Home > Blogs > VMware SMB Blog

VMware SMB Blog final post

For many years, the VMware SMB blog has been the place to go for ideas that bring big enterprise solutions to small business leaders.  Like all good things, its time must come to an end.  We will no longer be posting to this blog — but not to worry, we will still be posting content that has relevance for all businesses, large and small, on our VMware Radius Blog. We hope you’ll join us there!

To find additional tips for your small to mid-sized business and stay up-to-date on the latest in virtualization innovations from VMware, check out our other VMware Blogs, discussions in VMware Communities and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

How To Choose The Best Infrastructure Stack For Your Cloud-Native Applications

This is a cross-post from the VMware vSphere blog.

Cloud-native applications are gaining mindshare, especially containerized apps that align well with the requirements of DevOps workflows, microservices, and immutable infrastructure trends. Developers and infrastructure experts must soon identify the platform for their next-generation workloads. Wouldn’t it be great if existing investments in skills, infrastructure, and technology ecosystem continued to offer the best environment to run all applications — including containerized apps?

Acknowledging that a single architecture may not satisfy the sometimes mutually exclusive requirements for traditional and third platform applications, VMware is gearing up for two new approaches in support of containerized apps.

Whether integrating with existing vSphere infrastructure to run alongside other workloads, or building an entirely new footprint optimized for high scale and churn, VMware has all of the bases covered!

vSphere Integrated Containers – Technology Preview

For those customers needing to support developers that are in the initial stages of deconstructing monolithic enterprise applications through microservices, Agile development, and DevOps workflows, the vSphere Integrated Containers (VIC) approach will serve them well.

VIC takes the basic constructs specified by the Open Container Initiative and maps them to the vSphere environment, exposing a virtual container host that is compatible with standard Docker client tools but backed by a flexible pool of resources to accommodate apps of many sizes. In this model, VMs essentially become containers and other aspects, such as storage and network, are mapped to corresponding elements of the vSphere platform. A tiny variant of Photon OS forms the basis of the container runtime in VIC. Performance and density is optimized through the use of Instant Clone – a feature of vSphere 6 that enables a running VM to be rapidly forked so that child VMs consume only resources that change from the parent base image.

Based on Project Bonneville technology, this is the most seamless way to provide a Docker container runtime environment with several advantages over bare-metal Linux container architectures. Hardware-level isolation of individual containers paves the way for capabilities in VIC that cannot be matched through a shared Linux kernel model.

Inherent benefits of the vSphere platform such as administrator tool choices — from the rich Web Client GUI to the productivity-boosting PowerCLI – are further extended by comprehensive application management and monitoring capabilities in vSphere and vRealize. These resource management features deliver enhanced abilities to meet enterprise SLAs for compute, network, and storage.

Photon Platform – Technology Preview

For those customers with new initiatives that have advanced cloud-native requirements, VMware is introducing the Photon Platform.  The platform is a collection of technologies that provide infrastructure with just the features needed to securely run containerized applications, controlled by a massively-scalable distributed management plane with an API-first design approach. Photon Platform benefits from the solid heritage of the VMware ESXi hypervisor but favors scale and speed over the rich management features offered by vSphere.

Photon Platform consists of the following components:

  • Photon Machine
    • Secure ESX Microvisor based on the proven core of VMware ESXi and optimized for container-based workloads
    • Photon OS – the lightweight Linux container runtime designed to integrate with VMware infrastructure
  • Photon Controller
    • Distributed management plane provides massive scale and resiliency
    • API/CLI for flexible integration with DevOps workflows

Photon Platform will also provide an extensible provisioning capability that allows administrators to quickly instantiate popular consumptions surfaces for containerized applications such as Cloud Foundry, Kubernetes, or Mesos.

Scale, Speed, and Churn

For developers on the cutting edge of application architecture, a pattern is emerging that favors re-deployment over painstaking configuration management approaches often found in the traditional datacenter. This trend, sometimes called immutable infrastructure, forces deployments to be described programmatically and helps eliminate human bottlenecks and errors. Configuration changes can require many new VMs or containers to be deployed while old ones are rapidly destroyed, even further amplified when multiple development and test environments must also be delivered. These frequent deployments are automated, essentially eliminating the need for rich graphical interfaces and comprehensive wizards. Photon Platform foregoes full-featured centralized management tools, as they do not add the same value here that they do in traditional datacenter environments.

How to Choose

While VIC will quickly launch a container VM on demand, the magnitude would typically be in the tens, or possibly hundreds, at a time for an application. Photon Platform, on the other hand, is designed for environments where thousands or tens of thousands of containers are needed in a very short time – imagine how pleased your developers will be to learn that they can have a new Kubernetes endpoint with 1,000 nodes available for use within minutes — and another one a few minutes later!

Regardless of your cloud-native infrastructure needs, VMware will continue to be your trusted partner extending a strong record of innovation. Think of vSphere Integrated Containers as the enterprise-grade onramp to containerized applications, leveraging existing investments in technology and skillsets. Imagine Photon Platform as the next-generation infrastructure to support future initiatives that require incredible scale and churn for a range of popular container-centric consumption surfaces.

Both vSphere Integrated Containers and Photon Platform are currently Technology Previews. Please contact your VMware account team for more information or to learn about potential opportunities to participate in private betas.

Follow VMware vSphere on Twitter for the latest news and updates!

VMware is Spicing Up SpiceWorld 2015 — Here’s What You Need to Know

City of light, city of live music, and city of SpiceWorld 2015. Austin, Texas has a lot to offer, and we’ll be there to offer you the inside track on the latest VMware innovations. Free VMware training? Done. Great breakout session on keeping your data and apps safe? Done. A package of 12 different types of bacon?


So if you’re heading to Silicon Hills for SpiceWorld, drop by booth the VMware booth (#31) to sign up for our Hands-on Labs for free! We’ve got a lot of events going on, so here’s a quick breakdown what you can expect out of VMware at SpiceWorld 2015:

  • The Must Sees:

Let’s surprise you for a quick second: we’ve got a booth (# 31). But better than that, we’ve giving away free signups for our Hands-on Labs. That means you’re getting the hands-on experience with VMware products, from vSphere to AirWatch and Horizon for free. Our Hands-on Labs staff will also be onsite to answer any questions you may have.

  • The Breakout Session

Are you in charge of protecting your critical data and applications? Well, our VMware vCloud® Air™ Disaster Recovery breakout session is right for you. vCloud Air Disaster Recovery provides your organization with a simple, cost-effective and flexible cloud-based disaster recovery solution for your vSphere environments. That means your vShpere operating systems, applications and more are supported — requiring zero changes on your part.

So what will you learn in this session? You’ll get the latest on vCloud Air Disaster Recovery’s enhanced service capabilities, from failback support and multiple recovery point to self-service automation. This session will also include lessons on how to:

  • Configure replication
  • Initiate a test failover
  • Initiate failback to restore operations after an outage
  • View the inventory of snapshots to select from for a VM during the time of a failover

Hosted by our very own Paul Stephenson, Senior Systems Engineer at VMware, you’ll get every bit of information you’ll need to know to get your DR solution up and running. Follow Paul on Twitter @paulstephenson3 and on his blog – Abstract[ed] Reality – at http://blogs.devonix.co to get his latest insights, backed by 18 years of experience, into IT solutions.

Finally, we mentioned bacon. As a part of our Passport to Prizes giveaway, we’re going to raffle off packages of 12 different types of bacon. Just drop by our booth (#31) to sign up!

Want to know what else VMware is up to at SpiceWorld? Check out our sponsor page here. You can also get a closer look at our breakout session right here. You can also follow us on Spiceworld by following this link. See you there!

vCloud Air vTech Talk: Pushing Legacy Apps to vCloud Air

This is a cross-post from the VMware vCloud Air blog.

Keeping legacy applications online and available in a fast-moving industry is no easy feat. But VMware vCloud® Air™ can help by extending on-premises subnets to vCloud Air.

In this episode of vCloud vTech Talk, our series highlighting tips, tricks and resources for all thing vCloud Air, Jenny Fong, Marketing Manager for vCloud Air, discusses two ways vCloud Air can extend on-premises legacy applications to the cloud.

vCloud Air users can do this through two methods: vCloud Networking and Security (formerly vShield) and through VX-LAN technology. By leveraging edge gateway and NAT routing settings, you can get your on-premises virtual machines to talk to virtual machines within the same subnet in vCloud Air.

To learn more about how vCloud Air can help your cloud journey, watch the video here or in the vCloud Air Community.

If you’re ready to get started with the hybrid cloud, visit vCloud.VMware.com.

Be sure to check out the vCloud Air Community, where you can join or start a discussion, watch our latest vTech Talk video, enter for a change to win swag in our monthly giveaways and more. Get started here!

For future updates, follow vCloud Air on Twitter and Facebook at @vCloud and Facebook.com/VMwarevCloud.

Supercharged Storage for Desktop Transformation: Virtual SAN with Horizon

This is a cross-post from the VMware End-User Computing blog.

By Ben Siler, EUC Product Marketing

Business mobility helps your people perform better. When employees have the ability to access their applications anytime, anywhere, and on any device, they’re happier and more productive. Business mobility means more than just remote access to email and a few SaaS apps, however; organizations need to provide a complete virtual workspace that’s as good as physical.

Workspace transformation with virtual desktops and apps offers your employees the access they need, but storage for virtual desktops and apps can pose challenges to your datacenter.

Desktop and app virtualization projects often run into issues when they come up against I/O hungry OSes and apps that were designed to take advantage of low-latency attached storage assigned 1:1 to users. Now, that storage and IO capacity is stretched across network and hundreds or thousands of users. Although some IT departments turn to high-cost specialty storage arrays to address this performance gap, Virtual SAN provides a lower-cost solution, with great performance and scalability for mission critical workloads like VDI.

With VMware Virtual SAN with Horizon, you solve the problems of cost and complexity with the radically simple storage, scalable performance, and pay-as-you-grow affordability you need to bring transformative business mobility to your workforce.

Virtual SAN delivers a supercharged, yet simplified solution leveraging industry-standard flash, disks, and x86 servers to create a flash-accelerated distributed datastore. Virtual SAN combines and abstracts these affordable components, giving you software-defined storage that self-tunes and balances based on virtual desktop and app demand. Because the datastore has the flexibility of software, each virtual desktop or app VM has the right storage policies attached from the minute it’s created. Virtual SAN intelligently caches read/write traffic to improve IOPS to give your users the high-performance, just-like-physical experience they expect. Hybrid, flash-and-disk deployments provide a compelling mix of price and performance with up to 40,000 IOPS per host. All-flash deployments provide up to 90,000 IOPS and submillisecond latency.


Virtual SAN creates a distributed datastore

Virtual SAN also helps you avoid overprovisioning IOPS by making it easy to add just the storage you need. With specialized storage arrays, a small increase in demand may push you over your current capacity, requiring an entire forklift upgrade and new array. The extra capacity in the new array goes unused, wasting capital you could have spent on other projects. With Virtual SAN, however, you can add exactly the right amount of storage with just-in-time adjustments that keep you agile. If you need to scale up performance, add flash. If you need to scale up capacity, add disk. If you need to scale out to meet a large new demand, add new hosts.

Virtual SAN is simple, but powerful. It’s embedded in vSphere; you can activate it with just a few clicks. Once it’s running, you don’t have to worry about learning new, proprietary storage interfaces. Virtual SAN uses the vSphere management tools you already know.

Virtual SAN for Horizon provides radically simple storage, superior performance that scales and pay-as-you grow affordability for your virtual desktops and apps. To learn more about what Virtual SAN for Horizon can do for your business, see the overview video.


For more information about VSAN, follow @vmwarevsan.

Our Best Selling Course Quickly Gets you the vSphere Skills You Need

This is a cross-post from the VMware Education and Certification blog.

We’re excited to offer one of our most popular courses on demand. vSphere 6: Install, Configure, Manage is designed to give system administrators and systems engineers intensive, hands-on training for installing, configuring, and managing VMware vSphere® 6, including VMware ESXi™ 6 and VMware vCenter Server™ 6. This course will help you take advantage of the 600+ new features and innovations in vSphere 6.

There’s a reason this course is our best seller. It helps you build the foundation for working with the majority of VMware technologies in the Software-Defined Data Center, and gets you ready to administer a vSphere infrastructure for organizations of all sizes.

Don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what some recent students had to say:

“The course material was awesome. The week was packed full of content. The online books with the ability to annotate as we went along was of great value. The labs are the best that I’ve done on any course – really slick and worked well.”

“I have used vSphere for approximately 3-4 years, and this course still provided value added information about certain aspects of the process. I would recommend this course for others in my team for the express purpose of gaining additional knowledge and best practice.”

“The course was very good to cement prior knowledge and expand experience with other features of vSphere. The labs and slides will be good for follow up and exam prep.”

“I had no experience with VMware prior to this course and I feel that I got a great introduction to the product.”

The class is available in-person at locations around the world, live online, and now On Demand (which you can get a Sneak Peek of here.) We can even bring the course straight to you and train your entire team onsite. And with Lab Connect, you can access all 23 labs from the course for an additional 30 days or 30 hours (whichever comes first.)

You can see the prerequisites and a full course outline on the course details page. Ready to sign up? Register here or contact your Learning Specialist.

Follow VMware Education on Twitter for the latest news and updates!

vCloud Air vTech Talk: Setting Lease Limits in vCloud Air

This is a cross-post from the VMware vCloud blog.

No one likes racking up unexpected charges. Whether it’s because you left your car running, your air conditioning on or because you forgot to turn something off, discovering you’ve suddenly accrued a ton of costs is always an unpleasant experience.

Thankfully, VMware vCloud® Air™ users don’t have to worry about going over any limits in vCloud Air. That’s because, much like our feature in vCloud Director, users can set limits on both virtual machine run times and storage.

In this episode of vCloud Tech Talk, our series highlighting tips, tricks and resources for all thing vCloud Air, Jenny Fong discusses how you can save money and minimize stress by setting lease times on your virtual machines and storage.

Learn how to set lease limits in our vTech Talk video here or in the vCloud Air Community.

Follow VMware SMB on FacebookTwitterSpiceworks and Google+ for more blog posts, conversation with your peers, and additional insights on IT issues facing small to midmarket businesses.

How Demand and Capacity Management can Streamline Service Requests in your Cloud Environment

EricBy Eric Tisdale

This is a cross-post from the VMware Operations Transformation Services blog.

What does Request Fulfillment have to do with Demand and Capacity Management in Service Management? Are these process areas still relevant today, as IT concentrates more on delivery of Cloud Services?

As we know, the Demand and Capacity Management processes are closely related, with increases or reductions in demand driving capacity plans and delivery. Service Requests in Request Fulfillment are often thought of simply as wishes for “stuff”. Linking these three process areas and connecting and leveraging of ITSM and virtualization tools at your disposal will be key to supercharging your ability to handle cloud requests.

Leveraging automation will streamline provisioning of requests for both private and public cloud offerings. When your Request Fulfillment process is synergized with the Demand and Capacity processes, you will provide high value to your customers. Why? Because drastically reducing provisioning times and facilitating application and infrastructure teams means IT is much more efficient at providing services.

Do you have these issues?

  • IT tells me they can build a virtual server in a few hours. Why does it take us 90 days to deliver?
  • Why are we just now hearing of this new requirement? I was told this project was approved in last year’s budget, but this is the first the first request I have seen. Why doesn’t the Business communicate with us (IT)?
  • How could this project have doubled in size in a week? What could have changed since our last demand report?

For successful and timely delivery of components for any server, storage, or application request, the below areas should be well thought out and planned:

  • Re-imagine your Request Fulfillment approval process with automation tools by creating application and infrastructure blueprints that facilitate delivery efficiency
  • Don’t be afraid to ESTIMATE! Too many times folks in IT think they have to have every Gigabyte accounted for and each contingency covered to provide an educated guess for future demand. As requests move through their lifecycle, think in terms of:
    • Small, medium, or large request
    • 40%, 60%, 90% confident that the request is accurate
    • Estimates at 120, 90, 60, and 30 days out from delivery
    • Engage all stakeholders (Program Management, Account/Business Relationship Management, Infrastructure and Line of Business Architecture, etc.) in the gathering and input of demand data
    • Enable capacity management to become more agile and adaptable in responding to resource demands by providing comprehensive visibility into current capacity to allow enhanced demand forecasts with virtualization management tools that you may already own
    • Abstract applications from infrastructure, and then infrastructure from resource pools to drive agility in the fulfillment process
    • Utilize predictive analytics in virtualization tools to assists in applying demand and allocation-planning principles for enhanced utilization of resources, leading to shorter fulfillment cycles
    • Break down the silos that inhibit your Request process. Enable linkage of each ingredient of a service request into a single request record and integrate all electronic or paper forms utilized for demand funnels, requirements gathering, etc. into your service request tool.

Future posts will explore the above topics in more detail.

Building key relationships between the Demand and Capacity Management and Request Fulfillment processes and integrating them within your environment will culminate in a greatly enhanced procurement and request delivery experience for your customers. You many find that you have many of the enabling tools necessary and simply need a strategy and plan for implementation.


Eric Tisdale is a Transformation Consultant based in Louisville, KY.

Follow VMware SMB on FacebookTwitterSpiceworks and Google+ for more blog posts, conversation with your peers, and additional insights on IT issues facing small to midmarket businesses.

VMware Releases Socialcast Integration Store

This is a cross-post from the VMware End-User Computing blog.

By Jens Koerner, Director of Product Management, Socialcast

Today, VMware released the Socialcast Integration Store. For years, the tried and trusted Socialcast Reach integration capability has allowed customers to embed Socialcast collaboration into various different applications – such as Microsoft SharePoint and Salesforce.com.

Blog2– Figure 1: Socialcast embedded in Salesforce.com

Today’s announcement of the integration store completes the circle for users and applications by allowing application administrators to post events and notifications into Socialcast – allowing users to collaborate around those events from their mobile device or the web.


– Figure 2: vCenter Server alerts surfaced in Socialcast mobile application


– Figure 2: vCenter Server alerts surfaced in Socialcast mobile application

Blog5– Figure 3: DevOps team collaborating around vCenter Server events in Socialcast on the web

The first use case we focused on was the collaboration among DevOps teams and VMware vSphere administrators. With the Socialcast Integration Store, DevOps and VMware vSphere administrators can integrate the applications they use on a daily basis into one event stream in Socialcast. Through this collaboration, the teams can exchange information about these events – starting with the vCenter Server web client alongside the following third-party applications. These third-party applications include:

  • Airbrake
  • Github
  • Jenkins
  • JIRA
  • New Relic
  • PagerDuty

Blog6– Figure 4: Socialcast Integration Store

This idea was first introduced by Ravi Soundararajan in his VMworld presentation (see also this TechCrunch article) where he notes that solving complex problems requires collaboration, particularly when multiple players, skill sets and regions are involved.

The combination of the Socialcast network and these tools empower VMware vSphere® administrators, DevOps teams and developers to tackle a variety of DevOps issues. The primary features and use cases include the ability to:

  • Collaborate on issues and alerts in a central location across many of the leading cloud management and DevOps tools
  • Reference previous conversation threads to determine best practices and resources when solving an issue
  • Monitor and take action on incoming alerts and messages from “human or machine”
  • View an intuitive user interface available across device types
  • Determine which alerts, virtual machines and admins to follow and which to mute to avoid information overload and keep only pertinent information in the Socialcast feed
  • Search for relevant information across the company
  • Aggregate data traditionally siloed inside different applications to one central repository

Today’s announcement of the availability is the first step in making this vision a reality. And there is much more to come

To get started, sign up for a free Socialcast instance, create a group and integrate the various applications. The instructions of how to integrate the applications are in the integration store. For example, here is a screenshot of how to integrate VMware vSphere alerts into a Socialcast group:

Blog1– Figure 5: When a group admin clicks on the integrations tab and selects VMware vSphere, the step-by-step instructions are shown to complete the integration

For more information, check out the Socialcast website and our press release announcing the Socialcast Integration Store.

Follow VMware SMB on FacebookTwitterSpiceworks and Google+ for more blog posts, conversation with your peers, and additional insights on IT issues facing small to midmarket businesses.

Best Practice Approaches to Transformation with the Software-Defined Data Center

This is a cross-post from the VMware Operations Transformation Services blog.

KevinLeesBy: Kevin Lees

VMworld is almost upon us. Technology continues, of course, to be a key enabler in helping IT on its transformation journey, whether that journey is to offering IT as a Service, moving more fully to Cloud, supporting cloud native applications and continuous delivery, DevOps, or any number of other initiatives focused on providing increasing value to the business. It’s also the primary reason you attend VMworld. But, as we work with our customers across the world, we continue to see how integral people and process changes are to really making this journey successful and to truly providing the value business is increasingly demanding of IT.

To help you make the most of the great technology and solutions VMware provides and will be showcasing at VMworld, we’re hosting an Operations Transformation track again this year. As the Principal Architect for our Global Operations Transformation Practice, this track is near and dear to my heart. We have a great lineup of sessions focused on the practical aspects of applying organizational, people, and process change to get the most out of VMware’s technology.

I have several sessions this year, but one that might be of particular interest is focused on the key best practices we’ve learned while helping some of our biggest IT customers transform their value proposition to their business customers by deploying a Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC). I’ll discuss what not to do and what to watch out for, as well as what you should do to be successful. I’ll present lessons learned through real customer examples (though the names will be changed to protect the innocent) and provide guidance on how you can avoid learning the same lessons – the hard way. Of course I’ll address the organizational, people, and process aspects but will also dive into some of the technical challenges we overcame or avoided along the way. This particular session is OPT 5361 on Wednesday at 11 a.m.

I know you’re looking forward to VMworld as much as I am. I hope to see you in one or more of my sessions but more importantly, check out the Operations Transformation track in the on-line Schedule Builder. You won’t be disappointed and you could be the hero “back at the office’ because IT’s success isn’t just about the technology.

Quick guide to my sessions:

Tuesday Sept. 1

  • 12:30 OPT 4743 Organizational Change Group Discussion
  • 2:30 OPT 4992 vRealize CodeStream:  Is DevOps about Tools or Transformation?

Wednesday Sept. 2

  • 8 :00 OPT 5232 Cloud Native Apps, MicroServices and Twelve-Factor Apps:  What Do They Mean for your SDDC/Cloud Ops?
  • 11:00 OPT 5361 Best Practice Approaches to Transformation with the SDDC
  • 2:30 OPT 5972 80K VM’s and Growing:  VMware’s Internal Cloud Journey Told by the People on the Frontlines

Kevin Lees is principal architect for VMware’s global Operations Transformation Practice and is based in Colorado.

Follow VMware SMB on FacebookTwitterSpiceworks and Google+ for more blog posts, conversation with your peers, and additional insights on IT issues facing small to midmarket businesses.