VMware brings app delivery to the web

We live in an app-centric world now. If you use a smart phone you probably have spent time searching the app store for the latest new app. Then you go to work and open up Word or Excel or Outlook to get your work done. Users are less and less interested in the operating system and more on how well their app will work on it. With that in mind, VMware announced the tech preview of AppBlast. Continue reading “VMware brings app delivery to the web”

VMware Changes Desktop Certifications

VMware announced that effective today, the VMware Certified Associate – Desktop certification will no longer be a prerequisite for the VMware Certified Professional – Desktop.  The exam will continue to be available for the VCA-DT.  The VCP-DT will be required along with a VCP to take the VMware Certified Advanced Professional – Desktop exam.  It is not known at this time if the VCA-DT will be retired since it is no longer part of a certification track.  The new track is shown below.

vca cert

VMware takes Cloud Contracts globally

globalVMware has made steps to make the public cloud a much more dynamic system. VMware Global Connect is a partnering agreement between vCloud DataCenter certified vendors that will allow a customer to use all of their services with a single contract. Adding vCloud Connector into the mix will allow a customer to migrate systems from a private cloud to a local vCloud Datacenter provider.  VMware now has 7 global providers approved as vCloud Datacenter providers.  The vCloud DataCenter certification means that a vendor has built a full datacenter using a specific architecture that has been approved by VMware.  The Global Connect agreements provide shared SLA and reporting that is managed by the local provider but guaranteed regardless of the physical datacenter that the systems reside in. Continue reading “VMware takes Cloud Contracts globally”

VMware is raising the bar

On July 12, 2011, VMware CEO Paul Maritz and CTO Steve Herrod will be presenting on the next generation of cloud infrastructure. The webcast titled “Raising the Bar, Part V” has made many believe this will just be a fancy way to introduce the next generation of hypervisor with the release of vSphere 5, however if rumors hold true there could be quite a few more releases also with three breakout deep dives you can only guess.

9:00-9:45 Paul and Steve present – live online streaming
10:00-12:00 three tracks of deep dive breakout sessions
10:00-12:00 live Q&A with VMware cloud and virtualization experts

The event is free — if you sign up today you’ll get an email reminder. If you can’t make the whole event make sure you follow @ConvergenceTech or @mletschin on twitter since we will be following along. A few of my fellow vExperts will also be onsite for the event and will be taking questions during and after the event with the #vmwarecloud hashtag.

On Wednesday, we’ll be recapping the event on ourVMware Community Roundtable — join some of the VMware staff, myself, many of the vExperts and others for an hour of live Q&A.

If you want to talk about it live you can also join a group of virtualization professionals for a networking gathering at the DC vBeers event.

VMware comes around to supporting multiple vCenters

VMware released a new fling today Boomerang.  Boomerang allows for simple management of multiple ESX or vCenter servers simultaneously.  A great resource when you don’t have linked vcenters or are a consulting or engineer working in a large shop.  You can not have all your vcenters in one place with them even collapsing to a hyperlink when they get too big.  This is still Windows only though so no luck for the Mac and Linux guys.  This sounds great but where’s the catch… You can only do basic power operations so far.  If you want to get to vMotion, High Availability, storage configuration, host provisioning cloning, templates, monitoring, or alerts you need to go to vCenter direct.  The good news though is you can use the remote console. Continue reading “VMware comes around to supporting multiple vCenters”

How vCenter Operations kept my Tier 1 app virtual

Virtualization admins have become the last line of defense when something is not working right. Networking teams will claim it is the over use of hardware, developers will claim it is the hardware, storage guys claim that they just provide disk. So how can a virtualization admin clearly show the relationships between different systems, different hosts, and the needs for CPU, Memory, network and storage. The answers to all the questions already sit in the logs and data collected by vCenter, but without an easy way to interpret the data it is pointless. In comes vCenter Operations.

vCenter Operations is a natural way for virtualization administrators enter into a full scope virtualization monitoring platform. As an integrator, we have found that each time we place a new or upgraded vSphere environment, we have added Operation Standard to the kit to allow the admins on site to get a great overview of their environment as shown below.

You will notice that you can see vCenter systems, datacenters, clusters, and even all the way down to an individual VM. The next questions is how did this help us with a Tier one app.

I was recently at a client site that was having some significant speed issues in their Sharepoint environment. As a multi-tier application Sharepoint needs both a web front end and a database backend. We got word that Sharepoint was running slowly. Luckily we had just installed vCenter Operations and when we checked the console we noticed that 2 of the ESX hosts were in the Red category. After double clicking on the ESX host we saw that the network usage was the issue, with 100% of network being used similar to the graphic below that shows a systems at 100% of CPU being used.

The great part was looking further down the page on the ESX host we found the Child Objects. With a single child object being Red as well I was able to drill down into the exact machine.

Once we drilled down to the machine we found that the database server from Sharepoint was using 100% of my network capacity. Then we looked at the other ESX host that showed Red, we found out that it also only had a single machine with a Red status. It turned out that the second guest with a Red status was the Web front end for Sharepoint. We then backed out of the vCenter Operations console (which conveniently is integrated into the Virtual Infrastructure Client) and migrated the web server to the same ESX host as the SQL server. We gave vCenter Operations a couple minutes to make sure that the data was up to date and we were back to a healthy Green environment across the board.

Now that we know the network load could be impacting the rest of my environment when the two servers are split, we simply set an Affinity Rule on DRS. This forces the two servers to always stay on the same ESX host. Searches and document retrieval speeds from Sharepoint decreased almost immediately. Needless to say convincing the powers that be that instead of hours upon hours of troubleshooting a simple add-on product is sometimes worth its weight in gold. The next solutions might have been to move Sharepoint back to a physical environment, meaning the cost for new hardware that would have been a minimum of twice the cost of a simple monitoring and correlation product.

VMware goes social and after the big boys

Google and Microsoft have been going toe to toe with each other for the last few years. Google gets their app platform ready for the enterprise with email, calendar, word processors, spreadsheets and presentations all delivered over the web. Then Microsoft follows suit and breaks from their installable application formula and releases hosted Exchange and Office365. Both companies have been looking at ways to make the current way we do business just a little bit easier. The piece that was missing was innovation. Microsoft and Google both have been great innovators throughout the past few years but one company is slowly making a push to dethrone them both. VMware has been steadily buying up what appeared to be niche players in the marketplace. Each of these players has been innovative in their field and VMware is looking to integrate all of these platforms into the new way we can do business. Each of the applications below have been bought by VMware check them out and then I will show how this vision could very well mean a change in the way we do business. – Thinstall – a leader in application virtualization that allowed a user to separate the application from the operating system just like vSphere does to the operating system from the hardware – Zimbra – Originally an open source platform that make it’s livelihood being the backend for Yahoo email before being brought into the enterprise space for collaboration tools – myONElogin – renamed as the first part of Project Horizon, this allows SAML authentication to SaaS applications and will soon do the same for thinapped applications – SlideRocket – presentations need to be portable since we hardly ever give them from the system they are created on, yet PowerPoint presentations can also be the largest files we have, limiting the portability of those files. SlideRocket brings presentations to the web, this one only lacks soe of the innovation of prezi.com that truly reinvents what a presentation could look like – SocialCast – Facebook has revolutionized the way we communicate and the social aspect is more important than ever for efficient office communication. SocialCast does exactly that by bringing our once distant communication circle back to a close group. Each of these products alone looks to be very cool, however the combination would allow you to potentially share a presentation with a colleague in China that you met through SocialCast that was built with SlideRocket while at the same time you both login into a SalesForce account using the same authentication you used to access your computer through Horizon, and then open a published application for your ERP system that had a Thinapped client. No longer are you tied to geographic boundaries and software regulations, no longer are you limited by Microsoft or Apple Based software, and no longer are you limited in using the software that is presented on the web by innovators in your industry. The use of SAML with Horizon means that you can collaborate cross platform, cross country and without the forced tax of a installed application. Rumor has it that VMware still has a few more big acquisitions to announce, that combined with the release of vSphere 5 and an updated VDI offering could spell trouble for the likes of Microsoft, while not immediate, at least it means it is time to start paying attention to someone other than Google. The same goes for Google, with the release of the Cromebook they took the ChromeOS portable, but what happens when I need the security of my LAN?

Is Netscaler Cloud Gateway just Project Horizon on-premise?

The Netscaler Cloud Gateway was released by Citrix with the purpose of delivery applications to the enterprise in a more efficient and better managed process.  The delivery includes not just the existing apps but also SaaS apps like SalesForce and others that support the SAML authentication tokens.  For most of the VMware followers out there this sounds strikingly like MyOneLogin or what was just released as the Horizon App Manager.  There are some key differences however between the products.  Starting on the physical side, the Cloud Gateway is an on-premise device or virtual appliance, while Horizon is designed to be a cloud based services that does not put any equipment in the enterprise datacenters.  Gloud Gateway will be available according to Citrix as a service from Citrix Solutions Providers as well but that does not seem to be the focus at this point.  That is not where the differences stop, the Netscaler allows for quality of services management and license management for these applications across the enterprise.  The Cloud Gateway also integrates directly with all the different versions of Citrix Receiver.

Not surprisingly there are alot of similarities and the release will most likely force VMware to continue with the application push and hopefully integrate ThinApp into Horizon sooner rather than later, since the Cloud Gateway can already present XenApp published apps.

Type 1 Hypervisor Battle

Citrix was the first of the big players to release a Type 1 hypervisor for desktops with the first release of XenClient, but it’s limited hardware compatibility list and the high cost for the equipment it did support was a major limiting factor in it’s success.  MokaFive claims to have a type 1 hypervisor but without the backing of one of the big players it is having limited success, the same goes for NXtop.  VMware had promised a type one for years and has since gone back to claim that the Type 2 Workstation is the future, with options like offline mode for View being a good enough solution.

This week Citrix dropped the gauntlet on the competition with the release of XenClient2 and XenClient XT.  Xen Client 2 supposedly will support 45 million systems and with the integration with Syncronizer you can truly present a enterprise and a personal computer completely isolated from each other on the bare metal of a laptop.  You also get enhance video card support with the support of AMD chipsets.  While the release of XenClient2 gives us more access the XenClientXT release is the one that could have some of the most impact, especially for those of us inside the Beltway.  The ability to have secure access to multiple enclaves with a single device from a company that is already presenting virtual desktops within these same enclaves could result in closing a hole in the O-zone layer just by not having 5 computers under the desk of every federal employee that works with classified data.

Is the type 1 hypervisor ready for production?  That is probably still to be seen, and we need some healthy competition to help us see it grow but this is definitely a significant step towards a new paradigm in endpoint computing.