Saturday, March 13, 2021

vSphere 7 Update 2 Release

VMware has released vSphere 7 Update 2. It is available to download right away, both through VMware Customer Connect and from within vSphere Lifecycle Manager itself.

What’s New in vSphere 7 Update 2

With the release of vSphere 7, we set the direction for the key focus areas where we are making investments in vSphere, incorporating feedback about what is most important for you and that will get you to your organizations’ goals now and in the future, leveraging the latest technology has to offer. We continue to double-down on these focus areas, to deliver to you the modern infrastructure platform for all your existing workloads and the new modern applications you are building, leveraging containers as well as artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML).

These key areas are:

 
Deliver AI & Developer Ready Infrastructure

First off, we’re thrilled to share that VMware and NVIDIA are delivering the next step of the vision shared in the partnership announced at VMworld 2020 to democratize and unleash AI for every enterprise. With the unique combination of VMware vSphere 7 and NVIDIA AI Enterprise suite, both companies are jointly delivering a powerful AI-Ready Enterprise Platform.

NVIDIA AI Enterprise software suite is an end-to-end cloud-native suite of AI tools and frameworks, optimized and exclusively certified by NVIDIA to run on VMware vSphere.

 

 
 
VMware vSphere 7 Update 2 delivers:

  •  Support for the latest generation of GPUs from NVIDIA, their Ampere family, with the A100 GPU delivering up to 20X better performance from the previous generation.Support for NVIDIA MIGs
  •  Support for NVIDIA GPUDirect RDMA for vGPUs, for enhanced performance.
  •  Support for the latest spatial partitioning based NVIDIA multi-instance GPUs (MIGs):
  •  vSphere is the ONLY virtualization platform that enables live migration (using vMotion) for NVIDIA MIG vGPU powered VMs, simplifying infrastructure maintenance such as consolidation, expansion, or upgrades, and enabling non-disruptive operations
  • With the Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS), vSphere provides automatic initial workload placement for AI infrastructure at scale for optimal resource consumption and avoiding performance bottlenecks.
  • Bitfusion 3.0, continuing to make GPU use flexible and operationally efficient

 Boost Infrastructure and Data Security

With security being a huge area of focus for organizations of all types and sizes worldwide, vSphere 7 Update 2 delivers some key new capabilities:

  •     Introducing vSphere Native Key Provider, a mechanism fully within vSphere to enable data-at-rest protections like vSAN Encryption, VM Encryption, and vTPM out of the box, making it a lot easier for customers to take advantage of these security features and improve overall security posture for VM environments.
  •     Confidential Containers for vSphere Pods, leveraging the AMD SEV-ES memory and CPU data encryption on AMD EPYC platforms for modern and easy-to-use data-in-use protections.
  •     ESXi Configuration Encryption, using software and hardware Trusted Platform Module (TPM) support to protect ESXi secrets on the hosts themselves and making hardware lifecycle, reprovisioning, and decommissioning easier.
  •     ESXi Key Persistence, offering more options for data-at-rest protections on standalone hosts, edge computing deployments, and removing dependency loops from system designs.
  •     Updated baseline security guidance in the vSphere Security Configuration Guide for customers designing new systems or looking for ways to improve their existing security in the face of changing threats.
  •     Updated vSphere Product Audit Guides, together with FIPS validation of vCenter Server services. Together these make it easier for customers to meet regulatory requirements, as well as helping to ease audits by supplying an explanation of how vSphere security controls meet particular compliance controls.

The latest vSphere 7 Update 2 release further highlights vSphere as the industry’s leading compute virtualization platform that transforms bare metal server, CPU, and GPU-based hardware into virtual machines and containers. vSphere optimizes performance, increases availability, tightens security, and streamlines maintenance to create an agile, efficient, resilient, and intrinsically secure infrastructure platform to support existing workloads and next-gen applications such as AI.

I hope this has been informative and thank you for reading!

Monday, January 25, 2021

Advanced Cross vCenter Server vMotion Capability

 The Advanced Cross vCenter Server vMotion (XVM) capability was one of the most popular VMware Flings. A lot of customers were anxious to see this capability being an integrated part of vSphere. With the vSphere 7 Update 1c release, the XVM capability is embedded into the vSphere Client!

XVM helps to migrate virtual workloads between vCenter Server instances, without the requirement for Enhanced Linked Mode (ELM) or Hybrid Linked Mode (HLM).  This means it’s possible to migrate virtual machines (VMs) between vCenter Servers that are in different Single Sign-On (SSO) domains.

A common scenario of this is workload migrations from an on-prem vSphere infrastructure to VMC on AWS. Migrating without being constrained by vCenter Server configurations allows for a lot of migration ‘freedom’. XVM can be used for single VMs or bulk migrations.

From within the vSphere Client, two workflows are available to migrate workloads between vCenter Servers. Either using the ‘import VMs’ option  in the Hosts and Cluster view to import VMs from a target  vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA), or by selecting VMs and opt for ‘Migrate’ in the menu.
Cross vCenter Server Export
 

Cross vCenter Server Export

Regular manual vMotion operations, you can select the ‘Migrate’ option for one or multiple VMs. Next to the familiar options to change the compute resource, and/or the storage location for that VM, there’s a new option listed. Choose the new ‘Cross vCenter Server export’ option to use the XVM functionality.
 


 The same known options for the live migration operations apply, with an extra configurable that is the target vCenter Server instance.

This is where you configure the target vCenter Server. Either a new vCenter Server is connected, or a saved connection is chosen in the same user-session. Saved vCenter Server entries are not persisted but retained only for the current user session. This is particularly convenient when you need to execute multiple migration operations.

The other wizard options are similar to compute resource and storage vMotion tasks. Selecting the compute resource lists the target vCenter Server datacenters, clusters, and hosts. With XVM integrated into the vSphere Client, the compatibility checks are processed with each step to ensure a successful migration.    


During this wizard, you’ll have the ability to select the correct destination storage. It might be necessary to change the VM(s) networks to match the target configuration. Once everything checks out and the appropriate resources are selected, the migration is ready to kick off.

The Importing VMs Option

The menu on a cluster or host level provides the new option to ‘Import VMs’. Selecting this option opens a wizard to walk you through the import process.


To import VMs from a remote vCenter Server, the source vCenter Server needs to be connected. The option to save the vCenter Server address helps with future migrations as you can just select previous saved vCenter Server instances.


After successfully logging in to the remote vCenter Server, the migration batch is further configured. Either one VM or multiple VMs can be selected and migrated in one go.


The rest of the wizard is similar to the Migrate option with XVM, as shown in the previous chapter.

I hope this has been informative and thank you for reading!

Monday, December 21, 2020

VMware HCX Capabilities in VMware Cloud on AWS

VMware HCX for expanding into VMware Cloud on AWS to seamlessly migrating your workloads and re-balancing them between your on-premises datacenters and the cloud, or between different public clouds.

The list of features included in this single VMware HCX generally available offering for VMware Cloud on AWS are: Replication Assisted vMotion, Mobility Optimized Networking, Mobility Groups with VMware vRealize Network Insight integration and Traffic Engineering features -TCP Flow Conditioning and Application Path Resiliency.


Replication Assisted vMotion (RAV)

RAV uses a combination of VMware replication and vMotion technologies for large-scale, parallel migrations with no service interruption with the ability to specify a switchover window. It means you can now create a migration schedule during which a large set of VMs (200 at this time) can move live (without any downtime) to VMware Cloud on AWS at the scheduled migration window.

Mobility Optimized Networking (MON)

For VMs migrated using VMware HCX from a source location to VMware Cloud on AWS, this capability enables the cloud-side VMs on the HCX extended network to route traffic optimally through the cloud-side first-hop gateway instead of being routed through the source environment router. This helps you avoid a hairpin or trombone effect. Policy routes will allow control over which traffic is routed locally using the cloud gateway versus traffic that goes out through the source gateway.

Mobility groups and integration with VMware vRealize Network Insight (vRNI)

Mobility groups enable you to structure migration waves based on business requirements. You can assemble one or more VMs into logical sets for execution and monitoring of migrations as a group. When combined with the vRealize Network Insight integration (available as a separate license), mobility groups give you the flexibility to manage migrations for sets of VMs by application, network, pod or other aspects of your environment.

Traffic engineering features


VMware HCX provides settings for optimizing network traffic for HCX Interconnect and Network Extension services:

  • TCP Flow Conditioning – This service dynamically adjusts the segment size during the TCP connection handshake between end points across the Network Extension, which optimizes the average packet size to reduce fragmentation and lower the overall packet rate.
  • Application Path Resiliency – This service creates multiple tunnel flows for both Interconnect and Network Extension traffic, so they can follow multiple paths across the network infrastructure from the source to the destination data centers. The service then intelligently forwards traffic over the optimal path and dynamically switches between tunnels depending on traffic conditions.

VMware HCX  in VMware Cloud on AWS helps accelerate your organization’s cloud adoption by facilitating workload mobility across a variety of destinations running a Software-Defined Data Center stack. Now you can eliminate all downtime associated with those large scale migrations, plan migration waves and fine tune mobility traffic in an optimally planned way.

I hope this has been informative and thank you for reading!

Friday, November 20, 2020

VMware Cloud on AWS reference architectures

VMware Cloud on AWS is an integrated cloud offering jointly developed by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and VMware. You can deliver a highly scalable and secure service by migrating and extending your on-premises VMware vSphere-based environments to the AWS Cloud running on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2).

 
vSphere in a software-defined data center like your VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC works in the same way that your on-premises vSphere does. In the SDDC, some vSphere components are owned and managed by VMware, so some of the on-premises administrative workflows that you're familiar with aren't needed in VMC. 

VMware Cloud on AWS reference architectures
 
The designed to show non-VMware architects how to use VMware Cloud technologies to create a single, high-functioning environment that spans an on-premises data center and AWS.  


 The reference architectures address a broad range of topics including:
  •    How to create a secure network to support integration of an on-premises and AWS environment
  •   How to easily take advantage of AWS cloud services as part of a hybrid cloud that includes AWS
  •   How to deploy VMware Horizon across a hybrid cloud with desktops running both on-premises and in AWS
  •   Leveraging VMware technologies that make it easy to move workloads to AWS and back to the on-premises data center

VMware Cloud on AWS reference architectures link

I hope this has been informative and thank you for reading!

Thursday, November 5, 2020

VMware CloudHealth Multicloud Platform

VMware CloudHealth platform helps customers gain control of their public cloud environments while enabling them to achieve faster business outcomes.

Most customers have advanced from early adoption of cloud using IaaS, PaaS and SaaS applications, basic infrastructure services and single cloud provider, to a stage of relative cloud maturity where you are now considering multiple cloud providers and using more advanced application services to build cloud native applications

The first encounter with cloud complexity is often due to lack of visibility, overshooting of cloud spend or through a cloud migration project, the challenges quickly evolve, resulting in a need for a more robust solution that extends beyond the basics to provide richer insights across performance, security and resource management

 

  • CloudHealth is the leading cloud management platform designed to drive increasing business value at every stage of your cloud journey.
  • Through a single pane of glass, CloudHealth enhances the transparency of cloud usage and its overall impact on cost, performance, and security.
  • Our platform consolidates data across multiple cloud providers, on-premises environments, and integration partners, to provide visibility across your infrastructure.
The results customers have achieved leveraging this platform is what gets me excited about what this means with CloudHealth as part of VMware. CloudHealth will continue its mission of helping customers run applications and infrastructure in the cloud in the most cost effective and efficient manner.
 
I hope this has been informative and thank you for reading!

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

VMware Connect Learning (previously VLZ) - now FREE for 12 months

There have been a couple of branding changes at VMware:


    VMware Education Services is now known as VMware Learning
    VMware Learning Zone is now known as VMware Connect Learning

VMware Connect Learning is a huge library of self-paced training and videos which you can use to learn about new technology, new products, new features, or pecific use cases. It has Basic and Premium options which work as annual subscriptions - learn more about it here

There was a promotion started earlier this year which gave a FREE Premium subscription for 6 months - the exciting news (and the reason for this post) is that the promotion has been extended to give a full 12 months access!

There's no reason to wait - the promotion is available til the end of October - head to the subscription page now and sign-up!

I hope this has been informative and thank you for reading!

Friday, October 9, 2020

vSphere Clustering Service (vCLS) - vSphere 7 Update 1

vSphere Clustering Service (vCLS) is a new capability that is introduced in the vSphere 7 Update 1 release. It’s first release provides the foundation to work towards creating a decoupled and distributed control plane for clustering services in vSphere.

The basic architecture for the vCLS control plane consists of maximum 3 virtual machines (VM), also referred to as system or agent VMs which are placed on separate hosts in a cluster. These are lightweight agent VMs that form a cluster quorum. On smaller clusters with less than 3 hosts, the number of agent VMs is equal to the numbers of ESXi hosts. The agent VMs are managed by vSphere Cluster Services. Users are not expected to maintain the life-cycle or state for the agent VMs, they should not be treated like the typical workload VMs.

 VMware vSphere Cluster Service architecture 

Cluster Service Health

The agent VMs that form the cluster quorum state, are self correcting. This means that when the agent VMs are not available, vCLS will try to instantiate or power-on the VMs automatically.

There are 3 health states for the cluster services:

  • Healthy – The vCLS health is green when at least 1 agent VM is running in the cluster. To maintain agent VM availability, there’s a cluster quorum of 3 agent VMs deployed.
  • Degraded – This is a transient state when at least 1 of the agent VMs  is not available but DRS has not skipped it’s logic due to the unavailability of agent VMs. The cluster could be in this state when either vCLS VMs are being re-deployed or getting powered-on after some impact to the running VMs.
  • Unhealthy – A vCLS unhealthy state happens when a next run of the DRS logic (workload placement or balancing operation) skips due to the vCLS control-plane not being available (at least 1 agent VM).

 vSphere client and click the view where you can see all the VMs, you'll find there is a new folder created called vCLS that contains the vCLS VMs. You should not rename the vCLS folder or rename the vCLS VM(s).


 Automation and vCLS

For customer using scripts to automate tasks, it’s important to build in awareness to ignore the agent VMs in, for example clean-up scripts to delete stale VMs. Identifying the vCLS agent VMs is quickly done in the vSphere Client where the agent VMs are listed in the vCLS folder. Also, examining the VMs tab under Administration > vCenter Server Extensions > vSphere ESX Agent Manager lists the agent VMs from all clusters managed by that vCenter Server instance.

Every agent VM has additional properties so they can be ignored with specific automated tasks. These properties can also be found using the Managed Object Browser (MOB). The specific properties include:

    ManagedByInfo
        extensionKey == “com.vmware.vim.eam”
        type == “cluster-agent”

    ExtraConfig keys
        “eam.agent.ovfPackageUrl”
        “eam.agent.agencyMoId”
        “eam.agent.agentMoId”



vCLS Agent VMs have an additional data property key “HDCS.agent” set to “true”. This property is automatically pushed down to the ESXi host along with the other VM ExtraConfig properties explicitly.

VMware vSphere Cluster Service, which is responsible for maintaining DRS operations in the event of vCenter Server unavailability. There will be more services added to future releases. I imagine that vSphere would be capable of managing not only vSphere services, but probably also some networking services, storage, or application services.

 

vSphere 7 Update 2 Release

VMware has released vSphere 7 Update 2. It is available to download right away, both through VMware Customer Connect and from within vSphere...