We are DevOps

devopsOver the last couple of months I have started running in to more and more customers who are wondering what that DevOps thing is they keep hearing about. They want to know if they need to start hiring DevOps engineers and which software they need to procure for DevOps. I more or less already eluded to what I think it really is or means in my blog post about The Phoenix Project, let me re-use a quote from the review that I wrote for that book:

After reading the book I am actually left wondering if DevOps is the right term, as it is more BizDevOps then anything else. All of IT enabling the development of business through operational efficiency / simplicity.

DevOps is not something you buy, it is not about specific tools you use, it is a state-of-mind … an operational model, a certain level of maturity. I would argue that it is just a new fancy way of describing IT maturity. At VMware we have had this professional services engagement called Operational Readiness where IT (Ops and Dev) and business owners would be interviewed to identify the shortcomings in terms of the IT offerings and agility, the outcome would a set of recommendations that would allow an organization to align better with the business demands. (This engagement has been around for at least 6 years now to my knowledge.)

Typically these types of engagements would revolve around people and process and focus less on the actual tools used. The theme of the recommendations generally was around breaking down the silos in IT (between the various teams in an IT department: dev / ops / security / networking / storage), and of course reviewing processes / procedures. It is strange how even today we still encounter the same types of problems we encountered years ago. You can deploy a new virtual machine in literally minutes, you can configure physical servers in about 10 minutes (when the installation is fully automated)… yet it takes 3 weeks to get a networking port configured, 2 weeks to get additional LUNs, 4 days to prepare that test/dev environment or even worse the standard change process from start to finish takes 6 weeks.

What is probably most striking is that we live in an ever changing world, the pace at which this happens is unbelievably fast and we happen to work in the industry which enables this… Yet, when you look at IT (in most cases) we forget to review our processes (or design) and do not challenge the way we are doing things today. We (no not you I know, but that guy sitting next to you) take what was described 5 years ago and blindly automate that. We use the processes we developed for the physical world in a virtualized world, and we apply the same security policies and regulations to a virtual machine as to a physical machine. In many cases, unfortunately, from a people perspective things are even far worse… no communication whatsoever between the silos besides through an ancient helpdesk ticketing tool probably, sadly enough.

In todays world, if you want to stay relevant, it is important that you can anticipate as fast as possible to the (ever changing) demands of your business / customers. IT has the power to enable this. This is what this so-called “Operational Readiness” was there for, identify the operational and organizational pain-points, solve them and break down those silos to cater for the business needs. In todays world the expected level of operational maturity is a couple of levels higher even, and that level is what people (to a certain extent) refer to when they talk about DevOps in my opinion.

So the question then remains, what can you do to ensure you stay relevant? Lets make it clear that DevOps is not something you buy, it is not a role in your organization, and it is not a specific product, it is an IT mindset… hence the title: we are DevOps. Joe Baguley’s keynote at the UK VMUG was recorded, and although he did not drop the word DevOps he does talk about staying relevant, what it is IT does (provide applications), how you can help your company to beat the competition and what your focus should be. (On top of that, he does look DevOps with his beard and t-shirt!) I highly recommend watching this thought provoking keynote. Make sure to sit down afterwards, do nothing for 30 to 60 minutes besides reflecting back on what you have done the last 12 months and then think about what it is you can do to improve business development, whether new or existing markets, for your company.

Sharing VMUG presentation “vSphere futures”

Last week I presented at the UK VMUG, Nordic VMUG and VMUG Belgium. My topic was vSphere futures… I figured I would share the deck publicly. The deck is based on this blog post and essentially is a collection of what has been revealed at last VMworld. Considering the number of announcements I am guessing that this deck is a nice summary of what is coming, feel free to use it / share it / comment etc.

Once again, I would like to thank the folks of the VMUG organizations throughout EMEA for inviting me, three great events last week with very passionate people. One thing I want to call out in particular that struck me last week: Erik from the VMUG in Belgium has created this charity program where he asks sponsors (and attendees) to contribute to charity. Last event he collected over 8000 euros which went to a local charity, it was the biggest donation that this particular charity received in a long time and you can imagine they were very thankful… all of this while keeping the event free for attendees, great work Erik! Thanks for giving back to the community in various ways.

See you next time.

Project Fargo aka VMFork and TPS?

I received some questions this week around how VMFork will work when TPS is disabled in the future, already answered some questions in comments but figured this would be easier to google. First of all, I would like to point out that in future versions TPS will not be globally disabled, but rather it will disabled for inter-VM page collapsing. Within the VM though pages will be collapsed as normal and the way it works is that each virtual machine configuration will contain a salt and all virtual machines with the same salt will share pages… However, each virtual machine by default will have a unique salt. Now this is where a VMFork’ed virtual machine will differ in the future.

VMFork’ed virtual machines in the future will share the salt, which means that “VMFork groups” can be considered a security domain and pages will be shared between all of these VMs. In other words, the parent and all of its children have the same salt and will share pages (see sched.mem.pshare.salt). If you have a different parent then pages between those VMFork Groups (both parents and its children) will not be shared.

VMware / ecosystem / industry news flash… part 4

VMware / ecosystem / industry news flash time again. Took me a while to get a bunch of them, so some of the news is a bit older then normal.

  • Dell and SuperMicro to offer an EVO:RAIL bundle with Nexenta for file services on top of VSAN!
    Smart move by Nexenta, first 3rd party vendor to add value to the EVO:RAIL package and straight away they partner with both Dell and SuperMicro. I expect we will start seeing more of these types of partnerships. There are various other vendors who have shown interest in layering services on top of EVO:RAIL so it is going to be interesting to see what is next!
  • Tintri just announced a new storage system called the T800. This device can hold up to 3500 VMs in just 4U and provides 100TB of effective capacity. With up to 140K IOPS this device also delivers good performance at a starting price of 74K USD. But more then the hardware, I love the simplicity that Tintri brings. Probably one of the most user/admin friendly systems I have seen so far, and coincidentally they also announced Tintri OS 3.1 this week which brings:
    • Long awaited integration with Site Recovery Manager. Great to see that they pulled this one off, it something which I know people have been waiting for.
    • Encryption for the T800 series
    • Tintri Automation Toolkit which allows for end-to-end automation from the VM directly to storage through both PowerShell and REST APIs!
  • Dell releases the PowerEdge FX. I was briefed a long time ago on these systems and I liked it a lot as it provides a great modular mini datacenter solution. I can see people using these for Virtual SAN deployments as it allows for a lot of flexibility and capacity in just 2U. What I love about these systems is that they have networking included, that sounds like true hyper-converged to me! A great review here by StorageReview.com which I recommend reading. Definitely something I’ll be looking in to for my lab, how nice would it be: 4 x FC430 for compute + 2 x FD332 for storage capacity!

That it is for now…

VMUGs I’ll be speaking at in November…

I had this question last week from 2 readers if I was planning on presenting at a particular VMUG. I have prepared a session for three VMUGs in November where I will be presenting on vSphere (and related tech) futures. If you want a hint at what is going to be discussed I recommend reading this blog post. I will present this session at the following VMUGs, make sure you register as soon as possible as these yearly events are definitely worth attending. I encourage EVERYONE who comes to my session to ask questions and to interact to avoid death by Powerpoint :)

For the folks near the belgian border (Holland / France / Germany), all presentations should be in English so it is worth attending if you live relatively close by!