Category Archives: VMworld

VMworld 2016 : Session Voting #8808

Well this has crept up on us quickly this year! It’s time to vote for the VMworld Sessions that will be part of the US and Europe VMworld’s held later in the year. The Session Voting is more Session liking as you have the ability to mark multiple sessions as ones that you would like to see. There are 1574 sessions that where submitted and are listed in the Online Catalog.

As with the last couple of years I have submitted a session. This year I have decided to focus on a Real World Look at how we here at Zettagrid implemented NSX into our Service Offering. Have a read of the description below and if you want to hear more about NSX (with a little vCloud Director thrown in) in the real world and the lessons I’ve learnt over the past couple of years please consider Session #8808 for a vote.

NSX in Service Provider Land – Lessons Learnt from the Real World [8808]

VMware NSX has been out for two years and in that time has already gone through some significant updates and feature addons. The power of the NSX platform and what that offers Service Providers meant that getting NSX into Zettagrid become priority number 1 leading up to the end of 2015. Come and hear how Zettagrid successfully retrofitted NSX into an existing vCloud Platform that spans three Hosting Zones across Australia. In this session I will take you through how we brought NSX from Lab to limited BETA release to full production productization and deployment. You will hear about how working on the bleeding edge of network virtualization had its challenges and how NSX as an overlay network fit into our existing physical layer as well as the operational and architecture challenges we ran into before being able to offer our NSX Advanced Networking Product as part of our vCloud Director Virtual DC portfolio extending our Hybridity capabilities.

Track:  Software-Defined Data Center
Product and Topic:  Customer Story
Session Type:  Breakout Session
Audience:  IT – All, IT – Network, IT – Operations, IT – Telecom, Research and Development, Technical Support
Sub track:  Networking and Security

There is a lot of competition around the NSX space with 302 sessions listed that contain NSX in the title or the description but I’m hoping my experiences are interesting enough to get some votes and then make it through the internal voting process. On a separate note it was also pleasing to see an increase in the number of vCloud Director sessions this year.

As per the VMworld Session Voting FAQ Session Voting is open May 12 – May 26 at 11:59 pm PDT.

References:

https://download3.vmware.com/vmworld/2015/downloads/cfp-voting-faq.pdf

VMworld 2016 : VMTurbo Pass Giveaway

It’s that time of year again! VMworld is about 100 days away and VMTurbo are giving away three full passes to VMworld being held in Las Vegas. There are three sweepstakes draws happening over the next three months.

When will the drawings take place?
  • May 27, 2016
  • June 17, 2016
  • July 15, 2016

Head to the link below and Enter for Free!

Once entered your name will be in the pool for all three draws.

ENTER HERE:

#vBrownBag TechTalk – NSX…An Unexpected Journey

While at VMworld a couple of weeks ago I presented a short talk around my journey working with NSX-v and how it has shifted (pivoted) the direction of what I consider to be important in my day to day role. The unexpected part of the journey dragged me kicking and screaming into the world of APIs and dare I say…Devops.

And while I don’t consider myself a DevOp (far from it)…I find myself more and more getting sucked into that world and with that I am trying adjust how I consume IT. In any case if you have a spare 10 minutes have a listen about how NSX kickstarted my interest and got me looking more under the covers of the server platforms and services we sometimes take for granted. Before this change I was comfortable accepting a UI as the only way to interact and consume services…are you?

For those interested the full schedule is here, along with direct links to the YouTube Channel with all the talks.

http://professionalvmware.com/2015/08/vbrownbag-techtalks-schedule-vmworld-usa-2015/

vExpert VMworld Reception and Program Thoughts

Last week at VMworld we had the annual vExpert Reception…this year the party was held at the very swanky Julia Morgan Ballroom in the Merchants Exchange building. From looking around the room I counted at least a couple hundred vExperts which is a fantastic turnout given the spread of the 1300 vExperts around the world.

The agenda was split into four presentations including Cory Romero with an update on the program and also some futures on where VMware want to take the program…we also had updated from VMware’s Digital Marketing lead, NSX Certification Program Manger Chris McCain, a VCDX Program Update (did you know all VCDX’s are automatically vExperts now) and the night was capped off with a very personable presentation from Pat Gelsinger.

Pat didn’t talk vision as he did in the Tuesday Keynote…he kept the talk very casual and talked about his experiences around getting excited about hearing about the first vMotion while working at Intel and the potential use cases around that. For him, it’s all about the technology and he expressed in no uncertain terms that as people who work in and around the IT world…

We all get turned on by cool tech!

And while that got a truthfully embarrassing reaction from the crowd it speaks volumes as to a big part of why programs like the vExpert Program exist. No one should be part of a program like this if they don’t get off on technology. Passion translates to action…and VMware (and other vendors that run similar programs) understands that there is huge power in bringing together like minded people to help push and champion their products.

Interestingly, after I posted this to Twitter during the presentations I had a number of replies from Michael Stump (sidenote: Michael has a great Blog here) echoing his previous thoughts that the vExpert program is a marketing tool for VMware which he couldn’t partake in anymore…and while I respect his choice I completely disagree with his rational. There is no confusion in my head (and in others I have spoken to or that have commented) that being part of these vendor programs means we need to “whore” ourselves off a little…for the most we graciously receive the free gifts from vExpert Vendor Partners and we troll the Solutions Exchange looking for our free battery packs, speakers and apparel.

We should not feel guilty about receiving these gifts but we must also understand that they do come with a small price…However the fact that we are passionate and all get off on technology means that in accepting these gifts we are doing exactly what the program is designed for…that is to help promote VMware and their partners…and in turn great tech!

Now, if vExperts choose to take the gifts and run that’s totally up to the individual…but this program gives back as much as you put in…the true value of the community isn’t the gifts and awesomely good food at the reception party…it’s the community aspect that it breeds. For me I have made many new friends and contacts in the industry that I wouldn’t have thought possible without the program..in that I have been able to extend my technical knowledge and it has also served as a distribution point for the content I create and in that I believe that I can give back to the vExpert Community.

Embrace the program as it continues to grow! It won’t be around forever!

#VMworld: First Look – CloudPhysics New Release

Over the past year the guys at CloudPhysics have been relatively quiet compared to the proceeding 3 years since they burst onto the Scene at VMworld 2012. The reason relative radio science has been had was that they have been busily working away on a revamp of their SaaS based Analytics platform…and the results are impressive.

The new release has the following highlights.

  • Always-on diagnostics: Continuous diagnosis of infrastructure with changes continuously captured, recorded and reflected. Unique data derivations, correlations, mashups and filters reduce “noise” and identify true hazards.
    • Configurable dashboards: Rich contextual views expose hot spots and potential risks before problems form and impact operations. Trending analysis consolidates multiple objects and views, enabling multi-dimensional correlation.
    • Groundbreaking exploration capabilities: Interactive ability to analyze changes over time through easily manipulated exploration mode, using time slices with zoom in/out capabilities to evaluate correlations and causation. Users can “correlate in context” to troubleshoot application disruptions with data drawn from VM performance/resource consumption; change/event log; configuration history; and known issues associated with operational hazards and best practices.
    • 20+ new analytics for managing health and preempting hazards, available in our extensive library of “cards.”
    • Platform innovation: Time series data is uniquely handled by the CloudPhysics platform to enable a user to analyze multiple dimensions of the infrastructure around the same time axis.

With the new features, CloudPhysics delivers unique, meaningful insights, giving vSphere teams the confidence to act boldly to reduce risk and waste without compromising safety of the virtual infrastructure or the applications it supports. Building on its ease of use, intuitive user interface and deep visibility across multiple vCenters, CloudPhysics now:

  • Reduces disruption and incidents with always-on diagnostics that surface hot spots and emerging problems, enabling admins to get ahead of nascent performance problems• Improves mean-time-to-resolution (MTTR) with directed exploration, enabling admins to zero in on root cause and resolve application disruptions more quickly• Generates insights for realigning misconfigured infrastructure to prevent future performance and availability issues and improve efficiency

CloudPhysics have always been a personal favourite of mine since I first chatted to Irfan back on the Solutions Exchange floor in 2012 and I’m legitimately excited with what the team has got in store to further develop the platform into an extremely powerful analytics tool for VMware based platforms.

They have a free edition which you can tryout here: CloudPhysics Free Edition

While at VMworld, head over to Booth #2346

VMworld: #vBrownBag TechTalks

The vBrownbag Tech Talks are back on again this year at VMworld and it gives those who might have missed out on getting an official session accepted at this years event the chance to present in the Hangspace. The talks go for ten minutes are are mostly community based. There are a number of different speakers covering a number of different topics and there are also a number of panel discussions.

For a full schedule check out this link.

Last year at VMworld I was lucky enough to present a Tech Talk and I am presenting again this year at 12pm on Tuesday the 1st of September …this year I will presenting a modified version of the presentation I gave at the Melbourne User Conference titled NSX… An Unexpected Journey. If you are in the Hangspace at that time or are interested in a few insights on how our day to day jobs can pivot and take unexpected turns, feel free to rock up and have a listen.

There are also a number of other great talks in the schedule and I’d like to highlight a couple below:

Luke Brown (Zettagrid) – Dinosaurs Don’t Do DR
Irfan Ahmad (CloudPhysics) – Help! My Dashboards Suck!
Craig Waters (PureStorage) – Anatomy of an SSD

Hope to see you all there…if you are around feel free to message me via Twitter (@anthonyspiteri) and say hello!

http://professionalvmware.com/2015/08/vbrownbag-techtalks-schedule-vmworld-usa-2015/

Follow-Up: vCloud Director SP: The Need for UI Improvement!

Its been a couple of weeks since I wrote this post on the need for improvement with the vCloud Director UI and the response I’ve had to the article through the comments section, on LinkedIn and Twitter and also in the vCloud Director SP v8.0 Beta Discussion forums has been positive and supportive. With VMworld fast approaching it’s going to be interesting to see if there are any announcements around the future vCD SP and if there are indeed any movements on the need to have some form of improved UI…as shown below the Poll I conducted on that blog post reflects the reality that there are only a small percentage of vCloud Air Network Partners capable of using the new features in the vCD SP Editions.

Poll Results:

As a vCloud Powered SP, do you have in house capability to develop against the vCD API to produce a Custom Portal.

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

I’ve put this together from 100’s of meetings with VMware both EBCs, World, SP Councils etc. Some of it is supposition and VMware wouldn’t confirm for me… so it may not be 100% accurate but here goes. Also I’m not sure how much I can say given I’ve spoken to some pretty senior people at VMware plus I’ve been privileged to sit on their Service Provider Advisory board where there are a few things discussed that they put under NDA. So I’ll try to make a best judgement around anything that follows and I’ll try to put it in a timeline perspective…

0) vCloud was created because internally, VMware couldn’t modify vCenter fast enough to add features for cloud like adoption. So the decision was to spin out a dev team, let them go as quickly as possible and use the vCenter APIs to develop something that would allow SPs and the Enterprise (that was the real goal) to have a private cloud and stop the noise of AWS/Cloud that was humming in the market….BUT:

1) It was pretty much doomed from the start when they first released v1. It was terrible and that’s being nice. Poor vSphere integration, lacked features vCenter had. So any internal sysadmin didn’t want to go near it…remember it used to use GUIDs to identify VMs so you had to look for mappings? You couldn’t back it up or restore it… and the effort you had to (and arguably still) do to integrate it and make it work well didn’t justify the return… poor start team. Why add another 100 hours to the build of your VMware environment to get something that limits you? most decision makers saw this…it had promise… BUT:

2) They wrote it in the wrong language – Flash. They picked flash because it was quick/easy/looked nice but almost as soon as VCD 1.1/2 was released, (from my hazy memory), Adobe announced they were stopping investment. The world turned almost overnight to HTML5 and that meant a big re-write for them. Flash is horrible, zero mobile support (remember Steve Jobs), Flash is terrible, we all know it, just accept it. But they couldn’t justify the rewrite cost (and time delay) because…

3) Most customers weren’t deploying it. Sure there are some big installations around the world, mostly larger customers that had internal development shops and multiple business units, but the trouble was the only real adoption they were getting was with the service providers and they were getting it for free through the VSPP. At this time, VMware was trying to match up the SP’s and Solution providers and they needed the SP’s to have a standard platform with APIs etc… They were also backing a number of Telcos (remember vCloud Data Center partners) to try and lift them up to the emerging AWS, MS, (looming Google) threat of public cloud. So giving it away for free was a good adoption strategy. But unfortunately the vCloud Data Center program failed… I cannot go into why… Also for enterprises, Dev shops weren’t adopting it even though Lab Manager was dead because VCD didn’t have all the features of Lab Manager…

4) It was/is still a complex interface – it didn’t flow well and ultimately that’s why VMware themselves, when they launched their ‘VMware Hybrid Cloud’ trial platform in the US, didn’t use their own interface! They realised it was too clumsy and complex so they wrote something simpler for the masses. One insider told me it was at that point the interface was doomed well before it was announced… so its demise has been on the cards for years.

5) So now at this point VMware have a flash (dead) interface, very small enterprise adoption and mostly it doesn’t have the enterprise features, they aren’t even using it themselves and SPs are really the only ones using it but there’s no revenue to fund the unit because they gave it away in the VSPP. So the decision is, buy another company that has a portal (vCAC/vRealise) and shift VCD to the SP division because if we kill it all together we might lose the SPs totally, particularly the big ones that integrated it to their own portals (see next point). But at the same time, VMware realised that they could not viably get the SPs to compete with AWS/Azure so they had to do something themselves, hence vCloud Air was born. (just go look at the timing…think late 2012/early 2013)

6) So in 2013, most of the SPs using the VCD interface are those that cannot afford to develop their own or buy something – but that’s the trick, those that can afford to develop/buy, make up a significant % of the VSPP revenue. So say the top 20% of VSPP SPs represent 80% of the revenue (I don’t know the exact numbers) and of the top 20%, 80% of those SP’s have their own portal because they are telcos etc that have merged VCD APIs with existing portals or written their own. So for the VMware SP business unit that own owns a non-revenue generating platform, facing a full rewrite to shift away from flash and make it more usable again doesn’t justify the return. Also those top revenue SPs are the ones that get a voice at the highest levels in VMware and influence the strategy, not the 1000’s of SPs on 3600 plans or less commenting in forums unfortunately. So those that have the most influence, don’t need an interface (i’m generalizing a bit)… and even if they used VCD extensively, they can probably afford to license something and replace it because VDC isn’t their main line of business (telco lines, outsourcing etc is)…

7) So in 2014? VMware turn to the partners (ISVs) and suggest to the smaller SPs, go talk to some of our partners and buy their product. Flip the strategy and push it as an API layer to provide some standards to the SP community, keep very close tabs on the midlevel VSPP subscriptions and if you feel they are faltering, make sure you position vCloud Air to migrate, because if they use the vCloud APIs and connector, it should be pretty easy to get them into vCloud Air… pretty simple really…

So I’d be surprised if they resurrect it – and if they do it shows that their strategy is all over the show. Its alive, its dead, its alive etc… Just remember, SP revenue makes up less than 10% of VMware’s… so it’s a pretty small voice. As I said in my tweet last night (and I’ve made a few calls internally to VMware contacts in the last six months) there is sure to be an announcement this VMworld, but no one will say which way… they are being very tight lipped about it.

I asked Rob if I could repost this and he agreed because we share the same passion for VMware and vCloud Director and we both work for SPs with significant investments in the platform… The question has been asked of me since the original post went up about the possibility of an enhanced UI taking away the advantage SPs like Zettagrid, Datacom or iLand have by being able to develop against the vCD SP APIs but in reality a better UI that all vCloud Air Network Partners can use can only serve to strengthen the Network…and in turn that helps VMware compete against the likes of AWS, Azure and other IaaS Providers.

There is a strong group of vCD Supporters who hope the news coming out of VMworld next week is positive…time will tell!

#LongLivevCD

VMware Labs: Top 5 Flings

For those that are not aware, VMware has had their Lab Flings going for a number of years now and on the back of the latest release (ESXi Embedded Host Client) I spent some time looking through all the flings and I thought it be useful to produce a list of my Top 5 Flings. The list below represents the Flings i’ve found most useful since I was first introduced to them…they reflect my love of NestedESXi and operations around vCloud…however there are a lot more that others will find useful.

Before the list…What are VMware Flings?

Our engineers work on tons of pet projects in their spare time, and are always looking to get feedback on their projects (or “flings”). Why flings? A fling is a short-term thing, not a serious relationship but a fun one. Likewise, the tools that are offered here are intended to be played with and explored. None of them are guaranteed to become part of any future product offering and there is no support for them. They are, however, totally free for you to download and play around with them!

There are 57 Flings available for download at the time of writing this post and they range across most of VMware’s Product stack…most of them have been created out of some requirement or function that was/is lacking in the current toolset for their respective products. Most of them solve usability issues or look to resolve performance bottlenecks and look to optimize product experience…some of them end up being productised themselves.

Fling Number 5 – Storage Profile Updater

This Fling is a simple tool that enables the migration of vCloud Director virtual machines and templates from the default any storage profile to a specific storage profile. The tool can be run from the command-line with the help of a configuration file, and it allows you to change storage profiles in a batch style of processing.

For those that upgraded vCloud Director from 1.5 to 5.x you would know about the Any profile issue…this fling allows you to migrate all VMs from that default storage policy to any new one you might have configured in your Provider vDC.

Fling Number 4 – vCMA

VMware vCenter Mobile Access (vCMA) is a fully configured and ready to run virtual appliance that is required to manage your datacenter from mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets (iPad). Using either a mobile browser or the native iPad application, administrators can now perform various troubleshooting and remediation activities in their VMware environments from anywhere in the world.

Back before the Web Client was introduced in vSphere 5.0 this was one of the best ways to access your vCenter Hosts and VMs to perform actions remotely from you mobile phone or device. It is was an easy install and did the job…this evolved into the current vSphere Mobile Watchlist.

Fling Number 3 – PowerCLI Extensions

VMware PowerCLI is one of the most successful command line tools for managing your VMware products. With the many existing cmdlets designed for the system administrator or vSphere Admin, PowerCLI is the easiest and most powerful tool for managing your environment.

PowerCLI Extensions gives PowerCLI users access to early access functionality by extending the core PowerCLI cmdlets to include new experimental features and gives PowerCLI customers the ability to provide early feedback.

For anyone using PowerCLI to manage and automate their vSphere environments the PowerCLI Extensions have been a valuable tool to have at your disposal. Over the last couple of weeks the Fling has become even cooler by allowing access to the VMFork Instant Clone Technology APIs which up to this point have been hidden from general consumption in vSphere/ESXi 6.0

Fling Number 2 – VMware Tools for Nested ESXi

This VIB package provides a VMware Tools service (vmtoolsd) for running inside a nested ESXi virtual machine. The following capabilities are exposed through VMware Tools:

Provides guest OS information of the nested ESXi Hypervisor (eg. IP address, configured hostname, etc.).
Allows the nested ESXi VM to be cleanly shut down or restarted when performing power operations with the vSphere Web/C# Client or vSphere APIs.
Executes scripts that help automate ESXi guest OS operations when the guest’s power state changes.
Supports the Guest Operations API (formally known as the VIX API).

The release of this Fling was met with a lot of thankyou’s from those who had battled with NestedESXi Hosts not having VMTools available. If anything, the ability to cleanly shutdown or restart the ESXi Guest was welcomed. With the release of ESXi 6.0 the Tools are included in the OS by default…but for those running 5.x Nested Hosts its a must have.

Fling Number 1 – ESXi Mac Learning dvFilter

MAC learning functionality solves performance problems for use cases like nested ESX.  This ESX extension adds functionality to ESX to support MAC-learning on vswitch ports. For most ESX use cases, MAC learning is not required as ESX knows exactly which MAC address will be used by a VM. However, for applications like running nested ESX, i.e. ESX as a guest-VM on ESX, the situation is different. As an ESX VM may emit packets for a multitude of different MAC addresses, it currently requires the vswitch port to be put in “promiscuous mode”. That however will lead to too many packets delivered into the ESX VM, as it leads to all packets on the vswitch being seen by all ESX VMs. When running several ESX VMs, this can lead to very significant CPU overhead and noticeable degradation in network throughput. Combining MAC learning with “promiscuous mode” solves this problem.

This Fling is close to my heart as I learnt at VMworld 2014 that it was born out of a blog post I did on Promiscuous Mode that triggered William Lam to approach Christian Dickmann with the issues and look for a way to solve the issue. As you can see from my followup post it works as designed and is the single must have Fling for those who run Nested ESXi labs.

For a full list of the Flings available for download, head to this link

https://labs.vmware.com/flings/page/4?cat=1&orderby=comment_count 

 

VMworld 2015: Top 5 Sessions

VMworld 2015 is just around the corner (5 weeks and counting) and the theme this year is Ready for Any …and it looks like there will be some carryover of the Brave IT message from last years event that I believe is VMware’s call to arms to get themselves ready for the shift in IT that’s occurring at the moment. This will be my third VMworld and I am looking forward to spending time networking with industry peers…walking around the Solutions Exchange looking out for the next CloudPhysics or Platform9 and also attending Technical Sessions.

https://vmworld2015.lanyonevents.com/connect/search.ww

The Content Catalogue went live a few weeks ago and yesterday saw the Session Builder go live allowing attendees to start locking in sessions. There are a total of 752 sessions covering

Cloud Native Applications (15)
End-User Computing (94)
Hybrid Cloud (61)
Partner Exchange @ VMworld (49)
Software-Defined Data Center (480)
Technology Deep Dives & Futures (13)

Technologies previously announced at VMworld’s past like VSAN, NSX and vCloud Air have the lions share of sessions this time around, with EUC still a very popular subject. I have already filled up my schedule and from my list of sessions I have come up with the Top 5 sessions that I am looking forward to the most.

My focus seems to have naturally shifted towards more Cloud Native Apps and Automation of late and it’s reflected in the choices above. Along side that I am also very interested to see how VMware will try to take vCloud Air into the hyperscale/PaaS category and I always I look forward to hearing from respected industry technical leads Frank Denneman and Duncan Epping as they give their perspective on storage and software defined datacenters. For a bit of fun I highly suggest the vExpert Game Show…it has become a tradition and is always a heap of fun.

As has also become tradition, there are a bunch of bloggers who put out their Top picks for VMworld…check out the links below for more insight into what’s going to be hot in San Francisco this VMworld.

http://www.yellow-bricks.com/2015/07/22/my-top-15-vmworld-sessions-for-2015/
http://wahlnetwork.com/2015/07/22/top-10-picks/
http://searchservervirtualization.techtarget.com/opinion/Top-10-VMworld-sessions-for-2015

See you there!

VMworld 2015: Registration and Session ‘Liking’ Open

There are only 101 Days to go till VMworld 2015 with Registrations now Open and Session voting for this years event going live last week. Skimming through the 1400+ sessions listed on VMworld Site this years event promises to be filled with quality content and great discussion.

The voting process isn’t really voting as such because there is no limit to the number of sessions you can Like…the system as it stands asks for people to select sessions they would find most interesting to attend and this in turn has some bearing on the sessions chosen by the VMware Session Committee. Reality is, it’s extremely hard to get a speaking spot due to the number of submissions and the politics that plays a part in these sponsored events.

http://www.vmworld.com/voting.jspa

With that, This year I have partnered with some great VMware and PernixData folks to have four sessions up for consideration. Filter for Spiteri and you should see the sessions shown below.

I won’t go into too much detail here about the sessions but suffice to say I have teamed up with partners who have assisted myself and Zettagrid over the last 12 months in delivering solutions and products based on VMware and PernixData technologies.

4622: This is the only sessions I submitted by myself and is a cut down version of the talk I gave at the Melbourne VMUG Conference earlier this year…this is a short talk, not a full session.

4800: @pandom_ of the NSBU and myself will talk about how he helped Zettagrid understand and productize NSX and how we went about creating a custom GUI for the NSX Edges for our vCloud Datacenter Products through our automation and provisioning workflows.

4763: I will be joining Jeff and Bala from PernixData to talk about how FVP 2.x has delivered even more performance through its DTF Memory feature and how it changes the game when it comes to decoupling storage.

5378: @g_mulholland will lead a discussion around how Jeff wong from Foxtel and myself both took slightly different paths in choosing VMware VSAN for our respective service offerings.

One last thing to note is that I counted 8 sessions about vCloud Director which is up from the one session last year, so it’s good to see vCD make somewhat of a comeback…however compare that to the 83 that are on NSX and the 94 on vCloud Air you can see the focus has shifted.

I am Looking forward to VMworld in San Francisco and hopefully one of the sessions above gets a look in…would be an honor and a privilege to deliver a talk to my community peers…lets see how it goes!

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