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Tag Archives: vsan

Click Go -> Take the VSAN Hands-on Lab !


Huge congratulations to the teams for launching VSAN !

You can now explore a fully provisioned version of VSAN at your finger tips. No special hardware, or licenses needed to run a lab and the best part is you can explore VSAN at your leisure using most modern browsers…

Important Links for VSAN Hands-on Labs:

Take your VSAN Lab – http://vmware.com/go/vsanlab

Lab Manuals in HTML / PDF – http://docs.hol.vmware.com/HOL-2013/HOL-SDC-1308_html_en


A look back… and forward

As 2013 draws to a close, there are a lot of people posting predictions for 2014. As for me, I think that 2014 is going to be the year that VDI really takes off…

But seriously, I’m not big into making predictions. If I’m right, there is just more pressure to do it again next year, and if I’m wrong… humiliations galore. Instead, I’d like to look at where we have been as leading indicators to what may be interesting going forward. To that end, while I am migrating labs between clouds in preparation for VMware Partner Exchange in February, I’m looking back at 2013 and some things that piqued my interest. I’ve tried to keep the list short because you’re probably like me and have a short attention span. There are so many to choose from, but three is about all I can manage.

For me, 2013 was a pretty big year: I joined VMware in March, attended my 9th and 10th VMworlds (including my first one in Europe), drafted my first white paper, and learned quite a bit about NSX, VSAN and OpenStack along the way. That’s not to say that I’m an expert in any of those areas yet, but I think each of them is going to be important in the not-too-distant future. You may think that I’m just drinking the company Kool-Aid, but the engineer in me who likes to look at the components of a solution thinks these technologies are actually very interesting.

We officially announced NSX at VMworld San Francisco in August of 2013 and its GA in October in Barcelona. Those of us on the Hands-on Labs team witnessed the excitement around these announcements at both conferences: the NSX for vSphere lab was taken more than double the number of times as the second-most popular lab (our usual winner, the vSphere Performance lab.) I think this is the first time that we have had such a dramatic difference between our top labs.

Over the past few months, the interest in NSX has not waned. Within the public Hands-on Labs, we have delivered nearly 2,500 NSX labs since October. People want to understand this new paradigm and how they can leverage it to make their lives easier. Don’t get me wrong, the transition is not something that can be done overnight or without planning, but I think the potential value of this abstraction for the right customers is incredible. If you would like to experience NSX for yourself, we have two Hands-on Labs for that: HOL-SDC-1303 (NSX for vSphere) and HOL-SDC-1319 (NSX for Multi-Hypervisor). In HOL-SDC-1319, you create each of the components and connect them by hand using the web interface. In a later module, you have the option of performing all of that same work by executing one simple script. There is a lot of untapped power in that kind of automation.

I have not focused in the networking space for many years and I am looking forward to reacquainting myself. I know it has been said by many others before me, but NSX seems to be positioned to do for networking what ESX did for servers in the early 2000’s. Watch this space.

I’ve worked a lot with enterprise storage, so I think this is a no-brainer. That I’m talking about VSAN may surprise you since it involves decentralizing the storage. However, I’m also a big fan of choosing the right tool for the job, and I think there are jobs at which VSAN will excel. Even though VSAN is only in beta, there is a great deal of excitement about this product. I have been in standing-room-only VSAN sessions at VMUG meetings, and nearly 10,000 people have expressed interest by signing up for the VSAN beta program — you can go to http://vsanbeta.com and join the party.

Even if you have a “proper” storage area network with a fancy array, I humbly suggest you take a look at what VSAN can do and, more importantly, how it ties storage and virtual machines together. Beyond its underlying host-centric storage configuration, which may give traditional SAN people that funny feeling in the pits of their stomachs, the per-VM storage policy based management (SPBM) is absolutely worth understanding. SPBM has applications beyond VSAN. Say you are interested in VSAN but lack the gear to get it installed. You can head over and take the VSAN lab in the Hands-on Labs. While you will not experience the performance of running a real VSAN, you can have a look at the interface, enjoy its configuration simplicity, and explore those storage policies I mentioned earlier.

OpenStack is another thing that caught my eye this year. There has been all kinds of buzz around this one, and I admit that I initially looked at it because I wanted to know what all of the fuss was about. If you are looking for a way to deploy certain types of applications or workloads, this framework is absolutely worth a look. However, I suggest a nontrivial amount of Linux knowledge as the prerequisite to any production deployment.

We have been doing a lot of work with OpenStack at VMware — in fact, VMware is one of the top 10 contributors to OpenStack, and no small effort has been expended to ensure that OpenStack integrates not only with VMware vSphere but also NSX and VSAN. Some people believe that OpenStack and vSphere are mutually exclusive. That is entirely untrue. You can learn more about all of this on our VMware OpenStack community page.

I noticed a lot of confusion in the industry regarding OpenStack: what it is and how it can or should be used. As someone who comes from a traditional datacenter background (you know, 1:1:1 application:server:OS, or application:VM:OS), I think I am of the same mind as many of you. I have done my fair share of research and I see OpenStack as an interesting technology that has its place in the toolkit.

Unfortunately, I believe there are some in the industry trying to position OpenStack as the “one ring to rule them all.” It isn’t, at least not out of the box or without accepting a significant amount of risk. If you have heard the pets/cattle or kittens/chickens analogies before, you have an idea of what I mean. At this point, OpenStack is most definitely suited for “cattle” and “chickens,” and it does a great job with those. Users with the right workloads seem to love their OpenStack. However, I have not seen it used to provision Microsoft SQL or Exchange servers, Oracle application or database environments, or most traditional (i.e. not cloud-aware) enterprise applications.

When I first read about OpenStack, I thought, “Oh, great, is this the the ‘single pane of glass’ panacea all over again: manage multiple different stacks of gear using just one API!” After closer inspection, I think there is more to it than that and it is worth watching to see how deep the rabbit hole goes. As long as it somehow manages to keep things simple and doesn’t contract “creeping feature-itis,” I see OpenStack and its offspring going a long way. Interested in some Hands-on? Yeah, we have a lab for that, too: HOL-SDC-1320 (OpenStack and vSphere) NEW Openstack HOL available -> https://my.vmware.com/web/vmware/evalcenter?p=openstack-hol

In my experience, it is good to know what the available tools can do, even if you do not yet know all of the details about how they work. Sure, I could have easily mentioned the cool stuff that the PernixData guys are doing, EMC’s ViPR, our own vCloud Automation Center, or a multitude of other intriguing solutions out there. Those other things are all very interesting to me, but there just is not enough time in the year to research everything and get my day job done. So, I chose two of our products and an open source project because I invested enough of my time in 2013 to understand what they mean and how I see them being applied in the future.

Cheers and a happy 2014 to everyone. Take a look, take a lab!

Try Out New VMware Products in the Hands-on Labs

The complete catalog of Hands-on Labs from VMworld 2013 is now available online. This is the best place for you to explore new features in the vCloud Suite and vSphere 5.5 and learn about VMware Virtual SAN. Connect to the labs at:


vSphere with Operations Management v5.5

If you are new to vSphere, be sure to take the “vSphere and vSOM 101” lab (HOL-SDC-1310) This provides an introduction to vSphere features and functionality and uses videos and hands-on steps to deepen understanding.

If you are familiar with vSphere already, but would like to experiment with vSphere 5.5, this lab makes an excellent “sandbox.” It includes a “What’s New” appendix to highlight new features in vSphere 5.5.

vSphere Big Data Extensions

Also new with vSphere 5.5 is the VMware Hadoop solution, vSphere Big Data Extensions (HOL-SDC-1309). See how you can deploy scalable application clusters seamlessly with vSphere.

VMware Virtual SAN

The public beta of VMware Virtual SAN is an exciting release. This software-defined storage solution is at your fingertips in HOL-SDC-1308. Take the lab as many times as you like to familiarize yourself with the new interface and features. Be sure to sign up for the VSAN public beta at http://www.vmware.com/vsan-beta-register.html to get your own copy of the software.

vCloud Suite Use Cases

Our vCloud Suite Use Case labs (HOL-SDC-1313 through HOL-SDC-1318) demonstrate the vCloud Suite addressing important business objectives. Not all of these labs have been updated for version 5.5 of the vCloud Suite, but they do demonstrate the power and flexibility available to you, even in earlier versions of the software. Be sure not to miss this exciting content.

The first of the 2013 VMware Hands-on Labs are now online!

Today we are excited to announce that we have released the first four labs from the 2013 Hands-on Labs Content catalog to the HOL Online portal. These four labs were among the most popular at our 10th Annual VMworld US show last week in San Francisco. They demonstrate some of the most talked about new products and features in networking, storage, performance and mobility.

Click on the lab icon or the link below each lab description to enroll and begin your VMware Hands-on Labs Online session. To connect to the HOL Online portal in general, please use http://labs.hol.vmware.com/


Explore features of the vSphere Distributed Switch from beginning to advanced perspectives. There are modules that explore QoS and ERSPAN and others that provide a basic introduction to the vSphere Distributed Switch. If you want to explore vSphere networking, this is your lab.

Enroll in HOL-SDC-1302

HOL-SDC-1304 – vSphere Performance Optimization

The vSphere Performance lab is a perennial favorite and this year is no exception. There is content for all levels of expertise and multiple tracks through the lab. The optional modules at the end allow you to customize your lab experience around topics of interest to you. Be sure to take the lab more than once so that you can experience all of the modules.

Enroll in HOL-SDC-1304

HOL-SDC-1308 – Virtual Storage Solutions

VMware Virtual SAN pools compute and direct-attached storage resources and clusters server disks and flash to create resilient shared storage. This idea is so cool, you just have to see it in action! Get your first taste of this exciting new technology in this Hands-on Lab, then visit vmware.com to sign up for the free beta.

Enroll in HOL-SDC-1308

HOL-MBL-1301-AZ – Horizon View from A to Z

VMware Horizon View is changing the way that companies manage their desktop systems. This lab includes a beginning-level guided tour module as well as advanced troubleshooting and optimization content. See what all of the buzz is about and try out Horizon View.

Enroll in HOL-MBL-1301-AZ

Over the next few weeks, we will continue a phased rollout of the 2013 VMware Hands-on Labs. With each release, be sure to take labs that you may have missed at VMworld or something outside of your core competency. We build these labs for you. It is our privilege to present them to you and join in the conversation around VMware products and solutions.

Continue to watch these blog pages for future lab release announcements, follow us on twitter @VMwareHOL and participate in the online community at http://hol.vmware.com/