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Authored by Paul Fazzone, General Manager, Cloud Native Applications

Microservices architectures represent the single biggest change in application development and operations practices in the last 20 years. In a nutshell, microservices are small, discrete application components linked together through lightweight, well-defined APIs. These application components, which are each independently deployable, are linked together in various ways to create modern applications. A major advantage to this application architecture allows for the discrete components to be updated independently from the others, enabling developers to efficiently deliver new features and fix issues with existing ones. The business value of this approach is clear – companies can get new products and services to their customers with phenomenal speed and efficiency.

Amongst our customers, the excitement to understand, experiment with and adopt microservices architectures is palpable. With hundreds of incredible new open source projects and venture backed startups creating awareness of and products around modern application development, it is easy to see why. But most of these projects and startups are facing the same challenge – how do they address IT integration and day 2 operations for enterprise organizations wanting to adopt their products? This is by far the number 1 challenge I hear about from customers considering how to move to a microservices application architecture. In fact, I recently had a Fortune 50 financial customer tell me they have more than 20 proof of concept projects around their company evaluating different platform, container, function as-a-service offering….most of them are stuck on security, networking and day 2 requirements like visibility, compliance, tenant isolation and availability.  These capabilities are key tenets of VMware products, so I was excited to read about the work Google and Pivotal have done to address some of these issues and make Kubernetes on BOSH (KuBo) a better deployment and operational experience for enterprise customers.

With KuBo (check it out on GitHub), high availability is built-in by default. BOSH provides high availability for Kubernetes masters and ETCD within the Kubernetes clusters. Lifecycle management of the Kubernetes cluster and its underlying VMs is completely automated. Deployment, repairs and upgrades are easy. Best of all, enterprises gain operational efficiencies with PCF and Kubo because they both use BOSH as a common deployment tool to efficiently and securely application development.

VMware have been working closely with Pivotal to deliver tight integration between Pivotal Cloud Foundry (PCF) and VMware NSX (to help address a couple of those pesky enterprise IT challenges). This integration provides advanced network and security services to PCF Application Instances. More importantly, it enables customers to realize a single, seamless network and security model across all of their applications. Because the integration was done through BOSH, KuBo will also benefit from NSX support, so customers can take advantage of PCF and Kubernetes side by side, backed by the world’s leading cloud native network and security solution. Cool stuff that solves real customer business and technology challenges.

VMware is all about building, delivering & supporting production-ready, easy to use, enterprise infrastructure solutions to support our customer’s business objectives. Looking forward, customers can expect deeper integration between Pivotal and VMware products that deliver exceptional business value while addressing key technical challenges at the intersection of application architecture and infrastructure solutions.

VMware is committed to the key open source cloud native community projects (Cloud Foundry, Kubernetes, Lightwave to name a few) that sit at this intersection and we are excited to get involved with and contribute to the KuBo project. We believe firmly that our customer’s future is  multi-cloud and are working hard to build, partner and contribute to deliver production ready enterprise solutions to realize a microservices architecture for their applications. Our goal is simple – continue to be the best place for our customers to build and run their business applications in production.

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Authored by Emad Benjamin, Principal Architect, Global Services Advanced Architecture

The room for this session was packed in Las Vegas, and boy did people come armed with their questions. It was great to see attendees for multiple companies who are paying attention to the Cloud Native Apps (CNA) space.  Now, we promised that what was discussed in Vegas would stay in Vegas, but if we can offer a glimpse for our European attendees, then we are sure you would appreciate this minor break away from tradition.

Speaking of breaking away from tradition, well “Hello, CNA!” – What a way to begin the session as to just what is CNA, how does one distinguish a cloud native app from a monolithic one. But wait a minute!? What is monolithic, draw it for me please!?  And this is how the conversation began; we defined what we see as being a monolithic app as opposed to highly scaled out micro-services like architecture often found in CNA.  It is all great flexibility offered on Day-1 and we talked about the benefits, but what happens on Day-2 (security, manageability, scalability) – well we discussed the answers to that too, and won’t spoil the surprise, but suffice to say that if you come to the session we will do our best to answer any and all questions about this, IMHO a rapidly forming new and highly opinionated space.  Come join us and listen to a few of our technical services experts as to how their customers are tackling CNA.

state-of-the-u

But wait…you didn’t think that was it…here read more…

In this group discussion we will have an interactive session on what is cloud native, what scale it addresses, who are some of the adopters, and which direction this trend is forcing the market over the next few years.  It is an opportunity for you to ask the simplest of questions to the most complex ones, sometimes a simple question as “what is cloud native” can quickly turn into a complicated answer, and hence is the opportunity to discuss the wide variety of opinion that surrounds this.

In this talk we will highlight the elements of this rapidly moving phenomenon through our industry, a phenomenon of building platforms, not just business logic software but infrastructure as software. We humbly believe that the drive towards these platform solutions is due to the following fact: approximately half of new applications fail to meet their performance objectives, and almost all of these have 2.x more cloud capacity provisioned than what is actually needed. As developers/DevOps engineers we live with this fact every day, always chasing performance and feasible scalability, but never actually cementing it into a scientific equation where it is predictable, but rather it has always been trial based, and heavily prone to error. As a result we find ourselves delving with some interesting platforming patterns of this decade, and unfortunately we are lead to believe that such patterns as microservices, 3rd platforms, cloud native, and 12factor are mainly a change in coding patterns.  However, contrary to this popular belief, these patterns represent a major change in “deployment” approach, a change in how we deploy and structure code artifacts within applications runtimes, and how those application runtimes can leverage the underlying cloud capacity. These patterns are not code design patterns, but rather platform engineering patterns, with a drive to using APIs/Software to define application platform policies to manage scalability, availability and performance in a predictable manner.

 

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Authored by Alka Gupta, Senior Global Technical Alliance Manager


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You have heard about Pivotal CloudFoundry. You have also heard about VMware’s brand new product, Photon Platform. You want to learn more about each one of them and  how the two work together to deliver an optimized cloud native experience to both operators and developers? Where does each sit in the stack and what use cases does a PCF+Photon Platform solution address. When should I run PCF on vSphere and when on Photon Platform?

These are exactly the questions we will address in this session: Architecting Cloud-Native Systems with Photon and Pivotal Cloud Foundry [CNA7813-QT]

We will share a real world case study on deploying PCF on Photon Platform, lessons learned and some best practices. You will be able to walk away with an understanding of Photon Platform architecture, why it is best suited to run Pivotal Cloud Foundry, architecture components of each and how they integrate together.

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Authored by Alka Gupta, Senior Global Technical Alliance Manager

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Digital era is upon us. Every business is challenged by new innovations, whether it’s new products like Tesla, new business models like venmo or new user experiences like Uber. Customers and end users are expecting businesses to provide experiences that are personalized, localized, mobilized and responsive to their demands in cycles nearing real time. And I can guarantee you that your company is impacted by these trends as well!  Achieving state-of-the-art application development and delivery lies at the heart of this transformation and accelerates your time-to-market.

You are likely to have questions around how you can extend your current investments in VMware SDDC towards enabling your developers build these next gen apps.  In session CNA-7813, learn how VMware and Pivotal have partnered together to deliver the best in class integrated solutions in this space, targeting both operators and developers.

In addition, you will become familiar with Pivotal Cloud Foundry and its core tenets. You will also learn about the operational, reporting and monitoring capabilities available for PCF from VMware vRealize suite of products.  You will get the best practices around securing PCF with NSX today, and what’s on the horizon. For those interested in carving out separate greenfield stacks for cloud native workloads, you will see how to run Pivotal Cloud Foundry on our newly announced Photon Platform.

From this session, you will walk away with a good understanding of standing up a Pivotal Cloud Foundry environment in your data center, operationalizing it, and rolling it into production. You will be able to offer your developers a turnkey cloud native app-dev platform to build and run their apps with agility, with operational control via your trusted VMware SDDC.

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Authored by Ryan Kelly, Staff Systems Engineer, Cloud Management

We are just weeks away from VMworld’s 2016 Europe Conference in beautiful Barcelona Spain. This year will be my 5th year attending the Europe conference in Barcelona and I have learned a few things I want to share with all of you. I have actually been lucky enough to attend 3 VMworld’s in Europe, one in Nice, France and 2 in Copenhagen. I enjoyed them all as they are all special places to visit but there is just something about Barcelona that keeps me signing up to go year after year. Here are my tips and tricks to get the most out of your conference and visit. If this is your first time or 5th time I am sure there is something in here for everyone.

Before you go:

  • Register for the event, sounds obvious but some folks arrive and are not registered and the per-registration saves you money.
  • Plan your week by visiting the Content catalog and populating your Schedule Builder. The General Sessions are open seating but the break out sessions you need to register for. (There are almost always standing room for additional overflow but registering is a guarantee you get a seat.)
  • Make a photo copy of your Passport or documentation and store it in a bag or separate from your passport, in the rare case your passport is stolen you will have a back up.
  • Logon to twitter to see what sessions are trending so you know before you go.
  • Weather in Barcelona can vary this time of year, pack some summer clothes, cotton t-shirts, shorts and a Swimsuit but also pack a rain coat and a sweater or sweat shirts as it can get cold at night or in the mountains if you plan to do some site seeing.
  • Pack extra room in your bag or bring an extra one, you will receive a VMworld bag and you get tons of goodies from VMware and partners in solutions exchange that you will want to bring home for your office mates and family.

Travel Tips:

  • Go to sleep now until the morning you travel to VMworld Europe, no seriously you are gonna need all the sleep you can get!
  • For Hotels you have a couple options depending on your preference or if traveling with family:
  • Be sure your credit card or bank card has a chip and that you know the pin number. Most everywhere in Barcelona requires the chip and the pin. This is common now in most countries but just a reminder.
  • Call your cell phone provider and verify you will have roaming service in Barcelona Spain. You can also buy SIM cards for your phone but you won’t be able to use your phone number for calls.
  • There are taxis at the Airport, some take credit cards and some only cash, be sure to ask first. Also be sure to have a print out of your hotel name and address, there are many similar hotel names in Barcelona but they are not close together. (NOTE: Most taxis in Barcelona prefer cash and will let you know)
  • Sign up for the Hailo App to request and pay for rides from your mobile device. I found this service hit and miss but it worked most of the time.

During the Convention:

  • Use Wifi when ever possible, most hotels have free WiFi and VMworld will also have free Wifi, this will save you a bundle on roaming fees. Also  you may want to disable data roaming on your phone for extra savings.
  • Wear comfortable shoes (Europeans know this already), you walk a lot in and around the city, also many hotels are walking distance but the convention center alone is huge and you will walk a lot.
  • Attend the keynotes, you get all the good information first and the opening visuals are always sexy and stunning. At least attend the Technical Keynote if there is only one you plan to attend!
  • Drink a lot of water, it is very hot and humid in Barcelona and it is dangerous to get dehydrated.
  • Visit the solutions exchange during the day, when it is less busy, to get one on one sessions with VMware experts or one of our partners experts.
  • Network with other customers and VMware folks, share your success and learn what works for them. All the best in the world will be in one place for a week and that is huge.

Party Time: Full List Here

Tues, 18 Oct 17.30 – 19.30 #VMworld Welcome Reception Gran Fira, Solutions Exchange Open to all attendees Official kickoff to VMworld 2016 Europe. Enjoy appetizers & drinks in the Solutions Exchange. Network with exhibitors & attendees.
Wed, 19 Oct 17.00 – 19.00 #VMworld Hall Crawl Gran Fira, Solutions Exchange Open to all attendees Enjoy networking with appetizers & drinks in the Solutions Exchange where you can see the latest products and services from exhibitors.
Wed, 19 Oct 19.00 – 22.00 #VMworld Party Gran Fira Open to full conference attendees VMworld 2016 Europe Party! Relax w/ excellent food, music and entertainment. Guest passes available.

Food and sight seeing recommends:

  • Lunch or Dinner on the water at Restaurant Barceloneta
  • Late night Pizza Wine and Beer and occasionally open for lunch Amazing! Pizza del Sortidor
  • Dinner at Calpep – No reservations but if you get in line by 7:30PM or 14:30 you will be in the first seating group. Otherwise order a bottle of wine and enjoy in line while you wait for a seat.
  • Dinner at Tapas 24 – No reservations so get here early for the first seating or a short wait but well worth it.
  • Ride on the Montjuic Cable car. Ride up to Montjuic Castle in a sightseeing gondola.
  • Day trip trip to Montserrat a mountain Monastery

Do’s and Dont’s:

  • DO NOT LOSE YOUR VMWORLD BADGE OR IT WILL COST YOU TO REPLACE IT!
  • Do not keep your wallet or valuables in your back pocket, pick pockets are active in the city and on public transit.
  • Do try a hands on lab, there is no better way to learn than trying it yourself. These are first come first served, no need to sign up in advance just plan some time in your schedule.
  • Do eat breakfast and lunch at the conference or your hotel if it is provided, save some hits on your expense report for dinners and drinks later.
  • Do not leave your laptop or personal belongings unattended or out of your control, while the conference is secure you never know who will walk away with your stuff.
  • Do not trust taxi drivers that don’t take credit cards and want to take you to an ATM machine to get money, it is almost always a scam to copy your card, when in doubt call the police.
  • Do use common sense especially late at night, in my experience Barcelona is very safe but it is a big city like anywhere else in the world and stuff happens.

Have fun and be safe everybody! Hope to see you all there!

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Authored by Ryan Kelly, Staff Systems Engineer, Cloud Management

In this guide I will walk you through a simple setup of Admiral using Photon OS as the container host. Admiral™ is a highly scalable and very lightweight Container Management platform for deploying and managing container based applications. It is designed to have a small footprint and boot extremely quickly. Admiral™ is intended to provide automated deployment and lifecycle management of containers.

Key Features:

  • Rule-based resource management – Setup your deployment preferences to let Admiral™ manage container placement.
  • Live state updates – Provides a live view of your system.
  • Efficient multi-container template management – Enables logical multi-container application deployments.

Pre-Reqs

  • One Photon OS VM to install Admiral Container Service
  • Two Photon OS VM’s with Docker Remote API enabled to use as Container Hosts : See my Guide here
  • Internet Access from all the above Photon OS VM’s
  • A quiet place where you will not be interrupted. See my guide here.

Login to one of your Photon OS VM’s and type the following and press enter

docker run -d -p 8282:8282 --name admiral vmware/admiral

After a few minutes you should see the following:

Open a browser to the ip address of your Photon OS and port 8282 http://ipaddress:8282 then click on add host

Enter the IP and host name of one of your other Photon OS VM’s

Note: The Photon OS host you’re adding needs the Docker Remote API enabled, see my guide here.

Next, click login credentials, New Credentials and enter the following information

Next, select the default-resource-pool

Now click verify to make sure it connected correctly

Now click Add

You should now see this screen with your new host, now click on Templates

In the search box enter vmtocloud and press enter, then click to provision the vmtocloud/myblog template

Watch the progress screen on the right, after several minutes it should show finished. Now clock the Containers tab.

Notice that all the templates are being pulled from Docker Hub. In a later post I will show you how to use VMware Harbor Registry locally.

Click the My Blog Container

Notice all the information you get about the running container. Now click the second port link to go to the WordPress Site

Notice you now have a container running WordPress

Now let’s add a second host. Back in the container service screen click on the hosts tab

Now click add host

Enter the same information as before and click verify

Remember the Photon Host needs to have Docker Remote API enabled of the verify will fail with a connection error. See my guide here.

Now click add

You should now see two hosts available for Container provisioning

You should now be well on your way to using Admiral, see the user guide here to explore more features.

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Authored by Ryan Kelly, Staff Systems Engineer, Cloud Management

So you want to connect to the Docker instance on Photon OS remotly from another Docker client? In this guide I will walk you through a few short steps to configure Photon OS to enable the remote docker API. NOTE: This is not considered the secure method. If you want to use encryption and secure connections I will have a follow up post on that soon.

Login to your Photon OS using SSH or open the console and type the following and press enter

systemctl stop docker
vi /etc/default/docker

Press i on the keyboard then enter the following, when done press the ESC key then hold Shift and press the Z key twice

DOCKER_OPTS="-H tcp://0.0.0.0:2375 -H unix:///var/run/docker.sock"

Since Photon OS uses IP tables we need to open that port, type the following and press enter

iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --dport 2375 -j ACCEPT

Now start docker with the following command and press enter

systemctl start docker

To test that it worked, open a web browser to the Photon OS at http://ipaddress:2375/info and you should see the following.

Enjoy!

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Authored by Ryan Kelly, Staff Systems Engineer, Cloud Management

We are back from another successful VMworld and a lot of folks are asking for the slides from this session. While the official slides are being posted on VMworld.com, I want to follow up with a blog post on this for anyone that was unable to attend in person. As you may or may not know, VMware recently announced Photon Platform. In my initial conversations with customers, I came to the conclusion that there is some confusion between vSphere and what Photon Platform is designed for. That was the basis for my session at VMworld this year.

So, what is Photon Platform?

Purpose built, multi-tenant, scale-out infrastructure for running containers on proven VMware technology you can trust!

A closer look under the covers.

Photon Controller is the scheduler and control plane that provides the constructs to combine ESXi, vSAN and NSX into a container cloud.

Ok, but how difficult is it to install?

Easy as..One

Two

Three

Your just a clicks away from access to industry standard API and command line

Photon Platform has Role based access focused on ensuring the Developer retains their preferred tools and workflows.

What are the use cases for Photon Platform?

But we already have vSphere?

As stated, Photon Platform has a heavy focus on containers, that’s not to say that it’s your only option, if you are already running vSphere you have a huge head start to containers. The question we get a lot is..

Also, containers as a service with vRealize Automation

So which one do I choose?

vSphere Integrated Containers:

  • Already invested in and standardized around vSphere
  • You need a quick and easy solution for your developers today
  • Plans to run containers in production
  • Requirement for Policy, governance and metered self service – vRealize Automation
  • Lack of resources or commitment to adopt/learn/train on a new technology

Photon Platform:

  • Lower cost IaaS layer for Pivitol Cloud Foundry – PCF – Photon Bundle!
  • Very mature agile development processes in place that needs to scale beyond vSphere Maximums > 35,000 VM’s
  • Currently or planning to build large distributed micro service architectures.
  • Alternative to other programmable infrastructure stacks
  • Large scale high churn environments (Spin up, tear down thousands of servers/containers per day.

Sometime both:

  • Already using containers on vSphere and need to deploy at a larger scale and faster pace
  • Old hardware laying around and you want to give developers a sandbox environment to relieve some of the resources on vSphere environment
  • Internal mandate to move off of Public Cloud Service
  • Innovation projects:
    • New Mobile App Development
    • Life Science research projects
    • Application Re-Architecture Projects
    • Internet of things projects
    • Distributed computing

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Authored by Ryan Kelly, Staff Systems Engineer, Cloud Management

The 1.0 release of Photon Controller is now available on GitHub. Along with some bug fixes In this major release we see a sexy new UI. Photon Platform development is moving fast and this milestone just goes to show the commitment VMware has to deliver this new Container technology to the world.

Photon Controller is the foundation for Photon Platform. It provides a multi-tenant infrastructure for running your favorite cloud native frameworks.

If your not already familiar with Photon Controller packaging it is deployed as part of a downloadable OVA.

Once the OVA is deployed you run through the wizard based install, no changes in the install UI from previous beta, hey if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!

Once deployed you can go to the URL of the Photon Controller Manager and we see a sleek and responsive new UI.

Notice the navigation is now on top.

A look at the tenants view and we can see that the UI is cleaner, more intuative and easier overall to navigate.

Also in the tenant view it is much easier to launch a new VM.

A look at the Image view.

The Flavors view.

Summary

Overall I really admire the design and goals of this project, elegantly simple with a laser focus on solving a particular use case. The development and product teams remind me of the early days of vSphere. Looking forward to getting more time with this version and publishing more articles as I get more familiar with some of the use cases.

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Authored by Eamon Ryan, Staff Solutions Architect

I wanted to be sure to get my first post out early to promote the session I am co-presenting at VMworld US 2016 this year in Las Vegas – the session details are:

Pivotal and VMware: The Lowdown on the High Up – CNA7806
Thursday, Sep 01, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

You ask, “What have you done for me lately?”
Last year a number of integrations between Pivotal and VMware were showcased, but what indeed have we done for you lately? New products and advancements from VMware, Pivotal, and EMC have brought opportunities for fantastic joint solutions and use cases to be developed, growing capabilities beyond what was possible before, bringing enhanced speed, agility, and simplicity to developers and operations users alike, with unified governance and management.

I will be co-presenting alongside Alka Gupta – Senior Global Technical Alliance Manager at VMware, so come on by and learn about all the ins and outs of what Pivotal and VMware are doing jointly lately!

Learning outcomes:
• The 10,000-foot view of Pivotal and VMware as it stands today
• Pivotal Cloud Foundry and VMware Photon Platform (software bundle and native hybrid cloud)
• Pivotal Cloud Foundry and VMware NSX, vSAN, VMware vRealize Operations, vRealize Automation, and vRealize Code Stream
• Pivotal Cloud Foundry use cases for federation enterprise hybrid cloud
• How you can benefit and where your environment best fits in
• Real-world customer case studies showcasing the learnings and business advantages experienced along the way.

For more deep-dive sessions on specifics, check these two other sessions out:

Cheers!
Éamon Ryan