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Tag Archives: provisioning

Deploying a Cassandra Cluster with Application Director

While vFabric Application Director supports a variety of products out of the box (mostly vFabric) and a growing number of products on the Cloud Application Management MarketplaceBETA (like Puppet Integration), it is easy to extend Application Director to support additional applications. Let’s take a look at how to use Application Director with Apache’s open source database, Cassandra. If you are new to Application Director, you might check out this 5-minute explanation. Otherwise, this post will show you how to automate the provisioning and set-up of a Cassandra cluster with Application Director in two main steps: 1) creating the catalog service and 2) defining a blueprint. Then, we will look at an example.
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How it Works: VMware’s Own Internal Self-Service Cloud

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One of the hottest new products in the vFabric portfolio is vFabric Application Director.

Many at VMware are excited about it simply because of what it means to our everyday work life. Earlier this year, we published a story on “How VMware IT Reduced Provisioning Time by 80% Using vFabric Application Director and More.”

Now that number is up to 90%. Here’s an overview of what the business workload lifecycle management implementation looks like under the hood.

As shared in the earlier post, our goal was to automate the end-to-end application life-cycle management in a private cloud and eventually across the clouds. Automation by definition speeds things up and makes them less error prone, but in this case, it also meant that VMware’s IT organization could decouple itself from the everyday operations of the app and product teams it serviced. This split between IT and DevOps is a goal for many organizations today who are looking to be more agile, save money and maintain strong IT governance.

To achieve it, VMware IT automated several key processes across organizations including:

  • Cloud & Catalog Management
  • Workload Blueprint Design
  • Workload Automation
  • Self-service Portal
  • Change Management

Naturally, we looked first to eating our own dogfood and built these processes on top of several VMware products including VM Studio, vCloud Director, vFabric Application Director, vCenter Orchestrator and Service Manager.

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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

Why Application Director + Puppet Work Better Together

Lately, I have been getting questions around how vFabric Application Director and Puppet work together. Questions include:

Today, at the PuppetCon event in San Francisco, where VMware has a keynote and a session, I expect these questions will be asked more than ever as we meet Puppet’s loyal users.

Before we delve into the differences, it is important to understand the big picture. When my team started developing Application Director, open source configuration management tools like Puppet, Chef, CF Engine already existed. They were doing a great job of keeping complex applications up to date with the latest code and configurations while also helping IT to automate inventory management – a big and valuable task in any datacenter. Continue reading

Creating your Self-Curating Application Platform

In my previous post, I shared the engineering thoughts behind Application Director and how it is a strategic solution for IT to get ready for PaaS. We talked about the basic strategy around 3 main tenets: any app, on any cloud, and supporting the complete app lifecycle in cloud environment. At VMworld this year, I will be talking about evolution in our how VMware plans to take this aApplication management strategy to the next level and allowing DevOps to self-curate their own apps on any cloud they want.

Last week, we shared our vision for how the Cloud Operating Model is transforming IT and apps teams—how it is evident that the team managing infrastructure will be invisible to the team managing applications. In fact, this is not a new model for users in the cloud today. As an example, the respective teams powering Bluelock public vCloud or Amazon’s EC2 infrastructure are not within the reach of the system administrators running apps on them. However, while there is an organizational division between the responsibilities of infrastructure management and apps, the DevOps movement is bringing closer the vertical silos around app development and app operations. Continue reading

Q&A w/VMware IT: Reducing Provisioning Time by 90% and Costs by 30%

One of the best performing posts we’ve had this year was titled “How VMware IT Reduced Provisioning Time by 80% Using vFabric Application Director and More.” The article below is more detailed information on the project in a Q&A session format with VMware’s Director of Technology Labs and Architecture, Thirumalesh Reddy.

1. So in your previous post, you covered the business case, before and after process, project functionality and scope as well as the results. You had said provisioning time was reduced by 80% and now it’s 90%. How do things keep getting better?
As we evolve and mature, we are able to automate more manual steps like load balancing VIP pool creations and post installation tasks. So, we’ve reduced provisioning time further because of this. If you think about it, most good infrastructure people already look for ways to automate redundant, manual tasks and prefer to run scripts where possible. Our technology let’s people do this on a massive scale, and we just keep finding more places to automate.

2. Besides the fact that you work for VMware and use your own products, why did the CIO or CTO really get behind this project?
Multiple times per year, we were manually provisioning or refreshing about 25 environments across our technology portfolio. We all know manual steps cause problems and are less efficient and effective. In our case, each environment provisioning or refresh cycle could take 3-8 weeks where 15-20 people touched it. Besides the extra operating expense of people’s time, a manual process with lots of hand-offs and touch points is ripe for errors and re-work. I don’t think anyone would disagree that this type of manual process is more prone to errors, incurs more delays, and includes less predictability. For our internal customers in the business and functional areas, the manual process also impacts SLAs. If you factor in compliance, risk management, and security, it’s an area ripe for improvement. Every IT shop faces these issues. Continue reading

5 Ways IT Benefits From The New Cloud Operating Model

It’s official. IT’s investment in the cloud is accelerating. Gartner recently reported that spending on public cloud services will reach $109 billion this year, up from $91 billion from last year’s spend. That’s an increase of over 20% in one year, and the fastest growing area of spend according to their predictions.

How is IT coping with such a dramatic shift in resources? At VMware, we are seeing an organizational shift that we are calling the Cloud Operating Model that is capitalizing on this effort. The Cloud Operating Model is both an organizational change and a technology evolution. On the organizational side, IT retrenches and focuses on building out a private cloud that is cost competitive to public clouds, provides end user services that attract apps to stay in-house, and can support a larger server-to-admin ratio. Application and business teams, presented with readily available infrastructure and armed with sophisticated app management and provisioning tools, transform themselves into DevOps—literally Development-Operations—that now have full control of application lifecycles including developing, running and managing their apps. While IT still provides services to DevOps, they actually become untangled from each other’s day-to-day operations.

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4 Drivers behind Intel’s Cloud Foundry Choice and Why

Our goal at Intel was to let software developers get an innovative idea into production in less than a day.

Header-graphic-city-sunrise-one-day-visionOne of the large aspects of meeting this goal is delivering a robust PaaS solution. We made a decision in mid-2011 that PaaS would enable this goal, and for our wide range of data and security requirements, running it in our private cloud was paramount. In searching for a PaaS solution for our Enterprise Private cloud, we conducted a study of solutions that could be landed within an enterprise. We specifically wanted a solution that could run on an IaaS and help address our key challenges.

We needed greater agility, simplicity, standardization, and efficiency, and these needs served as an impetus for our Cloud Foundry cloud. Though our journey from proof of concept to enterprise standard is still underway, we are sharing our vision of “how to help developers get apps to production in one day” at VMworld along with lessons learned and technical approaches (APP-CAP3310 – Intel Enterprise PaaS with Cloud Foundry). This post provides some additional detail on the business drivers and what led us to select Cloud Foundry. Attend our session at VMworld to get into a much greater level of detail.

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The engineering story behind vFabric Application Director: Enabling any app anywhere

Recently, VMware announced vFabric Application Director product to help deploy applications on public and private clouds. I have had the privilege of leading the engineering team that delivered this product, and am proud that we were able to build a tool that is truly open to the cloud, including all the application types and deployment locations that companies will want to service. Application Director meets not only current workload requirements that run within VMs, but is also open to enable future application stacks like Django, Ruby on Rails, NodeJS as well as noSQL and SQL databases. Likewise, it is open to deploy a variety of apps on variety of platforms—both public and private, including popular locations such as amazon and openstack. Most developers will recognize that building a product that is so flexible is not a trivial matter. However, we felt that not locking users into a single app stack or cloud environments was critical in order to not hinder application development. Giving developers the freedom of choice for application stacks while helping them keep their applications abstracted enough to land into the right production ready environments has been our guiding principal.

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How to Achieve Continuous Provisioning (CP) for Agile Development

The development practice of Continuous Integration has become a de facto standard for development teams trying to become more Agile. The benefits of Continuous Integration are extremely impactful and much has been written on the topic.  By automating the building and testing of software, a development team creates a repeatable and consistent build process.  By extending this process into the concept of continuous provisioning, a development team extends the same type of repeatability and consistency to application deployments.  If the up-front cost of automating the build and deployment of an application is nothing compared to the time and cost savings to be incurred, then why does automation stop there?  Why do most development teams still need to wait for the underlying infrastructure to be provisioned?  Why do developers and operations teams manually install and configure middleware (application servers, databases, etc)? 

This article will illustrate to teams how continuous provisioning can be leveraged during development.

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