Archive for VMware

Scale-Out Doesn’t Just Mean Applications

Scale Out

A couple of months ago I wrote a post entitled Scale-Out. Distributed. Whatever the Name, it’s the Future of Computing.

Taking the concept a step further, I recently started thinking about other elements in IT which are moving in that direction; not just applications and storage, but underlying infrastructure and management elements too.

Then it dawned on me that this really is not a new thing… we’ve been taking this approach for years! Technologies like VMware vSphere, have enabled us to become trusting, almost presumptuous, that we can add resources as we need them; increasing the shared pool transparently and enabling us to continue to service requirements, whilst eliminating downtime. (You can even use them to scale up on-the-fly if you really have to!)

The current breed of infrastructure engineers and startups have grown up in this era and the great thing is that this has now become part of their DNA! Typically, no longer are solutions designed from scratch to be scale-up in nature; hitting some artificial limit in capacity or having to scale specific elements of a solution to avoid nasty bottlenecks.

Instead, infrastructure is being designed to scale-out natively; distributed architectures, balancing workloads and metadata evenly across platforms. This has the added benefit, of course, of making them more resilient to failure of individual components.Distributed Systems

Backup isn’t Sexy, but it’s Necessary

One great example of this new architecture paradigm (drink!), is Rubrik, a startup in the backup space who we met at Tech Field Day 12. Their home-grown distributed file system, distributed metadata, built in off-site replication and global namespace, provide a massively scalable and resilient backup system.

All of the roles from a traditional backup solution (such as backup proxies/media servers/metadata servers, etc) are now rolled into a single, scale-out platform. As I seem to find myself saying more and more often these days, KISS personified!kiss - Keep it simple stupid EFS

With shrinking IT teams, I commonly find that companies are willing to trade budget for time savings. Utilising a simple, policy-driven management interface and enabling off-site replication to be done over-the-wire, has a lot of benefits to operational time!

As an added bonus, it can even replicate out to S3, Blob and NFS targets, to give even more options for off-site replication. Of course, a big fat pipe to the internet will cost you more each month; though you’re probably investing in that anyway, to meet your employee’s peak lunchtime demand for facebook and youtube! 🙂

Much like any complex machine, under the hood, Rubrik is pretty impressive. There is a masterless cluster management solution, multi-tier flash and disk for performance, and a clever redirect-on-write snapshot chain algorithm, which minimises capacity utilisation whilst providing very granular restores.

The key thing here, though, is we don’t really care; we are a consumer society who just wants things to work, as we have more exciting things than backup to worry about!

rubrik

TLDR;

We have enough complexity in IT these days without having to worry about backup. I would say that the simple to manage, scale-out solution from Rubrik is certainly worth considering as part of any PoC or RFP! 🙂

Further Info

You can catch the full Rubrik session at the link below:
Rubrik Presents at Tech Field Day 12

Further Reading

Some of the other TFD delegates had their own takes on the presentation we saw. Check them out here:

Disclaimer: My flights, accommodation, meals, etc at Tech Field Day 12 were provided by Tech Field Day, but there was no expectation or request for me to write about any of the vendors products or services.

Juxtaposition Time Pt2! Join us at Scotland VMUG to talk AWS! – April 20th 2017

Woohoo! If everything goes to plan, Chris Porter and I will be taking our AWS for VMware Admins talk on the road to the April 2017 Scottish VMUG. Even more interesting is the fact that Ian Massingham, AWS Chief Evangelist will be there too!

Yes, that’s not only an AWS session at a VMUG, but a senior person from AWS in the house too! Has the world gone MAD?! 😮

Why?

For those people who have been living in a bunker on the isle of Jura for the past few years, AWS has been taking the IT industry by storm. So much so, at VMworld 2016, VMware announced their new product “VMware Cloud on AWS“!

Whatever the reasons that VMware have decided to do this (and I’m not going to go into my opinions of that right now), it leaves VMware admins in a position where even if they aren’t already doing some AWS today, the likelihood of them doing so in the near future has just jumped by an order of magnitude!

Meanwhile in a parallel universe...

Meanwhile in a parallel universe…

What’s the session about then?

The session is a quick intro on the key features of AWS, some tips on how to learn more and get certified, as well as some of Chris and my experiences of working with and designing for AWS (which is rather different to doing things in VMware, for sure!). We also cover some ways to protect your account when you first start, to avoid becoming a bitcoin mining statistic!

Hopefully it should be a pretty interesting session, especially if you haven’t had much exposure to AWS yet!

What else can you see at the event?

As always, there will be many awesome speakers at the McVMUG event, including a keynote from Joe Baguley, a Real World Nutanix session from James Kilby, and my good friend Robbie Jerrom doing a session on Cloud Native Apps (which is well worth seeing!).

There will also be a load of other sessions, so check out the agenda below:

Scottish VMUG April 20th 2017

Scottish VMUG April 20th 2017 Agenda
Wrapping up the event there will also be the eponymous vBeers event from 5-7pm (address TBC), so make sure you hang around after and join us for what is often the best part of the day!

Lastly, thanks very much to the McVMUG sponsors, Zerto, Morpheus and Pure Storage, capito, IGEL Technology and Softcat, without whom it would not be possible to hold these events!

I’m in! How do I register?

You can register for the event at the Scotland VMUG workspace here:

Scottish VMUG April 2017 Registration

The location is The Studio, 67 Hope Street, Glasgow, G2 6AE, which is pretty easy to get to via your preferred public transport methods, though I will be flying in that morning so may be slightly late arriving.

If you do see me on the day (I’m 6’7” so you can’t miss me), please do come and say hi! 🙂

VMware vExpert 2017 – It’s not just about the schwag!

vexpert 2017

This year I was fortunate enough to have reached a wee milestone of a 5th vExpert award so it prompted a post!

Needless to say I am honoured to be still counted among such an awesome community of folk who spend their own free time helping others to understand and consume VMware technology.

Looking back to when I received my first vExpert title in May 2013, it feels like time has just flown by! As well as being part of the awesome community, getting free licenses from VMware, awesome awesome free training from Pluralsight which has helped me loads in my career, and a bunch of vendor other schwaaaag, it’s also opened up a great many opportunities!

For example, I’ve made loads of great friends, gotten to speak at a number of events, and even had the chance to become a Tech Field Day delegate, traveling to the US several times to visit a load of tech companies and startups, whilst learning from some seriously clever people. What I’ve put into the community I have easily received back tenfold, and I am massively grateful to be part of it.community

Do it! Do it now!…

If you have the time to put into it, I highly recommend anyone takes the time to share and hopefully become part of the community.

Here are a few examples from my entry this year, which might hopefully give people some ideas as to the kinds of things which you could do too!

  • Member of a panel at a VMUG
  • Presented a short 15-minute talk at a VMUG
  • Ran a “roundtable” session at a VMUG (for around 30 people)
  • Founded a new website on homelabs (http://openhomelab.org)
  • Started a new podcast with some other VMUG members and vExperts around homelabbing and tech news (http://opentechcast.com)
  • Posted a blog a week (in the past I have aimed to do one a month and built it up over time)

The entry bar to becoming a vExpert is not massively high; you certainly don’t have to do all of the above, or even any of the above! That said, if you are not currently a vExpert, and you can achieve just a couple of these kinds of items, you could be well on the way to becoming one too!

Trust me, it’s worth the effort!

AWS for VMware Admins – London VMUG Slide Deck

Last week, Chris Porter and I did a presentation at the London VMUG on AWS for VMware admins, a simple beginners guide with a few gotchas and tips we’ve picked up along our journeys to the public cloud.

The session itself was pretty well received, and we were lucky enough to have standing room only attendance (it was a very small room! 🙂 ).

To open up proceedings and get a feel for our audience, we ran a quick survey of the 50 or so VMware professionals who were in attendance, and the results were pretty interesting.

To the question “Have you played with AWS before?”, over half of the room raised their hands, though with a caveat from one attendee who asked if creating the account qualifies! (You know who you are!)

“Do you have any AWS experience on the job?” saw a number of hands drop, and perhaps 30-40% of the room said yes.

What was most interesting was that to the penultimate question “Are you using AWS in Production today?”, only a single hand in the room remained raised!

Finally, we asked “Are you planning to do any AWS certs in the next 12 months?” and the resounding answer from over 60%-70% of the audience was a clear yes!

Conclusions

So what conclusions can we draw from this straw poll?

Seemingly most of the attendees were either using AWS for dev/test or simply playing with it in the work lab, however with a clear preference to complete certs this year, the future is certainly looking a lot more cloudy for your average VMware administrator, either in their current organisation, or perhaps even elsewhere!

Slide Deck

Anyway, enough jibber jabbing! You can find a copy of the slide deck below:

AWS for VMware Admins Deck

If you were unable to make the session and happen to be in or around Glasgow on April 20th, we will hopefully be doing a repeat!

Further Reading

If you want to find out more about AWS, certification, etc, I have a load of additional resources and posts available here:

Index of Tekhead.it Blog Posts on Amazon AWS

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