Recently, VMware released its latest release of vCloud Director version 9.0, which is available today for installation at the Cloud Provider level. This launch is accompanied by several technical level elements that compose differentiating factors, allowing you to strengthen your value proposition under the VMware Cloud Provider Program Portfolio, featuring:
1 – Integration of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) with the native Disaster Recovery as a Service solution (DRaaS), including all of the life cycle operations of the Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) at corporate level, under a network-level virtualized environment, consumed and maintained through the same self-service IaaS/DRaaS portal.
2 – Implementation of Hybrid Cloud, supporting the managed overflow of the Customer’s private Data Center (on-prem) to the Virtual Data Center at the Cloud Provider side, for purposes of extending networks between sites (stretched LAN-LAN) in addition to the safe migration of workloads to the Cloud.
3-Deployment of the Private Cloud and Automation as a Service, allowing the provisioning of workloads while using custom credentials to the mega Clouds (Amazon AWS, Azure, Google GCP, IBM Bluemix/Softlayer) and backend connections to heterogeneous Hypervisors (KVM, Hyper-V, Xen) and multiple CMP (Openstack, PowerVM) in addition to connections to the local on-prem vCenter environments, as well as connecting to your own space in the Virtual Data Center at the Cloud Provider side (vCloud Director’s Organization VDC).
4- Enhanced support for geographically dispersed IaaS Architecture, including support to multiple sites and geographical areas, under the same IaaS portal.
5- Enhancement of Platform Extensibility at the API level: Allowing integration with Automation and DevOps tools, at both IaaS/DRaaS Portal and NSX level, as well as supporting third-party ecosystem in the market, including but not limited to Billing and Monitoring systems; thus expanding the monetization of the Cloud Provider environment.
6- Exposure of the Graphical GUI / UX interface at the tenant level using HTML5 , allowing the generation of new plugins to facilitate its integration to the partner ecosystem in the market by supporting the VMware stack (vSphere, vSAN, NSX) as well as supporting established management tools integrated directly into vCloud Director (i.e. vRealize product suite).
7- Integration with Application Modernization paradigms such as Cloud Native Applications (CNA) and Container Orchestration (support to Google K8s via upcoming Pivotal Kubernetes Service PKS).
In summary, vCloud Director 9.0 brings even greater monetization opportunities to the Cloud Provider, by combining multiple use cases into the same platform framework, simplifying the offering and facilitating the proper differentiation in the market (see the Poster below, with updated information about VMware Cloud Provider Program‘s Portfolio and Platforms being supported).
Over the past couple of weeks Cormac Hogan and I have been updating various Core Storage white papers which had not been touched in a while for different reasons. We were starting to see more and more requests come in for update content and as both of used to be responsible for this at some point in the past we figured we would update the papers and then hand them over to technical marketing for “maintenance” updates in the future.
You can expect a whole series of papers in the upcoming weeks on storagehub.vmware.com and the first one was just published. It is on the topic of the vSphere APIs for I/O Filtering and provides an overview of what it is, where it sits in the I/O path and how you can benefit from it. I would suggest downloading the paper, or reading it online on storagehub:
Fresh on the heels of VMworld and our rejuvenated Service Provider network; the VMware Cloud Provider Program, we’re continuing our series of guest blogs from partners.
In our latest post, we spoke with Lukas Hrdy, Head of Enterprise Cloud & Platform Services, Tieto Corporation, the largest enterprise cloud service provider in the Nordics, about the changing cloud market in the region and why cloud service providers have to help customers understand the full value of cloud to the business if adoption levels are to continue.
Clarifying cloud can lead to consumption
In 2015, we conducted a study revealing only one in ten Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish organisations were regarded as cloud mature. In 2017, we’re seeing a far different picture across the region – and that became clear at this year’s VMworld.
So why the change in maturity? This is the result of two clear incremental changes; cloud services have become more mature, while customers are more aware of what cloud services can offer. The latter is being driven by businesses that are looking into how they can be ‘available’ anywhere, any time. They’re seeking a digital transformation to create this ‘always on’ environment.
It’s our duty as a cloud services provider to know exactly what our customers want and help them to understand what is possible to achieve. Those customers who are still reluctant to adopt the cloud have often been misinformed or have not been given the lowdown on the full value of the cloud proposition; including areas such as business continuity, modernising infrastructure and migrating applications.
Many cloud service providers believe that this reluctance is actually beyond their control – blaming security or technology fears from the customer. But the truth is, customers are looking for a reliable partner that can give them the digital-ready, agile cloud platform they’ve been striving for – or at least help them with the initial steps to set them on their way. Too many service providers underestimate the full value of business continuity and sustainability, instead trying to force customers down the route of quick fixes to security or technology issues, when instead they need to be suggesting ways to modernise their infrastructure or migrate their apps to the cloud.
An intelligent infrastructure
In the Nordics, as everywhere else, businesses are looking for a range of possibilities with cloud. They want an infrastructure that can manage all cloud environments from wherever they are, without worrying about where their applications reside. That means exploring the multiple cloud models on offer for their business – which has subsequently made them more cloud-mature.
Their expectations as to what a partner can and should provide are changing. They are becoming more reliant on us, working hand-in-hand with us to create the right cloud environment for their business needs.
For us, that means having an infrastructure in place ourselves, to support a ‘pick and choose’ approach – making sure we can create a cloud for them no matter what they require – rather than trying to pigeonhole them into a cloud solution that’s a one size fits all for all customers.
And that’s where our partnership with VMware is extremely important – VMware gives us the tools to offer a multi-cloud approach. Using VMware, our customers can choose from a number of various cloud set-ups to fulfil their specific needs, requirements and expectations. Our relationship has gone from strength to strength.
Tieto has been part of VMware’s service and now cloud provider programme for six years. Working together, we’ve created a strong foundation for our customers’ digital transformation strategies by building sustainable, end-to-end, future-ready cloud and workforce solutions. Part of this success has been down to our collaborative approach to working together – we sync up on joint go-to-market strategies, which has led to constant growth.
In fact, our strong partnership led to VMware selecting us as the Service Provider of the Year in the Nordics at VMworld Europe 2016. And in May this year, we received the VMware EMEA Cloud Provider of the Year Award. Our strong partnership has come from having a more collaborative approach to sales and having an open and honest relationship.
Versatility & innovation
While our relationship with VMware is strong – we don’t want to become static and rely on our past success. We currently have more than 3,000 VMs running within the organisation, and have adopted both VMware NSX and vSAN over the last two years but this is just the beginning – Tieto will continue to be a pioneer of VMware’s latest technologies.
Having a portfolio of options to help our customers select the right cloud environment enables them to have the bandwidth to innovate – which is key to their growth. For example, to offer even more choice to customers, VMware recently announced their strategic partnership with AWS – something which we’re excited about. This service will make it easier for our customers to run any application, using a set of familiar software and tools, in a consistent hybrid cloud environment. This will help to support and drive innovation with modern day applications.
In addition, it will provide access to the broad range of AWS services, with added functionality, elasticity, and security, safeguarding customer trust. With VMware, we’re able to offer a complete end-to-end solution, no matter what clients need.
What lies ahead
We look forward to growing our partnership even more with VMware, through potential future R&D programmes and continuing our sales momentum, so that we both remain leading pioneers in the industry. We’re looking forward to the Partner Exchange (PEX) event at VMworld as we’re striving to get from being a leading cloud services provider in the Nordics to a leading cloud services provider in Europe – and this partnership – and the support at events like PEX will help us to get there.
See our video with Lukas below – looking at the importance of helping customers as they embrace multi-cloud:
T-Mobile Czech Republic, a member of the international telecommunications group Deutsche Telekom, was running out of room. The integrated operator, which has been operating in the Czech market for more than 20 years, was frequently running into problems with storing data. A diverse family of hardware products — from servers to external storage — made scaling difficult and maintenance expensive. For a telecommunications organization tasked with providing quality connections to its customers, this couldn’t last.
“Our customers wanted a storage solution that was simple and could grow on demand, and we needed a solution that could add capacity and performances as needs increased,” Daniel Bajkai, Customer Solutions Designer at T-Mobile Czech Republic, said.
To solve this storage and storage management challenge, T-Mobile Czech Republic turned to its longtime partner, VMware. Building off of its prior VMware virtualization deployment, T-Mobile decided to use VMware vSAN to manage storage from vCenter, VMware’s central management interface. Doing so enabled T-Mobile Czech Republic to enjoy the benefits of vSAN software-defined storage features without additional virtual machines or requiring an installation. It also enabled the organization to bring easy visibility into its servers, switches and storage while managing its IaaS and PaaS services.
Now, if a problem arises, T-Mobile Czech Republic can leverage vSAN and vCenter to quickly and easily address the issue with the tools, skillsets, hardware and software it already knows. In one fell swoop, T-Mobile simplified everything storage and storage management related: it cut down on management costs, laid down the foundation for easy and rapid scaling at a lower cost and passed its newfound benefits onto its customers.
By simplifying its storage infrastructure, T-Mobile Czech Republic reduced its rack space, power consumption and management costs and added an important feature for customers: the industry’s first native HCI security with data-at-rest encryption. That means customers can enjoy more protection and replication without the risk of exposing data. No self-encrypting drives necessary.
VMware’s solutions, from vSAN to vCenter, are major drivers of T-Mobile Czech Republic’s growth, and it will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. The organization, as Bajkai notes, is committed to evolving to meet customer needs and actively training its teams through workshops, labs and more. And just in time, too. T-Mobile is already exploring options to deploy NSX and provide its own all-flash vSAN with deduplication and compression — innovations that’ll continue to simplify and push the boundaries of virtualization.
Stay tuned to the VMware Cloud Provider Blog for future updates, and be sure to follow @VMwareCloudPrvdr on Twitter and ‘like’ us on Facebook.
Last week internally we had a debate about the overhead of a swap file in a stretched cluster. With the ability to have a double protection (across site and within a site) the question was what the overhead for a swap file would be. You can imagine that for a stretched cluster you set your VMs to have RAID-1 across site and RAID-1 within or RAID-5 within the site. (Depending on whether you have all-flash or not.) So the question is, how many copies of the swap file would you end up with?
The swap file with vSAN is a special object. Regardless of how the policy you associate with the VM, it is always created as a RAID-1 object. This goes for a normal cluster as well as a stretched cluster. That means that the Swap object will always consist of 3 components. Two of those are data components and one of them is a witness.
In the first screenshot you see a VM which is called R1+R1. This VM has Primary Failures To Tolerate (PFTT) set to 1 and Secondary Failures To Tolerate (SFTT) set to 1. The swap however, as it is a special object, is created with PFTT=1 and SFTT=0 as the screenshot shows. It has 1 data component in each site, and a witness in the witness site.
Same applies for the situation when PFTT=1 and SFTT=1 but the failure tolerance method selected is RAID-5. In that case the swap file is also PFTT=1 and SFTT=0 as shown in the screenshot below.
I have a lot of discussions with customers on the topic of stretched clusters, but also regular vSphere clusters. Something that often comes up is the discussion around what happens in an isolation or partition scenario. Fairly often customers (but also VMware employees) use those words interchangeably. However, a partition is not the same as an isolation. They are 2 different scenarios, and also as a result they have a different type of response associated with it. Before I explain the difference in the two responses to a situation like this, what is a partition and what is an isolation?
An isolation event is the situation where a single host cannot communicate with the rest of the cluster. Note: single host!
A partition is the situation where two (or more) hosts can communicate with each other, but no longer can communicate with the remaining two (or more) hosts in the cluster. Note: two or more!
Why is that such a big deal? Well the response in the case of these two scenarios are different. And the response/result is also determined by what types of configuration you have. Lets break down the scenarios one by one, including the type of infrastructure used (when it is relevant).
When a host is isolated it will:
start an election process
declare itself master
ping the isolation address
declare itself isolated
power off / shut down VMs (when this is configured)
communicate through the connected datastores that it is isolated
the VMs will be restarted on the remaining hosts in the cluster
And then of course vSphere HA will be able to restart the VMs. Note that in the case of vSAN, it isn’t possible to write to the datastore when a host is isolated, so it won’t do that. Yet the workloads will still have been powered off / shutdown so it is safe for vSphere HA to restart them
Partition (traditional storage)
When two or more hosts are partitioned (they can communicate with each other) and the vSphere HA master is not part of the partition it will:
start an election process
declare a master in the partition
figure out what has happened to the hosts and VMs in the other partition
restart any VMs that somehow were impacted, or appeared now to be powered off while the last known state was powered on
if all VMs are running, vSphere HA won’t try to restart any, this is the expected result!
Partition (vSAN stretched)
When the partition scenario happens in a stretched vSAN environment there’s an extra (potential) step. Along the way vSAN will identify all VMs which have no accessible components and kill those VMs so they can be restarted in the partition which has quorum. In this scenario you have 3 locations, two for data and 1 for the witness. If a data site loses access to the other locations then the data site is partitioned (the hosts can still communicate with each other within the site), as such the isolation response is not triggered. However, vSAN will still kill these VMs as they are rendered useless (lost access to disk).
I know it is just semantics, but nevertheless I do feel it is important to understand the difference between an isolation and a partition, especially as the response (and who responds) is different in these situations. Hope it helps,