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Tag Archives: architect

Cloud Diaries: Turning 13 Datacenters into 6? How vFabric Application Director Helps

Data center consolidation.

Those three words often mean a lot of things – a lot of work, a lot of change, a lot of cost savings, a lot of leadership, and a lot of coordination.  Of course, the payoff of doing it right can also be outstanding.

We had the opportunity to gain personal, anonymous observations from a senior technical architect of a European consulting firm who knows firsthand that data center consolidation can create value, citing “moving thirteen datacenters run by thirteen teams to six data centers run by one team is the catalyst for huge improvements in many areas.” Our architect’s company provides recommendations, architecture, installation, customized solutions, and operations services for IT.  In their conversation with VMware, we found that deployment automation is a critical requirement to many of their client’s consolidation plans, and they pointed out how vFabric Application Director is fundamental to the approach.

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NanoTrader: Now The SpringTrader Reference Architecture

What is SpringTrader?

Back in August, we provided a sneak peak at NanoTrader, VMware’s vFabric Reference Architecture.  It was referenced in several posts and then featured in a session at SpringOne recently.  The application has now been named SpringTrader, and we wanted to a) share more information about the SpringTrader app including some updated architecture graphics, b) provide a new tool (a version you can log into online), and c) share the location of the Spring Trader bits for download.

If you haven’t heard, the SpringTrader reference architecture is used to help Java-based application architects, developers, infrastructure, and operations teams advance their application roadmaps and provide reusable patterns.  Some might also consider how vFabric Application Director can be used with the SpringTrader app to enable continuous deployment or automatically provision and scale the app in a completely virtual data center (i.e. a software defined data center). As well, vFabric Application Performance Manager can be used to monitor the entire stack and trigger automated scaling events like adding a new JVM and tc Server to the SpringTrader app’s production environment.
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4 Key Architecture Considerations for Big Data Analytics

Everyone seems to be talking about “Big Data” these days. We’re bombarded with information in online and print media about the explosion of machine generated data, the petabytes of data that companies like Facebook and Twitter generate, and the billions of dollars of opportunities awaiting all businesses through the use of big data. We also hear about what seems an alphabet soup of new technologies to process and analyze big data: Hadoop for distributed data processing, R for analytics, Lucene for text indexing and search, Mahout for machine learning…the list goes on and on.

If you’re a business user, you’re thinking that big data could give you an edge over your competition. If you’re a developer, you’re excited about the many new technologies you can learn about. If you’re an architect, you’re trying to figure out how all these big data technologies fit within your existing and future infrastructure.

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2 Ways Fast/Big Data Impacts the IT Org Structure

Though my background includes time as both a developer, architect, and CTO, much of my time today is spent discussing applications with senior IT executives. I manage an application development division of a national VAR and focus on the vFabric stack from top to bottom. One of the challenges I face is trying Screen shot 2012-08-08 at 10.48.39 AM
to provide application-centric consulting services to operations/infrastructure teams who (a) don’t really own the decision of app software infrastructure and/or (b) don’t understand it and, (c) worse in some cases, don’t care. Recently, I’ve come to love my job for two primary reasons:

1. “Cloud” technologies are forcing the Operations teams and the Application teams to “share” responsibility for overall IT efficiency. The cloud concept of an on-demand, elastic infrastructure is knocking down political walls and silos that have evolved over the past decades in IT. This is no more evident than at VMWare, where vFabric and vSphere product lines are starting to blur (e.g. vCenter –> vCloud Director –> Application Director). Finally, I have something to talk to the Infrastructure folks that gets them excited! Perhaps it is the needed automation of infrastructure that brings Ops to the Aps side. Or, perhaps it an elastic architecture that brings Aps over to the Ops side. In any event, the two teams are brought together and work together more in cloud solutions.

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Application Director in 5 Minutes

The Problem

As architects, developers of software, and managers of IT infrastructure, we spend quite a bit of time (and often frustration) installing operating systems, setting up applications and components, and configuring them. These activities can be time consuming, tedious, manual, and error prone.

Application Director's Purpose and Key Concepts

Enter VMware vFabric Application Director. The key purpose for Application Director is to automate the provisioning of infrastructure and applications so it happens faster, with fewer errors, and with less headache. If you’ve ever used a standard catalog of parts, you’ll get the idea immediately because Application Director stores information in a visual representation called a blueprint. What’s in a blueprint? Basically, a blueprint includes everything you would use to build, configure, and deploy a server or group of servers to build out your application. Blueprints define all the components like the operating system, virtual machine templates, web server, application server, database server, monitoring software, packaged software, EAR, SQL, or WAR, etc.  All these components are available to drag and drop onto your blueprint’s canvas from a standard catalog. Once the core building blocks are in place on your blueprint, you can further tailor your application build plan by including dependencies, policies, and configurations.

About the Demo

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