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August 2010

VMworld - Future of Networking

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 Category : , 2

First session this morning at VMworld was by Howie Xu, R&D Director, Virtualisation and Cloud Platform at VMware. Howie is the networking futures guys. There was much expectation for this session with speculation around its content.

Here are some of the items that Howie talked about.
  • The lines between servers and networking are being lost. The two are blending. The network needs to be extracted from the workload. Bu the rate of change in virtual environments now at the networking layer is high and companies can't fund the staff to keep up with these tasks, which are generally quite standardised.
  • The different networking services from layer 2 to 7 are a headache to manage and co-ordinate. As we head for the Cloud this is going to get worse.
  • Moving beyond the Distributed Virtual Switch we need to move to the "Distributed Virtual Network". We need to be able to do networking with anything, anytime, anywhere at any scale. We need a standard network management layer (either physical or virtual)
  • Much of the problems can be solved through virtualisation, that is having a first layer of abstraction. but still keep functions, such as separation of duty.
  • The network must be made transparent with the same services whilst being able to scale out on demand.
  • A new vision for a vChassis which contains a data management and control plane that is a "session centric" virtual platform.
  • Todays networking is based on discovering things, such as addressing via DHCP, learning MAC addresses. Yet in this new world the virtualisation layer can be authoritative, it knows all of the details and does not need to learn them.
  • a vChassis should talk virtual 3rd party line cards that provide services, such as IDS. These need to be able to interact with hardware in some cases for offload, for example SSL.
  • There are problems with doing networking today, the IP address is used for identity and location, VLANs lack features like a hierarchy. You have to pre-provision VLANs to get around things but its a little messy. We need a virtualised a layer 2 . Mention of vShield Zone/App, expect to see more of this detailed and discussed this week.
  • A mock-up screen was shown of what this may look like (see picture above).
Being one of the first sessions before the announcements were made I think some of the details which may have been discussed were left out. Hence it was a good session showing where VMware are going but it lacked that little bit of detail which gets your brain really thinking. Great to see that VMware are dealing with the management problems and including facility for the 3rd party vendors to integrate.

Hopefully it will be a little clearer for everyone by the end of the week.


Dell acquiring 3PAR

Monday, August 16, 2010 Category : , , , 0

Twitter is all awash with news that Dell have acquired 3Par.

There have been a few who have been suggesting that 3Par was next on the acquisition trail. They have some good technology and certainly a more modern architecture (love those chunklets and what you can do with them).

What is also interesting is that Dell only recently went out and purchased another storage player, Ocarina. I wrote about Ocarina last year when we visited them as part of TechFieldDay. What does Ocarina do, compression for storage. Now 3Par does great thin storage but don't do compression. One wonders what of the Ocarina technologies Dell might be planning on integrating into their new purchase.

Certainly interesting times in the storage industry. The stack wars are heating up maybe?


VMworld 2010 Backpacks for Charity - Australian Version

Friday, August 13, 2010 2

Inspired by the idea from Kevin Houston and the Gestalt IT VMworld giveaway we am running a program for Australians to donate their VMworld swag to charity.

As Kevin has encouraged
This year, IF you receive a bag or backpack that you just don’t want, please don’t throw it away, but instead take it home, go to the dollar store and fill the backpack with pencils, crayons, paper and erasers and donate it to your local school system. You would be AMAZED to find out the numbers of children who don’t get backpacks and whose familes can not afford the costly school supplies that are required each year. You will be making some family happy and you’ll get the name “VMware” marketed throughout the schools, getting the next generation of techno geeks ready to learn all about virtualization.
So that is what we are doing in a more organised way.

We are looking for 20 people attending from Australia who are willing to donate their unused VMworld 2010 bag to the Salvation Army Community Center in Dubbo. They have a great need, especially at the start of the school year for school equipment such as this. The Salvo's are a much respected and loved charity in Australia who do a lot of community work and provide many services to those people in need. Dubbo is a regional down in NSW which has a high indigenous population.

The details :
  • We want 20 people to pre-register that they want to participate. If we get more the Salvos have said there is no such thing as to many.
  • You need to get your bag in great unused condition to Sydney. If that is a problem I am probably arrange to get it here if you can drop it off at an Alphawest office which is most capital cities.
  • You don't have to worry about the stationary, you guys have to pay for it. We will be doing and inventory of materials for each bag and buying in bulk. My wife is a teacher and will assist with the list. The budget will be around $30 to $40 each and you need to be able to put this into a Pay Pal account when needed.
  • It would be good to get some "suitable" additional materials to include. Maybe your company can donate something. Something suitable would be a good size USB thumb drive, a piece of sporting equipment or a drink bottle. Being branded is no issue, especially if its a well know brand (like Optus who I am trying to stitch up). Whats not appropriate, junk; such as old 64Mb memory sticks or old marketing junk you just can't get off your hands.
  • We will arrange to get them to Dubbo either directly or through the Salvos. However if you are interested in a awesome Road-Trip to deliver them in person let us know.
If you are not going to VMworld or can't participate please do what you can to spread the word.

To express your interest you can go to the form directly or use the embedded version below.

Thanks for your interest and support!


CardScan for Mac Review

Friday, August 06, 2010 3

Over the last year I have been transitioning my work off my PC SOE to my MacBook Pro. Until today one of the few applications I still had to run via my VMware Fusion Virtual Machine was my business card software.

The business card scanner is one of my critical business applications, its from CardScan. I meet a lot of people and therefore collect a lot of business cards. To save time I simply throw them through the neat colour scanner which OCRs the text and populates fields. It then syncs with my mail and hence Blackberry so every contact is always at hand.

Earlier this week I noticed that a Mac version was available and I was keen to give it a try. The fantastic thing is that CardScan don't do what you might expect and charge you all over again for the new software. If you own the scanner you can download the Mac version at no cost. Fantastic!

The first hurdle was getting access to the software. For some reason many of the links on the support website don't seam to work from Safari. I had to contact support to get the actual download URL. Once I had the software and got it installed I was stuck on the serial number entry page. Turns out you need an updated serial number. Support sent me to another web page that would not work in Safari. I tried it from IE and it worked! You are required to enter your existing Windows software serial number and the serial number of the scanner. Now the software would pass validation and load up, happy days!

The first very terrific thing about the application is the database support from the Windows version. I simply opened up the existing .cdb and all of my data was there. No data migration or transition. Well done CardScan!

I scanned some new cards. First thing I noticed was it scanned a card and then processed it straight away, a much slower process. In the windows version it does not process a card until you ask it to, so you can batch scan real fast. Felt strange just because of the way I was used to do scanning but then I noticed that there is still a batch scan button. Great.

The online help was good. I was wondering of how I would sync with my messaging application so jumped into help. Very quickly I was able to figure out that through preferences you can configure auto sync with your Contacts. The sync does not appear to be as sophisticated as it is in the Windows version but maybe it does not need to be, it just appeared fancy previously due to the difficulties of working with Outlook.

The Mac version is exactly what I want, the same familiar features and facilities. Everything has worked just great once past the download and serial number issues.

If as a Mac user you are after a powerful business card scanner, then check out CardScan. In my experience you won't be disappointed.


Australian Bloggers

Thursday, August 05, 2010 4

Okay here is a list of bloggers in Australia who cover the IT Infrastructure, Virtualisation, Data Centre, Storage and possibly virtualised Cloud space.

You will see that the list is short at the moment, as I am trying to create it. Please post a comment or send me a tweet if you know an active blogger in Australia who covers any of these areas in IT.

In alphabetical order.
You know we need more good tech bloggers in this country!


Note : I have put the employer of each author not to make any statement but to simply blog with integrity. As I am pointing people to these sites others may not be aware of each persons situation. I am sure that all these people write their own views not their employers. If you are listed and you want your employer removed and I will delete the entry.

P.S. To get added you have to have had more than a few posts in the last few month, be on topic and live in Australia. Posting on Apple products all the time won't make the grade. Apologies if you are an awesome Australian blogger and I don't have you there yet, especially if we are friends, innocent mistake, let me know!

Get yourself to VMworld FREE

Category : , , 1

Want to get yourself to VMworld San Francisco but can't convince your boss or afford to drag yourself there under your own steam?

Well here is your chance to win a free conference ticket, plus the accommodation and airfare. The airfare can be international so all you Australians out there, this one is for you too!

The prize is being organised by Gestalt IT and sponsorship is being provided by Xsigo and Symantec!

All the details are over at the post "Announcing the Gestalt IT “Get Away to VMworld” Contest!".

The winner will be picked by a group of judges (I am one) based on how well you plan to "pay it forward" from your win. Describe how you will share your enthusiasm for VMware, virtualisation or whatever its is you are into as a result of your visit to VMworld.

This is my 5th year in a row at VMworld so I can attest its the biggest geek fest and party of the year. So get your entry in and I might just see you there!

Good luck.


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