Category Archives: General

Vendor Wars: Tribes In IT…Get Used To it!

In the last couple of weeks there had been murmurings within the VMUG Leadership Group that Nutanix was about to be banned from sponsoring events worldwide. This was confirmed this week and in addition to that ban, no current Nutanix employee can be a Leader of a VMUG chapter, though I’m not sure if this carries through to the steering committee. There has been mixed reaction online depending on which side of the fence you sit and while the action undertaken is drastic it should come as no surprise…I don’t mean that to suggest that the constant back and forth between Nutanix and VMware that has been ongoing for a number of years now was to blame, because without question that contributed to the decision. What I mean by saying that we should build a bridge is that it’s human nature to form tribes and when we form tribes we have division.

We all root for our respective teams, whether that be sporting, political or in business…and more importantly, we will always side with the team or tribe that benefits us the most. With that in mind it shouldn’t come as a shock when we see such passionate debates specifically in the IT Vendor world. It’s been going on since the inception of the industry however we have seen an amplification since social media has made it both easier for one to show their true colours and for arguments to be played out in public forums.

Being part of a tribe is human nature…we can’t change the way we are programmed and tribes will form in every aspect of life. Even within smaller social circles micro-tribes form and divisions are played out. There is a great TED talk around tribal leadership in business and it’s worth a watch as it made me realize that there can’t be respectful common ground when it comes to tribes being at war.

I have seen the calls for us in the IT community to be respectful and not enter into tit for tat insults and FUD propagation however our industry by definition is disruptive…our industry also has a lot of money behind it with startups and established vendors promising lucrative incentive based payouts if or when a company goes public or is acquired. When you have money involved with tribalism the effect is magnified because not only are people rooting for their own teams, but they are playing all in for possible financial success…Because of that there is very little chance of impartiality…No matter what anyone says to the contrary.

So while we all get annoyed from time to time when we witness vendor bias or arrogance or more specifically in the case of the VMUG ban, the Nutanix vs VMware tribal battles we should accept that it’s a way of life. Things will not change and nor should you believe that mutual respect will be reached…we will always have a favorite and we will always show bias towards one brand, one vendor…one tribe.

Top Posts 2016

2016 is pretty much done and dusted and it’s been an good year for Virtualization is Life! There was a more modest 70% increase in site visits this year compared to 2015 and a 2600% increase in visits since I began blogging in 2012. In 2016 I managed to produce 124 posts (including this one) which was slightly up on the 110 I produced in 2015 and in doing so passed 300 total blogs since I started here. I was fairly consistent in getting out at least eight blogs per month with June being my most prolific month with sixteen blog posts published.

Looking back through the statistics generate via JetPack, I’ve listed the Top 10 Blog Posts from the last 12 months. This year the opinion pieces seemed to be of interest to my readers and there is still vCloud Director and NSX representation in the top ten with my Veeam articles doing well. Again it was interesting to see that two of the most generic (older posts) and certainly basic posts took out two of the top three spots. It shows that bloggers should not be afraid of blogging around simple topics as there is an audience that will appreciate the content and get value out of the post.

  1. NSX Edge vs vShield Edge: Part 1 – Feature and Performance Matrix
  2. Quick Post: E1000 vs VMXNET3
  3. vSphere 6.0 vCenter Server Appliance: Upgrading from 5.x
  4. ESXi Bugs – VMware Can’t Keep Letting This Happen!
  5. Nutanix Buying PernixData: My Critical Analysis
  6. New NSX License Tier Thoughts and Transformers
  7. CBT Bugs – VMware Can’t Keep Letting This Happen!
  8. Veeam 9 Released: Top New Features
  9. Veeam’s Next Big Thing – Veeam has Arrived!
  10. vCloud Director 8: New Features And A New UI Addition…

I was honoured to have this blog voted #44 in the TopvBlog2016 and even with all the controversy around the voting I still hold that as a significant outcome of which I am very proud and I’d like to thank the readers and supporters of this blog for voting for me! And thanks must also go to my site sponsors who are all listed on the right hand side of this page.

With me moving across to vendor land it’s going to be interesting to see if I can keep up the variety of posts as I “narrow” down my core focus…however I fully intend to keep on pushing this blog by keeping it strong to it’s roots of vCloud Director and core VMware technologies like NSX and vSAN. I have the Home lab and the drive to continue to produce content around the things I am passionate about…and that includes all things hosting and cloud now with a touch of availability 🙂

Stay tuned for an even bigger 2017!

#LongLivevCD

Quick Look – vSphere 6.5 Storage Space Reclamation

One of the cool newly enabled features of vSphere 6.5 is the come back of VMFS storage space reclamation. This feature was enabled in a manual way for VMFS5 datastores and was able to be triggered when you free storage space inside a datastore when deleting or migrating a VM…or consolidate a snapshot. At a Guest OS level, storage space is freed when you delete files on a thinly provisioned VMDK and then exists as dead or stranded space. ESXi 6.5 supports automatic space reclamation (SCSI unmap) that originates from a VMFS datastore or a Guest OS…the mechanism reclaims unused space from VM disks that are thin provisioned.

When storage space is deleted without this automated feature the delete operation leaves blocks of unused space on the datastore. VMFS uses the SCSI unmap command to indicate to the array that the storage blocks contain deleted data, so that the array can unallocate these blocks.

On VMFS6 datastores, ESXi supports automatic asynchronous reclamation of free space. VMFS6 generally supports automatic space reclamation requests that generate from the guest operating systems, and passes these requests to the array. Many guest operating systems can send the unmap command and do not require any additional configuration. The guest operating systems that do not support automatic unmaps might require user intervention.

I was interested in seeing if this worked as advertised, so I went about formatting a new VMFS6 datastore with the default options via the Web Client as shown below:

Heading over the hosts command line I checked the reclamation config using the new esxcli namespace:

Through the Web Client you can only set the Reclamation Priority to None or Low, however through the esxcli command you can set that value to medium or high as well as low or none, but as I’ve literally just found out, these esxcli only settings don’t actually do anything in this release.

For the low setting in terms of reclaim priority and how long before the process kicks off on the datastore, the expectation is that any blocks that are no longer used will be reclaimed within 12 hours. I was keeping track of a couple of VMs and the datastore sizes in general and saw that after a day or so there was a difference in the available storage. 

You can see that I clawed back about 22GB and 14GB on both datastores in the first 24 hours. So my initial testing with this new feature shows that it’s a valued and welcomed edition to the new vSphere 6.5 release. I know that for Service Providers that thin provision but charge based on allocated storage, they will benefit greatly from this feature as it automates a mechanism that was complex at best in previous releases.

There is also a great section around UNMAP in the vSphere 6.5 Core Storage White Paper that’s literally just been released as well and can be found here:

References:

http://pubs.vmware.com/vsphere-65/topic/com.vmware.ICbase/PDF/vsphere-esxi-vcenter-server-65-storage-guide.pdf

https://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2057513

vSphere 6.5 Core Storage White Paper Now Available

vForumAU 2016 Recap: Best Event In Years!

Last week I was in Sydney for the 2016 edition of vForumAU…I’ve been coming to vForumAU since 2011 and this years event was probably up there with the best that I have attended in that time. For the past couple of years the event has had to shift venues due to the Sydney Exhibition Center being knocked down and rebuilt and in that time the it’s been at Luna Park and Star City Casino…both of which presented their own challenges for VMware, sponsors and attendees. This years event was held at The Royal Hall of Industries in Moore Park which offered a perfect venue for the event and helped deliver on what was a great vForumAU.

Adding to the venue was the calibre of speakers that VMware ANZ was able to bring out for this years event…in fact it was the best lineup that I’ve seen or heard of outside of VMworld. We had Pat Gelsinger, Kit Colbert, Paul Strong and Bruce Davie to add to the local VMware talent and given that this event fell after both VMworld US and Europe, I felt that the content was more complete in terms of announcements, products and overall strategy and vision.

I heard Pat deliver the keynote at VMworld US a few months back and the deck was largely the same, however I felt he delivered the message better and talked to the key points around VMware’s hybrid cloud strategy a lot more concisely and with a lot more tact in terms of ensure that vCloud Air Network providers where still very much in the reckoning for VMware’s future strategy around Hybrid cloud. There is no doubt that the partnership’s with AWS and IBM has caused some unease in the vCAN but every key slide had vCAN representation which was pleasing to see.

The Cross Cloud Foundation is something also that still sits uneasily with a lot of vCAN Providers but I have to admit that the tech preview of the Cross Cloud Platform was very very slick and shows how much VMware has changed tact when it comes to playing with other public clouds. There is no doubt that Cloud is the new Hardware and VMware want to be there to manage it and offer it’s customers tools that do the same. Hybrid cloud is here to stay, and they hyper-scalers certainly have a share…however on-premises and partner hosted IaaS will remain significant and relevant for the next 10-15 years.

Moving on from Pat’s keynote there was a super session Technical Keynote that was held after lunch that featured 20-30 minutes on every new product enhancement or release that has been announced of late. From vSphere 6.5 to VSAN 6.5 and a look at NSX futures as well as VMware’s container platforms this was a brilliant couple of hours of presentations. Highlights for me was Paul Strong talking VSAN, Kit Colbert going over the various Photon platforms and Bruce Davie talking around NSX extensibility into AWS. Of note was Bruce Davie (who also presented at the main keynote) who I have come to seriously admire as a speaker over the past couple of years.

The Sponsors hall has a very VMworld feel to it this year which elements of VMworld brought to the event such as VMVillage, special lounges for All Access Pass visitors and probably the best food that I’ve experienced at a vForumAU by way of specialised food trucks bringing a wide array of foods to enjoy. Though the first day wasn’t as well received by exhibitors (AAP attendees pay for sessions, not so much visiting sponsors) in talking with some people on the booths, the second day was very busy and the venue and location had everything to do with that. Again well done do the VMware events team for bringing the event to The Royal Hall of Industries.

Finishing off this recap, once again there was great spirit and community around both sponsors and the attendees to which the venue offered a great chance to catch up socially with people from the VMware community and that fact shouldn’t be lost on the benefit of attending such an event. And while I didn’t attend the offical party I heard that it went really well and was highly entertaining with a lot of food!

Well done to VMware ANZ for putting on a great event!


As a side note, I also attended my final VMware vChampion event on the Wednesday morning where Kit Colbert facilitated an open discussion on containerised platforms and the new continuous integration and continuous deployment methodologies that are creeping their ways into mainstream IT. Again, thanks to the vChampion team!

VMware vChampion Farewell!

About four years ago I was invited to join a program called the VMware vChampions…this program is run and operated by the VMware ANZ Channel and Marketing teams and is an invite only advocacy group who’s members are made up exclusively from VMware’s top partners and service providers in the ANZ region. The numbers have varied over the past couple of years, but at any one time there are about 30-40 vChampions in the group.

With my new role at Veeam I have had to leave the program and this week at #vForumAU will be my last as a member of the group. Before I sign off I wanted to openly thank the people who have made the program such instrumental not only from a personal work point of view, but also from the point of view of enhancing my engagement with the wider VMware community. Probably of most importance, superseding both work and community benefits the program has allowed me to develop friendships with those I have come to meet through the program…some of those people I now consider some of my closest friends.

The program helped take me to my first VMworld in 2012 which is still one of the highlights of my career and an experience that included an VMware Executive Brief at the VMware campus and an introduction to the global VMware community. At vForumAU that same year, the vChampion’s where briefed by then CTO Steve Herrod. The following year at PEX ANZ I was able to work towards landing a dream role at Zettagrid and also establish friendships that are still going strong today. Later that year at vForumAU the vChampions had a whole day event that included a discussion with Martin Casado just shortly after Nicira had been acquired by VMware…the inspiring talk by Martin was, again a career highlight and lit of flame under me that got me into Network Virtualization and deeper into automation.

Over the last couple of years the vChampion program scaled back it’s activities and bi-annual meetings become once a year get togethers however the team was still able to secure guest speakers such as Sanjay Poonen and Kit Colbert. In an amongst the speakers the group was given insider NDA access and product roadmaps…and there in lies the true value of the group for VMware and in equipping the vChampion’s with knowledge and updates the group is equipped to go back to their companies and advocated VMware technologies to the rest of their peers and hopefully also spoke out in the community about VMware technologies.

All in all the value that the program has added to my career can not be understated and I would like to thank, Katrina Jones, Anthony Segren, John Donovan, Rhody Burton and Eugene Geaher for allowing me to be part of such a brilliant program. Also a special mention to Grant Orchard and Greg Mulholland for being the vChampion Champions within VMware and for always being there to help organise and support the vChampions.

Thanks guys and I hope the program can continue to deliver!

vForumAU 2016: vBrownBag TechTalks

With vForumAU 2016 less than a week away it’s time to talk about what the vBrownBag crew will be up to next week in Sydney. If you don’t know what the vBrownBag TechTalks head here for an overview…but in a nutshell the crew offer the technical community a platform to present on topics that are more social than sales and marketing and allow those that participate a public platform from which to interact with the community.

The Sydney vForumAU edition still has a few slots available so if you are going over to vForumAU next week and want to get something off your chest that the VMware community might find informative…head to the site below and register.

Below is a snapshot of the talks that will feature next week:

  • Matt Allford – Using Vester Project to Enforce vSphere Configuration
  • Frank Yoo – What is RESTFul API and How to use it
  • David Lloyd – Building an Elastic Bare Metal Service
  • Luis Concistre – Microsegmentation VMware Horizon and NSX
  • Brett Johnson – Disaster Planning and What’s new in vSphere 6.5

TechTalks at vForum Sydney

vForumAU 2016: #VMDownUnderground

vForumAU is just over a week away and for those that are in Sydney for the event and are around a day earlier should cancel any existing plans and attend VMDownUnderground that is happening at the King Street Brewhouse from 6pm. The little brother of the VMworld US event is running for a sixth year and it’s a great way to kick off the vForumAU week and also gives you a rare opportunity to mingle with the local VMware community as they gather from all across ANZ.

Returning for an amazing sixth year, VMdownunderground will again help you get in the social mood before vForum in Sydney. This is a great way to catch up with people from out of town and meet new people who work in virtualisation.  Taking place at the new venue of King Street Brewhouse, on Sydney’s amazing water front. Places will be limited, so get yours early.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/vmdownunderground-vforum-sydney-2016-tickets-27589931227

Numbers where a little on the low side as of last week which is crazy given how well received this event is in the US (and the fact there is free food and booze), so please circulate this post if you know of anyone else who is going to be around Sydney next week and drag them along to the evening…I am sure it will be worthwhile and did I mention that attendance is free with sponsorship of the event provided by Veeam.

Secure your ticket here.

 

A New Direction …A New Company …A New Role

Three and a half years ago I was given a brilliant opportunity to join what was at the time Australia’s leading vCloud Powered Service Provider…Zettagrid. At that time I talked about needing direction in my career and the opportunity to join Zettagrid was undeniably one of the best decisions I have made in my life. Fast forward to today and there is no doubt that Zettagrid has extended it’s lead as the premier vCloud Air Network provider, not only in Australia, but also in ANZ and beyond.

I’ve been lucky to work with a tremendous team that pushes the envelope when it comes to automation and innovation and we have been able to produce a number of great products over the past three and half years as well as grow Zettagrid into a mature and respected IaaS provider with a rock solid platform and great customer success.

In a nutshell Zettagrid do great things with great technology by taking leading vendor technologies and automating around those vendor products to create new service offerings for Zettagrid customers to consume. One of those leading vendor’s is Veeam and it’s with great excitement (and indeed a touch of sadness) that I can finally announce that I will be leaving Zettagrid today to start a new role at Veaam as a Technical Evangelist in the Technical Product Marketing & Evangelism team headed by Rick Vanover.

The role will be focused on Veeam’s Service Provider market and will allow me to continue the great work I’ve been able to achieve with the talented team at Zettagrid in bringing to market Veeam Cloud Connect and Veeam Cloud Connect Replication as well as working with Veeam Cloud Service Providers to continue to use the whole Veeam Availability Suite to protect workloads and ensure they are always on.

When Veeam announced their vision for the next generation of availability in August I was more than impressed with what I saw…for the first time I understood the bigger picture and also saw a company that was more than just about backing up VMs.

The vision is there to see in the graphic above and Veeam Cloud Connect and Service Provider technologies are core to what Veeam wants to achieve. In addition to that, the company has reinvested in developing around vCloud Director and is about to launch a game changing self service, multi-tenant portal for vCloud Director in Veeam 9.5. In addition to the cloud and service provider angle, the opportunity to work in Rick Vanover‘s team that contains people of which I have huge respect for in the industry in addition to have the opportunity to work with Veeam’s Product and Engineering teams meant this was a role I had to seriously consider.

Technical marketing and content creation is something that I have gravitated towards and I am going to enjoy the challenge of stepping a little bit out of my existing technical comfort zone. Certainly this role will expand my current technical and product space beyond VMware technologies and I’ll have to dust off my old Microsoft Hyper-V skills and not be so quick to write off (sic) Azure.

In terms of what this means for my work in and around the vCloud Air Network of which am extremely passionate about…this role should and will allow me to interact with more people within the vCAN and I get to continue working with vCloud Director and other VMware technologies. This won’t change the drive that I have to ensure the vCAN continues to grow…and as you have hopefully read over the past week, the passion remains strong…and will remain strong!

To the team at Zettagrid and all who have made the last three and half years enjoyable, rewarding and above all extremely satisfying…I thank you. I expect the company to continue to innovate in the space and start to branch out beyond Australia and become a true powerhouse in IaaS as well as Backup and DR as a Service.

Change is not only the only constant in life, it’s one that has to be embraced and I look forward to starting on the next chapter of my career with Veeam.

#LongLivevCD

VMware on AWS: vCloud Director and What Needs to be Done to Empower the vCAN

Last week VMware and Amazon Web Services officially announced their new joint venture whereby VMware technology will be available to run as a service on AWS in the form of bare-bones hardware with vCenter, ESXi, NSX and VSAN as the core VMware technology components. This isn’t some magic whereby ESXi is nested or emulated upon the existing AWS platform, but a fully fledged dedicated virtual datacenter offering that clients can buy through VMware and have VMware manage the stack right up to the core vCenter components.

Earlier in the week I wrote down some thoughts around the possible impact to the vCloud Air Network this new offering could have. While at first glance it would appear that I was largely negative towards the announcement, after having a think about the possible implications I started to think about how this could be advantageous for the vCloud Air Network. What it comes down to is how much VMware was to open up the API’s for all components hosted on AWS and how the vCloud Director SP product team develops around those API’s.

From there it will be on vCloud Air Network partners that have the capabilities to tap into the VMC’s. I believe there is an opportunity here for vCAN Service Providers to go beyond offering just IaaS and combine their offerings with the VMware AWS offering as well as help extend out to offer AWS PaaS without the worry that traditional VM workloads will be migrated to AWS.

For this to happen though VMware have to do something they haven’t done in the past…that is, commit to making sure vCAN providers can cash in on the opportunity and be empowered by the opportunity to grow VMware based services… as I mentioned in my original post:

In truth VMware have been very slow…almost reluctant to pass over features that would allow this cross cloud compatibility and migration be even more of a weapon for the vCAN by holding back on features that allowed on-premises vCenter and Workstation/Fusion connect directly to vCloud Air endpoints in products such as Hybrid Cloud Manager. I strongly believed that those products should have been extended from day zero to have the ability to connect to any vCloud Director endpoint…it wasn’t a stretch for that to occure as it is effectively the same endpoint but for some reason it was strategically labeled as a “coming soon” feature.

Extending vCloud Director SP:

I have taken liberty to extend the VMWonAWS graphic to include what I believe should be the final puzzle in what would make the partnership sit well with existing vCloud Air Network providers…that is, allow vCloud Director SP to bridge the gap between the on-premises compute, networking and storage and the AWS based VMware platform infrastructure.

vCloud Director is a cloud management platform that abstracts physical resources from vCenter and interacts with NSX to build out networking resources via the NSX Manager API’s…with that it’s not hard in my eyes to allow any exposed vCenter or NSX Manager to be consumed by vCloud Director.

With that allowed, any AWS vCenter dedicated instance can become a Virtual Datacenter object in vCloud Director and consumed by an organisation. For vCloud Air Network partners who have the ability to programatically interact with the vCloud Director APIs, this all of a sudden could open up another 70+ AWS locations on which to allow their customers to deploy Virtual Datacenters.

Take that one step further and allow vCD to overlay on-premises compute and networking resources and then allow connectivity between all locations via NSX hybridity and you have a seriously rock solid solution that extends a customer on-premises to a more conveniently placed (remember AWS isn’t everywhere) vCloud Air Network platform that can in turn consume/burst into a VMware Dedicated instance on AWS and you now have something that rivals the much hyped Hybrid Cloud Strategy of Microsoft and the Azure Stack.

What Needs to Happen:

It’s pretty simple…VMware need to commit to continued/accelerated development of vCloud Director SP (which has already begun in earnest) and give vCloud Air Network providers the ability to consume both ways…on-premises and on VMware’s AWS platform. VMware need to grant this capability to vCloud Air Network providers from the outset and not play the stalling game that was apparent when it came to feature parity with vCloud Air.

What I have envisioned isn’t far off becoming a reality…vCloud Director is mature and extensible enough to do what I have described above, and I believe that in my recent dealings with the vCloud Director product and marketing teams at VMworld US earlier this year that there is real belief in the team that the cloud management platform will continue to improve and evolve…if VMware allow it to.

Further improving on vCloud Directors maturity and extensibility, if the much maligned UI is improved as promised…with the upcoming addition of full NSX integration completing the network stack, the next step in greater adoption beyond the 300 odd vCAN SPs currently use vCloud Director needs a hook…and that hook should be VMWonAWS.

Time will tell…but there is huge potential here. VMware need to deliver to their partners in order to have that VMWonAWS potential realised.

 

#300

Virtualization is Life! has hit post #300 and I thought I’d take this opportunity to list through some numbers and top posts since I launched this blog as Hosting is Life! back in April of 2012. Before going through the listing below I’d like to thank the extended VMware Virtualization Community for allowing me to create content that I hope is useful for anyone that comes across it. I love blogging around great technology and I’m extremely lucky to have fallen into an industry that not only has great technology, great technology companies, but also great people.

Blog Tag Post Numbers:

Top 5 Posts All Time:

  1. vSphere 6.0 vCenter Server Appliance: Upgrading from 5.x
  2. How-To: vCenter 5.1 SSO Adding AD Identity Source
  3. Quick Post: E1000 vs VMXNET3
  4. NSX Edge vs vShield Edge: Part 1 – Feature and Performance Matrix
  5. ESXi 5.5 Update 2: vMotion Fails at 14% with Stale Admission Control and VM Reservations

Top 5 Posts of 2016:

  1. vSphere 6.0 vCenter Server Appliance: Upgrading from 5.x
  2. NSX Edge vs vShield Edge: Part 1 – Feature and Performance Matrix
  3. ESXi Bugs – VMware Can’t Keep Letting This Happen!
  4. Nutanix Buying PernixData: My Critical Analysis
  5. CBT Bugs – VMware Can’t Keep Letting This Happen!

Top 5 vBlog Site Referrers All Time:

  1. virtuallyghetto.com
  2. vmwareblogs.com
  3. yellow-bricks.com
  4. theregister.co.uk
  5. blog.scottlowe.org

Again, thanks to all that read what I put out and especially those who work in and around vCloud Director, NSX and Veeam. Hopefully I can continue to create and…

#LongLivevCD

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