Introducing Datrium CloudShift

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Hey guys, I have some exciting news for you. Today, we (Datrium), announced CloudShift. Below I’ve summarized some of the things that really excite me about CloudShift. However, before I begin, I think it would be a good idea to quickly go over how Datrium DVX handles Backups and Replication for those of you who might be new to this solution.

Datrium DVX Backup and Replication

As mentioned in my previous post; What is Datrium DVX?, DVX is a Primary storage solution that provides extremely fast storage performance to virtual machines and applications running on DVX Compute Nodes. This is achieved by caching all required data locally on SSD devices installed on the Compute Nodes. DVX then adds a layer of protection by replicating all write IO’s over to the DVX Data Node which acts as a mirror copy for all of the data living in the SSDs on the Compute Nodes.

The Datrium On-Prem DVX system provides a built-in backup mechanism for protecting and restoring data. Protection Groups can be used to group a set of workloads together. Protection schedules are then be applied to the Protection Group based on how regularly data snapshots should be taken and how long they should be kept for. These Snapshots can then be replicated either to another On-Prem DVX system or to a Cloud DVX instance running in AWS.

Hopefully, that gives you enough background for the next section.

Datrium CloudShift

Datrium CloudShift is a SaaS-Based Disaster Recovery (DR) and Mobility orchestration solution, hosted in AWS, that can orchestrate a variety of DR scenarios;

  1. On-Prem (primary) failover to On-Prem (secondary) using backups that are stored at the On-Prem (secondary) site.
  2. On-Prem failover to Public Cloud using backups that are stored in the public cloud
  3. On-Prem failover to On-Prem & Cloud using backups that are either stored at the On-Prem (secondary) site or in the public cloud

I feel this covers the majority of failover scenarios that our customers need to restore their business in the event of a disaster.

I imagine your next question is, “If this a SaaS-based solution, how do I get my data from one data center to another, or to the Cloud? Well, this is where Datrium DVX and Cloud DVX come into play.

Scenario 1 – On-Prem > On-Prem

Scenario 1 is most commonly used when a customer has two data centers, both of which have a Datrium DVX. The DVX is configured to continually replicate data using Elastic Replication from the primary over to the secondary data center (and possibly vice versa). In the event of a failure in one of the datacenters, CloudShift will orchestrate the failover of workloads from one data center to the other. Thanks to the replication technology in DVX, Recovery Point Objective (RPO) times can be less than 1 minute.

CloudShift - On-Prem to On-Prem
 

Scenario 2 – On-Prem > Cloud

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My VMworld 2017 Session Proposals

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VMworld 2017

Hey, another VMworld is almost upon us, and public voting has just opened. This is your chance to make VMworld 2017 what you want it to be.

I just want to shamelessly plug four cool sessions that I am involved in this year, so you can all go and vote for them! Don’t forget to vote for all of the other great session that have been submitted.

The secret sauce behind VMware’s internal Horizon desktop deployments [1255]

Ever asked yourself “How does VMware architect their own global Horizon desktop environment?”, “Have they encountered the same obstacles we are facing?” Over the past two years VMware has been re-architecting and re-deploying their virtual desktop infrastructure with Horizon, App Volumes and User Environment Manager (UEM) running on top of the full VMware SDDC stack (vSphere, VSAN, NSX) and integrating with vRealize Operations Manager and Log Insight. In this session the lead architects will reveal all.

VOTE HERE: https://my.vmworld.com/scripts/catalog/uscatalog.jsp?search=1255

Architecting vSAN for Horizon, the VCDX Way! [2177]

Balancing the performance and cost of a storage solution for Horizon can be difficult and affects the overall return on investment. VMware’s vSAN has provided architects with a new weapon in the battle for desktop virtualization. vSAN allows architects to design a low-cost high performance hybrid solution of solid state and spinning disks or all-flash for the high desktop performance. vSAN now includes features such as dedupe, compression, and metro clustering which provides greater options to fit your use cases. Learn from two Double VCDX’s on how to architect vSAN to support a Horizon solution to provide the levels of performance your user’s need, with management simplicity that will keep your administrators happy and at a cost that will ensure your project will be a success.

VOTE HERE: https://my.vmworld.com/scripts/catalog/uscatalog.jsp?search=2177

Automating Virtual Desktop Deployments with VMware Cloud Foundation [1254]

Building a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) requires Horizon software integrated with the backend virtual infrastructure with computer, network, and storage. A focus for VMware Cloud Foundation is the automation of the deployment and maintenance of the backend for VDI. This session covers the built-in automation of the deployment of vSphere, VMware NSX, VMware VSAN, vRealize and Horizon components that Cloud Foundation offers. It also describes the integration of App Volumes in this infrastructure, and the ability to dynamically grow this infrastructure with the growth of your desktops, resulting in turnkey VDI deployment. All you need to bring are the desktop images.

VOTE HERE: https://my.vmworld.com/scripts/catalog/uscatalog.jsp?search=1254

Turn the tables, this time you ask the questions! VCDX Panelist Panel [2650]

Its your turn to ask the questions this time! Turn the tables on VCDX Panelists who will answer your questions, anything from the VCDX program to general architecture at no extra cost to you!

VOTE HERE: https://my.vmworld.com/scripts/catalog/uscatalog.jsp?search=2650

Service Level Agreements – Introduction

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service_level_agreementSince joining VMware’s internal private cloud provider team and also in my role as a VCDX panelist, I’ve been involved in many conversations around Service Level Agreements (SLA). It soon became apparent that SLA’s are regularly misunderstood, miscalculated and often extremely complicated to define and monitor successfully. So I’ve set myself a challenge to find out more and articulate that back to my readers to share the knowledge.

I’ll be splitting out series of posts on this subject into serval parts. right now, I’m not sure how many parts there will be as I have a feeling the more I dig into the details, the more I’ll uncover more things to talk about. Here are some of the topics that I already know will be covered.

  • Defining a Service Level Agreement
  • Typical Service Level Agreements
    • Availability
    • Performance
    • Recoverability etc
  • How Service Level Agreements are calculated
    • Uptime
    • Login times, Access to CPU/MEM resources
    • RTO/RPO
  • How Service Level Agreements are Monitored/Reported
  • Multiple Service Level Agreements per Environment?
    • Data plane
    • Controle Plane
  • Failing to meet the Service Level Agreement

Can you think of anything else? If so, please add them to the comments below or email me and I’ll make sure they are included

Monitor Your DHCP Scopes With vRealise Log Insight

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I’ve been spending some time lately figuring out ways to improve the monitoring and alerting within VMware’s Internal Horizon environments. A condition I wanted to alert on was DHCP scope exhaustion. We have many DHCP scopes globally for our virtual desktop environments and I want our support team to be alerted when we start to run low on DHCP IP addresses and in a worst case scenario, exhausted all IPs in the scope. Virtual desktops without IP addresses don’t tend to work very well.

In theory, we should never exhaust our DHCP scopes if we size and place our desktop Pools correctly. However, in practice that doesn’t always happen. Often a Pools get created with the wrong amount of desktops or the wrong network was selected on the Golden Master image, causing the new Pool to use the wrong DHCP scope. I want to know when these mistakes have been made, so we can correct them before our end users are affected.

Within our Horizon environments, we utilize vRealise Log Insight for log collect and analysis. My knowledge of Log Insight is still pretty primitive, so I engaged one of my OneCloud colleagues, Caleb Stephenson, who manages our Global Log Insight instance that processes 35 Billion events per week to figure out how we can achieve this.  Read the rest of this entry »

Free Desktop Assessment Service

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Desktop Assessment ServiceFor those of you who have listened to me talk at VMworld or have worked with me as Consultant or as an Architect, you’ll all know how much I bang on about the importance of a good, complete desktop assessment. Without good assessment data it very difficult to accurately identify your requirements. This can result in, and so often does, a desktop deployment that performs poorly or is vastly over sized.

On the flip side, I also understand that assessments can take a lot of time and effort if done correctly.

So VMware has teamed up with Lakeside Software to offer you a FREE, yes free, Cloud-Hosted, Self-Service SysTrack Desktop Assessment Service. This service uses the same tool that I used as a consultant within VMware Professional Services. It’s tried and tested.

Some of the highlights of the service include; Simple registration and configuration to begin data collection and Deployment Recommendations, which will help you size your Horizon environment based on the data gathered.

Give it a try, head over to: SysTrack Desktop Assessment  and sign up for a free account.

Adding an ‘In Case of an Emergency’ (ICE) Contact on your Cell/Mobile Phones

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This is a subject that has been posted regularly on my Facebook over the past few days. There is a post going around which shows how Apple iOS users can use the Health application (included in iOS8) to add personal information that in the event of an emergency can be shown on your Cell phone, without having to unlock the phone. To me this make so much sense. If for whatever reason you are found unconscious the only way for the emergency services to find out more about you would be from a driving license or maybe a credit card? Assuming you have these on you at that time. The majority of us don’t usually go too far without having your phone with you.

So I just wanted to document somewhere how an ICE contact can be setup and accessed on your mobile phones without someone having to know the unlock pin or pattern. Both Apple iOS and Android

Apple iOS

(This information is taken from: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT203037)

With iPhone, you can personalize your Medical ID to keep your important health information in case of emergency. Tap Medical ID. Then tap Edit to add information such as birthday, height, weight, and blood type. You can also add emergency contacts.

Turn on Show When Locked to make your Medical ID available from the Lock screen. This lets people helping you in an emergency get important information about you. They’ll also be able to contact people you’ve entered as emergency contacts.

medical_id

Here’s how to access Medical ID when your device is locked:

  • Swipe to unlock.
  • Tap Emergency.

emergency_call

  • Tap Medical ID, on the emergency dial screen.

medical_emergency_call

 

 

Android

I’ve not actually seen an official application that can offer the same functionality, but I’ve found another way that’ll serve the same purpose.

  • On your Android device navigate to Settings > Security > Owner Info.
  • Tick the Show owner info on lock screen box
  • Here you can type in something similar to this example: Emergency Contact – Jane Doe (555)-504-304

Owner Info

This will then add you Emergency Contact to your phones Lock Screen

ICE Android

Please comment if you know of a better way of doing this on Android devices.

And I thought “The Cloud” was just a fad…..

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Mobile Cloud AppsIt’s true, I actually wrote that in a blog post back in March 2010 called Is It A Bird? Is It A Plane? No, It’s….The Cloud! Until now I’ve not really given it to much thought. Obviously, working at VMware I needed to understand vCloud Director, but that was only really from a functionality/design perspective. However since starting my new role at Canopy I’ve begun to take more notice of “The Cloud” and what it has to offer to both consumers and also to businesses. Whilst working for a Canopy I’ve found it very easy to get immersed into a bubble and end up only paying attention to what the company offers as products/solutions. So much so, I began to lose the bigger picture and stopped thinking about what other cloud products/solutions there were out there, not just for businesses but also to us, as consumers.

It wasn’t until a few days ago when I was sipping cocktails on Sentosa Island when I realised, without really noticing it, I was already a heavy consumer of “The Cloud”. However my consumption wasn’t of solutions like SaaS,PaaS, IaaS etc which I used to class as “typical” cloud offerings. My consumption was, in my eyes more subtle. This maybe because there wasn’t a large initial cost on purchase which I personally associate with the “typical” cloud services. There also wasn’t a massive operational change, which is another invisible cost that I also associate with “Moving to the cloud”.

“New Phone, DM me your numbers!”No Contacts

Let’s look at my mobile (cell) phone (Android). If I want to make a call on my phone, I can search my contacts for the person I want to call. All of the contacts on my phone are automatically sync’ed to my Google account. If I loose my phone, I still have all of my contacts. How many times do you see Facebook posts which read something like “New Phone, DM me your numbers!” ? This is no longer an issue for me. All of my contacts are sync’ed to “The Cloud”.

Another good example; My friend accidentally drops his phone in his beer (it happens!). The phone is now dead. He turns to me and says, “I’ve just lost all the photo’s of my son’s birthday”. – This something that happens far to often. It doesn’t have to. I have setup a FREE Dropbox account and installed the Dropbox app onto my phone and configured every photo to be sent to my Dropbox account after it is taken. If I lose my phone, my photo’s are still available to me via the Dropbox website.

I’m not going to keep throwing examples at you as I am sure you get the point. But I will give you a quick list of some of the “Cloud” services that I use as a consumer on a regular basis (I have purposely not included Cloud services I use for my job at Canopy).

  • Google Apps (Chrome, Calendar, Contacts, GMail) – Used hourly
  • Spotify (Pro) – Used maybe 12 hours a day
  • Evernote (Pro) – Used this on a hourly basis
  • Dropbox – Used daily
  • Flickr (Pro) – Used daily
  • Netflix – Used daily
  • Feedly – Used daily
  • Sticher – Used weekly
  • Tripit – Used weekly

I am very surprised at the amount of “Cloud” based services I already use without really noticing. I was also surprised that I actually pay for some of these services. In the past I’ve always been reluctant to pay for these services, I’d always make do with the free offerings. However it’s got to the point where I use them so much day-to-day, it is actually beneficial for me to pay for these premium services.

I think my use of Cloud services has stemmed from my use of mobile devices. I have a phone, a couple of tablets, laptops etc. I want my data to be accessible to me regardless of where I am or what device I am on, so I look for services that can allow me to do that. In an ideal world I would like to be able to do my day-to-day work tasks from any device – anywhere, however I don’t really want to use a VDI to allow me to do this.

I think I am nearly there!

Step Back

I invite you all to take  a step back, flick through the app’s you have on your mobile devices, TV’s, computers and take a look at how many Cloud services you are actually using. Did it surprise you as much as it did me?

Cloud computing is clearly not a fad, I actually think it is the future. We will continue to see more and more of our data move off of our devices and be stored in cloud services allowing us to access it whenever and where ever we are in the world. This future excites me.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Veeam Backup & Replication v7

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Veeam LogoA few days ago, one of my blog sponsors Veeam released the latest version of their incredibly popular Veeam Backup and Replication software. Veeam Backup and Replication seems to be one of those software packages that has been around forever and with every release comes some great innovation. Version 7 is no different.

Below are some of what I think are highlights of version 7.

Built-in WAN Acceleration
Built-in WAN Acceleration. Caching, variable block length data fingerprinting and TCP/IP protocol optimizations result in up to 50 times faster transfers of Veeam backups across the WAN

Enhanced backup and recovery for vCloud Director
Support for vCloud Director (vCD) enables restore of vApps and VMs directly back to vCD, and even includes support for fast provisioning.

vSphere Web Client plug-in
Monitor your backup infrastructure directly from the vSphere Web Client

Overall Veeam have made massive 80+ innovations and improvements to Backup and Replication in version 7. You can see the full list in the What’s New in v7 article.

VMware View: Recompose fails to recompose the whole pool

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Problem
I've seen this issue a lot with customers. The customers wants to Recompose an entire pool to a new snapshot, so they set off a "Recompose at LogOff" task to make the recompose happen as users log-off of their desktops. However, quite often none of the desktops in the pool get recomposed. Every time I've seen this issue, the customers have their desktop pools to "Refresh On Logoff"

Cause
The Refresh on logoff task supersedes a scheduled Recompose task. When you log off, the recompose task for that virtual machine is discarded.

Fix
Change the pool "Refresh On Logoff" setting to Never before scheduling a "Recompose At Logoff" task. (Remember to re-enable "Refresh On Logoff" after the pools has been successfully recomposed.)

London VMUG – Thursday, July 19th, 2012

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Agenda 

From 10am…..

  • Centrix Software Presentation 
  • Fusion-IO Presentation
  • Whiptail Presentation
  • EMC Labs Throughout the Day
  • Lee Dilworth – VMware Availability Update: vSphere Replication, Stretched Clusters and BCDR 
  • Darren Woollard and Gregg Robertson – vSphere Nerdknobs 
  • Chris Evans – The Storage Architect's View 
  • Chris Gale – Fusion-IO More Desktops. More Virtual Machines. More Data-Intensive Applications. Faster. Cheaper. Simpler.
  • Matt Northam and Simon Hansford – Government Can Run vCloud, How Skyscape Did It 
  • Martyn Storey – VMware NDA Roadmap Session  PLEASE NOTE:  Entrance to the NDA session is strictly dependent upon the following criteria: Signed, personal NDA; Photo ID and proof of where you work; not working for a vendor, partner, or competitor 

As usual there will be vBeers afterwards from 17:30…..

Don't forget to Register as you cannot just turn up on the day. Hopefully I will be making an appearance.

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