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Tag Archives: SDDC

Go for the Gold: See vSphere with Operations Management In Action

If there’s anything we’ve learned from watching the recent Winter Olympics, it’s that world-class athletes are focused, practice endless hours, and need to be both efficient and agile to win gold.

When it comes to data centers, what sets a world-class data center apart is the software. A software-defined data center (SDDC) provides the efficiency and agility for IT to meet exploding business expectations so your business can win gold.

The VMware exclusive seminar is here! Join us to learn about the latest in SDDC.

Now through March 19, VMware TechTalk Live is hosting free, interactive half-day workshops in 32 cities across the U.S. and Canada. Attendees will get to see a live demo of vSphere with Operations Management.

The workshops will also provide a detailed overview of the key components of the SDDC architecture, as well as results of VMware customer surveys explaining how the SDDC is actually being implemented today.

Check out the TechTalk Live event information to find the location closest to you and to reserve your spot.

SDDC + SAP = CapEx/OpEx Savings

By Girish Manmadkar, an SAP Virtualization Architect at VMware

Earlier this month, my colleague David Gallant wrote about architecting a software-defined data center for SAP and other business-critical applications. I’d like to further explore how SAP fits into the software-defined data center (SDDC) and, specifically, how to optimize it for CapEx and OpEx savings.

A key to remember is that the SDDC is not a single technology that you purchase and install—it is a use case, a strategy, a mind shift. And in that way, it is also a journey that will unfold in stages and should be planned in that way. I’ve outlined the three foundational steps below.

SDDC 1.0

Most of the customers that I work with are well along in this stage, moving their current non-x86 SAP workloads toward a VMware-based x86 environment.

During this process, numerous milestones can be delivered to the business, in particular, an immediate reduction in their CapEx. This benefit is achieved by starting to move non-x86 or current physical x-86 workloads to the virtual x-86 OS platform. Understandably, customers tend to approach this transition with caution, so we often start with low-hanging fruits: non-production and/or development SAP systems.

The next step you can take is to introduce automation. Automation comes in two places: at the infrastructure layer, which is achieved using VMware vCloud Automation Center and Orchestration; and at the application layer, delivered using SAP’s Landscape Virtualization Manager.

During this phase it is best to implement vSphere features, including auto deploy—host profiles, and OS templates—in order to automate vSphere and virtual machine provisioning to the environment.

Often it is a good idea at this time to start a parallel project around storage. You can work with your storage and backup teams to enhance current architectures by enabling storage technologies like de-dup, vSphere storage I/O control and any other storage array plugins.

We also recommend minimizing agents in the guest operating system, such as agents used for backup and/or anti-virus. The team should start putting together new architecture to move such agents from the guest OS to the vSphere hosts to reduce complexity and improve performance. The storage and network teams should look to implement new architecture that will support virtual disaster recovery solution. By planning ahead now, teams can avoid rework later.

During this phase, the team not only migrates SAP application servers to the vSphere platform but also shows business value with CapEx reductions and value-added flexibility to scale out SAP application server capacity on demand.

SDDC 2.0

Once this first stage goes into the operations cycle, it lays the groundwork for various aspects of the SDDC’s second stage. The next shift is toward a converged datacenter or common virtualization framework to deploy a software-defined lifecycle for SAP. This allows better monitoring, migration to the cloud, chargeback, and security.

This is also the phase where you want to virtualize your SAP central instances, or ASCS instances, and database servers. The value here is the removal of a reliance on complex, physical clustered environments by transitioning instead to VMware’s high-availability features. These include fault tolerance (FT) applicable to and determined by the SAP sizing exercise for the ASCS and focused on meeting the business’s SLAs.

SDDC 3.0

Once the SDDC 2.0 is in production, it is a good time to start defining other aspects of SDDC, such as Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service, Storage-as-a-Service, and Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service.

Keep an eye out for our follow-up post fleshing out the processes and benefits of these later stages.


Girish Manmadkar is a veteran VMware SAP Virtualization Architect with extensive knowledge and hands-on experience with various SAP and VMware products, including various databases. He focuses on SAP migrations, architecture designs, and implementation, including disaster recovery.

The SDDC Seems Cool … But What Do I Do with It?

By David Gallant, VMWare Professional Services Consultant

Lately I’ve been receiving requests from customers to talk to them about the software-defined data center (SDDC). So I start to explain software-defined networking, software-defined storage, automated provisioning, and self-service portals.

And that’s when I notice the customer looking excited, but also slightly confused.

Last week at SAP TechEd 2013, I was in the middle of just such a talk when I decided to stop and I ask the customer why he looked puzzled.

His response? “That’s great, but what do I do with all that SDDC stuff?”

That’s when the light bulb came on. He was right to question me—why build a software-defined data center if you have no clue what you’re going to do with it?

To really harvest the investment in your SDDC, you need to be building toward a specific set of goals. We don’t build data centers without a purpose; and that purpose for SDDC, as it’s always been, is the application.

In most cases the best data centers have been purpose-designed and built around the organization’s business-critical applications; for instance SAP, Oracle, or Microsoft applications.

I’ll concentrate for now on SAP—if you can architect an SDDC for SAP, you can roll those concepts over to pretty much any other application. Continue reading

Developing Defense in Depth for a Software-Defined Data Center

By Jared SkinnerCloud Management Sales Director – West

The software-defined data center (SDDC) is on the tip of a lot of tongues these days, but the fact is, it’s not yet an end-point solution but rather a constantly evolving strategy. For that reason, I meet many customers who are excited about its potential but still wary of the unknowns—in particular around security.

As we abstract different layers of the technological stack, namely storage and network, we must continue to manage security across the stack through industry best practices and/or regulatory standards. Securing the SDDC begins by reinventing Defense in Depth.

What Is “Defense in Depth”?

I think of Defense in Depth like an onion, where the sweetest part is the center, protected under many layers of security. Continue reading

Top Tips and Take-Aways from VMworld 2013

It’s hard to believe it’s been a month since 23,000 forward-thinking IT professionals converged in San Francisco for VMworld 2013. With VMworld Barcelona just around the corner, we asked a few of our consultants to reflect back on highlights from San Francisco and offer advice for how to get the most out of the event.

What nugget of information from VMworld did you take back to your work?

“Pay special attention to NSX and vSAN because VMware is changing the way IT delivers networking and storage services.” –Jung Hwang

“Automating SDDC is now more than an idea—it’s a reality. It has a huge impact on the Business Critical Applications space.” –David Gallant

“Almost anything can now be virtualized: monster VMs are now commonplace; systems that previously required an entire Unix platform to run can now be accommodated in a single Virtual Machine on VMware vSphere 5.x.” –Michael Webster Continue reading

3 Steps to Put You on the Path to the Software-Defined Data Center

The software-designed data center (SDDC) was the hot topic at VMworld 2013, which wrapped up this week. Our consultants and the VMworld speakers helped answer lots of SDDC questions, but we know that there are still plenty out there—especially for those of you who couldn’t join us in San Francisco.

To begin at the beginning: How do we define the software-defined data center? As VMware Professional Services Chief Architect John Steiner points out in this video, SDDC is not just virtualization of servers, networks, and storage. He instead describes it as “cloud done right,” and outlines the other processes that allow IT organizations to realize the full benefits of a software-defined data center architecture.

We know organizations are also looking for specific steps to help them design an efficient transition to the software-defined data center. In this second video, John explains three key questions for organizations to answer, pointing out, “It’s not about doing it all at once—it’s about understanding how I can drive virtualization and server definition into all the key components in all my endpoints.”

For more details on getting the full benefits of the software-defined data center, please contact VMware Technology Consulting Services. They will be happy to help!

Get Your Hands on the Data Center of the Future

By John Steiner, Eric Ledyard and Shaun Millin

Today’s software-defined data center (SDDC) is helping IT organizations meet business demands by automating and managing a growing range of data center functions, freeing up resources for new projects that support IT as a service.

From talking to VMware customers, we know that up to 80% of deployment time has nothing to do with physical equipment—it’s all about the orchestration between the technology, the people and the migration process. Thus, implementing an SDDC architecture goes beyond virtualized computing to a fully integrated, highly automated IT environment.

You can see exactly how the VMware Professional Services team designed and built an SDDC environment based on the vCloud Enterprise product suite and the opportunities it presents during our hands-on demo at VMworld San Francisco this week. Stop by the VMworld Professional Services booth to have one of our skilled architects walk you through the data center of the future.

The SDDC hands-on demo will include:

  • A self service catalog based on vCloud Automation Center where users can provision different types of systems, including small, medium, and large environments, with a built-in costing model. With a couple of clicks, deploy Windows and Linux machines, along with a multi-tier application that provides a shopping cart interface for web servers, fully backed by network load balancing, as well as a database with communication networking built in.
  • A fully integrated management interface where administrators can easily determine which systems are available to users and automatically apply different approval workflows. Admins can also decide what kind of networking is put in place, including low, medium, and high security levels.  All of the automation and orchestration of the environment was achieved by integrating vCenter Automation Center with vCenter Orchestrator.
  • A workflow manager employing vCenter Orchestrator, the single workflow engine running behind the VMware live demo. When a system, network, or group is requested, vCenter Orchestrator runs predefined workflow components, such as additional installations. Once the system has been deployed, it’s also dynamically entered into the vCenter Operations Manager  environment, purpose-built for the software-defined data center.
  • The vCenter Operations management environment, which greatly improves on traditional green, yellow, red health ratings. In addition to dynamically managing virtual environments, it provides risk and trending information, allowing administrators to track the health of the environment, but also to see opportunities for future failures. Instead of today’s traditional “reactive” environments, a software-defined data center enables a proactive environment where administrators can fix problems before they occur by monitoring the health of the entire stack, not just the server interface.
  • The vCenter Configuration Manager, which examines the environment where a system is being deployed to determine if it is following predefined compliance and security rules. In addition, the virtualized networking environment allows administrators to look into all the security and networking capabilities offered by VMware to automate rule creation and to monitor compliance without having to chase down and scan different machines.

For details on how these products are deployed and integrated, contact VMware Professional Services or stop by and talk with our consultants and architects at our VMworld booth.


John Steiner is Chief Architect for VMware Professional Services. Since joining VMware in 2007 and VMware Accelerate Advisory Services in 2010, Steiner has pioneered the business solutions architect delivery model through the creation of architectural blueprints and multiyear roadmaps that help customers achieve maximum business value, data center efficiencies, cost reductions and ROI objectives.

As a business solutions architect for VMware Accelerate Advisory Services, Eric Ledyard utilizes the broad VMware portfolio and his own experience to design strategic roadmaps for transformation that lead organizations to their goals of building highly efficient IT-as-a-service environments.

Shaun Millin has worked at VMware for more than a year with the Integration Automation Team, designing and delivering custom IaaS and PaaS solutions. Shaun has extensive knowledge in data center virtualization, orchestration, and VMware API scripting.

Are You Ready To Get The Most Out Of VMworld?

Since the sessions for VMware 2013 were announced, we’ve been highlighting a few favorites from our Professional Services Consultants and Service Architects each week. The planner will be launching soon, and with 350+ sessions this year, we imagine you’ll be carefully laying out your schedule in the coming weeks.

This week we recommend you check in with David Hill about building a hybrid cloud and Wade Holmes about software-defined storage. And don’t miss our earlier recommendations in the End-User Computing and Virtualization tracks.

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How to Build a Hybrid Cloud in Less than a Day

With David Hill (VMware)

In this session you’ll hear how you can build a hybrid cloud in less than a day. We will look at the multiple technologies available today enabling the hybrid cloud and how you can use them to turn your current vSphere infrastructure into a hybrid. This helps businesses lower total cost of ownership and operational costs.

Attendees will leave the session with:

  • An understanding of how to deploy vCloud Connector in a vSphere infrastructure
  • Clarity on the potential pitfalls and mistakes real customers have made in the past
  • Knowledge of how to move workloads seamlessly between clouds

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Software-Defined Storage: The VCDX Way

With Wade Holmes (VMware)

Storage is one of the key pillars within every datacenter. Leveraging software-defined storage is key to unleashing the full benefits of the software-defined data-center. But, as with any new technology, you must understand how software-defined storage fits into your current datacenter architecture.

VMware Certified Design Experts (VCDXs) utilize an architectural methodology that eases the adoption of new technology to meet your business needs. Join us to learn how to design, implement, and integrate software-defined storage solutions—the VCDX way.

At this session you’ll learn:

  • How the VCDX architectural methodology can assist you in adopting new technology into your data center
  • How leveraging software-defined storage can assist in meeting your business needs
  • Key features and capabilities of VMware’s software-defined storage offerings

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Have You Included Education in Your SDDC Transformation Budget?

By Ryan Dohm, VMWare Professional Services Consultant

This may be the most incredible time in history for emerging technologies and integrated information systems. As a VMware consultant, I see many new and seasoned companies growing larger and more profitable in what most consider “hard economic” times. On numerous occasions I see these environments becoming so advanced and “state-of-the-art” that the support staff fall behind the technology.

Successful companies must upgrade to the latest core systems to be able to run the newest versions of software demanded by their customers. As my peer David Gallant mentions in his article, as Tier 1 applications (database, web and unified communication) advance, they require the latest virtual hardware platforms, plus virtualized servers, network and storage systems. This is pushing the  “standard datacenter” to evolve into the “software defined data center” (SDDC).

Having the latest software and hardware systems in the data center provides many advantages, including:

  1. Faster, more efficient hardware that handles more users with a smaller physical footprint
  2. The ability to run the latest applications, allowing mobile devices and “always-on” resources
  3. Information systems can offer more services with fewer support staff to maintain availability

Unfortunately, more than half of the companies I visit are squandering the advantages of their data center upgrades by failing to adequately prepare the IT staff tasked to run and configure the new hardware/software. Time and again, the technical personnel I interact with request professional training to provide them with the skills they need to successfully support the new environment. Too often they are struggling to keep their heads above water as the vendors implement new software.

While the data center becomes very efficient, the operations side lags behind until management realizes the importance of increasing the budget to train IT staff. In my opinion, the architecting of a new technology should include a plan to educate the staff supporting the new environment after its implementation. This is too rarely the case.

Movement to the SDDC can also be hindered by counterproductive ideas lodged within the technical teams themselves—like the “silo” mentality. In other words, if a problem doesn’t specifically match the support staff’s job description, it is “not their job” to address the issue. (My eyes roll as I type that.)

This “old IT” paradigm must shift to meet the needs of the new SDDC reality. The silos must be rebuilt into a large integrated collection of knowledge resources. The old lines, “this is what I was hired for” and “this is what I am required to do” are now relics of the past. Many technical staff cringe at the idea of change. I encourage them to remember that, with new technology comes new and exciting opportunity. It’s up to today’s technical support staff to become a more versatile asset to their teams—and, luckily, they have many tools to help them do this.

One I’m obviously fond of is VMware’s comprehensive professional services capabilities, which provide timely implementation of solutions, as well as hands-on experience to the operational teams expected to maintain that solution. Although VMware offers an array of pre-defined professional service engagements, it also allows customers to define an entirely custom scope for any services desired. For a comprehensive list of services, please visit www.VMware.com/services/full-services-portfolio.html

Ryan Dohm has worked at VMware for more than a year with the End User Computing team, driving Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, Data Center virtualization and Private/Hybrid Cloud environments engagements.

Virtualize SAP – Risky or Not?

By Girish Manmadkar, VMWare Professional Services Consultant

In years past, some IT managers were not ready to talk about virtualizing SAP due to technical and political reasons. The picture is very different today, in part because of the increased emphasis on IT as a strategic function towards ‘Software–Defined Data Center’ (SDDC).

Virtualization and the road to SDDC expands the cost and operational benefits of server virtualization to all data center infrastructure—network, security, storage, and management. For example, peak workloads such as running consolidated financial reports are handled much more effectively, thanks to streamlined provisioning. Integrating systems because of company acquisitions are more easily managed due to the flexibility offered with virtualized platforms. And finally customers are leveraging their virtualized SAP environment to add additional capabilities such as enhanced disaster recovery/business continuity or chargeback systems.

Many customers have been realizing virtualization benefits ever since they moved their SAP production workloads to the VMware platform. As IT budgets continue to shrink, the imperative to lower operating costs becomes more urgent—and virtualization can make a real difference. Server consolidation through virtualization translates directly into lower costs for power, cooling, and space—and boosts the organizations “green” profile in the bargain.

Organizations Benefit from Virtualizing SAP

The main requirement for any IT manager supporting an SAP environment is to ensure high availability —even a few minutes of downtime can cause loss of dollars, not to mention angry phone calls from executive management as well as frustrated users. VMware virtualization takes advantage of SAP’s high-availability features to ensure that the SAP software stays running without any interruption and helps keep those phonelines quiet.

Greenfield SAP deployments are a great way to start building the environment right from ground zero by utilizing a building-block approach. You will start seeing the benefits of flexibility, scalability and availability of the newly built environment on VMware.

Upgrades comes with two scenario’s

  • A. SAP hardware refresh cycle
  • B. An SAP Application and/or database upgrade

Upgrades are a part of every SAP landscape and they can be complex and require long-term efforts. I have seen that most of my customers who go through their standard physical environment for SAP upgrades, spend many man hours or even days – if they have the hardware available at their disposal. However, in the virtual environment, the provisioning process is pretty rapid and can be executed in minutes, including the deprovisioning to reclaim required resources back in the resource pool which makes the upgrade process that much more streamlined and efficient. When going through an SAP upgrade – a very time and cost sensitive project, it is very important to provide required resources to the development team in a timely manner.

Time to Move

Let’s say that you’ve decided to virtualize your SAP environment—now the question is timing. I have seen many customers take the SAP upgrade and/or platform or hardware refresh as possible opportunities to move to the virtual platform.

A planned SAP upgrade can be a good time to move. I have seen some customers cash in on the planned move to SAP NetWeaver & other add-ons to virtualize their entire SAP landscapes—with savings of more than half of their capital expenses.

A hardware refresh is a great time to move. Many customers take advantage of the change in hardware to also consider a migration to virtualization at the same time. It allows customer to integrate the hardware refresh and virtualization projects to minimize disruptions and combine staff training for new hardware and software.

SAP Requirements: Security,Compliance and Disaster Recovery

Challenges like compliance and security policies often require substantial infrastructure changes, that can highlight the inherent inflexibility of the existing traditional hardware platform and persuade top management to invest in infrastructure. Many customers have successfully implemented VMware-provided solutions to ensure the security and compliance of their SAP environment so that they can experience the benefits from virtualization.

Disaster Recovery
A Business Continuity plan is imperative for many of our SAP customers. Disasters – a natural or man-made disaster severely impacts operation which impacts the bottom line. Which of course, is the reason why executives often order a review of the company’s disaster recovery/business continuity plans. VMware understands this importance and the risk which is addressed by VMware Site Recovery Manager product.

So is virtualizing your platform for your SAP environment too risky? All IT projects have risk. Is it so risky to pass up the benefits of virtualization? In my opinion, no – not if you follow the advice and methodology offered by my colleagues, David Gallant (Business as usual with Tier 1 Business Critical Applications? – Not!) and Eiad (Knowing Your Applications is Key to Successful Data Center Transformation). I ask you – if you haven’t already virtualized your SAP environment, why not explore it now? There’s been so many advances in technology and alliances, you can’t ignore it any longer.

Girish Manmadkar is a veteran VMware SAP Virtualization Architect with extensive knowledge and hand-on experience on various SAP and VMware products including various databases. He focuses on SAP migrations, architecture designs, and implementation, including disaster recovery.