VMworld 2010 – General Session – Live Blogging

Hello one and all.   Its a Live Blog going down today.   Enjoy the live blogging and check out @iankoenig on twitter for even more live information.

Update 9:04am:

Hanging out with Virtualization-spotlight.com owner chatting about the cloud.   Waiting for the session to start.  What coolness do we have this year?

Update: 9:10am:

The opening presentation video asks the great question of “What is the cloud?”.   A cute Matrix like fun here.. A great quote:

  • The cloud is in your mind from the Oracle (not that company that needs some help)

    The Oracle from Matrix Defining the Cloud

    The Oracle from Matrix Defining the Cloud

17,021 total as of Monday night
55 people attended all 7 VMworlds – The Alumni Elite

Update: 9:27am

Virtual Roads.  Actual Clouds.   The theme this year.

Starting down this road and it is a journey:

Most customers start with cost efficiency.   They find that money savings are huge.   As they use it they find out that VMs are easier to manage and use.

The next step is Quality of Service.   Businesses find out that can get more reliability without the high cost of delivery.  Many applications run better as virtual machines.  Sharepoint/Exchange are mentioned all the time to VMware that it is better.

The latest step this year is IT as a Service (ITaaS).  Phase 3 is all about agility.  How can IT offer computer resources for giving the business the ability to quickly consume these resources to get to value faster is the question?

IT as a Service == Optimizing IT production for business consumption.

Update 9:30am:

Some of the great innovations is that by having OS instances that aren’t owning the hardware means you have options.   Large change in how IT addresses computing.

Can start talking about the computer food groups of compute, storage, network, security and work on decreasing OpEx and enhancing security.   One item that has been missing out of this has been security and is now a serious focus by VMware.

Now because we can separate from hardware and have defined what a datacenter is we can start abstracting away from the datacenter itself and virtualize that.

Realistically Hybrid Cloud is the right approach by Paul Martiz.    We need management.   We need standards.

Update 9:39am:

The current solutions really address the old applications and approaches.   The next true step is how can we make new applications more scalable and cloud friendly.   So a new application platform needs to be defined and delivered.   What are the common services they need?

Common Management, Common Services and Open frameworks.  These frameworks have to be able to handle whatever programming languages are coming.   Every time you tie to a language someone will come along with a new language that solves some problem.  Need to stay away form that wherever we can.

These Frameworks also need to connect to different clouds.   Google App Engine, vmForce, vCloud.

Update 9:47am:

Different devices are coming into the business environment.   IT has no choice on this.  It will come one way or another and IT will need to figure out how to deliver secure, manageable approaches.   iPads are coming in over night.

The third layer of innovation needed called “New End User Access”.  This is the stack that is now the new IT one for the cloud era.

Update 9:51am:

Steve Herrod’s turn to show the details of the theory from Paul Maritz.

Again vSphere is the basis of this all.   Can really deliver and is getting better and faster on every release.   Policy driven SLAs with Network IO control and Storage IO control.   If you know about vSphere 4.1 already this part is a good review.

Integrien, the acquisition of the day.   VMware is buying them for their proactive heatmap style management and allocation.   This is a new style of management to show the tons of information in easier to process displays.   Very graphical.

Update 10:02am:

Herrod:  For IT as a Service is key about moving to offering an “App Store” for clients at the business.    They want services, not VMs.   They want a database server, web server.  Not a Windows/Linux/Unix box generally.

Virtual Datacenters are a key way to discuss this.   To provide the services you define the SLAs an function of that datacenter.   So you can setup just what you need and what levels are necessary.

vCloud Director is live.   This is the key management tool for this entire environment.

Update 10:12am:

vShield platform is a critical to making the Cloud work.   Need a common set of services that will offer some basic security available everywhere.  This is both on the private and the public cloud.  vCloud Director is on both sides of the fence and offers the same functionality everywhere and can span the private to the public in a secure way.

Update 10:26am:

Now we are on the Application platform layer and is what vFabric is all about.  It is a common set of services available to make new application cloud friendly.   The great thing about this is it will work with Ruby, Python, Java etc.

Update 10:27am:

The final area is the End User Computing experience.   View 4.5 is the part of modernizing the desktop direction.   Released today.   View 4.5 has the ability to lower the cost of acquistion below $500 a system which is below the physical desktop costs.

The now is to call User-centric IT.   We need to get away from PC Centric.  Most consumers are use to using any device.  Why not move to User focused?

Project Horizon demo going on.   This is focused around User-Centric IT.   This allows you to have whatever applications you are licensed are immediately provisioned to your virtual workstation.   Single sign on and user focused.  Not device.  Some applications may not work well on a given devices.

A good demo of View iPad client with Project Horizon.    This is the future of IT.

Update: 3 Sept 2010 – Fixed the company name (Integrien) that VMware bought

Lab Manager is dead.. Long Live Lab Manager

VMware has announced the new product VMware vCloud Director (vCD from now on).   I’ve read the early blog posts and been in some conversations and know at this point I just can’t give it any justice.   The short view it is virtualizing a datacenter into software and then managing at that layer.  After spending close to 2 hours both taking the vCD install lab (which was fantastic to show you the concepts by the way) and then talking with a brilliant individual from the vCloud Team (Paul from the APAC region), I know I need to chew on vCD a bit longer.   Thankfully Yellow-Bricks has done an excellent write-up to give you a short intro to this new product offering.

VMware vCloud Director (vCD)

So go read it and come back.    Pretty powerful stuff even at a 1.0.

If you are familiar with the concepts of organizations, VM Templates, network Fencing and self service that are presented from Lab Manager, you will quickly get about 75% of vCD.   The other 25% is coming from Chargeback and vOrchestrator capabilities.  The challenge with Lab Manager is being able to run true production out of it.   The management is a bit limiting and constrained by size.   vCD takes all those concepts and adds a few more and pushes up the scalability to Service Provider size where you need to deal with limits of 4095 VLANs and Petabytes of storage.

Does this mean that an SMB can’t use vCD.  I don’t believe so.   When I look at this I easily see Lab Manager as dead now.   Why spend any resources on a less functional, less useful, more limited product when you have something you just need to right size in licensing for someone that needs to use it for a “Lab Manager style Test/Dev” environment?   vCD can do everything we do in Lab Manager today along with being able to have production right next to it in the same management interface.

Lab Manager is Dead.   Long Live Lab Manager.

Cloud Application Platform – vFabric at VMworld 2010

Just announced at VMworld 2010 is the “Cloud Application Platform” layer in the new focus for VMware.   This layer covers the Spring Source functionality, Hyperic monitoring solution and the new vFabric solution.   The focus of this is around the New Applications that you develop or bring into the business.

The Spring framework and the Hyperic are fairly well known on the web.  As such I’m not going to take much time on this.   The key in this is that this layer is all about the primitives available to developers in an easy to use and reasonable standardized way.   Development speed now is extremely important even more so than in the past.   Part of what drives this is the popularity of the scripting/interpreted style languages.   One reason is the speed of development.   The other is the wide variety of libraries/APIs that are easy to use to do what is needed in the application.

The vFabric solution from VMware at its core is going to be a framework including monitoring interfaces of Cloud Friendly primitives.  This API will help the development of those new applications to be Cloud ready.   At this time it is broken into two different groups of services.

Spring Frameworks & Tools will include the following primitives:

  • Rich Web interfaces
  • Integration Services
  • Batch processing
  • Data Access
  • Social Media (not just Facebook/Twitter)
  • Cloud APIs

Some of the Common System Services:

  • Application Management & Monitoring (Hyperic)
  • Data Management (GemFire for non-lasting data)
  • Messaging (RabbitMQ)
  • Dynamic Load Balancing
  • Web Server (tc Server)

One key thing is these are for programming a new application which is Cloud ready and friendly.   Not just a VMware Cloud.   Any cloud that offers a reasonable amount of functionality via APIs should be able to run these frameworks.   The vFabric solution is being developed to work with the private Cloud, vmForce and development is ongoing with Google to allow vFabric applications in the Google App Engine.

The last piece of of this is that one of the design goals is to have vFabric work with Java, Ruby and other languages.   This should not be limited to just one language.

vFabric offers a strong direction to improve development functionality for companies and allow IT to spend less time provisioning everything.  Instead just deliver a common platform and manage the apps, not the infrastructure.

EA7849 – Exchange Server 2010 on vSphere

Hanging out checking out some information on Exchange and decided to hit this session.   My company is looking at upgrading and since we are going to Exchange 2010, I’d like to get us virtual on vSphere if we can make it happen.   Alex Fontana, our presenter, is a Microsoft Technical Specialist for VMware.

The trend has been clients have been pushing to virtualize Tier-1 apps such Exchange.   At VMworld 2007, Dell had a Exchange 2003 performance study.   VMworld 2008 introduced the SVVP program along with Exchange 2007 performance white papers.  Along with the early adopters pushing the envelope, Exchange has improved its approach to disk access every release.   It requires less and less IOPS in each release and still provide acceptable performance.

Over the years ESX has been improving and offering less overhead versus native performance in every release.   Starting with ESX 2 which had anywhere from a possible 30-60% overhead costs to now ESX 4 which is <7% . This along with better hardware generations every 18 months has given even more performance.

This is backed by some performance tests done.   In general the virtual has been within 5% of the the physical in a scale up test.   In a private vSphere Cloud spread across the US, when using DRS, have seen about an overall 18% improvement in system performance versus not enabling DRS on the cluster with Exchange in it.

Some of the best practices mentioned:

  • Go with a basic 1-1 ratio of vCPUs to pCPUs to start with.  Scale out after monitoring to make sure performance is acceptable.  Basically don’t go with over subscription if possible.
  • Don’t over  commit memory until steady state is stable and available RAM
  • Spread the heavy I/O systems across several LUNs
  • Use eagerthickzero VMDK files (Option at time of creation, select enable for FT in vSphere 4.x GUI)
  • RDMs are not any better than VMFS.   VMFS can’t do quorums though.  Performance of VMFS is typically a little bit faster.
  • Use VMXnet3 driver – highly optimized performance in both lower CPU and TOE
  • Note:  VMware does support VMotion/DRS for Microsoft Cluster Nodes.   Cold migration does work fine though.

Exchange has a variety of requirements matrixes for which Exchange 2010 server role is needed.  As long as the requriements matrix is followed for each role, the VMs should be scaled properly.   In that requirements is a discussion around Megacycles.   Need to generate that to scale properly.  Some key notes is that Mailbox roles shouldnt’ go above 70% utilization.   The recommendation is to use the Exchange 2010 Mailbox Server Role Requirements Calculator.   Especially around the database availability groups (DAG) going on.

As you design your Exchange 2010 need to keep in account the limitations of vSphere Configuration Maximums.   One additional one is keep the DAG under 1TB a piece to say under the 2TB limits of each VMFS volume.  Along with that be sure to take into account passive databases in DAG setups.

There is a large set of good slides to cover various VMware products and how they work with Microsoft clustering and DAGs.   Things like SRM functionality and vMotion and HA.   Definitely more details in the slides than I will cover here.

Exchange 2010 is nicely VSS friendly and as such can take array based backups quickly and painlessly offline.   It can easily have a 10 second backup window where we have impact on the Exchange systems.

At the end of the day we need to define what level of availability do we need?   What are the SLAs?   What level of corruption do we need to be concerned about?   Can recovery be manual or does this need to be automated and why?   Can we use VMware features or do we need to use the Exchange features?

VMworld 2010 – The Future Here & Now

The year, the past.

The place, a convention in a week.

I’m prepped.  I’m ready.  I’m excited.  I’m nervous.  I’ve got a presentation I’m going to do.  There’s going to be tons of announcements and product releases.   I’m working myself into a frenzy about everything that’s going to happen and things I need to be ready for and and and…

Needless to say at this point I need a stiff drink.  My friends know that doesn’t work so they come over and we start talking.   Lots of silliness in-sued and stress occurred.  Something fun that came out of that stress release is a game that I like to do about the next convention I’m heading to.

Rules of the Prophecy Game:

  1. You get a point for each item you bring up first that happens.
  2. If it is NDA, can’t mention it.   No fair to the game as you already know the announcement and we don’t want you getting in trouble.
  3. If it is massively public knowledge, you can say it, you just don’t get points for it coming true.  (Team vote if prophecy is public knowledge already.)
  4. Winner at end of convention for most points gets crowned “Oracle of VMworld2010″.

What do I think that will happen at VMworld 2010?

  • Number of Booths with uninformed Booth Babes/Dudes will be less than VMworld2009
  • Session turnout will be smaller on average than last year
  • iPad is the raffle gift of choice this year (a gimme I know)
  • EMC will show some incredible tech (VPLEX) that will encourage VMware to one-up it
  • vD0dgeball will have a significant turnout of vSquirrels, vSpecialists and just everyone
    • vSpecialists are going to win 5 out of 9 games
  • Symantec will have some new product that will attempt to replace some VMware supplied tech and be rather disruptive to your environment again instead of using APIs supplied
  • Citrix or Microsoft will have some marketing approach that is rather childish
  • Lots of VMware announcements about the Ionix acquisition
  • Twitter will hit a good 30k tweets in #vmworld
  • @jTroyer will get 2 hours of sleep a night all week
  • @Lynxbat will announce some cool enhancement to a virtual appliance

That being said here’s my prophecies on VMware’s product line and keynotes:

  • Will announce general availability of VMware’s first Cloud Delivery Tool (Likely called Service Director) for your own private cloud
  • Announce cross datacenter vMotion & Storage vMotion capabilities
  • VMware will purchase Teradici for $50mil
  • Will announce VMware is getting into selling servers (everyone else is doing it why not VMware?)
  • View 4.next will finally go GA
  • VMware join the battle to buy 3Par

What do you think will happen at VMworld 2010?