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Monthly Archives: November 2012

Another VMware Cloud – Experian Runs Its Private Cloud on VMware

According to David Janusz, IT Architect at Experian, “Implementing infrastructure-as-a-service through VMware vCloud is the next phase in the evolution of virtualization technology. This technology puts even more of the power of virtualization into the hands of VMware customers, and it does so with intelligence and ease.” Whereas the provisioning of development resources could take as long as 11 weeks, virtualization can trim this cycle to a matter of days. VMware vCloud, in many cases, can cut provisioning time even further, to mere minutes.

While consumers know Experian as a provider of credit reporting services, lenders and other businesses know Experian as a provider of information, analytical tools and other marketing services, to organizations in over 80 countries around the world. Experian knew for some time that it wanted to move to an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) approach to provisioning IT resources, as developers at the company knew that cloud computing supports the flexibility and agility they need to decrease time-to-market and respond more nimbly to business requests.

As a long-time VMware virtualization customer, it was a natural decision to look at VMware vCloud first for their cloud solution. They liked what they saw. According to Janusz, vCloud met the company’s criteria for the following reasons:

  • Comes with a pre-existing portal with a user-friendly interface;
  • Allows users to publish applications that are offered through a catalogue;
  • Offerings can be configured to meet differing levels of service;
  • Met the company’s security needs;
  • And it ties into Experian’s VMware vSphere estate, so it leverages the company’s existing virtualized infrastructure.

Experian decided to first deploy a test case instance of VMware vCloud technology to validate its initial evaluation of the solution functionality. Once the test instance of VMware vCloud was live, select Experian developers were invited to try it. They found that they could provision IT environments, both simple and complex, in just minutes. “Developers became comfortable immediately with VMware vCloud technology’s self-service provisioning portal. They found the interface intuitive and user-friendly.”

With the vCloud proof of concept a success, the team now plans to fully realize its vision and build a private cloud-based IaaS model to support its test and development organization. “We will have a dynamic development environment,” shares Janusz. “Our developers will be able to quickly choose from pre-existing templates of approved configurations of operating systems and applications software. They’ll pick what they need, deploy it, run with it and destroy it if they need to.”

Once fully deployed, the VMware vCloud portal will be available to all of Experian’s developers worldwide. Experian expects that by streamlining the provisioning of IT resources, vCloud will help the company reduce project timelines and reduce time-to-market.  Furthermore, Janusz also views Experian’s VMware vCloud Director implementation as a way for the company to deepen its understand of cloud technology in general – including the public cloud.

Visit We Speak 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!

Does Hybrid Cloud Work? Recap of 11/15 Webinar With Bluelock

By: Jake Robinson

Last week, I co-hosted “Hybrid Cloud: 5 Stories of Success with VMware-Based Hybrid Clouds” with Bryan Bond, Senior Systems Administrator at eMeter, a Siemens Business. We kicked off the discussion by asking the question, “Why hybrid cloud?” This is a question many organizations are asking themselves today as they evaluate the best cloud solution for their business.

Bryan Bond answered this question himself by saying, “Our Bluelock Virtual Datacenters look and act like an extension of our own datacenter, and while the cost savings have been beneficial, the development team has more flexibility than ever and that means we can create new options for our customers in the future. We couldn’t be happier with the results of this relationship.”

So who’s consuming hybrid cloud and what’s the approach that they’re taking? Both IT admins and business executives are turning to hybrid cloud to meet varying business demands, such as increased access to resources, cost efficiency, and greater agility.

Most people envision the hybrid cloud through a horizontal workload placement – with a private cloud and public cloud being connected through a secure tunnel:

But workloads may also be positioned in a vertical model, like the pyramid shown below. In the pyramid, you can see where Test/Dev, Business Critical and Mission Critical workloads are most likely to be placed in a private, public or hybrid cloud.

Of course, there is no one-cloud-fits-all model when it comes to cloud technologies, as every organization has different business needs and demands. However, here are five stories from Bluelock customers who were able to leverage the hybrid cloud successfully:

Success Story #1: F5|DevCentral

F5’s DevCentral Community is one the biggest enterprise user groups.  To move DevCentral to the cloud, they created two Bluelock Virtual Datacenters – with one VDC serving as a primary datacenter and the second VDC serving as a backup. DevCentral was also able to build in High Availability into their applications.

DevCentral’s business units and enterprise IT team worked together with Bluelock to accomplish this successful hybrid cloud deployment.

Success Story #2: US-Based Global Consumer Electronics Manufacturer 

This company already had a large existing vSphere environment, and they wanted to add a public cloud so they could free up capacity for more critical applications. However, one of the challenges of having two clouds is being able to manage both of them in a secure, seamless fashion. The company took advantage of vCloud Connector to see both their public Bluelock environment and their private environment within a single interface.

Another challenge for this company was around total cost of ownership (TCO). However, with Bluelock Portfolio, the company was able to see the TCO down to a resource level. By making these costs visible, they were able to change their behavior to be more efficient, including the phasing out of legacy applications that were no longer needed, identifying in what areas they could allocate more resources, and more.

Success Story #3: Fortune 500 Retail Grocery Chain

This company’s plan was to build out a private cloud, but it was taking them longer than expected. However, business units still needed increased agility immediately, so the IT team decided to work with a public cloud provider. Because the company’s internal private cloud was based on vCloud, they decided to work with a VMware vCloud Datacenter partner, Bluelock, who was able to give their application owners and business units the same interface that they were using in their own private cloud.

Once the company’s private cloud was ready, they brought all of their applications back in-house, while keeping their Virtual Datacenter running at Bluelock for any applications that might come up when they run out of capacity in their own datacenter.

Success Story #4: Fortune 500 Pharmaceutical Company

Due to the research and development and changing application needs that take place at pharmaceutical companies, such companies can have very unpredictable environment needs when it comes to infrastructure – this is where hybrid cloud shines. With the hybrid cloud, research and development units can take more risks, more efficiently, without having to worry about the unpredictability of certain applications. This is incredibly important since many drugs don’t ever make it to prime time, but the data and knowledge gain in the R&D part of the project is important to hold on to. When a drug doesn’t succeed, the company can easily spin down or redistribute the resources but save the data they want to be able to access later.

Success Story #5: eMeter, a Siemens Business 

eMeter is the leader in energy information management, with a suite of applications that provide the fastest path to turning meter data into usable information for business units and customers. eMeter needed to provide around the cloud development and testing, including:

  • The ability for teams around the world to utilize a common infrastructure;
  • A scalable infrastructure to meet customer needs;
  • And a solution based on VMware’s cloud architecture and technology.

eMeter looked at the public cloud to simplify IT operations and provide high security, and ultimately decided to work with Bluelock due to their experience in the vCloud space.

eMeter began with a proof-of-concept environment and quickly realized that Bluelock’s solution could work for them. The company moved to production deployment in half the time they had expected, and is now deployed on two Bluelock Virtual Datacenters – a Test/Dev VDC and a Training Course VDC. eMeter uses vCloud Director to manage the cloud infrastructure resources and Bluelock Portfolio for visibility into current and planned usage, cost and analysis data.

According to Bryan, these are the main benefits of a VMware Hybrid Cloud:

  • Improved user experience and better performance;
  • Increased flexibility for development and training courses;
  • Significant savings on capital outlay;
  • Access to new deployment options for customers;
  • And less worries about security.

If you missed the webinar, don’t worry – you can still download the full recording and slide deck online.

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

WEBINAR: 30 Minutes to Success: How to Plan and Budget for 2013 with Cloud in Mind with Bluelock CTO Pat O’Day

By: Alicia Gaba, Marketing Manager at Bluelock

Enterprise companies just don’t change on a dime.  Much like a cruise ship, it takes planning, teamwork and a good amount of elbow-grease to turn that ship in a new direction. The same analogy holds true when changing the direction of your enterprise IT department and beginning to invite cloud, or public cloud, into your course of action.

As 2012 comes to a close you could be sitting in any number of states.  Maybe you already have a private cloud or use SaaS but think you can leverage public cloud for some workloads to increase overall efficiency.  Maybe you aren’t using cloud at all yet but are hearing more employees and coworkers asking why and when it will come.

Regardless of where you’re sitting today, if you hope to make adjustments to your strategy in 2013, now is the time to budget and plan for that change.  Not six months from now when your leftover dollars aren’t enough to do the job well, but right now when you can plan with the help of the foresight of experts and the hindsight of successful companies who have gone before you.

Bluelock CTO Pat O’Day wants to help your company plan and budget for 2013 with an eye on cloud.  Join O’Day for this action-filled webinar that will feed you immediate helpful information you can put to use the same day.

30 Minutes to Success: How to Plan and Budget for 2013 with Cloud in Mind
Thursday, November 29, 2012 at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT.
Register

In this 30-minute webinar O’Day will discuss how to approach the planning process and bring the vision to your business. O’Day, using years of experience utilizing new technologies to solve business and IT pain points, will help you create a cloud strategy that serves not only your needs, but also the broader needs of the business.

Once you formalize a plan, linking dollar amounts to that plan in your budget is the next step. O’Day will walk attendees through the components of public cloud and private cloud, approaches to adopting each and what should be considered when budgeting for those initiatives.  He’ll augment the raw facts with stories of how other companies use cloud and allocate the components of cloud in their budgets successfully.  Finally, drawn from case study examples, he’ll give you an expanded list of budget items to consider that other companies wish they had known in advance.

This 30-minute webinar is all about action; so here’s what you will walk away from this 30 minute webinar with the skills to:

  • Create a solid plan for moving your cloud mission forward
  • Identify how to approach and integrate cloud into your budget
  • Know how to identify the actual dollar amounts you should budget for

One lucky attendee will also leave the webinar with a new iPad Mini to enjoy this holiday season. Seating is limited, so register today!

VMware and EMC Awarded “Best Use of HPC in Financial Services” for NYSE Technologies “Community Cloud”

We are happy to announce VMware, in collaboration with EMC and Intel, has received the HPCwire Editor’s Choice Award for “Best Use of High-Performance Computing (HPC) in Financial Services.” The award was given based on VMware’s contribution to NYSE Euronext’s Capital Markets Community Platform, an infrastructure-as-a-service that offers a secure, cost-effective environment for hosting industry-specific applications and disaster recovery strategies.

Last month, we highlighted NYSE Euronext as part of our Another VMware Cloud campaign. In the blog, we discussed how NYSE Technologies was able to not only create this industry-first community cloud, but also how the use of a VMware-based cloud offering helped position NYSE Euronext as a leader within the capital markets. With EMC and VMware technology, the NYSE Capital Markets Community Platform provides customers with:

  • Faster time to market;
  • Highly scalable infrastructure to handle growth and changing requirements;
  • Lower costs;
  • World class security;
  • Simplified access to a broad range of services; and
  • Flexible solutions for differing market needs.

It’s an honor to be selected by the readers of HPCwire, and we thank the panel of editors and HPC luminaries for choosing VMware and EMC to receive this recognition.

For future news and updates about other customers deploying VMware-based clouds and the success they’ve achieved, be sure to follow us on Twitter at @vCloud and @VMwareSP.

Another VMware Cloud: eMeter, a Siemens Business, Runs Its Hybrid Cloud on VMware

According to Bryan Bond, Senior Systems Administrator at eMeter, a Siemens Business, “The biggest thing cloud has done for us is give us the elasticity that we did not have before.” Through the company’s VMware-based hybrid cloud deployment, eMeter can now easily spin up or down data center services in multiple countries, based on business demand and need.

eMeter is an enterprise software developer, producing software for utilities across the United States and other countries. Because eMeter is a global company, users around the world need to access the company’s infrastructure at all hours of the day. The company first started looking at the cloud in order to solve the problem of standardization, so that users across the globe could access the same systems without encountering performance issues.

With vCloud Director, eMeter was able to clone and duplicate their systems at different places and at different times, thereby shifting the company’s business paradigm, as they no longer needed to buy hardware in remote locations.

Bond shares, “Being able to immediately put something in place allows us to do rapid prototyping and test case scenarios with our customers, because we can do something for a short period of time quickly and be done with it and not have to spend a ton of money on a piece of hardware that we’re going to have to live with, whether or not we use it.

After going through the challenging process of choosing a cloud provider, eMeter learned about Bluelock and reached out to the company at VMworld 2011. According to Bond, they knew immediately that they were on the right track, because as a vCloud Datacenter partner, Bluelock’s vCloud infrastructure was already compatible with eMeter’s existing in-house vCloud Director-based systems.

With Bluelock, there was no need to change the way the company did things, no need to spend their money differently and no need to learn new skills – Bluelock’s vCloud infrastructure became an extension of the company’s own skillsets and data centers, simplifying the company’s transition to a hybrid cloud. Of Bluelock, Bond shares, “we’re customers for life at this point.”

Want to learn more about the success of eMeter’s hybrid cloud deployment? Join eMeter’s Bryan Bond and Bluelock’s Jake Robinson next Thursday, November 15th at 10am PT/1pm ET as they discuss hybrid cloud, as told through five stories of success with VMware-based hybrid clouds, including eMeter! This 60-minute webinar is free to attend and everyone who stays through the entire presentation receives a $10 iTunes gift card.  Two attendees will also be chosen to receive a new iPod touch.

Visit We Speak 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 Configure a Load Balancer Using vCloud Networking and Security Edge Device (vShield)

By: David Hill, Senior Cloud Consultant for the VMware Global Centre of Excellence in Cloud Infrastructure

This is a repost from Dave’s personal blog, Virtual-Blog.com

This is a follow on post from my previous article titled How to deploy a vCloud Networking and Security Edge device. This post will show you the steps required to configure the Edge device to act as a Load Balancer. This is particularly useful if you are deploying multiple vCloud Director cells.

  1. Login to the vCloud Networking and Security Manager (formerly and still called vShield Manager).

  2. Select Edges from the View drop down on the left hand side.
  3. You will see a list of Edge devices deployed, select the one you want to use and click the configure icon, and select Manage.

  4. Select Load Balancer from the Edge configuration window.

  5. Click the Plus icon to create a new pool of servers that this Edge device will balance the load across
  6. You will be prompted with the Add Pool wizard.

  7. Enter a name for this pool of servers and a description.

  8. Select the services, load balancing policy, and enter the port details that will be used in this pool.

  9. Under Health check, you can configure what services should be monitored for availability.  For more info on how to monitor vCD click here.

  10. Add the member servers, which will be the servers providing the actual HTTP service.  Click the Plus icon and enter in the configuration details.

  11. Check the configuration options you have entered and click Finish.

You must now configure the Virtual Server.  This is the external connectivity options that will be used for incoming connections to the edge device.  To do this follow the steps below:

  1. Select Virtual Servers and click the Plus icon to open the wizard.

  2. Enter the Name, Description, and external IP address for this edge device.
  3. Choose the pool of servers we created in the previous steps.
  4. Select the services that will be balanced.
  5. Click Add.

Are we there yet? I hear you ask…. nearly….

We must now Enable the load balancer and publish the configuration options to the Edge device.

  1. Go back to the Pools window.
  2. Click Enable.

  3. Click Publish Changes to send all the new configuration options to the Edge Device.

You can now test your load balancer by hitting the External IP address.

David Hill is currently a Senior Cloud Consultant for the VMware Global Centre of Excellence in Cloud Infrastructure. David has been a self-employed IT Consultant and Architect for around 15 years, working on projects for large consultancies and financial institutions. Dave blogs at his personal blog, Virtual-Blog.com, where he hopes to provide readers with an informative reference site when designing/deploying or troubleshooting virtualisation and cloud technologies.

vCloud Director *(Any) Storage Profile

By: Rawlinson Rivera, Senior Technical Marketing Manager at VMware

This is a repost from Rawlinson’s personal blog, Punching Clouds

I recently posted an article about Architecting Storage Offering for vCloud Director 5.1. In the article I discussed new architecture considerations for the latest version of vCloud Director.

The middle of the article focuses around the use of Storage Profiles among other vSphere features that can now be leveraged by vCloud Director.

When I referenced the use of Storage Profiles I stated the following:

“The “*(Any)” storage profile is there by default, but it should not be included as part of any PVDC without considering the possible performance and operational risks.”

The reason for my statement was due to the possible risks any vCloud Director infrastructure can be exposed to without the correct use and understanding of the new storage features and capabilities discussed in the article.

As I’ve said before, vCloud Director is now capable of leveraging some of the vSphere storage technologies. For the most part, a majority of the storage related configurations are defined outside of the vCloud Director interface i.e. VM Storage Profile, Storage Clusters, etc. Cormac Hogan wrote an excellent article about the configuration and use of Storage Profiles. It’s a Must Read!

Storage Profiles are defined, organized, and configured in vSphere. The majority of the time we tend to label them by referencing precious  metals. An example of that is illustrated in the figure below.

Storage Profiles Defined in vSphere

All of the Storage Profiles created in vSphere will be available and presented to vCloud Director. Now, this is where things get interesting. If you take a look at the image below, you’ll notice that there are four storage profiles available during the creation of a Provider Virtual Datacenter (PVCD). Now based on the image above, the Storage Profile *(Any) was not created nor defined in vSphere, but yet it’s present in vCloud Director.

Storage Profiles View in vCloud Director

The *(Any) Storage Profile is a unique object in a way, as this doesn’t exist anywhere else other than vCloud Director. The *(Any) Storage Profile encompasses all of the storage resources that are presented and available to the hosts used in vCloud Director. This will also includes local storage (if any). Now, this is where things require a bit of focus, as this is the area where things can go wrong.

vCloud Director uses it’s own proprietary logic for vApp/Virtual Machine placements. This means that it can choose to use Local storage at any point in time. Since all available storage resources will be listed as part of the *(Any) Storage Profile regardless of their type or protocol (FC, iSCSI, NFS, Local) this to me could be a problem. vCloud Director doesn’t provide the ability to choose the vApp\Virtual Machine placement during deployments, and therefore the use of Local storage can present problems in regards to application performance, availability, SLA’s, etc as there will be no use of HA or DRS.

I find the use cases for when to use the *(Any) Storage Profile to be unique and in a way very complicated for cloud environments. The types of scenarios where I can see the benefit of using *(Any) Storage Profiles are focused around situations where hosts are not licensed to use the Storage Profiles feature, or  the hosts may not capable of using Storage Profiles. Scenarios with such constraints are the ones I see fit for the use of the *(Any) Storage Profile.

I highly recommend paying close attention to the creation and definition of storage offerings for vCloud Director especially where local storage is used.

Don’t use the *(Any) Storage Profile carelessly, and as a default setting for all PVDC. Use Storage Profiles to provide better granularity and service segmentation for vCloud Infrastructures.

- Enjoy

Rawlinson is a Senior Technical Marketing Manager in the Cloud Infrastructure Technical Marketing Group at VMware, focused on Storage Virtualization technologies. Previously he was an architect focused on Cloud and vSphere enterprise architectures for VMware fortune 100, 500 customers. Rawlinson is amongst the first VMware Certified Design Experts (VCDX#86), author of multiple books and a retired Professional Skater.

Does Hybrid Cloud Work? Learn From Five Successful Enterprise Companies in This Free Webinar

By: Alicia Gaba, Marketing Manager at Bluelock

Hybrid cloud strategy can feel like a lot to take on in addition to managing your company’s private cloud, handling ongoing requests and trying to keep the business happy by keeping costs down but providing more in return.

But, it doesn’t have to be something extra, something on top of what you’re already doing.  In fact, the best hybrid cloud strategy isn’t something new at all.  It’s about setting the strategy that incorporates all your existing cloud strategies into one cohesive plan that optimizes each of your applications and workloads for more efficient overall results.

If you’re looking to improve your current hybrid cloud strategy, or if you’re looking to start from scratch, you will benefit from hearing about successful strategies that have worked for enterprise retail, manufacturing, pharmaceutical and technology companies.

How can you capitalize on your existing vSphere and VMware technology to make an easy transition to hybrid cloud?  Which applications should be in public cloud and which should be in private cloud?  What are the business benefits of being able to move an application from one cloud platform to another with ease?

You’re invited to attend Bluelock’s webinar “Hybrid Cloud” 5 Stories of Success with VMware-based Hybrid Clouds.”

Date and time: Thursday, November 15, 2012 1:00 pm
Eastern Standard Time (Indiana, GMT-05:00)
Duration: 1 hour
Description: Featuring eMeter (Siemens) and Bluelock

On Thursday, November 15th, we invite you to join Bluelock Solutions Architect Jake Robinson and eMeter (Siemens) Senior Systems Engineer Bryan Bond as they discuss hybrid cloud, as told through five stories of success with VMware-based hybrid clouds.

This 60-minute webinar is free to attend and everyone who stays through the entire presentation receives a $10 iTunes gift card.  Two attendees will also be chosen to receive a new iPod touch.

For more information and to register for this webinar, click here:
http://www.bluelock.com/company/events/

New Study Shows Growth of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) Adoption

While security is still cited as a concern when it comes to public cloud adoption, a recent study of 243 IT and business professionals, conducted by analyst firm Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), suggests that many companies are beginning to feel more comfortable with the public cloud, as they move beyond the test and development phase of their public cloud deployments.

In fact, 67% of mid-market and enterprise companies surveyed are now running what they view as mission-critical workloads on IaaS. 

As we’ve highlighted in our Another VMware Cloud series, companies can reap huge business benefits when implementing a VMware-based private, public or hybrid cloud solution, such as cost savings, disaster recovery, improved operational efficiency, and more. This survey by ESG further cements companies’ growing trust in the cloud, as they move more of their mission-critical workloads to cloud environments.

Some other key findings of the study include:

  • IaaS is in production: More than 80% of IaaS customers surveyed are currently running productions workloads on IaaS.
  • Storage, on-demand compute and disaster recovery services top the list: 70% of current IaaS customers use cloud storage services, followed by 58% using cloud servers and 53% leveraging disaster recovery services.
  • Customers want support and TCO: Service and support topped a list of criteria for selecting cloud service providers, with up to 70% of respondents citing customer support as important.
  • Importance of compatibility: 78% of respondents reported that it was also important that their cloud service providers’ infrastructure technologies were compatible with their internal private cloud/virtualized datacenter.
  • Underlying technology matters: 83% of respondents indicated that the underlying technology used to deliver IaaS was of some level of importance to them, with nearly half citing it as a very important or critical factor when considering IaaS.

Interested in what a public cloud can do for you? Visit vCloud.VMware.com to learn more and to test drive a public cloud from a vCloud Service Provider.  vCloud service providers deliver VMware-compatible infrastructure clouds built on a secure platform, enabling customers to easily extend, manage and scale their datacenter workloads to a public cloud.

For future news and updates, be sure to follow us on Twitter at @vCloud and @VMwareSP!