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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

VMware User Group Singapore Conference - The First!

Yes the very first VMware User Group (VMUG) Singapore Conference is happening on 23rd Jan 2015!

It came a long way, from the first VMUG meeting held from few members to a large group of members now.  From a meetup every couple of months to almost every month.  As it matures today, it has more and more sponsors/vendors sharing their technology and road map as well as special speakers.

Coming the first month of next year (not too long to wait), the very first VMUG SG Conference will be held at Marina Bay Sands.  This is the first time a full day conference been held in Singapore.  There are already many in the States and Australia however this is the very first milestone for Singapore.

For those not aware, VMUG are run by users in the VMware community so VMware does not come into any organizing this such event like vForum equivalent.  This is focus for the VMware users by the users.

The agenda is finally out and the speakers are all ready.  You will be looking forward to meet up with reowned bloggers, book writers, etc. e.g. Scott Lowe, Simon Seagrave, Alastair Cooke.

What are you waiting for?  Get your horses ready, block your calendar and head over to here to register for the event NOW!

I hope to see all of you there.  In case you are not a member yet, just register an account to keep yourself updated of future events and register for this event too!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

IT Paradigm Changed, Have you?

Last month of the year and today have a some talk over lunch with a colleague and decide to pen this down which I see lacking on the market.

I have spoken to customers and also spoken to some colleagues and realize the IT paradigm as changed quite substantial.  However many are still operating the wrong way which end up even with virtualization, cloud or Software Defined Data Center, etc. it is still not helping them achieve in a big scale.

Recently I did a session on BC/DR: Implementing a Holistic Strategy with VMware Solutions session at APJ vForum in Singapore.  I mentioned a few things that was abstracted from VCDX Design Defense Blueprint page 11.  This diagram has helped me in a lot of discussion and I see many are still not aware.  The five things: Availability, Recovery, Security, Manageability, Performance.

Taking an example today, when a Application owner request a machine with certain specification in terms of CPU, Memory and space from an Infra personnel, the answer was: "Just provision as requested".  In this scenario, it doesn't matter if this is physical or virtual, if the machine was to have issues or went down, who is always held responsible?  Infra guys.  Have you ever thought that both are at fault?  First did the Application owner knows what he really wants?  Did the infra personnel asked him the details?  Could think be different?  Would things like availability requirements, RTO, RPO, security, etc come into play?

In bigger organization, many would think that they have the budget, they could implement lots of solutions, automate them but in a smaller enterprise or businesses we cannot do that.  Is that really true?  Even in this big organization, do you think the infra personnel asked those questions?  They might not but why they ain't they facing the same in the smaller enterprise?

Let's go back to my session on BC/DR.  When application owner request a machine, questions like what is your RPO, RTO and availability could be asked?  So if an organization has a daily backup (assuming they do daily backup for everything unless stated otherwise) they will place that machine into the usual job schedule.  This will end up your RPO to be 24 hours (once a day equate 24 hours).  If this is a database, would this be sufficient?  Or do you need a RPO of 1 hour?  In terms of availability, do you have a SLA?  Any clustering requirements or application redundancy solution?  vSphere has App HA, physical world can leverage on Veritas cluster or MSCS.  Was this mentioned and questions?  Say the application owner has $20,000 to spend on this machine, but requested a five 9's SLA, can this be even achieved?  If not, what is possible or alternative?  Today, the IT Infra personnel is no longer just someone who administrate the environment.  He act as a consultant to the company and he has to questions and provide advice.  His responsibility has just grown bigger.  By missing this out, the expectation from both parties will be different.  Technology has advanced, human thinking need to be enhanced.

Now let's goes back to the normal environment on request.  Same thing would have applied.  If an application owner request for a machine, would you check what is their requirements?  In bigger organization, why do they do so well in term of the process?  Is it not the technology?  That is partially correct.  The consulting creating this process was either correct or the process all along in the organization was set correctly.  So in a big organization today, when someone requested for a machine, all this questions would be ask and chosen by the requester when they submit the request.  E.g. A Dev machine could be auto assign to a Tier 3 storage where functional test is expected not a performance test.  Production machine is automatic place on a Tier 1 since they would need that performance.  They could also be asked, if Availability is checked, MSCS will be implemented else the standard vSphere HA is used instead.

As people start to use these systems, the consultant role mentioned previously from the infra personnel start to goes away.  In such, big organization might still have the the usual IT personnel who didn't have the knowledge cause the system has already done the work.  What has changed, a proper workflow was implemented to automate the process.  What is different here was the process.  Can this process be used in other places?  Answer is Yes!

Back to organization that cannot automate or pay for big consultation fee to do that, can they provide a better service up front?  Can they enable the process to be more efficient?  Can application owner be realistic and co-own responsibility?  The answer is Yes!  So would automation tool be useful in an Data Center?  Yes if you got the right process implemented.  No, if you don't if that automation tool is just a tool without a proper process first in place.

How many times you hear people introducing different automation tools or solutions and tell you process need to be in place?  How can you help you if that?

People makes the different and I see many professionals are still holding on to old IT paradigm and this has to change when technology evolved, the mindset has to shift.  Do something different today, questioned what is required?  What is the alternative?  No one knows the environment better than the infra personnel.  Not only do you value add to the company, you also create a niche for yourself.  You also get both parties have the same expectations and during an issue the responsibility of the machine is not just you alone.

Sit down. Have a thought.  By asking shifting your thinking can create a whole different, will you?

This is strictly a personal point of view.  There can be many others reason and debates.  In summary, the IT Paradigm is no longer the same and the way we think and do should also reflect the changes.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

VMware CPU Compatibility for EVC

Quite sometime back, I did wrote about how to use the compatibility site on VMware HCL page here.  Recently I saw that there was and additional page there was added just for CPU.

It might be a little too much work to clicking through for one model and another just to check what are the Enhanced vMotion (EVC) modes supported.

So here VMware just release one for CPU just to have a ease of check here.  Of cause you can still check out the KB to understand more on CPU class.

Here is a video to illustrate how you can use the new section.



Wednesday, November 5, 2014

VMware vExpert 2015 Kicks Off!

Updating my first blog post this month by the new of the vExpert 2015 kick off while I am busy with vForum Singapore.

There are so many great news today.  First the news on VMware by ZDNet as the most important IT vendor.

Back to the main subject.  Hurry yourself now head to the blog post to sign up and be accredited vExpert yourself by proving your contribution to the communities.

I have previously shared my experience why I started all this sharing.  Do your part, so this community can be leverage on to help you and me and everyone else.

Hope to see more vExpert in 2015!


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

New and Re-brand with vRealize

With both the VMworld 2014 in San Francisco and Barcelona, there are many new bundles and re-branding starting with vRealize.

To many there are many questions and confusion on what is really in all these bundles?  Here I am just to clarify the confusion which I, myself got confused with and have cleared it up.

Re-branding
We know that VMware has vCenter Operations Management Suite (Standard/Advanced/Enterprise).  In this suite, there were 4 components namely: vC Ops Manager, vCenter Infrastructure Navigator, vCenter Chargeback (EOA), vCenter Configuration Manager.  With the new re-branding, this is now call vRealize Operations 6 (Standard/Advanced/Enterprise).

The powerful vCloud Automation Center (formerly DynamicOps), is now rename to vRealize Automation.

IT Business Management (ITBM) which provide a transparency of cost and services across your whole infrastructure is now known as vRealize Business.

VMware Log Insight a log analytics tool is also renamed to vRealize Log Insight.
Something which was not announced (maybe I missed out) but was renamed, vCenter Orchestrator that comes with vCenter is not call vRealize Orchestrator.

vRealize Hyperic is the new name for vCenter Hyperic (formerly vFabric Hyperic).

New Bundle/Product
VMware vRealize Operations Insight 6 is an add-on for vSphere with Operation Management (vSOM) customers who are interested in upgrading their vCenter Operations Management Suite Standard (part of vSOM) to the Advanced edition comes with vRealize Log Insight.

A new bundle for naked vSphere customers or Openstake customers known as vRealize Suite 6 Standard/Advanced/Enterprise which consists of vRealize Log Insight, vRealize Operations, vRealize Automation, vRealize Business with each similar edition as described.

vRealize Code Stream an application delivery framework to streamline and automate in software delivery process.  It can be integrated out of box with jFrog Artifactory.
 
For vCloud Air;
For customers who are on vCloud Air, you will be able to use VMware vRealize Operations Advanced/Enterprise and vRealize Automation Advanced/Enterprise Public Cloud Extension

In summary, you are seeing that VMware is trying to align the portfolio of the solutions more specifically.  From the previous on End User Computing (EUC) solutions to brand with "Horizon", and Management solutions with "vRealize", you will be seeing a clearer picture of what solution this all contains and about.



New Formly known Description
vRealize Suite NEW vRealize Automation + vRealize Business + vRealize Operations + vRealize Log Insight
- vRealize Automation vCloud Automation Center NA
- vRealize Business IT Business Management NA
- vRealize Operations vCenter Operations Management Suite NA
vRealize Operations vCenter Operations Management NA
- vReazlize Operations Manager vCenter Operations Manager NA
- vRealize Hyperic vCenter Hyperic (vFabric Hyperic) NA
- vRealize Infrastructure Navigator vCenter Infrastructure Vanvigator NA
- vRealize Configuration Manager vCenter Configuration Manager NA
vRealize Operations Insight NEW vRealize Operations Advanced + vRealize Log Insight for vSOM customers
vRealize Orchestrator vCenter Orchestrator Free with vCenter
vRealize Application Services vFabric Application Director Part of vRealize Automation Enterprise Edition
vRealize Log Insight vCenter Log Insight NA


Update 17th Oct 2014
Added vRealize Orchestrator, vRealize Hyperic, vRealize Code Stream.

Update 21st Oct 2014
Added a table for easy viewing.  More can be read from another blog http://vmwaretips.com/wp/2014/08/25/do-you-vrealize-whats-in-a-vname/.

Updated 28th Oct 2014
Finally something from VMware.  Refer to this vRealize FAQ to understand all the confusion.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

VMware vSphere Desktop Licensing and Usage

I have encounter not once but several times by many including partners and customers who got confused with the vSphere Desktop licensing.

Well what is vSphere Desktop?  What edition of the normal vSphere is is different or similar?  When do we used it and what can we used it for?

VMware has vSphere Desktop licensing to be used by VMware own virtual desktop solutions it is and by third parties virtual desktop solutions.  The only different is the licensing model is different.

First and foremost, vSphere for Desktop has the same features and functions of vSphere Enterprise Plus.  Yes every single functionality is available.

Before we touch on the different licensing type, you can refer to also VMware Product Guide,  on page 16, you will see what is allowed to be hosted on vSphere Desktop in summary: 1) virtual desktop infrastructure, 2) terminal servers 3)  associated desktop management and monitoring tools.

If you are purchasing vSphere Desktop for third parties virtual desktop solutions and wants to run with vSphere, you would purchase vSphere Desktop instead of the normal vSphere.  In vSphere Desktop licensing, you are allow to have as many hosts as you need however the licensing is by per powered on virtual machine.  This is explained here

To run a vSphere environment, you need a management server, in this case vCenter.  However for third party solutions, the only options would be vCenter Server Foundation or Standard to manage this environment.  I have explained the different vCenter previously here.

The next place where you will find vSphere Desktop and also vCenter Desktop (not available for purchase but bundled in VMware Horizon bundles)  is in VMware Horizon bundling.  In all VMware Horizon bundling it is always bundled with vSphere Desktop and vCenter Desktop.  In this type of bundling, the licensing will be based on either Named User or Concurrent User.  I wrote an article on Horizon Suite which now replaced by a new bundle Horizon 6 which detailed the named and concurrent user licensing with example which still applies.

With most customers I came across who runs third party solutions are on vSphere been the fact that vSphere is much easier to use and reliable.

So now with the confusion cleared, why cost seems cheaper to run with VMware Virtual Desktop solution instead?  Reason is simple.  When comparing with third party solutions running on VMware vSphere Desktop and VMware virtual desktop solution, the cost is automatically lowered.

Let's take the popular Citrix XenDesktop for example:

Taking the cost from here.  Citrix has three editions namely: VDI Edition, Enterprise and Platinum for named user $80, $190, 300 and concurrently $165, $430, $600 respectively.  This has not include VMware vSphere Desktop and vCenter Server Standard which will cost $6,500 per 100 VMs and $4,995 respectively.

If we take VMware Horizon 6 Standard, Advanced  and Enterprise and the cost named user at NA (no named user for Horizon 6 Standard), $250, $300 and concurrent user at $250, $400, $500 respectively, you see the different.

From this example, doing some math, you will discover other than Citrix XenDesktop VDI Edition with vSphere Desktop might cost slight cheaper comparing to Horizon 6 Standard edition which comes only in concurrent user licensing only, where XenDesktop Enterprise editions and above with VMware vSphere Desktop will cost much more than VMware Horizon 6.  Not to mention you now have to manage two separate technology with hiring someone with two different skillset.

Of course the cost might only be lower (in some editions it still costs more) unless you run the free hypervisor instead of VMware vSphere Desktop for third party solutions.

Hope this give you a clear picture how vSphere Desktop is been used and licensed as well as the cost involved whether to use VMware or third parties solution.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

VMware Horizon 6 Application Remoting Direct Connect

The Scenario
ABC company has a remote office and connection back to HQ is not very possible due to bandwidth.  Applications used by the users at the remote office must not have any access to the server directly for security reason and manageability.  The second requirement is the server that serves the applications is not joined to Active Directory.

With the release of Horizon View 5.2, we were able to use View Direct Connection without a Connection server or a broker with or without Active Directory.  With this we are able to meet some of the requirements above.  This is currently only possible on VMware Horizon View, Citrix XenDesktop does not have this feature.

With the release of VMware Horizon 6, it comes with Application Remoting, this not only allow a RDSH Desktop but now you can provide Application Remoting (Application Presentation similar to Citrix Xenapp).  With this add on feature and the Direct-Connection, this makes Application Remoting without any dependency on a broker requirement which Citrix XenApp requires.

To test this out I this up on my Mac using VMware Fusion Pro.

The setup was pretty easy mentioned at various post and also at VMware blog post for Horizon View 5.3.  Also a post that show how Application remoting would look like when used with a connection server but this case we are not using.

You can download the binary here.  Get the VMware Horizon client here.

The setup is as follows:
  1. Setup a virtual machine with at least 128MB video memory
  2. Install Windows Server
  3. Install VMware Tools
  4. Setup Remote Desktop Host Services
  5. Install View Agent
  6. Install View Agent Direct-Connection Plugin
  7. Install and Add applications for access
  8. Add/Create and Grant the users
However during my installation of the View Agent I was stumble over the requirement of connection server registration.  In this case, we are not using any.

This is actually documented.  After going referring to the View Agent Direct-Connection Adminsitration Guide, page 17, the below command is required to skip the broker registration.  The setup wizard will skip the connection server step.

VMware-viewagent-y.y.y-xxxxxx.exe /v VDM_SKIP_BROKER_REGISTRATION=1

After which everything just simply carry on as per normal.  After the View Agent Direct-Connection plugin, a user group  "View Agent Direct-Connection Users" is created and by default, all authenticated users are added to this group.  You can change otherwise.


Add the applications to be used using the RemoteApp Manager (in my case for Windows 2008 R2 SP1).  Below you will see I have added some of the default applications.

Now using my Horizon Client to connect to the server I was presented with the applications entitled (not sure why the icon for notepad is wrong).

Clicking any of them launches the application instantly.

There you go!

 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Security Alert: bash Code Injection Vulnerability

This morning got brought to attention by my colleague, Iwan regarding this bash Code breached.  I am no linux or unix guy but when comes to security this is not to be play with especially in industry where security and compliance is highly evaluated.

A security vulnerability was detected known as "Shell Shock" which is a bash shell commonly found in unix and linux platform.  You can refer to CVE-2014-6271, CVE-2014-7169.

VMware was fast to publish this discover as well and you can read the post here and also to follow up with this KB on what products will be impacted.  So check back the KB to see which product from VMware is impacted and how to mitigate.

Note: that ESXi are not impacted with this "Shell shock" vulnerability.

As for other platforms, you would have to look back to your respective principle to find out if it is affected and the solution to resolve.


Update 29th Sept 2014
As extracted from CSOOnline, CentOS versions 5-7, Ubuntu 10.04, 12.04, and 14.04 (all LTS versions), Debian, Mac OS X, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4-7, are all vulnerable.

Update 30th Sept 2014
VMware Products that are affected are mentioned in the KB above listed.  VMware customer portals  are NOT affected is documented in this KB.  Great news for those still running out of support vSphere 4.x, VMware will also provide update for ESX 4.x as an exception though it has been out of VMware lifecycle policies.

Also companies that utilizes linux for the intelligence/function in their products just to list a few e.g. Nutanix has also publish their support note with and advisory note, TrendMicro tech note for a list of their vulnerabilities, Symantec here, Palo Alto Network note, Cisco Systems Advisory, Oracle Security Alert, etc.

Update 1st Oct 2014
From the list of product in the VMware Security Advisory VMSA-2014-0010, VMware Log Insight is the first product to get patched.

Update 2nd Oct 2014
Shellshock Security Update:
  • vCenter Operations Manager 5.8.3
  • vCloud Automation Center 6.1
  • vCloud Automation Center 6.0.1.2
  • vCloud Automation Application Services Center 6.1
  • vCloud Application Director 6.0.1
  • vFabric Application Director 5.2
  • IT Business Management Standard 1.1.0 and 1.0.1
  • vCenter Support Assistant 5.5.1.1
  • vCenter Orchestrator 4.2.3
  • vCenter Orchestrator 5.1.2
Update 3rd Oct 2014
Shellshock Security Update:
  • vCenter Orchestrator 5.5.2.1
  • vFabric Hyperic 5.0.3
  • vFabric Hyperic 5.7.2
  • vCenter Hyperic 5.8.3
  • vCenter Infrastructure Navigator 2.0.1
  • vCenter Infrastructure Navigator 5.7.1
  • vCenter Infrastructure Navigator 5.8.3
  • vSphere App HA 1.1.1
Xen Project seems to have a larger vulnerability due to ShellShock.  Companies that user Xen as their hypervisor include Citrix, Oracle and Huawei from what I remember.  Read up this article.

Update 4th Oct 2014
Shellshock Security Update:

  • vCloud Networking and Security 5.1.4.3 & 5.5.3.1
  • NSX for vSphere 6.0.7 & 6.1.1
  • NSX for Multi-Hypervisor 4.1.4 & 4.2.1
Update 7th Oct 2014
Check back VMSA-2014-0010 for all the products as at time of writing almost all products are been patched.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

VMWare vForum 2014 Singapore Registration is now Live!

In Asia Pacific, this is what we have been waiting for the biggest event of all time at in Singapore; VMware vForum 2014!

Every year there are more than 3000 participants from customers to partners within the Asia Pacific region with our various sponsors gather at this major event bringing with the announcements from VMworld both held in San Francisco to Barcelona.

This year without fail VMware Singapore is hosting it annual biggest event in Singapore at its usual same venue Raffles City Convention Center.

If you are new to VMware or just getting started or you are already in the matured level of building your cloud, this is an event not to be missed.  Not only will you get to meet up with all the professionals on the field and get to know all the solutions available to meet your needs, you will also get to understand what on the market just for you at one single day and place!

What's different this year from other years, is it is a 2 days event.  First day with all the announcement and keynotes in an overview of all the solutions from VMware and her partners.  With the new additional of second day which cater for all the technical professional with all the technical workshops.  On both days, there will also be Hands-on Labs going on!  Check out the agenda here.  Remember to look through both the agendas for both days.  Yes clicking on Day 1 and Day 2 does show the respective day's agenda if you did not notice it!

If you can only attend one event a year, you must not miss this!  So what are you waiting for start, register for your attendance here!


Update 17th Sept 2014
Look out for special privileges for VMUG members.  If you are not yet a VMUG member, sign up here now!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

VMware World 2014 SFO Day 2 What's New!

If you have not read about what was on Day 1 check out here.  There ain't much announcement on solutions here on the second day.  There are quite a lot of announcements on EUC space and that you can read it here.  There are also mentions of CloudVolumes which was recently acquired by VMware just last week, a few partnership with Google and nVidia on Chromebooks and Horizon DaaS which lightly further expansion from the acquisition done on Desktone.

Also VMware has joined as a Gold Partner in the Open Compute Project as reported by AMAX.

With VMware been the first partner of SAP with AirWatch and SAP Mobile Secure into the mobility space on security and experience stated here.

On vCloud Air, there is on demand which was previously mentioned and as well as vCloud Air  Object Storage offering.  Check out all the new announcement by Bill Fathers.

To sum it all, the second focus much on the EUC and mostly partnership betwee day 1 and 2.  If you are expecting some new launches e.g. vSphere, you will be disappointed as if you are part of or heard of the vSphere Beta program, you will know it is still in beta and lightly would only be ready next year.

Let's now wait for the VMworld 2014 Barcelona and see what's new to of it will be announced.