Copyright © 2014 - IT Solutions 2000 Ltd and Michael Webster +. All rights reserved.

Nutanix and vCloud Automation Center

My colleague Magnus Andresson (VCDX-56 and Double VCDX DCV/Cloud) has put together some short videos showing some example solutions with Nutanix and vCloud Automation Center working together. vCloud Automation Center has recently been renamed vRealize Automation also known as vRA (vee Raa! – intentionally not used in the title). I hope you enjoy these videos and it gives you some ideas of how you can integrate vCloud Automation Center into your solutions with Nutanix.

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How Nutanix Works – Simple Educational Videos from @NutanixEDU

It’s not just the core platform and engineering team coming up with some great stuff at Nutanix. Our Education team is also always pushing the boundaries. They’ve recently published some great videos that explain how certain aspects of the Nutanix Virtual Computing Platform work. This article includes the videos, which cover four key areas – Basic Read / Write IO, Live Migration, High Availability, and Data Path Redundancy.

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VMworld 2014 Wrap Up

Another VMworld event is over and it’s hard to believe it’s been a whole 12 months since the last one. Certainly during the keynotes there was a lot of coverage about what VMware has achieved over the last 12 months and it is impressive especially in the end user computing and hybrid cloud spaces. But overall I felt that VMworld USA 2014 lacked some of the sparkle of last year. But I guess it’s hard to top last year considering it was the 10th anniversary. This year seemed much more about building a solid foundation for a software defined datacenter, a software defined enterprise and a hybrid cloud model integrating applications with infrastructure, providing ability and flexibility, but without compromise. Although attendance was flat or a little down on last year the breakout sessions were packed, right up to the last session on Thursday. Instead of having our heads in the clouds this year it was all about the vCloud Air, and we vRealized the product naming is about to be changing. So lets dive into what I think are some of the highlights.

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VMware Turns Off TPS Taps in vSphere ESXi and vCloud Air to Avoid Rare VMescape Security Bug

VMware has announced that it will turn off TPS in upcoming version of it’s hypervisor ESXi and vCloud Air hybrid cloud service. This is due to a security bug, considered a very rare possibility and only exploitable in very controlled and largely misconfigured environments.  TPS also known as Transparent Page Sharing is a memory management technique that allows multiple VM’s to share a read only copy of the same memory page. When a VM needs to update or write to a page a new copy is created. The idea is that if there are many VM’s with similar memory pages on the same physical host server it will de-duplicate the pages and only store one copy. The result is that you can run more VM’s per physical server while still achieving very good performance.

TPS has for a long time been used as a competitive advantage by VMware over all of the other hypervisors. But realistically it hasn’t been in wide use by most customers for some time (since ESX 3.5) as the amount of RAM per host has increased, because of the use of large memory pages (2MB instead of 4KB) in Nehalem and above processors, and because most customers don’t want to run their systems at 100% utilization so that they can handle bursts of activity. When using large pages TPS only kicked in when systems were over 96% memory utilization, at which point large pages would be broken down into small pages that could be shared. However this has been a popular technique with service providers and with virtual desktop environments, and in some test and development environments, where over commitment of memory may have been acceptable.

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VMworld Europe 2014 Keynotes Summary

I’ve always enjoyed visiting Europe and every year when I visit Barcelona for VMworld it is special. It might be a smaller event than VMworld in San Francisco, but it lacks nothing in substance, networking opportunities, or announcements. The excitement level in Barcelona appears to be higher than what it was in San Francisco. This article is my thoughts on the keynotes with close to 9000 people in attendance.  Read more…

Oracle FUD – The Phantom Menace: Licensing on VMware vSphere

I have written about the Oracle FUD when it comes to virtualized environments quite a bit before. Now it appears there is some new FUD circulating that might catch out unsuspecting customers. There is a new Phantom Menace from Oracle. This time it is to do with their interpretation of some new capabilities in VMware vSphere 5.1 and above. As with all the previous FUD it is very easy to combat. You simply and calmly ask your Oracle representative to show you the page in your contact, which is the legally binding and enforceable document that replaces all prior verbal and written agreement, where this new policy exists. It simply does not exist (unless you’ve been suckered into accepting some non-standard wording to your disadvantage). So what is this new FUD? Let’s take a look.

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Exchange Best Practices and 1.4Million Mailboxes on Nutanix NX-8150

Nutanix has recently published a Best Practice Guide for Mictosoft Exchange on VMware vSphere and Josh Odgers explains some of it’s contents  and benefits of Exchange on Nutanix in his blog article here. If you are interested in virtualizing Exchange, and/or using Nutanix, you might want to get hold of the guide and have a read through it. It explains how to simply set up Exchange on Nutanix, the benefits of it, how it compares to a traditional physical JBOD approach and much more. The paper introduces the capability of running Exchange on the Nutanix NX-8150 nodes, which have been specially designed to run large applications, such as Exchange, SQL Server, Oracle and SAP. This is the node type Josh Odgers and I used as part of a design capable of hosting 1.4 million Exchange 2013 Mailboxes, which demonstrates the building block architecture of Nutanix and the ability to scale to meet requirements for large environments. Let’s take a look at that design at a high level.

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From Zero to 240 Hosts and 5000 VM’s in just over 2 Days

Nutanix is synonymous with Web Scale Converged Infrastructure, which brings a simpler, easier and much faster model for deploying virtual infrastructure from small scale, to any scale. Web Scale is really about standardized hardware, simplified systems and operations that are designed to be always on, resilient to failure, non-disruptively upgraded and maintained.  This article will give you a real world example from one of Nutanix larger customers that recently deployed a fairly large number of new Nutanix systems and all the VM’s they needed in a very short space of time. In this case the customer deployed 240 Nutanix nodes (in groups of up to 32 hosts per cluster) on VMware vSphere, and 5000 VM’s in just over 2 days. So what does this look like? Take a look at this tweet that was sent out, including photo’s of the customers datacenter.

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Customer Example: SQL Server and Oracle on Nutanix Web Scale Converged Infrastructure

I’ve recently been working with one of our large customers that has been virtualizing SQL Server and Oracle on Nutanix 6060 nodes. I thought others might like to know the sorts of enterprise scale business critical workloads that are being run on Nutanix. This particular customer still has a lot of room for growth in the environment, and like all Nutanix customers gets to benefit from non-disruptive upgrades and performance enhancements with each release. They are also by no means at the limits of the capability of the platform, but this is a good example of what can be done for enterprise applications on Nutanix Web Scale Converged Infrastructure, from a real customer that has done it.

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Is Your Heart and Data Bleeding From the Shell Shock?

If you thought Ebola was deadly to humans wait till you get a load of the latest security issue impacting the world wide web and most everything connected to it including potentially your phone, lights, servers and the list goes on (excluding Windows systems). If Heart Bleed wasn’t bad enough at the start of the year the new Shell Shock bug certainly is. It is what I would term the Mother of All Bugs (MOAB). It impacts almost all Unix, Linux and Mac systems and allows a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code and potentially steal your data, credit cards and other information. So how serious is this? Well the NIST CVE Alert Rating on this is a 10 for severity, and a low for complexity to exploit (read my 7yr old could exploit this bug). So basically the worst possible kind. Oh, but wait, there’s more…

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