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IPv6 and VMware Products

VMware is planning to extend support of IPv6 to the ESXi and vCenter Server management network, vSphere management features, and the vCloud Suite over the next several years.  We are doing this in two steps, expected to start in 2015.

First, support a pure IPv6 stack to ensure product performance and quality with no dependencies on IPv4.  Second, support dual stack.

The effort to support IPv6 will take place over multiple years, and we are working toward building quality VMware products running and performing on IPv6 as they would on IPv4.

If you have any questions, please contact your Account System Engineer

VMware Horizon Mirage – VMware and Carahsoft

On February 13, 2014 at 2:00 Pm EST / 11:00 Am PST VMware and Carahsoft will have an online seminar discussing VMware Horizon Mirage. VMware Horizon Mirage delivers a unique solution to organizations for managing laptops and desktops centrally, while providing full local functionality for end users.

During the online seminar you will learn how VMware Horizon Mirage facilities:

  • Windows 7 Migration – Simplify and automate migration at lower costs
  • Desktop Recovery and Repair – Minimize end user downtime and lower help desk costs to increase productivity
  • BYOD/BYOC – Manage, support, and protect physical virtual machines
  • Horizon View Image Management – Reduce persistent virtual desktops (full clone) management costs through granular management of images through logical layers

If you are interesting in attending the event, click here. Even if you can not attend, I highly recommend that you sign up so that you can receive a recording of the event. If you are interested in finding out more about VMware Horizon Mirage , click here.

vCloud Suite brings a new Full Time Equivalent (FTE) to your Public Sector Team

In Public Sector today, the budget needed to hire additional Full Time Equivalents (FTE) have either drastically decreased or is non-existent. Having an investment in the vCloud Suite potentially adds a new member to your internal IT staff and begins the first step towards the Software-Defined Data Center. We will call this new team member E.V.A. (Engineering Virtualization Assistant) and the core responsibilities of EVA lie in automation, management, and operations. So combined with the vCloud Suite, how does EVA bring immediate value to the team? Let’s take a look at some of the components and recognize the cost savings.

Private Cloud – EVA uses vCAC to allow for self-service provisioning of workloads. With blue prints in place, approvals are easier and users get access to their resource in minutes, not hours or weeks.

Operations – EVA leverages VCOPs to monitor workloads and enable the ability to minimize downtime and maximize productivity. Application level monitoring and capacity management allows for ease of administration and better cost projections.

Networking and Security – EVA can streamline security policies by enhancing security controls, increase compliance and allow for better networking management.

Disaster Recovery – With SRM, EVA has now allowed your team to move away from manual failover methods and outdated workflows to automating the failover and failback process before and after a disaster.

Virtualized Data Center – EVA can help manage a datacenter more effectively and can help seamlessly integrate and manage private cloud environment with public cloud offerings.

vSphere E+ – EVA can maximize vSphere with Enterprise Plus by utilizing enterprise features to virtualize Business Critical Applications, manage extensive server workloads and reduce server sprawl.

Now take into account the costs savings around productivity, business continuity, networking, provisioning, and management. The numbers may surprise you.

As you can see, EVA can make a significant impact on your team. By streamlining process and offloading many of these functions to EVA through the vCloud Suite, more time can be spent on new initiatives or moving closer to user utopia (happy internal and external customers).

If you haven’t done so already, introduce E.V.A. to your team today.

VMware Hardened Virtual Appliance Operations Guide

[originally posted on www.commondenial.com]

VMware recently released the Hardened Virtual Appliance Operations Guide. This whitepaper was written to assist with the additional components that an administrator may choose to implement on the hardened virtual appliances. You see VMware created a hardened virtual appliance “by embedding the technical requirements of the STIG in the design”. What the heck am I talking about you might say? Well, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is an entity for the Department of Defense (DoD) and the security technical implementation guide (STIGs) are standards for DoD IA and IA enabled systems. In my experience, DoD is the only one that uses the STIGs but I am sure that there are other companies or civilian agencies out there using the document as guidance. Either way, it is a way to make the system stronger or like we say, harden it. There are many ways of making the system stronger, for instance the Hardening Guidelines that VMware releases as well.

Now that you understand that all of these items are in place, you may ask yourself why you would even bother. Well, in some parts, you won’t have to because as the whitepaper mentions, there are currently (as of Jan 2014) 9 products that utilize the hardened virtual appliance. So in this case, you don’t have to worry so much about building out your own, VMware did it for it. But lets go back to the original question… why do you care? Because you want to minimize any avenue that an attacker might have into your system. You want to reduce the attack surface. In terms that my mom can understand… you want to check all the windows… check all the doors… make sure they are locked, and turn on the house alarm before you go to bed. You want to reduce any avenue that someone may have of getting in to your house. Possibly you don’t have an alarm system so your house can’t be as hardened but there additional steps that you can take to get closer to 100%. This whitepaper helps with those additional steps which include:

  • root password
  • password expiry
  • dodscript.sh script
  • secure shell, administrative accounts, and console access
  • time sourcing and synchronization
  • log forwarding – syslong.ng and auditd
  • boot loader (grub) password
  • NFS and NIS

Your next step, go back to the vendors that release virtual appliances and ask them if they have hardened them. If they have no idea what you are talking about, mention that VMware has done it, they should too. The fact is all of the experience shows that people don’t manage security for themselves well, so if it can be BUILT IN like we always say… why not!!

VMware Government and Education Innovation Summit – Tallahassee, FL

On Wednesday, February 5, 2014 from 8:00am to 3:15pm Eastern, VMware, Carasoft and other co-sponsoring partners will conduct the Government and Education Innovation Summit. This premier education and training event in Tallahassee, FL is tailored to the unique interests of IT Management and Professionals in Public Sector.

This is a great opportunity to hear VMware Experts deliver sessions on:

  • Data center consolidation and automation
  • Business continuity and disaster recovery
  • Business agility and IT-as-a-Service
  • Private and public cloud integration
  • Workforce mobility and remote access

If you are interested in attending this exciting event in Northern Florida, click here for more details on the agenda and for registration. We hope to see you there!!

VMware vSphere with Operations Management – VMware and Carahsoft

On January 30, 2014 at 2:00 Pm EST / 11:00 Am PST VMware and Carahsoft will have an online seminar discussing vSphere with Operations Management (vSOM). vSOM combines the industry-leading virtualization platform with VMware’s award-winning management capabilities, resulting in up to double the IT savings of vSphere.

vSphere with Operations Management allows organizations to proactively monitor and manage IT performance to:

  • Reduce the downtime of applications by 36%
  • Reduce diagnostics and problem resolution time by 26%
  • Improve VMware capacity utilization by 40% and consolidation ratios by 37%

If you are interesting in attending the event, click here. Even if you can not attend, I highly recommend that you sign up so that you can receive a recording of the event. If you are interested in finding out more about VMware’s vSphere Operations Management, click here.

The Value of the Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) in Government

Late in 2013, I spoke at a Local Government Summit where the primary focus was around understanding the value of Virtualization. A quick survey of the room revealed that most of the local government attendees had about 60% of their workloads virtualized. One gentleman stood up and firmly stated that he was 100% virtualized, so I wasn’t really sure if he was actually in the audience or was merely being presented virtually from Horizon Workspace. :)

With the improvements and added functionality of the virtualization stack, this 60% virtualization concerned me. Further discovery revealed that many Business Critical Applications had not been virtualized due to lack of time and proper planning. They wanted to virtualize these critical applications, but most of their time is spent on repetitive tasks, manual functions, and following outdated workflows.

An August article in GCN discussed the Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) and how VMware was expanding its tool kit for SDDC to give government agencies more options for application workloads and better automation for data center management. What caught my eye was a survey report of 152 federal IT Managers released by MeriTalk that indicated IT administrators were spending a lot time performing mundane, routine tasks, which equated to an estimated $4.7B in productivity each year. This is staggering. The SDDC datacenter approach can help free up time and resources for administrators and transition their efforts from reactive to proactive, and finally from proactive to innovative. The transition to SDDC, along with software defined storage and networking, etc, can take the modern datacenter to a new level. The value of virtualization is extended with SDDC by leveraging existing resources and incorporating automation, management, and other key components for success.

The Government Summit concluded with the audience having a better understand of the SDDC and how to free up the cycles to properly plan and virtualize those business critical applications. Having more available time can afford them the opportunity to increase the value of their datacenter investment and move their virtualization workloads up to 80-90% and beyond. The value of the SDDC has already proven to have an immediate impact on many of our Public Sector customers today and this is only the beginning.

VMware vCloud Suite Webcast – VMware and Carahsoft

On January 16, 2014 at 2:00 Pm Eastern / 11:00 Am Pacific VMware and Carahsoft will have an online seminar discussing the VMware vCloud Suite. The VMware vCloud Suite fulfills the promise of the software-defined data center by pooling industry-standard hardware and running each layer of the data center as software-defined services. This complete, integrated cloud solution accelerates services provisioning while simplifying IT operations and delivering the best SLAs for all applications.

During this online seminar, you will learn how VMware vCloud Suite delivers:

  • Quality of service, operational efficiency, and continuous compliance for dynamic cloud infrastructure and business-critical applications
  • Anything-as-a-Service in minutes via automated provisioning
  • Optimum control, availability, and compliance for every application
  • An integrated approach to simplify management tasks

If you are interested in attending the event, click here. Even if you can not attend, I highly recommend that you sign up so that you can receive a recording of the event. If you are interested in finding out more about VMware’s vCloud Suite, click here.

VMware Horizon Suite Webcast – VMware and Carahsoft

On December 17, 2013 at 2:00 Pm Eastern / 11:00 Am Pacific VMware and Carahsoft will have an online seminar discussing the VMware Horizon Suite. The VMware Horizon Suite platform connects end users to their data and applications on any device without sacrificing IT security and control. By unifying silos of user identities into a single identity, users are able to gain on-demand access to all applications through an easy-to-use application catalog, a single web-based workspace, and one secure login.

During this online seminar, we will be discussing how VMware Horizon Suite:

  • Increases desktop, application, and data control by securly managing them as centralized devices
  • Delivers the most flexible and adaptive experience for end users by giving them secure access to their data and applications from any location
  • Transforms desktops into agile services that can be delivered from your cloud
  • Allows for secure multi-network access from a single device

If you are interested in attending the event, click here. Even if you can not attend, I highly recommend you sign up so that you can receive a recording of the event. If you are interested in finding out more about the VMware Horizon Suite, click here

vCenter Site Recovery Manager Webcast – VMware and Carahsoft

On November 21, 2013 at 2:00 Pm Eastern / 11:00 Am Pacific VMware and Carahsoft will have an online seminar discussing VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM). With SRM, any size organization can achieve reliable protection, with minimum hassle, at the lowest possible cost. A solution that is built with SRM can reduce the costs of disaster protection by 30% or more compared to conventional disaster recovery practices.

During this online seminar, we will be discussing how SRM provides:

  • Centralized Management of Recovery Plans
  • Fully Automated Site Recovery and Migration
  • Non-disruptive Test Automation
  • Affordable Recovery without Requiring a Duplicate, Idle Datacenter

If you are interested in attending the event, click here. Even if you can not attend, I highly recommend you sign up in order to receive a recording of the event. If you are interested in finding out more about VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager, click here