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:

Great read: Virtualizing SQL Server with VMware: doing IT right

A couple of months back I received an email from Jeff Szastak. He asked me if I wanted to write a foreword for the book he was authoring with Michael Corey an Michael Webster. When he mentioned the book was on the topic of virtualizing SQL Server I knew it would be an instant classic, and I did not hesitate one second and said I would be honoured to write the foreword. All three have a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to virtualizing SQL Server (and tier 1 apps in general) and my expectations were set extremely high.

I can honestly say that they did not disappoint me, even with the extremely high expectations I had. The book is indeed an instant classic, and one which I wished I had when I went through the exercise of virtualizing SQL myself… Don’t get me wrong, this book is not just a must read for people looking to virtualize SQL Server, I would argue that it is a must read for everyone who does something with virtualization. There are countless of tips, tricks and design considerations in this book making it invaluable to every virtualization admin. Michael, Michael and Jeff have done a tremendous job if you ask me and the book is definitely high up on my favourite VMware related books list!

By virtualizing business-critical databases, enterprises can drive far more value from existing IT infrastructure. But squeezing maximum performance out of a virtualized database instance is an art as much as a science. This indispensable start-to-finish guide brings together all the techniques, tips, and insights you need to succeed.

Drawing on unsurpassed personal experience, three leading experts share complete best practices for deploying business-critical database servers in virtualized vSphere 5 environments. They cover the entire project lifecycle, bridging technical and communications gaps between SQL Server and VMware professionals that often make database virtualization more difficult than it needs to be.

You’ll find specific guidance for architects and administrators responsible for systems, storage, databases, applications, or VMware virtualization. The authors also present detailed, start-to-finish coverage of performance baselining and testing: all you need to make your virtualized databases as fast as they are cost effective. Although this book focuses on SQL, the authors’ proven guidance for enhancing performance can be leveraged by any IT professional virtualizing a demanding Tier 1 application.

Just pick it up!

Win a free ebook copy of Essential Virtual SAN?

A couple of weeks ago the electronic version of Essential Virtual SAN was published and this week the first paper copies are shipping! Because of that Cormac and I decided we will give away 4 ebooks each. If you want to win one then please let us know why you feel you deserve to win a copy using the hashtag #essentialvirtualsan on twitter. Cormac and I will decide which 8 tweets will win an ebook, and of course we will favour the ones that make us laugh :)

So lets be clear:

  • tweet why you think you deserve the book
  • use the hashtag #essentialvirtualsan

The 8 winners will be announced Friday 8th of August.


Paper copy of Essential Virtual SAN available as of today!

3 weeks ago I announced the availability of the ebook of “Essential Virtual SAN”. Today I have the pleasure to inform you that the paper copy has also hit the streets and is being shipped by Amazon as of today. So for those who were waiting with ordering until the paper version was available… Go here, and order it today, and have it in house by tomorrow! The book covers the architecture of Virtual SAN, operational and architectural gotchas and sizing guidance, design examples and much more. Just pick it up,

Must attend VMworld sessions 2014

Every year I do this post on the must attend VMworld sessions, and I just realized I had not done this for 2014 yet. So here it is, the list of sessions I feel are most definitely worth attending. I tend to focus on sessions which I know will have solid technical info and great presenters. Many of which over the years I have either seen presenting myself and respect very much. I tried to limit the list to 20 this year (edit: 21, 22), so of course it could be that your session (or your fav session) is missing, unfortunately I cannot list all as that would defeat the purpose.

Here we go:

  1. STO3008-SPO – Decoupled Storage: Practical Examples of Leveraging Server Flash in a Virtualized Datacenter by Satyam Vaghani and Frank Denneman. What more do I need to say? Both rock stars!
  2. STO1279 – Virtual SAN Architecture Deep Dive Christian and Christos were the leads on VSAN, who can tell you better than they can??
  3. SDDC1176 – Ask the Expert vBloggers featuring Chad Sakac, Scott Lowe, William Lam, myself and moderated by Rick Scherer. This session has been a hit for the last years and will be one you cannot miss!
  4. STO2996-SPO – The vExpert Storage Game Show featuring Vaughn Steward, Cormac Hogan, Rawlinson Rivera and many others… It will be educational and entertaining for sure! Not the standard “death by powerpoint” session. If you do want “DBP”, this is not for you!
  5. STP3266 – Web-Scale Converged Infrastructure for Enterprise. Josh Odgers talking web scale for Enterprise organizations, are you still using legacy apps? Then this is a must attend.
  6. SDDC2492 – How the New Software-defined Paradigms Will Impact Your vSphere Design Forbes Guthrie and Scott Lowe talking vSphere Design, you bet you will learn something here!
  7. HBC2068 – vCloud Hybrid Service Networking Technical Deep Dive Want to know more about vCHS networking, I am sure David Hill is going to dive deep!
  8. NET2747 – VMware NSX: Software Defined Networking in the Real World Chris Wahl and Jason Nash talking networking, what is there not to like?
  9. BCO1893 – Site Recovery Manager and vCloud Automation Center: Self-service DR Protection for the Software-Defined Data Center My co-presenter Lee Dilworth for the previous 2 VMworlds, he knows what he is talking about! Co-hosting a DR session with one of the BC/DR PMs, Ben Meadowcroft. This will be good.
  10. NET1674 – Advanced Topics & Future Directions in Network Virtualization with NSX I have seen Bruce Davie present multiple times, always a pleasure and educational!
  11. STO2496 – vSphere Storage Best Practices: Next-Gen Storage Technologies Chad and Vaughn in one session… this will be good!
  12. BCO2629 – Site Recovery Manager and vSphere Replication: What’s New Technical Deep Dive Jeff Hunter and Ken Werneburg are the DR experts at VMware Tech Marketing, so worth attending for sure!
  13. HBC2638 – Ten Vital Best Practices for Effective Hybrid Cloud Security by Russel Callen and Matthew Probst… These guys are the vCHS architects, you can bet this will be useful!
  14. STO3162 – Software Defined Storage: Satisfy the Requirements of Your Application at the Granularity of a Virtual Disk with Virtual Volumes (VVols) Cormac Hogan talking VVOLs with Rochna from Nimble, this is one I would like to see!
  15. STO2480 – Software Defined Storage – The VCDX Way Part II : The Empire Strikes Back The title by itself is enough to attend this one… (Wade Holmes and Rolo Rivera)
  16. SDDC3281 – A DevOps Story: Unlocking the Power of Docker with the VMware platform and its ecosystem. You may not know these guys, but I do… Aaron and George are rock stars, and Docker seems to be the new buzzword. Find out what it is about!
  17. VAPP2979 – Advanced SQL Server on vSphere Techniques and Best Practices Scott and Jeff are the experts when it comes to virtualizing SQL, what more can I say?!
  18. STO2197 – Storage DRS: Deep Dive and Best Practices Mustafa Uysal is the lead on SDRS/SIOC, I am sure this session will contain some gems!
  19. HBC1534 – Recovery as a Service (RaaS) with vCloud Hybrid Service David Hill and Chris Colotti talking, always a pleasure to attend!
  20. MGT1876 – Troubleshooting With vCenter Operations Manager (Live Demo) Wondering why your VM is slow? Sam McBride and Praveen Kannan will show you live…
  21. INF1601 – Taking Reporting and Command Line Automation to the Next Level with PowerCLI with Alan Renouf and Luc Dekens, all I would like to know is if PowerCLI-man is going to be there or not?
  22. MGT1923 – vCloud Automation Center 6 and Storage Policy-Based Management Framework Integration with Rawlinson Rivera and Chen Wei… They are doing things with VCAC and SPBM which has never been seen before!

As stated, some of your fav sessions may be missing… feel free to leave a suggestion so that others know which sessions they should attend.