Tag Archives: ZettaGrid

Released: NSX Advanced Networking

Today is a great day for Zettagrid…we have officially released our NSX Advanced Networking feature that extends the networking functionality of our vCloud Based Virtual Datacenter product. The release is as significant as our initial vCloud Director offering which was the first in the ANZ market in offering a fully automated vCloud Power IaaS offering. What makes this release significant is that apart from us being one of the first…if not the first to offer NSX Advanced Edges to act as the gateway for client VMs and services hosted on VMware’s vCloud Director Platform. This first release milestone has further cemented Zettagrid’s status in the cloud market as leaders and innovators when it comes to taking great technology and doing great things with that technology.

While compute has long been the foundation for a strong cloud computing platform that underpins IaaS, networking has always been a bit of a poorer second cousin…not in terms of importance, but in terms of ease of functionality when it comes to automation. Nicira was conceived to overlay physical networks and allow for faster and more efficient setup and configuration driven by an API first mentality…with that it was no surprise that VMware decided to acquire the technology and talent and form the NSBU which has produced NSX for VMware (NSX-v)

Zettagrid saw huge potential in being able to automate the networking deployment, configuration and management of networking to do for networking what vCloud Director had done for compute. There are very specific pain points that this release has solved for Zettagrid customers who where after more functionality and features that where available in the Basic VSE Edge Gateways that come as default with the vCloud Director platform. The alternative prior to NSX Advanced Networking was to deploy a 3rd party Networking appliance and have that connected back to the clients Virtual Datacenter via mainly manual processes which did lead to longer lead times for requests to be completed.

With NSX Advanced Networking clients now have the ability to deploy three sizes of Edge Gateways that cater for all modern Hybrid Cloud requirements. In addition to that all Edges can be deployed with the option of High Availability which offers greater service continuity. Comparing the Basic Networking option to the NSX Advanced features you get a better performing routing and firewall engine along with a significantly improved Load Balancer services that rivals much more expensive options. You also have the ability to take advantage of dynamic routing protocols such as BGP and OSPF to enable more hybrid cloud options connecting vCloud Director Datacenters to on-premises or MPLS networks.

NSX Advanced Networking is deployed from the Zettagrid MyAccount Catalog when ordering a Virtual Datacenter. Within minutes you have access to the MyAccount Portal to start configuring your network and virtual machines. The Zettagrid team worked tirelessly to develop an interface between the NSX Rest APIs and our provisioning backend and then create the MyAccount NSX Advanced Networking UI. We have already begun work on further enhancing the features of the product and will be adding more features and functionality to the MyAccount Portal in future releases.

Networking is the cornerstone of the Hybrid Cloud and with VMware NSX technology, Zettagrid has been able to take a significant first step in making the consumption and management of networking in the cloud more efficient and powerful. Well done to the Zettagrid team on this release and we look forward to our customers taking advantage of the benefits offered by NSX Advanced Networking.

The Reality of Cloud – Outages are Like *holes…

It’s been a bad couple of weeks for cloud services both around the world and locally…Over the last three days we have seen AWS have issues which may have been indirectly related to the Leap Second on Tuesday night and this morning, Azure’s Sydney Zone had serious network connectivity issues which disrupted services for approximately three to four hours.

Closer to home, Zettagrid had a partial outage of our Sydney Zone last Wednesday morning which impacted a small subset of client VMs and services and this was on the back of a major (unnamed) provider in Europe being down for a number of days as pointed out in a blog post by Massimo Re Ferre’ linked below.

http://it20.info/2015/06/iaas-cloud-outages-get-over-it/ 

Massimo struck a cord with me and as the title of Massimo’s blog post suggests it’s time for consumers of public cloud services to get over outages and understand that when it comes to Cloud and IaaS…Outages will happen.

When you hear someone saying “I moved to the cloud because I didn’t want to experience downtime” it is fairly clear to me that you either have been heavily misinformed or you misunderstood what the benefits of a (IaaS) public cloud are

Regardless if you are juggernauts like Amazon, Microsoft or Google…or one of the smaller Service Providers…the reality of cloud services is that outages are a fact of life. Even SaaS based application are susceptible to outages and it must be understood that there is no magic that goes into the architecture of cloud platforms and while every effort goes into ensuring availability and resiliency Massimo sums it up well below.

Put it in (yet) another way: a properly designed public cloud is not intrinsically more reliable than a properly designed Enterprise data center (assuming like for like IT budgets).

That is because sh*t happens…

The reality of what can be done to prevent service disruption is for consumers of cloud services to look beyond the infrastructure and think more around the application. This message isn’t new and the methods undertaken by larger companies when deploying business critical service and applications is starting to change…however not every company can be a NetFlix or a Facebook so in breaking it down to a level that’s achievable for most…the question is.

How can everyday consumers of cloud services architect applications to work around the inevitable system outage?

  1. Think about a multi cloud or hybrid cloud strategy
  2. Look for Cloud Service Providers that have multiple Availability Zones
  3. Make sure that the Availability Zones are independent of one an other
  4. Design and deploy business critical applications across multiple Zones
  5. Watch out for Single Points of Failures within Availability Zones
  6. Employ solid backup and recovery strategies

They key to the points above is to not put all your eggs into one basket and then cry foul when that basket breaks…do not set an expectation whereby you become complacent in the fact that all Cloud Service Providers guarantee a certain level of system up time through SLA’s and then act surprised when an outage occurs. Most providers who are worth their salt do offer separate availability zones…but it’s very much up to the people designing and building services upon Services Provider Clouds to ensure that they are built to take advantage of this fact…you can’t come in stamping your feet and crying foul when the resources that are placed at your disposal to ensure application and service continuity are not taken advantage of.

Do not plan for 100% uptime…it does not exist! Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is lying! You only have to search online to see that Outages are indeed like Assholes…everyone has them!

References:

http://au.pcmag.com/internet-products/35269/news/aws-outage-takes-down-netflix-pinterest

http://it20.info/2015/06/iaas-cloud-outages-get-over-it/

https://downdetector.com/status/aws-amazon-web-services/news/71670-problems-at-amazon-web-services

vCloud Air Network: Zettagrid Cloud Datacenter Signup and VM Provisioning

Earlier in the week I did up a post on the vCloud Air On Demand Signup Process. As I’ve blogged about in the past, VMware reaffirmed their commitment to their Service Provider Partners and created the vCloud Air Network Program with the idea that together with VMware’s own Public Cloud offering…partner Hosted Platforms based on vSphere and vCloud Director help to create a large ecosystem that can be used as a common platform that acts as a stepping stone for Hybrid based cloud solutions built with industry leading Virtualization technolgies.

Zettagrid is one of the most innovative vCloud Air Network Hybrid Cloud Providers in the world and leads the APAC region with our automation and provisioning technologies which help clients consume Virtual Datacenter resources quickly and efficiently. We are doing this by abstracting vCloud Director into our MyAccount Portal and by automating the consumption of Cloud Resources.

As I did with vCloud Air On Demand, the video below goes through a complete Zettagrid Cloud Datacenter purchase, account creation and resource provisioning and then goes through a deployment of a WordPress Appliance with the publishing of networking services to connect up to the site and VM to the outside world…all this in under 16 minutes. There is also a $250 Promo code on offer for eligible new customers.

Sign Up Here

  • Amount: $250 AUS in service credits
  • Term: 30 days from sign up to use the value

More Info on ZettaGrid Cloud Datacenter

VMware Photon: vCloud Air Network Deployment

This week VMware announced information around their Cloud Native Apps strategy…VMware Photon and Lightwave are aimed at the ever growing Container market with VMware open sourcing their own lightweight Linux Microservice Server released as Photon.

Photon provides the following benefits:

  • Support for the most popular Linux container formats including Docker, rkt, and Garden from Pivotal
  • Minimal footprint (approximately 300MB), to provide an efficient environment for running containers
  • Seamless migration of container workloads from development to production
  • All the security, management, and orchestration benefits already provided with vSphere offering system administrators with operational simplicity

Photon is optimized for vSphere and vCloud Air …and by extension vCloud Air Network Service Provider platforms. I wanted to be able to offer Photon pretty much right away for ZettaGrid clients so I went about downloading the Tech Preview and created a shared Catalog vApp that can be deployed on any of ZettaGrid’s three Availability Zones.

In the video below I go through deployment of the vApp from the ZettaGrid Public Catalog, setup and run the nginx Docker container app example on the Photon VM and configure the networking using the MyAccount Portal in combination with the vCloud Director UI.

Requirements:

  • vCloud Air Network Account Details (ZettaGrid used in example)
  • Virtual Datacenter with at least 500MB of vRAM and 20GB of available storage
  • DHCP Configured on the Edge Device (VSE in this case)
  • A Spare IP Address to publish the nginx web server.

Video Walk through:



So there you go…Photon is good to go and hopefully we can start to see an uptake of Container Based workloads running on vCloud Air and Air Network Platforms. Looking forward to what’s to come in this space!

Further Reading:

http://www.vmware.com/company/news/releases/vmw-newsfeed/VMware-Introduces-New-Open-Source-Projects-to-Accelerate-Enterprise-Adoption-of-Cloud-Native-Applications/1943792

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/04/20/vmware_rolls_its_own_linux_for_microservices_stack/

http://www.virtuallyghetto.com/2015/04/collection-of-vmware-project-photon-lightwave-resourceslinks.html

VMware Series 2013 – EUC and vDC Ready and Waiting

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been fortunate to represent ZettaGrid, as a Platinum Sponsor of the VMware Series 2013 road shows in Melbourne and Sydney. The event has also been held in Brisbane and Canberra, and finishes up in Perth this week.

The road shows main theme is showing off VMware’s End User Computing pillar and how it’s finally ready for serious adoption. After almost two years of hype and missed release schedules, Horizon Workspace and View 5.2 has arrived and delivers on its promise of streamlining the day to day tasks of todays mobile worker…View has been around for a while, and there are plenty of other solutions that can deliver SaaS/Remote/Thin Apps…but with the addition of Data (Project Octopus) and Blast (AppBlast) into the stack, the suite delivers significant enhancements over other options in the market.

The video above may seem a little unrealistic (certainly a Mirage Laptop re-image can’t happen that fast with current internet speeds) and over the top, but the reality is that it’s a scenario that is true to life and possible with Horizon. The keynotes of the road shows have focused on EUC and it’s with a great sense of pride that what’s been demoed on stage, and in the presentation videos is something that ZettaGrid can deliver to it’s clients today. The reality is that what I blogged about last year just after VMWorld 2012 on the EUC Revolution is finally happening and is available.

I’ve even become a convert to VDI! That is personally a huge realization that the technology that View 5.2 uses to deliver remote desktop instances over PCoIP or HTML Blast is mature enough for adoption. Seamless device hopping while maintaining a desktop state is possible on iPads/iPhones, MAC and Windows end points…or any compatible HTML5 capable browser.

ZettaGrid is also showing off the power of it’s automation technologies to provision VMware Backed vCloud Powered Virtual Datacenters…this is being shown in real time during a 15 minute presentation at the road shows…and (minus any presenter related ID10T issues), shows that a scalable, flexible vDC based upon an initial set of defined compute, network and storage options can be delivered just minutes after clicking confirm.

Again, something that used to take a day or so in provisioning, now takes minutes and the value proposition for any business thinking of moving their on premise servers to a VMware vCloud vDC platform over other Public Clouds like AWS, Azure or Rackspace is the fact that it’s VMware end to end…and for most people that equates to a smoother migration/setup and a sense of familiarity in the hyper-visor technology. It’s an exciting time to be in a position to help deliver these technologies to companies…they are ready and waiting for consumption!