BMW i8 by Simplivity

VMworld 2015 is being pushed to new heights with this amazing BMW i8 for the taking! 

   

VMware VMworld2015 Floor Preview  #liveblog

Just a bunch of snaps… 

    
    
    
 

VMware One Cloud #liveblog

  

Seamless integration into multiple clouds with One cloud, differences between on premise IT and off premise IT is eliminated allowing seamless integration.

Unified hybrid cloud focussed on changing application development and models and VMware unified platform supports traditional, cloud native, containers and open source applications and technologies.

#liveblog

23K, 88 Countries, 50K Live Viewers

VMworld 2015 general session kicks off with 23,000 attendees. 

 

Nested ESXi Lab in VMware vCloud Air

The vCloud Air 200$ signup credits was nice because it helped me play with the On-demand virtual private cloud subscription. vCloud air is quite powerful and the UI is quite responsive. The waiting times increase when you use the vCloud Director UI because of the automation hooks in the back that need to get updated.

One thing I tried to do is deploy an ESXi ISO in my catalog and tried to deploy a nested hypervisor. This however failed because VT was not enabled in the virtual machine BIOS.

I tried my best to access the BIOS but I just couldn’t. So how do we get vCloud air to deploy a nested hypervisor and build a lab? Simple deploy a prebuilt appliance 🙂

I used my VMware Fusion and built a virtual machine (no OS) with VT enabled in the BIOS. I exported it as a OVA and imported that to my vCloud Air catalog. I then attached the ESXi ISO from my ISO catalog and viola! – nested ESXi hypervisor in vCloud Air.

For your convenience I have the OVA attached here. Just download and upload it to your vCloud Air catalog –> attach the ESXi OVA –> Power on and install and deploy nested VMs!

Differences between VMware Site Recovery Manager vs Zerto Replication

Disaster recovery is critical for any business. With virtualization technology disaster recovery has become simpler and easier to implement. One of the most common ways to implement disaster recovery is replication – where a specific segment or an entire production footprint is replicated to a disaster recovery site.

Here we will briefly discuss and compare two of the most commonly used replication software that are widely used in the industry today.  VMware’s Site Recovery Manager(SRM) and Zerto Replication Software are two of the most commonly used replication technologies that allow you to protect your production footprint.

VMware’s Site Recovery Manager (SRM) and Zerto replication are both disaster recovery management and orchestration solution that provide disaster recovery by means of replication. While SRM is a product that is developed by VMware, Zerto software is a product of Zerto technologies. Both use vSphere’s API to integrate into vCenter and manage replication.

We will compare both technologies on these three factors – features, functional components and replication technology. This will allow you to get an overall idea of what is involved in deploying these two products in your infrastructure and determining which one is a better fit based on your use case.

Features – Below is a comparison of the feature set between VMware’s SRM and Zerto replication.

  VMware Site Recovery Manager Zerto Replication
Total number of virtual machines configured for protection per vCenter 5000 5000
Total number of virtual machines protected per appliance 500 (with vSphere replication) 500
RPO <15 minutes (Storage replication), 15 minutes (vSphere replication) <15 minutes
Ability to work with Storage replication Yes No
Virtual machine consistency groups Yes Yes
vSphere Client Integration Yes Yes
RDM Support Yes (Virtual RDM only) Yes
RE-IP of Virtual Machines Yes Yes
API support Yes (SDK) Yes (RestAPI)
Licensing Per-VM Per-VM
Post-Script Execution Yes Yes

Functional Components

Below is the architecture of SRM.

srm1

We will break down the parts and describe them below,

Site recovery Manager – This is the SRM software that manages and orchestrates the entire solution and is critical for being able to manage a disaster failover. The software is installed on a Windows server and can be installed in a virtual machine. The SRM server is configured to connect to the vCenter server on each site.

Once the connection is done, site pairing is done between both sides allowing each site to be able to access the other site and resources are mapped.

VM Replication – SRM has the ability to support replication by means of virtual machine replication. This is done by deploying VR appliance at each of the vCenter and VR agents on each of the hypervisors. The agents are able to track and ship blocks of traffic across the WAN through the VR appliance that are received on the other site. The benefit of VM replication is that it is storage agnostic and can replicate regardless of the backend storage used.

Storage Array Replication – One of the most common modes of replication seen while using SRM is storage array replication. In this scenario, the storage array itself handles the replication while SRM orchestrate a DR event by directly communicating with the storage. This is done by deploying Storage replication adapter (SRA) on the SRM server that communicates with the storage array directly. SRM is able to send commands via this SRA to the storage array to break replication when a DR event is triggered.

Below is the architecture of Zerto –

zerto1

Zerto Virtual Manager (ZVM) – ZVM is deployed on a Windows virtual machine and runs as a service that manages replication between the production and the recovery site. The ZVM is configured to tie into the vCenter server on each site respectively.

Virtual Replication Appliances (VRAs) – Virtual replication appliances are virtual machines installed on each host being managed by a vCenter that have virtual machines that need to be protected. The VRA manages the replication data that is being replicated to or from a protected site.

Zerto User Interface – The replication is managed by the user interface via the Zerto user interface. This web interface is accessible both via the vCenter client or the vSphere web client.

Replication Technology

VMware’s SRM and Zerto both have the ability to perform virtual machine replication however SRM has an additional functionality of being able to offload the replication to be managed by the storage array.

Being able to offload the replication to the storage array comes with its own benefits and some drawbacks as well.

One benefit of replicating using the storage array is the low RPO that the storage array is able to offer. Array replication is considered to be more efficient in the sense that the arrays offer efficient ways of data management and transfer.

Array replication on the other hand requires similar storage arrays on both sides and additional licensing for replication – both being very expensive. This also requires multiple teams to be involved in getting the entire setup complete – this can cause management problems while architecting or executing a DR plan.

Zerto replication replicates by means of virtual machines replication only. Zerto manages and replicates by means of the Zerto Virtual Manager (ZVM) that connects to a vCenter. The ZVM also deploys the Virtual replication appliances (VRA) on to each vSphere host that is participating in replication. This VRA is able to watch all writes being sent to virtual machines and is able to make a copy and ship these writes across to the other site, there by achieving RPO in seconds.

As soon as a write is seen by the VRA it quickly copies it over and sends it to the ZVM that transports the write to the other side.

Conclusion

SRM and Zerto are both efficient enterprise class replication software that make it easy to deploy, manage and execute a disaster recovery run book. Both software can be easily deployed and integrate seamlessly in the vSphere client and vSphere web client. While SRM can be a great fit for a mixed tier replication i.e. storage and virtual machine replication, zerto can be targeted towards small and medium business foot prints that allow for cost savings by not having to purchase expensive storage infrastructure.

vCloud Air vApp Networking “Pending” Status – Bug!

Been busy but I tried to squeeze out sometime to play with VMware’s vCloud Air On-Demand. If you been to the VMUG UserCon’s then you would know that VMware was giving away 200$ worth of free vCloud Air usage to test out the product.

I deployed a virtual machine – well actually I uploaded it to my Catalog and deployed it from there. I made sure i added it to the default routed network – which you get assigned by default. It is a /24 subnet that you get for your account.

Although my VM was on it – in the “networking” tab you see a “Pending” Status as shown in the below pic. This tab is part of the vCloud Director console so you will only see it when you manage your environment using vCloud Director.

vcloud-air-pending

VMware vCloud Air support today confirmed that this was a bug with vCloud Director and that it has no affect on network connectivity.

I wanted to make sure you were aware of this so you don’t freak out like I did 🙂

Cloud Management Platform – A Strategic Approach

single-pane

I have been talking to a lot of enterprise companies where the CTO’s, CIO’s and architects are trying to break into the “single pane of glass” service management strategy. Their reasons are fair and simple – the single pane of glass allows them seamless view, access and management capabilities for their entire IT foot print across multiple platforms and multiple regions.

What I hear ..

Most of these conversations have just about two key players who drive this discussion. The CIO’s/CTO’s really care about an easier way to broker IT services to internal business units. Cloud Services brokerage is the new hotness in enterprises and they are going all out to ensure they phase out the old, manual and antiquated processes and techniques and replace them with the new cloud savvy applications.

The architects and the operations folks on the other hand are all about how amazing the whole concept of a single pane of glass is and how much time, effort and man power it saves these teams not to forget the visibility that it gives to the IT staff in allowing them to respond faster to any events. (Advanced features in a cloud management platform include event management, monitoring and even disaster recovery!)

What adds fuel to fire is that Gartner and 451 research have clearly indicated that a majority of enterprise companies are transitioning to a cloud services brokerage model where achieving an effective ITSM model is easier than ever before.

Enterprises are stuck at either talking about how great Cloud management platform (single pane of glass) sounds or have deployed it but are not really using it to its fullest potential.

Easier said than done

There is a lot more strategy and planning that needs to go into effectively designing and deploying a cloud management platform to enable a reliable and an effective service brokerage framework.

The highlighted layers of the above picture are some of the key design aspects that need to be thoroughly thought of before deploying a management platform. You always have the option to grow your platform to add any feature at a later stage but you run the risk of reworking your foundation and your architecture which can have minimal to significant impact on your end users.

I will list out a few features that enterprises need to think about.

Read More …

Deploy Your Docker Container on VMWare Project Photon

VMware last week announced its involvement with container fever that has gripped the world by announcing open source Project Photon and Project Lightwave.

Project photon is a light weight linux deployment for cloud specific applications while project lightwave provides the security aspect around it. Together both are intended to provide a gateway for VMware towards container architecture.

You can read more from this blog post as well.

Photon can run off of a minimal foot print of 300 MB making it pretty light weight.

I deployed photon on my VMware Fusion on my Mac (obviously) and here’s how it went.

Download the ISO (unless you want to build one off of git)

Deploy a new vm and make sure you select the OS type as Linux kernel 3.x 64-bit

photon-os-type

Once you power on the VM

install-pho

Click Install

Typical Linux install until you are asked to pick the kind of instance you want to deploy. Because I wanted to deploy a container, I picked the second option.

minimal

Select a hostname and a password and off you go!

done

Boom done, now next to pull our first container and get that part going! Press a key to reboot.

Login as root and the password you set. Once you are in do a ifconfig so you know your ip unless you have DNS and everything setup already.

In the container OS mode, docker is already up and ready to rock but lets make sure it boots up every time the system is up. Lets do a “systemctl enable docker” and do a “systemctl start docker” to start the service.

start-docker

Lets pull a docker image, I recently uploaded a basic nginx container so lets try to run that.

lets do a search just to be sure 🙂 Do a “docker search rjapproves/myfirstcontainer” (replace my repo with what ever you like)

docker-rj

Next lets do a docker pull.

Do a “docker pull rjapproves/myfirstcontainer”

Once we do a pull do a “docker run -d -p 80:80 rjapproves/myfirstcontainer” (the switches mention run as a daemon and map the external to internal port)

docker-run

Finally test out your browser and docker’s running!

docker-running

Right now project lightwave is not up for download to try out the security features but when its out we will explore that further.

My docker repo can be found at docker.io/rjapproves/ and you can do a quick search as needed.