VMworld 2011 – General Session #2 with Steve Herrod

Live Blog and notes taken during the session

Steve Herrod, VMware CTO, presenting for the General Session 2.

One of the great changes is the shift from servers and technology to End Devices and Services.   Universal access to the environment is critical part of this.  As such these have high expectations compared to past environments in computing.   DUH! (Devices, Universal Access, High Expectations).

Directions that need to address the DUH is IT needs to simplify, manage and connect the end folks to the services they care about.   Desktop services will be need to be contained and compartmentalized.   This includes the full Desktop (View) or just the applications (Thinapp).   Now if we can separate the Desktop, the Applications and the Data apart from each other, powerful policies can do quite a bit.   Once this is done User/Application/Data policies can take place.

View is the direct solution to handle the Desktop Service.  Well known and announced View 5.0.

To handle applications ThinApp is the direction being followed.   There is a new service called ThinApp Factory as part of the application store.   This tool will help auto create ThinApp packages.   Fully automated creations of these packages following some recipes.

Project Octopus deals with the data service layer.  This is built around providing a dropbox equivalent services in an enterprise.  http://www.vmwareoctopus.com

Horizon has a Mobile piece that allows IT to securely gain access to the application space.   Along with that is the Mobile Virtual Machine space.   As part of pushing the access/application, can have a controlled/contained environment on the phone.

One of the great things coming is a feature called AppBlast.   It can present the application, not a full desktop to devices like an iThing.  This works on HTML5, not a custom unique protocol to deliver it.  So to edit an Excel presentation on an iPad, just connect to the internal IT and work with Excel.

vSphere 5 is the basis for all of this.   The HyperVisor is still not a commodity as many of these powerful features come from the fact that the base is solid and functional.

vSphere 5 can now handle 32 vCPUs, 1,000GB RAM, 1 Million per Host.  Melvin the Monster VM has come.

Some of the other great features are around performance guarantees. Storage IO assurance is good.   By creating Storage Pools, can organize by application, purpose, performance and other validations.  Once a pool is created, automation on placement can take place.   Along with that can perform DRS with Storage now using Storage VMotion.   This can be done automatically.   Setup the policies and forget about it as the infrastructure deals with it.

vSphere 5 allows the IT admin to now set Storage I/O Control to assure performance.  Dealing with the noisy neighbor is a significant issue to control as the central system in the hypervisor.  Along with that network I/O control has arrived also.

As the future comes to pass, one of the largest challenges is the IP problem.   Right now networking in the TCP/IP stack is built with Location = Identifier.   If a machine wants to move around, the location and Identifier are tied together.  For example moving a VM from an internal Cloud to an External Cloud the VM needs to be given a new IP.  This can be a very disruptive activity.

VMware has a solution now called VXLAN which is Virtual eXtensible LAN.   This technology has been worked on with Intel, Emulex, Cisco, Arista, Broadcom.   The spec has been sent to IETF.   This is a big step on the virtualization solution.   Once this tie has been broken cloud mobility becomes feasible and deliverable.

Management is the end game after a solid reportable infrastructure is available.   From there the approach is

  1. Monitor
  2. Correlate
  3. Remediate
At the end the focus is that End User Computing is making a major shift soon.   This shift is coming with massive improvements in the client experience into something that the clients actually want.  All this is possible by simplifying the layers under neath so time can be spent on this new functionality.   To do that management of these spaces needs to be come more automated.
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VMworld 2011 – Keynote with Paul Maritz

Live blog taken during the keynote.

The keynote started off with a beautiful Tron-3D stylized video talking about computing, virtualization, automation and ultimately the cloud.  Your cloud.  My cloud.

Hands on Labs started off as a private cloud onsite in 2008.   It went to a hybrid cloud solution using some offsite datacenters in 2009.  This year the labs are 100% public cloud in 3 datacenters in both US & Europe.   The goal is to handle 25,000 labs with over 250,000 VMs created and destroyed in less than 5 days. A truly scalable solution.

Another big point is the VMUG is over 60,000 strong across the entire world.  Thanks to all leaders for the great work they do.

Paul Maritz’s started off with some amazing information.   2009 was the first milestone where there is more virtual machines than physical machines.   This year the milestone broken is that more than 50% of workloads are now running on virtuals.

Some amazing achivements with some number playing:

  • 1 VM every 6 seconds
  • 20 million VMs
  • A VMotion every 5.5 seconds
  • 800,000 vSphere Admins
  • 68,000 VMware Certified Professionals

So what really is the cloud today?  Is this something new or something recycled?

A quick history lesson.

Applications started as glorified bookkeeping for finance.

Client Server
Relational Databases Started.   Whole new set of applications
New programing languages.   Primarily PC users.  Java, HTML, IP
ERP, CRM, Non-Real-Time analytics possible.

When the applications change, then the IT industry really changes.

In less than 3 years, the primary device connecting to the networks will be non-Windows OS instances. iPad, Droid, Etc.
New Data Fabrics, new frameworks, HTML5,
Real-time, high scale analytics and commerce – The Facebook generation

A fundamental shift is IT needs to shift from supporting the client server era & the mainframe era to renewing the applications into cloud frameworks and capabilities.   Spending in Client Server must become easier and cheaper.   In the meantime IT will bridge from existing modes of end-user access.

Server Virtualization is successful since we can add these functionality improvements without changing the apps.

vSphere 5.0 needs to just work.   To accomplish this VMware QA is extensively done:

  • >1 million engineering hours
  • >2 million QA hours
  • 200 new features
  • 2,000 partner certifications

By delivering this heavily QAed solution, less effort must be taken to keep the infrastructure up and running which in turn means less cost to the businesses.   They can spend the money on new features, new frameworks and redeveloped applications instead of back end support costs.

In the vCloud, Service Providers are creating powerful vertical clouds for their industries.   New York Stock Exchange is a good example.  High end solutions that are gaining large interest by many clients.  On the smaller end, Small Business Solutions are coming as “datacenter in a box” with the Storage Virtual Appliance now.  Another vertical cloud is the SMB space and one solution there is the VMware GO.   SaaS solution to provide functionality for the small SMBs.

New programs are written by young programmers, not older ones (>35).  They are developing new frameworks and tools to make things easier.   As such tools like Spring in vFabric 5 with things like tc server, GemFire & SQLFire, VMware aims to offer a full solution of ways to modernize applications along with creating a data fabrics.  The newly announced tool is VMware Data Director to automatically provision and manage databases.  The other third is the PaaS suite to deliver the new application.   Cloud Foundry covers this space.   It supports all sorts of frameworks and tools.

Moving up the stack for support of end user computing/Existing PC usage.   View 5.0 officially announced.  Horizon is the other piece in this layer.  Windows offered some great functionality to the end clients.  Delivery of the applications is a huge piece of that functionality.   Horizon offers a new way to deliver applications.  How do you deliver this to a iPhone, Droid, iPad etc?

Paul believes that we are entering a post document world.

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Conference Fun with WiFi

Its always interesting to look at some of the things people do for their personal devices. At the VMworld conference I found these wifi points. So we have someone who feels something is overweight and apparently someone that believes they work for the Mob.

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VMworld 2011 – Its on

After much work and challenge, I have been able to get a VMworld Pass, a Plane Ticket and by the generosity of some wonderful VMware Peeps, a room to crash in.  At this point I’m digging into and attempting to find sessions that I’d like to try to go to and getting packed to go.   The late entry obviously will make getting into some of these great sessions nearly impossible, and I’ll just have to make due.

After it’s all said and done, this trip will still be worth it all.  I look forward to seeing all the vExperts, Wizards, Stalkers and vEverything folks that I’ve met and look forward to meeting new ones.  See you there.

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Vendor Minimum Requirements

Recently I was pulled into a slow performance issue with a VM. After looking at the standard metrics of value and seeing that none of them were really bad, I started asking some more questions.  We contacted the vendor and they asked a bunch of questions back.  Of course we responded being very transparent and the vendor came back and said your performance problem is due to the fact that your CPUs aren’t 3.0Ghz or better.  Now since we use AMD, this doesn’t surprise me though none of our testing matched up to the claims the vendor made around 30% increase by using this new functionality.  Our numbers say zero change in performance.  So I pushed back and started reading on the requirements and this is what they list.

Vendor Minimum Requirements

3.0Ghz Minimum


This is great to say and is a wonderful cop out by the support team.

“Oh wait, you don’t have a 3.0Ghz box”
“Ok, what model?”
“Doesn’t matter, must be 3.0Ghz or faster”
“Alright, so will my 3.0Ghz Pentium 4 that’s 5+ years old be fast enough?”

Try again vendor.   Be accurate and precise with your data and information at time of document creation with the expectation to deliver the right information to deliver a functional, quality product.

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VMware still supporting DOS

Just saw the release of the 28 July 2011 patches for ESX(i) and in the list fixed is this little nugget.

When you use Altiris DOS boot disk and PXE boot a
virtual machine running on ESX 4.1 with flexible
adapter, the virtual machine might fail to start when it
attempts to load MS‐DOS LAN Manager NetBind.

VMware is still supporting DOS long after Microsoft has sent it to the curb.  I know several Fortune 1000 companies that still have DOS applications that they need to run that are critical to the business processes.   What other top notch hypervisors support DOS still?

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John Troyer – A Leader by Example

One of the challenges any leader has is how to motivate and encourage people to contribute their time and energy to a cause. This can be done a variety of ways and a company that wants to foster a community needs someone that can use all of them.  Often a community forum is setup early on to help create a hangout location for their customers to share successes.   These forums will start out strong and then peter out after a short period of time.  The initial contributors don’t feel thanked for their work, get discouraged and leave.  People stop coming to the forums since their questions don’t get answered and its a vicious cycle.  VMware’s community has managed to avoid this downward trend and is the strongest I’ve ever seen.

John Troyer is one of the great leaders at VMware who has helped foster the vExpert community and kept it alive and well.    He encourages, thanks and helps supply these Experts with the recognition that a strong community needs.  A ground breaker who connects with the community through podcasts, Twitter, forums and emails showing that our work is not ignored.   He is out there responding to questions, posting challenges to start a new meme on Twitter and podcasting about the topics on people’s minds constantly.  He helps show that our efforts are one of the things that makes VMware stronger day by day.  He brings to light that VMware appreciates our work and ultimately appreciates us.

Thanks John for the tons of work you do day to day helping connect with the VMware evangelists and die-hards.   Thanks for all the work you’ve done to make the vExpert program reward those that spend their free time making VMware better for everyone.


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vSphere 5 Licensing – Enterprise Viewpoint

Every since “Raising The Bar” announcement of vSphere 5 and its associated changes, the blogosphere has been running rampant about Licensing both for and against.   Some of the blog postings I see make some good points like CPU core count is no longer a metric to care about with VMware. There’s opinions on every side of the fence on this topic.   The one thing I haven’t seen is a discussion around companies that have already hit the 80+% virtualized space.   How does this licensing change affect them now that they are going after big hitters and larger systems such as SharePoint 2010, Exchange 2010 and tools like Autonomy or Lync?

I’ve been running the numbers of my environment and the initial numbers look good for the current time.

Counting physical cpu's and vRAM in your environment....
pCpu Count: 364
vRAM (GB):  7104
Resulting license options:

Edition         Entitlement           Licenses                                                
-------         -----------           --------                                                
[...]Standard   1 pCpu + 24 GB vRAM   364 with 1632 GB vRAM overhead                           
Enterprise      1 pCpu + 32 GB vRAM   364 with 4544 GB vRAM overhead                          
Enterprise Plus 1 pCpu + 48 GB vRAM   364 with 10368 GB vRAM overhead

Let’s cover the assumptions going forward into this post.

  • Every socket that runs ESXi must have a corresponding license even if you don’t need the vRAM
  • vRAM is only counted as allocated for Powered On VMs

Through much work, my environment has hit close to 87% virtualized for x86 workloads. We have eliminated all the low hanging fruit of 1 or 2 vCPU and <8G of RAM machines.  The new systems coming in on average are 4-8 vCPU and 16-32G of RAM minimum as they are bigger efforts and larger projects in general.  In one case they were seriously debating putting the project on hold to wait for vSphere 5 and the 12+ vCPU sizing.

That being said, I’ll cover some numbers in just a large discussion point view.  If there’s interest I’ll look at going into each of these unique projects in more detail in later blog posts.

Exchange 2010

This environment is looking at deploying 14 hosts total with 66 VMs spread across multiple campuses.

  • 14 Hosts with 256G of pRAM and 4 sockets each.
  • Each VM is allocated 32G of vRAM.
  • Host Clusters are setup at a 4+1 HA configuration.
  • Dedicated Host Cluster for this application deploy.

This sets up this situation…

14 Hosts with 4 sockets each = 56 sockets of Enterprise+
56 sockets of Enterprise+ * 48G of vRAM per Enterprise+ = 2,688G of vRAM available

66 VMs at 32G of vRAM each = 2,112G of vRAM needed

The results of this means that the environment has a surplus of 576G of vRAM to share out.  No difference in pricing between deploying on vSphere 4 or vSphere 5.


This environment is looking at deploying 10 hosts total with 60 VMs.

  • 10 Hosts with 384G of pRAM and 4 sockets each.
  • Each VM is allocated 48G of vRAM.
  • Host Clusters are setup at a 4+1 HA configuration.
  • Dedicated Host Cluster for this application deploy.

This sets up this situation…

10 Hosts with 4 sockets each = 40 sockets of Enterprise+
40 sockets of Enterprise+ * 48G of vRAM per Enterprise+ = 1,920G of vRAM available

60 VMs at 48G of vRAM each = 2,880G of vRAM needed

The results of this means that the environment has a deficit of 960G of vRAM.  This is the same as needing to purchase 20 more licenses of Enterprise+ to make up the vRAM difference.   At the list price of $3,495 (before discount) it will add $69,900 unless the environment can make up this difference.

This project is a hard sell to be virtual and this additional $70k would have pushed the project to go physical as it would have ultimately been cheaper in the initial capital costs.


Depending on the project and how much older hardware is available in the environment today, vRAM isn’t something to fret about today.  In the future this will offer up some challenges to justify making something that should run just fine as a virtual into a VM.  OS instances only get larger as we go into Tier 1 type of applications.   VMware needs to weigh getting a tad bit more revenue over having ideal case studies like this environment available of over 90% virtual.  They can address this by raising up the vRAM on the high end licenses to 64G+ of vRAM, allow me to buy vRAM increments or make an ELA be reasonably priced enough to keep the physical-lovers at bay.   If VMware is happy with companies just going to 80% then they are there.   If they want to get to the Tier 1, business stopping, critical applications in the larger corporations, they need to consider how to not have the vRAM be a detriment to internal discussions.

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100k vMotions in Production

I logged into the environment and was checking some things out and we just recently broke a rather important milestone.

In our production environment one of our oldest clusters just broke 100,000 vMotions (or more accurately since they aren’t at ESXi 4.1U1 yet, VMotions).

100k vMotion Summary This cluster has weathered the ups and downs of a functional vSphere cluster with hosts going into an out of Maintenance Mode, Hardware failures and general maintenance.  This cluster we had over allocated on CPU for a couple months per our standard policy, though we got no real complaints about performance there.  We have since updated that policy and I’m sure the number of vMotions has slowed down somewhat.

Just proof that vMotions/DRS & the entire vSphere solution is valid and solid.  Here’s to another 100k vMotions.

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Maybe its time for a new job.

I got back from a 10 day vacation where I was completely disconnected from work.  The work emails started getting downloaded and the initial filter went through them.

666 emails in the inbox

I have 666 unread ones in my inbox.  Maybe its time to think about another job.

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