Data Center Virtualization

Data Center Virtualization covers virtualizing servers, networks, and storage delivering server consolidation, CAPEX savings, IT agility, and improved management. Major areas of focus include the tradeoffs between various virtualization platforms (VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V and Red Hat KVM), the evolution of hypervisors into data center management platforms, (Read More)

VMware’s Software Defined Data Center strategy, and how the SDDC is spurring innovation in storage, networking and server hardware. Covered vendors indlude VMware, Microsoft, Red Hat, CloudPhysics, Hotlink, Tintri, and VMTurbo.

VMworld US 2015: Day 4 Recap

vmworld2015Welcome 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.

With all the forward-looking business out of the way (see the Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3 recaps) VMworld took a breath yesterday and focused on other parts of the ecosystem. The first annual Developer Day was held as part of the VMworld DevOps program track, and included a Hackathon where coders and non-coders could compete for prizes. Non-coders had a series of increasingly difficult challenges to complete. Coders worked to create the most useful, creative, and complex tools & services on vCloud Air, judged at the end of the day, and awarded prizes like a guitar signed by Alabama Shakes and the Neon Trees, the VMworld Party bands.

The VMworld DevOps program track was new this year, and a welcome addition for folks that want to know more about DevOps but cannot justify a separate trip to a conference like PuppetConf. There were sessions every day, all day, by heavy hitters in the industry. Kit Colbert, VMware CTO of Cloud-Native Apps, kicked it off on Monday, with presentations by Andrew Shafer (co-founder of Puppet), Jez Humble (VP of Chef), Steve Herrod (former CTO of VMware), all focused on the larger topics of DevOps. Between those there were in-the-trenches presentations from folks like Fabio Rapposelli and Massimo Re Ferre on using tools and techniques to get things done. The DevOps track stayed fairly agnostic, offering sessions on using Puppet, Chef, and Ansible (all competing configuration management technologies), as well as sessions on the VMware Integrated OpenStack modules, using Jenkins for continuous delivery, and some of the VMware-specific tools like vRealize Code Stream.

These are the sorts of technologies that are changing the landscape of IT. While CEOs and COOs and CTOs are on stage speaking about the big trends in IT it’s the continuous baby steps of the people in the industry that actually make those trends happen. The right person deciding to attend a DevOps session, because there’s no barrier to entry once you’re in the conference, can change the future of an organization. Similarly, there were a number of other smaller announcements from VMware that are pretty important, but didn’t get a lot of attention:

VMware vRealize Operations 6.1 (vROps) got the ability to suggest workload placements based on business and technical rules. This doesn’t seem very interesting at first glance, but this is a large problem for environments with a variety of vSphere clusters. It’s also a problem that competitors like VMturbo have already solved. Furthermore, vROps will now be able to natively monitor operating systems and applications. Previously that was possible through VMware Hyperic, a hard to use product with terrible adoption rates (for good reason) that is all but dead now.

VMware Integrated OpenStack 2 adds a number of OpenStack components, like load balancing, Ceilometer, and Heat Auto Scaling. That’s not what’s interesting, though. The most interesting part of the announcement are the words “industry first seamless upgrade capability.” OpenStack suffers from a few particular problems that keep customers away, and hellish or impossible upgrades are one of them. Other vendors, like Piston Cloud, have already solved the upgrade problem, so if VMware wanted to be serious about OpenStack they’d need to solve it, too. And it looks like they’re serious, which is good.

VMware vSphere APIs for IO Filtering sounds pretty boring, but it’s a diamond buried under the mountain of other, seemingly sexier announcements. VMware worked with their partner SanDisk to create an I/O filtering layer similar to that of Microsoft’s Minifilter APIs in Windows. These new APIs allow software to hook directly into the I/O path of a VM, meaning that third-party software can intercept & work with I/O directly. For SanDisk, this opens the door for their FlashSoft caching products to integrate very closely and very efficiently with vSphere (and look, they’ve announced just that!). For others, this means DR replication might now be free of the hated & awful VM snapshot, or the quirky and unreliable changed block tracking, both vestiges of a pre-vSphere era. With the filtering APIs a replication product can just insert itself in the I/O stream and copy all I/O as it is happening, without having to figure out what changed at a later date. Look for synchronous mirroring to appear natively in VMware vSphere Replication as a result.

VMware Site Recovery Manager 6.1 now integrates with NSX 6.2, which is sort of a no-brainer, but it also gained the ability to work with vSphere’s Storage Policy-based Management to allow workloads to be automatically protected depending on where they’re placed. That’s also a no-brainer, but it’s huge, and it hasn’t been done by VMware before.

Much of this is evidence that, under Pat Gelsinger, VMware is once again interested in following through on their commitments, creating quality products that integrate well with each other and add visible & tangible value to IT. Industry pundits trapped in the groupthink of Silicon Valley keep saying that VMware is dying, but this sort of thing is how VMware will keep customers in the fold. Making it easy for an organization to run their workloads well and seamlessly transition (or not) to the public cloud where appropriate is huge in the eyes of both CIOs and in-the-trenches IT staff.

Last, of course, was the VMworld Party! All big conferences have parties and bands, and the Neon Trees and Alabama Shakes did a great job of entertaining the crowds at AT&T Park.

Join us again tomorrow for a wrap up of the whole VMworld US 2015 conference, including highlights and key takeaways.

VMworld US 2015: Day 3 Recap

vmworld2015Welcome 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.

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VMworld US 2015: Day 2 Recap

vmworld2015Welcome 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 in force yesterday, beginning with a long but powerful general session/keynote talk. Carl Eschenbach, VMware’s president and COO, set the stage for a slew of announcements around VMware’s “One Cloud, Any Application, Any Device” approach to computing and a seamless federation of all types of clouds, supporting both traditional and new cloud-native applications. A variety of VMware leaders joined him on stage to talk about the various aspects of these announcements and how they mesh with their overall strategy. While each of these areas could give rise a whole series of posts by themselves, I’ll summarize the major points.

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VMworld 2015: Monday General Session

vmworld2015As I begin writing this, it is currently Monday morning and just moments away from the first general session of VMworld 2015, here at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California. While I am waiting for the official announcements to begin, I can say that this year’s show seems to show signs of having a focus on storage. If the pre-story before the announcement is any indication, then 2015 may be the year in which VMware steers the focus toward its vision of hybrid cloud solutions. Continue reading VMworld 2015: Monday General Session

VMworld US 2015 Day 1 Recap

vmworld2015Welcome 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 began yesterday at the Moscone Center in temperate San Francisco, home to the conference for the last four years. VMworld is billed as the largest virtualization and cloud conference in the industry, and attendance at the conference continues to support this. Sunday is always an interesting day for VMworld. VMworld has corollary events, like TAM Day, Partner Exchange Boot Camp, and such, running on the Saturday and Sunday immediately before the conference. The main event, though, begins at 4 pm on Sunday with a reception in the Solutions Exchange, the vendor showcase, and arguably the main floor of the conference space.

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Containers: Innovation or Evolution? Will They Rule the World?

CloudComputingThe latest and greatest thing in the data center is apparently containers. For those of us with long enough teeth to remember the heady days of the early millennium, they look and smell a lot like Solaris Zones.

Containers in their current incarnations are garnering a great deal of attention, especially in the DevOps world, where continuous deployment is the latest word in deployment strategies.

It is said that nothing is new in the world, and with containers, this statement could not be truer. I think, therefore, that an overview of the evolution of the container may be useful.

Continue reading Containers: Innovation or Evolution? Will They Rule the World?