Vote for sessions at VMworld 2013

As you may already know, the VMworld sessions are a result of a rigorous process that starts very early. Before a session is added, its approved, opened for public voting and after going through several processes it becomes part of VMworld. This year I am fortunate enough to have been submitted for two sessions at VMworld. The sessions are now open for public voting and I will appreciate your vote in getting my sessions approved and having the opportunity to speak at VMworld.

You can go to VMworld’s website and cast your vote. The public voting opened earlier today. Once there, simply filter the sessions and type in the session IDs provided below in the keyword fields. That should speed up things. However, its always a good idea to look for other sessions that may interest you. The important thing is for you to cast your vote. Of course, if that vote is for one of my sessions thats even better. You will need a VMworld ID in order to vote. You can also enter my name “bilal hashmi” in the keywords field to display both sessions like the screenshot below. From here onwards, its a matter of simply clicking the thumbs up. If its green like mine that means you voted. Yes, I voted for myself 😀

My sessions:

vCenter: The Unsung Hero (Protecting the Core) – Session ID 4873

This session will be regarding the challenges we face with vCenter in 2013. This will cover topics like the importance of keeping vCenter up at all times. With new dependancies in the stack that rely heavily on vCenter to be available at all times, it has become challenging to keep all peices of vCenter running at all times. As we all know we now have more moving parts in vCenter. This session will cover the gotachs, and how you can secure your vCenter in order to keep the dependent services up at all times. I will be co-presenting this with a fellow vExpert James Bowling @vSential. Please vote for this session 4873.

Reports, Mashups and Analytics for your Datacenter – Session ID 5852

The other session is among my favorite topics to talk about. And what better place to talk about it than VMworld. Its the topic of reporting and analytics for your datacenter. We have found ourselves busy with a variety of different techniques to retrive the all importnat reports. Some of us get to use expensive tools that simply dont deliver or are too complicated to use. We also have the brave ones among us who would put powerCLI to work, and of course the good ole excel spreadsheets are never too far from a reporting discusion. We will be going over a different approach on retrieving critical information across your environment. This is not the one to miss. We will be unveiling some new capabilities of CloudPhysics for reports, mashups and analytics for your Datacenter. I plan to co-present this with another fellow vExpert Anthony Spiteri @anthonyspiteri. Please vote for this session 5852.

Obviously there are other great sessions that one should probably vote for as well. My suggestions are below. I think these are all great topics and would definitely be great addition to the VMworld this year. Good luck and I hope to see you all later this year.

5852 Reports, Mashups and Analytics for your Datacenter Bilal Hashmi, Verizon Business

Anthony Spiteri, Anittel

4873 vCenter: The Unsung Hero (Protecting the Core)  James Bowling, iland

Bilal Hashmi, Verizon Business

5778 Solid State of Affairs: The Benefits and Challenges of SSDs in… Steve Vu, ESRI

Irfan Ahmad, CloudPhysics

5818 How I maximized my vCloud ROI with vSphere Clustering Parag Mehta, Equinix

Jorge Pazos, City of Melrose

5854 Software Defined Data Centers  – Big Data Problem or Opportunity? Ariel Antigua, Universidad APEC

Bob Plankers, Univ of Wisconsin

5900 Flight Simulator for the VMware Software Defined Datacenter Michael Ryom, Statens It, Denmark

Maish Saidel-Keesing, Cisco

5892 The Decisive Admin:  How to make better choices operating and designing vSphere infrastructure John Blumenthal, CloudPhysics

Drew Henning, HDR Inc.

5859 Storage and CPU Noisy Neighbor Issues: Troubleshooting and Best Practices Krishna Raja, CloudPhysics

Maish Saidel-Keesing, Cisco

5823 You are not alone: community intelligence in a software defined future vSphere infrastructure Panel:Trevor Pott, eGeek Consulting

Bob Plankers, Univ of Wisconsin

Josh Folland (Moderator)

4872 Operating and Architecting a vMSC based infrastructure Duncan Epping, VMware

Lee Dilworth, VMware

4570 Ask the Expert VCDX’s Panel:Rick Scherer, EMC

Matt Cowger, EMC

Chris Colotti, VMware

Duncan Epping, VMware

Jason Nash, Varrow




VMworld General session Day 2

A co-worker of mine attended the CEO round table session yesterday where the CEO of EMC mentioned that 75% of IT budget is spent on maintaining legacy applications.  Now when you sit back and let that sink in, its actually true. If, that applies to you then the urge to replace these legacy apps gets even stronger. The general session today sort of started with the same theme.

In comes Mirage from an acquisition of a company names Wanova. Steve Herrod, covered the issue with disconnected users in View at times. Mirage has the promise to keep this in sync to where the deployed desktops are always in sync with the central location. Now keep in mind, a lot of skeptics believe that running PCs on expensive servers and SAN is not not cost effective. However, its the running cost that includes supporting these PCs is really what makes VDI a vey viable option.

The demonstration for Mirage was pretty awesome. In the demo, an XP user was in the middle of a presentation and received a call from IT who were looking to upgrade him from XP to Windows 7. Yes, in the middle of the presentation, the client started to run and within seconds the user was prompted to restart which came back with windows 7. What made this really seamless was the background, the documents and all personal data stayed intact on the new OS. The user then ends up dropping the laptop, but because mirage keeps info in sync, the image was then accessible via his tablet until it was deployed to his newly purchased macbook.

Speaking of tablets and view, I have been a skeptic myself simply because of the lack of touch screen optimized interface. My prayers were answered in a sneak peak of a windows 7 connection from a tablet that lists out browsing applications in almost an iOS/Android type layout that is native to the tablet and something we all are used to. Hopefully Apple does not have a patent over that :p. Besides that, switching between applications is also how we are used to switching applications on a tablet. I think this will certainly be a more practical approach to adapting View on tablets.

Another improvement thats were discussed was Horizon, another promising approach to truly deliver IT as a service with incredible SLAs. You can now manage not only your web apps, but also your thin apps and mobile Apps. Speaking of Mobile Apps, an awesome thing came up. I have been a big fan of VMware mobile because I hate carrying two different devices. VMware mobile was really geared more towards Android based phones, but VMware has now figured out how to deliver that opportunity to  iOS as well and follow the Apple way of things.

Yep, you will not be running a VM like the approach is on the Android side of things. On the iOS side, you will have individual apps that are deployed to you by horizon that are marked with a logo that shows these are secure apps with an encrypted link. The IT department will be at ease because even if this will run on the same device as your facebook and other personal apps, the corporate apps will be completely secure. You will not be able to even copy out of these encrypted apps if that tells you anything about how secure this apps will be. At launch, it will prompt you for an additional password as an additional layer of security. Think about it, you publish an App in horizon and give a user group access to it. The users can then deploy this app on their desktops, or even on their iPhones using the Horizon App Store just like they install apps on their iPhones today. I think this step is certainly in the right direction and will gain a lot of love and support.

All this will tremendously reduce cost, again dont think about the implementation cost as a whole. Think about the cost to run and support the on demand self-healing self-serving environments. Thats the promise that have been made, a lot of what I mentioned above promises to deliver that. Great stuff, and great times to be living in.

VMworld 2012 Announcement

The general session today kicked off VMworld in style as always. To start of, one of the expected announcements were made, Pat Gelsinger was announced as the new CEO for VMware for the next few years. Paul Maritz handed the stage to the new CEO who confirmed a rumor was in fact true.

The new CEO announced the end of the four letter word they invented last year. The end of vRAM. There will be no capacity based licensing for vSphere, nor any limits on the number of cores. Simply CPU based where you would license all the CPUs on your host like good ole times. When VMware announced vRAM originally, I understood why they would have done it and obviously it was a big PR nightmare for VMware. But now its all behind us and simple CPU based licensing has come back. Obviously the announcement was followed by a big applause.

These were some of the initial notable announcements along with discussions over Project Serengeti and Hadoop.

Oh and did I mention that all the 5.1 are out now? I will try and cover some of the newenhanced cool features that have been released with it in the coming days. For now, Duncan has complied a nice list of links for all the 5.1 enhancements here.


Free VMworld 2012 Trip

Ok I know I have been away for some time, main reason being the craziness that surrounds me all the time. It just got crazier. Anyways, a fellow vExpert Greg Stuart has an awesome opportunity for anyone who is interested in going to VMworld for free… yes FREE. One lucky person.

What does FREE mean?

  • VMworld 2012 Full Conference Pass
  • Air fare to SFO up to $500 USD
  • 5 nights hotel accommodations (Sun-Thurs)

Keep in mind this is for VMworld 2012 in San Francisco, CA from August 26th – 30th.

Now if you are not that One lucky person, he also has a second prize for the not so lucky person but still lucky enough to be second. Hint….. its typically one of the most expensive elements of any virtualization implementation.

All you need to do is go to his blog here, read his post and respond back to what he is asking. If you are that lucky person, contact me please to help me pick some numbers for the lottery. Good Luck!

Tintri – VMs without LUNs are happier?

I had to stay away from technology after being overwhelmed at VMworld last week. Now that I am back to senses, I had to point out the coolest tool that I saw at VMworld. Tintri blew me away from the get go. They were very professional all along the process. They contacted me before the conference to setup an appointment and scheduled  demo for me while I was there. This one was important as Duncan himself spoke very highly of the product. I was in for a surprise. Not really being a storage guy myself, I thought stuff will simply fly over my head.

Once the demo began, I could feel my eyeball growing in size almost to a size of a golfball. I had so many ahh haa moments during the demo. I will not try to explain everything that it does as there website does a pretty decent job in explaining what it has to offer. But in a nutshell, Tintri offers a NFS solution that is a mix of SATA and SSD. So whats really awesome about that? What makes Tintri really great is its manageability and the fact that its VM aware and would pretty much be useless for anything else. Yes, each I/O request maps directly to the virtual disk. Whats even better is that management of storage. It has a very simple user interface that enables you to see exactly whats happening on your storage side. You can look at capacity, latency all that good stuff without being a conventional storage admin.

From the performance side, one thing I liked was the mix of SATA and SSD which means only active data is kept in flash. Think swap! Now I know cache to host or swap to SSD in vSphere 5 will enable you to swap on SSD and what not. But that setup is based on having your swap files on a SSD and preferably locally on the host, you could also have an SSD LUN. But thats another aspect that has to be managed. With Tintri, you will just format your datastore, create your VMs and the appliance will decide when to use flash on its own. It is fool proof indeed. You can also pin files to flash if you always want certain files to run on flash, but I would think the algorithm in the appliance will probably make a smarter decision unless you have a very specific need. Perhaps, you are trying to please your CTO and want to make sure his/her VM is always lightening fast.

As much as I loved the product there are a few things that I think its missing. As of today, it does not have replication, however, that will happen very shortly from what I was told. Also, you can’t expand your datastore to span across multiple Tintri appliances, but maybe I am still thinking in the traditional way. Perhaps if your goal is to have multiple SLAs, there are possible plans for having Tintri appliances with different configurations to support that. All in all, I think its definitely a product worth looking at. It, has all the redundancies built in like one would expect and I can only expect it to get better with time. The user interface and simple manageability was the big thing for me. If you are looking for an NFS solution for a virtual environment, Tintri is not a product that should be ignored. Sooner or later you will end up playing with it. Start looking at it sooner to stay ahead. 🙂

Reviews by others on Tintri