Random Short Take #7

Here are a few links to some random things that I think might be useful, to someone. Maybe.

Brisbane VMUG – December 2014

The final Brisbane VMUG of the year will be a vBeers event sponsored by Nutanix. It will be held on Thursday 18th December at the Story Bridge Hotel (Martini Room) from 2 – 4 pm. Here’s the agenda:

  • How You Can Actually Virtualise ‘Everything’
  • Demonstrating True Business Benefits, Including How Langs Achieved 53% Lower IT TCO
  • Virtualisation Challenges and Best Practices for Delivering Web-Scale at Any Scale
  • Q&A with vBeers!

Guest Speakers are Matt Day, IT Manager, Langs Building Supplies for EUC and Josh Odgers, VCDX#90, Senior Solutions & Performance Engineer, Nutanix. You can register here. I hope to see you there.

VMware – VMworld 2014 – VAPP3031-SPO – Deploying Web-Scale Converged Infrastructure: Software Defined Storage for the Real World

Disclaimer: I recently attended VMworld 2014 – SF.  My flights and accommodation were paid for by myself, however VMware provided me with a free pass to the conference and various bits of swag. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated in any way for my time at the event.  Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.


VAPP3031-SPO – Deploying Web-Scale Converged Infrastructure: Software Defined Storage for the Real World

VAPP3031-SPO was the last session today and, while it was sponsored by Nutanix, I found it reasonably useful to get a customer’s perspective on things, so I figured I’d at least write up my notes.

It was presented by:

  • Sachin Chheda, Nutanix – Director of Product Marketing
  • Ali Alladin, Williams-Sonoma – Global Director of Enterprise Infrastructure
  • Dan Gorman, Williams-Sonoma – Senior Enterprise IT Architect

Williams-Sonoma are best known for the Pottery Barn range of stores, but they do a bit more than that. You can check them out here.

Nutanix, of course, are pretty well known. They were founded in 2009, and are now shipping the 4th version of their OS. Their stated goal is to “deliver IT infrastructure that delivers the scale of Google, Facebook, etc to enterprise IT”.

So what’s webscale?

  • Scale one x86 server at a time
  • Smart software, commodity hardware
  • Highly distributed software
  • Storage is local
  • Heavily automated

So what is it not?

  • Vanity hardware
  • Islands of storage
  • Unused, over-provisioned resources
  • North-south network traffic
  • Lots of server and storage admins

Nutanix are also focussed on what they call “VMCaliber Operations”

  • Meet SLAs and provide cost-effective DR
  • VM and infrastructure insight
  • Non-disruptive operations

Sachin provided a brief explanation of the architecture, and then handed over to the Williams-Sonoma guys.

Their business is multi-channel, multi-brand – retail stores, catalogue, on-line. It’s therefore a complex IT infrastructure and they need to be reactive.

What drove the move to Nutanix?

  • Moving to 100% virtualised infrastructure
  • Converged infrastructure
  • Deploy infrastructure for remote and branch offices

Looked at standalone, Open Compute Project, and FlexPod, but they needed a FRU model. They also had a lot of infrastructure silos.

They needed efficiency and ease of management, also needed replication. It also needed to

  • Deliver performance
  • Scale linearly
  • Avoid noisy neighbours

For workloads such as:

  • e-commerce
  • communications and collaboration
  • Business intelligence

With Nutanix they got:

  • Resiliency and availability
  • Tiering and data localisation
  • VM management and protection

The criteria was provide a consistent repeatable infrastructure design that was designed to survive failure.

So they did a PoC and it did what it said it would. Happy days.

They now have an IaaS model that their business units understand. They’re aiming to have an internal private cloud on Nutanix, and want to be able to scale in any direction as business changes.

One thing they did need to do was rethink management. The PRISM UI has plenty of pretty things to look at though. and they could also integrate REST API with tools such as PERL.

Some of the advantages realised included:

  • Scalability
  • Productivity
  • Availability
  • Predictable performance
  • FRU-model

I liked this approach:

You can’t be efficient if you keep putting yourself in the loop. You need to start with intelligent IT infrastructure.

Lessons learnt:

  • Pay attention to your apps and the IO and data flow
  • Build a reasonable level of competency
  • Continue building out our service model
  • Automate more functions
  • Evaluate new workloads such as big data

In conclusion:

  • Find out your requirements – efficiency and scalability should be on your list
  • Be thorough – investigate all of your options
  • Remove yourself from the equation – rely on dashboards, automate where possible.

There were some nice customer insights here, without too much marketing fluff. 3.5 stars.

VMware vExpert 2013

I’m a bit behind at the moment, but I wanted to take a moment to say thank you to John Troyer, Corey Romero and the folks in the VMware Social Media & Community Team for leaving me on the list for vExpert 2013. It’s a long list, and you’ll notice a lot of familiar names on there. So, thanks.


It’s also been really cool to see the rest of the community kick in with some goodies for vExperts. TrainSignal have come through with a year’s free training for vExperts – which I think is really quite awesome. You can also sign up for a free trial here – worth checking out.


Tintri have also ponied up with some shirts.


And this morning Proximal Data announced that vExperts could help themselves to a free one-year AutoCache license.


I’m also hearing rumours of good things to be had if you make it to VMworld this year as well. So, you know, good for me ;)

But it’s not really about that, it’s about community contribution, and I’m humbled and honoured to be part of it all for the first time this year.

[Update: 06/06/2013, 07:00]

Bas tweeted about a pint glass for vExperts. Now that’s something I can make good use of.