Due to the type of work that I do, its constantly evolving, be that the technology, the hardware, the software, or even who supplies it. As we know, IBM is not the only company out there, and while I've a huge background in AIX. Its not the only thing I've worked on, some of those are long gone. When I first started in IT, I was a DBA on Ingress, Windows NT administrator and also started learning about UNIX on a Sequent Dynix/ptx system. A quad core 486 33hz S2000 with about 32 Mb of RAM if I recall, my smart watch is now more powerful than that. But it explains how I end up at IBM, as they acquire the company back in the late 90s and my background got me a job at IBM.
So why the rambling, today I'm leaning about some VMware features. I've used VMware on and off over the years, mostly to manage any Linux servers that reside within the system but due to my change in jobs. I need to adapt, as I have done continuously over the years, and something I'm always happy to do. I'm not a one vendor person myself, but my experience has just lead me in that direction. So this should mean that my blogging will become a more varied source over the next few months. So back to the subject at hand:
This is VMwares operational management suite for applications and infrastructure, physical, virtual and cloud based solutions. It has a number of features that are of use to most IT departments:
- Improved visibility of entire server estate, total numbers, type and more.
- Collect VM metrics, cpu, calls, disk reads, db buffers, and loads more.
- Allows extension packs to manage other hardware and software vendors, this are a mix of packs coming from either VMware or the related 3rd parties.
- Highlights risk to the system related to potential load factors, it will learn that 'month' end load is normal, or peaks during backup cycles. But if it see unusual build ups in activity or load then it will generate warning alerts that can be looked into.
- Reclaimable capacity alerts, in a similar direction to the risk system, you will get info what can be freed up. So showing up what systems are off, unused, have wasted capacity and lots more.
- Shows the risks to the system based on the estimated project plan in regards to capacity, dates and other factors. So while your system might have more that enough capacity now, you can see that when you start that next project you need to plan for some more first. Be that clean up work, or adding more resources.
Much like a lot of automation products, this is used to automate the delivery of personalised IT services, from single servers through to complicated environmental and application deployments:
- Sits above your IT hardware layer and is used to manage multi-vendor based solutions, so not just VMware products.
- Policy-based user governance to control what people can see, deploy, change and manage. Can be integrated into other user tools and environments like Service Now.
- Fully integrated with the current VMware platform
- Offers a number of extensions written by VMware for Azure, AWS and other integration. Along with this other 3rd parties have written tools for their own extensions you can make use of.
- Supports the development of other extension development within a publishing 'portal'.
- Currently running at V7.3 - before this people would have also used tools like VCloud Director.
- Deploys onto a Linux virtual machine appliance, with an additional Windows .NET VM. VMware are in the process of removing the .NET part of the solution so it can be delivered as a single Linux VM.
- VRealize Operations integration is being developed, currently it just displays the health status of the systems.
- Full integration with their own container management application 'Admiral', this enables you to provision 'Docker' containers direct from the product. A number of container products are supported with the tool, more about it on Github.
- VRealize Business for Cloud is integrated within the suite, this allows you to populate project work and planned expansion with base costs. The cost are already added into the tool from VMware, but doesn't include discounts and other such things, though it is fully customisable. This will give you a realistic projection of the cost for a piece of work, and create alerts when a project goes over budget, not allowing further VM deployment if required.
- Cloud Comparison Software included, allowing you to cost up a potential cloud delivery (with choice of vendors), move, or in-house deployment.
Virtual SAN 6.2
Probably the most interesting bit of the day for myself, as there was mention of a number of large vendors who make use of this in their production deployment. Sky being the most talked about, and published of them all. Currently all of Sky on-demand, Q and App delivery is using VSAN. So it shows that it scales well and can support a mixture of fluctuating demands and bandwidth.
VSAN, allows you to extend your hypervisor pool of resources and abstract server based storage in a way that is similar to normal compute resources. Making use of local server disk pools and SSD to give a distributed, high performance, redundant, storage delivery to your clients. In addition:
- Offer iSCSI disk presentation to clients that require it.
- Use of existing management tools to implements.
- Never to use any more overhead then 10% of the CPU.
- Reduced disk deployment cost.
- Fully scalable.
- Encryption support.
- Stretched cluster support
NSX - Network Virtualisation and Security Platform
VMwares solution to enable the creation of entire networks in software in the hypervisor layer, so outside the physical network hardware. All network components can be provisioned in minutes, without the need to modify the application.
- Full dynamic provisioning.
- Embedded security features.
- Firewall rules can be mapped to logical suites, so as a server is added to a suite, it is dynamically added to the same rules.
- Rules can be applied with tags, these mean that the rules are automatically added at VM creation. Those tags that are added after creation, can also by changed and applied dynamically. For example a third party antivirus plugin detects an infected system and locks it down by moving it into the 'lock down' tag.
- Spoofguard - this tool is to prevent VMs altering their existing IPs. If it doesn't match the correct vNIC then it will take action and access to the system is prevented.
VMware HOL Online
Something that did come out of the day is access to VMware's free suit of training modules. One you have registered with the VMware Labs site, they offer a whole free selection of VMware education. All of these cover the subjects that I have talked about here and a lot more, 55 in total at the moment. All contained within their own virtual machines so you can test and simulate everything you need.