What is new in vSphere 6.0

This post is part of a serie blogposts on VMworld. For an overview of VMworld announcements see this post. 

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At the August 26 keynote of VMworld VMware announced 3 new features of vSphere 6.0. The next version of vSphere is currently in a public beta. Everyone interested can download the bits and try. However the program is under NDA so information on features cannot be publicly shared.

So VMware gave a sneak preview on vSphere 6.0  yesterday. Immediately a couple of blogs published more information on those revealed features.VMware also revealed some information on vSphere 6.0 including vCenter in various breakout sessions. Derek Seaman write some great blogs covering breakout sessions. For example here his blog on a session about vCenter. Session to look for is INF2311

Eric Sloof made an interview with Mike Foley of VMware. Mike explains some new features in his video.

Lets have a look on what is new on vSphere 6.0

ESXi 6.0

  • Fault Tolerance support for 4 vCPU’s. According to a breakout session at VMworld 2014 US Fault Tolerance has been rewritten from the groud up. Info here
  • long distance vMotion. More info here and here Long distance vMotion now support 100ms roundtrip. Used to be 10ms.
  • vMotion across vCenters , vMotion using routed vMotion networks and vMotion across virtual switches
  • Using VMware NSX, network properties will now be vMotioned as well when using long distance vMotion.
  • better vSphere Web Client performance and added features. Still Flex based. Response time is enhanced greatly! The user interface of the web client now is much more similar to the C# client. So less searching for a feature you know to find in c# client.
  • Virtual Volumes. Info here
  • Virtual Datacenters. More info here
  • The vSphere Client (the C# one installed on Windows) will remain available in vSphere 6.0. According to VMware vSphere 6.0 will be the last release having C# client support. Haven’t we heard that before ;-)?

vCenter Server 6.0

Julian Wood also blogged about vCenter Server 6.0. Read his blog here.

  • vCenter 6.0 will support Fault Tolerance. 4 vCPUs, separate storage for primary/secondary VMs and 64GB of RAM
  • Content Library. A way to centrally store VM templates, vApps, ISO images and scripts. The function is similar to the Content Library of vCAC. Content Library’s are replicated over vCenter Server instances. The advantage is a central managed repository preventing for instance severalcopies of  templates of the same guest OS.
  • Certificate management will be greatly improved by a new tool
  • Platform Services Controller (PSC) which  will providings licensing, certificate management and SSO for solutions like vCenter, vCOPs, vCloud Director, vCloud Automation Center
  • PSC will support HA, Fault Tolerance and load balancer for high availability.
  • vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) 6.0 will support 1000 hosts and 10,000 powered on VMs
  • VCSA still limited to Oracle as the only external database. No ODBC driver in Linux for Microsoft SQL Server.
  • Improved installer. It will ask configuration details, check and then do the install in one go. No seperate installations required.

The features below where not ann0unced during the keyote but where ann0unced by partners. While there is no confirmation these features will be part of vSphere 6.0 it is very likely they will.

  • NVIDIA GRID vGPU. More info and background here. Announced by VMware for 2015. 
  • vSphere APIs for IO Filtering (VAIO)
  • VMFork. A method to  instantly clone running virtual machines.

The VAIO feature was not revealed during the keynote but was mentioned in a session at TechField Day.  vSphere I/O Filters is a VMware supported method for third party vendors to allow interception of storage traffic flow between VM and the ESXi kernel. This allows for features like replication and host based read and write caching. The later allows VMware partners to develop solutions like PernixData does. PernixData developed a kernel module themself for host based read and write caching.

 

VMware has a course available for developers who like to learn develop vSphere I/O filters. The first two courses are scheduled for mid October and are held in Palo Alto. The program is explained in this short video.

EMC just announced a new product named ‘EMC RecoverPoint for Virtual Machines‘ which uses the VAIO.

 

VMware announcing Project Fargo: a technique for rapid cloning of running VMs, 30 x faster VDI provisioning

This post is part of a serie blogposts on VMworld. For an overview of VMworld announcements see this post. 

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At the keynotes of VMworld 2014,  VMware announced a very interesting new project called Project Fargo. The other name of this seems to be Project VMFork.

Also mentioned is Project Meteor.

Fargo/VMFork is a platform currently in technology preview  which enables a rapid cloning of running VMs for application remoting purposes. Imagine a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure environment. A running VM has the base operating system. We call this the Template VM. When a new user logs in, a clean new virtual machine is cloned based on this Template VM. This clone starts in 1 second or so!

Photo below taken by my PQR co-worker Rob Beekmans during a VMworld session.

fargo-30xfargo-createpool

Kit Colbert of VMware described Fargo below (source here):

Just-in-time desktop delivery

While we’ve solved the real-time application delivery problem, we still need to address the issue of desktop delivery.  The reality is that today the delivery of virtual desktops is time consuming.  From cloning to powering on and OS boot to customization, the end-to-end process can take many minutes before the virtual desktop is ready to accept user logins.  This problem compounds itself when trying to deliver hundreds or thousands of desktops at one time.  We need a better solution.

Just like CloudVolumes leveraged hypervisor technology to optimize the delivery of applications, we can leverage hypervisor innovation to optimize the delivery of virtual desktops.  In particular, the vSphere team has been working on something we’re calling Project Fargo.  Project Fargo enables the instantaneous cloning of a running virtual machine (essentially a virtual machine “fork”).  The cloned VM is identical in every way to the original and initially shares all memory and disk with it as well.  Project Fargo is very cool for two reasons: first, it gets you a new running VM in under a second.  Second, it’s a very lightweight VM because it shares all memory and disk with the original.  (To be clear, both the memory and disk are “copy on write” so if new VMs modify bits of their memory or disk, a separate copy is made for that VM.  We thus preserve security and isolation between VMs.)

The idea is then that we can leverage Project Fargo to quickly spin up new virtual desktops for us.  Rather than the multi-minute process we had before, with Project Fargo and some optimizations in how we do customization, we can have a new virtual desktop up and running and ready for user login in just a few seconds.  Very exciting!

Also because of Fargo , storage and memory resource consumption of VMs is reduced. When a running VM is cloned, the operating system files are shared. When a shared file is written, a copy of that shared file is copied to the child VM.

Use cases:

enterprise applications

  • speed of containers-based provisiong
  • VM-level goodness (isolation, management)

virtual desktops

  • instant clone of running non-persistent desktop
  • instant availability of application for application publishing

fargo-2

The Project Fargo feature will become likely become available in vSphere 6.0 (scheduled for 2015). It will be also possible to use Fargo features using a vCenter API.

Early benchmarks show that 120 sessions can be handled on a 2 socket/8 core host with 30% less CPU consumption than same number of RDSH session.

This poster shown at VMworld explains a bit more. Thanks Ruben Spruijt of PQR for sharing the picture.

Here is another photo of the same poster published by vmnerds.fr.

fargo

 

When the VM has been provisioned applications are assigned to this VDI workstation using the recently acquired layering solution CloudVolumes. VMware claims a 30 x faster VDI provisioning.

The combination of Project Fargo + CloudVolumes is internally called Project Meteor. The photo below on the left was taken from a Tweet by co-worker Ruben Spruijt @rspruijt . 

Project Meteor is focused on  delivering these desktops to any device with an HTML5-based browser. The photo on the right was taken by co-worker Rob Beekmans. 

View Composer is being replaced by Project Fargo to increase provisioning 30x

My co-worker Rob Beekmans of PQR also wrote a blog on Fargo and Meteor.

project-meteorproject-meteor1

Some more info on Fargo here.

Who is partnering with who in the hyper-converged market

With the announcement of VMware EVO:RAIL the market for hyper-converged systems gets even more attention. Many companies are partnering with eachother to get more synergy.

This short blogpost provides an overview of the major players and their partners.

Nutanix

  • Hardware and software are sold as a single SKU by Nutanix
  • Dell recently announced it will ship Nutanix NOS software installed on Dell hardware

VMware 

  • VMware does not sell hardware
  • EVO:RAIL is software supplied by VMware to hardware partners. Currently EVO:RAIL appliances are offered by Supermicro, Dell, EMC, Fujitsu, Inspur and Net One. More partners to announced soon 

SimpliVity  

Atlantis Computing 

  • Atlantis does not sell hardware. Only software
  • Partners with Cisco to provide a reference architecture with UCS and Atlantis ILIO

Release: VMware NSX for vSphere (NSX-V) Network Virtualization Design Guide

Max Ardica, Senior Technical Product Manager at VMware,  wrote the  first version of the VMware NSX for Multi-Hypervisor Reference Architecture and Network Virtualization Design Guide.
This document is targeted toward virtualization and network architects interested in deploying the VMware NSX Network virtualization solution in a multi-hypervisor environment.

The PDF has 91 pages with a lot of detailed technical information on NSX. Components are explained, VXLAN is explained,  firewall, load balancing, design considerations,  and much much more.

The design guide has many illustrations to explain NSX.

Recommended download and read if you want to know more about NSX.

A final version of this Reference Guide will be posted on  the NSX Technical Resources website after VMworld 2014:

The guide can be downloaded here

nsx

VMware rebrands products and adds SaaS additions

This post is part of a serie blogposts on VMworld. For an overview of VMworld announcements see this post. 

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At VMworld VMware announced a rebranding of a couple of productnames. The table below shows the old and new names

Existing name
New name
New cloud service name
vCenter Operations Management SuitevRealize OperationsvRealize Air Operations
vCloud Automation CentervRealize Automation vRealize Air Automation
Log Insight vRealize Log Insight
vCenter OrchestratorvRealize Orchestrator
vCloud Hybrid Service vCloud Air
VMware Application DirectorVMware Application Services
IT Business Management vRealize BusinessvRealize Air Business