Author Archives: Anthony Spiteri

Veeam Powered Network: Quick Video Walkthrough

Earlier this year at VeeamON we announced Veeam PN as part of the Restore to Microsoft Azure product. While Veeam PN is still in RC, I’ve written a series of posts around how Veeam PN can be used for a number of different use cases (See list below) and at VMworld 2017 I delivered a vBrownBag TechTalk on Veeam Powered Network which goes through an overview of what it is, how it works and an example of how easy it is to setup.

As mentioned, i’ve blogged about the three different use cases talked about in the presentation:

Clink on the links to visit the blog posts that go through each scenario and watch out for news around the GA of Veeam Powered Network happening shortly. Until then, download or deploy the RC from the Veeam.com website or Azure Marketplace and give it a try. Again, it’s free, simple, powerful and a great way to connect or extend networks securely with minimal fuss.

VMworld 2017 Veeam Recap – Breakouts, TechTalks and Final Thoughts.

Both VMworld US and Europe have come and gone in quick time this year and while I only attended VMworld US my team and other Veeam staff featured at Europe and both event’s where extremely successful for Veeam. I felt VMware had a good couple of shows, the gap between the two was too short I felt and meant that the Europe event was at best, a continuation of the US event in terms of vision and announcements. That said, VMware have made VMworld great again and there was an unmistakable buzz around the conference that I have not felt since at least the 2014 event.

I’d encourage everyone to check out the Top 40 Session YouTube playlist here and make sure you have caught up with all the VMworld announcements. For those interested in what Veeam had going on, i’ve listed the Breakout Sessions and vBrownBag TechTalks below.

Breakout Session Replays:

Across both VMworld’s we had four breakout sessions which where all well received and had great attendance. If you have a MyVMworld account, you can view the session replays below by clicking following the link and clicking on the session playback icon which will take you to a protected YouTube video.

Note: The European session replays haven’t been posted yet, but should be put up this week.

vBrownBag TechTalks:

Veeam was a main sponsor for of the vBrownBag TechTalks across both VMworld’s and the feedback to the format this year was brilliant. For the first time, the talks where listed in the content catalog meaning there was a lot more exposure and attendance was up significantly on previous years. Below are the Veeam related TechTalks covering both events featuring Michael Cade, Clint Wyckoff, Michael White from Veeam, some of our Vangaurd’s and also David Hill from VMware.

Full list here:

Final Thoughts and Wrap Up:

Both VMworld’s from a Veeam point of view where extremely successful with great sessions attendance and more importantly lots of traffic being driving through our booths. There was great energy in the US and I have been told that that continued in Europe. Both parties went off and a great time was had by all that attended.

The team at Veeam is looking forward to building on the momentum gained at VMworld as we look to release v10 of Backup & Replication, Veeam Availability Console and Orchestrator, updated Windows and Linux Agents, Availability for AWS and Veeam Powered Network.

VMworld Top Session YouTube Playlist:

What’s in a name? VSPP to vCAN to VCPP

Prior to VMworld there where rumours floating around that the vCloud Air Network was going to undergo a name change and sure enough at VMworld 2017 in the US, the vCAN was no more and that the VMware Cloud and Service Provider program would be renamed to the VMware Cloud Partner Program. There has been a number of announcements around the VCPP including the upcoming release of vCloud Director 9.0, a new verification program and also at VMworld Europe new cross cloud capabilities with VMware HCX.

VMware is continuing to make significant investments to expand and enhance our portfolio of cloud products and services. At the same time, we will continue to grow and refine our program to better address your needs as a partner and, as a result, enable you to provide even better cloud service options to our mutual customers around the globe.

The VMware Cloud Verified program is interesting and I’m still a little unsure what it delivers above and beyond non verified VMware Clouds…however it seems like a good logo opportunity for providers to aspire to.

This name change was expected given the wrapping up of vCloud Air, however from talking with a lot of people within the old vCloud Air Network, the name will be missed. To me it was the best thing to come out of the whole vCloud Air experiment but I understand why it had to be changed. This isn’t so much a fresh start for the program but more of a signal that it’s growing and improving and is looking to remain a key cornerstone of VMware multi/hybrid cloud strategy.

Even though I am out of the program and not working for a partner anymore, I am very much connected by way of my interactions with the Veeam Cloud and Service Provider program (VCSP) and the success of both is tied back to not only the individual companies remaining innovative and competitive against the large hyper-scalers. It’s also incumbent on VMware and Veeam to continue to offer the tools to be able to make our providers successful.

As a critical component of the Cloud Provider Platform, the recently-announced vCloud Director 9.0 (vCloud Director 9.0 announcement blog) enables simplified cloud consumption for tenants, a fast path to hybrid services, and rapid vSphere-to-cloud migrations for cloud providers worldwide. VMware continues to demonstrate its commitment to investing in the critical products, tools, and solutions that help cloud providers rapidly deploy and monetize highly scalable cloud environments with the least amount of risk.

The name doesn’t matter…but the technology and execution of service sure as hell does!

Note: Visit CloudProviders.VMware.com. Subscribe to the VMware Cloud Provider Blog, follow @vmwarecloudprvd on Twitter or ‘like’ VMware Cloud on Facebook for future updates.

Quick Fix: OVF package with compressed disks is currently not supported

A couple of weeks ago I ran into an issue stopping me from importing an OVA and today I came across another issue relating to the Web Client not able to import OVF packages with compressed disks.

There seems to be a lot of issues to do with OVF/A operations in vSphere 6.5 Update 1…in fact there are 187 mentioned of OVF and 95 mentions of OVA in the release notes. Searching through the release notes I found a specific entry relating to this issue that I came across and it’s work around.

Deploying an OVF template containing compressed file references might fail
When you deploy an OVF template containing compressed files references (typically compressed using gzip), the operation fails.

The following is an example of an OVF element in the OVF descriptor:
<References>
<File ovf:size="458" ovf:href="valid_disk.vmdk.gz" ovf:compression="gzip" ovf:id="file1"></File>
</References>

The workaround is to download OVFTool and run a simple command to convert the OVF or OVA template to one without the compressed file…which in effect its just a copy of the original.

Seems like a strange fix but it works!

References:

https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-vSphere/6.5/rn/vsphere-esxi-vcenter-server-65-release-notes.html

VMware Cloud on AWS: Thoughts One Year On

Last week at VMworld 2017 in the US, VMware announced the initial availability of VMware Cloud on AWS. It was the focal point for VMware at the event and probably the most important strategic play that VMware has undertaken in it’s history. This partnership was officially announced at last year’s VMworld and at the time I wrote a couple of blog posts commenting on the potential impact to the then, vCloud Air Network (now VCPP) and what needed to be done to empower the network.

As you can imagine at the time, I was a little skeptical about the announcement, but since that time we have seen the fall of vCloud Air to OVH and a doubling down of the efforts around enhancing vCloud Director and general support for the VMware Cloud Provider Program. Put this together with me stepping out of my role within the VCPP to one that is on the outside supporting it I feel that VMware Cloud on AWS is good for VMware and also good for service providers.

What It Looks Like:

This time last year we didn’t know exactly what VMC would look like apart from using vSphere, NSX and vSAN as it’s compute, networking and storage platforms or how exactly it would work on top of AWS’s infrastructure. For a detailed look under the hood, Frank Denneman has published a Technical Overview which is worth a read. A lot of credit needs to go to the engineering teams at both ends for achieving what they have achieved within a relatively small period of time.

The key thing to point out is the default compute and storage that’s included as part of the service. Four ESXi hosts will have dual E5-2686 v4 CPUs @2.3GHz with 18 Cores and 512GB of RAM. Storage wise there will be 10TB raw of All Flash vSAN per host, meaning depending on the FTT of vSAN a usable minimum of 20TB. The scale-out model enables expansion to up to 16 hosts, resulting in 576 CPU cores and 8TB of memory which is insane!

What does is Cost:

Here is where is starts to get interesting for me. Pricing wasn’t discussed during the Keynotes or in the announcements but looking at the pricing page here you can see what this base cluster will cost you. It’s going to cost $8.37 USD per host per hour for the on-demand option, which is the only option until VMware launches one year and three year reserved instances in the future where there looks to be a thirty and fifty percent saving respectively.

Upon first glance this seems expensive…however it’s only expensive in relative terms because there is the default resources that come the service. You can’t get anything less than the four hosts with all the trimmings at the moment which, when taken into consideration might lock out non enterprise companies from taking the service up.

Unless pricing changes by way of offering a smaller resource footprint I can see this not being attractive in other regions like ANZ or EMEA where small to medium size enterprises are more common. This is where VCPP service providers can still remain competitive and continue to offer services around the same building blocks as VMC on their own platforms.

CloudPhysics have an interesting blog post here, on some cost analytics that they ran.

How Can it be Leveraged:

With Veeam being a launch partner with VMware Cloud on AWS offering availability services it got me thinking as to how the service could be leveraged by service providers. A few things need to fall into place from a technology point of view but I believe that one of the best potential use cases for VMC is for service providers to leverage it for failover, replication and disaster recovery scenarios.

The fact that there this service posses auto-scaling of hosts means that it has the potential to be used as a resource cluster for disaster recovery services. If I think about Cloud Connect Replication, one of the hardest things to get right as a provider is sizing the failover resources and the procurement of the compute and storage to deal with customer requirements. As long as the base resources are covered the auto scaling capabilities mean that service providers only need to cover the base resources and pay any additional costs if a failover event happens and exceed the default cluster resources.

It must be pointed out that Cloud Connect can’t use a VMC cluster as a target at the moment due to the networking used…that is VXLAN on top of AWS VPN networking.

As I wrote last year, I feel like there is a great opportunity for service providers to leverage VMC as vCloud Director provider clusters however I know that this currently isn’t being supported by VMware. I honestly feel that service providers would love the ability to have cloud based Provider vDCs available across the world and I’m hoping that VMware realise the potential and allow vCloud Director to connect and consume VMC.

VMworld End of Show Report on VMware Cloud on AWS:

References:

https://www.vmware.com/company/news/releases/vmw-newsfeed.VMware-and-AWS-Announce-Initial-Availability-of-VMware-Cloud-on-AWS.2184706.html

https://cloud.vmware.com/vmc-aws

https://www.crn.com.au/news/pricing-revealed-for-vmware-cloud-on-aws-472011

VMware Cloud on AWS Availability with Veeam

It’s been exactly a year since VMware announced their partnership with AWS and it’s no surprise that at this year’s VMworld the solution is front and center and will feature heavily at Monday’s keynote. Earlier today Veeam was announced as an officially supported backup, recovery and replication platform for VMware Cloud on AWS. This is an exciting announcement for existing customers of Veeam who currently use vSphere and are interesting in consuming VMware Cloud on AWS.

In terms of what Veeam has been able to achieve, there is little noticeable difference in the process to configure and run backup or replication jobs from within Veeam Backup & Replication. The VMware Cloud on AWS resources are treated as just another cluster so most actions and features of the core platform work as if the cloud based cluster was local or otherwise.

Below you can see a screen shot of an VMC vCenter from the AWS based HTML5 Web Client. What you can see if the minimum spec for a VMC customer which includes four hosts with 36 cores and 512GB of RAM, plus vSAN and NSX.

In terms of Veeam making this work, there were a few limitations that VMware have placed on the solution which means that our NFS based features such as Instant VM Recovery, Virtual Labs or Surebackups won’t work at this stage. HotAdd mode is the only supported backup transport mode (which isn’t a bad thing as it’s my preferred transport mode) which talks to a new VDDK library that is part of the VMC platform.

With that the following features work out of the box:

  • Backup with In Guest Processing
  • Restores to original or new locations
  • Backup Copy Jobs
  • Replication
  • Cloud Connect Backup
  • Windows File Level Recovery
  • Veeam Explorers

With the above there are a lot of options for VMC customers to stick to the 3-2-1 rule of backups…remembering that just because the compute resources are in AWS, doesn’t mean that they are highly valuable from a workload and application availability standpoint. Customers can also take advantage of the fact that VMC is just another cluster from their on-premises deployments and use Veeam Backup & Replication to replicate VMs into the VMC vCenter to which end it could be used as a DR site.

For more information and the offical blog post from Veeam co-CEO Peter McKay click here.

Veeam Vault #8: VMworld 2017 Edition…Still Best Of!

I’m sitting in the airport lounge waiting to board the first leg of my 26 hour journey to Las Vegas for VMworld 2017 and I thought it was no better time to write the next edition of my Veeam Vault series. This will be my fifth VMworld as as I wrote earlier in the week…I don’t take this event for granted! This year will be a little different for me in that I am there representing Veeam and I am lucky enough to be presenting a couple of sessions while participating in other Veeam related meetings and activities.

Veeam has had a strong presence at VMworld’s past and this year is no exception. In fact from what I understand it’s our biggest VMworld to date and as you walk around Mandalay Bay you will feel Veeam’s presence. Veeam in it’s early years won the Best of Show in 2010 and Best of Technology in 2011 and has a proud history of a strong showing at every VMworld we have been a part of. And while we have challengers nipping at our feet trying to outdo us we remain focus on delivering great technology while being able to be the top contributer to the community and still able to put on the best events at the show.

Veeam Sessions @VMworld:

Officially we have two breakout sessions this year, with Danny Allan and Rick Vanover presenting a Deep Dive on v10 and Michael Cade and myself presenting a session on advanced VMware and Veeam features and integrations. There are also a couple of vBrownBag Tech Talks where Veeam features including talks from Michael Cade, myself and some of our great Veeam Vanguard’s.

The sessions can be viewed and selected from the VMworld Content Catalog here and we also have a number of Sponsor Booth sessions with our ecosystem partners…so keep an eye out for those.

Veeam @VMworld Solutions Exchange:

This year we will have two huge booths on the floor, with a Main Booth Area doing demo’s prize, giveaways, having an Experts Bar and acting as sponsor of the opening night hall crawl. We also have a coffee bar and lounge space called the vBar. This will be a chill out area serving good coffee and offering seats for people to come and relax during the event.

Veeam Community Support @VMworld:

As Eric Siebert wrote last week… Veeam gets the community and has been a strong supporter historically of VMworld community based events. This year again, we have come to the party are have gone all-in in terms of being front and center in supporting community events. Special mention goes to Rick Vanover who leads the charge in making sure Veeam is doing what it can to help make these events possible:

  • #vGolf
  • Opening Acts
  • VMunderground
  • vBrownBag
  • Spousetivities
  • vExpert Breakfast
  • vDestination Giveaway

Party with Veeam @ VMworld:

Finally, it wouldn’t be VMworld without attending Veeam’s seriously legendary party. This year we are looking to top last years event at Light nightclub by taking over the hottest club in Vegas… Hakkasan Nightclub! I know how hard it is to plan evening activities at VMworld and there is no doubt that there are a lot of decent competing parties on the Tuesday night…however whatever you do, you need to make sure that you at least stop by the MGM and party in green. RSVP here.

Final Word:

Again, this year’s VMworld is going to be huge and Veeam will be right there front and center of the awesomeness. Please stop by our sessions, visit our stand and attend our community sponsored events and feel free to chase me down for a chat…I’m always keen to meet other members of this great community. Oh, and don’t forget to get to the party!

VMworld 2017: vCloud Air Network Again Out in Force

Last year saw a resurgence in vCloud related sessions at VMworld and the trend has continued this year at the 2017 event. Looking through the sessions at Partner Exchange and VMworld proper the refocus on the vCloud Air Network that was announced at VMworld 2015 has gathered steam. This together with the subsequent release of vCloud Director SP 8.20 and the pending release of the next version of vCD, things are looking good for service providers that have built their platforms on VMware technologies.

If you are attending Partner Exchange there are a number of sessions that should be on your list for the Sunday. The sessions seem to be down on last year but that’s due to vCloud Air no longer being a going concern. I’ve listed down my top picks below added links to them for easy searchability in the VMworld Session Catalog. I’ve added a session on AWS and a session on vSAN as service providers should understand how both technologies fit into their strategy.

  • PAR4360BU – Cloud Service Provider Platform: Evolution and Future
  • PAR4358BU – How to Build a Hybrid Cloud Using NSX and vCloud Director-A Service Provider Perspective
  • PAR4383BU – Delivering Hybrid Cloud Architectures for Your Customers with VMware Cloud on AWS
  • PAR4382BU – Embracing VMware Cloud on AWS – How Can You Deliver Value to Your Customers
  • PAR4367BU – What’s New in vSAN 6.6 – A Deep Dive 

Looking through the breakout sessions there are 20 sessions directly relating to vCloud Director which is an excellent result. The rest that i’ve listed below tie in a mix of disaster recovery, hybrid cloud and NSX related networking sessions.

  • LHC1661BU—Getting Started with vCloud Air Network (Technical Tips and Tricks)
  • LHC1716BU—On-Ramp to the Cloud: Migration Tools and Strategies
  • LHC1753BU—Case Study: How VMware NSX Is Empowering a Service Provider to Help Customers Achieve and Maintain Industry Compliance
  • LHC1809BU—Use NSX to Deploy a Secure Virtual Network Bridging Multiple Locations for a True Hybrid Cloud
  • LHC1951BU—Automated Cloud Recovery for When You are Nuked from Orbit
  • LHC2424BU—200 to 40,000 VMs in 24 Months: Building Highly Scalable SDDC on Hybrid Cloud: Real-World Example
  • LHC2573BU—Achieving Hybrid Cloud Data Agility Securely with VMware NSX
  • LHC1739GU—Disaster Recovery to the Cloud: What Has Changed in the Past Year?
  • LHC3179GU—Choosing the Ideal Cloud Provider Partner
  • LHC3180GU—Effective DR Strategies
  • LHC1566PU—Ask the vCloud Air Network Cloud Experts
  • LHC3139SU— Achieving Success in a Multi-Cloud World
  • LHC2626BU—Build VMware Powered Hybrid Clouds: See How vCloud Director and NSX work together to build true Hybrid Clouds

There are also a number of vCloud Air Network partners on the exhibit floor.

  • CenturyLink
  • OVH
  • Faction
  • phoenixNAP
  • Fujitsu
  • Rackspace
  • IBM
  • SkyTap
  • iland
  • SwissCom
  • Navisite
  • Virtustream

Apart from what I have listed above there will also be a lot of vCAN talent hovering around the conference so make sure you make an effort to connect, network and share vCAN experiences. The vCloud Air Network is a symbiotic ecosystem and if the vCAN grows stronger…the ecosystem grows stronger.

#LongLivevCD

References:

Have You Signed Up for Your VMworld Cloud Provider Sessions?”

Reserve Your Seat Today to Learn How vCloud Air Network Partners Can Accelerate Your Success in the Cloud

VMworld 2017: Don’t Take it for Granted!

This time next week VMworld 2017 will be kicking off with the Sunday evening Welcome Reception among other sponsor and community events and for me, it will mark my fifth VMworld since 2012 having only missed the 2013 event. It’s become an annual pilgrimage to the west coast of the US so much so that my wife locks in the dates at the beginning of every year. It just so happens that Father’s Day in Australia is the Sunday after VMworld and it’s also around the time of my wedding anniversary…so if anything, VMworld reminds to take time out from the event and pick up that year’s anniversary gift.

Having been lucky enough to attend five out of the last six VMworld’s it has almost become automatic that I am at the event, and it could be easy for me to take VMworld for granted. I am very mindful of the fact that while the event is starting to loose a little bit of it’s perceived shine in certain circles it’s still the #1 Information Technology Industry Ecosystem event of the year and with that it’s still the must attend event for IT professionals, customers, partners and vendors alike.

I am also mindful of the fact that even after attending so many VMworld’s to not waste the opportunity that presents it’s self as an attendee. If I think back to my first VMworld in 2012, I still remember being somewhat timid and reluctant to participate in not much more than the sessions and official parties however the one thing I did do was observe how others where using the event to their advantage. While there is brilliant technology to be uncovered and lots of learning to be done, those that have been do VMworld before come to understand that networking is a primary benefit of attending and the networking should be milked for all it’s worth!

Someone told me while at VMworld 2014 that “you never know who is interviewing you”. This is very true and should be something that first timers and regulars understand and use to their advantage as a mechanism for potential career advancement…there is no better event to rub shoulders with industry peers, community leaders a tech rockstars. With that you should always be aware of your surroundings and not to waste any opportunity the may present it’s self. I’m not saying that you will get a new role just by attending and seeking out conversation..but what I am saying is to constantly be on your game!

Even for those, like me that have been lucky enough to attend multiple VMworld’s it’s easy to fly in and just go with the flow. Easy to not appreciate what it means to be there and easy to turn it into a week long drinking event. So my closing message is for everyone attending VMworld this year, be it your 10th or you 1st is to make sure you maximize everything that VMworld has to offer. Take advantage of the opportunity to not only get exposure to new technologies and products but also to network and realize the value that being at such an event offers. You never know when this VMworld could be your last…

Don’t take it for granted!

Runecast: Overview and Service Provider Use Case

A few months ago I was lucky enough to spend time with a couple of the founders of Runecast, Stanimir Markov and Ched Smokovic and got to know a little more about their real time analytics platform for VMware based infrastructure. Soon after that I downloaded and deployed it in my lab and have been running it for a few months. In that time I’ve come to understand and appreciate the value that it adds to the operations and management of any vSphere platform.

Having been part of, and led teams that operated and managed large vSphere based cloud platforms one of the challenges of managing any platform of size is how to stay on top of issues operationally…not only when and as they happen, but also before then happen. Proactive monitoring and alerting that pinpoints issues before they happen is invaluable and up to this point I haven’t found a product that focuses in as specifically as Runecast does to help solve that challenge.

In the past I have researched and used more than a few tools on the market and probably the closest comparison that I can make with Runecast is what CloudPhysics tried to do with their Knowledge Base Adviser feature. For those that have used CloudPhysics in the past Runecast will feel somewhat similar in theory, however Runecast have taken what CloudPhsyics had done and taken it to the next level.

By using a number of resources within VMware’s knowledgebase Runecast is been able to deliver a platform that looks at best practices, log information and security hardening guides to monitor your vSphere infrastructure which in turn brings to your attention through a simple yet intuitive interface to issues that may exist.

Runecast for Service Providers:

Proactive analysis is the name of the game and it’s one of the holy grail’s for any operations team. Prevention of an issue before it occurs is what Runecast sets out to achieve and for service providers that are running critical line of business applications for their clients (which is all service providers) the ability to prevent service disruption is huge.

Apart from the obvious benefits around proactive analytics, one of the best features for service providers is the security hardening feature. Lots of service providers these days are being governed by specific regulations and compliance and security has become front and center of any platform owner. With the security hardening feature it points out specifically what passes and what fails as per the official VMware hardening guide.

I can also see how the specific inventory feature for vCenter objects can be developed in the future to allow service providers to expose certain information via the Runecast APIs to their tenants. I’d love to see some integration with vCloud Director, NSX and vSAN among other VMware platforms…there is serious potential here.

The API endpoints that are being exposed version to version means that service providers can take the information presented and manipulate it their hearts content. It providers a powerful way for service providers to take full advantage of the data that’s being collect and analyised.

Final Thoughts:

This is, for the most a targeted analytics system that focuses on getting you the relevant information quickly and without fuss and allows you to ascertain issues and work towards their resolution. I’m looking forward to seeing what the guys come up with over the next twelve to eighteen months as they further enhance the capabilities.

For your free 14 day Trial register here and if you are heading to VMworld this year make sure to visit them at Booth #832

Disclaimer: Runecast are sponsors of Virtualization is Life!

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