Tag Archive for NSX

Storage Field Day 9 – Behind the Curtain

Tech Field Day cheese

Tech Field Day is an awesome experience for all of the delegates! We get to spend an entire week unabashedly geeking out, as well as hanging out with the founders, senior folk and engineers at some of the most innovative companies in the world!

For those people who always wondered what goes on behind the scenes in the Tech Field Day experience, I took a few pano shots at the Storage Field Day 9 event this week.

Here they are, along with most of my favourite tweets and photos of the week… it was a blast!

Panos

Pre-Event Meeting

Pre-Event Meeting & Plexistor

NetApp & SolidFire

NetApp & SolidFire

Violin Memory

Violin Memory

Intel

Intel

Cohesity

Cohesity

VMware

VMware

The rest of the event…

Until next time… 🙂

VMworld Europe 2015 Day Four and Closing Thoughts

VMworld

As with every year, the final day of VMworld was a pretty subdued atmosphere. In the main this is due to the number of people who head home early, combined with the those left looking distinctly hungover from the VMworld party on Wednesday night! Fortunately I remained reasonably coherent all night, other than in the act of losing my voice somewhat due to the volume, (Yes, I am turning into a grumpy old man who likes his virtual slippers by the fireside) and the inevitable VMworld lurgy, which in my case kicked in during rather than after the event!

The morning was largely spent shooting the breeze, chewing the fat, grinding our axes and many other classic metaphors, with the guys in the bloggers area. Needless to say we set the world to rights, defined the product strategy VMware should be taking for the next 20 years, and redefined the UK tax system so that it was fairer for all involved… ahem

I managed to squeeze in a couple more sessions over lunch time, including a great group discussion on NSX and vCD integration led by Ray Budavari and Wade Holmes. The vast majority of people in the room came from service providers, and of those only one was using NSX without vCD, so it appears that there is life in the old dog yet!

NSX & vCD

One of the interesting points from the session is that it looks as though the different editions of NSX will eventually be rationalised. vSphere will likely be the “favourite child” of NSX, getting new features first etc, but multi-hypervisor support will continue to be a feature in the future. Probably quite reassuring if you have already made a significant investment in the technology, though upgrades are likely to be a bit of a concern as they bring together the different Code Streams (groan).

After that I managed to catch up with the inimitable Alastair Cooke, key member of the #vBrownbag posse, who gave me some excellent advice for my upcoming trip to Storage Field Day 8. It’s always a pleasure to catch up with Alastair. He was a massive help in passing my VCAP-DCD4 back in the day, so if you don’t already subscribe to his excellent blog, I highly recommend you check it out!

After that it was time to hop on the shuttle bus and had for the airport for my flight home…

 

Closing Thoughts

Another VMworld Europe comes and goes, and much like the US edition there weren’t a huge number of life-changing announcements to write home about. Of the things which were in play however, Cloud Native Apps were most definitely front and centre! VIC is a great option for those organisations looking to get their feet wet in the container space, whilst being assured of the security that comes with being backed by the support resources of a company like VMware.

Final Thoughts

If you’re a software vendor or enterprise with some chunky legacy custom applications and you are considering going down the CNA route, just remember you don’t need to boil the ocean! Instead of spending the next 3 years cloudifying™ and microservicing™ your app for some major release, think about starting small.

  • Target new application functionality to be built with microservices at the core.
  • Find the performance bottlenecks in the existing application and rewrite that code to be able to scale out in a microservice architecture.
  • Think about how deep you want to go with your new microservice architecture? Design it at a business function/task level, which can be improved and iterated over time.
  • Consider for each microservice, what you would want to happen if that service fails. For example if your search services fail, customers can still access content. This is fine for most sites, but it wouldn’t work for Google, so make sure you drill down on your requirements! One example of this is that if the recommendation engine in Netflix fails for some reason, users will still get a default list of recommendations, rather than a big fat error message!
  • Don’t forget about security! Microservices are awesome, but they introduce a whole new level of complexity…
  • Above all, always bear in mind Baguley’s law (see below)!

For those customers wanting to scale beyond the 10k container limit imposed by vCenter itself, Photon will be an option too, though I have a sneaking suspicion that customers of that scale may look at doing something a little more open/custom anyway.

VMware Photon

When it comes to VMware’s other applications you can definitely see some decent forward momentum, particularly in products which have been bought in and integrated, such as vRA and NSX. In many cases I think the migration processes to the newer versions are all a bit too “rip and replace unless you have a 100% vanilla install”, but as the products mature further I think this will become less of an issue. It will definitely cause a few customers some pain in the short term though, especially if they just went out and spent thousands on PSO to implement the current version, only to have to redo half the work to upgrade! I guess you could continue to hold off until a later version if you want to reduce hassle, but if you never set a foot on the path you’ll never actually reach your destination!

It was great to catch up with many old and new faces at the event, especially at the vExpert event and in the bloggers area. It’s funny how you feel you kind of know people pretty well before you’ve even met them, if only via your 140 character interactions, so when you’re actually face to face for the first time it’s like catching up with old friends!

Until next year…

A Few Links

I was kindly invited to do a wee interview for VMworld TV by Eric Sloof at the vExpert party on Monday night. If you want to take a look, the link is below. I won’t embed it as the thumbnail image looks like I’m having some kind of embolism!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8CXTxvtb-I

If you didn’t manage to attend the event, it’s not too late to take advantage of some of the awesome content and sessions. VMware post a significant number of the most popular sessions on YouTube for free public consumption. Did I mention they’re free? Andreas Lesslhumer has kindly put together a summary list of all of the available videos from both US and EU events here:
http://www.running-system.com/vmworld-2015-general-sessions-and-technical-sessions-available-online/

Needless to say I’m very much looking forward to next year’s event already. If you want to attend, I suggest you preregister now to be notified when tickets become available:
https://www.vmworld.com/en/pre-register.html

 

Walk a mile in another man’s shoes…

I know it has now become something of a tradition to post how far you walked during the week, so here are my stats. I would caveat however that I am not a lazy bar steward, I’m 6’7″ tall, so I don’t need to take as many steps as other people! 🙂

Day Steps ~Distance
Monday 8564 6 km
Tuesday 7374 5km
Wednesday 10274 7km
Thursday 8356 6km

It now becomes obvious why everyone says bring comfortable shoes! 🙂

 

Quote of the Week

This undoubtedly goes to VMware CTO Joe Baguley, during the CNA Panel session on Day three:

VMworld Europe 2015 Day Two Roundup

Doesn’t time fly by fast when you’re having fun?! Day two was frankly a full-on brain cram fest for me…

The morning started off with the keynotes, which (if I’m honest much like the US announcements) were interesting but not earth shattering for me.

It was nice to see Claranet featured for the second year running in the keynote speech though!

I will leave it to others this year to summarise the announcements, but the coolest new product which peaked my interest was vSphere Integrated Containers.

VIC is more than simply the ability to see containers running inside of a VM. In actual fact it allows you spin up containers within forked VM clones on a one to one basis, where the additional RAM and storage are copy-on-write. All this in about the same time it would normally take you to launch a standard container natively. As the VM is then subject to the usual features and benefits of a standard VM, you have the ability to control it’s access, security and performance at a very granular level.

To the developer this still uses the standard docker interface, but the infrastructure admin can manage things through vCenter as they always have done. Of course this means you are also subject to the usual limits on vSphere (for example up to 10k objects per vCenter), so this is not hyper scale, but lets be honest, how many of us are actually doing that? VMware also have a solution for this scale, Photon platform, but I’ll save that for another day.

I had a quick trip to the VMware Video Game Container System later in the day where I had the opportunity to spend 20 minutes chatting with one of the VMware CNA Product Managers about some of their roadmap developments, and suffice to say the future looks very impressive! They also demo’d the ability to containerise virtually any operating system; they were actually running MS-DOS containers and Prince of Persia inside of them! If you want to learn a bit more about CNA, check out the intro blog on the VMware website:

https://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2015/10/vsphere-integrated-containers-technology-walkthrough.html

Later in the morning, I was kindly invited to a vExpert vRA.next Workshop in the HoL where we were lead through the latest features and improvements in vRealize Automation. There certainly seemed to be something for everyone, significant improvements in the speed and method to deploy which made a lot of people very happy, as well as a rationalisation of the server roles. The only thing which was a slight downer for me was the fact that true multi tenancy is not quite there yet in the product.

After a quick bite to eat, including some English Bread Triangles, I managed to get a bit of time wandering round the fringes of the Solution Exchange. Hiding at the back of the hall I came across a really interesting new security startup who only recently came out of stealth and went GA just this week, called GuardiCore. Amongst many other nifty features, their software can monitor for any blocked / dropped packets from potential attackers, and immediately redirect the potentially malicious session to a honey pot machine, logging all further communications with and actions of the attacker.

GuardiCore leverage NSX in a big way, avoiding the need for agents within the guest OS, but can also work with vanilla vSphere if that’s your (more likely just now) platform. Their demo was excellent and I will definitely be keeping an eye on them in future. If you happen to be passing booth E149 I recommend you stop by for a chat, it will definitely be a good use of your time!

The afternoon was spent mostly in sessions, including the highly popular VAPP5129 – Database Virtualization: Doing IT Right with vSphere 6, presented by Michael Corey and Don Sullivan. This is a must see session if you manage DB infrastructure in any way, so check it out when it hopefully comes out on youtube or VMworld.com. Do prepare yourself to replay it several times over to capture all of the content as attending it was like being hit with a recommendation gatling gun, but the accompanying slide deck should be basic training for all new VMware admins in the field! Michael also provided the quote of the day for today:

Right sizing is everything.

 

VMworld Europe 2015 Day One Roundup – Partner Day

Well it has to be said that day one went off with a bang this year indeed (not least due to all the buzz about the Dell / EMC acquisition)!

Having arrived late on Sunday night, we still made it into the Fira Gran Via for 8.30am on Monday morning to register, have a wander round and hit the Hands on Labs before they started to get busy. I immediately got stuck into HOL-SDC-1630 Cloud-Native Apps: Bringing Microservices and Containers to the Software-Defined Data Centre. As the buzz on the street at this years event is all about Cloud Native Apps, I suspect this one will feature in the top 10 labs by the end of the week! For those people not attending VMworld, you should be able to get access to it soon after the event at http://labs.hol.vmware.com.

First lab out of the way, I headed along to Hall 8 for some of the partner event sessions. Obviously I can’t go into masses of detail but suffice to say that the first session was delivered by the inimitable orator, Joe Baguely on the subject of CNA. For me, he really brought things in to focus as he explained that his teenage daughter was already onto her 3rd bank, with the most recent being chosen based on the quality of the mobile banking app provided with her account. This really brings home the idea that many of the older companies around today need to start innovating, soon, or risk becoming irrelevant to the next generation!

After a pretty decent bit of lunch Chris Crafford talked us through some considerations and approaches for transforming legacy apps into something which looks a bit more cloudy / microservice-y. The key takeaway from this session for me was not to try to boil the ocean and redevelop your entire legacy application in one go unless you absolutely have to. Rather think about adding new features driven by business requirements and targeting existing performance bottlenecks using microservices instead, That way you can start to see more immediate benefits to your applications without running the risk of a massive redevelopment falling flat on its face!

My last session of the day was from Andy Kennedy, on the subject of “Factors to Consider as Part of a Holistic Security Architecture”. In summary this session gave some great insight into some of the challenges currently face in traditional security designs, and how NSX can help to solve them, with a liberal sprinkling of candour as to where NSX may not meet every requirement, and in those situations how to augment solutions with third party products. A refreshing view indeed! We also got a little insight into some of the announcements coming this week on the NSX front – interesting times indeed!

Finally I spent the evening catching up with new and old faces alike, at the VMware vExpert event at the Elephant bar & restaurant. The atmosphere was excellent, with many great conversations to be had. One of the most interesting to me was with CEO and co-founder of RuneCast, VCDX 74, and all round nice chap, Stanimir Markov. His company has come up with an idea which seems so incredibly simple I don’t know why nobody thought of it first, but these guys did and with any luck they will be very successful indeed!

Put simply, my understanding is that they monitor all of the latest KB articles from VMware, then via the use of their analyser appliance, they scan your environment configuration and logs to check whether you are potentially impacted by any emerging issues, faults or threats. This allows you to then mitigate them before they occur. What a great idea! If you want to find out more about them, I believe they have a booth at the Solutions Exchange, or you can check them out at https://www.runecast.biz. Well worth a conversation indeed, I’d say!

Anyway it’s getting late, so I’ll simply sign off with my favourite quote of the day today, curtesy of Mr Kennedy, which frankly sums up the optimum approach to IT Architecture IMHO:

A simple solution deployed well is far more effective than a complex solution deployed badly.

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