Random Short Take #32

Welcome to Random Short Take #32. Lot of good players have worn 32 in the NBA. I’m a big fan of Magic Johnson, but honourable mentions go to Jimmer Fredette and Blake Griffin. It’s a bit of a weird time around the world at the moment, but let’s get to it.

  • Veeam 10 was finally announced a little while ago and is now available for deployment. I work for a service provider, and we use Veeam, so this article from Anthony was just what I was after. There’s a What’s New article from Veeam you can view here too.
  • I like charts, and I like Apple laptops, so this chart was a real treat. The lack of ports is nice to look at, I guess, but carrying a bag of dongles around with me is a bit of a pain.
  • VMware recently made some big announcements around vSphere 7, amongst other things. Ather Beg did a great job of breaking down the important bits. If you like to watch videos, this series from VMware’s recent presentations at Tech Field Day 21 is extremely informative.
  • Speaking of VMware Cloud Foundation, Cormac Hogan recently wrote a great article on getting started with VCF 4.0. If you’re new to VCF – this is a great resource.
  • Leaseweb Global recently announced the availability of 2nd Generation AMD EPYC powered hosts as part of its offering. I had a chance to speak with Mathijs Heikamph about it a little while ago. One of the most interesting things he said, when I questioned him about the market appetite for dedicated servers, was “[t]here’s no beating a dedicated server when you know the workload”. You can read the press release here.
  • This article is just … ugh. I used to feel a little sorry for businesses being disrupted by new technologies. My sympathy is rapidly diminishing though.
  • There’s a whole bunch of misinformation on the Internet about COVID-19 at the moment, but sometimes a useful nugget pops up. This article from Kieren McCarthy over at El Reg delivers some great tips on working from home – something more and more of us (at least in the tech industry) are doing right now. It’s not all about having a great webcam or killer standup desk.
  • Speaking of things to do when you’re working at home, JB posted a handy note on what he’s doing when it comes to lifting weights and getting in some regular exercise. I’ve been using this opportunity to get back into garage weights, but apparently it’s important to lift stuff more than once a month.

VMware – vExpert 2020

I’m very happy to have been listed as a vExpert for 2020. This is the eighth time that they’ve forgotten to delete my name from the list (I’m like Rick Astley with that joke). Read about it here, and more news about this year’s programme is coming shortly. Thanks again to Corey Romero and the rest of the VMware Social Media & Community Team for making this kind of thing happen. And thanks also to the vExpert community for being such a great community to be part of. There are now 1730 of us in over 40 countries. I think that’s pretty cool.

Brisbane VMUG – February 2020

hero_vmug_express_2011

The February edition of the Brisbane VMUG meeting (and first for 2020) will be held on Tuesday 18th February at Fishburners (Level 2, 155 Queen Street) from 4 – 6pm. It’s sponsored by Zerto and promises to be a great afternoon.

Here’s the agenda:

  • VMUG Intro
  • VMware Presentation
  • Zerto Presentation: Leveraging Azure Cloud and VMware with no disruption and fully orchestrated fail-over capabilities with Zerto’s Continuous Data Replication. Also learn about what’s new for Azure here in Australia with the imminent release of incremental snapshots of Azure’s managed disks and what this means for Zerto users.
  • Q&A
  • Refreshments and drinks post-event.

Zerto has gone to great lengths to make sure this will be a fun and informative session and I’m really looking forward to hearing about what’s happening with Continuous Data Replication. You can find out more information and register for the event here. I hope to see you there. Also, if you’re interested in sponsoring one of these events, please get in touch with me and I can help make it happen.

Random Short Take #26

Welcome to my semi-regular, random news post in a short format. This is #26. I was going to start naming them after my favourite basketball players. This one could be the Korver edition, for example. I don’t think that’ll last though. We’ll see. I’ll stop rambling now.

Brisbane VMUG – November 2019

hero_vmug_express_2011

The November 2019 edition of the Brisbane VMUG meeting will be held on Tuesday 26th November at Fishburners from 4pm – 6pm. It’s sponsored by VMware and promises to be a great afternoon.

Here’s the agenda:

  • VMUG Intro
  • VMware Presentation: VMware the network company! A presentation by Francois Prowse
  • Q&A
  • Refreshments and drinks

Join us for an end of year celebration to thank the VMUG community for all their efforts in 2019 as well as hearing from VMware from a different perspective. You can find out more information and register for the event here. I hope to see you there. Also, if you’re interested in sponsoring one of these events, please get in touch with me and I can help make it happen.

Brisbane VMUG – October 2019

hero_vmug_express_2011

*Update – This meeting has now been moved to the 15th October. 

The October 2019 edition of the Brisbane VMUG meeting will be held on Tuesday 8th October at Fishburners (Level 2, 155 Queen St, Brisbane) from 4pm – 6pm. It’s sponsored by Rubrik and promises to be a great afternoon.

Here’s the agenda:

  • VMUG Intro
  • VMware Presentation
  • Rubrik Presentation: Automating VM Protection in Rubrik with vSphere Tags (and other cool stuff….)
  • Q&A
  • Refreshments and drinks post-event.

Rubrik have gone to great lengths to make sure this will be a fun and informative session and I’m really looking forward to hearing about their solution. After the VMUG wraps up at 6pm, feel free to come along to Brewbrik at The Pool Terrace & Bar on Level 4 at Next Hotel, Queen Street Mall (just down the road from Fishburners). Brewbrik is an informal get together of Rubrik customers, partners, prospects and general hangers-on. Rubrik will be shouting drinks and food. You can find out more information and register for the event here. I hope to see you there. Also, if you’re interested in sponsoring one of these events, please get in touch with me and I can help make it happen.

VMware – VMworld 2019 – Wrap-Up And Link-O-Rama

Disclaimer: I recently attended VMworld 2019 – US.  My flights and accommodation were paid for by Digital Sense, and 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 by VMware 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.

A quick post to provide some closing thoughts on VMworld US 2019 and link to the posts I did during the event. Not in that order. I’ll add to this as I come across interesting posts from other people too.

 

Link-o-rama

Here’s my stuff.

Intro

VMware – VMworld 2019 – See you in San Francisco

Session Notes

VMware – VMworld 2019 – Monday General Session Notes

VMware – VMworld 2019 – HCI2888BU – Site Recovery Manager 8.2: What’s New and Demo

VMware – VMworld 2019 – HBI2537PU – Cloud Provider CXO Panel with Cohesity, Cloudian and PhoenixNAP

VMware – VMworld 2019 – HBI3516BUS – Scaling Virtual Infrastructure for the Enterprise: Truths, Beliefs and the Real World

VMware – VMworld 2019 – HBI3487BUS – Rethink Data Protection & Management for VMware

Tech Field Day Extra at VMworld US 2019

NetApp, Workloads, and Pizza

Apstra’s Intent – What Do They Mean?

Disclosure

VMware – VMworld 2019 – (Fairly) Full Disclosure

 

Articles From Elsewhere (And Some Press Releases)

VMworld 2019 US – Community Blog Posts

Other Tech Field Day Extra Delegates

A Software First Approach

Is VMware Project Pacific ‘Kubernetes done right’ for the enterprise?

General Session Replays

See the General Session Replays

NSX-T

NSX-T 2.5 – A New Marker on the Innovation Timeline

VMware Announces NSX-T 2.5

VMware Tanzu

Introducing VMware Tanzu Mission Control to Bring Order to Cluster Chaos

VMware Tanzu Completes the Modern Applications Picture

VMware Announces VMware Tanzu Portfolio to Transform the Way Enterprises Build, Run and Manage Software on Kubernetes

Project Pacific

Introducing Project Pacific

Project Pacific – Technical Overview

Project Pacific: Kubernetes to the Core

Workspace ONE

VMware Unveils Innovations Across Its Industry-Leading Workspace ONE Platform to Help Organizations Grow, Expand and Transform Their Business

vRealize

Announcing VMware vRealize Automation 8.0

vRealize Automation 8 – What’s New Overview

Announcing VMware vRealize Operations 8.0

vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager 8.0 – What’s New

VCPP

VMware Enables Cloud Providers to Deliver the Software-Defined Data Center From any Cloud

VCF

Introducing VMware Cloud Foundation for Cloud Providers

Accelerating Kubernetes Adoption with VMware PKS on Cloud Foundation

Announcing VMware Cloud Foundation and HPE Synergy with HPE GreenLake

Extending Composable Hybrid Cloud for Workload Mobility Use Cases

 

Wrap-up

This was my fourth VMworld US event, and I had a lot of fun. I’d like to thank all the people who helped me out with getting there, the people who stopped and chatted to me at the event, everyone participating in the vCommunity, and VMware for putting on a great show. I’m looking forward to (hopefully) getting along to it again in 2020 (August 30 – September 3).

Apstra’s Intent – What Do They Mean?

Disclaimer: I recently attended VMworld 2019 – US.  My flights and accommodation were paid for by Digital Sense, and 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 by VMware 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.

As part of my attendance at VMworld US 2019 I had the opportunity to attend Tech Field Day Extra sessions. You can view the videos from the Apstra session here, and download my rough notes from here.

 

More Than Meets The Eye

A lot of people like to talk about how organisations need to undertake “digital transformation”. One of the keys to success with this kind of transformation comes in the form of infrastructure transformation. The idea is that, if you’re doing it right, you can improve:

  • Business agility;
  • Application reliability; and
  • Control costs.

Apstra noted that “a lot of organisations start with choosing their hardware and all other choices are derived from that choice, including the software”. As a result of this, you’re constrained by the software you’ve bought from that vendor. The idea is you need to focus on business-oriented outcomes, which are then used to determine the technical direction you’ll need to take to achieve those outcomes.

But even if you’ve managed to get yourself a platform that helps you achieve the outcomes you’re after, if you don’t have an appropriate amount of automation and visibility in your environment, you’re going to struggle with deployments being slowed down. You’ll likely also find that that a lack of efficient automation can lead to:

  • Physical and logical topologies that are decoupled but dependent;
  • Error-prone deployments; and
  • No end to end validation.

When you’re in that situation, you’ll invariably find that you’ll struggle with reduced operational agility and a lack of visibility. This makes it hard to troubleshoot issues in the field, and people generally feel sad (I imagine).

 

Intent, Is That What You Mean?

So how can Apstra help? Will they magically make everything work the way you want it to? Not necessarily. There are a bunch of cool features available within the Apstra solution, but you need to do some work up front to understand what you’re trying to achieve in the first place. But once you have the framework in place, you can do some neat stuff, using AOS to accelerate initial and day 2 fabric configuration. You can, for example, deploy new racks and L2 / L3 fabric VLANs at scale in a few clicks:

  • Streamline new rack design and deployment;
  • Automate fabric VLAN deployment;
  • Closed-loop validation (endpoint configuration, EVPN routes expectations); and
  • Include jumbo frame configuration for overlay networks.

The idea behind intent-based networking (IBN) is fairly straightforward:

  • Collect intent;
  • Expose intent;
  • Validate; and
  • Remediate.

You can read a little more about IBN here. There’s a white paper on Intent-based DCs can be found here.

 

Thoughts

I don’t deal with complicated network deployments on a daily basis, but I do know some people who play that role on TV. Apstra delivered a really interesting session that had me thinking about the effectiveness of software solutions to control infrastructure architecture at scale. There’s been a lot of talk during conference keynotes about the importance of digital transformation in the enterprise and how we all need to be leveraging software-defined widgets to make our lives better. I’m all for widgets making life easier, but they’re only going to be able to do that when you’ve done a bit of work to understand what it is you’re trying to do with all of this technology. The thing that struck me about Apstra is that they seem to understand that, while they’re selling some magic software, it’s not going to be any good to you if you haven’t done some work to prepare yourself for it.

I rabbit on a lot about how technology organisations struggle to understand what “the business” is trying to achieve. This isn’t a one-way problem either, and the business frequently struggles with the idea that technology seems to be a constant drain on an organisation’s finances without necessarily adding value to the business. In most cases though, technology is doing some really cool stuff in the background to make businesses run better, and more efficiently. Apstra is a good example of using technology to deliver reliable services to the business. Whether you’re an enterprise networker, or toiling away at a cloud service provider, I recommend checking out how Apstra can make things easier when it comes to keeping your network under control.

Random Short Take #21

Here’s a semi-regular listicle of random news items that might be of some interest.

  • This is a great article covering QoS enhancements in Purity 5.3. Speaking of Pure Storage I’m looking forward to attending Pure//Accelerate in Austin in the next few weeks. I’ll be participating in a Storage Field Day Exclusive event as well – you can find more details on that here.
  • My friends at Scale Computing have entered into an OEM agreement with Acronis to add more data protection and DR capabilities to the HC3 platform. You can read more about that here.
  • Commvault just acquired Hedvig for a pretty penny. It will be interesting to see how they bring them into the fold. This article from Max made for interesting reading.
  • DH2i are presenting a webinar on September 10th at 11am Pacific, “On the Road Again – How to Secure Your Network for Remote User Access”. I’ve spoken to the people at DH2i in the past and they’re doing some really interesting stuff. If your timezone lines up with this, check it out.
  • This was some typically insightful coverage of VMworld US from Justin Warren over at Forbes.
  • I caught up with Zerto while I was at VMworld US last week, and they talked to me about their VAIO announcement. Justin Paul did a good job of summarising it here.
  • Speaking of VMworld, William has posted links to the session videos – check it out here.
  • Project Pacific was big news at VMworld, and I really enjoyed this article from Joep.

NetApp, Workloads, and Pizza

Disclaimer: I recently attended VMworld 2019 – US.  My flights and accommodation were paid for by Digital Sense, and 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 by VMware 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.

 

As part of my attendance at VMworld US 2019 I had the opportunity to attend Tech Field Day Extra sessions. You can view the videos from the NetApp session here, and download my rough notes from here.

 

Enhanced DC Workloads

In The Beginning There Were Workloads

Andy Banta started his presentation by talking about the evolution of the data centre (DC). The first-generation DCs were resource-constrained. As long as there was something limiting (disk, CPU, memory), things didn’t get done. The later first-generation DCs were comprised of standalone hosts with applications. Andy called “2nd-generation DCs” those hosts that were able to run multiple workloads. The evolution of these 2nd-generation DCs was virtualisation – now you could run multiple applications and operating systems on one host.

The DC though, is still all about compute, memory, throughput, and capacity. As Andy described it, “the DC is full of boxes”.

[image courtesy of NetApp]

 

But There’s Cool Stuff Happening

Things are changing in the DC though, primarily thanks to a few shifts in key technologies that have developed in recent times.

Persistent Memory

Persistent memory has become more mainstream, and application vendors are developing solutions that can leverage this technology effectively. There’s also technology out there that will let you slice this stuff up and share it around, just like you would a pizza. And it’s resilient too, so if you drop your pizza, there’ll be some still left on your plate (or someone else’s plate). Okay I’ll stop with the tortured analogy.

Microvisors

Microvisors are being deployed more commonly in the DC (and particularly at the edge). What’s a microvisor? “Imagine a Hypervisor stripped down to only what you need to run modern Linux based containers”. The advent of the microvisor is leading to different types of workloads (and hardware) popping up in racks where they may not have previously been found.

Specialised Cores on Demand

You can now also access specialised cores on demand from most service providers. You need access to some GPUs to get some particular work done? No problem. There are a bunch of different ways you can slice this stuff up, and everyone’s hip to the possibility that you might only need them for a short time, but you can pay a consumption fee for however long that time will be.

HPC

Even High Performance Compute (HPC) is doing stuff with new technology (in this case NVMeoF). What kinds of workloads?

  • Banking – low-latency transactions
  • Fluid dynamics – lots of data being processed quickly in a parallel stream
  • Medical and nuclear research

 

Thoughts

My favourite quote from Andy was “NVMe is grafting flesh back on to the skeleton of fibre channel”. He (and most of us in the room) are of the belief that FC (in its current incantation at least) is dead. Andy went on to say that “[i]t’s out there for high margin vendors” and “[t]he more you can run on commodity hardware, the better off you are”.

The DC is changing, and not just in the sense that a lot of organisations aren’t running their own DCs any more, but also in the sense that the types of workloads in the DC (and their form factor) are a lot different to those we’re used to running in first-generation DC deployments.

Where does NetApp fit in all of this? The nice thing about having someone like Andy speak on their behalf is that you’re not going to get a product pitch. Andy has been around for a long time, and has seen a lot of different stuff. What he can tell you, though, is that NetApp have started developing (or selling) technology that can accommodate these newer workloads and newer DC deployments. NetApp will be happy to sell you storage that runs over IP, but they can also help you out with compute workloads (in the core and edge), and show you how to run Kubernetes across your estate.

The DC isn’t just full of apps running on hosts accessing storage any more – there’s a lot more to it than that. Workload diversity is becoming more and more common, and it’s going to be really interesting to see where it’s at in ten years from now.