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VMworld 2018 US: HCI1469BU- The Future of vSAN and Hyperconverged Infrastructure

This “HCI Futures” session at VMworld US was hosted by two VPs from the Storage and Availability Business Unit, plus a customer guest. It covered the new features recently added to the vSAN environment with the release of 6.7 Update 1, alongside discussion of the possible future direction of VMware in the Hyper-Converged Infrastructure space. I caught up with the session via the online recording.

HCI is a rapidly growing architecture, with both industry wide figures from IDC and VMware’s own figures seeing massive spending increases. In the week of this VMworld, the 4-year old vSAN product is now boasting 15,000 customers. We are told customers are embarking on journeys into the Hybrid Cloud and looking for operational consistency between their On-Premises and Public Cloud environments.

The customer story incorporated into this breakout session was provided by Honeywell. They were an early adopter of vSAN in 2014, starting with the low-risk option of  hosting their management cluster on the technology. Since then they have replaced much of their traditional SAN infrastructure and are now boasting 1.7 Petabytes of data on vSAN, with compression and de-duplication giving them savings of nearly 700TB of disk.

VMware is pushing along several paths to enhance the product- the most obvious is including new storage technologies as they become available. All-flash vSAN is now commonplace, with SSDs replacing traditional spinning disk in the capacity tiers. Looking to the future, the session talked of the usage of NVMe and Persistent Memory (PMEM) developments – storage latency becoming significantly less than network latency for the first time. This prompts a move away from the current 2-tier model to one which incorporates “Adaptive Tiering” to make best use of the different storage components available.

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In the Public Cloud- in particular the VMware on AWS offering- there have been customers who want to expand storage faster than compute. In the current model this hasn’t been possible due to the fixed-capacity building blocks that HCI is known for. This is being addressed by adding access to Amazon’s Elastic Block Storage (EBS) in 6.7U1 as a storage target for the environment. vSAN Encryption using the Amazon KMS is also included, along with the ability to utilise the Elastic DRS features when using AWS as a DRaaS provider for a vSphere environment.

vSAN is also moving away from it’s position as “just” the storage for Virtual Machines. Future developments include the introduction of file storage- and the ability to do some advanced data management- classifying, searching, and filtering the data.

With all this data being stored, VMware is looking to enhance the data protection functionality in the platform. Incorporation of native snapshots with replication to secondary storage (and cloud) for DR purposes increase the challenge to “traditional” storage vendors- and although it was played down in this talk also encroach further into the backup space which is populated by a large group of VMware partners.

Cloud Native applications are also being catered for with Kubernetes integration- using application-level hooks to leverage snapshots, replication, encryption, and backups all through the existing vCenter interface.

If you want to watch the recording of this session to get more information it’s available on the VMworld site: https://videos.vmworld.com/searchsite/2018?search=HCI1469BU. To sign up to the vSAN Beta which is covering some of the Data Protection, Cloud Native Storage, and File Services visit http://www.vmware.com/go/vsan-beta

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VMworld US 2017 Monday Keynote Highlights

vmw2017sqMonday 28th August 2017 and VMworld has officially kicked off and Monday morning in Las Vegas saw the first keynote of the US event. Whilst I’m waiting patiently for my trip to the European leg in two weeks time I was able to keep track as the Keynotes are live streamed for remote viewers– here’s my highlights from this session.

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London VMUG January 2017

Last week saw the first London VMware User Group of the year, another great meetup with many of the usual faces along with some new ones. This was another informative event at the TechUK site just off Fleet Street, and was again very community orientated. If you want to go and find out how people are using VMware products (and others in the surrounding ecosystem) then I’d thoroughly recommend these events- there’s just the right balance between real technical accounts direct from the coalface and marketing of new and interesting products Continue reading

VMworld Europe 2016 Day 2

Day 2, Tuesday, is when the real meat of VMworld starts- kicking off with the General Session (a.k.a. Keynote) at 9am. We were expecting some big announcements and weren’t disappointed. Here’s a look at some of my sessions today- these are the highlights only and more detail will follow.

 General Session

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Ten thousand attendees from ninety-six countries packed into the keynote arena for the opening General Session. It borrowed many parts from the US event, but with a European slant and the added announcements of the new vSphere and VSAN 6.5 platforms and the AWS deal revealed only last week. Mike Clayville, VP of AWS, joned VMware’s Pat Gelsinger on stage to talk about how that deal is going to join the leaders in the private cloud with the leaders in the public cloud. General Availability of that platform will be mid-2017.

We were treated to demos of some of the new features offered through the Cloud Foundation and Cross-cloud architecture, including spinning up a vSphere cluster sat on Amazon Web Services, and vMotioning a workload between an on-premises Datacentre and the public cloud. One of the interesting features for me was “Elastic DRS”- this harnesses the flexibility of the public cloud and allows vCenter to automatically, dynamically, expand and contract the size of a cluster by adding and removing hosts on the fly as workload requirements change. This could deliver that real promise of an elastic SDDC capable of handling “bursty” loads smoothly, it’s also got the potential of landing you a big bill at the end of the month so hopefully there’s some checks and balances in the configuration.

The Power Hour: Deep Dive, DevOps, and New Features of PowerCLI [INF8092]

Always a fun experience, this session didn’t disappoint. With a star-wars-esque intro with voice over by Alan Renouf, and further sci-fi references added throughout by himself and Luc Dekens, it offered an in depth look into some of the new happenings in the PowerCLI world without making anyone’s head hurt with the complexity.  Announced this morning was the release of PowerCLI-core which offers the opportunity to run PowerCLI on a Linux (including PhotonOS) or Mac platform.

There’s also the announcement of VMware (no longer “vSphere”) PowerCLI 6.5 which is offering many new features including a switch to modules from the traditional snapins, cross-vCenter vMotion using Move-VM (even to AWS!), and improvements around Virtual Disk Management and Horizon View controls. There’s too much to mention it all here, so I suggest keeping a lookout for the session online.

What’s New with vSphere [INF8375R]

With the new vSphere 6.5 announcement this session was really full, with people sitting on the floor round the sides of the room. The session served as a jumping-off platform for the more in-depth sessions this week, but summarised the new features in Migration, User Interfaces, Encryption, ESXi lifecycle, Secure Boot and the Universal App Platform to enable containers within vSphere.

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