A Different Outlook on Recent VMware ANNOUNCEMENTS AT AWS RE:INVENT 2017 :

A lot has been already discussed , spoken and written  about VMware on AWS re-invent 2017 announcements , a quick look on the announcements and impact it’s already having in some of my customer discussions ….

  •  VMware Cloud™ on AWS is expanding availability from the U.S. West (Oregon) region to also include the AWS U.S. East (N. Virginia) region, and includes additional VMware capabilities and support for more AWS services, making it even easier for customers to move, run, and protect mission-critical applications at scale. Customers can now create VMware SDDCs in AWS US East (N. Virginia) region.
  • DRaaS : This use case is critical for customers , highlighting some of the use cases i see
    • Customers  already using VMware SRM (Site Recovery Manager)   and vSphere as their core technology  with all their people and process for their Business Continuity and DR.The DR site Hardware is up for maintenance and they don’ t further want to maintain the DR site.This was a perfect use case for this customer, with assessment of moving the DR to VMC , we showed the customer the value of moving the DR,keeping in view of no changes required on their people,process and methodology.
    • For some of the customers, having only single site and had been in planning phase to add DR , this announcement came at right time.
  • Seamless bi-directional application migration and hybrid networking : Why it matters  :
    • In my role, i meet diversified customers with different use cases and it feels great to provide our customers the choice.The question of mobility or should i say ” Challenge of Hybrid” for the obvious reasons of
      • Multiple Machine formats (Across on-prem and off-prem)
      • Skill-sets and tool chains
      • Networking  and security
      • Operational  Inconsistency
      • Monitoring and Reporting across the environments
    • I have been in discussion with a customer for long enough where a use case of application mobility with above technology meet the needs.Customer is into a business which seems huge spikes during festive season like Black Friday,Christmas,New year.Under such scenario, where customer shouldn’t be buying hardware just for this spike, the best approach presented was
      • The production  and dev  environment running on VMware and VxBlock (DellEMC’s Converged platform), having Compute blades and Storage.
      • Production environment needs extensive compute power and the best possible approach for this customer was to move the dev environment to VMC (VMware on AWS) as the festive season approaches .
      • This gives production environment all the compute for expansion.
      • This approach was presented to customer with a assessment report based on the outcomes,cost of running dev at VMC during the time-frame https://blogs.vmware.com/management/2017/08/vmc-assessment-with-vrbc.html VMC assessment helped customer  to identify the costs of migrating dev applications clusters / VMs from private cloud to AWS. Above screenshot provides an example of the overview on the assessment giving customer the end-state of VMC . A minimum of four hosts is required for VMware Cloud on AWS. Blue region on the hosts indicates the utilization level for the workloads to be migrated. The monthly costs for VMware Cloud on AWS are shown both in terms of utilization and total purchase costs. 1-year and 3-year subscription costs are added to the VMC assessment to help customers make informed decisions.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhCvGVtEdDc
      • Along with the VMware Cloud on AWS costs, the private cloud costs are shown with respect to actual and standard utilization. Standard utilization is based on running the infrastructure at optimal levels.
      • The above approach saved customer investment on-prem hardware expansion.
      • The above announcement made a perfect use case for this customer.

I would be further extending the use cases in the coming posts, result  of my customer interactions and discussions.

Importantly,  multiple ways to consume VMware Software  across the clouds, be it VVD (Vmware Validated Design,  Custom Cloud (BIY)  or SDDC vCF (VMware Cloud Foundation) are  playing an important role,  across on-prem and off-prem .

Private & Hybrid Cloud

  • De-Coupling Hardware and Software
  • Intelligence driven by the software
  • Engineered integration of the entire software-defined stack
  • Software lifecycle management that automates day 0 to day 2 operations
  • Time to Market
  • Automated deployment of a standardized VMware Validated Design (VVD)
  • Comes enabled out-of-the-box with vSphere encryption, vSAN encryption and NSX micro-segmentation

A recent announcement on Cloud Foundation 2.3


There are several deployment choices for VMware Cloud Foundation, including private cloud software deployments, engineered  systems, and subscription-based via cloud service providers.

SDDC Consumption

You would notice, the consumption models under private cloud i have highlighted are

vSAN ready nodes and engineered systems , which are different than integrated systems.

We will cover the deployment models in the next posts.







vRealize Automation 7.3 what’s new?

While there have been lot of blogs already focused on the vRA 7.3 announcement.let’s focus on the ones which were mostly awaited.

Parameterized Blueprints to Enhance Re-usability and Reduce Sprawl​

  • Introduced component profiles for defining both size and image attributes, enabling “T-shirt sizing” as a request item
    • Component profiles provided for image and virtual machine size including CPU, memory, and storage size
  • Efficiently manage blueprints by leveraging abstracted component profiles
  • Increase re-usability while significantly reducing blueprint sprawl
  • Trigger approval policies on size or image conditions
  • Import or export of component profiles using vRealize CloudClient
  • Automatically substitute component profile values

Policy-Based Optimization of Virtual Machine Placement

  • Maximize your infrastructure investment by optimizing placement.
  • Combine vRealize Automation governance with performance based insight to optimize placement
  • Place Virtual Machines according to performance goals, using multiple algorithms
    • Balance for maintaining maximum headroom in case of spikes
    • Consolidate to leave space for large workloads

Enhanced Control of NSX-Provisioned Load Balancers

NSX Security Group and Tag Management

  • Able to add existing NSX security groups or tags to a running application
  • Able to disassociate NSX security groups and tags from applications

High Availability Automated for NSX Edge Services

  • Edge high-availability mode in the blueprint provides high availability for all edge services to an application when it is deployed
  • Configurable per blueprint based on application availability needs
  • Use custom properties to determine high availability at request time
  • Adds high availability for load balancing, NAT, firewall, and so on

NSX Edge Size Selection

  • Able to specify deployment size for NSX Edge Services Gateway (ESG)
  • Configurable per-blueprint based on application needs or scale

Configuration Automation Framework – Puppet Integration

  • Configuration management as first-class citizen
    • Make plug-in invisible to customers and enable actions in the blueprint design canvas
    • Ability to drag-and-drop configuration management notes and dynamically assign roles on the design canvas
  • First implementation with Puppet
    • Register Puppet Master as an endpoint
    • Drag-and-drop Puppet node
    • Dynamically query Puppet Master, environment, and roles
  • Support late binding and early binding options
  • Support post-provisioning actions, such as unregister and delete

Improvements to Installation, Upgrade, Migration

  • New installation API extensions
    • Trigger initial content creation
    • Invoke self-signed certificate generation
    • Certificate replacement in vRealize Automation, IaaS web, and IaaS Microsoft SQL
  • New upgrade API extensions
    • List all available versions for upgrade
    • Get download status of upgrade packages
    • Do pre-upgrade check for the selected version
    • Get approximate upgrade time estimation
    • Get status progress of the upgrade
  • Migration
    • Automated migration from vRealize Automation 7.x to 7.3
  • Ability to a generate certificate signing request (CSR) in install wizard

REST API Improvements  (Important)

  • Use case based REST API samples using Postman for many of the commonly used vRealize Automation use cases now available on GitHub
  • New and Improved Swagger documentation for all of the vRealize Automation REST APIs available on code.vmware.com
  • Enhanced vRealize Automation Programming Guide providing information about the vRealize Automation REST APIs that is easier to use and navigate

Improvements to High Availability

  • Automated failover of PostgreSQL database
  • Automated failover of IaaS Manager Service
  • Enhanced RabbitMQ recovery
  • Support for multiple NICs in the vRealize Automation appliance

Enhanced vRealize Business for Cloud Integration – Cloud Management Platform

  • Consistent terminology across vRealize Automation and vRealize Business for Cloud
  • No derived costing in vRealize Automation – vRealize Business for Cloud is the single source of truth for all pricing information
  • Accurate pricing for fault-tolerant enabled machines and Azure blueprints
  • Pricing updated after these post-provisioning actions:
    • Reconfigure machine
    • Scale-in or scale-out
    • Import machine

Audit Logging

  • Audit logging framework object types:
    • Workflow Subscription
    • Fabric Groups
    • Endpoints (Infrastructure)
  • Send audit logs to vRealize Log Insight or syslog server using Log Insight agent
  • Configurable retention period

Syntax Highlighting for Software Life-cycle Scripts

  • Enhanced interface
    • Elegant syntax highlighting for software life-cycle scripts (app authoring)
    • Improves productivity and reduces scripting errors

Extended External IPAM Vendor Framework

  • Added support for on-demand NAT networks
  • Supports one-to-many and one-to-one static IP addresses

Endpoint Configuration Service – Streamlined Endpoint Management

  • Enhanced to support a schema-driven user interface
  • Provides greater capability, control, and a unified experience when managing endpoints in vRealize Automation
  • Allows configuration of endpoints that require inter-endpoint relationships
  • Enhanced UI controls and customer experience
    • NSX is now a separate endpoint, no longer part of the vSphere endpoint configuration
    • Endpoint configuration validation checks for valid URL, credentials, and certificates
    • Certification trust verification
    • Displays certificate details when an endpoint is using untrusted certificates
    • Ability to accept self-signed certificates

Azure Public Cloud Service Design Enhancements

  • Select, drag-and-drop software components on Azure machines in the blueprint designer
  • Specify software properties on the blueprint designer and on the request form
  • Pre-populated forms and dropdowns

vRealize Orchestrator Control Center RBAC

  • All users are able to log in, not just the root user
  • Trace execution and logs for workflow-based vRealize Automation requests, based on user role
  • Troubleshoot requests based on user role
  • Reuse and extend privileges and roles from vRealize Automation

IT Process Automation with Updated SDDC Support

  • All storage policy based objects are now accessible through API in vRealize Orchestrator and vRealize Automation
  • New vCenter Server plug-in provided with vRealize Orchestrator
  • Updated AMQP, REST and PowerShell plug-ins

vRealize Automation and ServiceNow Enhancements

  • View and request AWS catalog items from the ServiceNow portal
  • Seamless integration with the ServiceNow governance engine
  • CMDB and post-provisioning actions support
  • Supported for vRealize Automation 7.3 and ServiceNow Helsinki and Istanbul

VMware Admiral Integration 

With the adoption of containers,Cloud-native,micro-services this enhances VMware commitment to developer community.

  • Supports collaboration between cloud administrators and development teams for traditional, containerized, and hybrid applications
  • Enables a balance between the operational control of traditional applications and the flexibility that containers offer
  • New capabilities including persistent volume support, improved container networking, and host management

VMware Announces vSAN 6.6

With the continued Success of HCI,Software defined and capabilities being driven by the software vs the hardware VMware further enhanced the features announcing vSAN 6.6.It’s a “patch” release for vSphere but a major version for vSAN.

The most significant new capabilities and updates of vSAN 6.6 include:

    • Native HCI Encryption
      vSAN offers the first native HCI encryption solution for data-at-rest, protecting critical data from unwanted access. vSAN encryption delivers lower costs and greater flexibility by being hardware agnostic and by offering simplified key management. No more requirements to deploy specific self-encrypting drives (SEDs). vSAN encryption is also built for compliance with support for 2-factor authentication (SecurID and CAC) and is the first HCI solution with a DISA-approved STIG.
    • Stretched Cluster with Local Site Protection
      New enhanced stretched clusters with local site protection provide protection against both site failures and local component failures at 50% lower cost than traditional solutions. With a comprehensive stretched cluster solution, you can extend the cost and simplicity benefits of HCI to your disaster recovery and business continuity needs.
    • vSAN Cloud Analytics
      With vSAN Cloud Analytics, you can decrease operational costs with pro-active, real-time support notifications and recommendations. The analytics tool can help provide recommendations for optimal performance and deliver custom, real-time alerts through vSAN Health Service with custom actionable insights and remediation recommendations.
    • Unicast Networking
      This one feature was so much looked by our customers.vSAN now supports unicast networking to help simplify your initial vSAN setup. You can utilize unicast for vSAN networking and there is no need to setup multicast anymore. This enables vSAN to be deployed in a wider set of on-premise and cloud environments without requiring network changes.
    • vSAN Management Pack for vRealize Operations
      The new vSAN Management Pack for VMware vRealize Operations Manager provides additional options for monitoring, managing and troubleshooting vSAN along with end-to-end infrastructure solutions. With the vSAN management pack, you can gain insights about the impact of vSAN in your infrastructure quickly, and bring your business greater efficiency in shorter time.
    • Always-On Protection with Enhanced Availability
      With new always-on protection features, vSAN keeps your applications running and available despite potential hardware challenges. New Degraded Device Handling (DDH) intelligently monitors the health of drives and proactively evacuates data before failures can happen. New smart drive rebuilds and partial rebuilds deliver faster recovery during hardware failures and decrease cluster traffic for greater performance.
    • Intelligent Operations and Lifecycle Management
      New intelligent operations and lifecycle management capabilities accelerate initial hardware setup, simplify software install, and deliver 1-click controller hardware lifecycle management for a more predictable hardware experience. You can reduce management time up to 80% for common tasks with 1-click automation.
    • Up to 50% Higher All-Flash Performance
      Optimized data services further extend vSAN’s performance advantage by delivering up to 50% more IOPS per all-flash host versus previous versions of vSAN, enabling over 150K IOPS per host. The increased performance helps accelerate mission critical applications and provides higher consolidation ratios for workloads.
    • Support of Next-Generation Workloads
      New validated architectures provide a proven path for deploying next-generation applications like Splunk, Big Data, and Citrix XenApp. In addition, vSAN for Photon is now available in Photon Platform 1.1 and a new Docker Volume Driver delivers support for multi-tenancy, policy based management, snapshots and clones.
    • Day 1 Support of New Hardware Technologies
      Customers can accelerate new hardware adoption with Day 1 support of the latest flash technologies, including solutions like the new Intel 3D XPoint NVMe SSDs. These solutions can deliver up to 250% greater performance for write-intensive applications. In addition, vSAN now offers larger caching drive options, including 1.6TB flash drives, so that customers can take advantage of the latest and larger capacity flash drives.

Look forward to more …..

What’s New -vSphere 6.5

  •  vCenter Server Appliance the fundamental building block of a vSphere 6.5 environment.
  • Capabilities such as vSphere host management (with a fully integrated vSphere Update Manager), file-based backup and recovery, native VCSA high availability.
  • API friendly eco-system – REST-based APIs for VM Management.
  • HTML5-based vSphere Client provides a modern user interface experience that is both responsive and easy to use.
  • VM-level disk encryption capability designed to protect against unauthorized data access.
  • Developers and Operations -Cohesive collaboration with Vmware Integrated Containers.
  • Secure Boot – Protection  from  both the hypervisor and guest operating system.
  • Live migrate workloads between VMware based clouds with Cross-Cloud vMotion.
  • Native Array vVol Replication.