VMworld 2016 – Cloud Foundation
Sep08

VMworld 2016 – Cloud Foundation

This post is cross-posted on the Metis IT website: find it here

Last week I attended VMworld 2016 in las Vegas. The VMware CEO, Pat Gelsinger, opened VMworld 2016, with the statement that “a new era of cloud freedom and control is here.” During the presentation Pat introduced VMware Cloud Foundation and the Cross-Cloud Architecture. According to them, this will be game-changing and “will enable customers to run, manage, connect, and secure applications across clouds and devices in a common operating environment”.

So let’s jump into what Cloud Foundation is. The way VMware explains Cloud foundation is as glue between vSphere, Virtual SAN and NSX which enables companies using it to create a unified Software Defined Data Center platform. In other words:  it is a native stack that delivers enterprise-ready cloud infrastructure for the private and public cloud.

VMware Cloud Foundation - img1-2

As VMware Cloud Foundation is their unified SDDC platform for the hybrid cloud, it is based on VMware’s compute, storage and network virtualization, it delivers a natively integrated software stack that can be used on-premise for private cloud deployment or run as a service from the public cloud with consistent and simple operations.

The core components are VMware vSphere, Virtual SAN and NSX. Another component of VMware Cloud Foundation is VMware SDDC Manager which automates the entire system lifecycle and simplifies software operations. In addition, it can be further integrated with VMware vRealize Suite, VMware Horizon and VMware Integrated OpenStack (where another announcement was made on during VMworld).

The launching partner of VMware is IBM that will provide coverage around the world, when it comes to datacenter locations:

VMware Cloud Foundation - img2-2

select VMware vCloud Air Network (vCAN) partners in the near future to enable consumption of the full SDDC stack through a subscription model. The partners will deliver a SDDC infrastructure in the public cloud by leveraging Cloud Foundation.

Conclusion

The road ahead for VMware can be no else than the path of Cloud Foundation and the Cross Cloud architecture. We need to see if the path chosen is enough to get VMware back on track again. In my opinion VMware is late to the party and they should have kept their good relationships with partners at the first place. But truth be said, it seems a very solid foundation for companies to build the next generation datacenters, with VMware’s unified SDDC platform. With some changes in course and a solid development of products VMware might be able to keep their stake in the datacenters.

Sources on VMware Cloud Foundation:

VMware Cloud foundation website

IBM Cloud and VMware

If you are interested on these kind of topics, join us at the next TECHunplugged conference in Amsterdam on 6/10/16 and in Chicago on 27/10/16. TECHunplugged is a one day event focused on cloud computing and IT infrastructure with a formula that combines a group of independent, insightful bloggers with disruptive technology vendors and end users who manage the next generation technology environments. Join us!

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Datera: Elastic Data Fabric
Jul20

Datera: Elastic Data Fabric

During Storage Field Day 10 we had a very interesting presentation by Datera on their Elastic Data Fabric. They say its the first storage solution for enterprises as well as service provider clouds that is designed with DevOps style operations in mind. The Elastic Data Fabric provides scale-out storage software capable of turning standard commodity hardware into a RESTful API-driven, policy-based storage fabric, for the enterprise environments.
Datera1

The Datera EBF solution gives your environment the flexibility of hyperscale environments through a clever and innovate software solution. In a fast changing application landscape being fast, flexible, agile and software defined is key. Cloud native is the new kid on the block and more and enterprises are adapting to these kinds application development.

Datera seems to be able to provide enterprises as well as cloud providers the storage that is needed to build these applications. The way this is accomplished by Datera is be defined in four main solutions:

Intent defined

What is Intent defined? I had a bit of a struggle on that question myself, so just lets stick to the explanation Datera provides:
Intent defined is a ochestrated play between storage and application. An application developer will know what he would like from storage, and can define these to the storage application programming interface. This is DevOps at its best. When storage is able to be scriptable from a developer perspective and manageable from a storage adminstrator perspective you know you hit the jackpot.

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 14.34.14

API first approach

API_full.png

Already mention the API a couple of times, but this is one of the key features of the Datera EBF, and therefor very important. Datera aims to set a new standard with the elegance and simplicity of their API. They intend to make the API as easy usable as possible to make sure it used and not forsaken because it so hard to understand.
The API is a well though and extremely hard peace to do right creating something as difficult as a storage platform for the customers Datera is aiming for. The API first approach and the approach Datera took developing the API seems to be a real seldom seen piece of art in this space.

Screen-Shot-2016-07-20-at-15.10.49.png

Hyper-composable

Things always need to come together creating something like a storage platform. One of these things is that the companies buying your solution want the opportunity to mix and match. They want to buy what they need now and if they need more (capacity or performance or both) they want to add just as easy. At Datera the you can mix and match different kind of nodes without impacting the overall performance of the solution, making it one of these rare solutions that is truely hyper-composable.

Screen-Shot-2016-07-20-at-15.11.02.png

Multi-Tenant

This is where a lot of software solutions say they are, but…. When you start using their products you find out the hard way that the definition of Multi-tenant is used in many ways, and true multi-tenancy is hard to get.
Is this different with Datera? They say it is, but to be honest I’m nit really sure of it. I’ll try to figure this out and reach out to the Datera people. And although they do not have a lot of official customers, a couple of them are well known for their multi-tenant environment, so my best guess is that the multi-tenancy part is OK with Datera, if not I’ll let you know.

Screen-Shot-2016-07-20-at-15.11.09.png

Conclusion

I was very impressed with the information provided by Datera during Storage Field Day 10. Due to a ton of work coming back after SFD10 and TFD11 I didn’t really have time to do a deep dive into the technology, but that is where my fellow SFD10 delegates are a big value to the community, so here are their blogposts:

The Cool Thing About Datera Is Intent by Dan Frith
Defining Software-defined Storage definition. Definitely. – Juku.it by Enrico Signoretti
Torus – Because We Need Another Distributed Storage Software Solution by Chris Evans
Storage Field Day 10 Preview: Datera by Chris Evans
Storage Field Day 10 Next Week by Rick Schlander

And as always the Tech Field Day team provides us with an awesome site full of the information on Datera here

And just to make sure you have a direct option to watch the videos of the SFD10 presentations, here they are:

1. Datera Introduction with Marc Fleischmann

2. Datera Docker and Swarm Demo with Bill Borsari

3. Datera Architecture Deep Dive

4. Datera OpenStack Demo with Bill Borsari

And make sure to visit the Datera website as well:

http://datera.io/

If you are interested in these kinds of topics, please join us for the TECHunplugged conference in Amsterdam on 6/10/16 and in Chicago on 27/10/16. This is a one day event focused on cloud computing and IT infrastructure with an innovative formula, it combines a group of independent, insightful and well-recognized bloggers with disruptive technology vendors and end users who manage rich technology environments. Join us!

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Who is Netwrix?

During Tech Field Day 11 we had presentations from a lot of awesome companies. Some of them I knew, but others were new to me, and that while some of these already exist for multiple years. The first of these “older”companies was Netwrix.

When writing a couple of VMware designs in which compliancy was a big deal, I learned that a good auditing tool is a must have as the auditors will not approve anything if they you didn’t provide them with the right answers and tooling needed to be compliant. A tool like Netwrix can help a lot with this.

Netwrix History

So during Tech Field Day 11 I was pleased to see Netwrix do a great job at explaining where they came from and what they do. A couple of points that were told in this first presentation:

• The company is founded in 2006 (that’s right the company celebrates it’s 10th anniversary this year)
• The founders Michael Fimin and Alex Vovk, who both worked at Quest software before starting Netwrix.
• The company has no venture funding.
• The company has over 200 employees across the globe, and;
• They have over 7000 customers worldwide

But it might be better if you just watch part 1 of the presentation first:

Who is Netwrix? from Stephen Foskett on Vimeo.

Netwrix Auditor Platform capabilities

The Netwrix auditor platform can help you audit and monitor multiple systems and application, the following are usable by default:

  • Microsoft Active Directory
  • Microsoft Exchange Server
  • Microsoft Office 365
  • Microsoft Sharepoint
  • Microsoft SQL server
  • VMware vSphere
  • Windows File Server
  • EMC
  • NetApp
  • Windows Server

Some of these are on-premises only, but a couple of them are also hybrid cloud capable, meaning you can audit your applications both on- and off-premises. Through the use of RESTful API’s both in and out bound you can leverage even more, but that is for a later blogpost :D.

Other TFD11 delegates on Netwrix

As always a couple of my TFD11 delegates also wrote some articles on Netwrix. Here are the articles already in the open (I’ll try to keep it updated, but I can’t promise anything :D):

Julian Wood (@julian_wood) wrote a great preview, the Tech Field Day 11 Preview: Netwrix

As well as Alaister Cook (@DemitasseNZ) did an introduction: TFD11 introduction: Netwrix

A small section on Netwrix can be found in the write-up by Tech Field Day Goes To 11

And last but not least, Mark May (@cincystorage) wrote a piece right after the presentation (showoff ;-P) called: Breaking down silos between security and operations

And as always, all Netwrix information and videos are available at the Tech Field Day site: Tech Field Day Netwrix

As already mentioned I’ll try to keep this post updated if people will write more on Netwrix, and I will also try to do a part two and three on Netwrix, but first I want to write a couple of post on other companies presenting at TFD11.

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We’re almost live…

In half an hour we’ll go live with Storage Field Day 10. I do encourage you to watch live at the Tech Field Day site, but for those that really want to follow the livestream on vdicloud.nl, here you go:


 

The agenda will be as follows:

Wednesday, May 25 9:30 – 11:30 Kaminario Presents at Storage Field Day 10
Wednesday, May 25 12:30 – 14:30 Primary Data Presents at Storage Field Day 10
Wednesday, May 25 15:00 – 17:00 Cloudian Presents at Storage Field Day 10
Thursday, May 26 9:30 – 11:30 Pure Storage Presents at Storage Field Day 10
Thursday, May 26 13:00 – 15:00 Datera Presents at Storage Field Day 10
Thursday, May 26 16:00 – 18:00 Tintri Presents at Storage Field Day 10
Friday, May 27 8:00 – 10:00 Nimble Storage Presents at Storage Field Day 10
Friday, May 27 10:30 – 12:30 Hedvig Presents at Storage Field Day 10
Friday, May 27 13:30 – 15:30 Exablox Presents at Storage Field Day 10

If you have a question you would like to be asked during the presentation, please do so (use twitter and use the hashtag #SFD10)

See you online!

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VMware vCloud Air part 1
May05

VMware vCloud Air part 1

The last couple of weeks I’ve been doing research on the VMware vCloud Air for one of our customers. Our customers is looking at the vCloud Air solution for large pieces of their current infrastructure, and the big driver for this investigation is the fact that at first looks the prices for VMware vCloud Air look cheaper (way cheaper accually) in stead of building and migrating and their own Datacenters. But to get a clearer view of what the VMware vCloud Air , let’s dive in to vCloud Air to see if this is true and what vCloud Air is.

Vmware vCloud Air

First we’ll investigate what VMware is providing through their vCloud Air offering. To make sure we got everything right we’ll see what the VMware website tells us about their vCloud Air offering:

 

As you can see there are multiple ways the business could use the VMware vCloud Air solution as seen in picture above there are 6 different offerings:

  • Disaster Recovery
  • Virtual Private Cloud
  • Virtual Private Cloud OnDemand
  • vCloud Government Service
  • Object Storage
  • Dedicated Cloud

For this part we’re going to take a look at the Dedicated Cloud offering and we’re diving in to the benefits and positive points of the solution.

Welcome in the buzzword bingo?

There is to much buzzwords going around in this area that it is hard to keep track on what is what! What is the difference betweens private cloud, Infrastructure as a Service and Dedicated cloud and on-premises infrastructure? What does it mean for your company and where does fit in your IT environment?

Invisible IT?

For me the Invisible IT buzzwords is what most companies (I do business with) are really looking for…. Providing the IT resources instantly when the business needs it, and thereby being a business enabler is what IT should be all about.

In the the last couple of decades it often happened that when the business needed a new application to help the business growth, it could take months before the application could be used. With the birth, and adoption of virtualization most IT departments managed to cut this down to about a week. But that time is used to just implement the virtual servers needed for the application (with the right network and storage resources), and after this time the application still needs to implement and test the the application.

Welcome to the Cloud Era

With the introduction of cloud a lot of people were sceptic. But after a couple of years people use it all the time, and got used to the benefits of cloud computing. One of the biggest advantages of cloud computing is how fast it is to buy resources. Go to AWS, Azure, Google or whatever cloud providor you want and with a credit card and a few clicks your VM is running in minutes….

This is where most IT departments lost the battle (they think…). If a in house department still needs to wait weeks of even still months before they can really start developing, implementing and using the application they tend to run, and use, the public cloud quickly. They normally won’t think of the business impact of such a move, but on the other the project can deliver much quicker and that’s all that counts to them.

As Dilbert explained in the comic above there is a way for IT to use the on-premises resources as well as the public cloud to move be the business enabler IT needs to be.

Virtualization vs. Hybrid Cloud

It seems such a long time ago that virtualization needed to prove its place in the Datacenter. A lot of companies looked at the virtualization product and didn’t see it production ready, but after testing it in their test environments and seeing the benefits almost all companies testing also started using it in their production environments as well.

The same is seems to happen with the use of hybrid cloud, but it seems that the hybrid cloud adoption goes much faster. The way companies start using a hybrid cloud solution is lots of time driven by the fact that certain workloads already started their development in the public cloud, and the company would like to embed the posibilities the cloud provides. The Hybrid cloud is the combination of private (which could also be a traditional IT environment) and public cloud(s) which provides your company the best of both worlds. But to manage these clous, you’ll need the right tools.

 

Cloud Management Platform

To manage your comapnies Hybrid Cloud they’ll need a Cloud Management Platform. As already mentioned the CMP’s are Management portals that offer your business the management needed to provide the private and public IT services. It is important to know that although there are many CMP’s I have found any (yet) that offers the complete spectrum of private and public offerings, although they all offer REStful api support so you could create certain things yourself (if you have the development force to do so ;)) I’ll probably dive into a couple of the CMP’s at a later stage, but for now if you want to know more about CMP’s look at these:

There are many more, but for now it is more than enough to have some reading material during a couple of days 😉

VMware vRealize suite and vCloud Air

I started this post about the VMware vCloud Air solution, but in the end I didn’t really talk about it that much. I promise I’ll do more in depth in the next part but for now I want to focus a little more on VMware vRealize Suite and the vCloud Air products for building a VMware Hybrid cloud.

With a lot of companies that build their virtualization environment on the VMware vSphere product, it is an easy step to want to build their hybrid IT environment on this foundation. To do so, they can leverage the vRealize suite product to automate and orchestrate their current environment as well as the vCloud air solutions, and furthermore other cloud solutions like AWS, Azure and others.

For a lot of companies this would build the environment they need to be on the edge, while still maintaining a soltution build on the foundation they already had, keeping the knowledge they already have in house, and giving IT the power to become a business enabler again.

Conclusion

When I started this post I didn’t intend it to be this long, and that’s the main reason to stop puting more information in this single post. Where I started out with an introduction to VMware vCloud Air, it became much more, but that’s what blogging is all about (IMHO :D) I’ll be back with more information on vCloud Air, vRealize suite, CMP, and more…. But for now cheerio!

If you want to know more about this topic, I’ll be presenting at next TECHunplugged conference in London on 12/5/16. A one day event focused on cloud computing and IT infrastructure with an innovative formula combines a group of independent, insightful and well-recognized bloggers with disruptive technology vendors and end users who manage rich technology environments. Join us!

 

 

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