VMware / ecosystem / industry news flash… part 1

I did these startup news flash newsletters for a long time and it kind of died down. Reason for it being that it felt like I missed out on updates of companies who were way beyond the stage of being a startup, which is a shame. I do feel there is a need, or there is a market for these types of blog articles. So lets give it another try but this time with a different name and a slightly different angle. In this VMware / ecosystem / industry news flash I will feature interesting (to me) news items of VMware and its ecosystem. This could range from Nexenta releasing a new version of their software to an acquisition or new round of funding. I hope you will find it useful. Besides a pointer to the originating article, I will also provide some of my thoughts, and I would like to encourage you to do the same via the comment section!

  • VMware announced the intention to acquire CloudVolumes
    I looked in to CloudVolumes about 5 months ago. I was very intrigued with what they developed and how they go about layering applications on top of virtual machines both for the server and desktop space. Especially when it comes to updating applications I was impressed how seamless and flexible CloudVolumes was. What stood out most was that they simply connect a VMDK to a VM instead of streaming data across the network… it was so simple, but yet so innovative and smart at the same time that I am not surprised VMware acquired them.
  • Ubuntu Now Available on VMware vCloud Air
    I guess there are two things here… vCloud Air formerly known as vCloud Hybrid Services, a new name. And Ubuntu being available in the catalog by default which is great. If I have to pick any Linux distribution to work with it typically is Ubuntu, and as it is one of the most used distributions out there in cloud environments this makes sense to me.
  • Nexenta Enables File Services on VMware VSAN
    I did not see this one coming to be honest and I am not sure what it will look like from an implementation perspective. It is interesting though to see the ecosystem layering services on top of VSAN and I am wondering what else is in the pipeline!
  • DataGravity out of stealth… (Steve Foskett opinion, Howard Marks thoughts, Robin Harris)
    I have read multiple articles on DataGravity and it seems they are playing in the same space as Nimble and Tintri with their hybrid storage solution. But what DataGravity adds on top of that in-sight in to the data being stored. It sounds interesting but I do wonder what the target market is as I would suspect that many who need this type of data analytics already have layers on top of their storage systems which will provide this detail for them. I will try to set some time aside at VMworld to chat with them.
  • Pernix Data announced a new round of funding (Business Insider, Venture Beat)
    35 million dollar C round of funding is significant I would say. On top the growth numbers that Pernix published are impressive, but not surprisingly if you look at what they have to offer and still have in the pipeline.
  • Atlantis announced USX 2.0 (vClouds.nl, Andrea Mauro)
    I have always been intrigued by USX. I played around with 1.0 on top of Virtual SAN and was impressed by the capabilities added and the efficiency of their data services, however at the same time I also realized that layering USX on top of Virtual SAN kind of diminished the Virtual SAN policy based management capabilities. However with USX 2.0 it appears that USX will support VVOL and as such SPBM to a full extent, and hopefully also will require a lower number of USX related virtual appliance to be deployed. Will try to explore USX 2.0 in the near future.

Startup Into: Platform9

Yesterday a startup came out of stealth which was founded by a couple of former VMware veterans. I happen to know the majority of them, and have had the pleasure to have worked with them on various things in the past. For instance Platform9‘s three of the four co-founders were all heavily involved in vCloud Director, and the fourth co-founder was VMware employee number 27… but that is not where it stops… there is much more talent on-board. But that is not what this blog is about, this blog is about Platform9, the new company that they have formed and the product they are building.

** note, I did not test the product… it is impossible to provide an analysis of what works / does not work and how they play in this space or compete with others, this is based on a conversation and a demo **

Platform9 is as they say themselves:

… the easiest way for enterprises to implement a private cloud, with intelligent, self-service provisioning of workloads onto their computing infrastructure.

  • 100% Cloud Managed: Platform9′s cloud-based model means that there is no complex management software to setup, monitor and upgrade, thus simplifying the operational experience.
  • Single Pane of Glass: Platform9 offers unified management across diverse environments – Docker, KVM and VMware vSphere – across datacenters and geographies.
  • Based on OpenStack: Platform9 customers get the best of OpenStack with 100% API compatibility.

When I met them last month, they gave a demo and showed me what they had implemented so far: Management of KVM based hypervisors using a very easy to use and slick using web-based user interface. Where the whole management solution was running in “the cloud”.

Creating a new “instance” was literally a few clicks, snapshotting / cloning it… same thing, just a couple of clicks. Now what stood out to me during the demo was the use of the word “instance” instead of “virtual machine”. So I asked them why not “virtual machine”, considering they are all VMware veterans that made more sense to me. The explanation was simple: we want to manage multiple layers. We want to manage KVM VMs, vSphere VMs but for instance also Docker containers. That is why we used a different term than we would normally use… and yes that did make sense to me. I also wondered if they would be able to mix different environments and type of instance in their UI, and the answer was yes. Docker containers, KVM VMs, vSphere VMs (etc) will also be seen in the same single pane of glass. I really like the fact that Platform9 did not limit themselves to just vSphere, or just VMs but rather is focusing on the needs of developers and providing what they require.

Similar to CloudPhysics, Platform9 is taking SaaS approach. The major benefit of course being the agility at which new features/functionality can be introduced to the outside world, or tested against a small subset of customers. Same of course applies to bug fixes / updates. No need to do that yourself, Platform9 will take care of that for you. Promising indeed.

Now there is a lot of competition in this space, as also emphasized by  Ben Kepes in his post on Platform9… But to be honest, if I look at one of the examples listed like ServiceMesh, they seem to cater for a completely different market. Platform9 is all about simplicity and managing instances, not so much about creating complex recipes etc. I agree though that there are a lot of vendors playing in this space (and as such competition), or somewhat related space, but that makes it even more interesting to see how Platform9 evolves in my opinion.

For more info, a demo, or a trial:

Platform9 will showcase its product in its booth #324 at VMware’s VMworld Conference, taking place the week of August 25th in San Francisco. The product is currently in beta with general availability planned for later this year. Platform9 currently supports KVM with upcoming support for Docker and VMware vSphere. To register for a free trial, go to: http://www.platform9.com.

CloudPhysics Storage Analytics and new round of funding

When I just woke up I saw the news was out… A new round of funding for CloudPhysics! CloudPhysics raised $15 million in a series C investment round, bringing the company’s total funding to $27.5 million! Congratulations folks, I can’t wait to see what this new injection will result in to. One of the things that CloudPhysics heavily invested in to the past 12 months has been the storage side of the house. In their SaaS based solution one of the major pillars today is Storage Analytics, along side General Health Checks and Simulations.

The Storage Analytics section is available as of today to everyone out there! It will allow you to monitor things like “datastore contention”, “unused VMs” and everything there is to know about capacity savings ranging from inside the guest to datastore level details. If you ever wondered how “big data” could be of use to you, I am sure you will understand when you start using CloudPhysics. Not just their monitoring and simulation cards are brilliant, the Card Builder is definitely one of their hidden gems. If you need to convince your management, than all you should do is show the above screenshot: savings opportunity!

Of course there is a lot more to it than I will be able to write about in this short post. In my opinion if you truly want to understand what they bring to the table, just try it out for free for 30 days here!

PS: How about this brilliant Infographic… from the people who taught you how to fight the noisy neighbour, they now show you how to defeat that bully!

**disclaimer: I am an advisor to CloudPhysics **

FW: Dear Clouderati Enterprise IT is different…

I hardly ever do this, posting people to a blog post… I was going through my backlog of articles to read when I spotted this article by my colleague Chuck Hollis. I had an article in my draft folder on the subject of web scale myself. Funny enough it so close to Chuck’s that there is no point in publishing it… rather I would like to point you to Chuck’s article instead.

To me personally, the below quote captures the essence of the article really well.

If you’re a web-scale company, IT doesn’t just support the business, IT is the business.

It is a discussion I have had on twitter a couple of times. I think Web Scale is a great concept, and I understand the value for companies like Google, Facebook or any other large organization in the need of highly scalable application landscape. But the emphasize here is on the application and its requirements, and it makes a big difference if you are providing support for hundreds if not thousands of applications which are not build in-house. If anyone tells you that because it is good for Google/Facebook/Twitter it must be good for you, ask yourself what the requirements are of your application. What does your application landscape look like today? What will it look like tomorrow? And what will be your IT needs for the upcoming years? Read more in this excellent post by Chuck, and make sure to leave a comment! Dear Clouderati Enterprise IT is different…


Tour through VMware vCloud Hybrid Service part 1

Last week I received an account for the VMware vCloud Hybrid Services through one of our internal teams. I wanted to play around with it just to see what it can do and how things work, but also to see what the user experience was like, basically a tour through VMware vCloud Hybrid Service. I received my username and a link to set a password via email and it literally took 3 seconds to get started after setting that password. First I was presented with was a screen that showed the regions I had to my disposal as shown below, 4 regions.

You may wonder why that matters, well it is all about availability… Of course each region individually will have done everything there is to be done when it comes to resiliency but what if a whole site blows up? Well that is where multiple regions come in to play. I just want to deploy a small virtual machine for now so I am going to select a random site… I will use Virginia. [Read more...]