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VMworld: VCAP5-DCA Book Giveaway

Those that have been following my Twitter over the past month or so would know that I took up the challenge to sit and pass my VCAP-DCA at VMworld 2014. After a crazy three weeks of cramming I managed to pass after taking the exam on Sunday. One of the best study materials for that

vCHS vs vCloud: vCloud Air Network…VMware Solidifies Partner Relationship

I must admit…I didn’t see this coming! One of my more recent posts a couple weeks ago was related to how VMware would engage with it’s Service Provider Partners with the continuing push of, what was then vCHS. Though I did not want to admit it personally I felt that VMware could take a more

VCAP-VDCA550 – Objective 4.4 : Configure and manage vSphere Replication

One of the new Objectives in the VCAP-DCA 550 is around the vSphere Replication Appliance. The Blueprint specifics that there will be one Replication Appliance in the Exam Lab so safe to assume you will be getting a question on vSR. Objective 4.4– Configure and manage vSphere Replication Skills and Abilities Configure and manage a

VMworld 2014: #vBrownBag Tech Talk’s

Like a few others out there I was unsuccessful in my session submission for VMworld 2014…With vCloud Director not being flavour of the month at the moment (I counted only 3 sessions on vCD related content) my chances where slim! However I have managed to secure a speaking slot with the #vBrownBag Tech Talk’s which is an

VMworld: VCAP5-DCA Book Giveaway

Those that have been following my Twitter over the past month or so would know that I took up the challenge to sit and pass my VCAP-DCA at VMworld 2014. After a crazy three weeks of cramming I managed to pass after taking the exam on Sunday.

One of the best study materials for that exam is the Official Cert Guide:

To give a little back to the VMware/vExpert Community…and for a little bit of fun I’m going to give my copy away today at VMworld…to win, follow me @anthonyspiteri and be ready sometime after lunch for a Tweet from myself on my location…first one to reach me wins the book!

Its a small token, but want to help someone else achieve their VCAP goals.

vCHS vs vCloud: vCloud Air Network…VMware Solidifies Partner Relationship

I must admit…I didn’t see this coming!

One of my more recent posts a couple weeks ago was related to how VMware would engage with it’s Service Provider Partners with the continuing push of, what was then vCHS. Though I did not want to admit it personally I felt that VMware could take a more “Microsoft” like approach towards partners and that smaller Service Providers could be facing uncertain futures when it comes to vCloud Powered and VSPP Service offerings.

http://blogs.vmware.com/vcloud/2014/08/calling-customers-vcloud-air-network-arrived.html

With the announcement around the full rebranding of vCHS to vCloud Air and Transforming the VSPP and vCloud Powered programs to the vCloud Air Network it would appear that VMware has in fact gone the other way and recommitted their support to all vCloud Server Providers and has even sort out to make the partner relationship stronger. The premise being that together, there is a ready made network (Including vCloud Air) of providers around the world ready to take on the greater uptake of Hybrid Cloud that’s expected over the next couple of years.

I can’t hide my pleasure at this announcement…three years ago VMware was all about Partners (remember the Our Cloud is Your Cloud message) …two years ago there where rumblings of a Public Cloud offering that made partners uneasy… one year ago vCHS was released and now we seem to have come full circle and there is a combined commitment to VMware backed IaaS and services.

Certainly there is a challenge from AWS, Google and Azure…but if there is one thing about the VMware community is that they recognise the strength of the underlying platform and if that there is a viable option that makes migration and management of existing workloads easier making the path a little less hazy…And while I’m not doubting the need for solid PaaS those Public Clouds can offer the market that vCloud Air Network is targeting in my opinion sits at a different workload level.

Again, the vCloud Powered and VSPP Partner Community would be delighted with this new focus and direction and I am looking forward to helping continue to build and support services based on vSphere, ESXi, vCloud and the newer product sets like NSX while being able to leverage platforms like Openstack…

There is no stronger platform! There is no stronger ecosystem!

VCAP-VDCA550 – Objective 4.4 : Configure and manage vSphere Replication

One of the new Objectives in the VCAP-DCA 550 is around the vSphere Replication Appliance. The Blueprint specifics that there will be one Replication Appliance in the Exam Lab so safe to assume you will be getting a question on vSR.

Objective 4.4– Configure and manage vSphere Replication

Skills and Abilities

  • Configure and manage a vSphere Replication infrastructure
  • Configure and manage vSphere Replication of virtual machines
  • Troubleshoot vSphere Replication

Tools

  • vSphere Virtual Machine Administration Guide v5.5
  • VMware vSphere Replication Administration Guide v5.5
  • vSphere Client / Web Client
  • virtual appliance management interface (VAMI)

To be honest I new that this existed but never looked at the product until today…and the only reason was around the Exam Cram for a shot at the VCAP. Got to say I am initially impressed with its feature setup and can start to understand why Veeam and alike are becoming more hostile towards VMware as they continue to introduce competitive products.

The Blueprint states that the Appliance will be pre deployed (assuming) so I won’t go through the OFV deployment, but it’s pretty standard and all you need is an IP and root password plus make sure that you select the vCenter you wish to associate the appliance with as shown below:

Once deployed you can hit the VSA Configuration Page at https://IPofAppliance:5840 where you have the usual VSA options

 

Not too much to look at here but you may be made to log in and check default configuration options or maybe look to reconfiguring the default internal database to an external one or check SSL settings.

Moving onto the configuration of Replication you can only use the vCenter Web Client to configure and manage Replication settings. You can find the Replication Monitor Tab in the Top Left Hand Menu Tab as shown below:


To configure VM Replication you can navigate to your source VM, Right Click and go to All vSphere Replication Actions and Configure Replication.

There are a number of straight forward Menu Items to work through as shown below where you configure:

  • Target Site and Replication Server (can be specified or Manually Selected)
  • Target Location utilizing Storage Policies if configured. The advanced options let you split VMDKs to different target datastores and allow you to change the disk format
  • Replication Options which basically relate to Guest OS Quiescing.
  • Recovery Settings lets you choose the desired RPO via a slider and you can also choose Point in Time Snapshots

Once complete the Initial Full Sync begins. You can view progress from the Replication Home Menu and view details on Outgoing and Incoming Replications. You also have the ability to reconfigure, stop and start replication options as well as Perform a Recovery if on the Incoming Replications Menu.

With that covered the last part of the VCAP Blueprint Item is Troubleshooting. Have a Read through Section 11 of the Admin Guide to get an idea of what might be covered…key for me would be to be able to ensure connectivity between sites, keeping tabs on RPOs and managing Snapshots while be able to generate log bundles and view the logs directly from the appliance. An example of which is shown below.

Certainly looking forward to the v.NEXT version of vSphere Replication…for me it looks like a PoC version with the good stuff yet to come…hopefully there is nothing to shady in the VCAP relating to the Blueprint Objective.

Ref:

http://pubs.vmware.com/vsphere-55/topic/com.vmware.ICbase/PDF/vsphere-replication-55-admin.pdf

https://www.vmware.com/support/vsphere5/doc/vsphere-replication-551-release-notes.html

 

VMworld 2014: #vBrownBag Tech Talk’s

Like a few others out there I was unsuccessful in my session submission for VMworld 2014…With vCloud Director not being flavour of the month at the moment (I counted only 3 sessions on vCD related content) my chances where slim! However I have managed to secure a speaking slot with the #vBrownBag Tech Talk’s which is an extremely exciting opportunity for me…however I’m not going to talk directly about vCD…but the topic of conversation does relate to my #longlivevCD hashtag.

Differentiate or Die? The Elephant in the vCloud:
Tuesday 26th August @ 16:45 Community Stage in the Hang Space

Based on a blog post I wrote a while ago mashed up with a more recent post on vCHS vs. vCloud Powered Providers I will go through my experiences in working for an Application and Hosting Provider, a Managed Services Company and in my current role working for a vCloud Powered Provider and what I believe can be done by more established Service Providers to stay relevant in the face of the public cloud threat that AWS, Azure or Google represent and some thoughts on how vCHS is fitting into the overall picture..

Be great to see other VSPP/vCloud Powered representatives in the audience and i’d love to catch up after the talk to discuss any thoughts around the topic…

The full schedule is here: http://professionalvmware.com/2014/08/vbrownbag-tech-talk-schedulevmworld-usa-2014/ and many thanks to Alastair for once again providing a great service for the Professional VMware Community.

vCHS vs. vCloud Providers: The Elephant in the Cloud

A couple of years ago I remember first hearing about Project Zepher which was rumored to be VMware’s first attempt at a public cloud offering…though it wasn’t officially announced at VMworld 2012 it was the basis for what would later become vCloud Hybrid Services. Just after VMworld I wrote this post where I stated:

…VMware always being about the partner cloud ecosystem it felt like a shift in direction overnight one which is obviously driven by the fact the big boys of Amazon, Azure, Google and to a lesser extend RackSpace have all taken significant chunks of the market space.

With that I do understand VMware’s nervousness in the fact the vCloud ecosystem hasn’t grown as quickly as they would like, but I would argue that the pure public cloud space where vCloud offerings sit are completely different market verticals and. Extend that to my local market of Australia, we are only now just seeing RackSpace and Amazon show interest in availability zones locally to counter the huge data sovereignty issue that exists in Australia the big boys aren’t really here yet and hopefully won’t get established for a long time I also believe that Australian companies…be it a large corporate or an SMB trust and like to do business with local providers of whom there is an existing strong relationship.

Fast forward two years AWS (and to a lesser extent, Rackspace) are well established and growing strongly and Azure is about to drop in Australia officially in the next couple of months. My worry remains that the focus can’t help but shift from partner based Cloud offerings to vCHS for local VMware staff to push and there has certainly been a shift in company mentality where it’s very much ok to look at Public Cloud offerings now at the expense of traditional MSP and/or IaaS providers.

vCloud Powered Providers generally fall in a category that’s not Public Cloud, but not Managed Service Provider Cloud…most vCloud Providers “should” have a level of automation and self service and should be nimble enough to offer competitive pricing and reliable service. Certainly the best vCloud Powered partners have product offerings that complement basic IaaS services such as DR/RaaS and VPS products and in general most should have a locality advantage over the likes of AWS, Azure and now vCHS who can not put an availability zone in every state and city…there should be plenty of the Virtual Pie left.

One of the biggest questions that remains unanswered for me is how local VMware sales and support practices will react to vCHS arriving in their region. We recently had the first APJ (hosted out of Japan) vCHS datacenter open and by the end of the year it will arrive in Australia…my guess is that VMware will/have Partnered with Telstra (who have, rather surprisingly won Cloud Service Provider of the year two years running at PEXANZ) and be offered out of at least Sydney…if not Melbourne at launch. It’s not a surprise anymore and it’s something I understand VMware must do to complete with AWS and Azure here in Australia.

Working for the current largest vCloud Power Provider in Australia it does worry me that VMware will shift focus of sales towards vCHS and the backing and support that has been up to this date, tremendous…will start to decline. However I must counter this by saying that I don’t believe VMware will pull a Microsoft and look to screw partners by way of going out of their way to lure clients away.

So the elephant in the cloud remains…what impact will vCHS have on VSPP and vCloud Powered Providers?

I’m interested to hear of vCloud SPs in the US and Europe who have already had vCHS drop in their regions…Has it had an impact? Are you still getting the same amount of love from VMware? What have you done to counter added competition?

Please feel free to comment below or reach out to my over Twitter or email.