Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Future of Network Virtualization with NSX

Bruce Davie, who lead the team that created MPLS, spoke about some of the new features in NSX 6.2.  He started talking about hardware VTEPs (VXLAN Tunnel Endpoints) and how they are currently just L2 bridges. It looks like they will be adding all of the Firewall, Load-Balancing, and Routing capabilities soon.

Bruce also showed a great demo of the Root-Cause analysis for physical paths that is being included with the vRealize Operations product.   With the growing use of overlay networks to carry traffic around the datacenter, the borders have really blurred and troubleshooting is understandably more complicated.   In his demo he showed a leaf spine archetecture using ECMP that had a switch port go down.  vRealize can now show the entire physical path as well as the logical path and was able to easily show which specific switch and port were causing the issue!

Also, he spoke about the new distributed load balancing features being introduced with NSX 6.2.  I love this idea of scale out network services.. and something I did not realize, was that the load balancers are context aware in their decisions.   For example, the balancing can happen based on actual network or CPU load of a node rather than just equally splitting the connections per node.

It was a great talk and really opened my eyes to how far NSX has come in just 18 months.

vCenter Appliance as a "First Choice"

This session discussed how the Appliance under v6.0 has been brought to parity with the Windows vCenter installations as far as the maximum size supported.  The appliance has come a long way from it's first iteration that had a maximum of 5 hosts and 50 VMs.  Today the numbers are the same for both platforms at 1000 hosts and 10,000 VMs.

Here's a summary of my notes:
  • Faster Deployment and lower TCO
    • No Windows or SQL licenses required
    • Single VM covers both the database and the vCenter services
  • Security Hardened SUSE 11 SP3
    • They have a dedicated team @ VMware to tuning the appliance for security and resiliency
  • Large sized appliance actually outperforms the Windows vCenter in transactions / sec
  • New features coming in 6.0 U1 (Q3-Q4)
    • Converting to external PSC will finally be supported
    • VAMI appliance configuration page is back and written in HTML5!
  • Migration tool (Fling) available to Migrate 5.5 and 6.0 from Windows to the Appliance
    • The was a demo that shows the web interface, which allows you to migrate just the configuration data, or the data plus historical stats (performance data

Monday, August 31, 2015

VMworld: Opening Keynote

The first General session introduced the term Unified Hybrid Cloud.  VMware is continuing to push the vCloud Air product as a solution and brought several big industry names out such as DirectTV to talk about how they are utilizing VMware's public cloud and SDDC products for their business.  Here's a few of the noteworthy announcements:

Unified Hybrid Cloud Announcements
  • New EVO: SDDC Manager Application
    • Non-disruptive lifecycle automation including firmware updates for the hardware
  • Content Library in vSphere 6.0 will be able to sync automatically with vCloud Air
  • Cross-Cloud vMotion Tech Preview
    • Tech preview of live migration between private and public clouds, both directions!
Cloud Native Apps Announcements
  • VMware Integrated Containers  (finally!!)
    • Docker containers are supported using a new lightweight Photon VM
    • Uses a 1:1 ratio instead of many:1 that is common with Docker hosts
      • This is done for security, a big concern in container based solutions
      • Allows NSX to apply security on the per-container network interfaces
      • The performance hit is actually very small, Photon VMs power up in less than 1 second
    • Photon includes two main components:
      • Open Source Photon Controller
        • Distributed multi-tenant control plane
      • Photon Machine
        • ESX based "Microvisor"
    • Distributions include:
      • Subscription based model
      • Subscription based and bundled with CloudFoundry
Everyone seems pretty excited about the cross-cloud vMotion demo.  I was actually more impressed with the news about container support.  They showed a demo of deploying a Kubernetes and Mesos clusters within minutes, including large scale deployments of 1000 containers in about 30 seconds!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Achievement Unlocked: VCP6-Datacenter!

I took my VCP6 exam today at VMworld and passed!   I can't say anything about the actual test (NDA) other than to say you really need to know your stuff.  I went over the exam blueprint at least a dozen times before the test.  But you need to know way more than that blueprint lists. (Production experience is a must!)  The biggest challenge was time, you only have about 60 seconds for each of the 85 questions.  By the end of the test I only had about 90 seconds to review my marked questions.

Anyways, I'm glad thats done so I can concentrate my focus on the sessions and the location here in San Francisco.  

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Arrived in San Francisco

Well I arrived this morning about 10AM Pacific after jumping on the early flight leaving Greensboro at 6AM Eastern.   It's weird to loose 3 hours.  I wanted to get here pretty early so I could get checked in and registered.

I'm staying at the Hyatt Regency on Market Street this week.   It's a few miles on foot to the Moscone center and the VMworld shuttles aren't running yet.   I made it ok down to the Moscone West building and completed my self-checkin earlier today.  VMware was giving out the usual.. backpack, shirt, and a plastic bottle. (now where am I going to put this bag going home??)

San Francisco so far is pretty great.  The weather is nice and cool and there are street vendors and interesting looking hole in the wall restaurants around every corner.  There was even a fusion Sushi / Burrito place right down Market Street from the hotel.  (interesting combo there)  I had to get some food after checking in and stopped by a Vietnamese sandwich shop that had some good reviews on Foursquare.  I'll have yet to decide on a place for dinner.

My studying is going pretty well.  I'll have to ask my friend John to quiz me later when he arrives.  Since tomorrow is mostly Partner Exchange exclusive sessions, I think I will use that time to take my test.  I'm anxious to get that done so I can stop studying so much and enjoy the town.

I guess thats it for now.  Thanks for reading.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Trip to VMworld

Well I thought there might be some interest in posting some of my experiences in visiting the VMworld conference this year in San Francisco.   This will be my second VMworld, the first being the 2011 conference in Las Vegas.

I was a little late to the session registration.  It looks like all of the expert led workshops filled up on the first day.  I've been checking back but have not seen any more sessions added.. I'm not concerned though.  There's plenty of presentations and hands on labs to keep my schedule filled.  And a lot of these full sessions might have some last minute openings if you time it right!

I'm also going to be going for my VCP6 certification for the new test that came out this week.  I'm currently finishing up my Virtual ICM6 course, which doesn't cover all of the test.. but hopefully in my spare time sitting on airplanes I'll find some ability to study the exam blueprints.  =)

Here's my current session schedule:




And some of the sessions that filled up before I could register:

This will be my first attempt at blogging a conference, so please bear with me as I try to get accustomed to updating a blog.  (it's been awhile)