VMworld EMEA Announcements: VMware Cloud on AWS

WOW! I think we just witnessed one of the biggest VMware-announcements we will remember for a long time this year at VMworld 2016. VMware is going to run a full vSphere SDDC-stack (vSphere / VSAN / NSX) bare-metal on AWS. Let me emphasize on this: It’s running BARE-METAL, so NO nested hypervisor. AWS will be running your workloads on the same vSphere-bits with the same feature sets, you learned to love on purpose-made, dedicated hardware available from all of their AZ’s (Availability Zones).

On-Premises DC expanded to AWS

It gives you a easy way to extend your private on-premises DC to the AWS cloud and have uniform central management plane, leveraging vCenter Enhanced Linked Mode across all your (public & private) vCenter-servers. One of the coolest things which we witnessed was now really moving a VM from your on-premises and totally moving it to AWS with XvMotion-technologies

  x-vMotion to AWS (more…)

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VMworld EMEA Announcements : VSAN 6.5

Besides bumping their virtualization-platform to version 6.5, VMware also added some new features to the SDS-solution in the new version of VSAN it announced. This quick article talks about the main new features which stood out according to us.

VSAN Version History

To give a idea what the main new features were in the previous releases of VSAN here, a short overview:

VersionTimeframeAdded features
VSAN (1.0) 5.5March 2014Inital Version
VSAN 6.0March 2015All-flash
64 Node cluster
2x Hybrid Speed
VSAN 6.1September 2015Stretched Cluster
Replication RPO of 5 minutes
2-node ROBO
VSAN 6.2March 2016Deduplication
Compression
QoS

We really enjoy the pace in which this product is being developed and in such a incredible pace. Keep it going guys!

The main new features for this 6.5 release which is announced during VMworld EMEA 2016 (Oktober 2016) according to us among others are:

  • iSCSI-Access
  • Direct Connect for ROBO

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VMworld EMEA Announcements : vSphere 6.5

Today VMware announced it’s latest version of the vSphere and vCenter platform, version 6.5.  This article talks about some of the latest features VMware added to their virtualisation-platform.

vCenter Server (Appliance) 6.5

VMware is dramatically simplifying the experience using the vSphere-platform which is primarily based on the announcement of vCenter Server Applicance 6.5 and it’s new capabilities which are exclusive to the vCenter Server Appliance.

VCSA 6.5 only features

The VCSA-only features which are new to 6.5 are:

  • Native High Availability
    Active/Passive HA solution with a witness for resolving split-brain situations. The setup requires 2 separate networks (Private vs. Public). The private network is used for HA (routed)-traffic between the both VSCA which consists of (sync) DB and (async) file-replication. This gives us a easy way to set-up a high available vCenter server.
  • (Integrated) VMware Update Manager
    VMware Update Manager is now finally integral part of VCSA, so no more managing a seperate Windows VM for using VMware Update Manager.
  • Improved Appliance Management
    Increased insight into how the appliance is doing CPU-, Memory-, Network- and databasewise. This reduces having to rely on the CLI for simple monitoring task on the VCSA and allows do this via the UI (VAMI). A thingy called vMon enhances the watchdog functionality which is also used for determing which host is active and which is passive when using VCSA in a HA-setup.
  • Native Backup & Restore
    Native file-based backup & restore capabilities built-in to the VCSA, which allows backing up via HTTP(s)/FTP(s)/SCP protocols and restoring the state of a VCSA to a (fresh) appliance.  All this happens from within the VAMI (Virtual Appliance Management Interface). It evens allows for restoring the configuration when installing the VCSA via ISO.

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AWS direct connect – Connectivity matters!

I had some discussion about AWS (Amazon Web Services) and how to connect to their services, especifically when you run production workloads on virtual machines in AWS. Bringing workloads to public clouds, means that your business and/or your customers are more depended on their (internet) connectivity to be able to reach the workloads running on public cloud environment.

Connectivity matters

There are a multiple solutions out there to make your internet facing connections highly available. Bandwidth-wise there aren’t really any challenges, aside from the costs… in the Netherlands at least. It is easy to get a 1GbE or better connection from your datacenter or office location(s).

The thing we were discussing about, is the latency between you and your public cloud services. Even though it’s strongly depending on what workloads you are planning to run in AWS, you want a decent user experience. Thus a lowest possible network latency towards that workload. That brings us to www.cloudping.info. A nifty web tool to give you an idea on what your latency is to the regions from where AWS offers their services. It’s output looks like this:

awscloudping

Since I’m in the Netherlands, the EU Frankfurt site in Germany is the closest AWS site for me. So an average ping time of 23ms… Note: This number is depending strongly on how your internet provider or your datacenter is connected to AWS via peering on various Internet Exchanges or via transits.

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