VMworld 2013 wrap up

Another year has gone by along with the 10th annual VMworld. This years VMworld was held in San Francisco. I believe the event will be held in the same location for the foreseeable future.
It was great to meet up with so many other experts in the virtualization space. I had a chance to meet up with guys like the vTexan Tommy Trogden from EMC, Chad Sakac from EMC and David Robertson from SimpliVity. It was also nice to finally meet Scott Lowe and let him know how much I appreciate the books he has written.
The new version of vSphere 5.5 saw some great improvements. I’m still on the fence with the whole NSX appliance. It has some impressive capabilities, but it doesn’t quite fit for the company I am with at the moment. I’m a little shy with buying into 1.0 products anyway. I attended the deep dive on vCenter and noticed some welcome changes to SSO (no more DB). I was hoping that the vsan would be GA, but it is just a beta program for now.
The solutions exchange:
Had the chance to meet up with the guys from Zerto. They had a great booth with very knowledgeable guys. I hate going up to some booths that have 90% booth babes and they have to get a tech who is overwhelmed. At the Zerto booth everyone was able to answer questions. Wednesday was a fun day wearing my Zerto shark print shirt “your not going to need a bigger boat”. I heard they were a buzz with my tweet “I don’t always fail over. But when I do, I use Zerto. Stay protected my friends”. Be sure to check out the new 3.0 release of the product. I believe it has something for everyone in the DR space.
SimpliVity had a great product. I thought the replication and dedup technology they are using is awesome. The technology is called Omnistack. I’m looking forward to seeing more from these guys.
GigaMon has a great virtualization network visibility product. We just bought into the 2.0 release of the product. I had a chance to meet up with some of the really smart guys who work on the product day to day.
Nutanix has a great product going, really something I have not seen from other vendors. It was 4 VMware hosts in 1 with a replication technology across hosts in a small form factor. Really great option for those who don’t need to invest in a SAN. Manny Carral did a great job of explaining it all. I also have to say thanks for providing the vExpert personalized glass!
I have worked with Fusion IO in the past using the PCI based cards. I’m not sure why I missed the IO turbine product. Derek Clark did a great job walking me through the product. This is something I am looking forward to testing in my Cisco UCS environment.
I also had to check out the guys at Violin Memory. They have an impressive all flash array. I had a chance to talk to existing customers at the Violin Memory party on Tuesday and they all had great things to say about the product. It is always nice to get honest opinions from customers.

The general sessions:
I attended several sessions this year. Okay, maybe 3 a day. It’s just so hard to stay away from the solutions exchange. Each session I attended had great speakers. No one was boarding and it did not feel like it was a heavy marketing campaign. I loved the VDI smack down session, but I was hoping there would be panelist from each product (View and XEN). It was Ruben Spruijt who specializes in VDI deployments and he did a great job walking thru the differences in each product.
The “ask the vExperts” session was awesome. It’s good to see the front line guys get asked questions by the community and give feedback on what they see in the field. After that session I picture Duncan as a mad scientist in a VMware lab somewhere cooking up new stuff.

The labs:
The guys did a great job on the labs this year. I find that every year they find some way to improve on top of a great platform. The lab menu in the VMware program did not seem very well structured, but when you sit down at the lab console the menu was great. I found everything organized in a manageable order. I loved that they had hot spot areas you could sit down at and work on some of the labs. This was a great option for those who did not want to wait in line. I had an inside tip that the labs would be available after VMworld in a beta formate. I wonder if will conflict with the VMware Connect training offering.

The VMworld party:
This was the first year that VMware held the grand party at the AT&T park. The event just got so big that they had to find a new venue. Going into the stadium was a nightmare. Everyone on twitter complained that the event sucked. People waiting in lines for 30 minutes for a hot dog (I did that too). After the crowds disbursed around the stadium it was not so bad. I think by the end of the night everyone enjoyed the event. I really enjoyed Train. I especially loved the cover songs they did.
I couldn’t win any of those carnival games. I saw guys with bags of stuffed animals. I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t have all that stuff to take back with me on the plane.

I wonder what the breaking point will be for VMware to decide on having VMworld twice a year on separate coasts? It would be something nice to see. Overall I enjoyed my 5th VMworld and I am hoping to return next year.

VMworld 2013 and Zerto

It’s that time of year again. Grab your shopping carts and run through the gauntlet of vendors at this years VMworld. For me, my first stop will be the DR section. In that section I am looking forward to seeing the demonstrations from Zerto. If you don’t know about Zerto, they provide enterprise-class disaster recovery and business continuity solutions for virtualized data centers and cloud environments.

zerto logo

 

 

 

I recently ran a POC with the product and was quite impressed. I have used the VMware SRM product before and the fail over / fail back options are very similar. You can schedule a live or test fail over at any time. For me, SRM is not an option. With XYZ storage vendor on one end and ZYX storage vendor on the other, storage replication is not an option. VMware Site Recovery Manager has a growing list of supported SAN vendors to provide that SAN replication. Or your storage vendor might just offer to sell you a replacement for that other SAN. Whether that would be cost effective depends on many things: maintenance renewals on the SAN, the cost of the SAN, re-platform costs, training costs, data tiering options. All vs that number of virtual machines you would need to protect in your virtual infrastructure with Zerto. The other question you should ask yourself is “If my environment is highly virtualized (let’s say 80% or more) would it be cost effective to replace the SAN so I can use tools like EMC recovery point and SRM just to replicate that leftover 20% of physical assets along with my virtual infrastructure?”. Of course if those 20% of physical assets are business critical you might say yes. But if you can get away with using a clustering technology across datacenters or a server based replication technology, all you would need is Zerto for your virtual infrastructure. One thing I love about Zerto is that you can replicate virtual machines from something high end in one site to something low end in another. Let’s say an an IBM DS8000 in production to a Dell MD3000 iSCSI array in DR. You can even change the provisioning formats on the fly of the virtual machines. Of course careful planning must be made for performance when choosing these options.

There is also the free vSphere replication option.  I have not used this myself, but I do plan on scheduling some testing. There are some big difference between vSphere replication and Zerto. I’m sure there will be some improvements to vSphere replication in ver 5.5.

I don’t want to get into a step by step instillation in this post. I had a similar experience to Justin Paul when using the product. It is very easy to use and has a lot of great options. Make sure to stop by the booth at VMworld and check them out.

VMware vCenter Server 5.1 Update 1b released

In case you missed it, VMware released vCenter Server 5.1 Update 1b on August 1st. There is a small list of bug fixes. I would not expect any major changes in future releases of 5.1, most should only contain bug fixes. Later this month I expect to see a new release of vSphere at VMworld. This is typically the trend with the VMworld conference.