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Monthly Archives: August 2011

VMware vCloud Service Provider Ecosystem Growth Continues

Today VMware announced new capabilities to help accelerate our customers’ journey to the enterprise hybrid cloud. These advances would not be possible without the strong collaboration from our large ecosystem of service providers. I’d like to briefly recognize the value of that partnership.

VMware’s collaboration with service providers is both broad and deep. Many providers serve in an advisory capacity and as design partners with our engineering teams to provide valuable input on how our products are developed to meet the needs of a broad set of customers.

The overall VMware service provider network continues to grow in response to end-customer demand for services based on VMware infrastructure. Today, there are over 5,600 members of the VMware Service Provider Program (VSPP) who deliver services in 62 countries.  The VMware products and solutions that are utilized by these providers is robust, spanning across all layers of the cloud – from infrastructure to platform to end-user computing.

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about the positive traction of our 31 partners delivering vCloud Powered Services. Today the number of service providers has grown to 41 (see list below). We see this program continuing to aggressively expand due to demand from customers who want to use public cloud services that are built on a secure platform and are compatible with their on-premise vSphere-based workloads.

We also welcome Dell’s announcement that they’re joining the VMware vCloud Datacenter program and are excited that they will start to deliver services globally.

If you’re looking to start your own cloud journey, you can find a vCloud Service Provider and test drive a service today at vcloud.vmware.com.

List of VMware vCloud Service Providers to date:

vCloud Datacenter Services:

Bluelock; Colt; CSC; Dell; SingTel; SoftBank, Terremark, a Verizon Company

vCloud Express Services:

Terremark, a Verizon Company; Virtacore

vCloud Powered Services:

U.S.: Bluemile; CDW; CGI; CoreVault; Expedient Communications; FusionStorm; GNAX; Hosting.com; iLand; Krypt; Lokahi Solutions LLC; MindSHIFT; NTT America, an NTT Communications Company; PeakColo; Secure-24; TekLinks; Tier 3; TierPoint; Venyu; ViaWest; Virtacore; Xtium; Zumasys

Canada: NetKeepers; OnX; RackForce, Scalar Decisions

EMEA: Thales Group (Austria); Elisa (Finland); Dunkel GmbH; Wusys GmbH (Germany); Bitbrains; Nxs Internet; Proserve; ZXFactory BV (Netherlands); Carrenza; Redstone PLC; Stratogen (UK)

 APJ: Anittel; ZettaGrid (Australia); ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation, CTC (Japan)

 

The future of cloud, part 2: Harris trusted enterprise cloud

Today at VMworld, Harris Corporation announced their Trusted Enterprise Cloud as a VMware vCloud® Powered service offering for federal and enterprise customers based on best of breed technologies, including VMware vCloud® Director. Perhaps the most interesting part of this is the strong differentiation that Harris has built into its cloud infrastructure that makes it a particularly good fit for this customer base. 

There are echoes here of NYSE Euronext’s capital markets approach – both are far from “generic” or “commodity” cloud services. They are clouds specifically designed and operated to solve mission-critical customer needs. Harris is way out in front of some recent announcements that are nothing more than “same old cloud, new building”, marketed as “Now for government use.” You’ve heard of “CloudWashing” – maybe the term for this is “GovCloudWashing?”

So what’s the secret sauce? Harris set out to comprehensively answer the question “What makes a cloud trusted?” There are three components to this – the physical and logical integrity of the cloud itself, the methods and procedures to operate it, and the people who run the cloud. There’s a lot of meat to this, and Chuck Hollis’ blog goes into more detail – I want to focus on Harris’ innovation in the cloud infrastructure layer.

All of the Trusted Cloud hardware components are positively verified to be as the manufacturer intended, with tracking from the source. There’s no room for (say) buying the cheapest “white box” server board of unknown origin in a trusted cloud, because that can compromise the integrity of the overall system. If you think this is far-fetched, consider that everything from NAS arrays to iPods have arrived in the hands of customers pre-loaded with malicious code in the past few years. Then there’s the growing market in counterfeit networking, storage and server spares (by May 2010, US authorities had made more than 700 seizures of counterfeit Cisco gear — more than 94,000 network devices in total). 

Secondly, Harris has developed an innovative white-listing approach to verify the integrity of code and configurations that run on the cloud. Traditional anti-virus systems use black-listing – known malicious code is identified through signatures and blocked. The challenge has been the deliberately massive proliferation of malicious code variants, and techniques like code mutation designed to defeat signatures. White listing is the reverse – only known good code and configurations (those with a signature on the “white list”) are allowed. By definition, malicious code, regardless of how it mutates or disguises itself, cannot run because it doesn’t have a valid signature.

The challenge with white-listing is ensuring you have 100% of the required signatures to allow the system to run, given the sheer number of variations of bona fide code and configurations. Through its acquisition of SignaCert in 2010, Harris has assembled a database of code and configuration signatures for over 3 billion software objects from more than 2,000 vendors. Harris has four patents on this technology and has embedded it in their Trusted Enterprise Cloud service.

This is another strike against the “cloud monoculture” viewpoint: to be relevant to a particular market segment, a cloud must deliver more than on-demand VMs; it must also solve key infrastructure challenges that distract organizations from their marketplace or mission. For many, including Federal government agencies, assuring a secure cloud platform is a great example of something that Trusted Enterprise Cloud solves effectively, and is what distinguishes it from “same basic cloud, shiny new label” offerings.

 

VMworld vCloud IaaS news: the enterprise cloud advances

A year ago, I wrote a blog entitled “Cloud, meet enterprise,” the title a nod to the early successes by cloud service innovators and the pent-up desire of many IT organizations to gain the same kind of agility. Their problem: how to get take advantage of public clouds without having to abandon everything they had and without re-architecting or re-writing all of their applications en masse. By working with our service provider partners we could jointly deliver public cloud services that offered an evolutionary path to the public cloud revolution.

Today, VMware and its partners are introducing new products and services that help organizations of all sizes find, evaluate, and manage hybrid cloud services to compliment their own IT investments. By hybrid, we mean using private and public clouds in concert, so that an organization can determine for itself the appropriate mix. 

vcloud.vmware.com helps VMware customers quickly find a qualified service provider that’s compatible with their VMware-virtualized infrastructure. Customers can learn about the different types of cloud services (vCloud Powered, vCloud Datacenter and vCloud Express), locate a provider world-wide, and also sign up for a service trial. 

We’re also introducing the public beta of vCloud Connector 1.5, VMware’s tool for transferring and managing workloads across vSphere clusters, private and public clouds. New in version 1.5 is a point-to-point agent architecture for transfers that improves speed by using multiple parallel network connections. There’s also an automatic checkpoint & restart mechanism, so any transfer that is interrupted by network congestion or failure is now automatically re-started from where it failed.

Customers can also access vCloud Connector 1.5 from any compatible web browser, in addition to accessing it from the vSphere console. As before, vCloud Connector is a free download for existing vSphere customers, and it is also integrated directly with vcloud.vmware.com.

We’re also pleased to announce improvements to vCloud Datacenter, which delivers globally consistent IaaS service world-wide through selected partners. The service is audited and certified by VMware to meet stringent compatibility and security requirements. We’re pleased that Dell has joined the program and will roll out vCloud Datacenter Service globally, with initial beta service out of its Texas datacenter.

All vCloud Datacenter service providers offer a common cloud computing service definition that makes it easy for customers to deploy their applications world-wide on any vCloud Datacenter service without re-work. We’re also announcing Global Connect, an initiative where vCloud Datacenter partners are working together to offer a global virtual cloud service through a single contract. Bluelock, Colt, SingTel and Softbank are the first vCloud Datacenter partners expected to offer Global Connect.

Finally, some numbers to give you a sense of where we are on the journey and how adoption of enterprise cloud services are accelerating: there are now 5,600 members of the VMware Service Provider Program (VSPP) in 62 countries, with 174% bookings growth in VSPP in the year-to-date. Since VMware only makes money when our service providers sell services, that means the VSPP ecosystem has grown its revenue by at least 174% too. By comparison, this is more than three times the growth estimates for the largest non-VMware public clouds, demonstrating the rapid acceleration of enterprise cloud. If you haven’t already done so, find a provider and start your own journey at vcloud.vmware.com.

 

Avoiding Chaos Monkeys — clouds that proactively avoid customer downtime

Next week at VMworld, I'm presenting a session called “Escaping the chaos monkey: enterprise vs. commodity clouds”, detailing the differences in the two types of cloud, and the resulting impact to applications. The session is CIM 2865, Wednesday at 12.30pm. The Chaos Monkey is a process developed by Netflix to simulate the unreliability of commodity clouds by randomly killing virtual machines (VMs).

Commodity clouds are designed to trade off VM uptime to reduce hardware costs & boost profitability. This assumes that all applications will be written as distributed systems that can take care of their own uptime, and that the uptime of individual virtual machines (VMs) is not important. Amazon’s EC2 service, for example, has no guarantee for VM uptime.

To illustrate the contrast with an enterprise cloud approach, I’d like to share an example from VMware partner StratoGen, a hosting and cloud provider in London. Late last week, they needed to do emergency power maintenance in one of their London datacenters, Telehouse West. In a commodity cloud, preventative maintenance typically means some VMs are going to die, because there’s no infrastructure to keep VMs running while the hardware is replaced.

But StratoGen’s customers didn’t suffer an outage. In fact, they wouldn’t have known anything was happening if they hadn’t read the service bulletin. Here’s what StratoGen did: prior to commencing maintenance, all running customer VMs were migrated from StratoGen’s Telehouse location to another data center, Park Royal, in West London using VMware vMotion. The power maintenance was carried out as planned, and several hours later the VMs were vMotioned back to Telehouse. No VMs were harmed during this process 😉

StratoGen’s approach is designed for the overwhelming majority of existing applications that assume a reliable server infrastructure layer. Often, these applications cannot be easily altered or re-written, or it is simply uneconomic to do so. This is the market served by enterprise public clouds, and StratoGen is a good example of the kind of service quality that helps those applications run better by avoiding individual VM downtime.

The irony is that because absolutely nothing went wrong, this isn't something that is likely to generate headlines like other recent cloud service interruptions. Sometimes it's what doesn't happen that is valuable.

 

Actual live-and-in-person public and hybrid cloud customers and builders at VMworld

VMworld Las Vegas is just two weeks' away, yet to read the Twittersphere and the Blogoverse, one might think that enterprise public clouds, and hybrid cloud use (where an organization deploys an application across private & public clouds) were figments of a fevered imagination. It would follow that actual people who have built and used this style of cloud cannot exist, or must be mistaken. But they do exist, they are passionate and intelligent, and at VMworld you can meet some of them "live and in person", as they say in Vegas.

At session CIM4813 (Wed 2pm), Real-world cloud experiences, I have the pleasure of leading a distinguished panel of enterprise cloud customers:

  • Dr Stewart Lee, Head of IT for the oldest university in the English-speaking world, Oxford, will talk about their innovative Database-as-a-service and hybrid cloud approach.
  • Paul McNamara, Entrepreneur in Residence at Adobe, will talk about the future of customer experience, and how key features of enterprise clouds help make it possible.
  • Chris Spence, CTO of the National Democratic Institute, will speak to how cloud helps his non-partisan NGO bring democracy to five continents.
  • Drew Garner, Director of Architecture Delivery at travel and expense expert Concur, will explain how a blend of on-premises infrastructure, hosting and cloud helps them scale to serve over 12,000 customers and rapidly integrate new acquisitions like TripIt.

Within the Cloud Infrastructure and Management track:

CIM 2520 (Mon 11am): Link Alander and Cory Bradfield from Lone Star College on leveraging Public, Private and Hybrid clouds in Higher Education

CIM 2343 (Wed 9.30am): Building a real-life high-performance financial services cloud, with Feargal O'Sullivan from NYSE Euronext. Offering basic VM provisioning is, to a degree, the easy part. This is a chance to learn what makes a vertical cloud special with details of NYSE's capital markets community cloud.

CIM 2750 (Mon & Wed 11am): Are all clouds commodity? With Andrew Phillips from open source API specialists jclouds.org and Pat O'Day from Bluelock.

CIM 3177 (Mon 2pm): Cloud architectures to deliver healthcare as a service with Christopher Reed, INX, Stephen Henson, Concentra, Steven Kaplan, INX and Mariano Maluf of vCloud Powered provider GNAX.

CIM 2628 (Tue 5.30pm): How Equinix implemented a smart development cloud with Brian Lillie, Equinix and Martin van Ryswyk, Electric Cloud.

CIM 2865 (Wed 12.30pm): Escaping the Chaos Monkey, Enterprise vs. Commodity Public Cloud, with me, Mathew Lodge. How and why are enterprise clouds different, explained with the help of "chaos monkeys" and other metaphorical animals.

Why is this controversial? It shouldn't be, but just last week, I was harangued by twitter chatter that enterprise public and hybrid clouds didn't really exist, and that, if they did, they were too enterpricey (you see what he did there?) This depsite there being seven cloud providers in the VMware vCloud Datacenter Services program, another 32 live and in production who have earned the vCloud Powered Service badge (see Joe Andrews' post on this earlier this week), and two successful vCloud Express providers (here and here) that offer more compute for your buck than Amazon EC2, while being more compatible with your existing VMs.

To summarize, at VMworld you'll get the opportunity to hear from a number of VMware customers doing all kinds of interesting things in public and hybrid cloud deployments, some of them previously deemed impossible :-) If you're attending, I hope you take the opportunity to attend one or more of these sessions and if you've got your own example, I'd be delighted to hear about that too. Maybe you can come back next year and tell VMworld attendees about it. See you there! 

 

VMware vCloud Powered Services Now Widely Available – VMware Compatibility is Key for Customers

Today we shared news of the 30+ VMware service providers delivering vCloud Powered services using vSphere and vCloud Director. In light of this, I’d like to share more details on VMware’s strategy to enable a broad set of cloud service providers to deliver compatible clouds under the VMware vCloud Powered designation.

For background, the vCloud Powered service badge requires that providers meet service requirements that include deploying vCloud Director while exposing the vCloud API and enabling Open Virtualization Format (OVF) image import and export. These requirements facilitate compatibility with vSphere-based workloads, VMware and third-party management tools, and enable customers to easily move workloads into the cloud from their on-premise datacenter and back.

VMware vCloud Powered Image-med

Today’s news is significant for several reasons…

First, it validates that cloud consumers want to buy services from a broad selection of providers. The vCloud Powered services customers we’ve spoken with – software vendors, insurance and financial services firms, and healthcare providers – have a variety of service requirements that cannot be fulfilled by a single provider. These include geographic proximity, industry specialization, and a range of SLA needs depending on the application. Further, a good number of customers want to have a more substantial business relationship with their service provider and be able to contact them via channels beyond just email – e.g. a live phone call with a knowledgeable rep. This added assurance is critical for small and mid-sized companies, since many do not have dedicated IT staff and may be at greater risk of business loss should their production apps go down.

Second, this momentum validates the core technology stack adopted by an increasing number of service providers that’s based on VMware vSphere, vCloud Director with integrated vShield security technologies, and the vCloud API. While I will try and resist the urge to project a VMware product commercial here, it is worth emphasizing that the vCloud stack helps to accelerate service delivery for a provider. Together, these products allow providers to deliver robust Infrastructure-as-a-Service capabilities like a service catalog, enterprise LDAP authentication and role-based access control “out of the box”, so they can focus more of their development investment on building differentiated services to meet their customer needs.

Third, the vCloud Powered service badge assures customers of VMware compatibility and the ability to easily move their existing workloads to and from these providers, using tools like vCloud Connector. Why is this significant? More than 250,000 customers worldwide, and the lions’ share of the world’s virtualized workloads, run on VMware. Therefore, it’s natural for these same customers to want to extend their IT infrastructure to the cloud on a service that’s compatible with what they have today rather than having to rewrite or re-architect their apps for the cloud. By the way, this service design does not assume that customers will frequently move workloads between providers, but the fact that it’s easy to do it is another assurance for customers that they can maintain control.

Let me sum this up with a recent anecdote from an IT executive at a company that does technical research for the semiconductor industry.  His company was looking to extend their network domain to the cloud in order to confidently secure applications delivered to remote employees.  Initially, he did a trial with one of the big commodity cloud providers but found that that provider’s lack of compatible technology, limited support options and customer service would make it impossible to meet their required performance SLAs.  After the trial, this customer refined his selection criteria with a requirement that the service provider be powered by VMware vCloud technology and they recently signed on with a vCloud Powered service.

We’re honored to recognize the positive vCloud momentum that is being driven by the service providers who are building and delivering these services today. People who will be attending VMworld later this month will have the opportunity to hear more specific customer stories. There will be several sessions where you can meet with customers who have adopted vCloud Powered and vCloud Datacenter services. In the meantime, follow VMwareSP on Twitter and Facebook for ongoing updates around our growing service provider community.

List of providers to date who deliver vCloud Powered services:

U.S.: Bluemile; CDW; CoreVault; Expedient Communications; GNAX; Hosting.com; iLand; Krypt; Lokahi Solutions LLC; MindSHIFT; NTT America, an NTT Communications Company; PeakColo; Secure-24; TekLinks; Tier 3; TierPoint; Venyu; ViaWest; Virtacore; Zumasys

Canada: RackForce, Scalar Decisions

EMEA: Thales IS GmbH (Austria); Elisa (Finland); Dunkel GmbH; Wusys GmbH (Germany); Bitbrains; Nxs Internet (Netherlands); Redstone PLC (UK)

APJ: ZettaGrid (Australia); ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation, CTC (Japan)

Changes to the vRAM licensing model introduced on July 12, 2011

As many of you know, with the introduction of vSphere 5 we also announced changes to the vSphere licensing model in order to align costs with the benefits of virtualization rather than with the physical attributes of each individual server.  These changes generated debate in the blogosphere, across the VMware communities, and in conversations with customers and partners.  Some of the discussion had to do with confusion around the changes.  We have been watching the commentaries on the blogs very carefully, and we have been listening in the customer conversations very intently. We got a ton of feedback that probed the impact of the new licensing model on every possible use case and scenario, and equally important, reflected our customers’ intense passion for VMware.

We are a company built on customer goodwill and we take customer feedback to heart.  Our primary objective is to do right by our customers, and we are announcing three changes to the vSphere 5 licensing model that address the three most recurring areas of customer feedback:

  • We’ve increased vRAM entitlements for all vSphere editions, including the doubling of the entitlements for vSphere Enterprise and Enterprise Plus.

  • We’ve capped the amount of vRAM we count in any given VM, so that no VM, not even the “monster” 1TB vRAM VM, would cost more than one vSphere Enterprise Plus license.

  • We adjusted our model to be much more flexible around transient workloads, and short-term spikes that are typical in test & dev environments for example.

Below is a description of what we heard from our customers and partners, the changes we are making and the impact we expect they will have:

Customer feedback

The vSphere 5 licensing model…

Changes to the vSphere 5 licensing model

Impact

1. Affects only a small percentage of customers today, but customers are concerned about their future-looking business cases based on new powerful hardware capabilities

Substantially raise the vRAM entitlements per vSphere edition from 48/32/24/24/24 GB to 96/64/32/32/32 GB

With these increased vRAM entitlements, hardly any customer will be impacted by higher licensing costs upon upgrading to vSphere 5

2.  Introduces additional hesitation for virtualizing business critical apps

Cap the amount of vRAM counted per VM at 96GB[i]

No application, doesn’t matter how big, will require more than one vSphere (Ent+) license to be virtualized

3.  Penalizes short lived usage “spikes” in dev & test, and transient VMs

Calculate a 12 month average of consumed vRAM rather than a high water mark

Short lived “spikes” will increase the 12 month average a little but a customer will not be required to pay for them in perpetuity

[i] Note: this change will NOT be reflected in the native vCenter Server 5 vRAM reporting capability at GA time; it will be included in a future vCenter Server 5 update release. However, before such update release is available, customers will be able to use a stand-alone free utility for tracking vRAM usage that will reflect this change.

To recap, here is a comparison of the previously announced and the currently unveiled vSphere 5 vRAM entitlements per vSphere edition

vSphere Edition

Previous vRAM Entitlement

New vRAM Entitlement

vSphere Enterprise+

48 GB

96 GB

vSphere Enterprise

32 GB

64 GB

vSphere Standard

24 GB

32 GB

vSphere Essentials+

24 GB

32 GB

vSphere Essentials

24 GB

32 GB

Free vSphere Hypervisor

8 GB

32 GB[ii]

vSphere Desktop

Unlimited

Unlimited

[ii] this limit is GB of physical RAM per physical server

I should also point out that the concern around using vSphere 5 for VDI was already addressed with the vSphere Desktop edition. The vSphere Desktop edition does not have any vRAM entitlements, and allows customers to purchase vSphere for VDI use case.  vSphere Desktop is licensed on the total number of Powered On Desktop Virtual Machines.

We are confident that our vSphere 5 licensing model based on pooled vRAM is the right one for the cloud computing era. We are fully committed to meeting our customers’ and partners’ unique needs, and have several resources available to help customers understand how the new licensing model applies to their environment. I would specifically point you to the ROI calculator on upgrading to vSphere 5, as well as a tool you can apply against your VI3.5 or vSphere 4 environment to ascertain your vRAM consumption, and therefore any impact on vSphere 5 licensing.

Bogomil Balkansky
VP, Product Management