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VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud

As most of the datacenter’s have become software defined, I’m not surprised the we have Software Defined – Wide Area Network (SD-WAN). In December 2017, VMware acquired VeloCloud, the market leader in cloud-delivered SD-WAN that enables enterprises and service providers to deploy flexible, secure WAN connectivity

Traditional WAN is complex, expensive and requires lot of skilled resources to get all sites connected and ready to work, this could takes months to get this accomplished.

Source: VeloCloud

SD-WAN simplifies the connectivity between branches, giving users a better experience with a cost effective technology.

Source: VeloCloud

As you can see below, there are only a few components that will provide you with an efficient SD-WAN solution.

  • VeloCloud Orchestrator. Delivers network-wide business policy creation, distribution, and enforcement based on applications, traffic, and network conditions.
  • VeloCloud Gateways. Deployed at cloud data centers around the world, these gateways provide scalability, redundancy, and flexibility; optimize data paths to all applications, branches, and data centers; and deliver network services from the cloud.
  • VeloCloud Edge. A compact, easy-to-install device that provides secure optimized connectivity to applications and data.

Below, you can download the Software-Defined WAN Dummies guide. This is will give you a great insight into SD-WAN, I will be posting more around that architecture and the technical bits in future posts.

SD-WAN for Dummies Download
VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud: Vision, Differentiator, Future

VMware on AWS

VMC on AWS

More than 20 years ago VMware provided us with a revolutionary solution, known as  virtualisation. This has helped us reduce costs with the datacenter, by reducing power, the hardware footprint as we as the need to purchase more hardware. A few years ago we have seen the era of the Hyper-Scalers, such as AWS.

Clients worldwide want to use/consume these offerings/services, but at the same time have their own trusted solutions from VMware. We have seen that this need has created the partnership with VMware & AWS. This has been a huge impact of the world of IT. We are now truly embracing the Hybrid Cloud.

One of the biggest challenges out there is, legacy applications that are running on the private cloud. In order to move these applications to the cloud there will be a need to refactor the application which can be costly and lengthy. By leveraging VMware Cloud Foundation, all the trusted products such as vSphere, vSAN & NSX are used to create a connection to the AWS cloud, giving you the same look and feel, while consuming AWS native services.

VMware Cloud on AWS – Overview

“VMware Cloud on AWS is an on-demand service that enables you to run applications across vSphere-based cloud environments with access to a broad range of AWS services. Powered by VMware Cloud Foundation, this service integrates VMware vSphere, VMware vSAN, and VMware NSX along with VMware vCenter management, and is optimised to run on dedicated, elastic, bare-metal AWS infrastructure. With this servivmwaece, IT teams can manage their cloud-based resources with familiar VMware tools”

VMware Cloud on AWS

All about that Cloud…

We have all of these terms thrown around these with regards to “The Cloud”, so I thought it would be best that we get some close to accurate definitions of the private cloud, public cloud and hybrid cloud. Most of us there has their own way to provide these definitions, but I found the below definitions from Azure, which really has a good flow to define these types of clouds. We can definitely talk more around when and how to consume these, but as you will know it purely depends on the business needs. I will write a follow up blogs later on, around when and how to consume these clouds.

Private – Public – Hybrid Cloud

What is a private cloud?

“The private cloud is defined as computing services offered either over the Internet or a private internal network and only to select users instead of the general public. Also called an internal or corporate cloud, private cloud computing gives businesses many of the benefits of a public cloud – including self-service, scalability, and elasticity – with the additional control and customisation available from dedicated resources over a computing infrastructure hosted on-premises. In addition, private clouds deliver a higher level of security and privacy through both company firewalls and internal hosting to ensure operations and sensitive data are not accessible to third-party providers. One drawback is that the company’s IT department is held responsible for the cost and accountability of managing the private cloud. So private clouds require the same staffing, management, and maintenance expenses as traditional datacenter ownership.”

What is a public cloud?

“The public cloud is defined as computing services offered by third-party providers over the public Internet, making them available to anyone who wants to use or purchase them. They may be free or sold on-demand, allowing customers to pay only per usage for the CPU cycles, storage, or bandwidth they consume. Public clouds can also be deployed faster than on-premises infrastructures and with an almost infinitely scalable platform. Every employee of a company can use the same application from any office or branch using their device of choice as long as they can access the Internet.” 

What is a hybrid cloud?

A hybrid cloud is a computing environment that combines a public cloud and a private cloud by allowing data and applications to be shared between them. When computing and processing demand fluctuates, hybrid cloud computing gives businesses the ability to seamlessly scale their on-premises infrastructure up to the public cloud to handle any overflow—without giving third-party datacenters access to the entirety of their data. Organisations gain the flexibility and computing power of the public cloud for basic and non-sensitive computing tasks, while keeping business-critical applications and data on-premises, safely behind a company firewall.

Using a hybrid cloud not only allows companies to scale computing resources, it also eliminates the need to make massive capital expenditures to handle short-term spikes in demand as well as when the business needs to free up local resources for more sensitive data or applications. Companies will pay only for resources they temporarily use instead of having to purchase, program, and maintain additional resources and equipment that could remain idle over long periods of time. Hybrid cloud computing is a “best of all possible worlds” platform, delivering all the benefits of cloud computing—flexibility, scalability, and cost efficiencies—with the lowest possible risk of data exposure.

VMware Cross-Cloud Architecture

It’s time to go Virtual Conferencing

Virtually Packed Conference Hall

Every year, most IT professionals plan and gear up for a pack year of IT conferences. There is a lot of really great conferences held globally. So there is a need to plan travel to these events is key. This year, everything has changed, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All, if not most conferences has been cancelled from being hosted physically. This had to change the way vendors would host their annual conferences. Virtual Conferencing is the way forward.

There is a lot of pros and cons related to this. By going virtual there is larger audience that can be targeted, which will also allow individuals that don’t have budget for travel. The interaction with experts and networking and connecting with like minded individuals from around the world is limited to digital, which I will really miss and these conferences are places where I get to meet friends from abroad that I have met attending conferences since 2011.

This year, we have seen that most of these events have no charge associated to attending them, which is great, but I do understand that this also creates a huge financial impact for vendors, conference facilities etc. I’m grateful that many that will be able to attend will understand the value that these conferences bring to self development and helping your organisations grow and  be more relevant, sharing your experiences.

I had to request vouchers for my flights from the airlines as I had made my bookings in advance so that I could get my flights and accommodation at a better rate, Some of my friends globally have been unlucky, as they could not get a refund or vouchers. 

My upcoming trips that I was really looking forward to attend was VMware Empower, Dell Technologies World, Veeam ON & VMworld. This year I will be attending these conference from the comfort of my home.

Below are some of the vendors that have gone virtual and have no fees for registration.

  • VMware Empower 2020
  • VMworld 2020
  • Veeam ON 2020 
  • Carbon Black Connect 2020
  • vForum 2020
  • Dell Technologies World 2020
  • HPE Discover 2020

There are many more virtual conferences out there, so such online to discover more. This is a first for many vendors to convert their annual conferences to virtual.

Just get onto google and search for the events and register. And if you can’t attend there is always the on-demand content from these events to catch up!

Hope you meet you virtually at the upcoming events! 

COVID-19 “A World Pandemic”

Businesses had to change their strategy

It seems that we are in a movie and we can’t seem to get out of it. Reality check, we are not, this is real and this is happening globally. In South Africa we got our first case in March and our government acted quickly to enforce a national lockdown. With all of the hysteria of individuals wondering what’s going happen and how do we ensure we survive the lockdown, people have forgotten to plan for working remotely.

What has fast-tracked “Digital Transformation”? COVID-19

Great meme doing the rounds

Many companies have prepared for disasters and having world class disaster recovery sites…but many have not have planned having everyone from their organisation working from home. This pandemic, has most organisations thinking out of the box and on their feet to come up solutions to keep the business operational.

Many software vendors have come to the party and have provide business with extended trail periods so that business can stay operational so that the worlds economy won’t coming crashing. This show of good faith will also create a great presence in the organisation and for them to adopt that technology. 

Solutions like Zoom, Microsoft Teams & VMware Horizon have offered great service to the world. We have seen many organisations trying to find a way to still be in communication with their staff and still needing the collaboration between teams in the organisation. 

We have seen the remote working in South Africa being really successful and staff being more productive. We needed a push in order for the change, but honestly I did not wish that COVID-19 was the push.

Cloud adoption is growing extremely fast, organisation are having more of an interest in O365, Azure & AWS. In South Africa, we know have the presence of Hyper-Scalers such as AWS & Azure that are on our shores and we are seeing a good up take of moving to the Hyper-Scalers some workloads and data will reside within the South African borders.

On my next post, I will focus on VMware on Hyper-Scalers in South Africa

Together we can overcome this crisis

VMware Skyline

“It would awesome to proactively monitor problems in my VMware environment.” Heard that before? Well, there is good news…. VMware Skyline. This is not a new product, mentioning of this product was made around 2017, yet many clients and partners are not aware of this and that they qualify for this product based on the SnS agreement that have with VMware. There is no license costs.

https://cloud.vmware.com/skyline

To get this going in your environment, you will need to deploy the Skyline appliance and start collecting product metadata to start learning your environment. There is a fair level of Machine Learning in this solution.Most products are support, unfortunately at the time of writing this post NSX-T is not supported, but I’m sure we will have it in the next few releases.

You can use Skyline log assist, that will assist with the timing consuming process for an Engineer to upload log bundles. This is an automated process and will reduce clients effort.

Above is the capabilities based on your support contract

Want to give a try and have a look and feel….There is a VMware Skyline, Hands on Lab available for you to try out before you implement. Just search for Skyline.

https://labs.hol.vmware.com/HOL/catalogs/catalog/1212

K8S Training

As this is all very new to me, I decided to do some research so that I can up skill myself and be able to understand the fundamentals and be able to chat to clients that and exploring this avenue. There are many places to start with training and everyone has to offer there unique and simplified version to understand Kubernetes. The content below are my own choices and I will be adding onto the list as I come across exciting and informative content.

To start this journey, I found the below to be pretty awesome to have a very basic overview and a simplified way to look at K8S.

The illustrated Children’s Guide to Kubernetes – Written and performed by Matt Butcher

Another great content I currently going through the training is the Kubernetes Academy from VMware. This is amazing and has excellent content for the beginner and you can work your way up the skill levell. There are well known and respected individuals providing the training.

Hope you enjoy!!!

https://blogs.vmware.com/cloudnative/2019/08/27/introducing-kubernetes-academy-free-cloud-native-education-platform/

As a vSphere guy, I’m used to the terminology of VMs (virtual machines), but the new concept I’m busy grasping is containers. Below is a cool clip to show you a practical comparison of containers and VMs.

Containers and VMs – A Practical Comparison

Lets be specific…it’s called Project Pacific

”Project Pacific”….whats the buzz…VMware has deeply integrated and embedded Kubernetes into vSphere. Modern apps can be developed on vSphere as Kubernetes is fused into vSphere. Clients can leverage their investment with vSphere and run modern apps. Clients will be able to deploy and run modern applications which may be comprised of containers or virtual workloads. To the VI Admin the look or feel is the same as vSphere and to the developer the look and feel is similar to a Kubernetes cluster, it’s what they need.

Project Pacific bridges the gap between IT Ops & Developers.

Introduction to Project Pacific
Project Pacific – Technical Overview

Below are some blogs around Project Pacific that will give you some in-depth information.

https://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere/projectpacific.html

https://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2019/08/introducing-project-pacific.html

https://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2019/08/project-pacific-technical-overview.html

VMworld 2019 – 6 down and counting

So we are back in the beautiful city of Barcelona to attend VMworld 2019. There was some 13000 attendees, which shows the passion that people in the IT industry still see value in VMware and are ever keen to find out what’s the latest and what’s coming soon from VMware.

As always a very inspiring Keynote from VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger, to kick-off VMworld 2019. There has been a lot acquisitions done by VMware, which is really exciting as these companies will compliment existing VMware products & solutions.

Being from the African Continent, South Africa, it was great to hear and see the initiative known as “Virtualize Africa”. Really great program and humbling so see large organisations willing to invest in Africa.

The main topic for the VMworld was around Enterprise Applications. VMware has put the right foot forward in the right direction. VMware Project Pacific and Tanzu Mission Control was the hot topic.

With that mentioned above, its a whole new world for many traditional VMware Consultants. The typical VMware Consultant, always focused on the key areas of Compute, Storage and Networking. Now we will need to get familiar with the DevOps and Kubernetes side of things. 

Day 1 – General Session – VMworld 2019
Day 2 – General Session – VMworld 2019

News at VMworld Europe

VMware Announces New Security Solutions to Bring Intrinsic Security to the Modern Distributed Enterprise

VMware Advances VMware Tanzu Portfolio to Accelerate Adoption of Kubernetes in the Enterprise

VMware Cloud On AWS Helps Customers Across Europe Migrate and Modernize Applications

VMware Unveils Project Maestro, A Telco Cloud Orchestrator, To Help CSPs Accelerate Multi-Cloud Operational Agility

VMware Workspace ONE Delivers Day Zero Employee Experiences, Enabling IT and HR to Accelerate New Hire Time to Productivity

To Conclude…as always it was and honour to attend VMware, and to meet old friends and make new friends and get to network. The social events are great as well and what I really enjoy about this conference, is the Solutions Exchange Area, get to meet with experts from all vendors, see some amazing startup companies and to play around with some cool techs and watch awesome demos from most vendors.

Until VMworld 2020…Enjoy the ride!!!

VMware Education – Product vs Solution

VMware Training has alway been important to me and I encourage a lot of people to attend training as this always improve us as individuals in our profession. Training done on product has been relevant in the past as we focused on the product and understand the capabilities and feature sets within the product.

As VMware has evolved with many acquisitions to their portfolio, it becomes difficult to do product training. VMware should introduce solution based training, this will allow individuals to pull the products together to be able to understand how these products put together will provide a solution for the business.

Solution training should be for both sides of the fence, end-user & partner. I believe that more focus should be aimed at the partner community as they are the extended sales force for VMware and are delivering the vision to the end-user (client/customer). When partners understand how all these products work together, the easier it will be for the client to adopt these technologies and allowing the business to benefit and reach some of their digital transformation journey.

Solutions, such as VCF are becoming more & more a discussion with clients and it’s important to be able to deliver the message around the solution.

So hopefully if the near future this will become more available to everyone.

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