Service Level Agreements – Introduction

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

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

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

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…..

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

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

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

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.

Goodbye VMware PSO – Hello VMware EUC Global CoE!

Now that yesterdays VMware EUC announcement hysteria has subsided, I thought this would be a good time to make my own VMware EUC announcement. (For those of you who were under a rock yesterday, here is my favorite post talking about What's new in View 5.1 (Beyond Marketing).

After nearly two years of delivering customer projects with VMware Profesional Services (PSO), I have been given the opportunity to join VMware's EUC Global Center of Excellence (CoE). This is a move I am really excited about.

So what will I be doing?

From my understanding, I will be working closely with VMware's EUC products, both old and new. Testing out our new products, creating IP and enabling the field. So there should be plenty of lab time, which is never a bad thing. I will also have the opportunity to provide feedback about our products directly to the engineering teams. Another large part of the role is to present at VMWorld, PEX and other conferences and seminars.

If you are not aware of VMware's EUC product suite/vision, take a look at the following video.

Pretty cool stuff hey?!?

I am hoping that this move will also give me more time to blog, to help get more material out there for you guys. And it will also mean less travel, Happy Days!

I have a couple of months left to finish off my currently View project, then I will be moving over on July the 1st.

Cannot wait!!

Thinapp: VirtualComputerName

I have been creating a new Thinapp in which I am trying to trick the application into thinking it is running on the same computer each time it is executed. Little did I know, this was soo easy to do. I had been using ProcMon to find out which registry the software called to get the ComputerName from and then tried to add in a custom registry entry into the Thinapp virtual registry.

As it turns out VMware have given us an entry in the package.ini that we can use instead: VirtualComputerName. So in the package.ini this is what the entry now looks like:

VirtualComputerName=VIEW-PC

Now every time this Thinapp is run it will think it's running on a computer named VIEW-PC.

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