Bridging the Gaps…

Let’s talk about our latest announcements that came out last week and what they would drive as “Outcomes” for our enterprises.

Most of our enterprise conversations are driven by the following :

  • Reducing technical Debt
  • Automation (self-service), Infrastructure as code
  • Speed to business : Offer services to business at their speed
  • Cloud right (right workloads on right cloud)
  • Governance and compliance across Multi-Cloud
  • Standardization of services
  • Software life-cycle for Day-2 Ops
  • Integration of existing tool chains across clouds
  • Developer productivity

Of-course, not everything is covered above but most of the common ones.What are you all seeing in your discussions,feel free to add in the comments..

Industry is leaning towards HCI, here is the IDC’s market share, if you haven’t seen it.

https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS46618420

Let’s dive into “Why enterprises are adopting VxRail platform”.

It’s a joint vision across Dell technologies and VMware. VxRail is a full-stack integrated system that offloads customers from hardware and software integration work, provides automated full stack life-cycle management, and delivers a known-good state for both Day 0 and Day 2 operations.Majority of our operational challenges have been Day2 (patches,upgrades,interoperability,integrations) and making it as seamless to enterprises as a public cloud, where end-user responsibility starts from Operating systems (patching,upgrades etc).

This vision is drawn by joint engineering commitment of 400+ dedicated engineering teams across Dell technologies working to build this stack with agile release cycles, committed to 30 days , post VMware software releases and updates. This commitment propelled VxRail not just beyond niche applications into the data center for enterprise business critical workloads but a consistent foundation from edge to distributed core to cloud.

Above is the quick overview of use cases across edge,core and the cloud.

The vision substantiates Dell technologies and VMware ‘s focus to provide customers with the business outcomes through services and cloud like experience across edge,core and cloud.

There are whitepapers for all the above,here is a quick example.

https://www.dellemc.com/resources/en-us/asset/technical-guides-support-information/products/converged-infrastructure/h17317-vxrail_sap-hana-vg.pdf

Let’s tie back the recent announcements (HCI To Extremes) to business outcomes and why it matters.

Dell Technologies Cloud Platform Enhancements:

Enterprise customers are continuously looking for innovative solutions for their business to provide services which business needs.It is so imperative to enable IT with extreme simplicity, so IT can accelerate developer productivity, develop modern applications, offer extreme flexibility with an entry level cloud configuration.

Accelerating the innovation and partnership with VMware, customers can now run vSphere Kubernetes on the Dell Tech Cloud Platform, VMware Cloud Foundation 4.0 on VxRail 7.0.

VM’s and Containers in a single platform with a single control plane

Customers now have access to a hybrid cloud platform that supports native Kubernetes workloads and management, as well as your traditional VM-based workloads, so containers are now first-class citizens of your private cloud alongside traditional VMs.  This is now available with VCF 4 on VxRail 7.

Unique integration across the stack enables developers and operators to quickly and easily support modern application development with infrastructure managed as a single automated private cloud.

Here is snapshot of the platform services :

The platform provides IT with single control plane to offer not just IaaS but CaaS services to it’s business with no additional management overhead.

VMware Cloud Foundation 4 on VxRail 7 is a Hybrid Cloud Platform that accelerates the development of modern applications by automating the deployment and life-cycle management of complex Kubernetes environments.

It consists of two families of services – Tanzu Runtime Services and Hybrid Infrastructure Services.

·         Tanzu Runtime Services deliver core Kubernetes development services, including an up-to-date distribution of Tanzu Kubernetes Grid.  

·         Hybrid Infrastructure Services include full Kubernetes and RESTful API access that spans creating and manipulating virtual machines, containers, storage, networking, and other core capabilities. 

From an Infrastructure Up perspective: IT Ops admins have complete visibility and control of global cloud infrastructure resources through VCF and the very familiar vCenter Server.

Hybrid Infrastructure Services are abstracted from virtual infrastructure and container resources into Hybrid Infrastructure Services. Let’s review what these are:

1) vSphere Pod Service –Introduced as part of the Hybrid Infrastructure Services, the vSphere Pod Service extends Kubernetes with the ability to run pods directly on the hypervisor. When developers deploy containers using the vSphere Pod service, they get the same level of security isolation, performance guarantees and management capabilities that VMs enjoy.This is so critical for organizations that adhere to strong compliance and governance.

2) Registry Service –Introduced as part of the Hybrid Infrastructure Services, the Registry Service allows developers to store, manage and secure Docker and OCI images using Harbor. 

3) Storage Service –Introduced as part of the Hybrid Infrastructure Services, the Storage Service allows developers to manage persistent disks for use with container, Kubernetes and virtual machines. 

4) Network Service –Introduced as part of the Hybrid Infrastructure Services, the Network Service allows developers to manage Virtual Routers, Load Balancers and Firewall Rules. 

The other portion of services that make up the VMware Cloud Foundation Services include the Tanzu Runtime Services that delivers Tanzu Runtime Services directly to developers. All Services delivered self-service through Kubernetes and Restful APIs

From an Application Down perspective: Developers have friction-less access to comprehensive developer environments and infrastructure resources through VCF Services. Let’s review what these are:

Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Service:– Introduced as part of the Tanzu Run time Services, The Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Service allows developers to manage consistent, compliant, and conformant Kubernetes clusters. All VMware Cloud Foundation Services are delivered self-service through Kubernetes and Restful APIs.

The industry is focussed around providing single control plane across on-premises and off-premises for K8’s, will focus on TMC (Tanzu mission control) in the next blog.

Consolidated Architecture :

Dell Technologies Cloud Platform can now be deployed starting with 4-node consolidated configuration,lowering the cost of entry level hybrid cloud.

For something that allows customers to start smaller, VMware developed a validated VCF Consolidated Architecture option. This allows for the Management domain cluster to run both the VCF management components and a customer’s general purpose server VM workloads. Since you are just using the Management Domain infrastructure to run both your management components and user workloads, your minimum infrastructure starting point consists of the four nodes required to create your Management Domain. In this model, vSphere Resource Pools are used to logically isolate cluster resources to the respective workloads running on the cluster. A single vCenter and NSX-T instance is used for all workloads running on the Management Domain cluster. 

Enterprises looking for remote office use cases with single control plane would be a great use cases.If you have workloads running in ROBO offices,Retail chain stores with single control plane and remote management, the consolidated architecture is a great use case.

VCF consolidated architecture

For customers to get started with an entry level cloud for general purpose VM server workloads, this option provides a smaller entry point, both in terms of required infrastructure footprint as well as cost.

Let’s focus on other key announcements here.

Technical innovation to drive value at the edge:

The latest announcements continue to drive Dell technologies innovation at the edge for the business use cases which are relevant in every industry.

  • Keeping in view the dense high-power workloads, the ideal use cases of database, unstructured data, virtual desktop infrastructure and HPC workloads driving the business outcomes at the edge.Technical advancement with AMD EPYC processors offers customers a new option, with up to 64 high performance cores and support for PCIe® 4, that can be deployed at the edge or in data centers. Coupled with high-efficiency power supply, these compact 1U systems are an ideal option for customers that need high-performance computing power, in a single socket platform for edge environments.
  • For power demanding applications,such as  in-memory databases like SAP HANA and artificial intelligence/machine learning applications. AI/ML are moving out of the trend quadrant to key technologies driving business across every industry.

Why AI/ML , Here is the quick snippet from Gartner Hype Cycle for AI (2019)

https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/top-trends-on-the-gartner-hype-cycle-for-artificial-intelligence-2019/

  • Adding to that VxRail will now support:
    • NVIDIA® Quadro RTX™ GPUs, whichcombine with NVIDIA virtual GPU (vGPU) software to bring the power of accelerated rendering, AI, advanced graphics and compute to the data center for a wide range of workflows. With Quadro RTX and NVIDIA vGPU software, customers can deploy VxRail solutions that help end users be more productive and data centers run efficiently.
    • Intel Optane Persistent Memory maintains improved data integrity with 90% lower latency.

With latest NVIDIA Quadro RTX 6000 and 8000 GPUs,Designers and artists across industries can now expand the boundary of what’s possible, working with the largest and most complex graphics rendering, deep learning, and visual computing workloads.

Rugged platforms use Cases :

Enterprises looking for workloads built for a data center in extremely harsh environments — from manufacturing plants to oil rigs to submarines — in remote locations where dust is blowing or in sub-zero temps, and expect it to operate. D-series is built for the extremes — extreme heat, extreme cold, extreme altitudes — so customers can get the power and simplicity of VxRail no matter where they need it.Running CAD/CAM,CNC, SaaS applications for drilling,machining, are great use cases in extreme conditions.

The D560/D560F is a ruggedized, durable platform that delivers the full power of VxRail for workloads at the edge, in challenging environments, or for space-constrained area.

  • Resilience to extreme heat, sand, dust and vibration​ – VxRail D Series is certified to take heat up to 45C/113F and can even go up to 55C/131F for up to 8 hours, and have a certified cold start down to -15C/5F
  • Light-weight, short depth, durable form factor that allows for flexible deployment options​ — at only 20” deep, it’s our smallest form factor
  • Rugged build and rigid cover to withstand sudden shocks ​– certified to withstand 40G of operational shock and for operation at up to 15K feet of elevation.

The innovation acceleration continues to drive customer outcomes with Dell and VMware.Enterprises today have the key elements of VMware technologies, be it the software or the Ops Knowledge (People,process), the success lies for IT to blend the delivery of services, extending from IaaS to CaaS, to provide developers with the same API experience,mapping enterprise architecture to business outcomes.

Let’s keep that for another day…….

NSX-T 3.0 goes GA

Major release of our full stack Layer 2 to Layer 7 networking platform that offers virtual networking, security, load balancing, visibility, and analytics in a single platform.

As a key component of Virtual Cloud Network, innovation at it best NSX-T 3.0 also introduces 

  • Global policy consistency
  • AWS and Azure gov cloud support
  • VMware NSX® Intelligence enhancements, 
  • Layer 3 EVPN, and powerful networking and security services for vSphere with Kubernetes

Cloud-scale Network Agility

Scaling up and managing a cloud environment – whether public or private.

NSX Federation – NSX Federation in NSX-T 3.0 helps deliver a cloud-like operating model by simplifying the consumption of networking and security constructs. It introduces the NSX Global Manager, a centralized console for managing the network as a single entity while keeping configuration and operational state synchronized across multiple locations.

Support for AWS GovCloud and Azure Government – NSX-T 3.0 extends support for public clouds with VMware NSX™ Cloud support for AWS GovCloud and Azure Government.

Enhanced Multi-tenancy with VRF Lite and Layer 3 BGP EVPN – VRF Lite greatly reduces the networking infrastructure footprint by introducing complete data plane tenant isolation with separate routing table, NAT, and firewall within each VRF on NSX Edge. NSX Edge also implements Layer3 EVPN to seamlessly connect telco VNFs to the overlay network.  The Edge implements standards based BGP control plane to advertise IP Prefixes, running eBGP sessions to the VNF and MP-BGP sessions with the PE/DCGW(s). 

Dynamic Network Service Chaining – NSX service insertion is further enhanced with support for dynamic service chaining for traffic from and to VMs, containers, and bare metal workloads.  The Edge Node dynamically classifies incoming network traffic and applies a set of network services to achieve app-aware security and monitoring.

Intrinsic Security:

NSX-T 3.0 is a step further towards our goal of extending the NSX intrinsic security approach from every workload to data center, multi-cloud, and edge. 

NSX Distributed IDS/IPS : NSX Distributed IDS/IPS is an advanced threat detection engine purpose-built to detect lateral threat movement on east-west traffic across multi-cloud environments.  It eliminates security blind-spots and helps meet compliance needs.

  • L7 Edge Firewall Enhancements – The Layer 7 Edge Firewall is further enhanced in NSX-T 3.0 with the implementation of URL Analysis for URL Classification and Reputation. The Edge Firewall detects access from outside the datacenter for granular detection and categorization of in-bound and outbound URLs.
  • DFW for Windows 2016 workloads – In addition to existing support for Linux, NSX-T 3.0 adds NSX Distributed Firewall (DFW) support for Windows 2016 based physical workloads. 
  • Time-based rules and Configuration wizard – Firewall rules can be enforced based on a pre-scheduled timeline defined by the administrator. NSX-T 3.0 also simplifies the implementation of VLAN backed micro-segmentation using a new configuration wizard. 

Full-stack Networking and Security for Modern Apps

Networking for vSphere with Kubernetes – NSX-T is designed-in from the ground up as the default pod networking solution for vSphere with Kubernetes.  NSX provides a rich set of networking capabilities for vSphere with Kubernetes, including distributed switching and routing, firewalling, load balancing, NAT, IPAM, and more.

  • Prescriptive networking for vSphere Namespace isolation – NSX-T 3.0 delivers a prescriptive network design to greatly simplify the implementation of vSphere Namespaces. It automatically implements the logical segments, distributed routing and firewalling, and IPAM services required for Namespace isolation in the vSphere Supervisor Cluster.  Any workloads created in a Namespace automatically inherit the security policy applied to that Namespace, allowing developers to self-service resources into that Namespace. 
  • Integration with Cluster API in VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Service – NSX-T integrates with VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Service to allow developers to deploy Tanzu Kubernetes Grid clusters.  NSX-T greatly simplifies the necessary networking infrastructure, including the creation of logical segments, Tier-1 Gateway, and load balancers, needed for Tanzu Kubernetes Grid clusters.

Major enhancement on Operational Simplicity and Automation 

Converged vSphere® Distributed Switch™ – With NSX-T 3.0, admins can now deploy NSX-T directly on VMware vSphere Distributed Switch 7.0. This greatly simplifies NSX-T deployment in vSphere environments with no changes required to the existing vSphere Distributed Switch and no VM traffic disruption.
Policy Enhancements with Terraform Provider & Ansible Module – NSX-T 3.0 extends the use of Terraform Provider and Ansible Modules, two of the most widely used automation tools for config generation and deployment, beyond NSX-T installation use cases with support for the NSX-T Policy API.

Want to try hands-on, get started with a Beginner or Advanced NSX Hands-On-Lab (HOL)