EVO: RAIL is optimized for VMware Horizon® View with configuration options that allow up to 250 View VMs on a single EVO: RAIL appliance. Actual capacity varies by desktop size and workload.
      Horizon View virtual desktop profile: 2vCPU, 2GB vMEM, 32GB vDisk linked clones

    EVO: RAIL Network

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    Connections

    • Each node in EVO: RAIL has two 10GbE network ports. Each port must be connected to a 10GbE top-of-rack switch that has IPv4 and IPv6 multicast enabled.
    • Remote/lights out management is available on each node through a 1GbE IPMI port that can connect to a management network. NOTE: In some configurations, there may be additional 1GbE ports that are covered and disabled.

    Traffic

    • EVO: RAIL supports four types of traffic: Management, vSphere vMotion®, Virtual SAN, and Virtual Machine.Traffic isolation on separate VLANs is recommended for vSphere vMotion, Virtual SAN, and VMs. EVO: RAIL
      Version 1.0 does not put management traffic on a VLAN.
    • IPv4 and IPv6 multicast must be enabled on the top-of-rack switch(es). EVO: RAIL’s automated scale-out feature uses IPv6. (It is not required for your complete network to support IPv6.)
    • VLANs are not required when customizing a EVO: RAIL configuration; however, they are highly recommended.When using the Just Go! option, it is assumed VLANs are configured.

    EVO: RAIL Storage

    EVO: RAIL creates a single Virtual SAN datastore from all local HDDs on each ESXi host in a EVO: RAIL cluster. Virtual SAN read caching and write buffering uses SSD capacity. Total storage capacity is 16TB per EVO: RAIL appliance:

    • 14.4TB HDD capacity (approximately 13TB usable) per appliance, allocated to the Virtual SAN datastore for virtual machines
    • 1.6TB SSD capacity per appliance for read/write cache
    • Size of pre-provisioned management VM: 30GB

    EVO: RAIL Management

    EVO: RAIL enables deployment, configuration, and management through a new, intuitive HTML5-based user interface showcased in the next section. EVO: RAIL provides new non-disruptive updates for VMware software with zero downtime and automatic scale-out of EVO: RAIL appliances.

    User Interface

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    Configuration Screenshots

    Below are a few configuration screenshots showing how intuitive and easy it is to configure EVO:RAIL.

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    Use Cases

    Below are some of the use cases for EVO:RAIL.

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    Make sure you  watch the live VMworld keynote to learn more.

    Posted in Automation, vBrownbag, Virtualisation, VMware | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments