Tag Archives: Hyper-Converged

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

Stratoscale – A true Hyper-converged solution similar to VMware Evo:RAIL?

I’ve been exploring the partner solution offerings during Cisco Live 2015 in Milan, and came across this stand from Stratoscale which I found quite interesting. So I had a chat with the guys and thought it would be worth  mentioning a little bit about what I learnt of them.

Stratoscale is a small Israel IT start up (offices in Israel, USA and expanding out globally), with funding from Cisco investments (understandably) that provides a true, large scale hyper converged infrastructure software that can run on BYOH (Bring your Own Hardware). I’ve had a lengthy (technical) chat with one of the founders of the company,  Etay Bognar (etay@stratoscale.com) and they seems to have a very interesting proposition at hand. Unlike other popular converged infrastructures vendors such as Nutanix, Simplivity….etc. Stratoscale seem to offer just the software elements that can work with commodity hardware from any server vendor. But the key here is that they actually own and provide all the software elements including the hypervisor which is a customised version of KVM which is optimized to work based on their hyper converged offering. For example, as a part of this customisation, they claimed that they’ve completely re-written the memory management module within KVM to optimise it and as a result of such optimisations, that they could migrate a running VM from one host to another within a second, regardless of the size of the VM which sounds very interesting (though I haven’t seen it in action myself, but kind of make sense as they claim to use post copy operation unlike VMware VMotion that uses pre-copy).

As a part of the software solution offering, they are also providing a fully customiseable management platform (similar to VMware vCenter in an ESXi cluster), something that seems to be lacking in a generic KVM based hypervisor cluster deployment without heavy scripting…etc. This management platform apparently also offer intelligent algorythms managing and maintaining VM placements within the cluster (similar to VMware DRS). According to what I was told, they key here is that the level of control & visibility they have within the compute and storage layer is very granular & limitless, as they own the hypervisor too, much like VMware in their Evo:RAIL offering.  This is very different to, say a Simplivity or a Nutanix solution that don’t have their own hypervisor, therefor having to rely on vCenter / ESXi API to interact with compute platform and therefore be restricted to what you can see and do to the contents of the API. To me it make sense that Nutanix and Simplivity are more like aggregators rather than true Hyper-Converged solutions where as VMware Evo:RAIL is probably the only other true Hyper Converged solution that truly converge everything.

So these guys at Stratoscale looks like a direct competitor to VMware’s Evo:RAIL solution going forward from what I could see as they too have true Hyper-Convergence in that they own the whole software stack in their offering and all aspects of the solution, compute and storage are all baked in directly to the hypervisor, much like VMware Evo:RAIL. Their solution at present appear to scale out to 64 nodes at present with distributed storage in all nodes (SSD backed, similar to VMware Evo:RAIL) and to be honest I quite liked their pitch. It sounds like a very powerful offering which could potentially be a very good solution for some of those non VMware customers, that are more Linux orientated that do not want to spend too much money for a VMware solution (I do not know how expensive it is compared to a VMware solution but I was assured that its a lot cheaper in comparison). Being a start up, there’s no doubt that things would need improving, and its probably no match right now, for the almost fully complete VMware offering with all its eco system, but it would be interesting to see how they fare, especially given the fact that owning their own hypervisor giving them somewhat similar capability to VMware to produce an optimised Hyper-Converged solution. If they do well, I can see naturally, they could end up being a very good acquisition target for the likes of Cisco, Intel who may want to strategically enter the Hypervisor play (current Cisco funding is pretty self explanatory here I think). Worth keeping a close eye out, I know I will.

Comments are welcome, especially from existing Hyper-Converged solutions users

Cheers

Chan