Home > Blogs > VMware SMB Blog > Category Archives: Industry Trends

Category Archives: Industry Trends

How to Make the Most of a VMware User Group (VMUG) Membership

The VMware User Group (VMUG) is an independent, global, customer-led organization, created to provide our 80,000+ members VMware and partner solutions through knowledge sharing, training, collaboration, and events. Membership is free; click here to join VMUG today.

Included in your free membership:

  • VMUG Special Interest Groups (SIGs) bring together VMware customers, partners and employees with mutual interests in areas of different industries and VMware technology to discuss enhancements, uses or issues and address real-time experiences with the VMware platforms they use in their organizations
  • Access to our Local VMUG Groups and User Conferences – With over 190 local VMUGs and 40+ User Conferences, VMUG offers the ability to connect with your fellow VMware users at a local level
  • VMUG eLearning – A one-stop shop for VMUG members to gain access to different types of complimentary virtual educational offerings
  • Online Workspaces – Catch up with your fellow members, share presentations, and ask questions right from your desk
  • VMUG Voice – VMUG’s monthly electronic newsletter
  • Member discounts with VMware Press and Global Knowledge – exclusive discount on books, white papers, and training materials

If you’re already a member, did you know you can upgrade your membership?

Exclusive to VMUG members, VMUG Advantage is the most cost-effective way to stay on top of your technical skills, with discounts on training, certifications, VMworld and product licenses. Visit VMUG Advantage to learn how you can save over $1,700.

  • 20% Discount on VMware Certification
  • 20% Discount on VMware Instructor-led Training
  • $100 Discount on Admission to all VMworld Events
  • 50% Discount on VMware Fusion and VMware Workstation Software Licenses
  • 35% Discount on Lab Connect

Questions? Please contact VMUG at memberservices@vmug.com or call us at +1 312.321.6886.

We hope to see you at a local event soon!

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

New eBook: 50 Tech Tips to Boost Your IT Career

A successful career in IT requires more than just technical skills. We’ve partnered with Spiceworks to create a new eBook to share the top 50 tech tips from IT pros, for IT pros.

What is the best IT career advice you’ve ever received?

2_REV_FINAL

Download the IT Pro Career Tips eBook for the top 50 tech tips, including:

  • How to raise your skills to the next level
  • What three things to do when asking for a raise
  • How to determine what certifications to obtain

1_REV_FINAL

Did we miss any IT career tips you’d like to share?  Leave your top advice in the comments below, in our Spiceworks Community, or on Twitter via @VMwareSMB with the hashtag #SpicyCareerTips.

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 vCloud Hybrid Service Jumps the Pond! Now Generally Available in Europe

VMware is thrilled to announce the general availability of VMware vCloud Hybrid Service in Europe, an exciting step forward to further expand our infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) footprint in Europe.

Pat_Gelsinger_3-450x327Why is the UK launch of vCloud Hybrid Service significant? With the launch of our new Slough, UK data center, our customers in Europe who have been vocal about what they need to adopt hybrid cloud can now benefit from the ability to move workloads into the public cloud when demand calls for it, while also keeping their data within the national boundaries of the UK.

VMware vCloud Hybrid Service is a true hybrid cloud that enables customers to enjoy the cost economics and agility public cloud, while maintaining the same control, security, and corporate compliance they already have in their existing data center.

A quick breakdown of what the new UK data center has to offer customers:

  • Fully-redundant VM service – Unlike other clouds, VMware provides a service level agreement for VM availability, backed by fully-redundant server infrastructure using VMware vSphere vMotion.
  • Enterprise-class storage – VMware uses flash-accelerated disk storage, 10G networking and congestion control to meet the performance demands of enterprise applications.
  • Full network virtualization – VMware customers can deploy a rich set of load balancers, firewalls and VPNs using virtual networks, switches and routers to replicate their physical networking configuration, at no extra cost!

We’re excited not only to reach such a significant milestone, but also for the opportunity to help more customers usher in a new era of innovation, no matter where they are in the world.  As we continue to expand the vCloud Hybrid Service’s hybrid capabilities, we look forward to celebrating even more of these milestones.

To learn more about our upcoming features and capabilities, follow the vCloud blog with your favorite RSS reader, or follow our social channels at @vCloud and Facebook.com/VMwarevCloud.

To get started with the vCloud Hybrid Service, visit vCloud.VMware.com.        

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

The Many Clouds of Hands-on Labs

Post by Doug Baer, Infrastructure Architect, Hands-on Labs team in Technical Marketing, VMware

This post originally appeared on the VMware Hands-on Lab (HOL) Blog

Image1Behind the scenes of VMware’s Hands-on Labs, there is a lot of “care and feeding” of the lab infrastructure, manuals, and the lab environments themselves. You might be surprised at how much opportunity there is for things to stop working, even in environments that have been precisely configured and then effectively frozen in time. For example, SSL certificates and password expiration policies are the bane of my existence…

On a call at the end of 2013, I demonstrated some of my maintenance workflows to others on my team and they thought that at least some of our readers would be interested in what I am doing behind the scenes. So, I am kicking off a short series of posts to outline some of the challenges we have and solutions we have developed with the hope that someone out there finds them useful, or at the very least, interesting.

In this introductory post, I will cover some of what we do for both the public HOL and for the VMworld shows and call out some similarities and differences. In general, the differences are the capacities and levels of redundancy involved, but the general model is the same. To set the proper context, I typically work as a cloud consumer rather than a cloud administrator, so I don’t usually talk about the hardware we’re running. :)

vCloud Suite

It is no secret that we use our own vCloud Suite to host the hands-on labs. Based on that, I spend a great deal of time these days using vCloud Director (vCD). We are currently using version 5.1 with plans to upgrade to 5.5 in the near future. For those wondering, we are not using any “special” builds of vCD, but the same off-the-shelf code that any vCD customer could be using.

Lab Composition

Our labs are composed of two main components: the lab manual and the lab environment. These components are brought together using a custom web portal called Project NEE (Next Generation Education Environment). I work mainly with the lab environments, which are vCD vApp templates we call vPods. Each vPod is developed by teams of product experts in the Hands-on Labs development cloud. Once development has been completed, the vPods must be exported from the development cloud and migrated to one or more of our hosting clouds used to run the labs for the public HOL or various events. The number and location of these hosting clouds varies and depends on the defined performance, scalability, and availability requirements… and cost.

Large Events (VMworlds, Partner Exchange, etc.)

Image2VMworld US has historically been our showcase for providing customers hands-on experience with our latest products. Due to the massive popularity and scale, running the labs at this large event requires high degrees of performance, scalability and redundancy. We typically have a larger-than-normal budget, dedicated infrastructure and crank everything up past 11. It is not uncommon for us to have vendors loan us their latest and greatest gear to support the labs and showcase its performance for our insanely stressful workloads. In 2013, we had some pre-release EMC XTremIO storage serving our labs, and it was awesome.

Don’t forget our DR plan. If we lose access to one of our datacenters and everything goes down, that’s a pretty public and visible issue. An hour of downtime during an event that lasts a week has a pretty large impact, so we want to avoid that. We’re not perfect, but we try to identify and eliminate all single points of failure and have at least two of everything.

The VMworld Europe is a smaller event and requires less capacity and scalability, but has the same availability and performance requirements. What is unique for that event is that we aim to have the primary cloud source located “nearby” in order to keep latency low and maximize user experience. Eliminating transatlantic WAN trips is a good way to do that, so we try to run the labs out of a datacenter in Europe for that event.

Public Hands-on Labs Portal

At the other end of the spectrum, the public HOL site is our free service which we run on standard, shared infrastructure that is part of our private cloud. We do our best to stay on top of the availability, capacity and performance of this offering, but things do happen. At times, it may take a little longer to access the labs, or we may have outages that render them inaccessible for a bit. Availability and support is on a “best effort” basis, but since we don’t charge anything for this service, our users tend to be very understanding.

Complexity

With that bit of background out of the way, you understand a bit of why we have multiple clouds. Unfortunately, with multiple clouds comes additional complexity. In order to start a vPod in a given cloud, the template for that vPod must exist in that particular cloud. Some of our challenges are keeping track of which versions of which vPods are present in which clouds, which templates are authoritative, and then resolving any differences.

These labs and vPods are not static entities: software versions are updated, bugs are fixed, and lab flow is tweaked on a regular basis — a lot of that occurs in response to feedback from our vast community of HOL users (THANK YOU!). We read all of the feedback from the post-lab surveys and try to stay on top of the postings on the VMware HOL Community. Any change to a vPod requires that a new version of the pod be spawned and replicated around to any of the clouds hosting that vPod.

In my next (shorter!) post, I will look at how we leverage PowerCLI to verify that the same versions are present in each of the multiple clouds we use to host our labs. In future posts, I will cover how we efficiently and securely replicate the vPods between sites and talk a little about some fun we have with Windows VMs running in clouds backed by different hardware.

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.

State of SMB IT in 2014

Good news for SMB IT pros in 2014!

In a recent survey, Spiceworks asked 450 IT pros what their budget forecast looks like for the year. The outlook is positive, with nearly half of respondents reporting both an anticipated increase in IT budget, IT headcount and overall company revenue.

In North America alone, Forrester Research predicts IT budgets will rise to an estimated $976 billion in 2014. On average, IT pros surveyed said they plan to invest an average of $302,000 on IT products this year.

Where are IT pros planning to prioritize budgets? Forty-four percent of the budget will go toward hardware, 31% to software, 14% to cloud, and 11% to managed services.

Download the Spiceworks 2014 State of IT Budget Report to find out:

  • What upgrades IT pros are prioritizing this year
  • How organizations are approaching security
  • Why the evolution of server virtualization is affecting overall purchasing

If you’re looking for more information on how to get started on your next step, try these tools:

  • Virtualization Advisor Tool – Take the 3-minute survey about your organizational needs to receive a customized recommendation for your environment
  • Hands-on Labs Online Portal – Within the popular online tool, you can test various VMware products, no install or download required on current hardware
  • Product Evaluations – If you’re ready to move forward with a trial, check out VMware’s Product Evaluation Center
  • Join the discussion on Spiceworks – For more conversations with other SMB IT pros, check out VMware’s Spiceworks community

What are the goals for your IT department in the coming year? Tell us in the comments below.

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.

Moving to Hybrid Cloud: Top Considerations

This post originally appeared on the VMware vCloud blog

Some of the public cloud’s most popular features include its agility and scalability, but unfortunately, some of its less popular aspects, such as security and complexity concerns, can be hard to ignore.

Enter the hybrid cloud: a solution designed to help make meeting business demands not only easy, but secure as well. The hybrid cloud combines everything businesses love about the public cloud with manageable internal control systems.

Is your organization ready to take the plunge into hybrid cloud?

Here are five considerations to take into account before deploying your workloads to the hybrid cloud:

1. Existing and new application support

A major inconvenience sometimes found in cloud platforms is incompatibility between your current IT infrastructure and the public cloud. Additionally, applications must be rewritten for the public cloud, and users can face difficulty in moving between workloads in different locations.

The VMware vCloud Hybrid Service makes on-demand application portability easy, because it’s built on the same VMware vSphere platform you already use in your data center. The vCloud Hybrid Service not only supports a wide variety of Linux and Windows-based operating systems, but it also supports over 5,724 applications – all certified to run on vSphere.

2. Security and compliance

Organizations consistently identify security and compliance issues as obstacles to widespread cloud adoption, particularly for mission-critical applications. Therefore, it’s important to look for a public cloud infrastructure that meet your specific security and compliance requirements.

To ensure a controlled environment, VMware delivers a policy-driven approach to provisioning, which embeds software-defined security and resource consumption controls so preconfigured IT policies are automatically enforced, thus enabling you to accelerate provisioning without loss of security, compliance, or control.

Continue reading

It’s a SMBWorld

Post by Mike Laverick, Senior Cloud Infrastructure Evangelist, Competitive Team

If you were viewing this year’s VMworld 2013 from the lens of the media, you’d be forgiven for thinking there was no news for the SMB. I think that reflects the bias of most media organizations that think the be-all-and-all is enterprise IT designed for big global corporates with megabucks and deep pockets. Of course, they are wrong, there was plenty of good news for SMB folks who have a passion for VMware technologies. If are you looking to catch-up on what was announced at VMworld, it would do you good to check out the VMworldTV channel on YouTube. Many of the breakout sessions were recorded by the team and uploaded recently.

So what were the highlights for SMBs at this year’s event?

vSphere App High Availability (AppHA)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This new feature of VMware High Availability clustering is an extension of the “VM restart” feature that’s been in vSphere for sometime. What’s new and exciting here is AppHA not only monitors the state of the VM, but also the services running inside it as well. It supports most commonly used applications such as Microsoft Exchange, Sharepoint and SQL, and it’s possible to add your own service definitions as well. I think this marks a significant shift for VMware. In the past, the availability of the OS and applications was left to the owner of the systems – Windows or Linux. But I think these are the first signs of VMware going up through the VM and deep inside the VM’s guest operating system to deliver availability through all the layers of the stack.

Continue reading

Spotlight on SMBs: 4 Customers on Stage at VMworld

At this year’s VMworld, four SMB customers took the stage to tell their stories on how a range of VMware solutions have helped them to overcome their varied IT challenges, from improving scalability for company growth to quickly troubleshooting problems in a complex virtual environment. Read on to see what these customers shared on stage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name: Donald Wilkins, Director of IT

Company: Navicure, Inc. – leading Internet-based medical claims clearinghouse that serves over 50,000 healthcare providers

IT Challenge: Navicure is on a fast annual growth trajectory. With that, their business is dependent on IT that can scale and innovate to meet the needs of their customers and also have the budget to support this growth. Navicure requires agile IT to stay competitive and bring new products to the market fast.

VMware Solution: vCloud Suite, including vSphere with Operations Management, brought Navicure’s development team up to the next level, by providing an elastic infrastructure that allows the team to spin up environments quickly without the road blocks of IT. This allows Navicure to deliver more high quality products at an even faster rate. In addition, vCenter Site Recovery Manager helped Navicure to effectively plan and test their disaster recovery strategy.

Hear from Donald: “VMware vSphere with Operations Management provides us with the holistic view we need of how our IT infrastructure is operating, allowing us to optimize capacity and efficiency so we can continue to be responsive to the needs of our business and ultimately our customers.”

Watch the video to get the full story.

Continue reading

IT-as-a-Service: Day 2 At VMworld

VMware President and COO, Carl Eschenbach, kicked off day two of VMworld 2013 with energy by reiterating the three imperative pillars of VMware’s vision:

  • Virtualization extends to ALL of IT
  • IT management gives way to automation
  • Compatible hybrid clouds

Carl’s main focus was around IT-as-a-Service, bringing VMware subject experts to the stage. First up was Kit Colbert, Principal Engineer at VMware.

Kit drove a demo of vCloud Automation Center, showcasing:

  • Project Vulcan on Private cloud / Public cloud
  • Providing users with cost per month so you can choose where to deploy, while also providing a breakdown of the cost

Following, Kit demonstrated how the vCloud Application Director solution will help with the automating and provisioning of servers, networks and databases. With this, Kit drove the key reasons why a conventional networking approach is a barrier to IT agility:

  • Device centric
  • Static configuration
  • Not application-aware

Continue reading

VMware Unveils 4 Major Announcements at VMworld

It’s been 10 years and VMware continues our customers’ journey to the cloud by further enabling the software-defined data center.

Yesterday at VMworld, we announced these exciting advances for delivering IT-as-a-service:

1.) Compute: More apps than ever before love VMware® vSphere® – in fact, 2X as many and 32X the data – supporting 64TB. VMware vSphere 5.5 extends support for business-critical applications and new workloads, including big data extensions

2.) Storage: Rapid scaling of compute and storage with the release of VMware Virtual SAN™. VMware Virtual SAN introduces a new approach to storage, delivering simple, self-tuning storage for virtual machines

3.) Networking:VMware NSX™ does for networking what ESX did for servers. VMware NSX network virtualization platform delivers a new network operational model that improves agility and advances data center economics

4.) Management: According to IDC, VMware is #1 for cloud management market share. New versions of VMware vCloud® Suite and vSphere with Operations Management™ increase management and automation capabilities to strengthen foundation of a software-defined data center architecture

The goal of these additions are to help IT accelerate their adoption of a software-defined data center architecture and take advantage of the value of advanced virtualization in areas such as networking and security, storage and availability, and management and automation.

Our vision is clear…

  • Virtualization extends to ALL of IT
  • Management gives way to automation
  • Compatible hybrid cloud will be ubiquitous

Other highlights from the day’s breakout sessions include:

  • General availability of vCloud Hybrid Service: Now available broadly across the US from multiple data center locations, ranging coast to coast from Las Vegas to Virginia
  • Release of App High Availability (HA): vSphere 5.5 releases App HA, which supports continuity for off-the-shelf applications, such as SharePoint & SQL, without having to shut down a virtual machine completely and set up policy-based remediation.
  • VMware Professional Services also announced a new level of certification, VMware Certified Associate (VCA). VCA is the simplest, most affordable way to prove that you have the industry-leading VMware know-how that will help you advance your career and solidify your relevance and credibility. Take advantage of the limited time 50% off promotion on any VCA exam.

As always, VMworld is a great place to connect with customers and partners and meet many new faces.  To stay connected during and after this event, follow us @VMwareSMB on Twitter.

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