Wednesday, February 24, 2016

VMware Virtual SAN from 5.5 to 6.2

Virtual SAN (VSAN) has come a long way starting initial release in vSphere 5.5 known as VSAN 5.5 which was primary targeted at VDI workload and other not so critical workloads.

Remember in Feb 2013, VMware acquire Virsto a block storage optimizing software company and liquidise in it Jan 2014.  This was nice piece of technology which took everyone by shock that it's no longer offered as a product.  How good can it be to serialize data on a block storage system when it was written in random.

With VSAN 6.0 release, a part of Virsto was present in its file system and with it's native snapshot. Yes it is not using the traditional snapshot offered through vSphere which is still done on any other storage.  Now it is more applicable for Business critical apps as it also offer All-Flash VSAN model.

In VSAN 6.1 release, it allows stretch VSAN cluster.  It also extend vSphere Replication with VSAN to have a RPO time of 5 minutes.  It also comes with support of Oracle RAC and WSFC.  Not forgetting SMB customers, it also comes with a ROBO offering with a two nodes setup.  Deduplication was added as a tech preview in VSAN 6.1.

What was missing in the previous versions which many competitors who offer their SDS solution would mention would be deduplication, code erasure, compression and encryption.

With VSAN 6.2 release, it has become a true enterprise ready software defined storage (SDS).  With this release, not only does the tech preview for deduplication comes live, it also added compression.  Also many have debated on the space requirement for VSAN is almost a one to one due to a "Raid 1" policy available.  Now it has erasure coding (RAID 5/6) included as well.  This not only save on storage space but it also requires a minimum nodes to satisfy (2N+1/2N+2 respectively).  As for encryption, it is working with Hytrust to provide that level of security (also blog by Cormac Hogan).

Other small features not generally mentioned is Client Cache where you can allocate up to 1GB of memory per host for read ahead cache.  Data Locality will be applicable here.  For Horizon View, this will work inline with Content-Based Read Cache (CBRC).  I am going to see hell lots of improvement for Horizon on VSAN in areas of "storms".

Another small advanced option not enabled by default is Sparse Swap.  This allows memory swap file to be thin provision instead of the traditional upfront provisioned.  E.g. VM created with 4GB memory will have a memory swap file of 4GB place on the disk.  Imagine how much storage is required if every host has 512GB of memory utilized by 50% of memory by VMs in a 64 hosts cluster?  With that advanced setting enabled, all swap file will be thin provisioned and allocated when consumed.

With the announcement made, the binary isn't ready till March 2016.  So let's wait and see.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Singapore VMUG Singapore Conference Second Time Running!

If you attended last year VMUG User Conference, it was the first in Singapore.  In fact we have so many sessions running from partner, VMware and also special guests from different part of the world.

This year, the VMUG User Conference is coming again for second year running.  Head over and register for it and find out more on the Agenda.  There are even more attractive vendors, speakers and partners.  If you have been attending many VMware events over the years, you will have met some great speakers like Scott Drummonds, Michael Webster, Chris Wahl, John Arrasjid, and many more.  We even have Cormac Hogan this time for the first time in Singapore.  If you do not know who he is, he own his own blog and specialize on storage and he is one of the Guru in this field from vVols, VSAN and vSphere Storage definitely.

Even VMware executive, Sanjay Mirchandani will be there to during the key notes.

What are you waiting for?  Join us in this big event!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Workspace One and Horizon 7 Release and What's New and What's Not

With the recent announcement release of Workspace One and Horizon 7, this makes more of some repackaging for Workspace One and new version or Horizon View.

What's New?

Workspace One
  • Repackaging of Workspace Suite Blue/Yellow.
  • Integration of vIDM with Airwatch.
  • Comes in on-premise or Cloud Hosted.
  • Come in three editions: Standard, Advanced, Enterprise. Refer to comparison and pricing guide.

Workspace One*
- vIDM
- Socialcast
- Secure Content Locker (View)
- Workspace One Standard
- Airwatch Blue
- Windows 10 Management

- Workspace One Advanced
- Horizon 7 Enterprise
*there is some confusion on the packaging due to the comparison site and pricing guide which will update the information when available.

Horizon 7
  • Support Instant Clone (release in vSphere 6 but not in used by any products)
  • True SSO integration with vIDM
  • Improvement to Blast Extreme protocol available on Horizon Client
  • Blast is more optimized than PCoIP and also support nVidia GRID.
  • Blast leverage on H.264, it better performed and can deliver up to 4K resolution.
  • Intel vDGA support on Intel Xeon E3.
  • AMD mutli-user GPU support (AMD graphics hardware).
  • USB and drive redirection over security server has been improved by up to 50%.

App Volumes 3.0
  • New ala cart App Volumes Standard target at SMB customers.
  • Comes with 3 editions: Standard, Advanced, Enterprise
  • New Admin UI revamp.

App Volumes
- App Volumes (Basic management capabilities)
- User Environment Manager (UEM)
- App Volumes (Enterprise management capabilities)
- Thinapp
- App Volumes Advanced
- vR Ops for Published Apps

What's not so New?

Workspace One
  • This started off from Project Octopus>Horizon Manager>Horizon Workspace>VMware Workspace>vIDM v1.0>vIDM v2.0
  • The interface has been very clean and login is now very smooth.
  • Customization is easily done and policy based assignment is smoothen out over the iterations.
  • Horizon Data is no longer available since Horizon Workspace.
  • Arranging of Apps is no longer available (hope it will come back next release).

Horizon 7
  • Blast Extreme protocol was only available when you use HTML5 via a browser to access your desktop now is make available on Horizon Client.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

VMware vExpert 2016 Award Announcement!

Once again congratulation to all new and renewed vExpert 2016.  This year we have 1360 awarded with this accreditation.  This is an increased from the first half awarded in 2015 of 754 posted last year.  Almost twice of growth.

This year if you have applied and did not see your name been awarded, you can actually write in as stated to to seek another round of clarity.  Perhaps it could have missed out.  I have been asked by some, this goes down to what did you justify yourself to be awarded this accreditation?  Application does not equal to award if you have not show any evidences of contribution e.g. active reply to discussion group, etc.

For those who are new to this award, this grants you discount to events like VMworld as well as meetup during VMworld if you are going.  There are definitely some benefits.

Many vendors will sponsor NFR licenses for their product and services for one year that inclusive of VMware products while some provide other like Polo T-shirts.  You will also be given a certificate at the end of the year for this award.

So far one of the best service received was from Ravello Systems who grants all vExpert 1000 CPU hours.  This helps many to build their own lab and experience the use of Cloud workload on Google/Amazon.

Once again congratulation to all new and existing once again and carry on your good work!  Keep it going and keep it up!

Update 23rd Aug
For vExpert 2016, do register for your free mug here by Catalogic Software.  If you are are going VMworld 2016 if not ask a friend or colleague who is to pick it up for you.

Update 18th Feb 2016
Ravello Systems has announced to extend 1000 vCPUs hours to all vExpert 2015 and 2016.  For those who have not heard or use, Ravello allows many to run their lab and testing without spending huge amount on equipment and run in your own place.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

VMware VCAP6 Design Beta Exams Available

Wasn't aware till my colleague mention about it here.  Design VCAP exams for the threes tracks namely: Data Center Virtualization, Cloud Management and Automation, Desktop and Mobility has been release.

You can register for the beta exams while seats last.  So if you are keen to do the VCAP6 for any tracks, head over to the page.  At the time of writing, only the Data Center Virtualization and Cloud Management Design is available at USD100.  The date for the exam starts on 15th Feb 2016 onwards.

You will of course need to meet the following requirements.  Using Data Center Virtualization VCAP6 as example, you will need:VCP6 or VCAP5 DCD/DCA.

Upon passing, you will be granted VCAP6-DCD and if you are holding existing VCAP5-DCA, you will be also given VCIX6-DCV if the new certification roadmap announced earlier still applies.

I will head over and register for it and update once again after I taken the exam.  Wish me luck!

Update 8th Feb 2016
Apparently the seats for all VCAP-DCD has been taken up and only left with VCAP-CMA.  Those who have gotten authorization but have yet to booked the exam date has since removed from their authorization from booking from what I know from one of my colleague.

Update 16th Feb 2016
Just finish my VCAP6-DCV Design beta.  Personally I felt the exam is much refine better than before including the system much smoother and stable.  I have wrote all my comments into the questions that have language or contradicting statement.  However this has greatly reduced.  I even managed to finish all 31 questions and reviewed all my questions one time round and left with lots of time.  I very directed into design which I much felt and appreciate that VMware finally got this right not to go into things that are not to be tested in a design e.g. number of limit maximum, etc.  The exam contain a mixed of design and drag/drop questions.  I have a total of 10 design questions but am not sure if this is a fixed or random till a GA of the exam blueprint may state.  Now is to wait for the results.

Update 18th Feb 2016
Apparently I read others who have taken the VCAP6-DCV Design exam and the number of design questions varies.  So this really depend on luck.  I personally prefer to do the design questions as they are more practical to real life experience.

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