VMworld 2017 – The Ops Perspective Part 1

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VMworld 2017 is off to a great start with the first day of announcements in the books! This morning’s keynote was packed with great announcements; most notably is the availability of VMware Cloud on AWS. If you missed the keynote, I urge you to check it out here.

Andy Jassy, CEO at Amazon Web Services was on stage to talk about this exciting new offering. He described the public cloud as a binary option of either running workloads on site or in the public cloud. VMware Cloud on AWS provides the option to do both. Best of all, you don’t have to adopt new tools to manage it.

Karine Semmer, Head of IT Hosting and Transformation & Modernization Program at Medtronic, said her organization is using VMware Cloud on AWS for archives, disaster recovery, and burst capacity. Matt Nikolaiev, Senior Director and Head of Cloud Infrastructure at Sysco had a mind blowing experience when he spun up a complete data center in an afternoon! But, with great power comes greater responsibility. The ability to run workloads together in your private and public clouds raises some questions about management because, let’s face it, our environments aren’t getting any less complex! For example, if you’re looking to leverage VMware Cloud on AWS for capacity bursting like Medtronic, you should be asking yourself “how do I know when I need to leverage the extra capacity?”

Because VMware Cloud on AWS is native vSphere, vRealize Operations Manager can connect to it! vROps can help you forecast when you’ll need that extra burst capacity, and whether or not that capacity exists in your public cloud. If you’re not already leveraging vROps to keep an eye on your environment’s capacity, then check out this great video on capacity planning.

Capacity management aside, what about troubleshooting? Over at the VMware booth, Dave Overbeek, Director of CMBU Marketing gave a great demo of leveraging vROps to troubleshoot VM’s and and vSAN running in VMware Cloud on AWS. Just because a workload is running in the public cloud, doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for making sure it’s running at peak performance! The new troubleshooting workflows in vRealize Operations Manager 6.6 are just what the virtual doctor ordered! Additionally, he showed me how to assess your environment with vRealize Business for Cloud to make sure your business is getting the best value from its investments. From a technical standpoint, you can leverage vRealize Network Insight to help determine what workloads can be moved easily from a networking perspective. For example, if you move an application server, perhaps you should move other dependency systems such as the database and web servers. Or if you decide not to move all three, what does the firewall configuration need to be so that everything works?

The extra complexity of running your environment in both public and private clouds can be challenging from a monitoring and alerting standpoint too. Mike Wookey, VP & CTO of Cloud Management at VMware led a fascinating breakout session called “What’s on the Horizon: Cool Emerging Technologies in Cloud Management [MGT3138SU].” In this session, Sundeep Hiranandaney, Cloud Architect at DynTek talked about the challenges faced by the city of New York which serves 120 departments and more than 8 million customers. They have an extremely complex environment with no single application to give them a bird’s eye view of what’s going on in each of their clouds. Instead, each department uses their tool(s) of choice to monitor their own environments.

Today, our customers are deploying new architecture models such as distributed state, micro-services, and function as a service architectures. Each with its own set of monitoring challenges. During this session, we got to take a sneak peek at some of the concepts that VMware is working on to address the issues around monitoring multi-cloud micro-service environments. The answer is to leverage AI to reduce the noise of traditional trigger-happy alert mechanisms by providing the information you need when you need it.


Nikki Roda, Staff Interaction Designer at VMware provided a great example. Imagine you’re out to dinner with your family and your phone starts going crazy with alert e-mails. You know something’s wrong, but what is it? This type of alerting usually means disrupting your personal life to dig through multiple layers before finding the issue.



By leveraging AI it may be possible to cut through the noise and not only identify the issue, but remediate it as well. You’ll be the hero without even having to open your laptop!! Nikki compared AI to having a really enthusiastic intern who has the energy to find a needle in a haystack, giving you time to work on higher order problems, or just living life! This is incredible tech, and obviously still in development.

What an incredible day at VMworld 2017! I can’t wait to see what else VMware has in store for us tomorrow and share it all with you. Be sure to check back here for more! Until then, I’m off to the VMware {code} Hackathon to join team Ops Ninjas! Wish us luck!’


Matt Bradford is a VMware Healthcare Technical Account Manager based in New England. He is heavily involved in the VMware community as a three year VMware vExpert and a member of the Boston VMUG Steering Committee. Be sure to check out Matt’s personal blog at www.vmspot.com and say hi to him on Twitter @VMSpot.


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