By: Isaack Karanja, Senior Solution Architect

VMworld in San Francisco is a “must attend” event if you make your living in IT and work in the data center or the business office. The number of vendors that live in the VMware ecosystem that present technology solutions, showcase new cutting edge software defined everything offerings and converge in San Francisco to network, is staggering. If you want to find out about the latest storage solutions, Software Defined Networking solutions or just see what is new and exciting from VMware themselves, you must make a pilgrimage to the City by the Bay. If you could not make it to San Francisco, then read about some of the highlights in this blog, where Isaack Karanja shares a few of his takeaways from the show regarding new or updated offerings from VMware.

  1. Containers will become a first class citizen on vSphere

VMware announced its response to the containerization of applications. It is taking two approaches. First, for those who want to run containers side by side with their legacy virtual machines, running environments with up to 1000s of containers, VMware introduced VMware Integrated Containers. And second, for those who will be running cloud-native scale-out containers that will number more than the 10,000s, VMware introduced VMware Photon OS. The Photon OS which forms the basis of their container strategy will be open sourced and will support the running of different container formats including Docker, rkt and Garden from Pivotal. The Photon Distributed Controller, Bonneville and their instant clone technology (VMfork) are some of the technologies that will allow vSphere to support running of containers. They announced that in the near future containers running on vSphere will have native integration with VMware NSX. For those looking at Photon OS, there will be an option to bundle with this Pivotal Cloud Foundry.

  1. vMotion to vCloud Air

Since the release of vSphere 6, you had the ability to perform long distance vMotion and Cross vCenter vmotion. During VMworld, it was announced that you can now motion to vCloud AIR. During the Keynote, we watched the ability to right click on a virtual machine and simply vMotion to vCloud air.  Learn more about the Technology Preview called Project SkyScraper by reading the VMware blog post.

  1. vCloud Air Object Storage

VMware announced VMware vCloud Air Object Storage in 2014. This is based off EMC ViPR technology offering an S3 compatible API. This is currently in Beta and is slated to be early customer access later in 2015. In 2015, VMware announced vCloud Air Object Storage powered by Google Compute Cloud due to their Reseller partnership with Google. GC backed vCloud AIR Object Storage has the advantage of leveraging Google’s massive data centers and is priced lower than the EMC backed Object Storage.

  1. Site Recovery Manager Air

vCloud Air has long held the ability to act as a DR site, but this was packaged as a subscription service and you were limited to running it as either a hot or warm site. During VMworld 2015, VMware announced Site Recovery Manager Air as a tech preview. This service will include a Site Recovery Manager as a SaaS offering that allows you to orchestrate the failover and failback of workloads, set up multiple recovery plans and set up multi-site DR topologies. Also, SRM Air licensing will allow you to pay only for the virtual machine protected and amount of storage consumed. For compute, you only pay for the VMs that are running.

  1. EVO: SDDC

VMware Announced EVO: SDDC. EVO: SDDC  is a hyper-converged infrastructure that delivers compute, networking and storage by combining, VSAN, vSphere, NSX and monitoring using vRealize Operations and Log Insight running on a standard x86 platform. VMware also announced EVO SDDC Manager that will allow you to quickly do large scale deployments of software and hardware. EVO SDDC will also manage all the hardware components in the data center including the ToR and Spine switches. EVO: SDDC will also have the ability to pool resources from multiple racks into virtual racks to create fault domains and also carve out workload capacity. The EVO product offerings have always been based on qualified hardware and VMware announced partnerships with Dell, Quanta and VCE.

  1. VMware integrated OpenStack

VMware also announced VMware integrated Openstack 2.0.This will be based of the Kilo OpenStack Release. Some of the features in 2.0 include load balancing as a service brought to you by NSX, Autoscaling that integrates with Ceilometer for triggers and alarms and Heat to bring up and down components, backup and restoration of your Openstack configuration. VIO will also expose new vSphere guests customization capabilities allowing you to do things like generate new SIDS, assign admin passwords for VM etc. VIO will also finally support Qcow2 virtual machine format.

  1. Project A-Squared (Airwatch and VMware AppVolumes)

Project A-Squared was announced which will combine Airwatch and VMware AppVolumes to enable application delivery to Windows 10 systems, even physical systems. This is currently in tech preview and is intended to allow enterprises to quickly roll out windows 10 applications to the enterprise.

  1. VSAN 6.1 release

The third release of VSAN 6.1 was announced. The new features in VSAN 6.1 include.

  • Ability to create a Virtual SAN stretched cluster – you can now create a stretched cluster synchronously replicating between two sites. Along with this comes the qualification for use with VMware Metro Cluster allowing you to survive complete site failure with zero data loss.
  • VSAN for remote Branch Office – VSAN was previously limited to a minimum cluster of three nodes. With the third release, you can now setup a 2-node virtual SAN cluster.
  • VSAN replication – Using vSphere replication you can setup replication between two VSAN clusters with an RPO of between 5 mins to 24 hours.
  • Support for UltraDIMM and NVMe for even lower latencies when building your VSAN cluster.

The third release of VSAN ties into VMware SDDC strategy and serves as a key building block for SDDC.

Finally, one other key takeaway is that Dasher hosted a wonderful dinner for our terrific clients and partners at Prospect in San Francisco. If you missed it this year, let’s make an effort to meet next year at VMworld and share some great San Francisco food and cocktails!