Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Product Highlight: Storage Implementation in vSphere 5.0

vSphere Storage Guide

When you’re working with the VMware infrastructure, you want to make sure that you have the right kind of storage implementations in place. Avoid the nightmare of running out of data space with the assistance of the Storage Implementation in vSphere 5.0. This vSphere storage guide is easy to read and allows you to store and manage your data efficiently on the VMware platform.

Understandable Breakdown:
When it comes to understanding every topic addressed about VMware, it can be quite challenging. Many guides can be dense and have poor structure. When writing this storage implementation guide, author Mostafa Khalil organized the topics in a way that would allow readers to understand what was being said without getting lost. His guide includes insights for better architectural design, planning and management practices, configuration details and external storage-related technologies.

Addresses Variety of FAQs:
Khalil has had many years of experience helping people troubleshoot storage problems they have had with vSphere. Through this, he effectively addresses many frequently asked questions in his writing. He combines expert guidelines as well as his experience to provide the best answers to customer problems. A few of the topics that he addresses include:

  • How do you configure storage array from "Vendor X" to support vSphere "Feature Y"?
  • How do you know you've configured it correctly?
  • What happens if you misconfigure it?
  • How can you tell from logs and other tools that you have a problem - and how do you fix it?

If you’re an IT professional looking to get the most out of storage virtualization on the VMware platform, this vSphere 5.0 guide will provide you with the insight and information you need. Gain an understanding of this topic and master storage implementation when you order this book today!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Comparing Public, Private and Hybrid Clouds

The ability to share resources and access files from virtually anywhere and on any device has made cloud environments extremely viable in the eyes of a growing number of organizations and the general public. The “cloud” is essentially a third-party infrastructure that creates a network of machines that store data, allowing for greater flexibility in the way businesses and organizations are able to manage data. The economic advantages of using a cloud computing model are undeniable, but with various deployment models, it is important to first determine the needs of your business so you can choose if a public, private or hybrid cloud is right for you.

The most common model of cloud computing is a public cloud, where data storage is provided and accessible over a public network, like the Internet. Ideal for sharing resources and doing collaborative work, this model is typically provided as a service and is used for applications that have a lot of users. Public clouds also tend to be inexpensive and are usually on a pay-per-usage scale based on capacity, so organizations can still optimize efficiency without the high-added cost. However, because this model is built for collaboration, it offers limited security and reliability. The ease of access and availability of the data stored on a public cloud makes it inadequate for keeping sensitive or confidential information secured.

For greater security and control over a data center, a private cloud offers data storage over a private data network that is owned by a single company. Typically used by larger businesses because of the higher cost, the private cloud computing model offers security through firewall protection and gives the company complete control over information within the data center. For businesses whose assets primarily lie in their data and applications, or for those that operate within a secure industry that handles sensitive information, a private cloud should be a perfect fit.

With a hybrid cloud model, two or more different deployment models operate individually but are united under a single entity, allowing businesses the versatility of being able to manage both private and public data. Hybrid clouds are more complex to manage because they combine both in-house and external storage, but they’re useful in keeping all aspects of the business in their proper environment – secure information is controlled, while collaborative access is allowed to other less sensitive data. Especially for multifaceted businesses and organizations that store a variety of client and company data, a hybrid cloud can provide the flexibility in access necessary to operate under special circumstances.

With evidence of good economies of scale and various fiscal and organizational advantages, knowing which cloud type best meets your needs can make a significant impact on how your business manages data. Which cloud model do you think is right for your business? Let us know in the comments below!

Cloud Computing Models Infographic

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Trending: Storage Virtualization

A continuing theme in the storage industry these days is Software-Defined-Storage (SDS). Though Software-Defined-anything is often simply a marketing label applied to anything that has software as part of the product, in the storage industry if refers to the degree to which a product truly virtualizes underlying storage capacity, performance, operations and management.

Expanding Explosion of Big Data
The onslaught of data being produced on the planet is growing larger every day. Every two years, the amount of data collected doubles. Increasing analytical sophistication plus real-time datasets from the Internet of Things will significantly add to the flood. Despite continued advances in storage density and speed, SDS solutions are desperately needed to facilitate infrastructure build-out, increase utilization and vanquish storage management complexity.

Bridging Disparate Environments
Smart SDS must grapple with heterogeneous hardware and software configurations, including the challenge of spanning on-site and public clouds seamlessly. Consistent, less complex storage interfaces promise to converge the underlying disparities in devices, interconnects and even geographic location; which will in turn simplify the application of enterprise IT policies.

Virtual SANs
A significant step toward solving such problems, represented by VMware’s recent release of vSAN software and their upcoming release of VVOL, is to inject change into the underlying paradigm in storage virtualization’s interaction with VMs.

Instead of the VM essentially inheriting low-level properties of the storage array, such as LUNs and NAS mount points, the VM allocates its own storage object that abstracts away those finer points. Via VMware vStorage APIs, VAAI and VASA, the VM interacts with the storage system directly. The storage unit from the VM side is not a LUN but a storage container complete with metadata, services and data store.

Hyperscale Storage
Another approach to improving cost and performance of storage virtualization is the software-centric Open Compute Project, whose aim is to eliminate proprietary, all-in-one server technology whose cost scales poorly in massive data centers, such as those run by Google, Facebook and Yahoo. The server hardware is disaggregated, simplified, standardized and controlled by license-free software where most of the intelligence resides.

Rather than single units of storage being shared by multiple VMs, both bottom-tier conventional bulk storage and top-tier flash storage reside in the same server cluster, which are shared amongst the micro-server components. The whole thing is held together, abstracted and managed by the top software layer for the rack.

Hard Technology Developments
Software-defined anything requires cheaper, faster, more intelligent hardware beneath it in order to drive advances higher in the stack. Solid state and hybrid storage are enabled by All-Flash-Arrays and Software-enhanced Flash Cache for the highest performance tier.

These, along with inline data reduction capabilities, are boosting storage server performance to new levels while simplifying load management. Higher speed interconnects and remote direct memory access network protocols further support wide-area storage virtualization and advanced computational models.

Poised on the Cusp of Change
All in all, the storage industry appears to be approaching an historical inflection point as true software defined storage emerges and storage, compute and networking capabilities reach new heights in performance and scale.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Product Highlight: VMware Certified Professional (VCP) - Cloud Practice Test (30 Day Online Access)

VCP Cloud Practice Exam

Preparing for a test can be harder than taking the test itself. Finding a study method that works for you and imagining how it will be applied in test format can be a challenge, no matter what the topic. Studying for the VCP-Cloud exam is certainly no exception. Through the VCP-Cloud practice test from MeasureUp, you have the opportunity to practice your test-taking skills using tools that provide an accurate simulation of the exam.

The Test
The VMware VCP-Cloud practice exam by MeasureUp, the Official VMware Practice Test, provides an easy to use practice test format. Throughout the mock assessment, you will be allowed to review and build your knowledge through the test’s detailed answers and references, study and timed certification modes with instant feedback on how you performed. With 30 day online access, you will have access to this practice test for 30 days from the date you activate the practice test on the MeasureUp platform. The activation code is good for one year from date of purchase from VMware Certification Marketplace.

Basic Experience
Candidates seeking VCP-Cloud certification are typically infrastructure personnel who have worked with vCloud Director Implementations from anywhere between three to six months. They should know how to install and configure ESXi hosts and use the VMware vCenter to monitor, manage, troubleshoot and administer virtual machines. These topics are also covered in the practice test.

Topics Covered
The practice exam contains 240 questions covering a variety of topics, adding up to a large amount of specialized subjects that need to be studied and mastered. The practice exam covers the following objectives:

  • Plan, Install, Configure and Upgrade vCenter Server and VMware ESXi - 12 questions
  • Plan and Configure vSphere Networking - 20 questions
  • Plan and Configure vSphere Storage - 12 questions
  • Deploy and Administer Virtual Machines and vApps - 18 questions
  • Establish and Maintain Service Levels - 14 questions
  • Perform Basic Troubleshooting and Alarm Management - 12 questions
  • Monitor a vSphere Implementation and Manage vCenter Server Alarms - 8 questions
  • Install and Configure vCloud Director - 14 questions
  • Administer Users, Roles and Privileges in a vCloud - 4 questions
  • Configure and Maintain vCenter Chargeback - 6 questions
  • Configure and Administer vCloud Networking - 55 questions
  • Configure and Administer vCloud Organizations - 12 questions
  • Allocate and Manage vCloud Resources - 24 questions
  • Create and Administer vCloud Catalogs - 12 questions
  • Monitor Cloud Utilization - 17 questions

After purchasing the MeasureUp practice test, which you can purchase here, your chances of success on the actual exam will grow immensely. You will be provided with the knowledge needed to pass, while simultaneously decreasing test anxiety. Be confident and prepared for the next big step in your virtualization career!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

2015: Time to Focus on the Cloud

It is predicted that as of this year, 90% of enterprises will have hybrid cloud services in place. Taken at face value, this sounds as if the battle is over for enterprise IT and the migration to SaaS, PaaS or IaaS is all but accomplished. However, for many IT departments, it simply means they have only begun to fight by migrating at least one software service, such as email, to public infrastructure.

The reality is that integration of cloud services will become the standard, sooner rather than later. Those enterprises that delay adoption, while the trend accelerates, will find themselves mired in an inefficient paradigm of managing in-house compute resources while competitors reap the advantages of flexible and extendible services residing in the cloud.

Man Holding Cloud

Benefits of Cloud Migration
Moving to a cloud paradigm spells opportunity for most businesses. The benefits are many:

  • Reduction of expenditures in capital equipment
  • Ability to rapidly scale compute costs to meet growth projections or point events
  • Elimination of maintenance, update and recovery expenses
  • An increasingly connected, agile mobile workforce
  • Increased security and data control

Cloud migration, however, is not simply a matter of throwing a switch. Like any strategic move, there are tradeoffs. For instance, organizations must weigh the benefits of being able to rapidly respond to their market, with the detriment of giving up some control of application customization.

First Steps to Migration
One universal problem that has plagued IT departments before “cloud” entered the organization’s lexicon is still applicable: what to do with legacy applications. These are built upon assumptions about the environment in which they operate regarding software and hardware platforms, network infrastructure, security and monitoring. This situation leaves IT with an important decision: Should such applications be deployed first to a private cloud or go straight to a public cloud deployment?

Public versus Private Cloud
The decision whether to go private or public is guided by these factors:

  • Service Demand – A private cloud is appropriate if demand is predictable and steady. If there is high variance, a hybrid or 100 percent public cloud approach makes sense.
  • Network Requirements – Organizations requiring access only via specific networks or vendors cannot take advantage of public cloud services effectively.
  • Application Dependencies – Enterprise applications with tight dependencies on specific devices or internal applications have the most difficulty in migrating to public cloud services.

Sub-Hybridization of Apps
IT departments overwhelmed by the scope of changes to analyze and act upon might consider taking smaller steps than wholesale migration of apps and services to any cloud - private or public. Hybridizing a single application in order to retain control over core features, while taking advantage of the flexibility of resources public cloud vendors offer, is one way to do this.

One example where this works is to retain a proprietary database within the organization infrastructure while "virtualizing” the interface to these data on servers located geographically closer to customers. Gradually, remote data caches can be added to improve responsiveness before converting to a fully distributed database.

Delaying Adoption Places You Squarely Behind the Curve
The challenges to moving to a cloud infrastructure are formidable but certainly not insurmountable. Delaying decisions because of lack of knowledge, skills or legacy drags your business behind the surging transition to cloud services. Rather, put your organization’s focus on the long-term benefits:

  • Network and device autonomy
  • Employee and customer IT self-service
  • Resource elasticity to meet changing market demands
  • Increased customer touch by a mobile workforce
  • Higher collaboration potential among employees

The bottom line is a decrease in overhead and complexity with an increase in business productivity.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

2014 Recap of Virtualization Technologies

2014 was another banner year in data center virtualization innovations for storage, networking and integrated resource management. Advances were also made in response to demands for higher security, support for hybrid cloud and virtualization services, and the pervasiveness of enterprise workforce mobility. Here are ten of last year’s most important developments.

2014 in Review
  1. VMware embraced OpenStack, the leading IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) solution in cloud computing for controlling pools of storage, networking and processing resources. Their OpenStack distribution, labeled VMware Integrated OpenStack or VIO, allows customers to migrate to an open source base while retaining the ability to manage through VMware’s vCenter.

  2. VMware expanded their leadership in the software-defended data center (SDDC) space via PaaS EVO Rail and EVO Rack hyper-converged infrastructure packages for small and large organizations, respectively. These cross-provider hardware and software packages are designed specifically to streamline deployment in support of SDDC expansion. Already, OEM partners Supermicro, EMC, Inspur, Fujitsu, Dell and Net One Systems Co. are certified to offer single-point integrated systems.

  3. Companies are racing to virtualize their mission critical applications and data in the public cloud as they become familiar with new security and privacy solutions. The advantages of dynamic scaling and infrastructure efficiency by utilizing the public cloud for the largest applications has become impossible to ignore.

  4. Virtual Desktop Infrastructure made a big leap forward this year in engineering graphics applications. For example, VDI technology from Citrix paired with NVIDIA’s most powerful GPUs and Dell computing hardware allowed Boeing to efficiently design the 787 Dreamliner using a global engineering and design team accessing a single database.

  5. Mid-year, VMware brought a new level of capability to VDI and DaaS technology with its release of Horizon 6.0. It supports enterprises that rely on a mix of VDI and non-VDI machines. End-user software is containerized, deployed in the public or private cloud or on the desktop. Users can access enterprise apps via Workspace from any device whether they exist as a public or private cloud service or a desktop application.

  6. VMware announced a new suite of products based on a more scalable architecture under the brand name vRealize. This major release allows single-console visibility of an entire enterprise’s network, storage and computing devices plus state-of-the-art analytics, alerts and support for problem detection and remediation.

  7. Virtualization within the ‘Internet of Things’ leapt forward in 2014. For instance, Wind River®’s release of a new virtualization profile within its VxWorks® OS supports embedded virtualization by allowing any combination of VxWorks, Windows® or Linux OS to share memory and processing cores.

  8. Nearly 100 percent of technology companies have implemented bring-your-own-decive (BYOD) initiatives as of the end of 2014. Furthermore, well over 50 percent of IT companies have identified support for mobility and BYOD as top spending priorities in the years ahead.

  9. Network-as-a-Service or NaaS, began a new chapter with the Metro Ethernet Forum’s announcement of a Third Network Initiative based on the forum’s Ethernet 2.0 specification. Service coordination, APIs, network protocol independence and clarity around physical and virtual service endpoints will be included. The goal is to provide on-demand, secure and scalable network service across multiple network providers while meeting existing SLAs.

  10. 1As containerization technology grew from a niche into common knowledge, the implementation of virtual micro-services and the architectures to support them went mainstream in 2014. This development is leading to increased economic advantages for both large and small players, especially in mobile cloud and virtualization services.

In the near future, 2014 may be seen as a watershed year for virtualization technologies and services as they become imperatives for IT companies going forward. Keep an eye on 2015 to see how these new developments play out.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Product Highlight: Official VCP5-DCV Practice Exam

You’re studying for the VCP5-DCV exam, and you’ve mastered all the concepts but have no clue how these concepts will come across in a real-world exam setting. The Official VCP5-DCV Online Practice Test is a complete, timed practice exam that helps solve this problem. It includes 255 questions similar to the ones you’ll see on actual exam day, comprehensive answers and references, a timed certification mode and an instant score report.:

VCP5-DCV Practice Exam by MeasureUp

Candidate Experience
The candidates who have the best chance of passing the actual exam are usually infrastructure personnel who have had about 6 months of firsthand experience installing, configuring and administering vSphere 5. They should also know how to install and configure ESXi hosts, maintain and troubleshoot virtual machines by using VMware vCenter and typically already have other general IT certifications or about 2-5 extra years of similar experience.

MeasureUp has been a trusted source for certification guides and other preparation materials since 1997. Offering you the freedom to prepare for your exam the way it suits you, MeasureUp’s practice exams provide open and timed assessment modes and promptly deliver exam scores.

A vast amount of information and industry knowledge of virtualization has been streamlined into this comprehensive VMware Certified Professional 5 – Data Center Virtualization Practice Test from MeasureUp. With over 200 VCP510 study questions and detailed answers to train you, this practice exam is designed to lead you to success!

Practice Exam Topics
While there’s an immense amount of information you should expect to encounter, general topics (and number of questions per topic) will include:

  • Establishing and Maintaining Service Levels – 52 questions
  • Planning, Installing, Configuring and Upgrading vCenter Server and VMware ESXi – 45 questions
  • Deploying and Administering Virtual Machines and vApps – 40 questions
  • Performing Basic Troubleshooting - 38 questions
  • Planning and Configuring vSphere Networking 31 and vSphere Storage - 34 questions
  • Monitoring a vSphere Implementation and Managing vCenter Server Alarms - 15 questions

With the help of MeasureUp’s Official VCP5-DCV Practice Test, you’ll pass the exam with confidence and be ready to step into your new role as a VMware Certified Professional on Data Center Virtualization in no time.