VIRTUALIZATION, IN COMPUTING, REFERS TO THE ACT OF CREATING A VIRTUAL VERSION OF SOMETHING, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO A VIRTUAL COMPUTER HARDWARE PLATFORM, OPERATING SYSTEM (OS), STORAGE DEVICE, OR COMPUTER NETWORK RESOURCES.
Back on February 2nd, VMware announced two new products, VMware NSX for vSphere 6.3 and VMware NSX-T 1.1, and the adoption rate has reached new heights for VMware, as Chief Executive Pat Gelsinger mentioned in the Q4 2016 earnings that NSX is on track to bring in $1 Billion in revenue this year. That is impressive especially if you take into account the initial slow adoption rate of NSX.
The customer focused demand for tighter security in the data center with NSX and Micro-Segmentation, Automating IT provisioning while increasing efficiency, and Application Continuity is helping to drive the success of NSX into corporate IT.
So what is NSX anyway? As I mentioned in a previous blog, NSX is an innovative approach to solving long-standing network provisioning bottlenecks within the data center, and it allows for the integration of switching, routing and upper-layer services into an integrated application and network orchestration platform. With an overlay solution that may not require hardware upgrades, NSX offers customers a potentially quicker way of taking advantage of SDN capabilities by decoupling the network from hardware into a software abstraction layer allowing the end-user to programmatically create, provision and manage networks.
Let's take a look at what's new in version 6.3. You can see the announcement from VMware here.
VMware is bringing some new capabilities to security in NSX with Application Rule Manager, available in NSX Advanced and Enterprise editions. Application Rule Manager is responsible for the creation of security groups and firewalls for applications based on network traffic flows which is a sequence of packets from a source computer to a destination, which may be another host, a multicast group, or a broadcast domain. This along with Endpoint monitoring, available in NSX Enterprise, enables you to set profiles for applications inside the guest OS. This gives you end-to-end visibility into applications while simplifying the profile creations.
It is good to note that for security certification and requirements:
Here are a few other updates in NSX 6.3:
Software Defined Networking with NSX rounds off the Software Defined Data Center vision of VMware, bringing the ability to automate the provisioning of what once was, very manual physical networks, and the security of them. VMware continues to enhance the integration of NSX Load Balancers with vRealize Automation and offer support for third-party IP Address Management (IPAM) systems. VMware has also enhanced the integration with NSX for vSphere and vCloud Director. These new enhancements will enable new multi-tenant capabilities for our vCloud Air Network partners.
Some other new features found in Automation for 6.3:
As the adoption of NSX increases VMware is seeing more and more uses cases around Active-Active data center architectures utilizing the network overlay capabilities of NSX allowing for true workload mobility while maintaining ip addresses and consistent security policies across data centers. New enhancements in security tagging while simplifying security policy management across multiple data centers will help to ensure a consistent and reliable virtual network in a multi-vCenter deployment.
In NSX 6.3 there is also a new ROBO SKU introduced which allows you to take advantage of all these features in a ROBO solution allowing you to simplify the security and management across remote branch offices.
Here are a few other features introduced in NSX 6.3:
The focus for NSX-T is around emerging application frameworks and architectures like private IaaS on OpenStack and multi-hypervisor support for development teams using dev clouds. NSX-T supports multiple KVM distributions, within the hypervisor kernel, while delivering security with the use of distribute firewalls, logical switches and distributed routers; This includes Red Hat Enterprise and Ubuntu. This means freedom of choice to technologists allowing them to choose what's best suited for their applications.
Integration with VMware Photon allows IT to deliver security and services to their developers that are building containerized and cloud native applications. NSX can automate the creation of networks and routers when a new namespace/project/organization is created and then secure it all with micro-segmentation policies for containers and pods.
As noted above you now have standard, advanced, and enterprise editions. According to CRN, NSX Enterprise is $6,995 per CPU socket; Advanced costs $4,495 per socket and Standard will cost $1,995 per socket.
See VMware NSX for more information.
If you are interested in learning more and getting some hands-on lab time with NSX, take a look at VMware's hands-on labs, here.
Today VMware announced vSphere 6.5 at VMworld Europe 2016, the latest version of its industry-leading virtualization platform.
The vCenter Server Appliance becomes the core component of the new vSphere environment. The new appliance brings easy deployment and reduces the complexities of managing a vSphere environment by combining the vSphere Update Manager and introduces file-backup and recovery natively with VCSA High Availability. As a side note vSphere HA has been renamed to vSphere Availability inside the client and instead of having one long settings page for vSphere HA, it has now been divided up into multiple sub-pages and organized by the function that the setting is for. You will now see ‘Failures and Responses’, ‘Proactive HA Failures and Responses’, ‘Admission Control’, ‘Heartbeat Datastores’, ‘Advanced Options’.
You no longer need to have a Windows VM to deploy and run the Update Manager which can save on Microsoft licenses while reducing complexities. VMware is also touting 3x in performance optimizations and upgrading to this new version will be made easier with the new vCenter Server Appliance Migration tool.
vSphere 6.5 introduces new REST-based APIs for VM Management which brings better automation of virtual machines while improving both the user and partner experience.
Yes it is finally here, the highly anticipated new HTML5-based vSphere Client which provides a more responsive and easy to use interface. This update has been made available as part of a Fling on VMware Labs. If you haven't tested it out follow the link and take it for a spin.
In a world with increasing security threats, VMware has taken further steps to ensure increased security in the new vSphere 6.5 environment. In vSphere 6.5 VMware introduces VM-level disk encryption. This gives the ability to encrypt a VM disk regardless of OS and combined with the new Encrypted vMotion capability, vSphere can safe-guard your data at-rest and data in-motion. These new features will be appealing to those looking to migrate loads between on-prem and off-prem data centers in a secure fashion. The new encryption feature is designed to protect against unauthorized access.
To further protect the environment in vSphere 6.5, VMware introduced secure boot which protects both hypervisor and guest OS. This will address security issues around images from be tampered with and denying unauthorized access and prevent the loading of unauthorized components into vSphere environments.
For those that require further security needs around auditing vSphere 6.5 brings enhanced audit-quality logging capabilities. These forensic logs can help determine who did what, when and where.
VMware is realizing, that with more competitors and with more and more software start ups in the containers arena, the importance of supporting containers, ie. their own. VMware knows that the world of traditional and next-generation apps need infrastructure that will scale, perform and allow for high availability.
In this new release VMware delivers vSphere Integrated Containers, which allows for the deployment of containers in a vSphere environment for infrastructure needs. This means you can deploy containers in your environment without the need to re-architect your infrastructure. The new containers environment contains three components - the Engine providing core container run-time, Harbor a registry for container images, and Admiral which is the portal for management. vSphere Integrated Containers provides a Docker-compatible interface to app teams and of course is completely compatible with NSX and vSAN.
The VMware vSphere Integrated Containers new feature of vSphere 6.5 will be available for vSphere Enterprise Plus Edition customers at no additional charge. Pricing for vSphere starts at $995 per CPU.
vSphere 6.5 is the foundation for the new partner announcement between VMware and AWS continuing the cloud strategy of any cloud, any application and any device. Of course this is all integrated with the new Cloud Foundation announced by VMware in Vegas at Vmworld 2016.
To learn more about this announcement read the news release.
For more information on the AWS partnership check out this article.
VMware announced VMware Cloud Foundation back in the general session of VMworld 2016. Cloud Foundation is a unified platform for private and public clouds.
Let's start with defining the term "Clouds". This term has been thrown around a lot and some take this term as "In the Cloud" off premises platforms, but some use the term more all inclusive which includes both "On-Prem" and "Off-Prem" platforms. Wikipedia defines this term as "computing that provides shared computer processing resources and data to computers and other devices on demand". For this blog I am using the definition of cloud as the latter. I think of cloud as all inclusive of both off and on-prem platforms for providing resources. I know some feel as though cloud was meant to replace the "on-prem" private cloud and yes, that will ultimately be the direction in years to come, but for now we live in a world of hybrid-cloud and that is what Cloud Foundation is here to assist us with.
Now that we have cleared that up, let's move on to Cloud Foundation from VMware. Cloud Foundation brings together, VMware's vision for SDDC where compute, storage, and networking services are decoupled from the underlying hardware and abstracted into software as pools of resources allowing for IT to become more flexible and agile while also allowing for better management, into an integrated stack for cloud. This is done by defining a platform common to both private and public clouds.
The foundational components of Cloud Foundation are VMware vSphere, Virtual SAN, and NSX and can be packaged with vRealize Suite to bring automation into the picture. If you are not familiar with the vRealize Suite from VMware let's just take a moment to discuss this.
The vRealize Suite is a software defined product suite built to enable IT to create and manage hybrid clouds. It includes products like IT Business Enterprise, which VMware just sold off, and is an IT financial management tool to manage and analyze cost associated with IT services. It also includes vCloud Automation Center, vCenter Operations Management, and LogInsight.
The management for Cloud Foundation is VMware's SDDC Manager. SDDC Manager serves as a single interface for managing the infrastructure. From this interface, the IT administrator can provision new cloud resources, monitor changes to the logical infrastructure, and manage lifecycle and other operational activities. The idea here is a single pane of glass for management along with monitoring of all your cloud environments whether it be on-prem, IBM-Cloud, AWS, etc., providing ongoing performance management, capacity optimization, real-time analytics, and cloud automation.
Cloud Foundation allows for a flexible solution allowing for on-prem and off-prem deployment options and can be deployed on-prem or off-prem as a service. You can choose on-prem options like integrated solutions from OEM providers such as VCE with hyper-converged systems and VSAN ready nodes from Dell.
Cloud Foundation will help to reduce the complexities faced with cloud strategies to date. The idea of "who cares where your data resides as long as it it secure and accessible" comes to mind. You can have applications being delivered from multiple clouds whether on or off-prem, Azure, or AWS. IT only needs a single pane of glass to monitor and manage these environments while also allowing for IT and management to track related costs. Ultimately giving IT the agility of migrating between cloud platforms when needed.
A use case for this would be a merger and acquisition of a company with a hybrid cloud environment. Cloud Foundation would help manage the complexities involved with integrating those resources into your own environment while maintaining security and the integrity of your current environment.
VMware announced alongside the Cloud Foundation announcement at VMworld 2016 the new partnership with IBM Cloud. This allows companies to have choice in deploying SDCC whether it be on-prem in their own private data center(s) or with IBM. This solution is based with Cloud Foundation and allowing VMware customers to seamlessly extend private to public.
Again, the software stack includes VMware vSphere, Virtual SAN, NSX, and VMware SDDC Manager. VMware SDDC Manager was announced back at VMworld 2015 and combined with Cloud Foundation is just the next step toward IoT with what VMware states as "Any Cloud, Any Application, Any Device". The SDDC Manager allows for a simplified management of a highly distributed architecture and resources.
Cloud foundation integrates with the entire VMware stack which includes Horizon, vRealize Suite, vRealize Automation, vRealize Business, OpenStack and products like LogInsight.
With Cloud Foundation natively integrating the software-defined data center stack and SDDC Manager, customers can flexibly upgrade individual components in the stack to higher editions allowing for flexibility in lifecycle management which consumes large amount of time in traditional IT.
With Cloud foundation you can automate the entire software stack. Once the rack is installed and powered on with networking to the rack, the SDDC Manager takes the BOM that was built with your partner like Advizex, and includes user-provided environmental information like DNS, IP addresses, etc. to build out the rack. The claim is that this can reduce the provisioning time from weeks to hours which for those of you that have done this in a non-automated fashion can attest to how painful the process can be. When complete you have a virtual infrastructure ready to start deploying and provisioning workloads.
In the complexities of traditional IT with silos, it takes extensive resources to provision a highly available private clouds, but with Cloud Foundation an administrator only needs to create and manage pools of resources decreasing the time to delivery of IT resources for consumption by the end-user whether it be a vm or a virtual desktop. This is done through a new abstraction layer called, Workload Domains.
Workload Domains are a policy-driven approach for capacity deployment. Each workload domain provides the needed capacity with specified policies for performance, availability and security. An admin can create a workload for dev/test with a balanced performance and low availability requirement while also creating one for production with high availability and high performance.
The SDDC Manager translates these policies into the underlying resources of compute which allows for the admin to concentrate on higher level tasks instead of spending time researching how to best implement.
Lifecycle management introduces a lot of complexities which are typically manual process to patch and upgrade and can lead to issues within an infrastructure due to interoperability and configuration errors. In turn the validation and testing of these patches takes a lot of time away from an IT staff. Sometimes patches get deployed before they have been vetted correctly for security and other reasons or defer patches which can slow down the roll-out of new features, etc. SDDC Manager automates these tasks for both physical and virtual infrastructures. VMware tests all the components for the Cloud Foundation before shipping new patches to the customer.
Within the lifecycle management of Cloud Foundation you can choose to apply the patches to just certain workloads or the entire infrastructure. SDDC can patch the vms, servers and switches while maintaining uptime thereby freeing resources to focus on business critical initiatives.
Scalability is built into the platform within a hyper-converged architecture. You can start with a deployment as small as 8 nodes, and scale to multiple racks. Capacity can be added linearly in increments as small as one server node at a time within each rack allowing IT to align CapEx with business needs. Cloud Foundation automatically discovers any new capacity and adds it into the larger pool of available capacity for use.
Some main use cases for Cloud Foundation are; Virtual Infrastructure allowing IT to expand and contract the underlying infrastructure to meet their changing business needs; IT Automating IT allowing IT accelerate the delivery and ongoing management of infrastructure, application and custom services, while improving overall IT efficiency; Virtual Desktop making VDI deployments faster and more secure. Administrators can focus on specifying the policies and needs of the VDI infrastructure instead of dealing with the details of deploying the VDI infrastructure.
To learn more about VMware's Cloud Foundation you can visit the product page here.
You can also get hands-on with the product from the hands-on lab provided online from VMware.
HOL-1706-SDC-5 - VMware Cloud Foundation Fundamentals
Disruptive innovation, is a term coined by Clayton Christensen. The term describes a process by which a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves up market, eventually displacing established competitors.
For example, take a look at what a company like Uber has done to the taxi service in San Francisco. They don't hire drivers like Yellow Cab. They don't own a fleet of cars. They built an application. An application that has been very disruptive to the taxi industry and is changing the landscape of ride-hailing services.
Thanks to Uber, San Francisco's largest yellow cab company is filing for bankruptcy. Yellow Cab Co-op President Pamela Martinez was quoted saying that some of the financial setbacks "are due to business challenges beyond our control and others are of our own making." Yellow Cab's drivers are flocking to Uber, an app-based enterprise, lured by the promise of more riders and better schedules.
Yellow Cab has been turned on its head by a disruptive innovation. Uber has disrupted the ride-hailing service industry with a lasting impact which is now moving across the county.
Why do I point this out? Because, you are either being disrupted or are the disrupter. Think about that for a second. Ask Yellow Cab how it feels to be disrupted in an industry they felt very secure in before an application took over.
Look at companies like Blockbuster. I bet you can tell me who disrupted them? Got it in your mind?
Blockbuster in its peak in 2004 consisted of nearly 60,000 employees and over 9,000 store locations. In 2000 a fledgling company came on the seen slowly changing the landscape of the movie rental industry and eventually bankrupting Blockbuster in 2010.
If you were thinking of Netflix then you are correct. Now a $28 billion dollar company, about ten times what Blockbuster was worth. Blockbuster has been greatly disrupted and is reinventing itself.
You can either be disrupted or be the disrupter as with VMware. They have been a disruptive force in the technology industry from their entry with vSphere to their latest creations like SDDC, vSAN and NSX. VMware's vSphere changed the landscape of compute forever, moving cpu, memory, etc. into software, removing the dependency on hardware and has now become the most popular infrastructure management API in use today.
Disruption doesn't happen overnight; Disruption happens gradually. Remember, the term "Disruptive Innovation," is taking root and relentlessly moving up the market. Uber didn't overtake Yellow Cab overnight just as with Blockbuster. A disruptor was introduced and slowly moved to overtake the industry.
The same is true for vSphere. Industry leaders were hesitant to adopt such a drastically different technology but now this tried, tested and proven technology is the leader in x86 server virtualization infrastructure.
VMware continues to be a disruptive force in the technology industry. Look at the movement to hyper-converged. Hyper-converged is about software, not hardware. Hyper-converged derive from being able to support all infrastructure in software, and without the need for separate dedicated hardware, such as a storage array or fibre channel switch. And, what is the core software technology in just about every hyper-converged product available today? VMware vSphere and the Software Defined Data Center.
VMware is disrupting the way that we have traditionally approached the data center. Fully virtualized infrastructure, delivered on a flexible mix of private and hybrid clouds. I'm sure you have all heard the mantra, "One Cloud, Any application, Any Device." This is the next evolution in data center technology and VMware continues to lead disruptive change with products like NSX for Software Defined Networking (SDN).
NSX like vSphere has had a slow adoption. I find myself having the same conversations with customers that I had when vSphere was introduced. You don't have to convince customers of the value of vSphere anymore. The speed of adoption is picking up and VMware saw an increase of threefold in the number of paying customers for its NSX network virtualization product and in Q4 of 2015 9 out of 10 VMware deals included NSX.
The NSX solution is an innovative approach to solving long-standing network provisioning bottlenecks within the data center, and it allows for the integration of switching, routing and upper-layer services into an integrated application and network orchestration platform. With an overlay solution that may not require hardware upgrades, NSX offers customers a potentially quicker way of taking advantage of SDN capabilities.
NSX is that disruptor in the networking industry bringing agility to existing network deployments with limited impact to existing network hardware and offering all of this without vendor lock-in. VMware NSX works across many IP-based network installations and in virtual environments running mainstream hypervisors and has established relationships with a broad set of IT vendor partners to provide integration of security and optimization solutions, as well as key network hardware players, such as Palo Alto, Arista Networks, Brocade, Dell, HP and Juniper Networks.
Remember back in the beginning of this blog where I quoted President Pamela Martinez as saying that some of the financial setbacks "are due to business challenges beyond our control and others are of our own making." Some challenges were of their own making. Remember too that disruptive innovation happens over a period of time. It took 10 years for Netflix to overtake Blockbuster. Could Blockbuster have moved quicker to insue their spot as the leader in the online movie rental industry? The same is true with VMware and vSphere. This disruptive innovation took time to take hold and now it is still a driving force to change the industry with SDDC.
VMware NSX is picking up steam and is in the heart of every hyper-converged to hybrid-cloud solution that companies are moving toward. The question is will you be disrupted or be part of the disruption? I want to be part of the disruption and drive change in an exciting time to be a part of this industry. Will you be disrupted or will you help disrupt? It's a call to action; To be the disruptive force that your company doesn't even know it needs because NSX will do for networking what vSphere did for compute.
Disrupt or be disrupted.
VMware this year has decided to make changes to their licensing in order to better address the needs of their customers. These new packages are tailored to the top use cases from VMware customers in both SDDC and Hybrid Cloud.
You should see increased value with more features in the product editions like log insight being included with vSphere now and added portability of your licenses.
New product line up for VMware vSphere and vSphere with Operations Management (vSOM) editions:
vCloud Suite (vCS) = vRealize Suite (vRS) + vSphere Enterprise Plus for vCloud Suite:
New vSphere and vSphere with Operations Management
See the VMware pricing page for further information.
vRealize Suite (vRS) and vCloud Suite (vCS) Update for Changes in 2016:
VMware has vastly simplified the packaging of their cloud management and compute virtualization product portfolio.
See the VMware Blog for indepth information.
It's that time again and I highly suggest joining in. Not only will you be a part of a great community learning new products but you'll get the chance to offer your input into the direction.
The target audience are customers who have deployed vSphere 5.5 and 6.0 in a portion of their environment. Participants are expected to:
vSphere Beta Program Overview
We are excited to announce the upcoming VMware vSphere Beta Program. This program enables participants to help define the direction of the most widely adopted industry-leading virtualization platform. Folks who want to participate in the program can now indicate their interest by filling out this simple form. The vSphere team will grant access to the program to selected candidates in stages. This vSphere Beta Program leverages a private Beta community to download software and share information. We will provide discussion forums, webinars, and service requests to enable you to share your feedback with us.
You can expect to download, install, and test vSphere Beta software in your environment or get invited to try new features in a VMware hosted environment. All testing is free-form and we encourage you to use our software in ways that interest you. This will provide us with valuable insight into how you use vSphere in real-world conditions and with real-world test cases, enabling us to better align our product with your business needs.
Some of the many reasons to participate in this beta opportunity:
You can register here!
With the advent of vSphere 6.0 Update 1 I knew it would be a matter of time until I was engaged to upgrade an environment. My customer had a small size vSphere 5.0 production environment that they wanted upgraded to 6.0. I met with them and helped to educate them on new features of 6.0 and designed an upgrade plan.
The customer, due to the new features of the vCenter, wanted to migrate to the vCenter Appliance and if you are not aware, the vCenter Appliance now supports the same infrastructure as the Windows based vCenter.
Some initial challenges I came across with migrating their infrastructure came around the design decisions that were made prior to the migration. Their vCenter server had the vCenter Database installed with the Windows based vCenter server which meant that I would not be able to migrate using the VCS to VCVA Converter. If you are not familiar with the product take a look at it here.
The product makes migrating a Windows based vCenter with an external database very simple. You deploy a new vCenter Appliance with the same name and IP as the current vCenter. Then you deploy the Migration Appliance. The Appliance will gather setting from the Windows vCenter. This is is then shut down and you point the appliance to the external vCenter Database. The security profiles, etc. are migrating into the new vCenter Appliance.
What I Learned
This was not my first upgrade and considering that the customer wanted to migrate to the vCenter Appliance I needed to make sure that all settings were brought over correctly.
Lesson 1 - Interoperability & Planning
One of the main areas I have seen get missed during the planning stage is performing the interoperability matrix's with vendors and VMware in order to make sure that the hardware you are upgrading is supported. Vendors have created some great online tools to perform this task although it can be time consuming it will save you troubleshooting the environment after upgrade.
Lesson 2 - VMware Supported Sign Off
Once you have your plan in place open a case with VMware to review the steps with you. They will take the time to review the environment and your upgrade plan to insure that you did not miss any steps.
Lesson 3 - Virtual Distributed Switches
Migrating the vDS from 5.0 to 6.0 will present challenges when migrating from a Windows based vCenter to an appliance. This can be accomplished in stages if you first upgrade to 5.5 and then export the vDS configuration and import it into the new appliance. (See KB2034602)
This process obviously adds to the complexities of an upgrade of this type and depending on the size of the environment it may be the direction to go if you really feel the need to migrate to the appliance.
With this particular environment being so small and no vDS in use due to license limitations I luckily didn’t have to deal with that scenario.
Lesson 4 - Easy Upgrade
Once the new appliance had been deployed the migration of the hosts and vms was pretty straight forward. Disconnect the hosts from the 5.0 Windows vCenter, add the hosts to the newly created vCenter 6.0 Appliance and place them in the new cluster.
At this point it’s just a matter of upgrading hosts and vms. I created a new upgrade baseline using the ESXi 6.0 Update 1 iso and attached that to the host that required the upgrade. This is only one of many upgrade paths to 6.0.
Don’t forget that you will need to have deployed the Update Manager. This is not supported on the same vm as the appliance so this will need to be installed on a separate vm. Note: The VCSA iso does not have the installer so you will need to download the the vCenter iso alongside the VCSA iso.
Here we are in the future that Back to the Future predicted and I find myself contemplating what the past really looked like compared to now for IT.
For those of you that live under a rock and have not seen the movies I will give a brief summarization of the second movie from the trilogy. In "Back to the Future Part II," Marty McFly travels to October 21, 2015, to save his children, yet to be born in "Back to the Future's" 1985.
The movie plot is tangled by fixing one thing, McFly, Doc Brown and the villainous Biff Tannen create a number of new mishaps but what remains is the film's vision of a year that was still more than a quarter-century away when the movie was shot and released in 1989.
In the IT realm of things I found myself reminiscing of what the data center looked like back in 1989 when the movie was released not to mention 1985 when the movie itself takes place. So, hold onto your hats, "Great Scott!!", we are going back to the past to revisit the data center before VMware's inception in 1998 and the impact we see today.
In order to bore my reader thoroughly I will give a brief history lesson on computing but don't worry I have added plenty of pictures to stimulate your brains. So, let's fire this blog up to 88 miles per hour and get to the past.
Arriving in the 1980s we find mainframe computers, whose components would take up the whole room had been joined by mini computers, where the components had been developed to such an extent everything could be housed in a single cabinet, even if these were still the size of commercial freezers.
During the 1980s, computer components were developed that were smaller and more powerful until eventually the microcomputer or desktop PC came to be developed. The early ones were sold in kit form mainly to home enthusiasts. Eventually, though, these became more reliable and software was developed that meant they found their way into businesses. Eventually the ‘dumb’ terminals connected to a mainframe computer were replaced with microcomputers, each with their own processors and hard drives. However, since this segmented information, issues of data integrity and duplication soon led to the development of networks of server and client microcomputers, and the servers often ended up housed in the computer rooms either alongside or instead of the mainframes and minicomputers, often in 19” rack mounts that resemble rows of lockers.
In 1985, IBM provided more than $30 million in products and support over the course of 5 years to a supercomputer facility established at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.
This is what the data center looked like in the 1980's and in the immortal words of Doc Brown, "Great Scott!".
Jumping back into the delorean and taking a quick trip forward to 1990's we find the data center is still evolving and microcomputers are now called “servers”. Companies started putting up server rooms inside their company walls with the availability of inexpensive networking equipment.
The biggest change in the nature of data centers comes as a result of the lifting of restrictions on the commercial use of the Internet.
Companies needed fast Internet connectivity and nonstop operation to deploy systems and establish a presence on the Internet and many companies started building very large facilities to provide businesses with a range of solutions for systems deployment and operation.
Enter the time of virtualization development. In 1998 VMware comes onto the scene with a patent for their virtualization platform and on February 8, 1999, VMware introduces the first x86 virtualization product, VMware Virtual Platform, based on earlier research by its founders at Stanford University.
The impact of this is not fully realized at the time but this event will change the future of data centers for ever, (see the timeline below).
The solution was a combination of binary translation and direct execution on the processor that allowed multiple guest OS's to run in full isolation on the same computer with readily affordable virtualization overhead.
Now let's hop back into that delorean and take one last trip to where we find ourselves today.
VMware started this revolution nearly 17 years ago, and is continuing to lead the industry in building out an operating system agnostic virtualization ecosystem to help companies transform their IT environments. Today there is no alternative that compares to VMware's performance, stability, ease of management, security, support, features and vast partner ecosystem.
I guess the big question now is what will the future hold for us in IT? The data center is now moving into the "cloud" with again VMware leading the charge with the idea of One Cloud, Any Application.
We have seen the data center shrink its footprint, hosting multiple virtual servers on an x86 platform. We have seen the transformation of the business computer or workstation with VDI. We have seen the virtualization of the storage with VSAN and VVOLs. We have seen the virtualization of the network with NSX and are seeing the transformation of companies into the cloud with vSphere Hybrid Cloud. We have also, see the transformation of applications and application mobility with containerization and virtualization of the applications.
What will the future hold for those of us lucky enough to bare witness to it? Only time will tell and I for one am off for one last adventure in the delorean to visit the future where Dell owns the world of computing.
I'll let everyone know how the stock does when they go public. See you all in the future.
VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger announced a new hybrid cloud strategy today along with a series of product updates, including a new version of vSphere, VSAN, VVOLs, a distribution of OpenStack and integrations of NSX with vCloudAir.
The new vision laid out by VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger is one of a "Seamless and Complete Picture," of Any Device, Any Application and One Cloud.
VMware spoke with their customers and found that they are looking for three key areas when it comes to IT:
With a foundation of vSphere 6.0 and new features including One Management, whether on premise or off, NSX built into vCloudAir, VSAN, and VVOLs the architecture is designed to bring a unified cloud. CEO Pat Gelsinger states that "customers increasingly need a software-defined infrastructure to enable the level of speed, agility and flexibility to respond to the challenges of IT."
VMware vSphere 6.0
VMware is raising the bar again with more than 650 new features in vSphere 6.0. Some of the newly announced features include:
With significant improvements in scale and functionality new features in VSAN include:
vSphere Virtual Volumes enable native virtual machine awareness on third-party storage systems along with VMware's Instant Clone technology for cloning and provisioning thousands of virtual machines to make a new virtual infrastructure.
OpenStack distribution will enable smaller IT departments with "little or no OpenStack or Linux experience" to deploy an OpenStack cloud within minutes.
NSX will enable customers to achieve unprecedented security and isolation in a cloud with new features and enhancements.
VMware's Any Device, Any Application and One Cloud approach lets customers utilize multiple clouds to securely accelerate IT while managing through a single environment.
VMware vSphere 6.0 is the next major release since 5.5 and with any major release it is packed with new features and enhancements along with increased scalability. This version comes with some big improvements to VSAN which I'll discuss below.
In vSphere 5.5 the maximum supported host memory was 4TB, in 6.0 that jumps up to 12TB. Also, in vSphere 5.5 the maximum supported number of logical (physical) CPUs per host was 320 CPUs, in vSphere 6.0 that is increased to 480 CPUs. The last improvement to the hosts is the maximum number of VMs per host, increasing from 512 in 5.5 to 1000 VMs per host in 6.0 This gives the ability to create some monster VMs.
Fault Tolerance Iprovements
Fault Tolerance (FT) was introduced in vSphere 4. FT provides protection of VMs by preventing downtime in case of a host failure. FT has never been greatly used due to its design preventing anyone that required multiple CPUs from utilizing FT. FT now supports more than one vCPU and moves from 1 vCPU to 4 vCPU support.
The design of FT has changed were the way FT worked in the past you had 2 VMs on separate hosts, one as a primary and the other as the secondary. The VMs relied on shared storage. In vSphere 6.0 this has now changed allowing for each VM to have their own virtual disk that can be located on different storage.
VMware also improved the prior limitations with snapshot support for FT. Having separate disks helped with this issue. Now that there is built in support for snapshotting a FT VM, you can back it up. Prior to this admins found themselves challenged with how to perform agentless backup while maintaining FT for the VMs requiring it. In order to backup the VMs requiring FT prior to 6.0 you had to install a backup agent and backup the vm in a more traditional manner.
vSphere Web Client Improvements
The web client has never been a favorite of admins and with the release of vSphere 6.0 VMware has made some great performance and usability improvements.
vCenter Server Appliance Improvements
I have never been a fan of having to burn Microsoft Licenses in order to deploy vCenter or the amount of time it takes to spin up a Windows OS to support it for both the application and SQL database. I loved it when VMware came out with the appliance for an easy ova deployment but the limitations in scalability and support have been the main driving factor for admins to not deploy this in their environments.
now in vSphere 6.0 the VCSA is fully scalable to the same limits that the vCenter Server on Windows scales to. This now means that the VCSA can support 1,000 hosts, 10,000 VMs and now linked mode.
VM Improvements in 6.0
Back in vSphere 5.5 a VM could be configured with up to 64 vCPUs and now in 6.0 that maximum has doubled to 128 vSPCUs. That is a crazy amount of vCPU.
Another increase for the VM is around serial ports. VMware saw a need for this and has increased from 4 to 32 ports that can be configured on a single VM. If you don't have a need for them then you can remove the serial ports and parallel ports as needed.
There have been a lot of new enhancements with vMotion technology to increase the range and capabilities of vMotioning a VM. You can now vMotion a VM between different types of virtual switches. VMs can be moved from a Standard vSwitch to a Distributed vSwitch without changing its IP address and without network disruptions.
With the improvements to vMotion you can now vMotion a VM from a host located in one vCenter server to another host on a different vCenter server. There is no need for common shared storage between the the hosts and vCenter servers. This eliminates the traditional distance boundaries of vMotion. You can now move between data centers, regional data centers or continental.
Another improvement to vMotion resides around latency requirements. In vSphere 5.5 the maximum vMotion latency was 10ms. In vSphere 6.0 that has increased to 100ms of latency. This allows for the vMotion of VMs between longer distances.
VMware vMotion also includes its own TCP/IP stack which can cross layer 3 networks.
Single Sign-on Improvements
n vSphere 6.0 VMware introduces a new Platform Services Controller. The controller groups together SSO, Licensing and Certificate authority. You can deploy this as embedded with vCenter server or external so that is completely independent of the vCenter server.
Certificate management has always been a pain for Administrators. With the introduction of VMCA, you can now manage the provisioning and deployment of certificates for you vCenter servers, and ESXi hosts.
Now in its 3rd release as of August of 2015, VSNA 6.1 has already seen adoption across different industries and sizes. This release adds abilities around availability data protection and management.
Virtual SAN Stretched Cluster allows admins to create a stretched cluster between two or more geographically separated data centers.
Another feature of this release is Virtual SAN for Remote Office or Branch Offices. This provides the ability to deploy VSAN clusters for ROBO. You can now deploy large numbers of 2-node VSAN clusters that can be centrally managed from a central data center through one vCenter server.
Some other new features include: