Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Maturing VMware is getting expensive!

In the last couple weeks VMware has released a whole new line up of VMware 5.0 Cloud products. They then followed up a week later with their new licensing model.
So far there has been nothing but outrage over the new vRAM licensing model that charges customers more money for using more ram in their ESXi hosts. Rather than the traditional STD, ENT, ENT+ with unlimited memory per CPU license, we now are bound to 24GB, 32GB, and 48GB per CPU respectively. This new "vRAM entitlement" is a game changer for virtualization licensing and proves that hypervisor providers will surely lock in their share of the virtualization benefits in the future. Although VMware is the first to head this direction, and will take a lot of heat for it, other vendors will surely follow suit.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) - Ready for Prime Time.

In my new position I'm quickly needing to come up to speed with the concept of IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service). It seems that the idea of delivering services via a customer facing service catalogue and an army of scripts and interfaces behind the scenes cranking out VMs without and admin in sight has gone mainstream. I guess the writing has been on the wall as as every major IT company has been quick to create some solution (mostly acquisitions) that provide "run book" automation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Run_Book_Automation
). Some of the popular softwares doing this are " Microsoft-Opalis, Cisco-CIA(newScale+Tidal), HP-Opsware, IBM-Maximo, VMware-Orchestrator, and BMC-Realops.
Its going to be intresting watching businesses disseminate the collage of these products and the implications of each solution on the physical hardware the vendors try to bundle them with. Even more fun is watching businesses rework long standing IT processes to allign with the new way of doing IT. Next up: IaaS meets private cloud.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Home Surveillance for Cheap!

I've been looking at home wireless network camera for awhile now. The ability to put a camera on your wireless network and watch your front door or your dogs remotely is very cool and fun! The only catch is that this setup is not easy for most people to setup. Traditionally this requires setting a dynamic dns service, special home wireless router firewall rules, and a Active-X or Jave supported PC broswer. But technology has gotten a lot better as technology gets cheaper, faster, smaller, portable, and more secure. So we just bought a brand new D-Link home wireless camera , model number DCS-932L, and this thing sure is sweet! This new line was just unveiled at the recent 2011 CES (Consumer Electronics Show) and is making waves because of the extremely easy setup and the all important iPhone integration. In fact, in my most recent searches this was my number one requirement that I could view the wireless camera remotely from iPhone, iPad, or droid device. The camera is a cinch to setup, no dynamic dns or firewall rules. Somehow D-Link has a server that proxies connections. Also the camera has night vision (infrared). The quaility is really good, up to 30 fps and 640x320 resolution. The camera has high security, a microphone, ability to record to a home NAS, and email notifications. Im very excited to have really good convenient home surveillance for Cheap!

Monday, April 25, 2011

New VMware 5.0 is another game changer

I've just joined the new VMware 5.0 beta under NDA. Without talking about specific features I can say that this new version is definitely another game changer in the world of x86 server virtualization. At this point I've only read the white papers, but if the product does everything they are claiming then wow! My takeaway is that the current x86 virtualization market leader has found new innovative ways to mature their product in ways that the likes of Microsoft and Citrix can't even compete. With VMware Cloud Director becoming established and 5.0 set to be released at VMworld 2011 in Las Vegas, I would say VMware is poised to continue revolutionizing and leading the forefront of server virtualization and cloud computing. Good job VMware!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The future of streaming HD (1080p) to your house

Everyone knows the future home entertainment arena is now dominated by flat screen televisions, HD, 1080p, blu-ray, and now 3-D. What's questionable is the best method of getting this high def content to your TV. Right now there is a plethora of content sources. From blockbuster to redbox, from netflix to hulu and the likes. Today people like having options of different sources and especially love the convenience of streaming movies over there home internet. There's only one problem (for me anyways) with streaming content, and that is that its not 1080p blu-ray quality. This is why I still have an "old-fashion" blockbuster in-store account. I go to blockbuster almost bi-daily so I can pick up a physical copy of 1080p quality blu-ray content. Why do I do this? Because if I'm going to watch movies I only want the best quality. Why can't this be streamed over the internet? The problem is due to home bandwidth limitations. Current streaming sources can only stream and que video based on your home internet connection speed. Because these connections are too slow to support high quality we get low quality legacy picture. Why is a high quality tied to high bandwidth? The reason is that traditional DVDs hold about 4.5 GB of information. A Blu-ray disc holds about 50 GB of information. This is why Blu-ray can show such higher quality, the media technology holds 10x the data of its predecessor. But wait, there is light at the end of the tunnel! Home internet speeds are getting faster everyday and streaming sources are allowing per customer streaming quality based on there individual bandwidths. I'm happy we are finally getting to this point. I'm tired of going down to blockbuster and I've never even used Redbox because they don't have blu-ray. Soon I'll have blu-ray streaming to my TV. Next we will be streaming 3D. All hail another luxury of our great 1st world country and the many benefits of ever increasing home bandwith..

BTW - Comcast now offering 105\MBs , soon to be a common speed for all carriers.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Pushing 8Gb FC storage limits!

As part of our Systems testing and validation of the new HP Virtual Connect Enclosure design in the Data Center, today we made an intresting discovery! We fully populated an HP enclosure with (16) BL460c G7 servers. Each server has 192GB of memory and 2 Quad Core E5650 Xeon processors On each server we installed ESXi 4.1 and created a 16 node cluster in VMware vCenter.

On this 16 node cluster we shared (4) 2TB volumes off the array. On each of these VMware hosts we created 2 VMs each with 4 vCPUs and 96GB memory each. While we originally launched “Heavyload” Mem and CPU burner to max out resources on all hosts, this created maximum input power draw on the enclosure (4300w) but did not generate any storage load. I then proceeded to kick off multiple Storage vMotions of each VM to move them from one shared datastore to another. With (2) 8Gb uplinks on the virtual connect FC module and single 8Gb connection to the array we saw speeds of up to 1GB/sec. I then un-plugged 1 of 2 uplinks on the virtual connect and the speed remained at 1GB/sec. The next test I did was to stop all storage motion traffic so that traffic was at near zero. I then fired up 8 VMs on a single ESX hosts ( a single 8Gb adapter) and kicked off storage motions of all VMs. Due that ESXi 4.1 can only do 2 concurrent storage motions the speed was only getting up to around 700-800mb/s. I then kicked off IOmeter in the remaining VMs and the speed then again reached 1GB/sec.

This test confirmed that a single HP BL460c G7 running ESXi 4.1 server with a Virtual Connect server profile configured with a single 8Gb adapater and a Virtual Connect storage fabric configured with a single 8Gb uplink connected to an 8Gb SAN and a single 8Gb array ports could push a storage load of over 1,000 Mb/s. All components from serve edge to array were capable of this outrageous speed that is beyond what the components are rated or advertised to handle.