Category Archives: Reviews

“Shockwave Flash has crashed” workaround for…

“Shockwave #Flash has crashed” workaround for #vSphere Web (Flash) Client

“Shockwave Flash has crashed” workaround for…

On Saturday, I started to notice that logins to the vSphere Web (Flex) Client stopped working with Google Chrome. Upon a successful logon, it would immediately crash with “Shockwave Flash has crashed” message. I had seen this message plenty of times in the past and usually restarting Chrome would resolve the problem but this time it looked to be […]


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How to Build a Datacenter with Skyport Systems

What’s the reason why we should rebuild something already working from the beginning?
One of the reasons could be because we think that we can do it better, or maybe simpler, with our own base concept.

I attended during TFD15 as a delegate in Silicon Valley the presentation of a quite new, at least for me, company that decided to do this.
In this occasion, Nils Swart, Head of Product in Skyport, described their entirely cloud managed on premises virtualization platform built on a simple architecture but strongly secured.

This is the first of the sessions that Skyport presented – I’ll follow up hopefully with the other ones also.

Cloud managed on-premises virtualization platform means bare pieces of hardware, running on premises (HQ, Branch offices) close to the end customer. But now comes the interesting part.
It’s cloud managed: you don’t manage the server (called “SkySecure Hyperconverged Platform”) directly in console or remotely, but only through a “SkySecure Center Cloud Management Service”. All the servers, all the locations, centralized.

Then they took the 5 most important parts of a successful virtual deployment and combined them for us:

  • Virtualization
  • Storage
  • Security
  • Networking
  • Analytics

I consider this the main effort: just think at putting together, as a final consumer, an orchestrated hypervisor system (i.e. vSphere), a SDS (i.e. vSAN), connecting all this on a virtualized and secured network (i.e. NSX) and last, but not least, monitoring this deployment through a specific application (i.e. vROPS)

sky1

Skyport customers reside in 3 categories:

  1. Critical systems: the ones we need to carry out the everyday main tasks in any emergency, i.e. when connection to the cloud (and to the world) is lost. Here reside authentication systems, control platforms, DNS and so on;
  2. Hybrid Cloud Edge: this is a hook for the cloud, it means, applications that we like they run on premises but using bulk data that are not needed to be in our DC;
  3. Remote branches: same as the previous 2 points, but in RoBo

sky2

The challenge with Cloud is unfair: it wins. The similitude Nils used made me feel a little scary: Cloud Eats our existing DC. This changes the operation model too.

So, the bulk compute will move to the cloud, no reason to take space in our DC, with a couple of exceptions: the one that “should not” move, like High Value, Compliance, Latency. And the one that “Cannot” move, hosting legacy applications not able to run in other environments.

Then there’s the “security” point: the DIY datacentre security will fail because CIOs tend to over-rotate to cloud even if workloads don’t belong there.

sky3

In case of a single customer, proposing complex architectures as public clouds do, means rise his costs, directly and indirectly, and security would be affected also in this case.

Nils talk about a Vendor conflict of interest: they train us to make their product work, spending valuable time on details of infrastructure, but not on using the infrastructure itself. Well, I disagree in this point. At least for the field I got training, after a fair base that’s necessarily theoretical, the remaining part was and is practical, using day by day what I built.

But let’s come back to the session. The solution proposed is completely developed inside, so all the hardening guides, best practices, patches, upgrades, all is care of Skyport. This is strongly needed because if not, the difference of maintenance between on-premises infrastructure and cloud is far too large.

sky4

This means that as long as complexity remain, there’s no reason to stay on premises: cloud wins easily.

Together with the previous assumption about what shouldn’t and couldn’t be moved to the cloud, result is that the datacentre has to shrink, adopting a simple and secure solution for few servers, possibly maintained, that performs as an anchor point for the services that we decided to move to the cloud. Complexity is tightly correlated to Security: if the first arise, the second falls dramatically, and vice versa

sky5

The criterium to identify what is expected to be moved and what remains could be explained with the following flowchart:

  • can the app be moved, and no intellectual properties involved, so ok move to the cloud;
  • if intellectual properties are on, but no regulations prohibit cloud, again, go to the cloud
  • otherwise: stay on premises. On premises will stay also legacy applications that aren’t going to be rebuilt by now.

sky6

The concept that Skyport tries to apply to on premises deployment is to make the customer feel like if it is in a public cloud, but with the servers inside his datacentre. Skyport can realize this taking care of all the basic stuff – the yellow component in the image below, leaving to the customer the higher-level management, in blue

sky7

The next generation DC should be made of an anchor point to/from the cloud, plus infrastructure defined critical, plus legacy applications, and all of these 3 components to be replicated in case of branch offices or remote sites, all with the same standard of security, similar properties, similar protection, all of them managed by a central point.

sky8

The whole process should start looking at the environment, at what is or seems insecure and define so which are the critical systems. Then, move designated data to the cloud creating so a hybrid cloud environment. Lastly: manage the remote compute.

sky9

Actifio, the Swiss Army knife of data

Last time I met them I was attending TFD 11 in Boston, it was summer of 2016, and I suddenly had a good impression, the one that makes you believe you’re in front of anything innovative.
After a year I’m going to meet them again in Silicon Valley at Tech Field Day 15, and I’m quite curious on what will they put on the table.actifio_logoFor anybody reading the first time about Actifio, the main product is “Enterprise Data-as-a-Service”.
The so-structured data allow instant access from everywhere for several purposes.
appdata
Actually this solution gives the possibility to offer data for Dev, Test and DevOps with the main goal to create higher quality applications, and do it faster.

Other fields of applications are Backup and all that’s around, like Vaulting and DR, so, a stronger resiliency and availability.

Deployment is openwide, cloud (public, private, hybrid) and on-prem. This also helps in case of migration from on-prem environments to the cloud, partially or totally.

Now, what’s different in this solution, according to what Actifio states. Well, as told at the beginning, the instant access to data and anywhere, protection of data inborn, scalability, security, overall.

But the most interesting part for me is to understand which is the workflow to obtain these features. Enterprise DaaS isn’t a siloed data management as traditionally intended, but application and SLA centric.
flow
So, following this schema, the data are captured at block level according to SLA at the base of the application, then a copy (golden) is produced, moved once and stored anywhere, and at the end unlimited copies are forged to be assigned to many purposes, the ones described above.

My expectations are to evaluate a delta in this past year, to see some use cases and to have a guided look to the platform, with a particular focus to disaster recovery.

A new Tech Field Day is approaching

And I’m again one of the lucky delegates that will join the event.
Everytime it’s exciting, either because of Stephen that set us at the very center of the stage, either for the new people to meet and for the old one to see again.

tfd
This time we’ll have 3 new entries:

Dr. Rachel Traylor (@Mathpocalypse)
Ian Sanderson (@Ian0x0r)
Paul Woodward (@ExploreVM)

a very few advices for them, some one asked about dress code – yes, business casual is ok, no shorts but not even suit. A shirt or polo where the mic will clip easy will be great.
Second – the entourage will not leave you a second free, in the best meaning of the sentence, so enjoy all the activity you’ll be involved in.
Last – keep Twitter or other social at a hand: you’ll be in streaming and you could catch any question to ask in behalf of anyone at home, and don’t forget to tweet using the hashtag #TFD15

The edition #15 is distinguished to have a strong networking presence.

500px-Cisco_logo.svg_-100x56 …I dont think words are needed;
IXIA_Logo-100x47  Leader in testing services
Riverbed_logo WAN optimization and performances management

among the other

actifio_logo  met in a previous TFD, enabling Data as a Service for a pletora of uses
DataCore-logo-280x80 hybrid-converged software to power and manage old and new SANs
Scale_Logo_High_Res Hyperconvergence server storage, virtualization and HA in a system
SkyportSystemsLogo-100x30.png   HW and SW into a secure integrated platform for the applications that matter most

It will be a success for sure, as it always was. So, relax and see you very soon!

How Much VMware Cloud on AWS Will I Need?

There are a number of things to think about before bringing a VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC into your business.

  • How do I connect everything together?
  • Which applications and workloads should I move?
  • How do I manage performance, cost and capacity?

All of these are GREAT questions and for answers to these check out a blog I wrote last week.  But there is a question you need to ask yourself first, “How much VMware Cloud on AWS do I need?”  This blog post will help answer that question for you.

vRealize Business for Cloud 7.3.1 comes with an easy to use VMware Cloud for AWS Assessment tool which can quickly give you the number of hosts you will need, their estimated cost and a simple cost comparison to your current private cloud environment.  Simply connect vRealize for Business to your vCenter and then click on What if Analysis and choose VMC Assessment to get started.

(Full post here)


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VMware Cloud Provider Platform Enables Cloud Provider Revenue Growth, Efficiency, and Differentiation Across Europe

Cloud Providers know that time is money. The faster customers onboard, the faster the time to revenue for the cloud provider. That’s why the VMware Cloud Provider Platform creates competitive differentiation for VMware Cloud Providers. Leveraging the strength of VMware Cloud Infrastructure, in combination with industrial-scale tenancy and management layer specifically designed for cloud providers, the Cloud Provider Platform facilitates rapid onboarding, simplified consumption and monetization of new services.

The Cloud Provider Platform is a tested, validated, and highly scalable combination of VMware vSphere® and VMware NSX, along with VMware vCloud Director® and vCloud Usage Meter, that enables providers to rapidly implement VMware clouds wrapped with their own differentiated services. Providers can easily provide self-service multi-tenant compute, network, storage, security and other infrastructure services, as well as valuable ecosystem services through key ISV partners. The result? Providers benefit from clear business outcomes through lower OpEx and faster time to revenue.

Complete post here.


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vSphere Integrated Containers v1.2 Extends to Include Support for Native Docker Container Hosts

Today, we are pleased to announce the newest release of vSphere Integrated Containers (VIC). As part of vSphere 6.5, vSphere Integrated Containers 1.2 will deliver significant new capabilities including the ability to provision native Docker Container Hosts, major security enhancements, and a unified management portal.

vSphere Integrated Containers v1.2 Extends to Include Support for Native Docker Container Hosts 

What’s New in vSphere Integrated Containers 1.2

Native Docker Container Hosts

vSphere Integrated Containers will have the ability to provision native Docker container hosts. This feature will enable IT administrators to provide developers with an on-demand, ticketless container provisioning mechanism while maintaining strict control over the use of resources in the data center. IT administrators will enjoy the uniform deployment of container hosts and control over resource consumption, while developers will appreciate fast, self-service provisioning.

Security

Registry Whitelists

This latest release will provide administrators with the ability to create a registry whitelist. Created on a per-Virtual Container Host basis, the list will specify the registries a host can access to safeguard developers and make sure they download images from authorized registries only.

Image Scanning

The vSphere Integrated Containers registry will have the ability to scan all images for known vulnerabilities. Administrators will also be able to set threshold values that restrict vulnerable images that exceed the threshold from being run. Once an image is uploaded into the registry, it will check the various layers of the image against known vulnerability databases and report issues to the administrator.

Content Trust

vSphere Integrated Containers 1.2 will allow both developers and administrators to enable Content Trust. When enabled by a developer via environment variables, the system confirms that only properly signed and validated images are able to run. Administrators will also have the option of turning on Content Trust on a per-project basis. When on, this feature will allow only trusted images to run in the specified project.

Identity and Access Management

This release will extend the core authentication and authorization capabilities from the registry to the management portal, including:

  • Projects – Administrators will be able to pool a set of users and resources into a logical group and apply authentication and authorization permissions to them.
  • Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) – Users and Docker repositories will be organized via projects. A user will have a different permission for images under a given namespace.
  • Active Directory/Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (AD/LDAP) – Will integrate with existing enterprise AD/LDAP for user authentication and management.
  • SSO – Single Sign On integration with vSphere Platform Services Controller.

 

UX Improvements 

Integrated Portal and Registry UI

The new release will feature an updated developer-facing User Interface (UI) by enhancing the integration between the portal and the registry. Constructs such as projects and users will now be common across both components. The authentication and authorization capabilities will also be extended to cover the components.

Updated UI in the H5 Client

The vSphere Client™ (the HTML5 UI used by the VI Administrator) will also be updated. The vSphere Integrated Containers section will feature a list of all Virtual Container Hosts and container VMs in the vSphere deployment.

Install / Upgrade Enhancements

The installation and upgrade of vSphere Integrated Containers has been further simplified. In addition to streamlining the installation process, the OVA, once deployed, will have a dedicated UI to create a “Demo” VCH that allows users to explore the capabilities of vSphere Integrated Containers.

Virtual Container Host Configuration

To support the needs of fast growing teams, vSphere Integrated Containers 1.2 will allow the Virtual Container Host to be reconfigured post deployment.

Availability

vSphere Integrated Containers 1.2 will be available for vSphere 6.5 and 6.0, Enterprise Plus edition, beginning September 12, 2017. You will be able to download it from myvmware.com. Please contact your VMware representative if you would like to schedule a technical deep dive session.

Product Information

For more information about vSphere Integrated Containers, please check out the vSphere product page on the VMware website and follow us on @cloudnativeapps.


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