CloudPhysics helps unearth some scary statistics in the Halloween spirit

I have written about CloudPhysics in the past and I think the tool has some cool features. They continue to add features and think up new ways to use all the data they collect about your data center and compare to others.

There are some scary things that can hide in your data center. The infographic below was pretty cool. The part that scared me was 22% of vSphere 5.5 hosts are still un-protected for SSL Heartbleed vulnerability. Take some time if you have not already and get to know the CloudPhysics offering.

You can read more about the features at the official CloudPhysics blog post here.

Halloween-infographic-virtual-datacenter-haunted

 

 

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People VMware vCAC is not easy, it takes effort to get value

I tend to get the feeling that many customers expect that if they purchase vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) some type of magic will happen. Maybe it’s a disconnect in how the product is marketed or something else, but the message is not getting through. I’ve noticed this through customer meetings before a sale or during the architecture phase of a project.

vCAC as a product can be very powerful and does allow for a lot of flexibility to solve complex problems. But vCAC does not contain a bunch of magical workflows that will automate your data center out of the box. The product offers a self-service portal, a service catalog, machine blueprints, ties in with automation tools and the ability to surface data from ITBM for business reporting.

If you want to do anything beyond allowing someone to self provision a template from vCenter, you need to do custom work. This work will be creating blueprints to build custom properties and logic and tie in with vCenter Orchestrator or another tool for the more complex tasks. This is where all the magic is accomplished. The point to drive home here is that just installing vCAC does not win you the battle or give you a feature rich “Cloud”. You will need to invest a lot of time or hire someone to build out the automation and orchestration that provides the real value in the solution.

I don’t intend to scare anyone way, but rather just clear up what should be expected from a project based on vCAC from a high level.

HARD-WORK

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What does Converged Infrastructure mean to you?

Over the past several years I have been in countless discussion around Converged Infrastructure (CI) and what it is and the benefits that it provides. The one thing that I keep noticing is that there is a large variance in what CI means to different people. So I thought that in effort to get feedback from others and provide some of mine I would write this post to get the discussion started.

There are a number of vendors in the market today, that are selling some form of a converged infrastructure product or solution.

My definition of Converged Infrastructure

In my mind I think that for something to be considered CI it must do two things. It must converge at least two hardware or infrastructure pieces, such as compute and networking or server and storage. I think that it must also do a good job of converging the management of these converged pieces in a single place. For example Cisco UCS converged compute with network and storage networking. UCS manager is a single point of management to setup and maintain this type of CI. UCS has dramatically changed the server market over the past few years and laid the foundation for what others consider CI in the next section.

Under my definition I think that Cisco UCS, VMware EVO:RAIL, Nutanix, Simplivity and a few others are doing this effectively today. They may call it different names but it comes down to converging hardware and making it easier through software. I will attempt to explain through the image below. The following van is an elegant solution created at the factory that was purpose built and fully integrated. Each part of this vehicle was built to be one solution, there are no out of place windows, radios and tables. Everything was considered when designing it for the purpose.

Roadtrek_Introduces_SS-Agile_on_New_Style_Sprinter_Van_50

 

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Why are more vendors not doing internal startups for innovation

The topic of how the existing large hardware and software vendors innovate for new products has been on my mind for a while now. I don’t claim to be an expert in this topic, but I see new companies kicking the ass of many of these companies with better products. This only seems to becoming a larger issue, and large enterprise keeps trying to keep up by purchasing companies for their product or patents. Sometimes they make the wrong choice, over pay or are just too late.

Lets take a look at a couple of the more successful storage statups recently. Both Tintri and Nutanix have managed to create products that are ground breaking for virtualization and performance. They created these products from nothing more than an idea and hard work. They did not need billions of dollars to get going. they took 17M and 13M respectively as their first rounds of funding. There was money invested prior to this from the founders that is not public but we are not talking crazy money. The point is these companies and others manage to create something great when left to their own.

A little time on Google presented the following details. I found that EMC will spend in the area of 2.8B on R&D this year, and HP will spend over 3B on R&D this year. I know these are large companies and they have many product lines, but why do they keep getting beat by many startups for innovation? These two companies were just an easy example, you could easily make the same case for every large storage and server vendor and many software companies.

Some recent good examples is how Cisco has done some of their spin-in projects and what VMware recently did with their EVO:RAIL solution. These vendors took a project team and let them work on their solution without the interruptions, politics or dead weight of the company and they managed to create some great products. Why are not more vendors doing this?

I know there are smart people at these companies. What is to stop them from identifying internal talent or hiring new talent, and then taking some of that muli-billion dollar budget and funding some internal startup teams? These new teams could bring the type of innovation that we usually only see from small startups.

 

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CloudPhysics updates, now with more awesome included

On the first day of VMworld 2014 in San Francisco, CloudPhysics kicks the conference off with a big announcement. The patform is receiving another round of new features that will blow your socks off. I’ve followed CloudPhysics closely over the past couple of years since they announced themselves to the world. Given the way they built their hosted offering I immediately began to dream of what might be possible. Some of the new features are exactly what I dreamed of and others are just more awesomeness that they dreamed up.

Global Data Set

CloudPhysics has been collecting data from every environment that installs their observer appliance. The observer is necessary to use the CloudPhysics offering, this is how data is collected and uploaded. The tools then crunch the data, for a lack of better description. You are able to use your data for reports and monitoring. CloudPhsyics also has been collecting two years worth of annonomized customer data that is now like the hive mind.

No one else has this level of information about virtualization. Oh the things that could be done with this, well I’m glad to say that they now have enough unique data that represents unique environments of all sizes that can be used for comparison purposes. I can’t tell you how cool this is going to be.

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Setting up and using the Tintri PowerShell Toolkit

With the release of Tintri OS v3.0 the good folks at Tintri surprised us with a PowerShell Toolkit. The toolkit provides a nice list of cmdlets to get people started with automating tasks with VMstores and VMs. This immediately got my mind racing on what might be possible and how I could use them in the work lab and for customers.

To get people started I have put together a simple walk through that shows a few of the easier commands and how they might be used.

 

Install Prerequisites

You will need to have PowerShell v3.0 installed before you can install the Tintri PowerShell Toolkit. Head over to Google and locate the download, install and move to the next step.

tintri-powershell-1

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How to setup LDAP logon for Tintri VMstore

Tintri just released version 3.0 of the Tintri OS this week. As part of this upgrade the ability to use LDAP/AD for role based access controls (RBAC) is a long awaited feature. I was happy to see this and some other features that I will be writing about separately. In previous versions of Tintri OS there was only a single Admin account that had full access and all users were required to use. The new LDAP option will offer greater flexibility for larger teams that have multiple levels of administrators.

I will walk through the steps on connecting a Tintri VMstore to Active Directory and the enablement of an AD group for admin access.

Tintri LDAP Setup

Step 1: To get the process started log into the Tintri management web page and click on the settings menu from the top right corner.

tintri-ldap-1

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