Welcome to The Virtualization Practice’s week-long coverage of VMworld US 2015. Tune in all week for our daily recap of the major announcements and highlights from the world’s premier virtualization and cloud conference.
VMworld US 2015 continued yesterday, kicked off by the general session. End-User Computing’s Sanjay Poonen led the keynote, in which VMware fleshed out what it means by “any application and any device” within the “Ready for Any” theme of the conference. Beginning with the VMware Workspace Suite, VMware talked at length about the growth of mobile computing and how AirWatch, together with VMware App Volumes, enables IT to manage all Windows 10 devices (physical and virtual, mobile or not), as well as iOS and Android devices, from a single pane of glass. Foreshadowing the next speaker, Poonen wrapped up his portion by talking about the synergies between AirWatch, Horizon, and NSX, with policy settings in NSX affecting and being affected by AirWatch connectivity and data access.
I recently upgraded my nodes from 96 GB of memory to 256 GB of memory, and someone on Twitter stated the following:
@Texiwill thought the trend today is scale out not scale up? #cloud
The implication was that you never upgrade your hardware: you buy new or you enter the cloud. Granted, both options are beneficial. However, buying new and adding to your environment may not be necessary, and you most likely have already entered the cloud with the use of SaaS applications and perhaps some IaaS. The question still remains: upgrade, enhance existing hardware, or buy net new somewhere? When should you do any of these? Or should you at all?
In Do Users Have a Negative Perception of Desktop Virtualization?, James Rankin brought up a set of issues that arise whenever a new platform is deployed in an organization. Those issues revolve around the fact that users tend to then blame all problems with user experience upon the new platform, even if those problems had existed prior to the deployment of the new platform. In the case of a Citrix or VMware VDI deployment, this takes the form of “Citrix is slow” or “View is slow.”
VMTurbo has announced a new version of its VMTurbo Operations Manager that extends its ability to automatically ensure workload resource allocation by taking control actions at both the physical storage layer and the converged fabric layer.
VMTurbo is a unique vendor in the Operations Management space in that they allow you to specify the priorities of your workloads, and then VMTurbo automatically tells you what actions to take to ensure that the highest priority workloads get the resources (and therefore the performance) that they need. If you turn on the automation (which most customers do) VMTurbo will even execute these recommended actions for you. For example VMTurbo might change the amount of virtual memory or the number of virtual CPU’s allocated to a workload. Or VMTurbo might use VMware Storage I/O control to ensure that a particular workload gets the storage bandwidth that it needs. However, historically the actions that VMTurbo has been able to take have been constrained by whatever control API’s were available in the virtualization platform upon which VMTurbo was running.
Today’s VMTurbo Announcement
Today VMTurbo has announced two new modules that extend its automated control actions into the physical hardware:
The VMTurbo Storage Control Module – VMTurbo’s Storage Control Module ensures applications get the storage performance they require to operate reliably while enabling efficient use of storage infrastructure – thus preventing unnecessary over provisioning. This module helps users solve their pressing storage performance and cost challenges, maximize their existing storage investments and embrace the adoption of advanced features and packaging such as NetApp Clustered Data ONTAP (cluster mode) and FlexPod. For more detailed information on VMTurbo Storage Control Module, visitwww.vmturbo.com/storage-resource-management.
The VMTurbo Fabric Control Module – Modern compute platforms and blade servers have morphed to fabrics unifying compute, network, virtualization and storage access into a single integrated architecture. Furthermore, fabrics like Cisco (CSCO) UCS form the foundation of a programmable infrastructure for today’s private clouds and virtualized data centers, the backbone of converged infrastructure offerings from VCE vBlock and NetApp FlexPod. With the addition of this Fabric Control Module, VMTurbo’s software-driven control system ensures workloads get the compute and network resources they need to perform reliably while maximizing the utilization of underlying blades and ports. For more detailed information on VMTurbo Fabric Control Module, visit www.vmturbo.com/ucs-management.
The complete VMTurbo announcement is available here.
Strategic Implications of this VMTurbo Announcement
In “VMware Rejoins the Automated Service Assurance Debate“, we discussed the two known approached to automated service assurance. One approach is to collect monitoring metrics, interpret them with an analytics engine, find the anomalies, and then take action based upon the anomalies in the metrics. We pointed out the challenges in making the leap from an anomalous metric to the correct action as most metrics do not carry with them the context that allows that automated action to occur. For example if you only know that a spindle on an array is being over-taxed and is resulting in high latency, you really cannot automatically fix that problem unless know which workloads are causing that contention to occur.
VMTurbo embodies the opposite approach which can best be characterized by good dental hygiene. By ensuring that each important workload gets the resources that it needs, the contention never occurs in the first place, making the entire process of walking backwards up the root cause chain unnecessary. These new capabilities move into the area of ensuring that not only are virtual resources allocated correctly, but that physical ones (especially really expensive ones like enterprise class storage and UCS capacity) are also allocated correctly.
There is one more potentially very interesting long term impact to what VMTurbo is doing here. If VMTurbo is successful in automating resource allocation up and down the stack (expanding in both directions over time) then it could establish itself as a crucial layer of automation that is independent of hypervisors. It would be logical for VMTurbo to extend its automation into other storage arrays, other converged infrastructures, and then up into the questions of application response time and throughput. None of the hypervisor vendors show any intent of doing things like this, which gives VMTurbo a clean runway to in fact establish itself as such a layer. If this happens then VMTurbo will be the first but not the last vendor to establish a layer of automation independent of the hypervisor and that will change our industry in very profound ways.
VMTurbo has extended its ability to ensure that important workloads get the right resources to include automatic software based control of NetApp storage resources and Cisco UCS resources. This is a breakthrough in automated control systems for highly dynamic environments, and may well become an essential capability for the management of the forthcoming Software Defined Data Center.
Moving the configuration of the environment from the hardware that supports the environment to a layer of software which can collectively manage all of the storage, networking, compute, and memory resources of the environment is one of the main points of the SDDC. Once all of the configuration of the data center is moved into software, and some of the execution of the work is moved into software, SDDC Data Center Analytics will play a critical role in keeping your SDDC up and running with acceptable performance.
VMTurbo is the only vendor offering automated service assurance in the virtualization ecosystem today. Automated service assurance means that you identify the applications that are the most important to you (and the ones that are not), you assign them budgets of virtual resources, and VMTurbo ensures that the service level of the most important applications is not negatively impacted by the resource requirements of less important applications or workloads.