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Riverbed Creates VMware Plug-in for Workflow Automation

The VMware Technology Alliances Partner (TAP) Program provides many benefits to technology partners that enroll, including product licenses, marketing opportunities, training, roadmap reviews and VMware Ready certification for solutions that undergo the VMware Ready certification process. One valuable benefit to the TAP program is being able to post solutions to our marketplace, VMware Solutions Exchange (VSX).

Riverbed has been a longtime VMware partner that utilizes TAP and VSX to promote joint solutions and provide details describing how Riverbed products integrate with VMware. Currently, Riverbed has posted 8 different solutions to VSX and in December 2014 published a vCO Plug-in for workflow automation with vCenter and Riverbed’s SteelApp Traffic Manager.

The Riverbed SteelApp™ Traffic Manager inspects and processes application traffic, with full payload inspection and streaming. It applies a range of optimization techniques to ensure that incoming requests are presented in the most appropriate manner to the web and application servers. SteelApp also includes a web-based management administration interface for real-time analysis and historical context, while using SOAP APIs, RESTful API’s or SNMP for remote management and monitoring.

The VMware vCenter Orchestrator (vCO) plug-ins, now called vRealize Orchestrator Plug-in, uses common API’s to stretch workflows to 3rd party partners and automate those processes needed for the defined workflow. The 3rd party partners can create packaged workflows that automate specific features of the 3rd party, or enable a scripting capability so that the user can create custom workflows. You can see that the workflows, whether packaged or custom, are specific to those 3rd parties that create the vCO plug-in, providing a high degree of workflow integration.

It’s more clear to use an example, so let’s circle back to Riverbed’s recent solution development. The SteelApp plugin uses the SOAP API’s to make available the core load balancing functions of the Riverbed Traffic Manager to the vCenter environment in the form of workflows and actions. The plugin, in addition to automating the configuration aspects of load balancing, will enable the enforcement of standard processes around the configuration of the Traffic Manager and reduce configuration errors and service failures. Specifically, Riverbed created 22 unique workflows that are focused on inventory management or CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) operations. For instance, through the vCO Management UI, you can add a new SteelHead Traffic Manager (STM) to inventory, you can add an STM node to a defined Pool of resources, again through the vCO UI, and finally, you can delete an STM node from inventory as desired.

You can find more detail at the Riverbed VSX vCO Plug-in landing page or go directly to the deployment guide.

Please note the product name change during fall 2014:
* vCenter Orchestrator is now called vRealize Orchestrator
* The vCenter Orchestrator Plug-in is now called the vRealize Orchestrator Plug-in

vSphere Web Client Solution Development Boot Camp – Dec 1-5, 2014

VMware Ecosystem & Solution Engineering (EASE) group has organized an onsite vSphere Web Client Solution Development Boot Camp in Palo Alto for TAP members.

Vmware BulletWhen - Dec 1 – 5, 2014, 9 AM – 5 PM Each Day
Vmware BulletWhere - VMware Palo Alto Campus
Vmware BulletCost - $5,000/participant
Vmware BulletQuestions? partnerservices@vmware.com

The objective of this boot camp course is to provide VMware Engineering Ecosystem Partners’ Engineers with the skills and knowledge needed to add their management content into the vSphere management environment. This will enable their customers to manage the partner’s solutions via VMware’s vSphere Web Client.

This course is delivered in an instructor-led format in five (5) days in the classroom, including theory and hands-on labs.

Vmware Bullet Increase flexibility in software development lifecycle.
Vmware BulletLeverage SMEs for quick resolution of development & certification issues.
Vmware Bullet Maximize the investment in VMware developer tools and technologies.

Vmware Bullet Students must have Developer-level skills working with Windows, Mac, or Linux operating system.
Vmware Bullet Students must know how to use supported browsers and development tools

Learn more about the Boot Camp


NDA Roadmaps and Technology Exchange (TEX) Breakout Sessions @ VMworld

We had great attendance and awesome QA at the Software Defined Data Center NDA Roadmap held today exclusively for TAP partners at VMworld 2014. Thank you to all partners who attended!

We have more sessions lined up for you in the coming days -

  • End User Computing and Horizon NDA Roadmap – Tue Aug 25 at 11 AM in room 3008 Moscone West - TEX 1717 Preview video
  • VMware vCloud Air NDA Roadmap – Wed Aug 26 at 9:30 AM in room 3008 in Moscone West TEX 1822 Preview video
  • Maximize your Revenue with VMware vCloud Air – Wed Aug 27 at 2 PM in room 3008 in Moscone West TEX 1703Preview video
  • Data Plane Performance for NFV with VMware vSphere and Intel DPDK – Wed Aug 27 at 8 AM in room 3003 Moscone West TEX 1808Preview video
  • Watch video previews for all TEX track breakout sessions in Moscone West

Sheela Toor
Marketing Communications, TAP team, GSAO, VMware


FlexPod with VMware vSphere 5.5

Bhumik Patel – Partner Architect, VMware @bhumikp

In June, we saw an announcement on FlexPod passing $3Billion in joint sales for Cisco and NetApp – which also means more customers continue to leverage the benefits of deploying the converged infrastructure for their applications. Over the years, VMware vSphere continues to be the leading platform for FlexPod solutions and majority of benefits for customers deploying FlexPod are around having pre-validated & tested solutions with co-operative support agreements between Cisco, NetApp and VMware. These pre-validated solutions are provided through Cisco Validated Design (CVDs) and the following latest CVDs on FlexPod with vSphere 5.5 are now available.

-          vSphere 5.5 U1 design guide with NetApp FAS8000 with UCS B-200 M3 blades and C-240 M3 rack mount servers and Nexus 9000 standalone as detailed here.

-          vSphere 5.5U1 design & deployment guides with NetApp FAS8040 with UCS B200-M3 blades and Nexus 5548UP as detailed here.

Along with comprehensive design and best practices, these architectures provide end to end validation of the FlexPod solution built on vSphere and this serves as the foundation for the co-operative support available to the customers based on the following support matrix as outlined in the document.

Deployment of workloads such as VMware Horizon on FlexPod provides customers with benefits of the platform level integrations such as leveraging latest storage architectures such as the NetApp All Flash FAS based solutions for Horizon 6.

In terms of management and orchestration for FlexPod, there is a choice provided in terms of which management product to leverage. With majority of FlexPod solutions based on vSphere, and tight automation integrations provided by vCloud Automation Center for provisioning both virtual resources on vSphere and physical components such as Cisco UCS and NetApp integrations through NetApp WFA (solutions TR-4306 and TR-4308), customers can successfully leverage VMware automation & cloud management for FlexPod.

If you are at VMworld 2014, you will find more details on the FlexPod CVDs with VMware at the NetApp Booth #1205.

Delivering Cost Efficient Virtual Desktops solution

Delivering Cost Efficient Virtual Desktops solution with VMware Horizon and NetApp All-Flash FAS storage

Over the last few years desktop virtualization deployments have been ramping up across various industry verticals from few 100 users to several 1000 users. To help you ensure risk free deployments with best in class user experience & achieve faster ROI, VMware & NetApp have been partnering for the last 7 years to enable our customers with joint solutions around VMware Horizon and more recently with Horizon Desktop as a Service (DaaS). Our joint solutions have been deployed globally by thousands of organizations.

Providing equal or better end user experience compared to physical desktops is critical to achieving successful adoption for virtual desktops among end users. This is even more relevant since last couple of years due to the evolving personal computing landscape with mobility first mindset of most users. With VMware Horizon, customers can meet varying requirements of their user base – from providing 1:1 virtual desktops to a shared desktop and RDSH based application virtualization environment for task workers. NetApp FAS storage has been proven to provide optimal storage options for all of the Horizon deployment models. Specifically for achieving great performance at scale, storage is one of the critical elements of any desktop virtualization solution and can make or break a deployment. Low storage cost per desktop, high performance, storage efficiency, high availability, scalability, and intelligent backup and DR policies are top of mind for customers.

Flash enabled Low Storage Cost per Horizon based virtual desktopsstorage

Based on customer feedback for the last several years, we are continuing to enhance our solutions to make your deployments successful. The latest example is our new VMware Horizon View on NetApp All-Flash FAS solution targeted towards non-persistent desktops. This solution offers very compelling price, performance (at consistent ~1ms latency), and advanced data management for real world desktop deployment; with the storage cost per desktop as low as $55/desktop. This compelling storage $/desktop number includes cost of NetApp hardware, software, 3yr 24/7 premium support with 4 hour parts replacement.

With this new solution, organizations can continue to accelerate the VDI end-user experience by using NetApp All-Flash FAS storage for Horizon & still ensure low cost per desktop. NetApp All-Flash FAS storage, powered by the FAS8000 family of storage arrays, is the optimal platform for using high-performing solid-state disks (SSDs) without adding any risk to desktop virtualization initiatives.

Advanced Data Management

When a storage failure prevents users from working, that inactivity translates into lost revenue and productivity. That is why what used to be considered a tier 3 and 4 application is now critical to business operations. Having a storage system with a robust set of data management and availability features is key to keeping the users working and lessens the risk to the business. NetApp clustered Data ONTAP has multiple built-in features to help improve availability, such as active-active high availability (HA) and non-disruptive operations to seamlessly move data in the storage cluster without user impact. Built-in, simple, storage efficient, instant snapshots and replication/vaulting capabilities ensure low RPO and RTO for mission critical VDI workload.

Validation Proof points

architectureHere is the high level architecture of this new solution. It has been fully vetted in our solutions lab with very detailed performance testing & exceptional results for boot storm, login & steady state with LoginVSI 4.1, Refresh, and Recompose operations to simulate a real world deployment. In addition, detailed testing has been conducted with the worst case scenario of only one storage controller (of the two in an HA pair) being active at a time and still achieving exception results.

Similar Reference Architectures focused on persistent desktops use case is being finished and should be available in a few weeks!!!

VMware and NetApp are committed to make your desktop virtualization journey successful. For details on the solution architecture, performance validation, or any questions, we would highly encourage you to review the Reference Architecture here, engage with your NetApp account team or one of our channel partners, or stop by the NetApp booth #1205 at VMworld in San Francisco, or catch us at VMworld Barcelona.

Bhumik Patel – Partner Architect, VMware @bhumikp

Abhinav Joshi – Sr. Product Manager – Desktop Virtualization NetApp @abhinav_josh


Sneak Peek Videos – Partner Day at VMworld 2014, Moscone

This year we have a dedicated Partner Day at VMworld US 2014 at Moscone on Sunday August 24. We have great sessions lined up for you. Watch preview videos and register soon to avoid disappointment – seats are filling up quickly!

The following Technology Exchange (TEX) Breakout Sessions are on Sunday August 24.

Watch  preview videos now!

Questions? tapalliance@vmware.com

Technology Exchange Track (TEX) at VMworld 2014

VMworld US 2014 returns to San Francisco, California this year and again takes place at the Moscone Center. Join other business and technology professionals, and VMware experts and executives as we all come together to share the stories of our successes over the last year, learn from each other and inspire each other to realize greater achievements in virtualization.

Register Now if you haven’t already registered.

As a TAP partner, plan to join us at VMworld and gain from all the following:

  • Technology Exchange Track (TEX) Break out sessions – Content Catalog
  • NDA Roadmaps
    • Software Defined Data Center (SDDC)
    • End User Computing and Horizon (EUC)
    • VMware vCloud Hybrid Service (vCHS)
  • Face-to-face meetings with TAP and Alliance Managers – Watch out for the invite soon!
  • Take advantage of joint Marketing initiatives on the VMware Solution Exchange (VSX)

Any questions? Contact TapAlliance@vmware.com

Sheela Toor
Marketing Communications Manager, Alliances

Bridging the Gap between Virtual and Physical with VMware Cloud Management Integrations with Cisco UCS

When we speak to joint VMware and Cisco customers who have built their data centers based on our virtualized infrastructure solutions, it is very clear what it takes for them to transform towards a truly private cloud environment. It is critical for customers to be able to leverage their existing Cloud Infrastructure investments in vSphere and UCS and to be able to build on top of that in terms of integrating management and automation solutions as they look to operate their I.T organizations in a self-service type model.
VMware Cloud Management and Cloud Orchestration solutions integrate with Cisco UCS Manager to bridge this gap between virtual and physical resources providing customers with a great deal of operational efficiencies.

Let us break this down in terms of how our joint solutions integrate:

  • The first level of integration is about further leveraging the notion of stateless computing that Cisco UCS provides by their service profiles abstracting all the attributes from the physical compute and integrating this with VMware Auto Deploy for a rapid & simplified provisioning solution. Auto Deploy incorporates UCS service profile attributes as part of the host profile so when you deploy ESXi, the service profile attributes are also applied appropriately and the compute nodes (blades, rack servers) obtain the required identity.
  • The next level is management integrations between vCenter and UCS Manager to achieve a single pane of glass view of the underlying infrastructure – both virtual and physical. This is achieved via Cisco UCS Plug-in for vCenter. Once imported into vCenter, it provides granular visibility into the UCS domain from vCenter including correlation of ESXi with UCS servers; chassis & fabric interconnect information and insights into service profile, service profile templates and other policies. This enables IT administrators with a number of use cases for efficiently managing their infrastructure. As an example it enables deploying native ESXi servers rapidly by associating predefined service profiles created for ESXi to non-ESXi servers. This will completely configure the physical infrastructure and in conjunction with Auto Deploy, provision ESXi as well. There are number of such use cases that we discuss in the jointly published white paper on VMware Cloud Management Integrations with Cisco UCS.

In this white paper, we also discuss the UCS Manager Plug-in for vCenter Orchestrator (vCO) integrating with the UCS Manager XML APIs. This enables vCO workflows to automate and integrate in to pre-built UCS Manager Workflows such as add service profile, associate service profile to a blade, remove service profile, set service profile power state and many more. In addition to the built-in workflows, vCO provides an API explorer to leverage the UCS Manager plug-in APIs to build custom workflows. This opens up many orchestration use cases and we discuss the potential by explaining an elastic capacity workflow leveraging the VMware Elastic capacity plug-in and dynamically provisioning a UCS blade with ESXi based on CPU and Memory requirements provided.

In terms of managing & troubleshooting the cloud environment, UCS content pack for Log Insight provides single source of data from UCS domain for correlation and to perform comprehensive analytics by the virtual admins.

By Bhumik Patel, Partner Architect, Strategic Alliances, VMware
@bhumikp, bhumikp@vmware.com

UX Design Standards for vSphere Web Client

Are you designing a plug-in for the vSphere Web Client? If so, we have good news: the UX Design Standards are for you!
Available on the Developer Center web site, the Standards provide design principles, integration guidelines, and visual language specifications to give your plug-in the best user experience possible. Check them out at http://developercenter.vmware.com/web/standards/-/ux-design-standards-for-vsphere-web-client.

By using the Standards, you and your product team will discover:

  • The defined entry points for best access to your solution
  • How to transition interactions seamlessly across plug-ins
  • How to optimize the object-driven interface for efficient workflow
  • How to make the most of common design patterns

The initial sections of the Standards help you realize the importance of the vSphere Web Client environment. Understanding the fundamental design principles and how things work is essential to producing seamless integration with the environment.
Search the Standards to hone in on the exact design pattern you need. You’ll find examples and instructions on when and how to use each pattern and component. You’ll also find guidelines and examples on how to “punch up” your UI text—make it concise, specific, and familiar. The Integration Compliance checklist is a great bonus feature–use it to evaluate the level of your plug-in’s integration.

Your team will benefit from the Standards because:

  • You will build on patterns already familiar to your users
  • Your plug-in becomes immediately usable because it’s consistent across the framework
  • You measurably reduce design and development time (we’ve proved it!)
  • Your plug-in will feel like it properly belongs in the vSphere Web Client environment

VMware Native Driver Architecture enables partners to deliver on Simplicity, Robustness, and Performance

VMware introduced a new driver architecture in ESXi 5.5 (in 2013) called the “Native Device Driver” model along with several reference device driver implementations. We are very excited about this new architecture which we believe will enable our I/O ecosystem partners to provide better value and to differentiate their device driver solutions.

Native device driver architecture is the foundation for building new extensible features inside the VMware ESXi hypervisor. It increases the robustness of the device driver while providing the best possible performance for the underlying infrastructure. This framework also improves overall supportability, manageability, and debugging capabilities for device drivers.

The new native driver model, as depicted in Figure 1, enables third party drivers to interface directly with the vmkernel device layer via native vmkernel APIs called “VMK API”.

Native Driver Model

Click to Enlarge

Top 10 Reasons to move to the Native Model

  1. Eliminates one level of indirection and translation, enabling partners to develop against the native vmkernel APIs.
  2. Reduces time spent at interrupt level to an absolute minimum; reduces processing when accessing shared resources.
  3. The scheduler is our friend: Move as many cycles as possible into scheduler’s realm e.g. task completion handling is moved to a high priority kernel under scheduler’s control.
  4. The native driver model has been designed to be compatible with kernel preemption.
  5. Better supportability: Enables longer term binary compatibility.
  6. Better manageability: A single point device manager manages the hierarchical device objects inside kernel for a given physical device.
  7. Better debugging capabilities: The native driver API enables the flexibility to develop debugging tools for ESXi more naturally and effectively.
  8. Significant performance boost in CPU savings.
  9. Partners will have better integration of their management module with ESXi management infrastructure
  10. All new I/O features going forward will only be developed for the native model.

We realize that our hardware ecosystem will not be able to migrate to the native driver model in one release. Therefore, we are ensuring that both native and legacy device drivers can coexist in harmony in vSphere 5.5 and subsequent release.   However, VMware strongly encourages partners to direct future driver development effort to the new native driver model to take advantage of all the benefits offered by the new architecture.

For more information, please visit VMware Developer Center. Device driver development kit is called “VMK API Device Driver Development” kit and it is available here (you must be a member of the IOVP program to have access).

Also, please don’t forget to attend the Advanced Technical session on “Boot Camp for Building Native Drivers on vSphere” (TEX3174) at VMware Partner Exchange 2014. The session is scheduled for Feb 11, 2014 at 1PM in Moscone West, Room 2011. You can pre-register for this interesting session at the PEX site.