vRealize Infrastructure Navigator not appearing in the Web Client

I was playing around deploying the latest version of the vRealize infrastructure Navigator (5.8.6.230 – build 3923091) in my HomeLab (vSphere 6.5 with VCSA as the vCenter) and noticed that after the deployment of the VIN appliance and successfully starting it up, the Infrastructure Navigator option was not appearing within the home screen of the vSphere web client.

Upon some investigation, it turned out that the VIN plugin was not correctly downloaded to the web client so you need to manually check for new plugins to install. To achieve this, follow the process below

  1. In the Web Client, go to Home -> Administration -> Client plug-ins (under Solutions drop down menu on left) and verify that the Infrastructure Navigator plugin is not available
  2. Click the check for new plugins link on the top left. A small pop up box appears on the bottom right notifying you of the new plugin check-in action. 2
  3. Click on the Go to the event console link that’s on this pop up box to see the event updates and verify that the task is running to check for new plugins 3
  4. Wait until new plugin check is completed and is successful.   4
  5. Log off, and lock back in to vSphere web client to see the Infrastructure Navigator option appearing on the home screen so that you can go in to it and configure the VM discovery  5 6

Cheers

Chan

Heading to #VMworld 2016 Vegas

Capture 309728B09D1231310A4501F778AC28B1

I am a regular attendee of the VMware VMworld and have continuously attended each of the last 4 years VMworld events in Europe, as an ordinary attendee like most others, mainly thanks to my employer who understands the importance of such events. This year however, there’s a little change of plans. I’ve been lucky enough to receive a free blogger pass to attend the VMworld 2016 event in the US from VMware. VMworld 2016 US event is being held in Vegas, in the Mandalay Bay hotel and conference center which is pretty awesome…!

I’ve never been to Vegas so little excited to be heading over there but to be really honest, I’m more excited about being able to attend the US version of VMworld. Having done European VMworld event over the last few years, they’ve all been great but the contents & the new product announcements have been by and large the same as in the US version which usually takes place before European event (So most of the news / updates / announcements you here in VMworld Europe are already somewhat public knowledge). However this time around, I will be one of the first to hear about them as they are being announced which is great.

And its the first time I’ve been selected to receive a blogger pass by VMware. Blogger passes are issued to a handful of current VMware vExperts (only 50 issued in total for the US event) so I was very lucky there. Its usually given to active community bloggers who take the time out to evangelise technology and happy to blog about it for the good of the community. I do this anyway whenever I attend VMworld where I summarize each of my day there and mention any exciting topics / updates / vendors I’ve come across or things I’ve learned. So I’d expect to do the same this year too and aiming to get a summary blog post out at the end of each day to cover the news & the activities of the day.

While the blogger pass covered the cost of the event, VMware doesn’t cover the other expenses such as flights and hotels… Thankfully, my employer, Insight has stepped up there which was great.

Given below is a summary of my plan during the event. It would be good to meet my fellow vExperts / customers / techies / community members while I’m there, perhaps over few beers. Please do come say hi if you see me or hit me up on twitter (@s_chan_ek)…etc.

Itineraries

Most people will typically travel either few days earlier or stay behind few days after the event to explore the city..etc but unfortunately due to cricket commitments where I play league cricket on every Saturday, I’m reduced to being there for the exact event duration only. As such, my itineraries are as follows

  • Travelling out: Sunday the 28th of August: Travel from London Heathrow via Chicago to Vegas (United Airlines)
  • Accommodation: I will be staying in the MGM Grand hotel which is a little walk away from the event location (Mandalay Bay Hotel & Conference Center)
  • Travelling back: Friday the 2nd of Sept, from Vegas via Montréal back to London Heathrow (Air Canada)

 

Planned sessions

Anyone travelling to VMworld are advised to use the Schedule Builder beforehand and schedule any breakout sessions you want to attend. I’ve always done this in the past and have tried the same this year. However, despite attempting to book many interesting breakout sessions and workshops on the same day the Schedule builder went live, most of the really good ones were already full. So I’m guessing the demand for the event in the US is far higher than the one in Europe and I’m expecting to see lot more crowd that at the European VMworld.

The sessions I’ve managed to book to attend are as follows. Some of them are new subjects while most others are more of a refresher from previous knowledge for me. Having learnt from the previous VMworlds, I’ve been careful not to book session after session and allow enough time for blogging in between as well as hall crawl and networking with people which, arguably are far more important that attending breakout sessions or workshops which lot of people, especially newbies don’t realise.

  • Monday the 29th of August – I have the following sessions I’ve scheduled so far. Some may change depending on when I managed to get in to some other sessions I’ve had to wait list for.
    • 11am-12pm: Software-Defined Networking in VMware Validated Designs [SDDC7587]
    • 1pm-2pm: Virtualize, Secure, and Extend Your Data Center to the Cloud Using NSX: A Perspective for Service Providers and End Users [HBC7830]
    • 2pm-3pm: Introducing Virtual SAN for VMware Photon: The Best HCI Platform for Containers and Cloud-Native Applications [STO8256]
    • 3pm-4:30pm: VMware NSX Distributed Firewall with Micro-Segmentation Workshop [ELW-1703-USE-2]

 

  • Tuesday the 30th of August
    • 11am-12pm: Understanding the Availability Features of Virtual SAN [STO8179]
    • 12pm-1:30pm: vSphere Integrated Containers Workshop [ELW-1730-USE-1] – Wait Listed
    • 2pm-3pm: How to Deploy VMware NSX with Cisco Infrastructure [NET8364]
    • 4pm-5pm: Containers for the vSphere Admin [CNA7522]
    • 5pm-6pm: The Architectural Future of Network Virtualization [NET8193R]

 

  • Wednesday the 31st of August
    • 9:30am-11am: Realize Automation 7 Basics Workshop [ELW-1721-USE-1] – Wait listed
    • 11am-12pm: How to Use Machine Learning to Increase Application Availability [INF9608-SPO]
    • 1pm-2pm: PowerNSX and PyNSXv: Using PowerShell and Python for Automation and Management of VMware NSX for vSphere [NET7514]
    • 2pm-3pm: Implementing Self-Service Storage Provisioning with vRealize Automation XaaS [SDDC9456-SPO]
    • 3:30pm-4:30pm: Building Cloud Native Architectures [CNA9926]

 

  • Thursday the 1st of September
    • 12pm-1pm: VMware Certificate Management for Mere Mortals [INF8631]
    • 1:30pm-2:30pm: Winter Is Coming. Are You Dev/Ops Ready? Instant Clone Is! [INF8396]

 

Other events

Usually there are many other vendor and vExpert events that also take place, out of hours to discuss products as well as networking with people. There is a list of such activities published here and outside of the normal VMworld welcome reception and the VMworld party, I will probably attend the below (I may have to cancel some last min due to exhaustion & last min change of plans…etc :-))

  • Sunday the 28th of August 7:30-9:30pm: 2016 VMUG member party @ House of Blues – Mandalay Bay, 3950 S Las Vegas Boulevard
  • Monday the 29th of August 9pm-11pm: Trace3 Annual VMWorld After Party @ Daylight Beach Club, Mandalay Bay, 3950 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, Nevada, 89119
  • Tuesday the 30th of August 7pm -10pm: vExpert 2016 Las Vegas reception @ The Mob Museum, 300 Stewart Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89101

 

About VMworld Event

As mentioned earlier, I’ve attended VMworld Europe edition over the last 4 years and it has been such a good event to attend given the amount of knowledge, insides, tips you can gather, seeing the variety of the VMware echo system partners out there and their solutions and most importantly meeting and being able to network with people that you’d otherwise never get the opportunity to (like product managers and engineers). And usually its such a well organised event and having attended other similar events such as NetApp Insight, Cisco Live and HPe TSS & Ambassador events, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that none of them has been as good, well organised, well attended or useful to me as an attendee as VMworld, period….! If you are a VMWare customer or a partner, I’d highly encourage you to attend somehow. (use the link here)

VMware NSX vExpert 2016

vExpert-NSX-Badge

Its been a while since I’ve managed to post anything due to various reasons but most of them revolved around being just too busy. Anyhow I’m planning to change that with some new exciting posts over the next few weeks & months, starting with this one, which was a little overdue.

On Friday the 17th of June, I was notified by VMware that I have been selected as one of the first ever NSX vExperts (there’s only 115 in total globally). NSX vExpert program is a sub program off the general VMware vExpert program (their global evangelism and advocacy program) which has now been running for some years (I’ve been a vExpert in 2014 and again in 2016). The NSX vExpert program is however quite new, only started this year for the first time. VMware have only picked the NSX vExperts from the current pool of general vExperts and to be short listed within those 115 people is quite an honour.

As a part of the NSX vExperts program, we are entitled to a number of benefits such as NFR license keys for full NSX suite, access to NSX product management, exclusive webinars & NDA meetings, access to preview builds of the new software and also get a chance to provide feedback to the product management team on behalf of our clients which is great.

NSX is a truly great product that lets you bring the operational model of the VM to your network in order to maximise its utilisation while increasing the efficiency by many-folds and lots of customers who are looking at automation and operation in their data center are looking at NSX as the software layer to underpin all such requirements. New functionalities keep coming with each new version, and I’m sure that will keep all of us NSX vExperts quite busy for the foreseeable future.

 

VMware VSAN 6.2 Performance & Storage savings

Just a quick post to share some very interesting performance stats observed on my home lab VSAN cluster (Build details here). The VSAN datastore is in addition to a few NFS datastores also mounted on the same hosts using an external Synology SAN.

I had to build a number of Test VMs, a combination of Microsoft Windows 2012 R2 Datacenter and 2016 TP4 Datacenter VMs on this cluster and I placed all of them on the VSAN datastore to test the performance. See below the storage performance stats during the provisioning (cloning from template) time. Within the Red square are the SSD drive performance stats (where the new VM’s being created) Vs Synology’s NFS mount’s performance  stats (where templates resides) in the Yellow box.

Provisioning Performance

Pretty impressive from all Flash VSAN running on a bunch of white box servers with consumer grade SSD drives (officially unsupported of course but works!), especially relative to the performance of the Synology NFS mounts (RAID1/0 setup for high performance), right??

Imagine what the performance would have been if this was on enterprise grade hardware in your datacentre?

Also caught my eye was the actual inline deduplication and compression savings immediately available on the VSAN datastore after the VM’s were provisioned.

Dedupe & Compression Savings

As you can see, to store 437GB of raw data, with a FTT=1 (where VSAN keeping redundant copies of each vmdk file), its only consuming 156GB of actual storage on the VSAN cluster, saving me 281GB of precious SSD storage capacity. Note that this is WITHOUT Erasure Coding RAID 5 or RAID 6 that’s also available with VSAN 6.2 which, had that been enabled, would have further reduced the actual consumed space more.

The point of this all is the performance and the storage savings available in VSAN, especially all flash VSAN is epic and I’ve seen this in my own environment. In an enterprise datacenter, All Flash VSAN can drastically improve your storage performance but at the same time, significantly cut down on your infrastructure costs for all of your vSphere storage environments. I personally know a number of clients who have achieved such savings in their production environments and each and every day, there seem to be more and more demand from customers for VSAN as their preferred storage / Hyper-Converged technology of choice for all their vSphere use cases.

I would strongly encourage you to have a look at this wonderful technology and realise these technical and business benefits (summary available here) for yourself.

Share your thoughts via comments below or feel free to reach out to discuss what you think via email or social media

Thanks

Chan

New VMware Product Availabilities – Now available to download

Update

VMware have just made a number of new product versions (mostly maintenance releases on few different products, including that of the much hyped VSAN 6.2) so a quick post to summarise the content that was released last night (15.03.2016)

  • VMware VSAN 6.2 – VMware VSAN 6.2 was officially announced in early February with a number of cool new features such as Erasure coding but unless you were a techie trying to download the software, you may have not known that it was not available for download despite being announced. That was until yesterday and the product is now available to download for every customer.

 

  • VMware vRealize Automation 7.0.1 now released and available for download
    • Release notes here
    • Product binaries here
    • Documentation here

 

  • VMware vRealize Orchestrator 7.0.1 is released and available to download
    • Release notes here
    • Product binaries here
    • Documentation here

 

  • vRealize Business for Cloud (Old ITBMS offering) is also released and available for grabs now
    • Release notes here
    • Product binaries here
    • Documentation here

 

  • vRealize Log Insight 3.3.1 is released and available to download
    • Release notes here
    • Product binaries here
    • Documentation here

 

  • vCloud Suite 7.0 is also released and available to download (here) – This includes all of the above new versions of products plus the exiting versions for vSphere Replication 6.1 + vSphere Data Protection 6.1.2 + vROPS 6.2.0a + vRealize Infrastructure Navigator 5.8.5

VMware All Flash VSAN Implementation (Home Lab)

I’ve been waiting for a while to be able to implement an all flash VSAN in my lab and now that VSAN 6.2 has been announced, I thought it would be time to upgrade my capacity disks from HDD’s to SSD’s and get cracking..! (note: despite the announcement, VSAN 6.2 binaries are NOT YET available to download. I’m hearing it would be available in a week or two on My VMware though so until then, mine is based on VSAN 6.1 – ESXi 6.0U1 binaries)

As I already had a normal (Hybrid) VSAN implementation using SSD+HDD in my management vSphere cluster, the plan was to keep the existing SSD’s as caching tier and replace the current HDD’s with high capacity SSD drives. So I bought 3 new Samsung 850 EVO 256GB drives from Amazon (here)                                       Capture

All Flash VSAN Setup

Given below are the typical steps involved in the processes to implement All Flash VSAN within the VMware cluster (I’m using the 3 node management cluster within my lab for the illustration below)

  1. Install the SSD drives in the server – This should be easy enough. If you are doing this in a production environment, you need to ensure that the capacity SSD’s (similar to all other components in your VSAN ready nodes)  are in the VMware HCL
  2. Enable VSAN on the cluster – Need to be done on the web client      1 - Enable VSAN
  3. Verify the new SSDs are available & recognised within the web client – All SSD’s are recognised as caching disks by default.              0 - Default disk assignment  2 - all caching
  4. Manually tag the required SSD drives as capacity disks VIA COMMANDLINE for them to be recognised as capacity disks within VSAN configuration – This step MUST be carried out using one the ways explained below and until then, SSD disks WILL NOT be available to be used as capacity disks within an all flash VSAN otherwise. (There currently is no GUI option on the web client to achieve this and cli must be used)
    1. Use esxcli command on each ESXi server
      1. SSH in to the ESXi server shell
      2. Use the vdq -q command to get the T10 SCSI name for the capacity SSD drive (Also verify “IsCapacityFlash” option is set to 0) 3 SSH
      3. Use the “esxcli vsan storage tag add -d <SCSI T10 name of the disk> -t capacityFlash” command to mark the disk as capacity SSD.   4 ESXCLI
      4. Use the vdq -q command to query the disk status and ensure the disk is now marked as “1” for “IsCapacityFlash” 5 esxcli verify
      5. If you now look at the Web client UI, the capacity SSD disk will now have been correctly identified as capacity (note the drive type changed to HDD which is somewhat misleading as the drive type is still SSD) 8.1 GUI
    2. Use the “VMware Virtual SAN All-Flash Configuration Utility” software – This is a 3rd party tool and not an officially supported VMware tool but if you do not want to manually SSH in to the ESXi servers 1 by 1, this software could be quite handy as you can bulk tag on many ESXi servers all at the same time. I’ve used this tool to tag the SSD’s in the next 2 servers of my lab in the illustration below. xx - Use VMware Virtual SAN all-flash configuration utility
  5. Verify capacity SSD across all hosts – Now that all the capacity SSD’s have been tagged as capacity disks, verify that the web client sees all capacity SSD’s across all hosts                                                9 Disk group manual
  6. Create the disk groups on each host – I’m opting to create this manually as shown below 9 Disk group manual 10 - Verify disk groups
  7. Verify the VSAN datastore now being available and accessible 11 - VSAN datastore active

There you have it. Implementing all flash VSAN requires manually tagging the SSDs as capacity SSDs for the time being and this is how you do it. I may also add that since the all flash VSAN, my storage performance has gone through the roof in my home lab which is great too. However this is all done on Whitebox hardware and not all of them are fully on VMware HCL….etc which makes those performance figures far from optimal. It would be really good to see performance statistics if you have deployed all flash VSAN in your production environment.

Cheers

Chan

 

 

Cisco HyperFlex – New Hyper-Converged Offering from Cisco

 

1

Cisco has just announced their newest datacentre infrastructure solution code named HyperFlex. This is a fully integrated Cisco proprietary Hybrid Hyper-Converged solution offering (similar to Nutanix / Simplivity / VMware VSAN) that consist of the followings

  • Cisco UCS C series rack mount servers (C220 or C240) with local storage (SSD+HDD)
  • Software Defined Storage virtual appliance (VSA)

HCI market is quite busy at the moment and there’s lot of demand as it was only natural that Cisco would join the party with their own offering to compete with the incumbents such as Nutanix, Simplivity and VMware’s software defined HCI solution based on VSAN.

While the UCS C series servers are nothing new and are the same familiar rack mount servers, the real introduction here is the SDS solution which effectively comes from their strategic partnership with Springpath and is what is worth considering. (For those who aren’t familiar, Springpath was supposedly founded by ex VMware engineers so naturally you’ll find many similarities between this SDS solution and VMware VSAN)

Now I’m not intending to cover the HyperFlex offering in depth here within this article but will highlight few key points and what I think of the solution and compare it to some competition.

Hardware

As mentioned above, the hardware consist of 2 configuration choices on day 1 as follows,

  1. HyperFlex HX220c M4 (UCS C220 rack mount server based)
    • CPU = 2 x Intel Xeon E5 2600 v3 processors
    • Memory  = 256Gb to 512 Gb 2133 MHz DIMMs
    • Caching layer = 480GB high-endurance (Intel 3610) cache SSD
    • HDD = 6 x 1.2 TB 10,000 RPM 12-Gbps SAS disks
    • Network = Cisco VIC 1227 (10gbe x 2)
    • Software
      • VMware 5.5 or 6.0 u1
      • Cisco HyperFlex HX Data Platform Software version 1.7
    • Cluster
      • Nodes: Minimum of 3 nodes, Maximum 8 nodes (Initial version. Will increase in future)
      • Management: Cisco UCS Manager and vCenter plugin
  2. HyperFlex HX240c M4 (UCS C240 rack mount server based)
    • CPU = 2 x Intel Xeon E5 2600 v3 processors
    • Memory = 256 Gb to 784 Gb 2133 MHz DIMMs
    • Cache = 1.6-Tb high-endurance (Intel 3610) cache SSDs
    • HDD = 15 x 1.2 TB 10K RPM 12gbps SAS disks (8 additional disks supported through SAS expander)
    • Network = Cisco VIC 1227 (10gbe x 2)
    • Software
      • VMware 5.5 or 6.0 u1 (VMware only on day 1. Additional hypervisor may follow)
      • Cisco HyperFlex HX Data Platform Software version 1.7
    • Cluster
      • Nodes = Minimum of 3 nodes, max 8 nodes per ESXi Cluster (Will likely increase in future).
      • Management = Cisco UCS Manager and vCenter plugin

* Note that the hardware configuration on all nodes MUST be same (cluster validation fails otherwise)

 

Key Architecture Points

2

  • The HyperFlex SDS offering is a VSA (Virtual Storage Appliance)
    • In other words, its very similar to Nutanix or Simplivity’s implementation as its just a VM running on a Hypervisor (ESXi) that acts as a virtual storage appliance.
    • This is markedly different to VMware VSAN which is kernel based and may offer better scalability (though there are pros and cons to both in kernel and VSA type of architectures)
    • Springpath software will create a distributed NFS datastore that is made available to all the hosts in the cluster (It will rely on a control VM residing on each ESXi host to serve the IO).
    • Note however that unlike Simplivity’s offering, there’s no dedicated hardware to offload any de-dupe or compression work to so its all done in the SW (tax on CPU cycles)
  • Launch & Initial positioning
    • Cisco launched this solution internally within Cisco on the 25th of February followed by the public launch on the 1st of March
    • As a version 1 product, the initial target market for Cisco HF would be,
      • VDI deployments
      • Small to medium scale virtualisation (vSphere only) environments
      • Test and Dev environments
      • Branch office requirements
    • VMware vSphere based only
      • Future roadmap may include other hypervisors naturally
      • Support VAAI
      • vVol support is not there on day 1 but on the roadmap
      • vCenter plugin available
    • No native replication
      • Relies on application level data replication such as that of VMware vSphere replication or Zerto
    • Inline de-duplication is available on day 1 (always on. Approx 20-30% savings)
    • Inline compression (during de-staging from SSD to HDD) is also available on day 1 (variable block size, 30-50% approx. savings)
  • Scalability (day 1)                       
    • Independent compute nodes independently from storage nodes
      • 3-8 HF nodes per cluster + up to 4 additional compute nodes (has to be UCS B200 blades only)
      • When adding compute only nodes, HF cluster will automatically push a software component, referred to as IOVisor on to the new compute nodes (in the form of an ESXi VIB)
    • Hybrid HCI (SSD for caching and HDD for capacity) on day 1
      • No all flash offering available for now
      • Similar to competition, all disks are in pass-through mode (no local RAID)
  • Unique Selling Points
    • Unlike other HCI offerings in the market that typically do not include the networking components, Cisco HF solutions include the Networking elements. Full content included within the HF bundles are as follows
      • Compute Nodes with local storage
        • Comes with ESXi pre-installed
        • A wizard driven installer VM is used to simplify the initial deployment
      • Software license subscription for SDS (Yes you read it correct, its not a perpetual license but only a annual or 3 year subscription that need to be renewed)
      • Cisco UCS Fabric Interconnects for server HW managements
        • Pre-configured for rapid deployment
        • Include single UCS domain license
        • 48 or 96 port option for FI’s
        • Complete UCS manager software (used for hardware management only and no Springpath SDS management capabilities will be included on day 1)
    • Unlike all other competitive offerings, Cisco HF uses a dedicated 120GB SSD (separate from caching SSD’s) for data logging (meta data) on each host which should help with performance & scalability
  • Ordering Options
    • Orderable through normal channel partners as per usual process
    • Pre-Defined bundles available
    • Configure to order option also available

It is important to note that Cisco HyperFlex is not offered as a replacement or an alternative to converged architecture solutions that Cisco already excels in, such as FlexPod or VBlock but only offered as another silo option for appropriate use cases. Industry analysts predict that the Hyper-Converged market may be worth in the region of $3 billion and this is Cisco’s answer for their customers.

The marketing message around HF is going to be focused around its Simplicity, Speed to provision and scalability (linear, node based) which is no different to other HCI vendors such as Nutanix.

My Take

I think HyperFlex is a good version 1 HCI solution from Cisco and I like number of things it has to offer such as its cheaper cost (in comparison to competition) and the fact that it automatically include the networking and Fabric Interconnect modules within this cost. Architecturally it looks solid too, however there are some minor things that need to be addressed / improved which I’m sure will get addressed as the product evolves (quite normal for a version 1 product). Its designed from ground up to ensure the availability and the integrity of your data which means if there are multiple simultaneous node failures for example, that takes the HF cluster beyond the configured availability (replication) levels (similar to VSAN FTT) it will offline the cluster to ensure the integrity of your data.

However being pragmatic, I would personally like to wait and see how this performs out in the field with real customer data under normal working conditions. While established solutions like VMware VSAN may provide fully integrated HCI solutions for vSphere at a much more deeper level than a VSA based solution would provide, if you are a Cisco house and are happy with UCS server hardware (who wouldn’t btw? they are just awesome…!!), this solution may appeal to you quite easily.

I would urge you to register for the webcast (link here) to find out more or reach out to your Cisco AM or reseller to find out more (my employer Insight can help too)

In the meantime, additional information can be found here

Image credit goes to Cisco…!!

 

 

 

 

New VMware Hybrid Cloud Announcements – Summary

Cover Photo

As you may already know by now, VMware have just announced a number of new product versions along with few changes to their Cloud Management product positioning during the online event that took place on the 10th of Feb 2016 (If you missed the announcements, you can watch the recordings here). The announcements were made for products that fall under 2 tracks (Digital workspace & Cloud Management which effective means EUC &  Datacenter track respectively).

While I’m not going to cover what was discussed under the Digital Enterprise section (mostly EUC focused, around Horizon Suite and Workspace 1), I’m going to summarize some of the key points mentioned under the Hybrid Cloud track below and the related product positioning changes.

Hybrid Cloud related new Product updates – Summary

One Cloud (Hybrid Cloud with private, hosted and public cloud), Any application, Any device seems to be the new mantra going forward and is fully underpinned by VMware’s software Defined Datacentre (SDDC). VMware are seeing the Hybrid Cloud is playing a major part in the interim future in the industry (I know many customers agree too) and they appear to be seeing user owned kit (housed in an on-premise DC or an off premise hosted DC like Equinix) along with various different public cloud platforms all playing a part of a typical customer datacentre going forward. Each public cloud provider is almost seen as a new Silo in the customers new Hybrid Cloud Datacentre and VMware are focusing on providing a unified management platform across all these Silo’s. To be frank, this is not so much news, as their focus and the subsequent messaging has been the same for a while. But their have now added compatibility with almost all key Public cloud platforms (AWS, Azure, Google, IBM SoftLayer) and stressing the “any cloud” message through this announcement.

Here’s the summary of the related new products announced

  • VMware VSAN 6.2 Updates

    • VSAN 6.2 is announced
      • For key 6.2 (new) technical features – Refer to the 2 articles below
        • Duncan Epping’s legendary Yellow-Bricks here
        • Comac Hogan’s blog here
    • VSAN (together with vSphere) is a Hyper-Converged Software Solution (finally…!!)           HCS
    • All flash VSAN is key and most new features are available on all flash VSAN only – also inline with storage industry trends.
    • 2 new VSAN ready node options from Supermicro, Hitachi and Fujitsu (different to legacy VSAN ready nodes) VSAN - Ready Nodes
      • Customers can choose to factory install the VMware hyper-converged software (HCS), namely vSphere and Virtual SAN.
      • Customers can use their existing vSphere and VSAN licenses, or  buy new licenses from the OEM vendor. All OEMs offer the flexibility of perpetual licenses that are node-transferrable, while some OEMs may also offer embedded licenses, which are fundamentally tied to the hardware system
      • Customers can continue to purchase support from VMware, or leverage a single-vendor model by getting support for both hardware and software from their OEM of choice
    • VSAN is also available for VMware Photon – DevOps & CNA friendly                    VSAN for Photon

 

  • vRealize Suite Updates

    • vRA Version 7.0 (announced in December 2015)
      • More cloud endpoint supported: now supports Google, IBM SoftLayer, as well as AWS, Azure & vCloud Air
    • vRealize Business 7.0 announced
    • vROPS remain the same as version 6.2
    • vRealize Log Insight 3.3
  • NSX Updates
    • NSX is the common networking layer across private and public cloud platforms (including AWS & Azure)

 

Product Positioning & Packaging Changes – Summary

Number of VMware Product Suite / Packages have been changed to reflect 3 different use cases VMware trying to address with their product portfolio, going forward. These key use cases are as follows,

  1. Intelligent Operations: Basic, virtualised datacentre use case
  2. Automated to IaaS: Have advanced virtualisation with additional requirements such as some automation and orchestration and IaaS capability
  3. DevOps-Ready: True Hybrid Cloud requirement

Use Cases

And the content of these product suites have also changed. A quick summary of the key changes are explained below.

  • Core Platform – “Naked” vSphere                                               vSphere versions

    • Previous: Standard, Enterprise, Enterprise plus (for both the vSphere and vSOM bundles)
    • New: Standard & Enterprise plus only – No more vSphere Enterprise!
      • For existing vSphere ENT customers, there are 2 choices
        • Upgrade to vSphere ENT+ with 50% discount (available till 25th of June 2016) OR
        • Stay on vSphere ENT till product end of support
    • vCenter list price increased, but now include 25 OSI license for vRealize Log Insight (restricted to do log analysis for vSphere hosts, vCenter & VMware content packs only) in return.
  • vSphere with Operations Management (vSOM)

    • Previous: vSOM Standard, Enterprise & Enterprise plus
    • New: Enterprise plus only – No more vSOM STD or vSOM ENT!
      • For existing vSOM STD & ENT customers, there are 2 choices
        • Upgrade to vSphere ENT+ with 50% discount (available till 25th of June 2016) OR
        • Stay on current till product end of support
  • vRealize Suite (vRS) 7.0

     vrealize-suite-lineup

    • Previous: N/A
    • New: STD, ADV, ENT
      • Standard: vRealize Business for Cloud STD, Log Insight, vROPS Advanced
      • Advanced (with IaaS capabilities): vRealize Business for Cloud STD, Log Insight, vROPS Advanced, vRealize Automation Advanced (now cheaper since vRealize Configurations Manager is now excluded)
      • Enterprise (with DevOps capabilities): vRealize Business for Cloud STD, Log Insight, vROPS Advanced, vRealize Automation Enterprise with Application Automation, vROPS App monitoring. (cheaper now as vROPS ENT  & vCM removed from the suite now)
      • vRS licenses are now portable (between private & public cloud) – Applies to the Suite licenses only (standalone components don’t qualify)
        • On-Premise = per CPU socket
        • Public Cloud (vCloud Air,, AWS, Azure) = 15 OSI’s per license unit (portable license unit = 1 cpu socket license)
        • 3rd party On-Prem (Hyper-V, XenServer, KVM) = 15 OSI’s per license unit (portable license unit = 1 cpu socket license)PLU update
  • vCloud Suite (vCS) 7 – New Packaging & Licensing

    • Previous: version 6.0  in STD, ADV, ENT
    • New: version 7.0 also in STD, ADV, ENT. See comparison below.          vCS Comparison
      • All vCS editions now include vRealize Suite & vSphere ENT+
      • SRM & vCM both now removed from vCS 7 ENT
      • New licensing available from 1st of March (Existing vCloud Suite EOA by 1st of June FY16)
      • (Only) vRS Licenses are portable (between private & public cloud)
  • VSAN

    • Previous Categories (5.5 & 6.x): Standard & Advanced
    • New categories (from version 6.2 onwards): Standard, Advanced, Enterprise   VSAN 6.2 Editions

Additional info regarding packaging changes and price changes can be found on the following links

Re-Cap and My thoughts

  • There appear to be less and less focus on core products such as vSphere and VMware’s focus is somewhat shifting to other management and enablement areas. This makes sense as the hypervisor is increasingly becoming a commodity and the value-add now is in the Cloud Management Software suite that manage the Hypervisor as well as various other Public Cloud platforms.
  • In general, cost of basic vSphere will go up for many customers due to the removal of Enterprise edition and most medium to large corporate and enterprise customers will now be forced to buy ENT+ edition, which also just happened to cost a little more than it did before, at the same time.
  • New products like VSAN & NSX-v however will increase the sticky-ness of the vSphere customers (both needs vSphere) within the customer’s datacentre still so vSphere is not yet fully done with (for the foreseeable future anyway)
  • While all the new VSAN features are really awesome and great, do bear in mind that most of them if not all are going to cost you slightly more as,
    • They are only available with more expensive Enterprise edition of VSAN
    • They are only available for on all flash VSAN’s. Meaning more expensive SSD drives for capacity too so more expensive hardware.
  • All flash VSAN should still be cheaper overall though for the customer compared to having to buy the same servers (without disks) + a separate all flash SAN
  • So all in all, except for VSAN 6.2 announcement, not a whole lot of exciting new features. This is not a major announcement but more of a minor change of product positioning, along with a re-pricing exercise, however I do like the direction VMware is heading with their product portfolio.

 

Note: Slide credit goes to VMware. Note that the NDA on some of these contents have now elapsed (after the general announcement on the 10th of Feb) so I shouldn’t get in to trouble for sharing 🙂

Cheers

Chan

VMware vExperts 2016 been announced!!

vexpert_logo

VMware vExperts 2016 has just been announced by VMware and glad to say I’ve made the cut. I’m really honoured to have been selected this year again (following on from 2014) as there are lots of cleverer people than myself (including some VCDX’s) that aren’t necessarily selected as vExperts. So thank you VMware for recognising the little bit I’ve done (and will continue to do)  🙂

Capture

The list of global vExperts 2016 announced can be found in the link below.

http://blogs.vmware.com/vmtn/2016/02/vexpert-2016-award-announcement.html

VMware vExperts is VMware’s global evangelism and advocacy programme and is held in high regards within the community due to the expertise of the selected vExperts and their contribution towards enabling and empowering customers around the world with their virtualisation and software defined datacentre journeys. The candidates are judged on their contribution to the community through activities such as community blogs, personal blogs, participation of events, producing tools…etc.. and in general, maintaining their expertise in related subject matters. vExperts typically get access to private betas, free licenses, early access product briefings, exclusive events, free access to VMworld conference materials, and other opportunities to directly interact with VMware product teams which is totally awesome and I return, help us to feed the information back to our customers…

Finally, congratulations for all the other fellow vExperts 2016 too.. Keep up the good work…!!

Cheers

Chan