Virtual machines versus Containers who will win?

Ah round X in the battle between who will win, which technology will prevail and when will the displacement of technology happen. Can we stop with this nonsense, with this everlasting tug-of-war mimicking the characteristics of a schoolyard battle. And I can’t wait to hear these conversations at VMworld.

In reality there aren’t that many technologies that completely displaced a prevailing technology. We all remember the birth of the CD and the message of revolutionising music carriers. And in a large way it did, yet still there are many people who prefer to listen to vinyl. Experience the subtle sounds of the medium, giving it more warmth and character. The only solution I can think of that displaced the dominant technology was video disc (DVD & Blue Ray) rendering video tape completely obsolete (VHS/Betamax). There isn’t anybody (well let’s only use the subset Sane people) that prefers a good old VHS tape above a Blue ray tape. The dialog of “Nah let’s leave the blue-ray for what it is, and pop in the VHS tape, cause I like to have that blocky grainy experience” will not happen very often I expect. So in reality most technologies coexist in life.

Fast forward to today. Dockers’ popularity put Linux Containers on the map for the majority of the IT population. A lot of people are talking about it and see the merits of leveraging a container instead of using a virtual machine. To me the choice seems to stem from the layer you present and manage your services. If your application is designed to provide high availability and scalability, then a container may be the best fit. If your application doesn’t than place it in a virtual machine and leverage the services provided by the virtual infrastructure. Sure there are many other requirements and constraints to incorporate in your decision tree, but I believe the service availability argument should be one of the first steps.

Now the next step is, where do you want to run your container environment? If you are a VMware shop, are you going to invest time and money to expand your IT services with containers or are you going to leverage an online PAAS provider? Introducing an APPS centric solution into an organization that has years of experience in managing Infrastructure centric platforms might require a shift of perspective

Just my two cents.

PernixData VMworld giveaways

Not a post you usually encounter on my site but after seeing all the stuff that is ready for VMworld I just wanted to share my enthusiasm. This year the marketing team of PernixData went all out. The ordered tons of vSphere Pocketbook Blog Edition to give away for free, they got amazing track jackets for the PernixPrimes and Pro’s and to top it off they had these t-shirts made.

Decoupling has come-1

I love it. The shirt is of great quality, so you can wear it after VMworld for a long time. The print is awesome in both quality and design. Come pick it up at Booth 1017. To all VMworld Europe attendees, we will have them available there as well.

P.S. PernixPrime and Pro’s to receive your track jacket, RSVP to the Monday’s exclusive PernixPro and PernixPrime breakfast. You might want to check your Promotions folder

Session STO3008-SPO – Love VAAI? Then you want to hear about FVP at VMworld

I’m really looking forward to this years VMworld. This year I’m only presenting one session, STO3008-SPO – Decoupled Storage: Practical Examples of Leveraging Server Flash in a Virtualized Datacenter, and I have the honor of presenting with the CTO and co-founder of PernixData, Satyam Vaghani.

When working at VMware Satyam founded and initiated many technologies that your datacenter is relying on today, he even started working on technologies that VMware still has to release. While discussing the session I asked him if he could talk about the current developments in the industry and where it could all possibly lead to. And if you have seen him present at Storage Field Day 3 and SFD5, you know that talk alone is worth attending.

Storage offloading2
We will dive into the FVP architecture and the benefits of an acceleration platform in your virtualized datacenter. Interestingly enough one of the techs Satyam initiated is the VAAI (vStorage API for Array Integration) framework. VAAI allows offload many of the “expensive” CPU operations like thin provisioning, storage cloning and zeroing to the array. By moving the intelligence down the stack and allowing the array to execute its task without constantly informing the host layer it will reduce the CPU cycles on the host later as well as the storage controller layer. Reducing CPU cycles on the array side and reducing bandwidth consumption is key to get more performance from your array.

FVP is the squared version of the VAAI benefits, keeping I/O in the compute layer, accelerating I/O with the fastest devices the industry can provide and keeping the resource as close to the application as possible. Resulting in a tremendous offload of array operations and bandwidth consumption.This will not only benefit the accelerated resource but will have collateral benefit for other layers in the infrastructure. During the talk we will take a look at the technical architecture of FVP, furthermore we will show the benefits of using the FVP architecture in real environments. Showing customer results, such as this chart from a VMAX monitoring tool measuring Read IOPS for a month, 3 weeks not accelerated, one week FVP’ed:

1 month vmax load

Perimeter based intelligence
However as VAAI moves the execution down the stack, FVP moves the intelligence up the stack. Leveraging the information rich hypervisor environment and building a server side storage information platform. The session will contain a lot of information about new technologies and will be at the advanced technical level. Funny thing is, VMworlds slogan this year is No limits, with FVP truly there is no limit to building out an incredible storage platform. We will try to keep some time open for some questions, take that opportunity to pick the brain of Mr. VMFS

Sign up quickly, I think there are still some seats available

Disable vMotion for a single VM

This question pops up regularly on the VMTN forums and reddit. It’s a viable question but the admins who request this feature usually don’t want Maintenance mode to break or any other feature that helps them to manage large scale environments. When you drill down, you discover that they only want to limit the option of a manual vMotion triggered by an administrator.

Instead of configuring complex DRS rules, connect the VM to an unique portgroup or use bus sharing configurations, you just have to add an extra permission to the VM.

The key is all about context and permission structures. When executing Maintenance mode the move of a virtual machine is done under a different context (System) then when the VM is manually migrated by the administrator. As vCenter honors the most restrictive rule you can still execute a Maintenance mode operation of a host, while being unable to migrate a specific VM.

Here is how you disable vMotion for a single VM via the Webclient:

Step 1: Add another Role let’s call it No-vMotion

  1. Log in as a vCenter administrator
  2. Go to the home screen
  3. Select Roles in the Administration screen
  4. Select Create Role Action (Green plus icon)
  5. Add Role name (No-vMotion)
  6. Select All Priveleges
  7. Scroll down to Resource
  8. Deselect the following Privileges:
  • Migrate powered off virtual machine
  • Migrate powered on virtual machine
  • Query vMotion

Edit role No-vMotion

Step 2: Restrict User privilege on VM.

  1. Select “Host and Clusters” or “VMs and Templates” view, the one you feel comfortable with.
  2. Select the VM and click on the Manage tab
  3. Select Permissions
  4. Click on “Add Permissions” (Green plus icon)
  5. Click on Add and select the User or Group who you want to restrict.
  6. In my example I selected the user FrankD and clicks on Add on OK
  7. On the right side of the screen in the pulldown menu select the role “No-vMotion” and click on OK.

2-Add-Permission

Ensure that the role is applied to This object.

3-This-Object

FrankD is a member of the vCenterAdmins group which has Administrator privileges propagated through the virtual datacenter and all its children.
However FrankD has an additional role on this object “No-vMotion”. Let’s check if it works. Log in with the user id you restricted and right-click the VM. As shown, the option Migrate is greyed out. The VM is running on Host ESX01

4-No-Migrate

The option Mainentance Mode is still valid for Host ESX01.

5-Enter-Maintenance Mode

Click on the option “More Tasks” in the Recent Task window, here you can verify that FrankD is the initiator of the operation Maintenance mode, and System migrated the virtual machine.

6-Context

Platform 9 – transform your virtual infrastructure into a private cloud within seconds

Recently I had the joy of reconnecting with some of my old VMware colleagues to learn that their new startup was coming out of stealth. Today Platform 9 announced their SaaS platform.

In short, Platform 9 allows IT organisations to transform their local IT infrastructure into a self-service private cloud. The beauty of this product is that it can be implemented on existing infrastructures. No need to create a new infrastructure to introduce the private cloud within your organisation. Just install the agent on your hypervisor layer, connect with the Platform 9 cloud management platform and you are off into the world of private clouds. The ease of integration is amazing and I believe that Platform 9 will be the accelerator of private cloud adoption. No need to go to AWS, no migration to Azure. You manage your own resources while allowing the customer to provision their own virtual machines or containers. Today Platform 9 supports KVM, but they will support both VMware and docker environments soon.

I can dive into the details of Platform 9 but Eric Wright has done a tremendous job of publishing an extensive write-up and I recommend reading his article to learn more about Platform 9 private cloud offering. If you want to meet the team of Platform 9 and hear their vision, visit booth #324 at the solution exchange of VMworld 2014.