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August 2011

HP Cloud advisors

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 Category : , 0

Got invited to a panel at VMworld of HP CTO and Cloud advisor, thanks Calvin. I was not sure what to expect or what they would say but it sounded like fun, I love a bit of cloud talk.

Here are the notes I took. They might be easy to get out of context so post in comments if I got anything wrong. The room was noisy and it was very hard to hear.

I was impressed by some of the good analogies that the guys used in answering the questions. Especially the one that al the server vendors have access to the same components and tech but some vendors servers are better than others. That's a good insight not only for HP but for all of us, it's what you do with what you have that counts.

Also you have to like a bunch of guys who wear lab coats!

Q. HP and openstack.

A. We are the number one partner with VMware and Microsoft and others and we do that by partnering well. We are involved in the open stack initiative and helping that community. Of course VMware offer their software on other hardware. Each of the hypervisor environments have different value propositions.

Q.is HP going to develop software for object storage?

A. No.

Q. Integration with different Cloud providers but what about with different Hypervisors.

A. today we support VMware and HyperV plus ( missed )

A. How will HP store my apps

Q. Cloud storage today has generally been for static data. Cloud 1.0. The change we are going to see and difference is going to come from solid state devices which have different characteristics. Apps are going to get faster. As storage moves into the server layer then it can get faster and in the cloud we will be able to provide apps for non static data.

Q. How will you reduce the cost of SSD.

A. Volume, volume, volume and that is what HP does well. Research on new things like memrister might change SSD, but it's five years out from changing things.

Q. How will HP differentiate themselves from other Cloud providers.

A. You can take a pile of parts and throw them together to build a Cloud but performance sucks. HP can provide and integrated solution that does network, storage, servers plus the software. One vendor. This is part of our value prop. It's the applications which create value, not the blinking lights. HP has industry knowledge and can assist with the business process too. You have this flexibility when working with HP. Look at servers, the vendors all have access to the same components, it's how they are put together that adds value, that's what HP can do for Cloud. Just deploying a virtual machine is such a small part of what's required.

Q. Will HP stand up it's own Cloud?

A. We are already a public cloud provider in the apps space and will continue to do so. ( missed name of this service ) HP can't own the industry on this, it's to big so we will work with others and do things to. For example we work with a pile of hosters are msps and HP is a large msp, we are used to this.

Q. With the ease of provisioning in the cloud what safeguards will be in place from doing stupid things.

A. Sounds like how the unix guys used to talk about the windows guys. It's hard to get it down to being simple but nothing is going to be fool proof. What we do is based around policy models and rules which can provide many safe guards. Because of the soup to nuts elements HP can make things easier.

Q. What comes after cloud? Are the models of hybrid etc all there is? Will everything move to the Internet?

A. we have an abundance of data from these news sensors, an abundance of compute and lots of networking to move it around. Attention span has not changed. Analyzing and making sense of all this through these resources is what comes next. Jobs will evolve and we will not be mucking around with some of the primitives we do today. Just like a pilot is having their job automated, getting attention of the pilot is important and we will see lots of research on this as computer technology becomes more automated.
It's going to take a very long time for things to move to the cloud, there is a lot still to do, yes technology will change


DR to the Cloud with SRM

Tuesday, August 30, 2011 Category : , , , 0

I went to two sessions this morning on DR to the Cloud.

I think the first thing you could say about these sessions is that they were named a little wrong. They should have been about DR to "managed service provider" or "hosting company". There might have been a bit of Cloud washing going on here. There were certainly elements of clouds and this is a developing space of which we are at the start if the journey, but I think the topics may be a little "over sold" in their wording.

So what were my notes?

  • SRM will evolve to be application or vApp aware rather than it's VM centric nature of today.
  • Today SRM is all about protecting a machine in site A in another site B. In the future there will be more sites involved, protecting works in one site to multiple sites. For example you might protect a machine to your internal second site plus an external Cloud provider.
  • VMware are working on creating layer two connectivity between multiple sites. This combined with VMotion across sites will allow some interesting DR scenarios. In my opinion this will be helpful for disaster avoidance.
  • The goad is to be able to intermix vSphere and vCloud Director as either sources or destinations of DR.
  • There is the use case of DR to the cloud as well as DR off the cloud.
  • The plan is their would be a plugin for your vSphere Client that would do all the work of setting up DR to a Cloud provider. I imagine this would be like the vCloud Connector plugin.
  • The attributes that are proposed for this future state of software are; VM level protection granularity, multi-tenancy, self serviceability, storage agnostic, vm portability, role based management, scalability, extensibility, simplified deployment and management, security and RAS (reliability, serviceability and availability).
  • Hosting.com described their use of SRM 5 to provide Cloud DR. From what I could see this looked like an implementation of SRM on top of a vSphere implementation that had a Cloud front end. They have their portal for consuming virtual machines in a Cloud manner. By adding SRM underneath and then using the SRM APIs to control it from their portal they are able to give DR functions to users. This shows what can be done when you build your own world and don't use vCloud Director. The service is in Beta.
  • A question was asked from the audience about when SRM and vCloud Director would be integrated or compatible. The answer was that thus was in the roadmap but no detail. I suspect this person was like a lot in the audience was wondering about this given the title of the session.
  • In the service provider session a number of organizations got up and spoke about their DR solutions and how they were integrating in SRM. There was a lot of managed services wrapped around these. Lots of array based replication, customer specific ESX clusters and other such non-Cloud scenarios. There is certainly some great solutions out there and the providers are working hard with what they have.

What was my take away from two hours of presentation of SRM and Cloud. Essentially we are not there yet. Yes there are some DR solutions and some providers will even let you use SRM. The true cloud experience DR from your own infrastructure into a VMware based Cloud is there in parts but there is still portions of string and sticky tape holding all together. Actually that is probably not fair, it makes them sound unstable. What we don't have is the simplicity that we have with SRM today.

The question is, how long will it take for VMware and the providers to get there. I suspect 12 months, problem is we are greedy and want it all TODAY!


P.S. Slowly getting used to Blogsy on the iPad to write this stuff up. Doing straight content is a lot easier than pulling things in from multiple places.

vCloud Global Connect

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There were announcements out today about the new VMware Global Connect.
The announcement and blog detail out a relationship between a number of the vCloud Data Center providers.

VMware and its partners will accelerate the journey to the enterprise hybrid cloud with:

Global Connect – Multiple service providers, multiple geographies; a single global cloud
First introduced in August 2010, VMware vCloud Datacenter Services are enterprise-class public clouds built on VMware cloud infrastructure, including VMware vSphere®, VMware vShield™ and VMware vCloud Director™. Certified by VMware and offering globally consistent management and security, this network of service providers is expected to span 25 datacenters in 13 countries by the end of 2011. Today VMware and its partners are introducing Global Connect, an optional feature of the vCloud Datacenter service that will allow customers to use cloud services from multiple providers across geographies as if they are a single, virtual cloud. Bluelock, SingTel and Softbank Telecomare expected to be the first providers to offer Global Connect services.

For multinational customers that require high performance (low-latency), highly available cloud computing local to the countries where they operate, Global Connect will give them an easier way to address compliance with international regulations for data privacy, locality and confidentiality. Customers will work directly with their local vCloud Datacenter service provider, who orchestrates service delivery internationally with Global Connect, allowing customers to seamlessly leverage services from connected providers with a single contract and “single pane of glass” management across clouds using vCloud Connector.
You can see the reasoning behind this alliance. Amazon has their availability zones, but what if there is not one where you want it, how do VMware complete with this "feature" when it's something that is part of implementation and not the software so to speak. This expansion of the vCloud Data Center program gives customers the ability to access multiple clouds with assurance over comparability and service levels with the simplicity of a single entity.

You can see the service providers extending and becoming part of this. After all the telcos already do this on roaming and a lot of the organizations already have joint hosting agreements to cover regions where they do not have coverage. This maturity is collaboration can be brought to bear on Cloud services.

I think this is great for customers as well as being a good move by VMware and it's partners.


P.S. Disclaimer, I work for a subsidiary of SingTel which is one of the member companies. Personal blog and views of course.

Alumni Lounge

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Hanging at the Alumni lounge at VMworld. After five years you would think that my status would be sorted but each year I always seam to have to queue to get the status applied. Not to worry, the registration people are very nice.

Cant see any food in here, just some water. I think last year there were some snacks. Their is quiet, power outlets and comfy chairs. A good place to hang to do some blogging before the solutions exchange opens later this afternoon.


IE9 and VMware vCloud Director

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 Category : , 4

A quick note as people are starting to use IE9.

Currently vCloud Director (remote console plug-in) does not support IE9, the vCloud Director website should work with the appropriate Flash plugin, but the VMRC (console) is not expected to work. Support for IE9 is a feature request VMware are looking at for a future release of vCloud Director. Personally I am keen for Safari support too.

You can find the list of supported browser versions on various OS versions starting on page 18 of the install guide. Note that the Users Guide for VCD is less helpful as the phrase "At least Internet Explorer 7" which might lead you to think that IE9 works.


Is VMware the new Tall Poppy?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011 Category : 6

Here in Australia we have this phrase called "The Tall Poppy Syndrome". It is the "social phenomenon in which people of genuine merit are resented, attacked, cut down, or criticised because their talents or achievements elevate them above or distinguish them from their peers."

Seeing a bit of the fallout of the VMware licensing for v5 I wondered if VMware were the new Microsoft and we felt that they just needed to be brought down a peg or two.

My view is that part of this is due to a cultural change in how Virtualization is used within organizations today. Back in the day VMware was used to remove other costs within a project, it helped drive the ROI. Due to consolidation, which was it's big use case, every dollar you spent on VMware licenses was saving you many other dollars on physical hardware. We would drive every cent out of that physical hardware but the VMware portion looked like good value for money.

In today's world we have moved onto new models. We have seen "virtual first" become standard (certainly in my region) and VMware be a standard base cost for doing IT. At the same time we have seen the base hypervisor become a commodity item. Therefore the hypervisor has become like all the other elements of a solution, people need to squeeze every spare cent out of it, just like their storage, networking and compute hardware. VMware has entered main stream and is being treated accordingly by consumers.

Yet to stay leader of the pack and continue to deliver the eco system of products and tools around the base hypervisor VMware need to recoup their costs and they are going to price accordingly.

My take on the pricing backlash is this is more about VMware being treated just like all the other products and vendors in the stack. The glory days of consolidation savings are over, it's now the new norm. Time to refresh the value prop and get used to the backlash no matter what they do, just like Microsoft.


P.S. First post from my new iPad. Maybe this might get me posting more.

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