Posts Tagged ‘Cloud’

VMware Announces vCloud Express

September 1st, 2009

Today at VMworld 2009, VMware announced vCloud Express! For those still struggling with cloud as a concept, technology, or offering, this is where the tangible rubber meets the road with VMware virtual infrastructure.

The VMware vCloud™ Express service delivers the ability to provision infrastructure on-demand, via credit card, and pay for use by the hour. As a VMware Virtualized ™ service, it ensures compatibility with other VMware environments both internally and with external services.

  • Quick, easy access to VMware Virtualized™ infrastructure for prototyping and development from external third party providers.
  • Increase flexibility and time to market, and reduce capex and resource challenges associated with trying to address the fluctuating infrastructure needs of development, staging, and production teams.
  • By leveraging the VMware platform, the VMware vCloud™ Express service retains the robustness, interoperability and reliability that VMware is known for while delivering the easy access and cost-effectiveness of a transactional service model.
  • Five partners currently offering VMware vCloud™ Express service (as beta): Terremark, Hosting.com, and BlueLock in the Americas; Logica in EMEA; and Melbourne IT in the APAC.

The announcement was coupled with an on-stage web-based demonstration with Terremark, whom if I remember correctly, was involved with the interactive cloud provisioning presentation during a keynote speech at VMworld Europe 2009. As most keynote demonstrations usually go, the process was very slick, streamlined, and painless.

It will be interesting to watch VMware compete with other big cloud providers in existence. How much market share will VMware gain in the first year? What impact, if any, will “beta” status have on VMware vCloud Express adoption rates?

Cloud Camp Minneapolis

April 18th, 2009

IMG00028-20090418-1006Today I attended Cloud Camp Minneapolis from 9:00am to 3:30pm on the University of Minnesota East Bank campus. I think the event was large success. Registration was SOLD OUT and it looked like there was somewhere between 100 and 150 attendees. I think it speaks well for the technology and the event organization when that many people will give up the majority of an absolutely gorgeous Saturday.

The event started with a continental like breakfast where people mingled and socialized for an hour before the speaking agenda began. I ran into a few familiar faces and also met with new people I hadn’t met before. The coffee was strong and the bagels looked good.

After breakfast, we were ushered into the main auditorium. George Reese (pictured top left), cloud book author and event organizer from enStratus Networks, kicked things off by briefly introducing himself as well as the premier sponsors: VISI, enStratus, Microsoft, Hosso The Rackspace Cloud, Aserver, and Right Scale.

Shortly after, the Lightning Talks began. This is where the premier event sponsors were allowed just a few minutes to deliver their cloud speech along with a little product marketing while literally whipping through their slide deck. When I say just a few minutes, I literally mean it. I think five vendors all got up and delivered their presentations in a total of 15 minutes. If you’ve ever watched the television program “Mad Money”, it was like cloud talk and offerings during the lightning round. It was both an interesting and refreshing approach.

Next we had a lengthy group discussion on hot cloud topics which were in turn used to dynamically develop the afternoon breakout session topics. We touched on things such as security, mobility, legal and liability implications, small business, etc.

We broke for lunch where I had discussions with a few locals on phone, cable, and internet service providers (ISPs) in the state of Minnesota.

After lunch the large group broke up into the smaller breakout sessions mentioned previously. I attended two sessions: Mobility and SMB.

The mobility session had a good crowd mixture comprised of service providers, application developers, and CEOs. The discussions jumped from topic to topic as people offered up their problems, questions, and philosophies orbiting cloud mobility and isolation. Not to my surprise, there was very little along the lines of answers or solutions. That’s ok. I wasn’t expecting any. Frankly, I found comfort among large numbers of industry experts who, like I, didn’t have the answers and were just as perplexed about figuring out how this is all going to work out. Developers seemed to be the most concerned about the application layer (Applications as a Service) as discussions touched on APIs and applications in the cloud and their impact on development techniques as it applies to mobility. I got a sense of less concern over platform in the cloud, also known as Platform as a Service. One developer talked about his current experience of using Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). His direct benefits: he owns and supports nothing, and he pays only for what he uses. When he’s not using it, there’s essentially little or no cost. When he’s done, I imagine he saves what he needs, and the rest is destroyed. There is no traditional decommissioning and writing off of assets. There is no hardware that needs to be disposed of properly.

The SMB session was another good mixture of attendees nearly the same as above but with more of a concentration on small business, as well as micro and nano business (phrases coined during the session representing entities smaller than small business). The general idea of this session was if and how small businesses can benefit from cloud offerings. Talks began with the various ways to define a small business: by revenue? by headcount? by technology? There are examples of large manufacturing plants that have small technology footprints. Likewise, small operations can generate large amounts of revenue with the assistance of technology. Group members proposed that there exists many inefficiencies in small business, particularly in the technology and infrastructure. This is where renting platforms, applications, services, and infrastructure from cloud providers could make sense for SMBs. Wouldn’t small businesses rather focus their time and energy on developing their products and services instead of being tied down by the technology they need to run their business on? From a customer or partner credibility standpoint, does a business look more professional and equipped running their business in a certified cloud datacenter, or a broom closet? What impacts will regulation and legislation have? Decisions of how to securely store and deliver customer information in a small business shouldn’t be taken lightly. There are consequences that could easily break the trust and financial backing that a small business or startup’s survivability relies on.

In all, I had a great time at Cloud Camp Minneapolis. If you asked me six months ago what I know about the cloud, I would have had nothing to say other than “I don’t get it”. I’ve gradually been warming up to the concept and today Cloud Camp Minneapolis went a long way in delivering my first feeling of personal and professional accomplishment in that I think I’m actually caught up and on the same page as many of my peers and higher experts in the cloud community. However, I have to be honest in saying that I walked away somewhat disappointed and in disbelief that virtualization discussion was nearly non-existent. The last two VMworld virtualization conferences I attended in Las Vegas and Cannes were strongly focused on cloud computing and VMware’s Virtual Datacenter OS (VDC-OS). There was maybe one mention of VMware in one sentence and a brief reference to VDI. Microsoft was on site talking about Azure and there was no mention of Hyper-V. No mention of XenServer, Virtual Iron, etc. I’ve been led to understand that virtualization is key component to cloud infrastructure, applications, and mobility. I anticipated much of today’s discussions would revolve around virtuailzation. I couldn’t have been more wrong. After the event finished, I sent out a tweet re: no virtualization talk today. I received a response stating virtualization is merely a widget or one small component among many in the cloud. Virtualization is not really as integral as I’m being told by Paul Maritz of VMware. Maybe this is a case of Jason has been drinking too much VMware Kool-Aid for too long. The answers about the cloud are coming. Slowly but surely. Hopefully Paul is right and VMware does have a significant role to play in their version of global cloud computing. I’d like to see it, realize it, and experience it.

Cloud butt kicking

March 29th, 2009

Mike DiPetrillo wrote a nice piece yesterday entitled The Cloud is Kicking My Butt. This has helped put my mind at ease. Those whom I talk to might recall that I’ve been somewhat behind the learning curve on “the cloud”. To say my mind was blown at VMworld 2008 would have been an understatement with all of the cloud buzz and announcements.

It’s comforting to know that I’m in good company. In Mike’s article, he describes his new endeavor in 2009 as VMware’s Global Cloud Architect. Mike has talked to literally hundreds of people with mixed backgrounds and agendas about the cloud and he has come up with a few findings thus far:

  1. Cloud means 1,000 different things to 1,000 different people
  2. Everyone wants cloud today
  3. No one trusts external clouds and yet everyone wants to use them
  4. Absolutely everyone is ignorant on cloud
  5. There are only about 20 people in the world right now that truly “get it”

I can relate to bullets 1 and 4 above. And of the 20 people in the world who are cloud gurus… I’m not one of ’em. I’ve made some progress since fall of last year though. Simplified, I understand cloud is really no more than a collection of service offerings with special characteristics like portability, scalability, flexibility, high availability, compatibility, security, etc. It’s this very list of what the cloud is that people like me struggle with – because not everyone is going by the same list. The cloud means different things to different people. It’s going to be interesting to watch the when, where, what, and hows of inter cloud compatibility unfold. Without established standards I doubt we’d ever get there. We’re going to need a lot of cooperation between all vendors also, not just the key ones.

I visited with a VMware SE last week and heard one of the best, yet simple definitions of cloud yet: A Cluster Boundary. If you think about that from a VMware infrastructure perspective, it’s easy. VMs are servers, desktops, and applications that move about in the cluster. They are comprised of shared storage, networks, memory, and cpu. They are going to have isolation in most cases where needed and will be secure. Hardware independence makes them compatible with other hosts in the infrastructure that may not be the same exact make and model. It also affords them the ability to float to these other hosts in the cluster using technologies like VMotion, DRS, sVMotion, HA, and FT. But the cluster defines the boundaries of their mobility and thus it defines “a cloud”. The technologies and collaborative initiatives of tomorrow will be what make these clouds compatible and extensible so that are boundaries of the cloud are much much larger. In fact, in a perfect cloud world where all cloud components are compatible and seamless, there are no boundaries. It will be like space, where you have the ability to float wherever you’d like. For a fee or subscription of course.

The cloud is a magnificent undertaking. There are efforts involved which I don’t think we’ve even come close to seeing since the ratification of the TCP/IP protocol. I applaud people like Mike that have the stamina and drive to tackle this great initiative.

Mike concludes with:

Cloud is in flux. Standards don’t really exist. Everyone is labeling everything from toaster ovens to BMWs as “cloud enabled”. The information I share can and will change. Some of it will become obsolete. Some of it may seem very scary like no one has their act together. That’s just the nature of cloud at the moment. Everyone in the industry is stumbling through this together. In the end it’s all going to be worth it. For now though sit back, keep reading the posts, and prepare to get your butt kicked by the cloud.

I don’t think he could be more right if he tried. BTW, congrats on your new gig Mike! Go get ’em!

VMworld Europe 2009 Tuesday keynote

February 24th, 2009

DSC00569 The general session keynote was kicked off by Maurizio Carli, General Manager EMEA. Maurizio briefly talked about VMware EMEA growth:

  • VMworld Europe 2008 4,500 attendees
  • VMworld Europe 2009 4,700 attendees
  • 100 sponsors this year

DSC00570 Paul Maritz President and CEO began his keynote discussing today’s IT problems and how they are not sustainable into the future. The solution is:

  • Efficiency
  • Control
  • Choice

VMware addresses the above with the following initiatives:

  1. VDC-OS – Foundation for the Cloud
  2. vCloud – Choice and Cloud Federation
  3. vClient – Desktop as a Service

VDC-OS

DSC00575 The Cloud as Architecture from the bottom up. Virtualization is the key to making all of this happen in an evolutionary way:

  • Datacenter/Cloud

VMware vSphere

    • Existing Apps/New Apps – Existing and multiple future app models
    • Management – SLA management model
    • Policies – Security, Compliance…
    • Software – Scale and availability through software
    • Hardware – Industry standard building blocks

Paul went on to discuss the vSphere Architecture and its components. Other than the vSphere name being introduced, the slide looked identical to that of what was presented at VMworld 2008 and what exists on the VDC-OS web page.

VMware vCenter Suite SLA Driven Management Model:

  • Availability
  • Security
  • Performance

2009 is the year virtualization users have been waiting for. Quoting Paul, there will be no reason why we can not virtualize 100% of the workloads in our environment. That is a confident statement and it makes me enthusiastic about things to come.

vCloud

I have been witness to a lot of discussion, including a degree of uncertainty (including my own), concerning cloud computing. VMware is addressing the concerns by working with service providers to ensure compatibility between internal and external clouds (ie. Sungard). In addition, they are working with standards bodies to avoid a “Hotel California” situation where you can check in but never check out.

Paul brought up a few guest speakers to talk about the cloud and they performed live demos as well.

DSC00579

vClient

Unfortunately at this point, wireless went down and I was scrambling to reproduce content above that was lost and I hadn’t saved yet.  That said, I didn’t get as much of the vClient content as I would have liked.  Brian Madden was licking his chops for desktop content so hopefully he can round out the discussion.

VMware View Enables Desktop as a Service. Layers from the bottom up:

  • VMware View
  • vCenter
  • VDC-OS/vSphere
  • Hardware

VMware View: Complete Roll-Out in 2009:

  • Management
    • Centralized template-based management
    • App virtualization
    • Thin provisioning
  • WAN
    • Hi latency
    • Low bandwidth
    • Productive Desktop
  • LAN
    • HD video
    • Flash
    • 3D graphics
  • Local
    • Use local resources
    • Optimal media experience
    • Rich portable desktop

The next speaker to take the stage talked about SAP.  Rather than listen to him, I spent some time editing this post for final submission.

I’m now heading on to the sessions.

For those interested, don’t miss the VMTN:  Ask the Experts session today and tomorrow at 13:00 in the Community Lounge.  My wife Amy baked chocolate chip cookies for those who attend.  Hurry before they run out!

Save the date: CloudCamp Minneapolis 4/18/08 9am-3pm

January 15th, 2009

The future of the enterprise datacenter is cloud computing. So check this out:

“CloudCamp is an unconference where early adapters of Cloud Computing technologies exchange ideas. With the rapid change occurring in the industry, we need a place we can meet to share our experiences, challenges and solutions. At CloudCamp, you are encouraged you to share your thoughts in several open discussions, as we strive for the advancement of Cloud Computing. End users, IT professionals and vendors are all encouraged to participate.

Our first event in the Twin Cities area will be held Saturday, April 18th at the University of Minnesota.”

Registration is free but there is very limited availability (about 87 tickets left as I write this).

http://www.cloudcamp.com/?page_id=382

Cloud computing explanation that anyone can understand

January 7th, 2009

2009’s datacenter trend (which really impacts virtualization and beyond) is cloud computing. Right now there are approximately 1,001 interpretations and explanations of what people think cloud computing is, which for me has made things excessively confusing. It’s still a lot of fluff until I see the SKUs and installable components, then I’ll be able to see where the rubber really meets the road.  For companies like Amazon, the cloud is already reality and it’s catching on quickly with other big names like VMware, Google and IBM.

One of my many goals in 2009 is to get a firm grasp of cloud computing.  It starts today.  Following is the best explanation I’ve come across yet (thank you for the link John Troyer) where cloud computing is explained to me like I’m a five year old so I could understand it better.  I know there are others that “don’t get it”.  I hope this helps.