October 2015 archive

Mr. Sloof and VMworld TV is back in action at VMworld EMEA

The VMworld TV crew featuring the notorious blogger Eric Sloof along with his sidekick Jeremy van Doorn were notably missing this year from VMworld in the US. I always enjoyed watching Mr. Sloof in action at VMworld recording video footage and interviews all over the event and producing daily wrap-up videos, so it was disappointing that VMware didn’t bring them to the US event this year. However they were back in action at VMworld EMEA and if you want to get a great summary of what went on over there along with some good interviews be sure and check out the videos on the VMworld YouTube channel. I’ve listed some of them below along with some additional videos from VMworld EMEA that seemed interesting.

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Access all the VMworld 2015 session recordings for just $200

VMware has released approximately 50 VMworld 2015 sessions for free but you’re still missing out on tons of other great sessions that are only available to paid attendees. Well now you can get access to all those great recordings for the relatively low price of $200 by purchasing a VMUG Advantage membership. The price of $200 is way cheaper than attending VMworld plus you get a lot of other great benefits that come with VMUG Advantage which include:

  • VMware EVALExperience – 365-day evaluation licenses for personal use in a non-production environment
  • vCloud Air OnDemand Service Credit – $600 in service credit per year which provides access to a cloud-based VMware environment
  • VMware Lab Connect – a self-paced, technical training lab designed to enhance your learning experience
  • $100 USD Discount on VMworld Admission
  • 50% off VMware Fusion Pro and VMware Workstation Software Licenses
  • 20% off VMware Certification Exams
  • 20% off VMware On-Demand, a robust, self-paced learning solution delivering modular training combined with hands-on practice labs, giving you a powerful alternative to traditional classroom training
  • 20% off VMware-Delivered Classes
  • 35% off VMware Lab Connect, a self-paced, technical training lab designed to enhance your learning experience

and of course: access to VMworld 2015 Online Content – a $699 value

All for $200 which is a damn good deal considering the cost of going to VMworld which is thousands of dollars, combined with all the other great stuff you getting it would probably total over $5000.

So head on over and sign-up so you can get started listening to all the great VMworld 2015 session content that is available,

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Survey highlights interest in VMware Virtual Volumes (VVols) but also challenges

Primary Data conducted a survey of VMworld attendees to find out the level of interest in VMware Virtual Volumes (VVols) as well as what are the challenges and concerns that are keeping people from adopting it. The survey had 355 responses which is a good sampling that  probably represents the viewpoints of the majority of VMware customers. The overall results of the survey show strong interest in VVols but also the key challenges that are holding people back from using it.

When asked about the level of involvement of VVols, 41% of respondents were discussing it but 28% had never heard of it. In addition, 12% were not pursuing VVols and had no plans to but 7% have already implemented it and 4% are in the process of implementing it. The remaining 4% were testing VVols.

So lets look at these numbers and what they could mean:

  • 41% discussing VVols – this is a good amount which shows definite interest in VVols, but I believe this group is largely comprised of people that are trying to better understand VVols which includes what are the differences, benefits, use cases, requirements and limitations of VVols.
  • 28% have never heard of it – not surprising as VMware has not really gone out of their way to promote VVols that much. If you look at VMworld you constantly hear about VSAN but VVols receives little recognition in keynotes and other activities, the same is true outside of VMworld, you mainly hear about VSAN from VMware.
  • 12% are not pursuing VVols – this group may include SMB customers and those with smaller environments that feel that they don’t need VVols and what they are already using works just fine for them. It may also include people that use DAS or software defined storage such as VSAN or VSA as well as customers who arrays do not support VVols.
  • 7% have implemented it already – I’m a little surprised that this is that high given the limited support from array vendors for VVols and with EMC still not supporting it and 57% of the survey respondents were using EMC storage. I’d bet that these people are mainly testing it out with some non-critical VMs, I’d be more interested in knowing how much this group has implemented it in their environment.
  • 4% are in the process of implementing it – Given that VVols is fairly easy to implement I’m guessing that this group is either waiting for their array vendor to support VVols, waiting to upgrade to vSphere 6 or to upgrade their array to the firmware that supports VVols.
  • 4% are testing VVols – I thought this number would be higher as you can run VVols alongside VMFS, I can see the people that have implemented VVols already or that are in the process as also being the ones that are testing VVols.

These numbers are pretty much in line with what I’ve seen and heard. When I’ve presented at VMUGs and VMworld this year I always ask how many people have heard of VVols and I see more than half the hands go up, when I ask who understands VVols I see much less hands and when I ask who has implemented I see very few hands.

I previously did a long detailed post on my thoughts around VVols adoption and reasons why people should adopt now and why they should wait. I think the biggest barriers right now are VVols being a 1.0 release, lack of replication support, lack of understanding what it is, the vSphere 6 requirement and lack of array support. If you look at the 1.0 release of VSAN it was the same way, because of limitations, lack of understanding and what not there was not large scale adoption, this is pretty much true of any 1.0 product. I don’t expect to see the implementing percentage for VVols go a lot higher for at least a year until it matures and the SAN vendors catch up.

Now lets look at the challenges around VVols adoption that were highlighted in the survey and what they could mean:

  • 63% said lack of VVols expertise – this is understandable, it takes time to get experience and knowledge and VVols is fundamentally a lot different than VMFS. This is a fairly easy challenge to overcome though, I’ve seen a lot of documentation from vendors and VMware to help people with this, check out my huge link collection on VVols for more info and resources.
  • 56% said performance issues – say what, I’m not sure what people are thinking here, VVols will not cause performance issues and performs on par with VMFS, however VVols will also not fix existing performance issues either. It sounds like a great number of people have storage performance issues already and want to focus on fixing that before looking at VVols.
  • 54% said migration issues – OK, migrating existing VMs to VVols is a slow and painful process using Storage vMotion but you can run VVols alongside VMFS and do it over time. I don’t see this being an issue just a slow process, this might be focused on underlying implementation issues such as migrating to vSphere 6 and migrating to array firmware that supports VVols.
  • 52% said organization roadblocks – I can see several things here, push back from SAN admins that don’t like VVols because they lose some control, change control processes, data center politics, refresh cycles that are pushing it out, lack of selling it to upper management, etc. Again this shouldn’t be too difficult to overcome but it will probably take time to do so.
  • 51% said reliability issues – again, huh? VVols aren’t really any less or more reliable than VMFS and there really haven’t been any major issues that I’ve seen related to implementing them. Once again I think this one points back to underlying existing reliability issues with storage which VVols isn’t going to solve and customers unwilling to deploy VVols until they fix reliability issues.
  • 46% said cost – I sure hope these people know that VVols isn’t a product or feature that you have to license, it’s a new storage architecture that is built into vSphere and is included in all editions. Other than that the only reasons I can think of that someone would say cost is if they have to pay to upgrade to vSphere 6 or buy storage that supports VVols.
  • 43% said lack of vendor support – given that 57% of the survey respondents had EMC storage which does not yet support VVols this percentage perfectly aligns with that. Today there are only 10 storage vendors that do support VVols with the biggest ones being HP, IBM, Dell, NetApp and HDS. This will simply take time for vendors to catch up and deliver mature VVol implementations.

You can see most of the challenges seem to focus more on existing storage issues in customer environments not related to VVols. The survey does a good job of highlighting the many issues that customers have with storage in their environments, particularly around performance and availability. Lack of expertise and lack of array support seem to be the biggest VVol challenges related to adoption which will simply take time to overcome. You can see the full survey results and raw data at this link.

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Win a Home Lab that you can fit in your pocket

Well you might not be able to fit it all in your pocket but at least the server will fit. Turbonomic is giving away a TurboStack Home Lab and all you have to do for a chance to win is watch a video.

turbostackWhat is the TurboStack?

The TurboStack was created to enable you to experiment with OpenStack safely in your own home lab. Leveraging the OpenStack Juno build, the TurboStack also includes a full NFR License to Turbonomic 5.2. Every TurboStack Home Lab is individually assembled by a VMTurbo engineer and includes:

  • 1x Intel NUC NUC5i5RYK
  • 2x Corsair 8GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1x 256GB Samsung 850 Evo mSATA Drives
  • 1x Synology DS415 4-Bay NAS
  • 2x Western Digital 1TB 3.5″ SATA Drives
  • 1x Cisco SG300 10-Port Gigabit Managed Switch
  • 5x Ethernet Cables

Now a NUC isn’t some sort of an Eskimo computer, it stands for Next Unit of Computing and is a little powerhouse of hardware packed into a very small footprint. The Intel NUC measures about 4.5 inches in height and width and just 1.25 inches in height, you literally could slip it into your pocket.

NUC1-panoDespite it’s very small form factor the Intel NUC5i5RYK comes with an Intel I5-5250U processor with dual-cores running up to 2.7Ghz in Turbo mode. It supports up to 16GB of RAM using DDR3L SODIMMs and supports a M.2 Key Type M SSD card for storage. It comes with a wired 1Gb network port and also supports wireless 802.11AC. For connectivity it has the following ports: Mini-HDMI, Mini-DisplayPort, headphone/microphone and 4 – USB 3.0 ports.

Along with the NUC you get some great shared storage with the Synology DS-415 that supports iSCSI, NFS and a lot of other connectivity options, you also get a nice Cisco SG300 10-port Gigabit Managed Switch to tie it all together. So how do you win this awesome combo, it’s easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Go to VMTurbo’s website and watch a short video
  2. Submit the entry form on the page
  3. Wait until their next drawing on Oct 31st, 2015 to see if you are the lucky winner

Not only do you get to learn about a great management product for your vSphere environment but you could also walk away with a great home lab to learn more about OpenStack.

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VMworld 2016 at Mandalay Bay – does it have enough room and you can pre-register now

vmworld-2016At VMworld this year VMware announced that next year VMworld will be going back to Vegas next year but not at it’s usual location of The Venetian/Palazzo & the Sands Expo Center, but instead at Mandalay Bay. This change was made because the Moscone Center is under-going renovations next year, so for whatever reasons (i.e. costs, availability) it will be held at Mandalay Bay instead of the Venetian.

This won’t be the first time VMworld was held at Mandalay Bay, in 2008 & 2011 it was held at the Venetian but in 2005 (2nd VMworld) it was held at the Mandalay Bay. Now back then VMworld was much smaller with only 3,500 people attending in 2005, so with attendance today around the 24,000 mark how well will it fit at Mandalay Bay compared to the Venetian and Moscone Center?

The Moscone Center is fairly small despite being in 3 buildings (North, South & West) and totals around 700,000 square feet of exhibition space. In contrast the Sands Expo Center (Venetian) has over 2.25 million square feet of show floor and meeting space and between the Venetian and Palazzo hotels offers more than 7,000 suites all under one roof with an additional 40,000 hotel rooms within a 10-minute walk away. Just the exhibition hall alone at the Sands Expo Center is 380,000 square feet. So as you can see the Moscone Center is pretty cramped when compared to the much roomier Sands Expo Center.

While not as large as the Sands Expo Center, the Mandalay Bay Convention Center dwarfs Moscone as well with over 1.7 million square feet of space available and a 577,000 square foot exhibition hall. Mandalay Bay also contains around 4,700 hotel rooms with the adjacent Mandalay Bay, Four Seasons and THEhotel hotels. There are also enclosed walkways and trams that connect it to the Luxor (4,400 rooms) and Excalibur (4,000 rooms) hotels along with many other nearby hotels.

mandalay-baySo VMworld next year will definitely have plenty of space to stretch out in, I was at the Mandalay Bay in 2013 when VMware Partner Exchange was held there and it’s a nice facility. The rooms might not be as nice as the Venetian/Palazzo suites but it’s not bad and you can get more upscale rooms at attached THEhotel.

I think a nice side effect of VMworld going back to Vegas is that more people will likely attend as it’s much more affordable and accessible than San Francisco is especially without the insane hotel prices. There will also be much less walking all over the place and more available space should allow for more exhibitors and more sessions.

VMware has a VMworld 2016 pre-registration page up now where you can put in your info to be notified as soon as registration opens next year. So go sign up and see you in Vegas baby!

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VMworld 2015 US sessions now available for download

I previously wrote on how you could access the VMworld sessions via the Mobile App on a smartphone or tablet or via a PC through Schedule Builder. However those methods only allowed you to stream the content, not save it for offline viewing. Some people prefer the download method so they can copy it to a device for offline playback or just save their favorite sessions on their PC. Well that’s all changed as VMware has updated their VMworld page so you can now access the sessions through their main session playback page and either watch them or download them.

Don’t go to this page from the main VMworld page, it looks like an old page and doesn’t have the 2015 sessions yet. You have to click on US conference and then click the session playback link all the way at the bottom of the page which brings you to the page with the 2015 sessions added to it. Click the link and it asks you to verify that you were a paid attendee by putting in your name and email address, that seems odd as you would expect to login with your vmworld.com credentials instead. I tested this out and all it is really looking for is that your email address matches what you registered for VMworld with, I put in a different name and it still took it.

Once you are verified it will bring up the sessions list which you can select by track or search for sessions. You will have the option to watch a session or download it. If you select the option to download it a packaged download is created in .zip file format which contains the .mp4 video file of the session along with other files to support standalone playback of the sessions in a browser.

vmworld-sessions-edit2The size of these .zip files varies from around 250MB – 500MB depending on if it has video or not (just slides). Once downloaded you can extract the zip file which creates a bunch of files and folders, to start watching the session you can click the default.html file which will launch the playback in a browser using Silverlight or an alternate method (i.e. flash, java). Alternately you can go into the content sub-directory and launch the .mp4 video using your video player of choice.


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