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Monthly Archives: August 2011

An Oasis of Innovation in the Desert

Steve_Herrod
Posted by Steve Herrod
Chief Technology Officer

Each year there is one event I look forward to more than any other – VMworld.  VMworld brings together the leading industry innovators to share virtualization and cloud best practices, showcase breakthrough new technologies, get hands-on in the Labs, and catch up with old friends.  This week in Las Vegas we're hosting the biggest VMworld to date, with more than 19,000 virtualization and cloud geeks gathered to push the industry forward together (I remember being shocked to see 800 people attend just a few years ago!).  

The volume of news from the show is staggering.  You can read some truly impressive announcements across the board here and replays of the General Session keynotes, including VMware CEO Paul Maritz’s vision for the industry and my own technology-preview session, can be viewed here.   

I can’t possibly do justice to all of the amazing innovations, incredible customer stories, and just plain cool stuff going on at the show, but I did want to take a moment and highlight a few of my favorite moments so far:

Major Enterprises Pushing Ahead With the Cloud:  with just about every IT vendor guilty of pushing their marketing collateral with cloud terminology, it’s no wonder there’s healthy skepticism in the market.  So it was fantastic to see leading global brands talking about how they are gaining competitive advantage today with their virtualization and cloud deployments.

  • Founded in 1932, Revlon is one of the world’s leading beauty brands, doing business in more than 100 countries on 6 continents. Leveraging vSphere and other VMware cloud technologies they’ve been able to take more than $70 million in cost out of their infrastructure, achieve a 300% increase in project throughput, and have virtualized 98% of all workloads globally (they literally have only 2 Unix servers left in their entire global footprint!). This has enabled Revlon IT to be much more responsive to the needs of the business, align projects more quickly to revenue opportunities, and be a true competitive advantage for the company. [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZxZz1m8KKQ]
  • The New York Stock Exchange is not only one of the world’s leading capital markets operators, they are also delivering specialized cloud services to the financial community. The low-latency, high-frequency environment places extreme demands on their virtualized infrastructure but they continue to push the envelope with VMware’s cloud infrastructure technologies. [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyYwo6AZ7_I]
  • We all know Southwest Airlines for their low fares and great customer service. But as the largest domestic carrier in the US, more than 85% of their revenue is driven through the web. vFabric technologies underpin much of southwest.com and by leveraging vSphere infrastructure on the back-end, Southwest has gone from 0-40% virtualized in less than 18 months and seen a reduction in time to deliver production servers from 6 days to one hour.  [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnHobD1eBG8]

Liberating IT and End-Users from Legacy Silos:  as we enter the post-PC era we all know the pressures the consumer world is placing on enterprise IT.  Employees expect their experience to be equal to their home life and they expect it “to just work” on whatever device they choose.  And if it doesn’t….well, they’ll take things into their own hands creating a security, management, and compliance nightmare.

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Now this is easy to talk about but very, very difficult to crack. At VMworld we demonstrated a complete solution that gives IT a fighting chance — helping customers bring forward legacy Windows environments with the full-featured View 5.0 delivering updates to our Horizon Application Management platform, enabling both a secure corporate and personal persona on users’ mobile devices with Horizon Mobile, and advancing universal application and data delivery with Project AppBlast and Project Octopus. VMware’s vision seeks to free employees and enterprise IT from more than two decades of complex, device-centric computing, and delivers a more user-centric, IT-as-a-service experience. I’m using most of these new products internally via our “dogfood” program and am loving it. (Some trivia: Our own Paul Maritz is attributed as being the first to run “dogfood” programs in software companies!)

The World’s Leading Cloud Infrastructure Platform: as Paul Maritz pointed out in his keynote, we’re now in a world where more than 50% of the total workloads worldwide are virtualized – we have definitively entered the Cloud Era and VMware is dedicated to accelerating and amplifying our customers’ resulting benefits.  Our product teams take tremendous pride in extending the lead of our technologies and it was a thrill to show off the results of more than 1 million engineering hours. We’re raising the bar yet again on what customers can expect in terms of performance, availability, and security for their core cloud infrastructure and even tackling the next datacenter frontier with VXLAN, taking on networking the way we’ve taken on storage and compute (stay tuned for more in this space). And as one attendee told me, “it’s about automation, automation, automation.” We’re continuing to drive management and automation innovation for an even more application-aware, automated infrastructure. And the message should be quite clear that our mission is to get customers to this new world, but in an evolutionary way. We’re constantly looking at a technology rollout that helps our customers bridge from their existing infrastructure environments to this brave new world of the cloud.

It’s been an amazing first few days here in Las Vegas and I want to say thank you to all of the employees, partners, customers, students, VMUGgers, “Labbers,” and technologists with a passion to move the industry forward.  Without your desire to invent the next-generation of IT none of us would be here to celebrate these amazing innovations.  Every year I am humbled and awed by the creative conversations in the hallway, the sci-fi-like demos on the exhibit floor from companies both new and old, and the enthusiasm and energy from folks who have traveled from across the world.  It’s truly a privilege and I can’t wait to share what’s in store in our VMworld Europe event this Fall and next year as we return to San Francisco!

 

 

Towards Virtualized Networking for the Cloud

Steve_Herrod
Posted by Steve Herrod
Chief Technology Officer

VMworld 2011 is well-underway with more than 19,000 attendees gathered in Las Vegas to learn about, celebrate, and drive the future of both virtualization and cloud computing. The amount of news has been staggering, but I want to take more time to focus on one particularly important announcement in this blog; a new vision and approach for networking in the cloud era.

Cloud computing holds the promise of accessing shared resources in a secure, scalable, and self-service manner, and these core tenets place huge demands on today’s physical network infrastructure.  While compute and storage are virtualized, network is still a physical impediment to full workload mobility and can inhibit multi-tenancy and scalability goals. Even with VLAN technologies, the network continues to restrict workloads to the underlying physical network and to non-scalable, hard-to-automate constructs.

Have we seen this before?

I like to think about this problem as similar to one we’ve previously seen in the telephony industry. One of the fundamental challenges with today’s networking is that we use an IP address for two unrelated purposes, as an identity AND as a location. Tying these together restricts a (virtual) machine from moving around as easily as we would like. We had the same challenge with telephony before wireless came of age… our phone number rang for us at a specific destination rather than following us wherever we went!

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Just as our mobile phone numbers allow us to take calls virtually anywhere, separation of a machine’s network ID from its physical location enables more mobility and efficiency for applications. And this is exactly what we’re after in the cloud… a model that enables the efficient and fluid movement of virtual resources across shared cloud infrastructures both within and across datacenters. This improved mobility will ultimately enable better approaches to load balancing, disaster recovery, power-usage optimization, datacenter provisioning and migration, and other challenges approaching us in the cloud era.

Welcome VXLAN!

VMware has collaborated with Cisco and other industry leaders to develop an innovative solution to these challenges called “VXLAN” (Virtual eXtensible LAN). VXLAN enables multi-tenant networks at scale, and it is the first step towards logical, software-based networks that can be created on-demand, enabling enterprises to leverage capacity wherever it’s available. How does it work?

Using “MAC-in-UDP” encapsulation, VXLAN provides a Layer 2 abstraction to virtual machines (VMs), independent of where they are located.  It completely untethers the VMs from physical networks by allowing VMs to communicate with each other using a transparent overlay scheme over physical networks that could span Layer 3 boundaries.  Since VMs are completely unaware of the physical networks constraints and only see the virtual layer 2-adjacency, the fundamental properties of virtualization such as mobility and portability are extended across traditional network boundaries. Furthermore, logical networks can be easily separated from one another, simplifying the implementation of true multi-tenancy.

And VXLAN enables better programmability by providing a single interface to authoritatively program the logical network. Operationally, it will provide the needed control and visibility to the network admin while allowing the flexibility of elastic compute for the cloud admin.

And VXLAN can be implemented to be very efficient and resource savvy. We take advantage of efficient multicast protocols for the VM’s broadcast and multicast needs. We leverage Equal-Cost Multi-path (ECMP) in the core networks for efficient load sharing. And within the virtualized environment we leverage vSphere’s DVS, vSwitch, and network IO controls to ensure the VMs get the bandwidth and security that they require. Cisco will certainly leverage the N1000V switch as one key place for VXLAN implementation, and other partners will soon announce their approach as well.

A Collaboration

VMware has collaborated closely with Cisco and industry leaders including Arista, Broadcom, Brocade, Emulex, and Intel in making this an industry-wide effort and to ensure a seamless experience across virtual and physical infrastructure. As part of this effort, we have published an informational IETF draft (see http://www.ietf.org/id/draft-mahalingam-dutt-dcops-vxlan-00.txt) to detail the use case and the technology. To achieve its full potential, VXLAN must be adopted across the industry, and we’re committed to helping this happen in an open and standards-compliant way.

In Closing… 

VXLAN is the flagship in a growing set of capabilities that deliver a new model of networking for the cloud. For some additional context, be sure to check out Allwyn’s blog on logical networks from May. It addresses the physical limitations associated with today’s networking infrastructures in an evolutionary way, and offers a model that enables the efficient and fluid movement of virtual resources across cloud infrastructures. And what’s more, it does so in an evolutionary way that leverages today’s network infrastructure investments. Stay tuned for even more updates on this exciting new development!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VMware Acquires PacketMotion

VMwareDeanCozaLowRes

Posted by Dean Coza
Director of Product
Management, Security

I’m excited to inform the community that VMware today acquired PacketMotion. PacketMotion is focused on delivering user activity context for network segmentation and data access monitoring and recently introduced the PacketSentry Virtual Probe, which is optimized to efficiently monitor and enforce identity based network access controls in VMware vSphere.

Security is an important component of VMware’s strategy to help companies transform IT through more efficient and automated cloud infrastructure. On July 12 we launched vShield 5, introducing new sensitive data discovery and intrusion detection capabilities to give customers deploying hybrid clouds visibility, control and confidence in the compliance of their critical applications and regulated data. These capabilities give us the what and the how of this equation (the sensitive data and its location). PacketMotion can provide the who (who is accessing it). The combination presents an opportunity to make it possible for customers to automate security and compliance policies in a completely business-driven language, such as “give HR access to HIPAA vApps” or “give Finance access to the PCI-CDE vApps.” This will greatly simplify the automation of security and compliance in the hybrid cloud.

PacketMotion also has a rich set of user access monitoring reports which support various compliance control objectives and will enrich VMware and partner compliance automation solutions.

With customers spanning many industries, including financial services, manufacturing, energy, government and healthcare, PacketMotion is known for its innovation. It was recognized as a “Cool Vendor” by Gartner in 2009, and an “IT Innovator of the Year” by SC Magazine for 2010. We expect to integrate PacketMotion technologies into the vShield portfolio, and the PacketMotion team will join VMware’s Cloud Infrastructure Business Unit. We welcome them to the VMware family and look forward to continuing to deliver on our “better security with virtualization” promise.

Micro Cloud Foundry – “Open PaaS” on your laptop – available today!

Steve_Herrod
Posted by Steve Herrod
Chief Technology Officer

Only a few months have passed since VMware launched Cloud FoundryTM  –  the industry’s first open platform as a service implementation and a major milestone in our mission to “Simplify IT”.  Cloud Foundry debuted with both the CloudFoundry.com service and as an open source project via CloudFoundry.org.

We’ve promised to shortly deliver a version of Cloud Foundry that will run in a single virtual machine. We call it Micro Cloud FoundryTM and its BETA availability is accessible today at http://micro.cloudfoundry.com

As outlined in a previous post, Cloud Foundry is all about choice – choice of developer frameworks, choice of application infrastructure services, and choice of clouds to which to deploy applications.

By offering an open architecture in all three dimensions, Cloud Foundry greatly simplify the lives of developers and makes it faster and easier to build, test, deploy and scale applications. 

“Honey, we shrank the Cloud”

Today we are taking the next step toward providing developers what they need – a simple PaaS solution you can quickly download and install on your machine.

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Micro Cloud Foundry is a downloadable version of Cloud Foundry that can run on a developer’s laptop.  It contains a version of the Cloud Foundry software and offers symmetry with other instances of Cloud Foundry.  It allows access to modern frameworks and a rich ecosystem of application services from VMware, third parties and the open source community. Applications deployed on Micro Cloud Foundry will run with minimal modification on any private or public cloud running Cloud Foundry, thus demonstrating a true Hybrid Cloud solution.

Many developers are already using the Cloud Foundry open source bits to build their local versions of Cloud Foundry. Micro Cloud Foundry will make this process significantly easier and will enable developers to easily “shrink the cloud” to their local machine and experiment with cutting edge technologies without the hassles of installations and configurations.

What is included in Micro Cloud Foundry?

Micro Cloud Foundry supports Java on Spring, Ruby on Rails/Sinatra and Node.JS frameworks as well as MySQL, MongoDB and Redis services.  It supports both Cloud Foundry’s scriptable command line interface (vmc) and integration with the Eclipse-based SpringSource Tool Suite (STS). This allows developers to retarget deployments between on-premise and public environment without code modifications. 

With built-in dynamic DNS support, developers can run their micro cloud wherever they happen to be working – whether at home, office or coffee shop – without any reconfiguration required.

Micro Cloud Foundry is available as a downloadable virtual machine image compatible with VMware Fusion for MacOSX, VMware Workstation and VMware Player (available as a free download) for Linux and Windows.  It provides an easy install, setup and VM management mechanisms.

Micro Cloud Foundry is a developer focused offering, designed to support development and testing use-cases. VMware will provide frequent Micro Cloud Foundry updates to include additional frameworks and services. Micro Cloud Foundry is currently a beta offering and is free of charge.

For more details on what’s under the covers with Micro Cloud Foundry,  please refer to the Cloud Foundry blog at http://blog.cloudfoundry.com

How is the Cloud Foundry project evolving?

Over the past few months, we have experienced outstanding interest in Cloud Foundry, both at the CloudFoudry.com service, the CloudFoundry.org project and the Cloud Foundry ecosystem.

The interest in CloudFoundry.com continues to grow with the number of beta users more than doubling since last quarter and the number of applications increasing over 3x. These applications leverage a wide variety of development frameworks, including Java on Spring, Ruby on Rails, Ruby on Sinatra, Node.js, Grails and Scala on Lift. CloudFoundry.com users continues to increase their usage of the ecosystem services, including MySQL, Redis and  MongoDB.

The interested in CloudFoundry.org from the open source community has been incredible. We have received hundreds of community contributions to the open source project, including new frameworks and languages like Erlang and JRuby as well as some early projects around PHP and Python and data services like Neo4J.

The Cloud Foundry ecosystem is growing quickly with increasing number of technology partners, working with us to expand the developers frameworks, application services and deployment destinations available for Cloud Foundry users.

VMware continues to drive core innovation to CloudFoundry.com by adding new frameworks and languages like Scala and Lift as well as services like RabbitMQ Cloud Messaging and a free Hyperic plugin  to provide increased monitoring and visibility to applications.

Happier Coding

Developers can continue to avoid the many hassles of updating machines and configuring middleware and focus their attention on delivering applications, today in their own laptop or desktop behind the corporate firewall.

For more information on Cloud Foundry, and to download your Micro Cloud Foundry, please visit http://www.CloudFoundry.com