Possible announcements for VMworld 2014

Like every year VMware will announce new and updated products and services at VMworld 2014. While VMware never releases information about VMworld announcements, there are always some indications,  rumours and educated guesses which provide some insights on what to expect.

Lets do some speculation and guesses what could be announced at VMworld 2014. VMworld USA is often used for  annoucements on vSphere, vCloud Suite and  vCenter   while VMworld Europe mostly has annoucements on management tooling and end user computing.

Let me be clear: All being written in this blogpost is mostly  based on internet sources (some at VMware.com) , some speculation and partly educated guessing. 

  • project Marvin / Mystic
  • VMware vSphere next (2015)
  • introduction of Virtual Volumes (VVOLs)
  • VSAN 2.0
  • NSX channel program competency
  • replacement for vCenter Heartbeat
  • vCHS -> more European datacenters

Project Mystic  and VMware MARVIN

Several indications show both VMware & EMC are working on a converged infrastructure solution. CRN published an article about Project Mystic. Mystic could be a converged system in which compute and storage hardware is supplied by EMC while VMware produces the software. The software is nicknamed MARVIN in which VSAN likely has a major share .

‘Mystic’ is said to compete solutions like Nutanix and Simplivity.

Fletcher Cocquyt spotted this poster attached on a window at the VMware campus showing project MARVIN.

CRN has published an article on Mystic


VMware vSphere announcement
A major release of  vSphere is announced about every two years. So likely is that this year vSphere next will be announced at VMworld. In July a private beta was made available to the public. Anyone interested to know  the features and participate in making vSphere better  are welcome to join this beta. Anyone can join and find out the new features of vSphere next. For whatever reason the information available to anyone (only have to join the beta) is still under NDA. As I joined the beta I am not allowed to blog about the new features.

vSphere next is not expected to be released in 2014. Early 2015 is a likely time as this blogpost at VMware.com suggests.

Join the beta!

VSAN 2.0
When VMware acquired Virsto it also got hold of a lot of knowledge on using clever techniques. The engineers which worked for Virsto are likely to use their knowledge for new features in VSAN 2.0. I am not sure when VSAN 2.0 will be released. It could be as the same time as vSphere 2015 or in a seperate Update to vSphere 2015.

Replacement for vCenter Heartbeat 

VMware announced  the end of availability of vCenter Heartbeat. This solution made vCenter highly available especially when vCenter was installed on a physical server. But even on a virtual machine HA or vMotion might not be sufficient. So we might see a new way of providing redundancy for vCenter announced at VMworld.

Virtual Volumes (VVOLs)
VMware has been talking about Virtual Volumes ever since 2011. So far it did not lead to an available technology. VVOLs is all about the VMDK. Instead of presenting LUNs storage arrays are serving VMDK files. For each VMDK policies can be set like if the VMDK requires replication, thin provisioning and maybe some sort of Quality of Service .

Two of the advantages of VVOLs is offloading tasks to the storage array. Both snapshots and cloning will be performed by the storage array when VVOLs are used. Performance is not affected when snapshots are made or commited. Tintri had a demo at VMworld 2013 of VVOLs. See the video here. Nimble has a demo video as well. NetApp has a demo as well as shown in this blog.

End of June 2014 VVOLs went into a public beta. More information here. 


NSX channel program competency

NSX is a solution not suited for each and every VMware customer. It cannot be downloaded from the VMware website. Installation needs carefull planning and knowledge. Customers showing interest in NSX can order a paid Proof of Concept. A VMware will then make a design and do the implementation.

For VMware partners to succesfully sell and implement NSX a special competency will be announced according CRN. Partners will probably we able to study online and gain knowledge on NSX.

vCHS -> more European datacenters
At VMworld Europe VMware announced it would make available vCloud Hybrid Services in more European datacenters. At the moment there is a single European datacenter operational in the UK (Slough near London). An announcement of a new datacenter in France or Germany is quite well possible. In June 2014 VMware announced the opening of a 5th datacenter in the US. VMware also seems to be working on a vCHS datacenter in Japan. 


Microsoft introduces Microsoft Azure StorSimple, a new virtual appliance and 2 new arrays

Today Microsoft announced some interesting news on StorSimple:

  • introduction of two new StorSimple arrays
  • a new StorSimple Virtual Appliance
  • a new Azure service called ‘Microsoft Azure StorSimple’.

For those unaware of Microsoft StorSimple: it  is a hardware storage appliance available in 4 models which is placed in an on-premises location. It has a couple of SSD and SAS drives for local storage. Volumes are served to hosts using iSCSI. SMB shares are not supported yet. StorSimple  complements Tier1 storage systems by being able to automatically move infrequently accessed data to Microsoft Azure storage. Data stored in Azure remains available for access by users and applications. Users will only notice a small delay when accessing data stored in Azure. Think about a single stretched volume which has data located on the StorSimple local storage as well as in Azure.

The main driver to use StorSimple devices is saving on storage costs while its unique disaster recovery features are a nice bonus as well.

StorSimple is limited to serving  unstructured data like Office files etc.

The interesting news of today is that StorSimple will be available as a virtual appliance as well. An Azure virtual machine can run the StorSimple software and perform the same features as the hardware appliance placed on-premises.

This will be available from August 1.

The news was announced in this blog titled Introducing Microsoft Azure StorSimple

The two new arrays are the 8100 and the 8600. The 8100 has a raw local storage capacity of 15 TB while the 8600 has 40 TB. By using compression and deduplication the effective capacity for the 8100 is 75 TB to 200 TB for the 8600.


The new StorSimple virtual appliance  enables for example a scenario where customers replicate on-premises StorSimple snapshots to Azure based virtual appliances. Applications running in Azure can then analyze data without disrupting production workloads running on-premises.

The StorSimple virtual appliance is only supported when the StorSimple 8100 and StorSimple 8600 are used. Current models are not supported! Which is a big pity if you ask me.

Another use case is disaster recovery. A StorSimple hardware appliance is a single point of failure. If it breaks down or is destroyed because of fire/flooding/collapse of the datacenter, customers will require a spare StorSimple appliance to be able to recover data. Now recovery can be performed using StorSimple virtual appliances running in Azure.

Recovery using StorSimple is not having to wait before a restore has complete. StorSimple instant recovery works as follows: a cloudbased snapshot is mounted to a StorSimple array or virtual appliance. Then the data is made available to users instantly. The file is only moved from Azure to the appliance when it is being accessed. So instead of recovering all files, only files which are accessed are restored while showing all files.

The Virtual Appliance connects to Azure VMs using a virtual iSCSI Ethernet network and the same platform volume and storage management tools (such as Windows Disk Management) and iSCSI initiators that are used on-premises. That means many of the same system management skills used on-premises are used in Azure to do the same things there. 

This Microsoft blog has some details!

Management of the 8000 series arrays and the Azure StorSimple virtual appliance running in Azure is done using a new Azure service called ‘Azure StorSimple Manager‘.
StorSimple Manager provides a central console for monitoring multiple StorSimple devices which are located in for example branch offices. It shows whether it is online or offline, shows the ratio of the provisioned capacity to the maximum capacity of the device. It also can be used to restore a cloudbased backup from for example an on-premises StorSimple device to a StorSimple virtual device.


Two new hardware appliances will be available: the model 8100 and the 8600.The 8100 is a 2u model while the 8600 has 4u. The specifications are shown below. For a full overview see this page.


The StorSimple appliances are not cheap. The 8600 has a listprice of $ 170.000,-


The pricing overview showing all currently available StorSimple devices is here.


Gartner releases Magic Quadrant for x86 server virtualization. vSphere and Hyper-V lead, Citrix drops

As every year in early July, Gartner released its Magic Quadrant (MQ) for x86 server virtualization. This document provides an analysis of the market for x86 server virtualization. Again VMware is the clear leader as it has been since 5 year. Microsoft Hyper-V is the only other solution in the leaders quadrant. Citrix XenServer is dropping each year as the company is now targeting cloud virtualization and desktop virtualization.  It is now positioned in the ‘niche player’ quadrant.

The distance between VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V is in the MQ for 2014 about the same as in the MQ for 2013.

New in the 2014 MQ  is Huawai. Their x86 hypervisor is called FusionSphere and according Gartner it is mainly used in Brazil, Russia, India and China. FusionSphere is mainly running on Huawai serverhardware and primarily in China.

The full report can be read here.

See my post on the release of the Magic Quadrant 2013 here.


New website

You might have seen some changes on this website. I moved my up2v.nl domain from the free wordpress.com hosting to a selfhosted website. One of the many reasons to do that was being able to use any of the many themes and plugins available. I now have full control over layout without being charged extra by WordPress.

This is not an easy change. There are so many themes available it makes it difficult to find the right one. I found a couple of nice themes only to discover a bit later those did not provide all the layout features I wanted.Busy at the moment selecting usefull plugins.

In a couple of weeks I hope to have the site stable again.

Sorry for any inconveniances


19 controllers removed from VMware Virtual SAN (VSAN)compatibility list

VMware announced in this KB article 19 discontrollers initially listed on the VSAN compatibility list have been removed from this list. This makes the controllers unsupported for usage in VSAN configurations.

The reason for this removal is according to VMware’s KB article:

As part of VMware’s ongoing testing and certification efforts on Virtual SAN compatible hardware, VMware has decided to remove these controllers from the Virtual SAN compatibility list. While fully functional, these controllers offer too low IO throughput to sustain the performance requirements of most VMware environments. Because of the low queue depth offered by these controllers, even a moderate IO rate could result in IO operations timing out, especially during disk rebuild operations. In this event, the controller may be unable to cope with both a rebuild activity and running Virtual Machine IO causing elongated rebuild time and slow application responsiveness. To avoid issues, such as the one described above, VMware is removing these controllers from the Hardware Compatibility List.


One of the controlers removed is the Dell PERC H310. Likely one of the reasons this controller has been deleted is a serious issue described at Reddit.com. A VSAN user experienced basically a meltdown of its virtual infrastructure when a VSAN node failed and after a while a rebuild started. This caused so many IO the PERC H310 could not handle and all VMs came to a standstill.

These are all controllers removed from the VSAN compatibility list