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Tag Archives: automation

10 Lessons from Spring Applied to Java Virtualization with vFabric

The Spring Framework became the de-facto standard for developing enterprise Java applications, and its radical simplicity was fundamental to its success. Why the “radical” simplicity? Because at the time, it was hard to imagine how creating such applications could be made simple.

By tackling issues such as portability, understanding the importance of cross-cutting concerns, and making it trivial to develop automated tests, Spring allowed developers to focus on what matters: what makes their application unique.

As I was pulling together my presentation for SpringOne2GX 2012, I reflected on the parallels between Spring’s success and the direction we were going with EM4J. Why did Spring succeed? Why did simplification win? Where are we replicating these patterns within VMware, vFabric, and Java?

In short, complexity is expensive, and simplification has many economic benefits. By giving people better, simpler, and easier to use tools to help build, run, and manage applications, we create economic advantages.

In a nutshell, there are some core reasons why Spring succeeded, “Spring values” if you will: Reducing complexity, increasing productivity, provisioning flexibility, tooling and monitoring, extensibility, automation, flexible integration and ease of testing. Continue reading

The Best VMware vFabric Stories of 2012 & What’s In Store for 2013

As this year comes to a close, it’s time to be reflective of what happened in the past and start planning for a new year. The vFabric team has had some major achievements this year, introducing several new products to the market including the innovative vFabric Application Director, the widely anticipated Project Serengeti to enable rapid cloud deployments for Hadoop, and a new tool to the vFabric Suite users called vFabric Administration Server (VAS).  We announced a new VMware Cloud Applications Marketplace to help further accelerate application development with a professionally moderated library of enterprise grade, ready-to-use application components that can be run on any cloud.

Next year is going to be even bigger with the Pivotal Initiative where several of the products covered on this blog will be following the new venture. This is still in the planning stages, so we will be expecting to share with you the plans for our products alongside the formal communications from each of the companies involved. (Sorry — no extra information is available right now)

One thing that we are going to be doing in early 2013 is to move the conversation of how you manage applications to be with the conversations of how you manage virtual infrastructure. To that end, we will be moving all topics of Application Performance Manager, AppInsight, Application Director, Hyperic, and Spring Insight to the VMware Management Blog as of January 1st. To make sure you keep up with the management topics, please be sure to follow us @vmwareappmgmt and @vmwaremgmt.

In the meantime, we’d like to reshare with you the top 20 stories we had for 2012, and invite you to comment here on what stories you would like to see us cover on either blog for 2013.

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Announcing the Availability of vFabric Data Director 2.5, GemFire 7, EM4J 1.2, and More

Application developers and data management teams continue to look for ways to modernize legacy apps, manage costs more effectively, build new apps on robust application platforms, and solve big data problems. These are some of the key reasons why vFabric is on the CIO (or CTO) agenda. With several new product releases in the vFabric Suite, VMware continues to provide a best-in-class application platform and help customers solve their top application development and data management problems.

vFabric Data Director 2.5

Database as a Service (DBaaS) helps companies virtualize data engines and automate management while getting a handle on the costs and compliance issues related to data sprawl. In the newest version of Data Director, several new data engines are supported (in addition to Oracle and Postgres) along with other new capabilities:

  • Support for Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server 2012
  • Support for Hadoop deployment, management, and monitoring across all major distributions through Project Serengeti
  • Enhanced automation of Oracle and SQL Server template creation
  • Broad support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and Oracle Linux
  • Enhanced Oracle database ingestion, including ingestion to a point-in-time and more
  • Support for static IP database virtual machines (DBVMs)
  • Express set-up for development or experimentation

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A Tale of Modernization: Stopping Bank Robbers as a Service (20 Billion Times to Date)

Pirates. Pick pockets. Bank Robbers.

What do these have to do with applications modernization?

Well, bank robbers have turned digital, and this article is about modernizing one of the most successful systems used to stop them.

Stealing credit card numbers, emptying online bank accounts and stealing identities is now big business for thieves and consequently a big area for software companies and banks to collaborate and stop them. Cybercrime and malware have become such an issue that, according to Gartner, the web fraud detection market (where RSA competes) grew 35% in 2010 and 25% in 2011.

RSA is in the business of stopping banks and their customers from being robbed (among other things). Their technology has protected people, businesses, and financial institutions from online fraud for almost 20 years. Their Adaptive Authentication solution is deployed at over 8000 companies, used by over 200 million people, and has protected over 20 billion transactions to date. To jump on the “everything as a service” bandwagon, Adaptive Authentication is literally embarking on a project to “Stop Bank Robbers as a Service.”

We had the opportunity to catch up with the RSA engineering team that is developing this next-generation service using a wide range of VMware capabilities, including VMware vCloud Suite and vFabric. We learned that VMware virtualization infrastructure management, application performance management, automated provisioning, and application servers are already providing benefits along with improved runtimes, and got a peek into how they plan to do the financial side of IT business management using VMware tools.

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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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Application Director Community is Open & Growing

With the announcement at VMworld that vFabric Application Director is now part of VMware’s vCloud Suite, the popularity of the product and usage among VMware users has grown significantly. In order to best support a group of diverse users creating cloud applications that can run on any cloud, VMware has created a new community for Application Director users.

But why? Why is application provisioning becoming so popular?
Well, here is how the story is unfolding.

>> Join the Application Director Community
>> Follow us on Twitter

Why IT Departments are Prioritizing Application Director
If you look at it through an extremely pragmatic, financially conscious lens, it’s not terribly difficult to imagine how things evolve as IT looks to prioritize improvements. Here is an example of how we have seen our customers thought processes unfold in discussions:
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Cloud Diaries: Financial Services Company Saves 30-50% Capex & Automates 3000+ VM Deployment

Deploying an application automatically to over 1000 blades with 3000 to 5000 virtual machines is a big deal, particularly when a failed system can stop millions in daily revenue as is the case with large financial services company.

When you are an architect within a financial services company and responsible for such a massive infrastructure like this, your technology architecture decisions also cost millions of dollars.

VMware had the opportunity to open the “private diary” of a cloud architect responsible for such a system at one of the most well-known global financial services brands in the world. In our dialogue, we were able to better understand why and how they use VMware’s vCloud Suite and vFabric Application Management in their data center.

Here are the highlights:

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vFabric VMworld Sessions available On Demand

For anyone that attended VMworld 2012, you can access content for all VMware sessions here.

If you did not attend, you can purchase a subscription to access the content online. Content from all previous years is free for all community members along with the 2012 General Session Keynotes.

For your convenience, we’ve provided a list and links to all the vFabric-related sessions below:
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5 Scenarios and Best Practices for Running Multiple Instances of Tomcat or tc Server

With multiple Tomcat instances, each runs in its own JVM, with its own configuration, and can be started or stopped independently, while still running against the same core binary. There are a variety of reasons to do this in practice. For example:

  1. Simplify updates by separating instance specific data like web applications from the core Tomcat software.
  2. Maintain central control (and restricted permissions) on core Tomcat software, while allowing Tomcat instances to run as individual users without root permissions.
  3. Isolate web applications to a particular Tomcat instance for protection from faults in other applications.
  4. Permit application-specific performance monitoring (and usage billing) by having each application in its own Tomcat instance.
  5. Configure the Java Virtual Machine specifically for the needs of the application(s) running on that Tomcat instance.

Configuring Tomcat such that a single binary runtime directory supports multiple independent instances is a simple matter of creating the correct directory hierarchies and setting a couple of environment variables. vFabric tc Server automates these tasks, but uses the same underlying mechanism as Tomcat.  Given these basic facts, it’s easy to adopt a tc Server best practice for use with Tomcat. Continue reading

JavaOne Architect Viewpoint: The Inexorable March toward Simplicity

Here is a quick field report from JavaOne!

We’ve talked to dozens of people, and the theme we keep hearing is simplicity, simplicity, simplicity.

Many amazingly bright application architects have stopped by to understand and learn more about the vFabric application architecture, and these folks hail from a number of industries – giant telecom manufacturers, government ministries of defense, and multi-industry service companies to name a few.

 

These conversations with architects have tended to fall into one of the falling categories: Continue reading