Home > Blogs > VMware Consulting Blog > Tag Archives: Andrea Siviero

Tag Archives: Andrea Siviero

Architecting an Internet-of-Things (IoT) Solution

Andrea SivieroBy Andrea Siviero

When Luke Skywalker asks Obi-Wan Kenobi, “What is The Force,” the answer was, “It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together.”

According to Intel, there are 15 billion devices on the Internet today. In 2020 the number will grow to 200 billion. In order to meet the demand for connectivity, cities are spending $41 trillion dollars to create the infrastructure to accommodate it.

What I want to talk about in this short article is how to architect an IoT solution, and the challenges in this area.

asiveiro_iot-solution

In a nutshell, connecting “things” to a “platform,” where business apps can consume information, is achieved two ways:

  • Simple “direct” connection (2-Tiered approach)
  • Using a “gateway” (3-Tiered approach)

The 3-Tier Approach: Introducing IoT Gateways

You may now be wondering, “what exactly are the reasons behind introducing a gateway into your IoT architecture?”

The answer is in the challenges introduced by the simple connection:

  • Security threat; the more “they” that are out there, the more “doors” that can be opened
  • Identity management; huge amount of devices and configuration changes
  • Configurations/updates can become a complex problem

What Is/Isn’t an IoT Gateway?

An IoT Gateway:

  • Is a function, not necessarily a physical device
  • Is not just a dumb proxy that forwards data from sensors to backend services (because that would be highly ineffective in terms of performance and network utilization).
  • Performs pre-processing of information in the field—including message filtering and aggregation—before being sent to the data center.

asiveiro_filtering-aggregation

Where is All This Leading?

As enterprises transform into digital businesses, they need to find ways to:

  • Improve efficiencies
  • Generate new forms of revenue
  • Deliver new and exciting customer experiences

These will be the tipping points for enterprise IoT to really take off.

For organizations that want to deploy IoT apps across multiple gateway vendors—and those that wish to buy solutions that are not locked into a single silo—IoT can bring problems and frustration.

VMware has taken the first steps in the IoT journey, making the IoT developer’s life easier, and introducing Liota (Little IoT Agent). Liota is a vendor-neutral open source software development kit (SDK) for building secure IoT gateway data and controlling orchestration that resides primarily on IoT gateways.

Liota is available to developers for free now at https://github.com/vmware/liota, and it works with any gateway or operating system that supports Python.

If you are attending VMworld, make a point to visit the Internet of Things Experience zone. Within this pavilion, we will have several pods showing live demos with augmented reality experiences that bring life to workflows across a variety of industries.

May the force be with you.


Andrea Siviero is an ten-year veteran of VMware and a senior solutions architect member of Professional Services Engineering (PSE) for the Software-Defined Datacenter (SDDC), a part of the Global Technical Solutions (GTS) team. Prior to PSE, Andrea spent three years as pre-sales system engineer and three years as a post-sales consultant architect for cloud computing and desktop virtualization solutions focusing on very large and complex deployments, especially for service providers in the finance and telco sectors.

VMworld Session Preview: MGT775

Andrea SivieroBy Andrea Siviero

Data center virtualization continues to receive attention in enterprise organizations that want to reduce IT costs and create a more flexible, efficient, and automated applications workload environment.

As an IT organization, you must contend with many different software and hardware components. And not only do you have to manage a lot of different components, you also face the challenge of putting them together!

To solve this complex challenge, VMware Validated Designs (VVDs) provide guidance and speed up the process of building a modern, automated Software-Defined Data Center.

So, exactly what are VMware Validated Designs?

  • They are architectures and designs created and validated by VMware and data center experts.
  • They encompass the entire set of VMware’s Software-Defined Data Center products.
  • They are standardized and streamlined designs for different deployment scenarios and a broad set of use cases.

Marco Righini, from Intel, and I were able to access early content and test it on a real data center, and we would like to share our experience with you.

Visit our session at VMworld 2016 Las Vegas (Session ID: MGT7759) to hear the findings from early adopters of VMware Validated Design.


Presenters: Marco Righini, DataVMworld 2016center Solution Architect, Intel Corp., and Andrea Siviero, Staff Solution Architect, VMware
Session Number: MGT7759
Session Title: Early VVD Adopter Experience: Building a Secure and Automated Cloud
Date and Time: Wednesday, August 31, 2016 10:00 AM‒11:00 AM

Abstract: The session presents the work done during the building of VVD using the Intel Lab in Pisa, Italy. This collaborative team effort between local VMware PSOs and Intel tested and built an entire lab from scratch, using the VVD reference architecture. The challenges of the VVD architecture are addressed, along with how it helped in the fast delivery an automated cloud.


Andrea Siviero is an ten-year veteran of VMware and a senior solutions architect member of Professional Services Engineering (PSE) for the Software-Defined Datacenter (SDDC), a part of the Global Technical Solutions (GTS) team. Prior to PSE, Andrea spent three years as pre-sales system engineer and three years as a post-sales consultant architect for cloud computing and desktop virtualization solutions focusing on very large and complex deployments, especially for service providers in the finance and telco sectors.

Define SDDC Success Based on IT Outcomes

Andrea SivieroBy Andrea Siviero

You’ve just deployed a new technology solution; how do you define whether or not it was a success?

People often have difficulty agreeing on the definition of “success” because there are two interconnected dimensions in which a project can be judged as a success or a failure. The first is project management success (delivering in accordance with the agreed-upon project objectives), and the second is 0utcome success (the amount of value the project delivers once it is complete).

Of course, getting agreement on how to define success is not always easy, but based on my day-to-day experience with customers, outcome success is desired over project management success.

Outcomes Are Worth More Than Services

Buying a service rather than an outcome is similar to paying to use equipment at a gym versus working with a personal trainer, whose job is to help you produce an outcome. The latter is worth more than the former.

VMware’s IT Outcomes support the top priority initiatives for CIOs and impact key business metrics, you can check the dedicated web site here.

In my (humble) opinion, indifferently by the IT Outcomes you are focus on, there are three important factors that contribute to a success:

People, Processes, and Architecture.

Based on my experience, customers tend to focus on architecture and technology, sometimes paying less attention to the people and process factors which can contribute more to success. Here is a real-life example from my personal experience.

ASiviero_Simplify the Situation

I was involved with a successful project implementation where all the project’s technical objectives were achieved, but the infrastructure and operations manager did not feel the desired outcomes were achieved. And that manager was right!

After spending an hour talking with the teams, I realized what a great job the consultants had done implementing and demonstrating all the capabilities of their new SDDC.

However, due to their experience, expectations, and culture, they weren’t able to reorganize their teams and processes to take full advantage of the desired outcomes (Speed, Agility and Security).

ASiviero_Amazing SDDC

Here is a summary of the best practices I’ve suggested as a way to leverage VMware technical account managers as coaches.

1 – People

ASiviero_Small Cross Functional Team

  1. Create a blended team of skilled workers with multi-domain and multi-disciplinary knowledge and expertise, and deliver cross-team training.
  1. Encourage autonomy with common goals and operating principles, and focus on service delivery.
  1. Push them to share lessons learned with other teams and expand their use of virtual networking and security.

2 – Process

ASiviero_Application Level Visibility

  1. Decompose management and troubleshooting tasks along virtual and physical boundaries.
  1. Automate manual tasks to improve efficiency and reduce errors.
  1. Correlate the end-to-end view of application health across compute, storage, and networking.

3 – Architecture

ASiviero_Key Requirements for SDDC

  1. Build your SDDC using a design validated by experts.
  1. Implement a comprehensive data center design.
  1. Add in app and network virtualization incrementally.

Putting it all together

ASiviero_Putting it All Together

Achieving 100% of a project’s intended outcomes depends not only on the technology implementation, but also on the organizatonal transformation required to ensure the proper implementation of people and process innovation.


Andrea Siviero is an ten-year veteran of VMware and a senior solutions architect member of Professional Services Engineering (PSE) for the Software-Defined Datacenter (SDDC), a part of the Global Technical Solutions (GTS) team. Prior to PSE, Andrea spent three years as pre-sales system engineer and three years as a post-sales consultant architect for cloud computing and desktop virtualization solutions focusing on very large and complex deployments, especially for service providers in the finance and telco sectors.

Celebrating Eight Years at VMware

Andrea SivieroBy Andrea Siviero, VMware Senior Solutions Architect

How fascinating!

When you are having fun, you don’t realize how fast time passes by. This has never been truer than for the eight years I have spent at VMware. On the personal side, I have gained two children, changed couple of houses, lost 20 kg and found a new passion for running. On the professional side, I’ve changed roles, from a pre-sales system engineer of the “Virtualization 1.0 Era” to an architect of “What’s Next.”

VMware acknowledges every four years of service with an award. When I celebrated four years, the award was a VASA sculpture comprising these three cubes, recalling the old-style VMware logo:

ASiviero1

VMware 4 Years Award

(To read more about the VASA sculptures and how Diane Green got the idea, click here.)

At eight years, it was a brand new kind of VASA sculpture. There are no cubes anymore, but the design still recalls them in colors and shapes taken from different perspectives.  Moreover, the small squares inside the sculpture are actually eight, like the number of years of the award. An incrementally evolved idea, isn’t it? After all, that’s the essence of VMware.

ASiviero2

VMware Eight Years Award: I was so pleased! 

Then: the Virtualization 1.0 Era and the “Compute Plant”

Of course, more has changed over the past eight years at VMware than just the awards. Eight years ago—in the “Virtualization 1.0 Era”—one of the biggest customer challenges was data center resource optimization and cost savings in the face of an increasing number of separated components needed for evolved applications architecture (i.e. Service Oriented Architecture) and x86 power unrelentingly following the Moore’s law.

ASiviero3

VMware, with x86 virtualization, began to solve the problem by decoupling the hardware from the operating system and applications in a simple and disruptive approach that promised to deliver immense benefits.

ASiviero4

Historical picture from 2007 EMEA TSX

There were three basic ways customers approached virtualization at this time, which led to vastly different outcomes:

–        Reluctant to change: These customers were informed on new IT trends but, not considering virtualization a serious alternative for production environment, they continued to allocate dedicated hardware for each new project, with IT budget demands increasing year-over-year without real business benefits.

–        Taking a tactical approach: These customers invested in virtualization using a project-specific approach to virtual infrastructure, creating different non-standardized silos with sprawling of virtual machines.

–        Making strategic moves to a shared virtual infrastructure:  These customers took a big-picture view, aggregating budgets from multiple projects to build a shared virtual infrastructure that allowed easy redistribution of compute resources while maintaining high levels of governance, increasing availability and agility, and lowering costs.

Slide1

2008 Customer Virtualization adoption strategies

Over the years, VMware introduced new approaches to managing virtual infrastructure, transforming it into a “Compute Plant” where customers could dynamically manage resources. This introduced agility, automation and governance.

ASiviero7

Figure 5 2008 VMware Historical picture: vSphere as a “Compute Plan”

Now: Transforming the Ways IT Provides Services

Now, in the mobile/cloud era, VMware has continued to be the catalyst for the evolution of IT, building disruptive advantages for managing, automating and orchestrating computing, networking, storage and security. This has transformed IT into a provider of services that can be delivered on-premise, off-premise and in a hybrid combination of the two.

ASiviero8

VMware vRealize Suite

What about customer approaches of today? IT goals haven’t changed much over the years, and neither have the three types of organizational approaches to new technologies:

–        Reactive – With IT exhausting resources to maintain existing systems, they’re challenged to support future business results. The need for rapid innovation has driven users outside of traditional IT channels. As a result, cloud has entered the business opportunistically, threatening to create silos of activities that cannot satisfy mandates for security, risk management and compliance.

–        Proactive – IT has moved to embrace cloud as a model for achieving innovation through increased efficiency, reliability and agility. Shifts in processes and organizational responsibilities attempt to bring structure to cloud decisions and directions. More importantly, IT has embraced a new role: that of a service broker. IT is now able to leverage external providers to deliver rapid innovation within the governance structure of IT, balancing costs, risks and services levels.

–        Innovative – IT has fully implemented cloud computing as the model for producing and consuming computing, shifting legacy systems to a more flexible infrastructure. They’ve invested in automation and policy-based management for greater efficiency and reliability, enabling a broad range of stakeholders to consume IT services via self-service. They’ve also detailed measurement capabilities that quantify the financial impact of sourcing decisions, allowing them to redirect resources and drive new services and capabilities that advance business goals.

Moving Beyond a Reactive State of IT

At every stage of the virtualization evolution, there have been strategic, early adopters and those who take a “wait and see” attitude. But as workloads and end-users become more demanding, even the most reticent IT departments will need to shift away from a reactive environment, taking steps to redefine the way that it operates and the technology it leverages for its foundation. I believe in the near future enterprise customers to move beyond a “reactive state” will have to:

  • Continue to invest in private cloud to build the foundation for an efficient, agile, reliable infrastructure
  • Identify processes that can be automated, Involving our technology consulting services to create, expand or optimize their environments while gaining hands-on knowledge for their teams
  • Establish a self-service environment to deliver IT services to stakeholders on-demand across every Business Units.
  • Begin to identify the true costs of IT services.
  • Embrace third-party providers as a source of innovation.

Get ready for more bumps and fun

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” C. Darwin

Evolution of any kind doesn’t happen without bumps and fun. We live and work in a constantly changing landscape, and with VMware we have opportunities every day to influence and be part of the exciting changes that are taking place today and shaping the IT of tomorrow.

Which is what makes it all so fascinating.

See more at: http://www.vmware.com/products/vrealize-business/


Andrea Siviero is an eight-year veteran of VMware and a senior solutions architect member of Professional Services Engineering (PSE) for the Software-Defined Datacenter (SDDC), a part of the Global Technical Solutions (GTS) team. Prior to PSE, Andrea spent three years as pre-sales system engineer and three years as a post-sales consultant architect for cloud computing and desktop virtualization solutions focusing on very large and complex deployments, especially for service providers in the finance and telco sectors.

Have a Chat with Your SDDC (Automating the Management of the Management Portal, Part 2)

By Andrea Siviero, VMware Senior Solutions Architect

Andrea SivieroIn my recent post “Look Mom, no Mouse!” I introduced an amazing new way to interact with your SDDC without a mouse, but now, using a command-line with simple mnemonic instructions you can “Talk” with your SDDC to “Automate the Management of the Management Portal”.

VMware has just announced vRealize CloudClient 3.0 released for general availability (GA) (http://developercenter.vmware.com/web/dp/tool/cloudclient/3.0.0).

So now that it’s GA, I’m excited to explore with you more deeply how to use CloudClient, and also to share its benefits.

What commands do I want to show you today?

–        Create a brand new tenant and service catalog and entitle them to administrators

–        Import an existing blueprint into the brand new CloudClient-made tenant

–        Deploy blueprints from the catalog of services

So wake up your SDDC — it’s time for a lovely chat. 🙂

Log in and create a tenant
CloudClient allows you to log in in an interactive way:

CloudClient> vra login userpass --server vcac-l-01a.corp.local --tenant pse --user siviero@gts.local --password ****** --iaasUser corp\\Administrator --iaasPassword ******

Or to edit the CloudClient.properties file to fill in all the details, just type this command to create an empty configuration:

CloudClient> login autologinfile

NOTE: IaaS credentials need to be passed with double back-slash i.e. corp\\Administrator

Login Screen

Figure 1: Login

Create a new tenant, identity-store and admins
When you are logged in as administrator@vsphere.local, creating a tenant is just three commands away. To set the name of the tenant, how users will get authenticated (AD or LDAP) and who will be the adminstrators:

CloudClient> vra tenant add --name "PSE" --url "PSE"
CloudClient> vra tenant identitystore add --name "PSE AD" --type AD --url ldap://controlcenter.corp.local --userdn "CN=Administrator,CN=Users,DC=corp,DC=local" --password "****" --groupbasedn "OU=Nephosoft QE,DC=corp,DC=local" --tenantname "PSE" --alias "gts.local" --domain "corp.local"
CloudClient> vra tenant admin update --tenantname "PSE" --addtenantadmins siviero@gts.local --addiaasadmins admin1@gts.local,admin2@gts.local
Create Tenant

Figure 2: Create Tenant

Create a fabric group and business group and assign resources
Now let’s annotate the returned IDs so they can be used in further commands. (They can be scripted using variables.)

CloudClient> vra fabricgroup add --name "GTS Fabric Group" --admins "admin1@gts.local,admin2@gts.local"
Create Fabric Group

Figure 3: Create Fabric Group

Search for the suitable compute resources. We will select the “Cluster Site A”:

CloudClient> vra computeresource list
Compute Resources

Figure 4: Compute Resources

Let’s finalize the “trivial” steps of assigning the compute resources to the fabric group and creating a business group wth a pre-determined machine prefix.

CloudClient> vra fabricgroup update --id f8bbfcd5-79c0-43db-a382-2473b91862e6 --addcomputeresource c47e3332-bdef-4391-9f93-269dcf14f2c5
CloudClient> vra machineprefix add --prefix gts- --numberOfDigits 3 --nextNumber 001
CloudClient> vra businessgroup add --name "GTS Business Group" --admins "admin1@gts.local,admin2@gts.local" --adContainer "cn=computers" --email admin2@gts.local --description "GTS Group" --machinePrefixId 1c1d20c3-ba91-443e-beb0-b9b0728ee29c
Assign Resources

Figure 5: Assign Resources

Here comes the fun: import/export blueprints
Until now, CloudClient commands used are merely a reproduction of what normally happens on the GUI.

Let me show where the power of it comes out: let’s assume you already created a good blueprint in a tenant with a blueprint profile and you just want to “copy&paste” it to another tenant. You cannot do it in the GUI — you need to manually recreate it — but hey, here comes the CloudClient magic: log in to the source tenant and export the blueprint in a JSON format:

CloudClient> vra iaas blueprint list

CloudClient> vra iaas blueprint detail --id 697b8302-b5a9-4fbf-8544-2f19d4e8a220 --format JSON --export CentOS63.json
Export Blueprint to JSON file

Figure 6: Export Blueprint to JSON file

Now log back to the brand new PSE tenant and import the blueprint like this:

CloudClient> vra iaas blueprint add vsphere --inputfile CentOS63.json --name "CentOS 6.3 x64 Base" --cpu 1 --memory 512
Import Blueprint from JSON

Figure 7: Import Blueprint from JSON

Request the blueprint from the catalog
The remaining steps will be trivial as before: Create a service, an entitlement, and actions and assign the blueprint to catalog. Reading the documentation will help you to get familiar with it.

Note: “Reservations” verbs are not yet implemented, so at some point you need to use the GUI to complete the process.

So please let me fast forward to the final moment when you can successfully deploy a blueprint and see it live. 🙂

CloudClient> vra catalog list
Listing the Catalog

Figure 8: Listing the Catalog

Using the ID returned from catalog list, make the request:

CloudClient> vra catalog request submit --id c8a850d2-a089-4afb-b5d8-b298580cf9f9 --groupid 2c220523-60bb-419e-80c8-c5bfd81aa805 --reason fun
Checking the Requests

Figure 9: Checking the Requests

And here it is, our little VM, happy and running. 🙂

Happy and Running

Figure 10: Happy and Running

The Occam’s Razor principle: “Entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity.”

In my humble opinion: Please don’t waste lot of time doing everything (Coffe/Tea?) from a command-line. vRealize Automation 6.1 has a nicely improved UI and is very intuitive to work with.

Keep the solutions as simple as possible and use vRealize CloudClient when some real “black magic” is needed.


Andrea Siviero is an eight-year veteran of VMware and a senior solutions architect member of Professional Services Engineering (PSE) for the Software-Defined Datacenter (SDDC), a part of the Global Technical Solutions (GTS) team. Prior to PSE, Andrea spent three years as pre-sales system engineer and three years as a post-sales consultant architect for cloud computing and desktop virtualization solutions focusing on very large and complex deployments, especially for service providers in the finance and telco sectors.