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VMworld 2014 Recap

Posted by on Sep 4, 2014 in Opinion | 0 comments

It was another well attended conference last week in San Francisco as VMware held its annual customer education event. Around 20,000 vGeeks descended on the Moscone Center to learn about new product offerings from VMware and its partners, do some networking, and do their best to get a read on the direction of the market as it pertains to their business. Oh, and to drink. There was lots of drinking. Or so I understand. I will do my best to recap the major announcements here. I spent most of my time in sessions on NSX, because, well, SDN is my favorite topic… But I did manage to get the scoop on...

How to Change IT Culture Without Losing Your Sanity

Posted by on Aug 22, 2014 in Featured, Opinion | 0 comments

“…First have a definite, clear, practical ideal–a goal, an objective. Second have the necessary means to achieve your ends–wisdom, money, material, and methods. Third, adjust all your means to that end.” –Aristotle VMworld is next week, and as expected we are already starting to see announcements from VMware and its massive partner ecosystem. This has me thinking a lot about how large organizations choose to adopt new technology, and how it is eventually implemented. IT culture is strange. It is notoriously risk-adverse (especially in large organizations). Since change always comes with at least some element of risk, the tendency is to recoil from it (at least initially). However the technology...

Scalability with NSX

Posted by on Apr 10, 2014 in Networking | 1 comment

One of the first arguments I hear every time I start talking about NSX usually goes something like, “You are talking about handling networking within an x86 platform. There is no way that is going to scale the way ASIC can.” I heard this very same argument just yesterday afternoon. And at least twice last week. It is a very common misconception from someone who doesn’t understand the architecture behind NSX. Let me first say that I agree unequivocally that if you were to replace your ASIC sitting at an aggregation point on your network (top-of-rack, end-of-row agg, etc) with an x86 solution, it will tank. No argument from me...

Declarative or Imperative SDN?

Posted by on Apr 8, 2014 in Networking, Opinion | 0 comments

There has been some recent “Brew Ha-Ha” in the media over the Imperative vs Declarative SDN models. I think most of this is coming to the surface now because of the recent presentations and announcements at InterOp. Even I became caught up in the arguing. Specifically after a recent “Networkworld.com” article referring to Cisco’s OpFlex (and the declarative model that it operates in) as the “OpenFlow SDN killer.” Actually, before I go on, can someone please come up with a better naming convention for these protocols? OpFlex sounds like some early-90’s infomercial exercise equipment, and OpenFlow sounds like some sort of personal hygiene product. Frankly that article just really...

Evolution of the Network with SDN

Posted by on Mar 31, 2014 in Networking, Opinion | 0 comments

A few years from now I expect that you will not hear the term “Software Defined Networking” that much. To us it will just be “networking.” Similar to how the term “Big Data” will probably just be “Data” at some point. That’s how evolution in the IT industry works, the buzz word or concept of today can become the industry standard of tomorrow. In the history of computer science, it is also apparent that software always wins. What is defined in hardware in the beginning will eventually give way to an industry standard interface that software will then be responsible for managing. This is not a new or surprising...

Upgrading to ESXi 5.5 when using the 1000v

Posted by on Mar 22, 2014 in vSphere | 0 comments

I’m currently writing an internal process for updating ESXi hosts to 5.5 (using VMware Update Manager) when the Cisco Nexus 1000v is deployed. I will do my very best to keep from waxing philosophical about my utter distaste for the 1000v in this post. If your environment is making use of this 3rd party switch, then there are some steps you need to take when creating the 5.5 VUM baseline image to make sure you include the appropriate VIBs. If you create a standard 5.5 VUM baseline, and then scan a host against it for compatibility, you will notice the following exception if the 1000v is deployed: This is...

Upgrading vCenter 4.1 to 5.5 – Lessons learned

Posted by on Feb 22, 2014 in Featured, vSphere | 2 comments

I went “full cowboy” last night and executed an in-place upgrade (to 5.5) of a substantially sized production vCenter. It was running 4.1, contains about 50 UCS hosts, and around 1000 VMs. I ran into essentially every bug/issue along the way, and wanted to document for posterity what I learned. Actually I should say what “we” learned, as I went through the ordeal with a few friends of mine; Scott from Capgemini, and Danby from Honeywell. The vCenter upgrade process is actually fairly simple, (all things considered). You basically just backup your existing database, snapshot (or clone) your existing vCenter (if virtual), mount the ISO and let ‘er rip....

SDN vs People

Posted by on Feb 1, 2014 in Featured, Opinion | 0 comments

I have been championing the merits of software defined networking (SDN) lately (until I am blue in the face) to pretty much anyone who will listen. I figure that I will either win them over with logic, or they will just get tired of hearing me talk and say, “fine, just shut up and do it already.” I really don’t expect the latter scenario. In my experience the biggest obstacle to new technology and new ideas are the IT veterans themselves. I am just as guilty of this. Steve Jobs has often been quoted as saying that the key to success in this industry is the ability to “think...

Thoughts on SDN and Cloud

Posted by on Jan 28, 2014 in Featured, Opinion | 0 comments

Designing a cloud computing solution is a tricky endeavor. Regardless of the size or scope of your project, you will have to account for many different variables in your design. Not the least of which is how you will handle the virtual networking piece of the puzzle. In my experience, if there is one part of the design that can be considered fundamental to success or failure, it is the underlying virtual networking solution(s) that you choose to leverage. This will be a key element in determining how fast and far your environment can scale, as well as what types of use cases you can support. Why has “Software...

Dynamic Routing with NSX

Posted by on Jan 26, 2014 in Featured, Networking | 0 comments

Today I’d like to walk through the process of configuring dynamic routing between an NSX distributed logical router and an NSX edge. We will be using OSPF to advertise routes owned by the distributed logical router (DLR) to the edge device. In a previous post I discussed the advantages of leveraging the DLR to optimize East/West traffic. We will now be attaching an NSX edge device to provide North/South connectivity into the environment. In this design, all of your East/West traffic is handled by the DLR, and only ingress/egress traffic will be traversing the edge virtual appliance. It should become quite clear by this example exactly how well NSX...

Optimizing East-West network traffic with NSX

Posted by on Jan 24, 2014 in Networking | 0 comments

VMware has done an excellent job in publicizing the features of its new NSX network virutalization platform. At least to vGeeks like myself. I am finding however that in the scope of various IT professionals that I interact with on a day-to-day basis, the level of familiarity is still quite limited. I suppose that is to be expected since it was only just announced at VMWorld last year, and unless you were included in the beta process, that would have been your first view of the product. SDN in general, and NSX specifically, completely changes the paradigm of how we think of (and interact with) network services. So this...

VCAP5-CIA Exam Experience

Posted by on Dec 8, 2013 in Certification | 2 comments

I sat the VMware VCAP5-CIA lab exam several weeks ago, and finally received my results. I am happy to report that I passed. I’d like to describe my preparation steps here to hopefully assist others who are planning to attempt this exam. First of all, like the DCA, this is a lab exam. You will be operating in a live lab environment, and some tasks will need to be completed properly in order to complete latter tasks. There are a total of 32 items on this exam, each item having multiple tasks.  As you can infer from the blueprint, the products covered in the lab include vCloud Director, Chargeback,...

Can someone please define SDN?

Posted by on Oct 9, 2013 in Featured, Networking, Opinion | 0 comments

When the “Software Defined Networking” buzzword first emerged from the halls of UC Berkeley back in 2008, the definition was simply the separation or abstraction of the data plane from the control plane for all network elements.  Meaning that my data plane (read: switches, routers, firewalls, load balancers, etc) are all API driven/controlled from a centralized control layer (the control plane). The control plane is in turn driven by the management interface (the management plane). As is typical of the general IT market, this fairly simple to understand concept has become obscured almost to the point where it can mean different things to different people. I want to try...