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The Software-Defined Data Center – How can Technology Partners Join the Fun

The Software-Defined Data Center has been, and continues to be, a big focus here at VMware. As noted in other venues, the SDDC is an approach – a framework – and not a prescriptive set of products. That said, how can a Technology Alliance Partner (TAP) align with our SDDC strategy.

How about looking at vRealize

In a vRealize blog post at VMworld US 2014, Ramin Sayar, senior vice president and general manager, Cloud Management Business Unit, indicated that vRealize will offer customers:
• Speed and agility required to rapidly deliver applications and infrastructure; and,
• Cost transparency and control needed by IT to safeguard application uptime, performance, security and compliance.

vRealize is a suite of products that the TAP can create joint solutions with VMware and provide the operations and automation capabilities for the SDDC.

For example, 4 interesting products within the vRealize suite are:
vRealize Operations
vRealize Operations Insight
vRealize Orchestrator
vRealize Automation

An SDDC “Operations” alignment with VMware would include creating a vRealize Operations Management Pack and a vRealize Operations Content Pack. These packs would allow the TAP / 3rd parties to directly transfer statistics and analytics into the vRealize suite – hence we have an SDDC “Operations” solution.

An SDDC “Automation” alignment with VMware would include creating a vRealize Orchestrator plug-in that enables vRealize Orchestration and workflow integrations with the TAP / 3rd party partners. Note that the vRealize Automation product cannot directly communicate workflow processes to TAP / 3rd parties, but, good news, the vRealize Orchestrator plug-in can be an object that is consumed by vRealize Automation and you can then automate workflow tasks to TAP / 3rd parties by creating the plug-in and, for advanced automation, using the plug-in as an object in vRealize Automation.

A great TAP example is Brocade. During 2014, Brocade focused on SDDC Operations and created and posted packs to support vRealize Operations and vRealize Operations Insight, clearly placing Brocade as a TAP that has a significant level of integration with VMware – ultimately leading to efficient customer SDDC “Operations” when using Brocade infrastructure. Brocade didn’t stop at IP/Ethernet networks, they also created a vRealize Operations SAN pack and a vRealize Operations Insight SAN pack to provide the SDDC Operations look and feel across both the IP Network and the Storage Network for the Software-Defined Data Center.

If you’re a customer, these integrations packs provide true integration with our partners and streamline your SDDC Operations and Automation. If you’re a partner, we’re looking forward in continuing to build these joint solutions with your on the Software-Defined Data Center journey.

Horizon 6 with Virtual SAN on Cisco UCS Reference Architecture

Few months ago, we published a Virtual SAN on Cisco UCS Reference Architecture providing guidance on IO benchmarks for server workloads along with design and best practices of implementing Virtual SAN in a Cisco UCS environment.  This provides good sizing guidance of your Virtual SAN environment for generic server workloads. As customers look to deploy specific workloads, such as VDI, sizing & performance characteristics tends to differ in nature.

We are now publishing scalability & performance focused Reference Architecture for Horizon 6 based virtual desktops running on Cisco UCS C240-M3 with Virtual SAN as the storage. The test environment is built based on the Cisco UCS VDI Ready Nodes for Virtual SAN. We used VMware View Planner as a VDI benchmarking tool to measure application performance results along with VSAN Observer capturing storage metrics (IOPS and Latency).

Here are the configuration details from the test environment:

UCS_Config

Horizon_Architecture

Key highlights captured from the RA are:

  • Linear scalability is achieved with Virtual SAN as the storage solution on Cisco UCS for hosting View virtual desktops. The reference architecture successfully scaled from 400 desktops on 4 UCS C-240 M3 nodes to 800 desktops on 8 nodes, keeping all aspects of end-user performance consistently acceptable under 15ms disk latency and 3ms application response times.

 ResultsGraph

  • Optimal performance is achieved while performing all virtual desktop operations such as refresh, recompose, deploy, power-on and power-off. Times measured for these operations fall within industry measured benchmarks and provide a testimony of the joint solution’s scalability.

ResultsTable

  • Virtual SAN provides highly available and resilient storage for hosting View virtual desktops. Multiple maintenance and failure scenarios tested provide confidence in the resiliency of the joint solution:

Along with the performance results, the reference architecture provides Cisco UCS and Virtual SAN design and implementation best practices. For more details download the VMware Horizon 6 and VMware Virtual SAN with Cisco UCS Reference Architecture.

 

VMware Partner Exchange – Value for TAP Partners

VMworld Partner Exchange (PEX) 2015 will be held at Moscone in San Francisco from Feb 3-5, 2015 with pre-conference Boot Camps from Jan 31 – Feb 2.

Join our global partner community as we share technology, joint selling strategies, and best practices to help you thrive in this fast-changing landscape. Get latest product information via NDA Roadmaps and many other breakout sessions.

Boot Camps take place Saturday, January 31 – Thursday , February 5 at Moscone West. These special course offerings are your chance to build your skills on the latest VMware technologies and solutions, and refresh yourself on the basics.

REGISTER NOW !!

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.

Benefits
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.

Prerequisites
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

To Register CONTACT PARTNER SERVICES

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