TheSaffaGeek

My ramblings about all things technical


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VMworld Day 1 recap

VMworld kicked off formally today and there were whole bunch of announcements and some awesome sessions and demo’s I was able to attend and blog about but firstly I would like to recap Saturday and Sunday’s activities so if you just want to hear about today then skip the paragraphs below and go straight to the Monday/Today heading.

Saturday:

I purposely flew in on Friday fro the UK so that i could attend the VCDX workshop and then the VCDX Town hall afterwards. The VCDX workshop and town hall were hosted at the cosmopolitan hotel and the workshop started off early at 7:30 am with some breakfast/desert seeing as it was coffee and donuts. If you don;t know what the VCDX workshop is it is a workshop for those thinking of going for the VCDX soon and is aimed to give those aiming for it valuable information and advice around the whole process, what to do and not to do in your preparations and during the defence and also to clear up some possible misconceptions and ideally show that obtaining the VCDX is achievable with hard work and dedication. I’ve blogged about this achievability as well as my personal opinion of doing it for the “right” reasons here https://thesaffageek.co.uk/2017/02/17/why-do-you-want-the-vcdx-accreditation/ . It was really great to see that a very large amount of the people attending the workshop felt it was something they wanted to attempt and felt it was more of a realistic target after the workshop.

After this was the VCDX town hall which is for current VCDX to speak with the VCDX certification team, have a chance to hear from Pat Gelsigner the CEO of VMware and three of the VMware CTO’s before some food and drinks. The town hall was really good and there were some very tough questions asked of the certification team around the direction of the program, how we could get the certification known more widely and aid those looking to obtain it. Chris Colotti wrote a really pointed but accurate posting around a fair few of the topics brought up by the existing VCDX as despite what many might think current VCDX do want more people to join the ranks. We then had the honour of Pat Gelsigner speaking to us and answering some of out questions. It was greatly appreciated that Pat would take time out of his very busy schedule to spend time with us and as always you could see his passion for technology shining through. Next was the CTO panel with Chris Wolf, Guido Appenzeller and Ray O’Farrell. The panel was brilliant and again the three CTO’s were extremely interested to hear for the VCDX crowd and be open and honest with their future plans. Lastly was the drinks and food where we got to socialise which was really nice to chat and joke with fellow VCDX and learn what they are up to and doing.

Sunday:

Sunday is customarily when Partner exchange happened and this year was no different. Even though I work for a partner in Dell EMC I decided to instead attend and support the VMunderground and vBrownbag opening acts. The opening acts are a community event where a number of panels are run discussing various topics by the community for the community. I was very honoured to have been asked to be part of the second of the three panels of the day around How Failing Made Me Better. The panel was very enjoyable to be on and the advice given from all of the people on the panel seemed to be well taken by the crowd. As always the opening acts allowed me to also chat with others from the community some who i have known for years and others i have only met recently. It certainly helped that it was hosted at the beerhaus.

Media preview

After opening acts I wandered off to the solutions exchange to talk to some vendors as well as grab some food and drinks that were on offer. The solutions exchange was buzzing as you would expect and I managed to get over to the Datrium booth and collect my vExpert gift of an arbuboy. I then made my way back to the new york new york hotel for the VMunderground party which was happening at the beerhaus where I got to chat to loads of the community and meet up with some old friends. The VMUnderground party is always one of my favourites due to it always being in a location where you can chat to people without it being too dark or too loud (yes i realise i sound like an old man). After VMUnderground i made my way back to my hotel due to my need to be on a work conference call this morning.

Monday/Today

The day started off with me ensuring all my scheduled blogs had posted as the NDA for a number of the announcements was 5am this morning. I then made my way to the convention centre and decided to watch the keynote from the VMVillage bloggers tables as I had a session straight after the keynote and I wanted to make sure I made it in adequate time. There were a number of announcements in the keynote but the ones that I feel were the best coincided with the ones i blogged about which were:

After the keynote I attended a VMware Design Studio UX design session around VMware Cloud on AWS. The feedback around the UX seemed to be really helpful to the team and one portion I found really great was the number of woman that were part of the various team from VMware which is brilliant and certainly inspiring for my daughters futures if they decide to pursue technology as a career.

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Next I attended a session on VMware Cloud on AWS: Storage Deep Dive which was highly informative and gave some great overviews of not just VMC’s usage of vSAN in the current offering but also some possible future plans around Disaster Recovery, usage of various storage providers technologies, options for backup via partners like Dell EMC and growth abilities of the solution both outwards and upwards. When the recordings of the sessions come out I highly recommend watching this one. I really like the way VMC is heading and I think it will be a brilliant offering and product.

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After this I attended an invite only demo of VMware Cloud on AWS. The demo was highly informative and again I was left feeling really excited and enthused by the direction the offering is taking and the possibilities of it. When the partnership was first announced i was very unsure of how it would work and fit but I can certainly see the use cases and potential and now with VMware Cloud Services having been announced it means that you will be able to mange not just VMC but also Google Cloud Platform, Azure and your traditional vSphere environment in VMware Cloud Foundation.

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The announcements have been really good and with today’s now released GA of Pivotal Container Service there are very exciting things coming from VMworld from VMware and their eco-system of partners.

Gregg

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VMware Cloud on AWS (VMC)

The most exciting announcement from VMworld US in my opinion has to be VMware Cloud on AWS. VMware Cloud on AWS (VMC) brings VMware’s enterprise class Software-Defined Data Center software to the AWS Cloud Infrastructure, and enables customers to run production applications across vSphere-based private, public and hybrid cloud environments. Delivered, sold and supported by VMware as an on-demand service, customers can immediately capture the benefits of cloud, without going through the painful and costly migration process so often associated with hybrid cloud models. With AWS’s breadth of cloud services (e.g. storage, databases, analytics, etc.) readily accessible to applications running within VMC, customers get the best of both worlds, an environment perfectly suited for running existing VMware based applications, as well as an environment flexible enough to grow and support new cloud-native based applications. Furthermore, as more SDDC components are adopted, the value derived by customers becomes exponential. VMC itself becomes a catalyst for the adoption of NSX, VSAN, SRM, and the vRealize Suite.

I have already blogged about some of the announcements due around NSX and VMC integration and VMware Cloud Services and their ability to provide a way of homogenising the cloud and providing a mechanism for you to consume all the cloud providers and one of these being  VMC.

Importance of VMware Cloud on AWS

Jointly engineered solution delivers the best of VMware and AWS for customers

  • VMware
    • Leading compute,storage and network virtualisation capabilities
    • Support for broad range of workloads
    • De-facto standard for the enterprise DC
  • AWS
    • Flexible consumption economics
    • Broadest set of cloud services
    • Global scale and reach

The Solution: VMware Cloud on AWS

  • VMware SSDC stack running on AWS
    • Compute (vSphere) , Storage (VSAN) and networking (NSX)
    • Direct access to vCenter, including full API/CLI support
    • Delivered as-a-service (VMware lifecycle fully managed)
  • Consistent operational model enables Hybrid Cloud
    • Full support for existing and new applications
    • Existing management tooling layers on top
    • Hybrid and Cloud-only deployment options
  • Leverage cloud economics, aligning capacity and demand
    • Single bill for VMware software +AWS infrastructure
    • Possible discounts for those with large existing VMware licence counts
    • Consume elastically scalable SDDC clusters
    • On-demand or subscription
    • Leverage global AWS footprint

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I personally am planning to attend quite a substantial amount of the VMware Cloud on AWS sessions and Hands On Labs and will be blogging about the portions of this so instead of having amassive blog posting here I will be doing multiple, the sessions i am attending at VMworld US are:

  • VMware Cloud on AWS: Storage Deep Dive:
    28 Aug, 13:00 – 14:00
    Oceanside B, Level 2
  • VMware Cloud on AWS Hybrid Cloud Architectural Deep Dive: Networking and Storage Best Practices:
    28 Aug, 17:30 – 18:30
    Lagoon H, Level 2
  • VMware Cloud on AWS: An Architectural and Operational Deep Dive:
    29 Aug, 12:30 – 13:30
    Oceanside C, Level 2
  • AWS Native Services Integration with VMware Cloud on AWS: Technical Deep Dive:
    29 Aug, 14:00 – 15:00
    Mandalay Bay Ballroom E, Level 2
  • Using VMware NSX for Enhanced Networking and Security for AWS Native Workloads: Part 2:
    29 Aug, 17:00 – 18:00
    Oceanside G, Level 2
  • Work Load Mobility & Resiliency for the New VMware Cloud on AWS :
    30 Aug, 08:00 – 09:00
    Islander H, Lower Level
  • Using vRealize with VMware Cloud on AWS:
    30 Aug, 09:30 – 10:30
    Oceanside C, Level 2
  • VMware Cloud on AWS Ready: Preparing Your Environment for the Best VMware Cloud on AWS Experience!:
    30 Aug, 11:00 – 12:00
    Reef E, Level 2
  • VMware NSXaaS – Secure Native Workloads in AWS Workshop:
    30 Aug, 15:00 – 16:30
    South Pacific Ballroom, Lower Level, HOL 3
  • NSX and VMware Cloud on AWS: Deep Dive:
    31 Aug, 10:30 – 11:30
    Breakers E, Level 2
  • VMware Cloud on AWS – Getting Started Workshop:
    31 Aug, 12:00 – 13:30
    South Pacific Ballroom, Lower Level, HOL 6

I’m really looking forward to learning more about the technologies and as promised i will be blogging about it fairly substantially over the coming week and months.

Gregg


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#NSX Announcements at #VMworld US

At todays VMworld US there are a number of NSX announcements as NSX grows it’s capabilities and features and raises the bar for SDN. Some of of the announcements at todays VMworld US conference in Las Vegas will be around a new version of NSX-T called NSX-T 2.0, VMware Cloud on AWS which provides a service that delivers a seamless extension for vSphere customers into AWS and NSX Secure Networking and the the ability for network virtualisation and security for native AWS workloads.

Firstly if you don’t know what NSX-T is then I would recommend you read the overview of it here or register for session NET1510BU . For version 2.0 there are a number of announcements, the high level  such as:

  • Cloud-Native App Frameworks
    • VMs and Containers
    • CNI Plugin Integration for Kubernetes (K8s) /Pivotal Cloud Foundry
    • NSX-T PaaS /CaaS Integration
      • NSX integration with Kubernetes
      • NSX Container Plugin (NCP) for integration with PaaS with NSX Manager
      • Native Container Networking:
        • IP address per container / POD
        • Container Network integration with DC network via routing and BGP
        • Micro-segmentation – inter project and intra project isolation
        • Network and Security Automation – created as part of app deployment
        • Multi-tenant network topologies
        • Multiple Containers (PODs for K8s) in a VM (Container Host)
        • Support for vSphere and KVM

For VMware cloud on AWS there is an extensive amount of announcements and features about the service but for NSX in particular it is about centralised management, comprehensive visibility and enterprise-class security

  • Discovery
    • Visibility into apps and resources they consume
    • Analyse usage and utilisation across clouds
    • Possible with AWS (Native), Azure (Compute) and Private Cloud (vSphere)
  • Cost Insight
    • Accounting and cost optimisation for multiple clouds
    • Track and analyse your costs and trends
    • Possible with AWS (Native), Azure (Compute) and Private Cloud (vSphere)
  • Network Insight
    • Operational visibility, control and compliance across clouds
    • Optimise performance, health and availability
    • Possible with AWS (Native) and Private Cloud (vSphere)
  • Secure Networking
    • Secure networks with micro-segmentation
    • Create private networks within or across clouds
    • Possible with AWS (Native)

For NSX Secure Networking

  • On-Prem Automation and Networking & Security
    • Multi-domain networking
    • Automation with OpenStack
    • Micro-segmentation
    • Consistent and scalable micro segmentation security – unified policy management across multiple public clouds
    • Precise control over cloud networking topologies, traffic flows, IP addressing and protocols
    • Standard network data works with existing Day 2 operations tools and processes

If you are looking for some top sessions around these announcements then the following top 10 networking and security sessions should be a great fit:

  • Transforming networking and security for the digital era – TS7003KU –Tuesday August 29,12:30pm – 13:30 pm
  • Use virtualization to secure application infrastructure – SAI3237SU – Monday August 28,11am – 12pm
  • Why networking is at the heart of digital transformation – NET3235SU – Monday August 28,1pm – 2pm
  • NSX everywhere: The network bridge for on premises, private, and native public clouds – NET3236SU – Monday August 28,4pm – 5pm
  • Introduction to VMware NSX – NET1152BU – Monday August 28,4pm – 5pm
  • Application security reviews made easy with VMware latest security solution – SAI2895BU – Tuesday August 29,4pm – 5pm
  • The NSX practical path – NET3282BU – Monday August 28,2:30pm – 3:30pm
  • When clouds collide, lightning strikes – NET3282BU – Wednesday August 30, 1pm – 2pm
  • The future of networking and security with NSX-T – NET1821BU – Tuesday August 29, 11:30am –12:30pm
  • Container networking with NSX-T overview – NET1521GU – Monday August 28, 1pm – 2pm

Gregg


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VMware Cloud Services

Customers aren’t just running their workloads in their vSphere datacenters but are also now running more and more workloads natively in the public cloud providers and this can be a challenge for businesses who might not have the current skillset or mechanisms to monitor and manage these public workloads. VMware have now announced a way of homogenising the cloud and providing a mechanism for you to consume all the cloud providers and manage across these various providers where you can manage, provision and migrate workloads easily between you on premises environment to the public cloud providers.

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VMware did a survey recently and the amount of their customers who are using or evaluating a public cloud provider has now almost reached 100 percent with the feedback being 97% and an increase of 11% since 2016.

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The amount of workloads these surveyed customers have running in these public clouds however are still very small although most see it where being on multiple public cloud providers is the ideal end state but this brings two major problems:

Operational Complexity

  • Application and management tool sprawl
  • Inefficient cost management across multiple clouds
  • Compliance gaps due to different architectures

Increased Risk Exposure

  • Inconsistent security architectures and policies
  • Lack of visibility into and across multiple clouds
  • Lack of expertise on specific platforms

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For  VMware Cloud Services there are mainly five different services that are being announced at todays VMworld and they are:

Discovery: Holistic View of All Cloud Resources

  • Visibility into apps and resources they consumer
  • Analyse usage and utilisation across clouds
  • Public and private cloud inventory and metrics collection in minutes
  • AWS and Azure inventory collection using cloud user credentials and APIs
  • Private cloud inventory collection using a lightweight VMware vCenter data-collector
  • Central repository for all public and private cloud inventory
  • Inventory search based on cloud resource attributes
  • Expose native cloud tags and group cloud resources to simplify reporting, operations and actions across other VMware Cloud Services
  • Single place to add public and private cloud account credentials
  • Secure management of cloud credentials and account owners
  • Shared configurations of Clouds Accounts for data collections across multiple VMware Cloud Services

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Cost Insight

  • Accounting and cost optimisation for multiple clouds
  • Track and analyse your costs and trends
  • Estimate total cloud spend across public and private clouds
  • Compare spend by cloud providers, regions, accounts or other groups
  • Analyse costs and drill deeper to identify key cost drivers
  • Track cloud costs over time and project future costs based on historical data
  • Compare actual spend with assigned budgets
  • Share cloud costs and budget comparisons with application teams
  • Identify powered off virtual machines
  • Identify unused cloud storage resources
  • Customise threshold limits for identifying unused resources

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VMware NSX Cloud

  • Secure networks with micro-segmentation
  • Create private networks with or across clouds
  • Network abstraction through overlays
  • Segmentation control independent of cloud
  • Stamp out consistent overlay networks
  • Ops consistency and improved visibility
  • Improved IT efficiency and lower OpEx

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Network Insight

  • Operational visibility, control and compliance across clouds.
  • Optimise performance, health and availability
  • Understand application dependencies by analysing traffic flow patterns between VMs
  • accelerate micro-segmentation planning and use firewall rule recommendations to improve cloud security
  • Continuously monitor, troubleshoot and audit cloud security posture over time
  • Discover AWS,VMW and physical network infrastructure resources including AWS VPCs, security groups and cloud tags
  • Troubleshoot network connectivity issues between VMs with visibility into virtual and physical data center network layers
  • Rapidly identify issues through pro-active events and alerts
  • Scale across large NSX deployments with powerful visualisations for topology and health
  • Avoid configuration issues with NSX deployments based on health checklists
  • Quickly pinpoint issues for resolution with the help of intuitive UI and search

Wavefront

  • Metrics-driven monitoring and real-time analytics
  • Real time metrics monitoring at scale
  • “First pane of glass” visibility
  • Shared Model of application/system for both developers and ops

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If you are interested in any of the solutions above then I would recommend getting to the VMware booth at VMworld US if attendign the conference or speak to your VMware sales executive if you aren’t attending to get a demo setup

Gregg


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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.

hitachi

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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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.


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VMworld US Day 1

Now that the dust has started to settle on day 1 of VMworld US 2013 let’s have a look at what was announced, what seems to have been missed from the keynote that I felt are a few major improvements/fixes in vSphere/vCloud 5.5 and all the other important releases coming from the conference. *disclaimer* I am not at VMworld US so this is my take from across the Atlantic.

The day started with the keynote form VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger. I’m not going to detail a minute by minute commentary on it as I think the blog postings I will be mentioning below cover everything you need to know and you can watch the keynote for yourself clip_image001 Also Scott Lowe has done a brilliant live blogging of the keynote here.

I was fortunate enough to again be invited to an early access blogger program by VMware almost two months ago around all the announcements that were due to come out at VMworld. It has been really hard as a consultant to not mention it to customers especially the changes/rebuild of SSO. I did have a few blog postings in the works on the announcements but felt I could not do them justice so left it for better people and I was right in doing this I think as Chris Wahl has done an amazing nine part series on all the announcements which I think are a great overview of all the new features and changes and would have destroyed mine:

As I mentioned one of the big changes in vSphere 5.5 that I felt should have been mentioned in the keynote and would have probably got a loud cheer from the crowd was the massive changes to SSO. The SSO service has been almost totally rebuilt and when I was on the early access blogger webinars everyone breathed a sigh of relief as the SSO in vSphere 5.1 was not a simple thing to install especially seeing as it was recommended to break up all the individual components. This has now changed and it is recommended that they are all kept on one machine. Below is the recommended layout now for the vCenter Server design.

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Kendrick Coleman also gave a great overview of it from 30k feet here . For me the real improvement is the simple steps to setup SSO now which are:

1. Accept License agreement (EULA)

2. Prerequisite check summary

3. Edit default port number 7444 (if necessary)

4. Select Deployment placement

5. Provide Administrator@vSphere.local password

6. Provide a site name or select a previous site name

7. Edit destination directory (if necessary)

8. Summary

9. Installation Complete

I’m one of the hosts of the EMEA vBrownbag and all of the US Brownbag and a few of the APAC vBrownbag team are out at VMworld US doing the very popular Tech Talks. The Tech Talks are 10 to 15 minute presentations by members of the VMware community on topics of their choice, almost like a mini #vBrownBag. They are being streamed live by the vBrownbag guys and are being recorded for people like me to watch them when you can. The schedule for the Tech Talks can be found here. Make sure you watch the stream live and give the guys the support they deserve as all of these presentations are from the community.

Talking about the vBrownbag crew one of the main culprits Nick Marshall has released alongside Scott Lowe, Forbes Guthrie, Matt Liebowitz and Josh Atwell (another vBrownbag host) the next instalment of the Mastering VMware vSphere book for vSphere 5.5. A massive congratulations to Nick on this project and for being asked and doing such an awesome job whilst still helping out on the vBrownbag. Nick has detailed the announcement on here blog here.

One of the biggest announcements from the keynote was the release of VMware NSX, as Forbes Guthrie said I’m waiting for NSXi clip_image003 but until that day the below are some of the highlights of the new feature and I would highly encourage you to read Chris Wahl’s detailing of the feature from above.

NSX Highlights:

  • VMware NSX is a next-generation network virtualization solution
  • Provide the key functions of network virtualization: decouple, reproduce, and automate
  • NSX will support any hypervisor, any CMP, any network hardware
    • vSphere, KVM, and Xen are currently supported
    • CMPs currently supported are OpenStack, CloudStack, and vCAC/VCD
  • NSX optimized for vSphere leverages the platform’s enhanced functionality

High-level View of VMware NSX Architecture:

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VMware NSX Controllers:

  • Designed with a distributed, scale-out architecture.
    • Minimum of 3 controllers for an NSX controller cluster.
    • NSX optimized for vSphere scales to 5 controllers.
  • NSX controllers run a common code base in different form factors.
    • Controllers run as infrastructure/service VMs in NSX optimized for vSphere.
    • Controllers run as physical appliances in multi-hypervisor environments.
  • Controller functions optimized in each delivery option.

VMware NSX Virtual Switches:

  • NSX uses programmable virtual switches on the hypervisors
  • In NSX optimized for vSphere, NSX leverages:
    • the vSphere Distributed Switch (VDS)
    • the UW (Userworld) Agent for communications with NSX controllers
  • In multi-hypervisor environments, NSX uses:
    • Open vSwitch for KVM and Xen
    • NSX vSwitch (an in-kernel virtual switch) for ESXi

VMware NSX Gateways:

  • The gateways are the “on ramp/off ramp” into or out of logical networks
  • Both L2 (bridging) and L3 (routing) gateway functionality available
  • Basic functionality the same regardless of delivery option
    • NSX optimized for vSphere leverages NSX Edge (derived from vCNS Edge)
    • In multi-hypervisor environments, gateways are physical appliances leveraging a scale-out architecture

VMware have also posted the What’s New pdf for vSphere 5.5 which gives you a very good overview of all the new features and services here

VMware have released a new VMware certification called the VMware Certified Associate for those people looking to get into the IT industry. Unlike the VCP there is no required training but there are free eLearning courses available for people to skill up for the exam. These do look like a good starter for people thinking of learning the basics of virtualization and in my opinion would be great for high school students thinking of going into IT and virtualization after high school.

Well that is what caught my attention from day 1 of VMworld US. I’m looking forward to more information coming out and to getting my hands on all the new vSphere 5.5 tools.

Gregg