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VMworld 2014 Souvenirs

September 14, 2014

I attended my 10th consecutive VMworld this year.  Here are some of my main take-aways.

VMware vSphere 5.5 Update 2:  is now GA and available for download.  Some features are:

  • Support for ESXi hosts with up to 6TB RAM
  • VMware vShield Endpoint driver is bundled with VMware Tools and called Guest Introspection
  •  VMware vCenter Server now supports these databases:  Oracle 12c, MS SQL Server 2014.  It drops support for IBM DB2.
  • vCenter Server Appliance meets high-governance compliance standards through the enforcement of DISA STIG.
  • Resolves several known issues
  • For details, see the VMware Blog.

Additionally, VMware now offers a very attractive edition of vSphere 5.5 for remote offices and branch offices (ROBO).  This edition is aimed at distributed deployments, where the Essentials and Essentials Plus editions have previously been implemented.  The licensing for this new edition is offer in packs for 25 VMs.  Details are on the VMware Blog.

VMware vSphere 6.0 Beta:  as a reminder, on June 30th, VMware announced the availability of the VMware vSphere 6.0 Beta program that it opened to the entire VMware community.

VMware acquires CloudVolumes:  CloudVolumes’ technology, which is focused on virtualization above the OS, is sort of a hybrid of other technologies including application virtualization, layering, and containers.  It installs applications in virtual disks (VMDK or VHD), records dependencies in an AppStack volume, and provides the VMDK/VHD as a read-only volume that can be instantly assigned to multiple VMs.  Details are here on VMware blog.

Fault Tolerance (FT) in vSphere 6 supports VMs with up to four vCPU cores.  The underlying code has been re-written.  It uses Checkpointing instead of record / replay.  The secondary VM has its own virtual disk, allowing FT to protect against datastore failures as well as host failures.  It no longer requires eager-zeroed thick virutal disks.  To get started, here is a good article on WoodITWork (not a VMware provided article) to get familiar.

VMware EVO: Rail Deployment Configuration and Management (VMware EVO Rail):   combines compute, networking, storage, and software into a hyper-converged infrastructure appliance.  It is a scalable Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) building block that includes VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus, VMware vCenter Server , VMware Virtual SAN, VMware Log Insight, and VMware EVO Rail deployed within a 2U 4-node hardware platform provided by a VMware qualified partner.  Each node, which is optimized for VMware EVO Rail, provides:

  • Two 6-core CPUs
  • 192 GB RAM
  • Three SAS 1.2 TB HDD and one 400 GB SSD for VMware Virtual SAN
  • Two 10 GE NIC ports

The VMware EVO Rail greatly simplifies the deployment, configuration, and management of SDDC.  It enables you to create your first VM within minutes following the initial power-on of the solution.  It is sized to run approximately 100 average sized, general purpose VMs or 250 virtual desktops (provided by VMware View),  but naturally, the VM density depends on each use case.

See the Introduction to VMware EVO: RAIL

VMware EVO: Rack:   This is built on the same concepts as VMware EVO Rail, but is aimed at a different customer base.  VMware EVO Rack is aimed at private clouds for medium to large enterprises, where VMware EVO Rail is aimed at mid-size companies, remote office / branch office (ROBO) and VDI solutions.  EVO Rack includes VMware NSX.   For details, see the note from the CTO on the  VMworld 2014 announcement of the Tech Preview of VMware EVO Rack.

My TV Debut … Actually, this is my interview on VMware TV on the Official VCAP5-DCA Cert Guide that I wrote with Steve Baca.   I am pleased that the  guide was the 2nd best seller at VMworld.

VMware Hybrid Cloud is now VMware vCloud Air:  VMware vCloud Air, which is built upon a vSphere foundation, allows you to integrate your private cloud with an public cloud and allows you to easily migrate workloads between the two clouds.  Actually, it provides you a hybrid cloud where you can easily deploy, manage, and migrate workloads that are running on-premises and off-premises.  Details at

VMware Integrated OpenStack (Beta):  VMware Integrated OpenStack is designed for enterprises that want to provide an environment that is similar to public clouds to the developers that are actually using a private VMware virtual infrastructure.  VMware Integrated OpenStack provides cloud-style APIs in an infrastructure built on VMware vSphere. The main goals are to allow VMware customers to successfully deploy OpenStack while leveraging their existing VMware investments and  to allow them to confidently deliver production-grade OpenStack with full support from VMware.  See details on the VMware Integrated OpenStack Beta at

VMware NSX 6.1: VMware NSX, which allows you to configure virtual networks (logical switches, logical routers, logical firewalls, logical balances, logical VPN, etc) in software, independently of the physical network, has been upgraded to version 6.1. VMware NSX implements network layers 2 through 7 components in software  and uses the physical network as a tranport mechanism.    Although it is integrated with VMware vSphere, VMware vCloud Director, and VMware vCloud Automation Center,  it can also be deployed in multi-hypervisor environments, such as those that utilize Xen Server and KVM.  See this URL to get familiar with NSX:

Some new feature in NSX 6.1 include:

  • Highly available NSX Edge clusters
  • DHCP Relay
  • Improved load balancing that now includes UDP and FTP load balancing, which can support services such as NTP and DNS
  • See the NSX 6.1 Release Notes for more details on what’s new in NSX 6.1.


VMware vCloud Suite 5.8: this version includes these new features:

  • Support Assistant, which is a tool that can be configured to automatically, proactively collect log bundles and transmit them to VMware support.
  • Expanded big data support, which now includes Hadoop 2 distributions.
  • Policy-based provisioning in vCloud Automation Center’s (vCAC) blueprints for DR protection tiers that are provided by VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) viaa  vCenter Orchestrator plug-in.
  • Other DR improvements involving better SRM integration and scalability
  • See the Release Notes for more details.

VMware Realize Air:  is basically vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) presented as a SaaS-based application.  To get started, see these links in the specified order:

VMware Virtual Volumes:  This feature allows you to use a Storage Policy Based Management (SPBM) mechanism per virtual machine, or actually per virtual disk.   Each storage system can automatically present a unique set of storage capabilities to vSphere, which can be used used to apply storage policies per VM.  The concept is similar to the concept used by VMware Virtual SAN, whose capabilities and policies that can be used with local storage, but VMware Virtual Volumes extends the concept to your FiberChannel, iSCSI and NAS storage.   Instead of configuring logical units (LUNs) in your SAN, you will simply present a pool of array based storage to vSphere and let vSphere do the work.   Typically, the policies provided to vSphere using the VMware APIs for Storage Awareness (VASA) are focused on performance (such as disk stripes), redundancy (similar to RAID parity), and replication.  Here are the details on the VMware Virtual Volumes Public Beta.

VMware Certification:  VMware recently announced a new certification track in Network Virtualization, which includes an advanced level called the VMware Certified Implementation Expert – Network Virtualization (VCIX-NV) and the VMware Certified Design Expert – Network Virtualization (VCDX-NV) .  Details are at

VMware vSphere Client:  is not going away quite yet.  Instead, it has been improved in vSphere 5.5 U2 to support VMware hardware version 10.  Be careful though, the vSphere Client 5.5 U2 can be used to edit VMs that use VM hardware version 10, but it can only change features that are available in version VM hardware version 8.   See the VMware Blog for details.

VMware Workspace Suite:  a suite that combines AirWatch and VMware Horizon to provide a virtual workspace that unifies mobile, desktop and data.  See the the Workspace Suite Introduction on the VMware blog.

NVDIA Grid vGPU on vSphere: NVIDIA and VMware announced an early access program for NVIDIA GRID™ vGPU on VMware vSphere. See details on the program and see the video on the technology.

VMware and Docker partnership:  they see a world where VMs and containers play nicely together.  See Dockers announcement.

VMware Authorized Training Center (VATC) changes:  VMware Education recently changed their VATC program, such that only three VATCs remain, who can offer the vSphere Install Configure Manage class and Horizon View Install Configure Manage class for open enrollment.  These VATCs can still offer any authorized VMware class for private delivery.  VMware Education still recognizes several VMware education distributors, who can provide all authorized classes for open enrollment and VMware education resellers, who can resell classes for the distributors.  Generally speaking, VMware customers should still be able to reach out to their current VMware training providers for guidance.


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