As part of my new role, I am very interested in learning more about real-world customer perspectives when it comes to deploying, configuring, and operating the Software-Defined Data Center.  VMware has numerous mechanisms in place to get customer feedback and to work closely with those that are implementing and using various products; this has obviously been a critical element of success and will continue.

Having said that, I feel like there still may be an untapped pool of expertise out here in the VMware community and I would like to open up additional communication to solicit feedback, opinions, gripes, and more.  If you are interested in talking to me 1-1 about VMware vSphere, vCloud Suite, SDDC, and hybrid cloud, get in touch:  egray @ vmware . com

I look forward to hearing from you!

Please note that on VCritical I display the standard blog disclaimer that I do not speak on behalf of my employer, which is still true here. However, under this initiative I will be communicating with you via my VMware corporate email, not my personal account.

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How long have you been in your current role?  As much as I enjoy doing technical competitive analysis, I realized that a change in direction after so many years would be beneficial and recently jumped at the opportunity to join a new team at VMware.

My new role is in technical product management and I will be working with an amazing team to help deliver the best possible Software-Defined Data Center experience by identifying use cases, defining workflows, and creating reference designs. One specific area that I am focused on is hybrid cloud, which obviously has a ton of potential.

I’ve already had the opportunity to travel to the Midwest and spend a couple of days with a superb VMware customer, learning how they are using the entire portfolio of VMware products to deliver cloud services to their employees.  Very interesting and looking forward to more interactions like this.

I have not yet come to a decision on how to best continue with VCritical, as it is still a valuable means of engagement with the virtualization community — I may just play it by ear for now.

Thanks for reading!

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OpenStack is an incredibly popular technology these days, but contrary to popular belief it is not an alternative to VMware, nor is it the final solution to avoiding vendor lock-in – even if that may have been one of the early, albeit misguided, goals.  In fact, VMware is one of the top contributors to this open source project and the real appeal of OpenStack is the API that allows developers to build the type of modern, scale-out apps that have become popular on Amazon Web Services.

Since OpenStack is fundamentally an API for consuming cloud computing resources, the real question facing datacenter architects today is: what resources should be made available for consumption?  Thanks to efforts from VMware, along with other contributors, support for vSphere has substantially matured and is now a strong alternative to KVM, which was popular initially due to the open source nature of this project.

According to a recently-published performance study, an OpenStack infrastructure based on VMware technology is faster and less expensive than an equivalent stack built from Red Hat products, concluding:

  • VMware VSAN delivers 159% more IOPS than Red Hat Storage Server (GlusterFS)
  • A 16-node Cassandra NoSQL database performs 53% better on vSphere than on Red Hat KVM
  • The total cost of infrastructure hardware and software is 26% lower on VMware than on Red Hat

Thanks to the vSphere/VSAN hyper-converged infrastructure, there is no need to build dedicated clusters of shared storage like there is with GlusterFS.  Instead, shared storage functionality is provided by pooling disks and SSDs that are directly attached to hypervisor hosts.  This offers capacity and performance for a range of applications as well as flexible redundancy options — administrators can configure policies to accommodate one or more replicas of critical data across the cluster or even opt for no replication on non-essential workloads.

In addition to better performance at a lower cost, VMware also delivers a platform that is suitable for all workloads — not just design-for-fail cloud applications.  Applications running on a vSphere cluster benefit from VMware HA and DRS, reducing downtime and increasing performance as VMs are balanced according to shifting resource demands.  Don’t forget that the purpose-built ESXi hypervisor also has much broader guest operating system support and a smaller attack surface that translates into reduced host downtime for patching and maintenance.

Now you can give your developers the agile cloud API offered by OpenStack with the trusted reliability and proven performance of vSphere — the best virtual infrastructure for any application.

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VMware Virtual SAN (VSAN) is now generally available, and the delivery is via VMware ESXi 5.5 Update 1.  For those using a Linux PXE boot server to install ESXi hosts, below is a quick shell script that takes care of everything automatically.

Usage example (all one line):

# esxiso2pxe /var/install/tftpboot/ esxi55u1 VMware-VMvisor-Installer-5.5.0.update01-1623387.x86_64.iso

In order to use the optional ESXi submenu concept, simply add the following to pxelinux.cfg/default

LABEL esxisub
   KERNEL menu.c32
   APPEND esxi-submenu
   MENU LABEL Jump to ESXi submenu



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SolarWinds just published a compelling survey that shows how technology pros from a range of organizations throughout North America view the changing role of IT.  Not surprisingly, the most impactful technology advancement from the recent past is virtualization.  Moving forward, emerging technologies expected to disrupt IT the most have to do with Bring Your Own Device (BYOD or BYOx) and mobility.  The top critical investments for business in the future will be cloud computing and mobility.

In other news, this morning VMware announced the intended acquisition of AirWatch – the leader in enterprise mobile device management.  Quelle coincidence!

Or, as Barb Darrow from GigaOm put it:

One way to prove you’re really into the mobile enterprise, is to spend over a billion on a mobile device management company.

IT pros with expertise in VMware products appear to be very well poised for the future.

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