Monthly Archive: May 2016

May 19 2016

Going to HPE Discover 2016? Visit my demo and sign-up for my session to learn about VVols

For anyone attending HPE Discover in Vegas next month, if you want to learn more about VVols or anything related to VMware visit my VMware focused demo and sign-up for my storage for VMware session.

My session info is below, it’s a theater session so it will be out on the show floor. I’ll be doing a comparison of File & Block protocols and also cover VMware’s new Virtual Volumes (VVols) storage architecture and the impact it has on both block and file storage. You can search on my session ID or last name to find it in the Session Catalog.

Discover2016-Session

My VMware demo (ID: 8773) is located in the Transform area of the Solutions Expo and is listed as “Storage Solutions for VMware”. I’ll have a live VMware environment with both 3PAR and StoreVirtual storage so you can see all of our VMware integration in action. VMware is a Gold sponsor of the event and has their own booth there as well. You can also visit some of my valued sponsors at the event as Veeam, VMTurbo and Zerto all have booth’s at the event as well.

Hope to see you there!

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May 18 2016

R.I.P. vSphere C# Client – VMware has officially written your obituary

vsphere-client-tombstone-cropRemember that painful goodbye you had to say to your beloved ESX hypervisor with the full Service Console back in 2011 when vSphere 5.0 was released with only ESXi? Well you better get ready to finally say goodbye to the vSphere C# (pronounced C-Sharp) Windows thick client also as VMware has just announced that the vSphere C# client is officially dead in the next vSphere release. VMware ESX was first released in 2001 and in 2008 VMware introduced the new lightweight ESXi hypervisor. At the time when ESXi launched, users basically had a choice on which hypervisor they wanted to deploy as they both provided the same core hypervisor functionality, the key difference between the two was in the manageability options. In it’s initial release ESXi had a lot of limitations compared to ESX and adoption of it was slow. Over time VMware built up the manageability of ESXi and once they felt it was on equal ground as ESX they retired ESX 3 years after the release of ESXi.

The vSphere C# Client has always been the main management interface for vSphere back to the early days of vCenter Server. Originally called the VirtualCenter Client it debuted with the VirtualCenter 1.0 release back in 2003. The VirtualCenter Client was renamed to the VI Client with the VI3 release in 2006 and later renamed to the current vSphere Client name as part of the vSphere 4.0 release in 2009. The vSphere C# Client is a Windows based application as it is written using Microsoft’s C# programming language within it’s .NET initiative. Being available only to Windows users resulted in a lot of griping from people that wanted a Mac and Linux client that would run natively on those operating systems and not cause them to install Windows just to manage their vSphere environment. As the mobile revolution ramped up as well having a client that you could run on an iPad was also desired. VMware did launch an iPad application and a mobile access client back in 2011 that used a vCenter Mobile Access (vCMA) appliance as a proxy to vCenter Server for management. It worked OK but it was yet another management interface that VMware had to develop and maintain.

vc-clientThe original VirtualCenter Client interface circa 2003

The current vSphere Web Client developed in Adobe Flex (Flash-based) was first introduced as part of vSphere 5.1 in 2012 as VMware felt they needed a fully featured universal cross-platform client that would work across any device (Windows/Linux/Mac/Mobile). Prior to vSphere 5.1 there was a pretty basic web access interface that could be used to manage vSphere in a very limited fashion. Over the years VMware has worked to improve the vSphere Web Client, the first iteration had a lot of limitations and missing feature support along with poor performance. Many people chose not to use it because of this and preferred to use the C# Client instead which was much quicker and had no limitations beyond being a Windows only client. One of the biggest grips with the vSphere Web Client was it was flash-based which has it’s own issues including limited device support. Despite VMware’s best efforts to improve it, most people still hated the vSphere Web Client as some of the core issues still existed (slow & flash-based) and you couldn’t use it on devices that did not support flash. As a result adoption wasn’t very high, people were still complaining and VMware was forced to keep the C# Client around.

VMware recognized that a new approach was needed and developed a new vSphere Web Client based purely on HTML5 & JavaScript which is both faster and has broader device/browser support as flash is not required anymore. In March this year they released a new HTML5 Web Client as a Fling which is kind of there pre-release development sandbox for tools and new features in vSphere. This new vSphere Web Client will eventually be natively part of the next release of vSphere and at that time the C# Client will no longer be available. VMware believes this new client will resolve all the gripes and complaints of the old web client and that they are at the point were they no longer want to maintain the C# Client.

vSphere-HTML5-Web-Client-Windows-Fig-8

New vSphere HTML5 Web Client Fling interface

Whether people will satisfied with this new web client remains to be seen, the key thing is they no longer have a choice of clients going forward. It’s a bit unusual to see VMware making a special announcement about something like this far in advance of an actual release but I bet VMware wants to prep people now rather than spring it on them at release time and have that possible negativity overshadow the release itself. Think of it as telling someone they have 6 months or so to live so they can prepare for that fatal day instead of telling them a week in advance. When the time comes the uproar will have died down, the mourning will have passed and most people will just have to accept the fact that they have to make a change.

Remember VMware never keeps 2 of anything around that do the same thing as it’s double the development work for them. ESX was retired, the C# Client is being retired and at some point I expect VMFS to be retired as well in favor of VVols. Whether you like it or not the C# Client’s days are numbered, you can either choose to switch to the vSphere Web Client or stay on the current 6.0 release with the C# Client. Hopefully VMware will make it an easy decision by providing a HTML5 Web Client that everyone is happy with. The C# client will continue to be available with all supported versions of vSphere, all 5.x and 6.0 versions will offer this interface through the posted end of support dates.

VMware has not announced any timing as far as when the next vSphere release will be available but when they do at least you will be already prepared for the loss of your beloved vSphere C# Client. Here’s some additional information that VMware has provided on the new vSphere Web Client:

FAQs

>What is VMware announcing on 5/18/16?
VMware is announcing that the C# client will no longer be available with the next release of vSphere.

>Why is VMware making this announcement now?
VMware has been transiting away from the C# client for the last several releases. In recent updates made to vSphere 6.0 VMware has moved functionality into the web client (such as Update Manager) that has further removed the need to run the C# client at all. VMware is also committed in its journey to provide an HTML5-based Web Client in addition to its Flash-based offering to market.

>Why is the web client (WC) a better choice than the c# client?

  • Scalability – WC handles more objects and more concurrent admin access
  • Bookmarking URLs – WC allows you to quickly return to specific objects or views and share them with others (such as in a support ticket)
  • Recent Objects – WC lets you navigate quickly between things you’re working on
  • Work-In-Progress – WC lets you save your work and come back to it later, even from another computer!
  • Enhanced Linked Mode – WC can call up all your inventory in one view
  • Remembers user customizations to UI – WC enables column selections and widths on grids, portlets on summary pages
  • Latest feature support – WC is the only interface to support all new features

>“I hate f lash and don’t want to use a web client that uses that technology layer”

VMware agrees that flash is not the solution for the long-term. Our long-term direction is to utilize HTML5. Customers can experience this right now by using our flings for both the embedded host client and web client available at https://labs.vmware.com/flings. An HTML5 client will be available in future versions of vSphere.

>When is the next release of vSphere?

The date or launch timing for the next release of vSphere is not being disclosed at this time.

>Will the C# client still be available at all?

The C# client will still be supported with all non-EOL’d vSphere versions prior and post the next release.

>Has performance and overall usability being addressed in the web client?

Performance and overall usability have been dramatically improved with the release of vSphere 6 update 1 (released September 2015) and even further enhanced now that update 2 has become available (March 2016). We invite all customers to test the latest web client with our latest releases.

>I use specific plug-ins with vCenter. How do I migrate Web Client 3rd party plug-ins to HTML5?

Around 30-40% of the partner plug-ins are already in HTML5, we are working with the rest of the partner base to migrate them over to HTML5.

>Is VMware really listening to its customers? Haven’t you heard my feedback on the web client?

Yes, we are listening. The fling work on the HTML5 client plus the release of the embedded host client are evidence that we are paying attention and listening to customer feedback. To provide an example, let’s dive into this a bit further in this topic.

The vSphere C# Client today serves two unique purposes:

  • Connecting to the vCenter Server
  • Directly connecting to ESXi host

For the first purpose, the existing vSphere Web Client based on flash is that interface and directionally, through the HTML5 Fling, you can see VMware is preparing to move off of the flash requirement and providing a much speedier/modern interface for managing and operating vCenter Server.

For the second purpose, the Embedded Host Client (also HTML5- based) started out as a fling and now has become an officially shipping feature out of the box with vSphere 6.0 Update 2. This means that customers no longer require the vSphere C# Client to connect to individual ESXi host. This works for both licensed product as well as the free vSphere Hypervisor.

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May 08 2016

Registration for VMworld 2016 US now open – key information to know

Registration for VMworld 2016 in the US is now open, here’s some key information about the event:

  • Dates/Times: VMworld US runs from Sunday, Aug. 28th until Thursday, Sept. 1st. On Sunday except for partner/TAM activities, nothing much is going on until 5:00pm when the Welcome Reception kicks off where you can mingle with all the sponsors in the Solutions Exchange and grab some food and drink. The first general session/keynote is Monday morning at 9:00am (Pat Gelsinger) and afterwards Breakout Sessions and the Solutions Exchange is open from 11:00am-6:00pm. This repeats on Tuesday, also on Wednesday but no keynote and things shutdown a bit earlier (5:00pm) because of the official VMworld party at 7:30pm. Thursday is typically a slower day as things are winding down and the event shuts down at 3:00pm. You can view the full agenda here.
  • Location: VMworld is back in Vegas baby! The last time VMworld was in Vegas was 2011, the first VMworld that I attended in 2008 was also located in Vegas. However this time instead of the Venetian were it has historically been it’s now at Mandalay Bay. Why the change from San Francisco this year? Construction going on at Moscone Center triggered the change this year. How well will VMworld fit inside Mandalay Bay? Read my post here on that topic. I for one welcome the change of venue as it means less walking, better food, cheaper hotels and no earthquakes.
  • Pricing: There are various discounts available for registration. Early bird pricing discounts are in effect now until June 6th, this typically saves you about $300. With the early bird discounts, individual registration is $1695, if you have been to two or more VMworlds as a paid full conference attendee you apply for the Alumni discount as well which gets you another $200 off ($1495). There are also discounts for government, education, VCP, VMUG and groups. If you can’t afford the registration fee keep your eyes open as many vendors offer promotional free passes for VMworld in the months leading up to the event. As luck would have it VMTurbo has a drawing in May, June and July were you have a chance to win 2 free passes to VMworld so go sign-up for that.
  • Sessions: Public voting is now open for sessions until May 24th where you can influence which sessions make it in to the event. Speaker notifications are tentatively set to go out on June 14th, the dreaded “we’re sorry” email for many of us. The content catalog of approved sessions is scheduled to go live June 21st so you can see which sessions made the cut and the schedule builder goes live July 19th so you can start to add them to your schedule. It’s recommended to do this early as popular sessions fill up very fast. When sessions fill up you can be added to a waiting list and often times a 2nd running of the session is added for hot sessions.
  • Partner Exchange: VMware phased out their annual Partner Exchange event (PEX), traditionally held in February, last year and merged it into VMworld. PEX at VMworld is a scaled down version of the event and takes place before VMworld officially kicks off Sunday evening with the Welcome Reception. It is meant for VMware partners only (no customers) and takes place on Saturday & Sunday with boot camps, keynotes and breakout sessions. The content is more geared towards sales enablement audiences to help them better sell VMware products. This is typically a registration add-on, you can read more about this here.
  • Justification: I did a sample justification letter many years ago back in 2008 when I wrote for Tech Target. The VMworld crew must of seen that as they have offered one as well in subsequent years, you can download the current one that they have here. I know the cost of VMworld can be a hard sell especially if you are a customer, it’s definitely worth it though so take the time and try and make a solid business case for it. With VMworld in Vegas this year it might be cheaper overall with lower hotel costs and cheaper flights.
  • Hotels: After hotel sticker shock in San Francisco the last few years paying $300-$600/night for a hotel often times with no frills, Vegas is a breath of fresh air where you can get a great hotel with loads of amenities for under $150/night. There are special VMworld rates at the Mandalay Bay and other nearby hotels that you can book as part of your VMworld registration. Mandalay Bay is $149/night, Delano (formerly THEhotel) is $189/night, MGM Grand is $75-$140/night and the Luxor is $50/night (plus the dumb resort fees), if you book direct to the hotel the rates are a bit higher but you can always find hotel deals in Vegas. How awesome is that, 4 nights in Vegas cheaper than 1 night in San Francisco. Again don’t wait to book your hotel if you want to be closer to the event or at the Mandalay Bay.
  • The Band: A favorite topic of mine and I anxiously await each year to find out who the band will be as it is always great to have some good entertainment after a few days of deep knowledge absorption. I’ve been mostly disappointed the last few years in the band they chose, every year though I am cautiously optimistic that they will get a good band that I like. You can see the full list of VMworld bands over the years here and also read about the economic side of how much it costs to hire those bands.

VMware has a full FAQ on VMworld here that you can also look through that answers many common questions about the event. As the event draws closer I’ll be posting more links and information on it. See you in Vegas!

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May 07 2016

Public session voting now open for VMworld

I’m not sure VMware has officially announced it yet but public voting for VMworld session submissions is now open. I haven’t seen any tweets on it from the @VMworld account and the main VMworld web page doesn’t mention it yet but the Content Catalog is now live and after some poking around I found the Vote for Sessions link on the VMworld site on the Learning drop down tab. The link basically just takes you to the Content Catalog which I posted about yesterday, but you can vote on your favorite sessions if you login to the site.

Public voting for VMworld sessions will be open from May 3rd – May 24th at 11:59pm PST. The public voting is just one part of a whole scoring process that includes also content committee voting and sponsor voting. VMware reserves a small chunk of session slots (5%) that they call Customer Choice that can make it in via the public voting, the remainder of the session slots typically are filled up by VMware sessions, sponsor sessions and sessions that score favorably through the content committee voting.

Important!

I’d greatly appreciate your vote for my submission which is a session on VVols with lots of new and updated information that is the sequel to the session that I presented last year at VMworld. Simply search on my last name (Siebert) or session ID (7925) to find it.

You can vote on as many sessions as you want, since the list is so large (1,575) you are better of searching or filtering it on topics that interest you. You can only cast one vote for a session though. To vote on sessions do the following:

Go to the VMworld home page and click login at the top of the page.

vote3=editIf you don’t have an existing VMworld account, still click the login link but at the login page click Create Account. You’ll need to enter some basic required information (username, email, address info) and then an account will be created for you.

vote4-editOnce you’re logged in select the Learning tab on the page and select the Vote on Public Sessions link.

vote5-edit-cropOn the Public Sessions page click the link to vote and you’ll be re-directed to the Content Catalog.

vote5.5-editOnce you are at the Content Catalog you will see the fill list of sessions, enter a search term (i.e. speaker name, VVols, VSAN, etc.) or select filters from the left side (track/sub-track/type). Once you find a session you want to vote on simply click the star at the end of the session name and it will turn yellow and that’s it, your vote is in for that session, repeat for any other sessions you want to vote on.

vote6-edit

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May 06 2016

VMworld 2016 session catalog now online

The session catalog for VMworld 2016 just appeared online, my google search filter on VVols picked it up and alerted me. I’m not sure if that was intentional or not on VMware’s part but they might be getting ready for the public voting process that is part of the session scoring that determines which sessions are approved or denied. Right now there are 1,575 sessions listed in the catalog as shown below:

sessions1A quick search on my favorite topic, VVols, reveals 18 sessions including my own submission (7925):

session2June 14th is when notifications are made to session owners, so I imagine the public voting will begin next week and run for several weeks. Of those 1,575 submissions there are probably only a couple hundred that will make it so be sure and get your votes in once the voting goes live.

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May 05 2016

Top bloggers and vExperts converge on the Denver UserCon

The Denver UserCon is on Thursday, May 26th this year from 8:00am-5:00pm in downtown Denver at the Hyatt Regency located at 650 15th Street. This will be my first Denver UserCon in a few years after returning from living in Phoenix for 2 years. As a former Denver VMUG Leader I’ve watched this one mature over the years and grow larger. I actually organized an event of this nature before the UserCon’s existed back in 2010, I called it a Super VMUG and had Scott Lowe, Doug Hazelman and Rob Randall all speaking along with several other vendors.

This year you’ll get to see a trio of Top bloggers and vExperts at the Denver UserCon with Scott Lowe leading off with the morning keynote on NSX, followed by Chris Wahl doing the lunch keynote on tech skills (I saw this in Silicon Valley and it was great) and myself batting clean-up with a session on VVols right after the lunch keynote.

So if you are in the Denver area put this on your calendar and go register for it. I’ll also be at the HPE Booth so stop by and say hi. And as we just lost another long-time Denver VMUG leader, Kevin Divine, who packed up and moved to Minnesota if you are interested in being a Denver VMUG leader be sure and reach out to the VMUG staff.

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May 04 2016

Female vBloggers – my door is always open

Gina Minks from Dell/EMC recently wrote up a post on her site as a reaction to a tweet of mine alleging that I (and apparently others) ignore female vBloggers. I can assure you that this is simply not true and as a matter of fact I ignore both male and female bloggers equally. What I mean by that is I really don’t have the time to constantly search for new bloggers that might be not listed on my vLaunchpad blog list. Bloggers come and go constantly and right now I maintain almost 500 blogs on my blog list. Between a day job, maintaining 3 websites, link collecting and blogging I rarely have time to even relax these days.

What I rely on to keep my vLaunchpad up to date is you coming to me and telling me you are not listed and need to be added. I typically add 40-50 new blogs a year to my site and do it in periodic batches as cutting and pasting table cells up and down to keep everything alphabetized is a lot of work. The reality is only a few female bloggers took the initiative and filled out the simple form to get added, Jane Rimmer, Amy Manley and Melissa Palmer, in fact Melissa was the overwhelming favorite in the New blog category last year and placed in the top 50.

Concerning female vBloggers this year I had a new category nomination in my Top vBlog voting for Favorite Female Blogger. Again this is all self-nomination as I can’t possibly keep track of who’s male, who’s female, who’s independent, who’s new, etc. I only had 2 nominations so I didn’t add the category to the final ballot. That was a bit disappointing as I was hoping there would be more, I even tweeted the below out hoping to attract more:

femaleThe bottom line is female vBloggers I’m not ignoring you, I just don’t have the time to search for you or any other blogger for that matter. I would love to have more female vBloggers on my list, so if you’re out there and your blog is related to virtualization simply use this form and I’ll get you added and hopefully next year we’ll have a much better response in that voting category. You can read my full response to Gina’s post here.

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May 02 2016

Voting now open for Top vBlog 2016

The number of blogs devoted to VMware and virtualization continues to stay at an amazingly high level, this year there are more than 300 of them on the ballot. Here’s your chance to show your appreciation to the bloggers for all their hard work by picking your favorites which will determine the top blogs for 2016. Last year over 2,200 people voted from all over the world and when the votes were tallied the top 50 bloggers were revealed. Now it’s time to do it all over again as new blogs are born and old blogs fade away and bloggers move up and down the rankings. When casting your votes please keep the following in mind about the blogs.

  • Longevity – Anyone can start a blog but it requires dedication, time & effort to keep it going. Some bloggers start a blog only to have it fall to the wayside several months later. Things always come up in life but the good bloggers keep going regardless of what is happening in their life.
  • Length – It’s easy to make a quick blog post without much content, nothing wrong with this as long as you have good content in the post that people will enjoy. But some bloggers post pretty long detailed posts which takes a lot of time and effort to produce. The tip of the hat goes to these guys that burn the midnight oil trying to get you some great detailed information.
  • Frequency – Some bloggers post several times a week which provides readers with lots of content. This requires a lot of effort as bloggers have to come up with more content ideas to write about. Frequency ties into length, some do high frequency/low length, some do low frequency/high length, some do both. They’re all good and require a lot of time and effort on the bloggers part.
  • Quality – It all comes down to whats in the blog post regardless of how often or how long the blog posts are. After reading a blog post if you come away with learning something that you did not previously know and it benefits you in some way then you know you are reading a quality post. Good quality is usually the result of original content, its easy to re-hash something previously published elsewhere, the good bloggers come up with unique content or put their own unique spin on popular topics.

So please take all this into account when casting your votes, here are some more details on the voting:

  • New this year you can now pick 12 of your favorite blogs (last year was 10) and also rank them in your order of preference after you pick your 12. The results will be weighted with a #1 ranking getting 12 points and a #12 ranking getting 1 point. Point totals will be tabulated and from them the top 50 will be determined.
  • Blogs are listed on the ballot in alphabetical order, the current top 50 blogs are highlighted with their current ranking in parentheses and are also bolded so they stand out. So please go through the whole list when making your choices (Duncan ended up on the bottom).
  • Note there was a new minimum blog post requirement implemented this year to be eligible for Top vBlog voting, any blog that did not have at least 10 blog posts in 2015 is not included in the voting. Read more about this here.
  • Again this year we also having voting in special categories to help distinguish certain types of blogs. The choices of which blogs to include in the categories was the result of this survey and my best guessing. The categories are independent of the general voting so first pick and rank your top 12 overall favorite blogs and then choose your favorite blog in each category.
  • Voting will run until 5/27, afterwards the results will be determined and announced on a special live podcast with myself, John Troyer and a special guest from VMTurbo.
  • Duplicate vote protection is enabled, we’ll be using geolocation, IP addresses & cookies to protect against duplicate votes. This isn’t Chicago, please be honest and fair when voting, any suspicious votes will be tossed.
  • If you are not familiar with a blog you can click on it in the survey to view it or use my vLaunchpad to see links to them all. Try not to pick blogs based just on names but also take content into account. There are a lot of good blogs currently not in the top 50 that deserve to be there.
  • Also please keep it classy and don’t try and work the voting system to get your blog ranked as high as possible.

Once again this year we have designed a custom commemorative coin that each of the top 50 bloggers will receive. I had wanted to do separate coins for Top 10, Top 25 and Top 50 but that would of required paying for a separate die mold for each which gets costly. So instead I put Top 50 on the coin and am using different metal finishes to signify this. The Top 10 will get a Shiny Gold coin, 11-25 will get a Antique Silver coin and 26-50 will get a Antique Copper coin. Below are the finished coins from last year, they are 2″ in diameter and quite heavy.

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Of course all this is made possible by VMTurbo who is the official sponsor for Top vBlog 2016, stay tuned for more info as things will be starting up soon.

why-vhm-earth(250x125)So what are you waiting for, head on over and take the survey to cast your ballot and reward the best bloggers for their hard work and dedication by letting them know that you appreciate them.

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