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Monthly Archives: September 2012

What The vCloud Suite Means for VMware Partners – Join The VPN Primetime Event

There has been a lot of buzz around VMware vCloud Suite 5.1, and within good reason – with the vCloud Suite, users can now access a complete, integrated cloud infrastructure solution that integrates VMware’s leading virtualization, cloud infrastructure and management portfolio into a single SKU, making the journey to the cloud easier than ever.

However, what does the vCloud Suite mean for VMware’s growing partner community? With over 55,000 partners worldwide, VMware has made sure that its partner community is a central part in delivering VMware’s cloud solutions to customers.

The vCloud Suite is supported by a broad range of partners, including technology partners, solution providers, service providers, systems integrators, as well as every major global hardware manufacturer – making VMware partners an integral part in delivering on VMware’s cloud vision.

Don’t just take it from us though – join the VMware Partner Network Primetime event next Tuesday and Wednesday (September 25th and 26th), and listen to a VMware executive panel as they share new resources and information on what the VMware vCloud Suite means for your business from a sales, marketing and enablement perspective.

This virtual broadcast will be a great opportunity for you to chat live and get your questions answered directly by a panel of VMware experts.

The live show will be broadcasted twice:

Live Show #1
Tuesday, September 25 at 8AM PST / 4 PM GMT /11 PM SGT

Live Show #2
Tuesday, September 25 at 6PM PST
Wednesday, September 26 at 9AM SGT

Visit the VMware Partner Blog for more details, and click here to see what the VMware Partner Community has already said in support for VMware vCloud Suite 5.1 (including Brocade, CSC, HP, NetApp, VCE and more).

The vCloud Suite is the first solution to deliver the software-defined datacenter, and with its release and with the help of VMware’s broad network of partners, adopting cloud technologies has never been simpler. Be sure to catch the VMware Partner Network Primetime to learn how VMware can help accelerate your business, and be sure to follow us on Twitter @vCloud and @VMwareSP for future updates!

The Wait Is Over – Get Started With the vCloud Service Evaluation Beta Today!

Good news – the waitlist for the vCloud Service Evaluation Beta has been removed! This means that users can now sign up today and get a public vCloud account in 15 minutes or less.

Announced last month, the vCloud Service Evaluation provides a quick, easy and low-cost way for you to learn about the advantages of a vCloud though hands-on testing and experimentation. All you need to sign up is a credit card and you can get your own public vCloud up and running in minutes.

The vCloud Service Evaluation has all the basics you need, including a catalog of useful VM templates, virtual networking, persistent storage, external IP addresses, firewalls, load balancers, the vCloud API, and more. A variety of pre-built content templates are also available (at no charge) through the vCloud Service Evaluation, including WordPress, Jommia!, Sugar CRM, LAMP stack, Windows Server, etc.

For a limited time, you can also use the promo code “VMworld50” for a $50 credit towards your vCloud environment.

Looking for support? Technical How-To Guides available on vCloud.VMware.com are perfect for new vCloud users looking for implementation assistance.

In addition, signing up for the vCloud Service Evaluation gives you access to the vCloud Service Evaluation Community, where users can ask questions and get answers directly from others in the vCloud community.

Your own vCloud is just a few clicks away – sign up for the vCloud Service Evaluation Beta (don’t forget to use the promo code, “VMworld50”) and set up your own vCloud today!

For future updates, be sure to follow us on Twitter @vCloud and @VMwareSP.

Another VMware Cloud: MicroStrategy Runs Its Public Cloud on VMware

By implementing private and public clouds based on VMware technology, MicroStrategy has been able to cut internal operating costs by $1M each year and generate new revenue streams that were previously inaccessible.

MicroStrategy delivers enterprise software platforms for business intelligence (BI), mobile intelligence and social intelligence applications to some of the largest companies around the world. As an enterprise software company, MicroStrategy needs to continually deliver innovative products and support customers globally at the lowest operational costs in order to keep ahead of the competition.

Built on VMware vCloud technology, MicroStrategy’s cloud environments were able to alter the company’s entire business model, impacting both its own processes and how it delivered solutions to customers. Just four weeks after MicroStrategy implemented its internal private cloud, benefits in the following areas were already apparent:

  • Productivity and efficiency gains;
  • More responsive support;
  • Expanding the environment to accelerate sales;
  • Millions in cost savings.

In addition, Kevin Spurway, Vice President of Cloud Services and Strategic Marketing at MicroStrategy, shares that the company’s move to VMware has generated new revenue for MicroStrategy, stating, “We’ve been able to use the cloud service to get into accounts that were previously difficult for us to get access to.”

With its public cloud environment, MicroStrategy can now supply customers with the analytics they want and the ongoing service they can depend on, in the form of:

  • A new, competitive offering: With VMware, MicroStrategy can offer analytics in the cloud as a platform-as-a-service (PaaS), giving customers all the components they need for cloud-based analytics.
  • Faster, better analytics: As the public cloud automatically expands as users sign in and scales down once users close out, MicroStrategy can handle a rapid influx of users, and customers gain the insights they need without latency.
  • The ability to pioneer emerging markets: With a cloud environment, MicroStrategy can deliver mobile analytics faster and more easily than competitors, giving customers the opportunity to become leaders in their industries through key, emerging insight.

What’s next for MicroStrategy? The company hopes to expand its virtualization footprint and pioneer upcoming releases of VMware’s product suite. Because the public and private cloud functionality delivered by VMware has enabled MicroStrategy to transfer its IT innovation into success for its customers, the company believes that finding new ways to work with VMware will ultimately translate into increasing customer satisfaction.

Visit Another VMware Cloud to learn more about other companies who have successfully deployed a public, private, or hybrid cloud model through VMware. Be sure to follow us on Twitter at @vCloud and @VMwareSP for more Another VMware Cloud stories!

How to Build a vCloud vApp DMZ

By: Chris Colotti

This is a repost from Chris Colotti’s blog, chriscolotti.us

Okay I admit sometimes I spend too many late nights coming up with some goofy ideas.  However this one actually panned out as a real world vCloud Director Networking example where you can use to see how flexible vCloud Director Networking can be. The idea started from me wanting to rebuild my WordPress installation from a single server stack to a distributed two server Apache Web and MySQL setup. Pretty standard use case for a two server setup. Now I will NOT be covering the installs, setup etc of the applications here, maybe that will be another day.

The idea was to have a single vCloud vApp with two virtual machines in it. That itself is pretty easy and you can see below the single vApp container with the two virtual machines.

Let’s take a look at the network diagram below so I can explain what I got set up and working.

What we see is that the Web Server is connected to the 1743-Public network, which is what my Organization network provided for me. That’s an easy enough one to understand for sure. You can also see the three basic firewall rules needed below for web access to the server for HTTP/SSL/SSH. It goes without saying that there is an external IP assigned on the internet side of the Organization Network as well.

Next we can examine the virtual machine view and see that the two virtual machines are in fact connected to two different vCloud Network interfaces.

Note that the MySQL virtual machines also have an External IP Address assigned. This is done automatically by the vApp vShield Edge when the virtual machine is assigned to it, which we will see next. The vCloud vApp Networking tab is where we can see that the vApp network was created before assigning it to the MySQL virtual machine. Note that the ‘Always use assigned IP Addresses…” check box is enabled. This is important because when you power cycle the vApp, you want to maintain the networking! You can also see that the vApp Network is attached to the Provided Organization Network so it will route outbound to the internet for patches and updates.

This is where the really cool part comes in. We now have a Web Server connected to the org Network with an External IP and three firewall rules. We need to now allow the Web Server to connect to the MySQL server on Port 3306 and SSH so we can manage it from the  Web Server and connect to MySQL. That’s as easy as writing two rules in the vApp Network Firewall.

These rules basically show that ONLY the Web Server IP Address can access ONLY the MySQL Server IP Address on Port 22 and 3306.

Solution Summary:

What this simple example shows is that you can create a single vApp in a flexible way, but also create a vApp based DMZ for virtual Machines as part of that vApp. Provided the N-Tier servers only need to be accessed by the first tier, this works really well and now I have a setup where only the Web Server is exposed to the internet, yet the MySQL tier is again protected by its own firewall. What this really shows you is that as vCloud Administrators and Application folks, we need to not only understand networking, but now routing, and firewall rules as well. This structure is no different from if these had been physical servers in a data center on physical switches with hardware firewalls between them.

This shows a great use case on a small-scale of what you can do for a real word application. How do I know it is a real world scenario? You are reading about it hosted from these very two servers shown in the diagrams. Pretty cool right? Next will be duplicating the setup in a second cloud connected by vShield VPN between Organization Edge Devices and putting MySQL Replication in place with a backup Web Server….just for fun.

Some may ask why I did all this with a small set of WordPress sites that only get about 900 hits a day….. because I can…..that’s why….and it’s a fun learning experience.

Chris is a Consulting Architect with the VMware vCloud Delivery Services team with over 10 years of experience working with IT hardware and software solutions. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Information Systems from the Daniel Webster College. Prior to VMware he served a Fortune 1000 company in southern NH as a Systems Architect/Administrator, architecting VMware solutions to support new application deployments. At VMware, in the roles of a Consultant and now Consulting Architect, Chris has guided partners as well as customers in establishing a VMware practice and consulted on multiple customer projects ranging from datacenter migrations to long-term residency architecture support. Currently, Chris is working on the newest VMware vCloud solutions and architectures for enterprise-wide private cloud deployments.

VMworld 2012 Wrap-Up

By: David Davis

Note: If you didn’t catch my first two posts, read them here:
VMworld 2012 – Day 1 Recap
VMworld 2012 – Day 2 Recap

Wednesday and Thursday of VMworld 2012 brought us great content sessions, hands on labs, and the VMworld party. vCloud reporters live-tweeted numerous vCloud sessions. With so many great sessions, it’s impossible to see them all so I am very much looking forward to the video and audio recordings of VMworld sessions being made available. I intend to watch them all!

The Last Days of VMworld In Pictures

The best way to sum up the last few days of VMworld is to do it in pictures. To do that, I’ve compiled a group of photos with a story. Enjoy! 

On the last day, I entered the VMworld labs after they had officially closed. The “big board” lab status showed us that 10,416 people had used the labs, 11,383 labs were run and 125,213 VMs were spawned over the 5 day show. WOW ! These are incredible record-breaking numbers! Likely they will be a bit higher as there were still a handful of people doing labs.

My company (TrainSignal) recorded over 25 videos interview with virtualization influencers and experts that we’ll post on YouTube soon. One of the best recorded (and funniest) was the meeting of Scott Lowe and Scott Lowe (stay tuned for that). Both Lowes are vExperts, authors, and bloggers and virtualization fans around the world are constantly confusing the two. Scott D Lowe (@OtherScottLowe on Twitter) is known as a virtualization blogger for sites like TechRepublic, numerous books, video courses, and for his experience serving as a CIO. Scott Lowe (@Scott_Lowe on Twitter) is known for his work at EMC, being a VCDX, his Mastering vSphere book, his blog ScottLowe.org, and his new video on vSphere Design. Thankfully, there were no earthquakes nor was a black hole created when they met.

Just before the VMworld party, vCloud blog editors Kristine and Haley organized the second annual VMworld #cloudtalk tweetup. These ladies were live tweeting from numerous vCloud sessions, blogging, posting on the vCloud facebook page, and conducting video interview. I’ve never seen them take any credit for their work so I wanted to take a moment to say – THANKS!

The #cloudtalk tweetup was well attended, had great food, and there was great discussion about how VMware vCloud is being used both by vCloud providers in the public IaaS cloud space as well as by enterprises, creating solid IaaS private clouds. Additionally, all the great new features of the vCloud Suite announced at VMworld 2012 provided a lot of excitement.

At the VMworld party, the evening started off by meeting the man, the myth, the vLegend, Mr John Troyer of VMware Social Media and the weekly VMware Community Podcast (aka @JTroyer on Twitter). He was dressed in the infamous mirror-ball jacket and was wearing the vNerd shirt that I gave him. Accompanied by his beautiful wife Kathleen, when not posing for a photo, John was talking about how he is working to master the power to single-handedly unify and coordinate the many channels of VMware social media (I am picturing something from “The Matrix”).

From there, the VMware house-band, Elastic Sky, took the stage. John Arrasjid, VCDX #001 was on guitar and really rocked when he played the ukulele. The female lead-singer, Maya, was amazingly talented and Vittorio Viarengo (from the VMware keynote address) was also singing and making joking about Hyper-V. He was hilarious. I was very impressed!

From there, I moved on to see Jon Bon Jovi. He really rocked both old Bon Jovi songs and cover songs. This was undoubtedly the best VMworld band, ever!

Now, for a super-cool video from the guys at VMworld TV – Eric and Jeremy – check out their VMworld wrap up video. They actually turned into tiny monster-VMs to sneak in backstage with Bon Jovi ! They discussed and showed video of the keynote with the Google Car and the robots playing soccer. They visited the VMworld labs and talked to my friend Randy Keener (@VMRandy). Eric and Jeremy did a great job on all these VMworld TV videos, making them both funny and educational.

See you at the next VMworld!

David Davis is a VMware Evangelist and vSphere Video Training Author for Train Signal. He has achieved CCIE, VCP,CISSP, and vExpert level status over his 15+ years in the IT industry. David has authored hundreds of articles on the Internet and nine different video training courses for TrainSignal.com including the popular vSphere 5 and vCloud Director video training courses. Learn more about David at his blog or on Twitter and check out a sample of his VMware vSphere video training course from TrainSignal.com.

Another VMware Cloud: Seven Corners Runs Its Private Cloud on VMware

According to George Reed, Chief Information Officer at Seven Corners, “With a solid, virtual, private-cloud solution, the cost of delivering technology services is just very low per member serviced,” thereby allowing the company to achieve a $900k ROI.

Based out of Carmel, Indiana, Seven Corners is a global travel insurance, travel medical and travel assistance company, with 800 programs in five major product lines that span over 50,000 members at any given time. When Reed joined the Seven Corners in 2010, the company’s server room consisted solely of Dell desktops that had been turned into servers, and its servicing application suffered from constant crashes.

In order to keep up with the company’s consistent growth, Reed knew that he needed to completely overhaul Seven Corners’ IT infrastructure. Through VMware, Cisco UCS, and NetApp FlexPod technology, Seven Corners was able to build a fast and efficient private cloud solution to reduce the time and price of processing an insurance claim, implementing new business, and collecting the premium.

Of the company’s new infrastructure and application platform, Reed shares, “In the old system, the time to process a claim around here was about 30 minutes going through a complex travel medical claim with tons of lines. Now it’s about 15 seconds.”

Mike Ellis, Technical Services Manager at Seven Corners, also notes, “vCloud Director enables us to have a fully self-service private cloud in our datacenter, allowing us to take self-service to the next level.” 

Seven Corners is a great example of how an SMB can leverage “a VMware-centric infrastructure to rapidly engineer its IT capabilities and build innovative business services that are generating whole new revenues.” 

Visit Another VMware Cloud to learn more about other companies who have successfully deployed a public, private, or hybrid cloud model through VMware. Be sure to follow us on Twitter at @vCloud and @VMwareSP for more Another VMware Cloud stories!