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Category Archives: Uncategorized

Let Us Wow You with vSphere 6

Not yet on vSphere 6?  Join us for a webcast to learn why you should be.  Starting June 2nd, 2015 and recurring every other Tuesday at 9AM, join the vSphere product experts to learn what’s new and exciting about vSphere 6!  A different topic will be covered each session and time will be allocated at the end of each webcast for Q&A.

Please always check the latest schedule each week as topics may change and sessions may be added or removed.

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vCenter Server 6.0 Availability Guide

VMware vCenter Server 6.0 Availability GuidevCenter Server has become a mission critical part of most virtual infrastructures. It can be a single point of failure if it is not designed for availability. vCenter Server 6 has many changes relating to vCenter Server and its components and careful consideration has to be made in the design of its architecture.

There are multiple solutions for high availability. Many of these options can be combined to provide different levels of availability. vSphere HA, FT, vCenter Watchdog services and in guest clustering solutions can be combined depending on customer requirements for availability.

The Platform Services Controller (PSC) serves many VMware solutions in addition to vCenter Server such as VROPS, View, etc. The PSC deployment modes have to be carefully evaluated based on unique customer requirements and architected appropriately as well.

The VMware vCenter Server 6.0 Availability Guide is a great resource for architecting a HA solution for vCenter Server.  I hope you find it useful!

Project Lightwave Now Available

Project Lightwave Now Available

Today, we are happy to announce that Project Lightwave, an identity and access management project for cloud-native apps, has been released as a free, open source project and is now available via GitHub and JFrog Bintray. Project Lightwave was originally introduced last month (read the news release).

What is Project Lightwave?

Project Lightwave is made up of the following key identity infrastructure elements:

  • Lightwave Directory Service - standards based, multi-tenant, multi-master, highly scalable LDAP v3 directory service enables an enterprise’s infrastructure to be used by the most-demanding applications as well as by multiple teams.
  • Lightwave Certificate Authority - directory integrated certificate authority helps to simplify certificate-based operations and key management across the infrastructure.
  • Lightwave Certificate Store - endpoint certificate store to store certificate credentials.
  • Lightwave Authentication Services - cloud authentication services with support for Kerberos, OAuth 2.0/OpenID Connect, SAML and WSTrust enable interoperability with other standards-based technologies in the data center.

When paired with Project Photon, VMware’s lightweight Linux operating system for cloud-native apps, Project Lightwave helps to assure that only authorized objects can run in the infrastructure.

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Using the ESXi 6.0 CPU Microcode Loading Feature

Using the ESXi 6.0 CPU Microcode Loading Feature

Authored By: Tim Mann

Abstract: Occasionally ESXi users want to run updated CPU microcode that isn't yet available either from their hardware platform vendor in a BIOS update or bundled into ESXi. This article explains how to do that.

Note: This procedure is not supported by VMware, and in production environments VMware recommends using only microcode obtained from your platform vendor.

This article applies beginning with ESXi 6.0. For earlier versions of ESXi, the following third-party blog post seems generally accurate, though of course not officially endorsed by VMware: FAQ: CPU microcode updates and VMware ESXi.

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High performance lab and Infrastructure for Elite Database Workshop - SQL Server Event #2

The VMware BCA team successfully conducted the second batch for SQL Server MVPs April 21st-23rd. The attendee list includes.   Steve Jones, Tim Ford, Arnie Rowland, Wendy Pastrick, Eddie Wurech, Robert Davis, Sean McCown, Allan Hirt, Geoff Hiten,  Randy Knight, Chris Shaw, Jason Strate, Brandon Leach, Shawn Meyers, Melissa Connors. Alumni guests include David Klee, Mike Corey and Denny Cherry.

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SDS - The Missing Link - Storage Automation for Application Service Catalogs

VMware-SDSAutomation technologies are a fundamental dependency to all aspects of the Software-Defined Data center. The use of automation technologies not only increases the overall productivity of the software-defined data center, but it can also accelerate the adoption of today’s modern operating models.

In recent years, a subset of the core pillars of the software-defined data center has experienced a great deal of improvements with the help of automation. The same can't be said about storage. The lack management flexibility and capable automation frameworks have kept the storage infrastructures from delivering operational value and efficiencies similar to the ones available with the compute and network pillars.

VMware’s software-defined storage technologies and its storage policy-based management framework (SPBM) deliver the missing piece of the puzzle for storage infrastructure in the software-defined data center.

Challenges - Old School

Traditional data centers are operated, managed, and consumed in models that are mapped to silos and statically defined infrastructure resources. However, businesses lean heavily on their technology investments to be agile and responsive in order to gain a competitive edge or reduce their overhead expenses. As such, there is a fundamental shift taking place within the IT industry, a shift that aims to change the way in which data centers are operated, managed, and consumed.

In today’s hardware-defined data centers, external storage arrays drive the de-facto standards for how storage is consumed. The limits of the data center are tied to the limits of the infrastructure. The consumers of storage resources face a number of issues since traditional storage systems are primarily deployed in silos: each with unique features and unique management model. They each have their own constructs for delivering storage (LUNs, Volumes), regularly handled through separate workflows and even different teams. Which means that the delivery of new resources and services requires significantly longer periods of time.

Critical data services are often tied to specific arrays, obstructing standardized and aligned approaches across multiple storage types. Overall, creating a consistent operational model across multiple storage systems remains a challenge. Because storage capabilities are tied to static definitions, no guarantees for performance, risks of multi-tenant impacts, all disks treated same, and OPEX tied to the highest common denominator.

storage challenges-silos

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vSphere Virtual Volumes Webinar Series: Hitachi

VVols-HDS

On Wednesday April 15 Hitachi is hosting a one hour technical webinar event to discuss how Hitachi Storage for VMware Virtual Volumes can bring customers on a reliable enterprise journey to a software-defined, policy-controlled data center.

The webinar covers more than just the technical aspects of Virtual Volumes but also the operational value and efficiency Hitachi delivers with their unique implementation.

The technical and implementation details about Hitachi’s multi-protocol support and storage capabilities offered to virtual machines and their individual objects.

Webinar attendees will learn about:

  • The simplification of storage related operations for vSphere administrators
  • The increase in manageability for the vSphere infrastructure and greater levels of agility and efficiency driven by a policy-based management and operating model.

The event will be lead by Paul Morrissey – Director, Product Management, Storage, Virtualization & Application, Hitachi Data Systems and myself.

To register for the event by using the link below and don't miss it:

Delivering Simplified IT with VMware vSphere Virtual Volumes and Hitachi

- Enjoy

For future updates on Virtual SAN (VSAN), vSphere Virtual Volumes (VVols) and other Software-defined Storage technologies, as well as vSphere + OpenStack be sure to follow me on Twitter: @PunchingClouds

What’s New with Virtual SAN 6.0?

Software-Defined Storage is making waves in the storage and virtual infrastructure fields. Data and infrastructure are intertwined, and when they’re both brought together, companies can cut down on expenses and increase productivity.

Rawlinson Rivera, Principal Architect, Storage and Availability, recently hosted a webinar, discussing how VMware is approaching Software-Defined Storage (SDS) and virtualization in recently announced VMware updates, including updates to VMware Virtual SAN 6.0.

Software-defined storage offers organizations the ability automate, distribute and control storage better than ever before. SDS can provision storage for applications on demand and without complex processes. It also allows for standardized hardware, reducing costs for businesses everywhere.

To bring the customers the best software-defined storage experience to realization, we had to update VMware® Virtual SAN™. And we did just that. With VMware Virtual SAN 6.0, we introduced several new features with SDS in mind:

  • Software-defined storage optimized for VMs
  • All Flash architecture
  • Broad hardware support
  • The ability to run on any standard x86 server
  • Enterprise-level scalability and performance
  • Per-VM storage policy management
  • And a deep integration with the VMware stack

There’s a lot more to unpack from the latest updates to our VMware solutions. For a more in-depth guide to what’s new and how it affects you, watch the webcast here!

Be sure to subscribe to the Virtual SAN blog or follow our social channels at @vmwarevsan and Facebook.com/vmwarevsan for the latest updates.

For more information about VMware Virtual SAN, visit http://www.vmware.com/products/virtual-san.

vSphere Virtual Volumes (VVols) Interoperability Matrix

VVols-GA

Since the official release of vSphere 6.0, Virtual Volumes (VVols) has generated a great deal of interest with customers, field consultants, and the VMware community. Now that VVols is available customers can begin testing functionality and capabilities. There have been many questions about what VMware products and vSphere features are compatible and currently interoperate with VVols.

Because VMware's product portfolio continues to expand exponentially, identifying all of the new products and features that interoperate with VVols can be a tedious and potentially time-consuming task. In the interest of time and efficiency, the need for a centralized Virtual Volumes interoperability guide is eminent, so here is one.

Below is a list of VMware products and vSphere 6.0 features that as of today March 30th, 2015 are supported and interoperate with VVols. Please keep in mind that the interoperability and supportability of any of these products and features can change with a future patch or product release. It is highly recommended to check the VMware compatibility matrix guide for the official and up to date list of products and features that are interoperable with VVols.

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VMware Virtual SAN 6.0: Data Encryption with Hytrust DataControl

VSAN-Hytrust

Customers from different industries and institutions are very interested in Virtual SAN as a storage solution not just because of the technological value it delivers today, but because of the product's undeniable value around operational efficiency, ease of management, and flexibility.

Some of these customers are from financial, healthcare and government institutions, and conduct their business in areas that are governed by regulatory compliance laws such as HIPPA, PCI-DSS, FedRAMP, Sarbanes-Oxley, etc. These laws demand compliance with numerous security measures, one of them being the ability to guarantee data integrity by securing data with some form of encryption.

Today Virtual SAN does not include encryption as one of its data services as this feature is currently under development for a future release. Now, when considering Virtual SAN as a potential solution wherever data encryption is a requirement based on regulatory compliance laws, it’s important to know what options are currently available.

In Virtual SAN the encryption data service capabilities are offloaded to hardware-based offerings available through Virtual SAN Ready Nodes. Data encryption data services are exclusively supported on Virtual SAN Ready Node appliances that are comprised with all of the certified and compatible hardware devices that provide encryption capabilities such as self-encrypting drives, and/or storage controllers. The Virtual SAN Ready Node appliances are offered by just about all the OEM hardware vendors that are part of VMware's ecosystem.

An alternative option to the Virtual SAN Ready Nodes is a software based solution developed and offered by a company called Hytrust. Hytrust is one of the members of VMware's partner ecosystem whose business is focused around the delivery of data security services for private and public cloud infrastructures. The solution I want to highlight in particular is called Hytrust DataControl.

Hytrust DataControl is a software-based solution that is designed with the capability of protecting virtual machines and their data throughout their entire lifecycle (from creating to decommission). Hytrust DataControl delivers both encryption and key management services.

This solution is built specifically to address the unique requirements of private, hybrid and public clouds, combining robust security, easy deployment, exceptional performance, infrastructure independence, and operational transparency. Hytrust DataControl ease of deployment and management capabilities complies with one of the main principles of Virtual SAN which is simplicity and ease of management.

Hytrust DataControl virtual machine edition is based on a software agent that encrypts data from within the Windows or Linux operating system of a virtual machine, ensuring protection and multi-tenancy of data in any infrastructure. DataControl also allows you to transfer files between VMs, so you can securely migrate stored data from your private to the public cloud.

The deployment of the Hytrust DataControl solution and installation and configuration of the software is done in a couple of easy steps which take just a few minutes. Once the software is resident, any data written to storage by an application will be encrypted both in motion, as it travels securely through the hypervisor and network, and also at rest on the Virtual SAN datastore.

HT-deployment

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