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Category Archives: Public Cloud

VMware and EMC Expand Focus on Hybrid Cloud, Partner to Deliver Solutions and Services Today

By Loretta Brown, vice president, OEM Alliances, VMware

Today, EMC shared some exciting news – as a part of the EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud solutions launch, the EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud Federation Software-Defined Data Center Edition with VMware was announced.

IT departments continue to seek tools to drive greater levels of innovation, all while meeting the evolving and urgent needs of their businesses application demands. With a hybrid cloud, IT organizations have the freedom to move application workloads from the data center to a secure public cloud — with the flexibility to transfer these application workloads back and forth as needed. With these new offerings, and a long-standing partnership, EMC and VMware continue to help our joint customers achieve greater agility with better business outcomes through hybrid cloud offerings that are trusted, as well as simple to deploy and use.

With the now available EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud Federation Software-Defined Data Center Edition with VMware solutions, customers get tight integration of EMC solutions and VMware vCloud Air, providing customers with an easy and accelerated path to automate and deliver IT as a service, within their own data centers and extending into the public cloud. This solution provides best practices for deploying a software-defined data center based private cloud on-premises while extending IT virtualization infrastructure capacity to VMware’s public cloud – vCloud Air.

VMware and EMC have also partnered to develop professional services offerings to accelerate our mutual customers’ adoption of the software-defined data center to provide timely results and benefits. Additionally, organizations can take advantage of web-based and instructor led training for the EMC Hybrid Cloud solutions.

Customers can quickly assess their current application portfolios for proper deployment in the software-defined data center for maximum usability and economic benefits. Helping our customers develop their skills to take advantage of this new technology is a major milestone in accelerating adoption and achieving maximum benefit from day 1.

To learn more about EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud solutions, please check out the following resources:

• Press release: EMC Redefines Hybrid Cloud for the Enterprise
VMware vCloud Air web site
EMC blog: “Simplicity and Choice? EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud Solutions Deliver Both” by Peter Cutts, vice president, Cloud Solutions at EMC

Get to Know the Federation Software-Defined Data Center

By Loretta Brown, vice president, OEM Alliances, VMware

“Software-defined” anything – it’s rapidly becoming a top item on every IT decision maker’s “To Do” list. The potential benefits are too significant to ignore or pass off as the latest trend. There’s not a single IT manager today who isn’t challenged by the velocity of change, the unprecedented exponential growth in data, and the near-instant demand for IT services. A Software-Defined Data Center delivers the speed, flexibility and control IT needs to support the applications of the new mobile-cloud era, as well as the legacy applications that run the business.

But for many customers, the question is not “Should we adopt a software-defined strategy” but more to the point, “How quickly can we adopt a software-defined strategy?” Faced with a variety of choices and challenged to move fast, customers need more than a “Do it Yourself” answer.

And that’s why today’s announcement by the EMC Federation of businesses — EMC Information Infrastructure (EMC II), VMware (NYSE:VMW), Pivotal and RSA. is so relevant. Today, the Federation announced the availability of the Federation Software-Defined Data Center. This solution is a combined effort of the Federation to bring best-of-breed products into a fully integrated, engineered, tested and validated solution for customers and partners. Designed to meet the needs of mission critical enterprise applications, the Federation Software-Defined Data Center will help IT managers and decision makers accelerate their transition to a Software-Defined Enterprise.

By abstracting, pooling, and automating across the infrastructure – compute, storage and networking – we have enabled an environment that can deliver IT at business speed. This solution includes a reference architecture, solutions guide, and newly developed software that automates hundreds of orchestration workflows to accelerate deployment.

The Federation Software-Defined Data Center solution includes:

Management and Orchestration: VMware vCloud Automation Center, VMware vCenter Operations Management Suite, VMware IT Business Management Suite, EMC Storage Resource Manager
Hypervisor: VMware vSphere, the industry’s most widely deployed virtualization platform
Networking: VMware NSX, the network virtualization and security platform for the software-defined data center. VMware NSX brings virtualization to existing networks and transforms network operations and economics.
Storage: EMC ViPR and EMC Storage, EMC Storage Resource Manager

I invite you to learn more about the solution – visit emcfederation.com for more details on the Solution and the Federation.

New VCE Integrated Solution with vRealize Suite: Accelerating Customers’ Path to the Hybrid Cloud

Today, VCE announced a new series of Vblock Systems and solutions, which include pre-integrated, pre-tested and pre-validated management software from VMware, called the VCE Integrated Solution for Cloud Management with VMware. This integrated solution will utilize VMware vRealize Suite, a cloud management platform for managing private, public or hybrid clouds.

This is a great option for VCE customers who are looking for the power and fast time to value of converged infrastructure. This new offering can quickly deliver and manage cloud infrastructure and application services with the control IT needs.

The VCE Integrated Solution for Cloud Management with VMware is a comprehensive foundational offering, and is a result of the longtime partnership between VCE and VMware. This solution will provide functionality and initial start up services to get an initial private cloud foundation up and running quickly using VMware management technologies. It will also give customers the option to extend to public cloud services with a unified management experience.

VMware vRealize Suite contains the products formerly known as vCloud Automation Suite, vCenter Operations Management Suite, vCenter Log Insight and IT Business Management Suite. VMware vRealize Suite integrates the capabilities of all of these solutions to deliver a powerful hybrid cloud management platform.

VMware vRealize Suite is optimized for VMware vSphere, but also works with Microsoft Hyper-V, and public clouds, such as VMware vCloud Air and Amazon Web Services, as well as those based on OpenStack. As a result, VCE customers will be able to maximize the value of their Vblock System investment.

As customers shift to managing diverse environments, the need for unified management solutions is crucial. At VMware, we are uniquely and strongly positioned to deliver this with VMware vRealize Suite.

We look forward to continuing to support organizations as they shift to managing hybrid and flexible software-defined data centers, and are proud to work closely with partners like VCE.

By Ramin Sayar, senior vice president and general manager, Cloud Management Business Unit, VMware

Reports of vCloud Director’s death exaggerated

Borrowing from Mark Twain’s retort to newspaper stories of his death, reports of the death of vCloud Director are exaggerated. vCloud Director (vCD) is alive and well and now 100% focused on the needs of the service provider market, where it powers more than 250 public clouds in the vCloud Powered and vCloud Datacenter programs in addition to VMware’s own vCloud Hybrid Service.

We’ll continue to integrate vCD functions into vCenter and vCloud Automation Center, as previously announced. With this strategy, we can focus vCloud Director development on the service provider market and public cloud, and vCloud Automation Center on the needs of enterprises and private cloud. The product management and engineering teams for vCloud Director are part of VMware’s Cloud Services business unit, and we’re working hard on the next release.

So, here are the key facts:

1) Development of vCloud Director continues at VMware, now 100% focused on the cloud service provider market.

2) vCloud Director will continue to be available in the VMware Service Provider Program (VSPP) and also continues to be a foundational component of vCloud Hybrid Service, VMware’s IaaS offering.

3) The next release of vCloud Director will be version 5.6, in the first half of 2014, available through VSPP to cloud service providers.

4) VMware continues to develop and enhance the vCloud API, to provide API access to new capabilities, and to make the API faster and easier to use.

The product team is finalizing the content for the vCloud Director 5.6 release, building on the current vCloud Director 5.5 functionality with new capabilities requested by our service provider customers, as well as new functionality developed for vCloud Hybrid Service. We met with many service providers at VMworld in San Francisco last week to gather feature requests and roadmap feedback, and the product management team will also be in Barcelona for VMworld EMEA, and in Australia for vForum Sydney. Let your VSPP account manager know if you’d like to meet and help shape the roadmap.

Roadmap themes include serviceability (ease of deployment, upgrades and updates), disaster recovery integration and other revenue-generating services, networking (further exploiting virtual networking and NSX), storage and security.

Thank you to our customers and partners for helping us build a better vCloud Director for public clouds, and I hope this post provided useful clarity.

 

Being a CIO Isn’t Fair

Why isn’t being a CIO fair? Because you have to pay attention to both IT and the business, and the business only has to pay attention to the business. It’s like you have twice the work.

It’s even worse than that, though. Your colleagues on the business side don’t really care what you do. They just want to make sure what you do enables them to do what they need to do –  without interfering with their ability to do it. They don’t care about infrastructure – they just want it to be reliable. They don’t care about security – they just don’t want their data hacked. They don’t care about technology – they just want to be innovative. But CIOs have to worry about all of that – the technology and how it affects the business.

I’m thinking about the inequity CIOs face because I recently spent a few weeks meeting with customers across the U.S., Europe, the Middle East and Africa. I was lucky enough to see a nice cross-section of today’s IT challenges, talking with executives at various levels within IT, working at companies of various sizes and in multiple industries. Many of these executives have simply gotten over the idea of IT being fair. It’s like saying doctors have to deal with being on call at night – that’s just the way it is in this line of work.

These CIOs have moved to a new level of understanding, of acceptance, to a new place where they don’t talk about how difficult IT is, they just focus on how they can best serve the business. It’s all about transformation, about delivering agility. Some of it is about reducing cost at the same time, but most of it is creating a stage upon which the business can perform, where nobody sees or cares what IT is doing behind the curtain.

Here’s what three transformational CIOs are doing to make the business more agile:

One CIO I met serves a global builder of ships, of all sizes and configurations. In order to serve customers better, the company needed to design quickly, get those plans approved, and begin construction. That required follow-the-sun operations with a combination of in-house and outsourced design, which meant that shared design tools had to be accessible from anywhere in the world. The CIO oversaw the creation of a highly virtualized network with automated access to design applications (and appropriate security based on roles). The result: reduced design-to-build time for customers around the world while maintaining security and privacy for their sensitive data.

Another CIO leads a financial services firm, part of an industry that’s besieged by distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks from hackers around the world. In order to provide the highest level of protection, this CIO deployed a state-of-the-art virtualized architecture – while also rethinking how virtualization and security should work together in specific zones to create better data protection. The architecture incorporates new application design that takes into account both cloud computing and security, in such a way that data is protected. The result: more uptime and protection, with reduced risk of attack. The implementation has been so successful that the CIO is sharing it with other CIOs in the region.

Savvy CIOs are collaborating with their business counterparts on how technology can enhance revenue. At one manufacturer I visited, the CIO is working with the business to expand revenues through new value-added services. The IT requirements included improved connectivity to the cloud and mobile access from anywhere. He supported the effort by ordering significant data center consolidation in order to improve operational efficiencies, driving down costs through virtualization and creating a standardized software-defined data center. The result: more innovative services, competitive differentiation, higher revenue, and deeper customer engagement.

These are all examples of how CIOs moving from defense to offense and transforming their IT roles in order to better align with the business and drive change. What’s the common thread here? The infrastructure – the stage on which the business performs. These CIOs understand the needs of their business. They understand how to link technologies such as cloud and virtualization to make change happen. It’s still not fair that CIOs have to make those transformational connections, and do it without the satisfaction of knowing the business understands and appreciates what it takes to make transformation happen. But these CIOs have been able to improve agility, as well as increase revenues, reduce risk, or both. What they lose out in fairness, they gain in results.

Ramin Sayar is senior vice president and general manager of VMware. He blogs regularly about the ongoing challenges customers face in a changing IT world.

Previous posts in this series:

Five Key Steps Toward Innovation

Shifting from Infrastructure to Innovation

The Inflection Point Looms

Five Key Steps Toward Innovation

In my last blog post, I talked about shifting from infrastructure to innovation. Innovation has always been a key goal of IT, but the pathway to achieving it has never been easy. The cloud has made it easier, but you need a solid foundation on which to build innovation.

Here are five key steps toward building that pathway, best handled in sequence.

Focus on What’s Important. This goes back to the age-old idea of alignment; that is, how can IT best serve the business? Let’s assume you and your business colleagues have worked out the portfolio of services you need to deliver to help the business meet its objectives (of course, that’s a whole separate discussion in itself). The next question is, how should you deliver them? Is it with internal resources or through a third-party service provider? Most CIOs believe that their IT department can handle anything the business can throw at them. But even if it can, should it? Leave ego out of the equation. You should reserve the skills of your IT team for the most mission-critical needs, and outsource or co-source what’s less important.

Rely on Standardization. Standardization is king. Flexibility and choice are nice, but following the 80/20 rule will reduce costs while still delivering sufficient capability for the needs of the great majority of your business partners. Standardize and enable self-service for 80% of the common requests/requirements. Outsource them to the cloud if it makes sense (and not just financially – compliance and security are vital as well). Then leverage your team resources in shared services or infrastructure teams to do the heavy automation and lifting for the custom 20% of projects.

Calculate Your Baseline. To make informed sourcing decisions you have to develop a sound formula for calculating your service costs. Educated guesses and gut feel no longer cut it. You can achieve this through IT financial management tools that automate the capture of your costs (no more spreadsheets!) and allocate them to specific services. Next, compare your baseline to the competition – benchmarking shows how you stack up against your peers and cloud service providers (and how you’re improving over time).  These capabilities are all about confidently making the right sourcing and investment decisions for IT and the business.

It’s All About the Data. No matter where your information lives – on-premise or in the cloud – there’s got to be an easy way to send it back and forth. If you don’t make it easy, you’ll be creating your own bottlenecks. And make sure you develop a cast-iron governance strategy. Just because you don’t control the data in-house doesn’t mean you’re not responsible for it. The flexibility of the cloud bestows great power, and with great power comes great responsibility.

Strive for Visibility and Transparency. I talk to many CIOs who have a definitive mandate: reduce your budget either by real dollars or percentage costs. To do this you need transparency. Think about how you can create a “bill of IT” that clearly states not just what your services cost but who is consuming them. Leverage metering and reporting capabilities to empower a fact-based discussion with your business stakeholders, with showback or even chargeback. This will help you and your business counterparts make better decisions and drive down costs. Use transparency to prove your efficiency – remember, you must be able to show the payoff.

Here’s my recommendation: establish a small, greenfield private cloud deployment for a key line of business and expand from there. Track everything, from costs to ultimate benefits. Show how your investment paid off – that is, how your foundation for innovation enables you to invest limited funds wisely and generate the projected payoff.

Demonstrate that you’ve mastered your costs, targeted business problems, and delivered business value. You’ll have not only created the pathway to innovation, but ratcheted up your reputation within the company.

VMware Roars Into OpenStack Summit

As we head out to Portland for the latest installment of the OpenStack Summit, we have an exciting agenda of speaking sessions and demos, and will be showcasing our latest virtualization wares on the show floor.  For a schedule of all the VMware sessions, we’ve created a show planner for you here. Here’s a snapshot of what you can expect (and experience) at the show.

Keynote Session – “Virtual Networking, A Vagabond’s Log”

On Wednesday, April 17 at 1:50 p.m., VMware’s Martin Casado takes you along on the network virtualization journey. While it’s still an evolving area, the industry now has a few years of virtual networking under its belt. In this talk, Martin will draw from his experience of hundreds of customers visited, hundreds of thousands of miles flown, and dozens of deployments to describe use cases, what works, what doesn’t, and where things seem to be going.

Panel: Network Virtualization and OpenStack Networking users

Want to hear from real world Quantum users at eBay and HP among others? This session is a panel discussion with OpenStack users that have hands-on experience deploying Quantum in production environments, backed by network virtualization technology.

VMware/Nicira NVP Deep Dive

On Monday, April 15 at 11:00 a.m., VMware will provide a “deep dive” into the Nicira Network Virtualization Platform (NVP). This session will provide a detailed overview of NVP, its components, how NVP operates, and how NVP integrates with OpenStack Quantum.

Case Study on Virtualizing Advanced Network & Security Services

On Wednesday, April 17 at 11:50am in room A106, VMware’s will present a technical session on the state of the art in advanced networking and security services implemented in software. The session will dive into the operational and technical elements of integrating services such as load balancers, firewalls and VPNs in your cloud via OpenStack Quantum’s REST APIs. The session will explore the benefits of using virtual appliances to deliver these services on top of standard x86 servers further decoupling network service feature delivery from hardware installs, procurement, and forklift upgrades.

OpenStack Networking Hands-on Lab

On Wednesday, April 17 at 3:40 p.m., users will get access to a live OpenStack + Quantum setup and be able to walk through key quantum deployment use cases, with members of the Quantum core development team available to provide guidance and answer questions.

We hope to see you there!

Shifting from Infrastructure to Innovation

In my conversations with CIOs and other IT executives, I often hear how their teams are focused on maintaining a solid, reliable infrastructure. Their priorities are continuity of service, meeting SLAs, and minimizing disruptions and downtime. That’s an important, admirable goal, but as every IT exec now knows it’s not the whole picture.

If your teams spend too much energy on maintenance to ensure things don’t go wrong, they’re probably going to miss the opportunity for moving forward – and the threat of being left behind.  Consumerization of IT and the cloud have changed everything. As one customer exec pointed out to me recently, “Public cloud options can be the pink slip for IT infrastructure and operations teams.” Let’s face it, the monopoly is over.  Public cloud services, both consumer and business, have set a new standard for IT service delivery – ease of access, speed, reliability, etc. – as well as expectations on price, and IT teams are expected to match or better that standard if they want to stay in the game.

With so much available today on demand in the cloud there’s greater pressure than ever on IT to somehow reduce expense and shift Keeping the Lights On to new, innovative projects that drive business productivity and profit growth. You need to empower your teams to think and act differently, enabling them to be a world class IT organization.

Your teams can no longer focus on the infrastructure; they have to focus on taking advantage of the infrastructure to deliver new business value through innovation. In a world of options – private cloud, public cloud, hybrid cloud, virtualized and physical infrastructures – the focus needs to be on making the right choice that’s right for your business.

The question is no longer “How do I make my infrastructure the best it can be?” but: “What’s the best infrastructure for what we want to do?”  IT has to decide the most logical place to provision and operate infrastructure and applications, based on criteria such as cost, risk, compliance, security, etc. That’s where the innovation comes in – what works best where? What capabilities can I start to deliver as services? What cloud services can I take advantage of to help drive what the business is trying to achieve?

That’s the shift we’re seeing in IT. Instead of providing a super reliable infrastructure to support your applications, you’ll be sourcing and providing services. As I mentioned in my previous post, IT will become a broker for services that the business needs, with a fact-based approach to identifying the best source of those services, internally or externally. Being a service broker will help your teams shift toward innovation, while matching or bettering the standard set by public cloud services.

Some of those services – the ones supporting your mission-critical activities – will stay on-premise for reasons of security and compliance. Some of them – the utility part – you’ll offload to a cloud infrastructure provider through IaaS. The rest of them – the part in the middle – you’ll offload to a SaaS or PaaS vendor (someday these may come back in house or they may stay in the cloud or even move back and forth depending on cost and changing business demand).

Being an innovative IT organization is about trying new things. About being daring. About making decisions faster, killing projects sooner, investing more in projects that warrant it. And about how the cloud – private, public, hybrid – can help you do that.

This is going to take a mind-shift on the part of your teams and a critical look at your processes. You’re going to have to be more customer-centric and deliver cost transparency to your stakeholders. You’re going to have to standardize the services you offer (think 80/20 rule) and enable self-service access to them. And you’re going to have to put the right governance processes in place – who gets access to what and where does your data live.

In my next post I’ll walk through how you can tackle these challenges.

Care to comment on this blog post? Share your thoughts your thoughts with us in comment section.  

vCloud Connector 2.0 now available

I’m pleased to announce that vCloud Connector 2.0 is now available for download! vCloud Connector (vCC) allows you to view, copy and manage VMs across vSphere, vCloud Director and any of the 180+ vCloud Powered and vCloud Datacenter IaaS cloud providers listed at vcloud.vmware.com. For more details on what’s in 2.0, see my earlier blog post.

There are two versions: vCloud Connector Core is a free download for anyone with vSphere, and vCloud Connector Advanced is free for anyone with the vCloud Suite. Here’s a summary of the differences:

vCloud Connector 2.0 Features Core Advanced
View, copy, move VMs and templates Yes Yes
User interface improvements Yes Yes
Transfer speed and reliability improvements Yes Yes
Cross-cloud search for VM or template by name Yes Yes
Automatic catalog synchronization across clouds No Yes
Migrate VM while maintaining IP and MAC addresses No Yes

vCloud Connector supports vSphere and vCloud Director 4.x and 5.x. It’s available from the “Drivers And Tools” tab of vSphere 5.1 and vCloud Director 5.1, or by following this link: vmware.com/go/downloadvcc

[This blog post was edited on Jan 9 2013 to correct an error -- VXLAN is not required to migrate a VM while maintaining IP and MAC addresses.]

Try your own vCloud in minutes

Today, we’re announcing that we’re introducing a new service that allows you to get your own vCloud IaaS service in minutes, called vCloud Service Evaluation. We heard from many customers that they came to vmware.com to learn more about vCloud services, but that it wasn’t easy to sign up with a credit card, kick the tires, and learn by doing. vCloud Service Evaluation will provide a quick, easy and low-cost way for you to learn about the advantages of a vCloud through hands-on testing and experimentation.

You can sign up for the beta here: http://vmware.com/go/vcloudbeta. We’ll be sending out invites to those who sign up the week of August 27th, and those of you who are going to VMworld in San Francisco can see and try the service at the cloud services pod within the VMware booth.

You’ll need a credit card to use the service. It makes the service self-funding, and we can keep things simple, avoiding complex “service quotas” and other artificial restrictions – and also offer Windows VMs. We learned that customers have widely differing requirements for tests and proofs of concept. So, instead of annoying restrictions, you pay a small amount for what you use – a 1Gb Linux VM with one vCPU is $0.04/hour – and you are free to run the VMs you need until you are done. Once you have entered your card details, you’ll get your credentials within 15 minutes. If we need to verify anything, you’ll get a call.

To keep costs down, we commissioned a VMware vCloud service provider to build and operate the service on our behalf. We’re giving you a vanilla example of how a vCloud Powered service – delivered by a VMware vCloud service provider – would work. It’s worth pointing out that vCloud service providers offer significantly more in terms of cloud functionality. vCloud Service Evaluation has all the basics like a catalog of useful VM templates, virtual networking, persistent storage, external IP addresses, firewalls, load balancers, the vCloud API etc., but you’ll get a lot more in a production vCloud service.

To find that production vCloud service, head to vcloud.vmware.com: the gateway to the world’s largest network of certified compatible public cloud services, including more than 145 vClouds in 28 countries.

To get you started quickly, vCloud Service Evaluation offers a variety of pre-built content templates (at no charge) including WordPress, Joomla!, Sugar CRM, LAMP stack, Windows Server and a mix of web and application stacks and OSes. You can also Bring Your Own VM (BYOVM). That’s right, you can BYOVM and put it into your own private catalog for deployment. You can do that either by uploading it directly into vCloud Director, or you can run the vCloud Connector VMs into your account (they’re in the public catalog) and use that to transfer your VMs from vSphere or any other vCloud.

Here’s what the main console looks like:

Vc-se-console

The service evaluation also allows you to run the VMware vCloud Director® interface.

Vcd-console

We also learned that while we had some great information on vmware.com, but that it was hard to find stuff relevant to vCloud – and it wasn’t clear where to ask questions. So we put all the “how to” guides in one place, added some new ones, and also provided a Community site (message boards) where you can ask questions and get answers from experts at VMware and our partners.

How-to

Community

Finally, email, chat and telephone support is available Monday through Friday for billing enquiries and to report any technical problems. “How do I…?” questions are best asked (and answered) on the Communities site.

We hope you find vCloud Service Evaluation a simple, low-cost way to learn about VMware vCloud, and look forward to getting your feedback on the service.