I took me a while to figure out where the settings for the Network Editor in VMware Fusion 5.0 Professional. Found it so, I thought I’d share a quick video on locating and configuring it.
For some reason, I had a difficult time with the basic concept of Network Virtualization. VMware equates network virtualization to Server Virtualization. With server virtualization you can deploy an application to any physical server in your environment easily because the Server OS that the application resides on is abstracted from the network. This gives you an incredible amount of flexibility operationally. You can easily manage OS images, clone virtual machines, create entire test environments with almost a push of a button. It streamlines server deployments because you can now deploy servers based on templates with almost no regard to the underlying hardware.
I’ve done server virtualization long enough that I just get it. It seems natural to this point. What doesn’t seem as natural is Network Virtualization. I re-read the VMware post announcing the NSX product and it all kind of just clicked for me. I had a problem disassociating the physical access layer with the abstracted network component. After all it makes sense that the device that the port is connected to is the device that controls the behavior of the device of the network.
The Physical Infrastructure really is just that that the physical infrastructure. It’s the assurance that every device is physically connected to the network. It can be via Token Ring, Frame Relay, Ethernet or ATM. In theory it can even be a overlay network. It really doesn’t matter from a logical perspective. You have to ensure that the physical infrastructure is reliable and meets the latency requirements of your applications but that’s it (maybe a bit oversimplified). Now that there is physical connectivity a solution like NSX can take over. You create virtual ports and associate them to physical ports or other virtual ports on virtual switches. These virtual ports can then be assigned to a virtualized Firewall, Switch, Router or IDS ports based on the need.
Cisco has a similar device level approach with their ISR architecture. A port on an ISR router can be an IDS, Firewall or Router port as examples. Network virtualization just takes the abstraction one level higher and broadens the capability of each individual port. You now eliminate physical limitations of the device and virtualization the capability of the port.
The virtualized network devices can then have all the characteristics we associate with server virtualization. They can be cloned, copied, vMotioned, DRS’d and snapshot. Many of the operational advantages associated with server virtualization is now available to us on the network. The only requirement again is that there is physical connectivity and VMware is able to do the easy part which is create a network Hypervisor capable of creating the robust abstraction layer needed to manage all of these dynamic ports. I can see a pretty significant challenge in creating a high speed/low latency fabric. I can also see where troubleshooting physical vs. logical performance will be a challenge. However, these were some of the same challenges server virtualization faced during the early years as well.
I haven’t been excited by networking since I got a sample loaner Gigabit switch back in 2001 from Cisco. This is actually a pretty big deal and I look forward to seeing a shipping product from VMware and customer feedback. Your thoughts, is this a operation model that translates to your network?
I’ve always felt kind of uneasy about the Cisco/VMware relationship. Server hardware provider’s have to support VMware because consolidation and management based on virtualized compute has become a no-brainer. This relationship has allow hardware companies to continue to sell servers by add value to the VMware stack. Likewise, VMware is pursuing Network Virtualization with full steam. Network Virtualization doesn’t have the same driver in the form of consolidation but they do in operations.
In this guest post over on SearchSDN, I ask the question is Will the VMware-Cisco Relationship Become Irrelevant?
Scott Lowe was a guest on the latest episode of VMware Community Podcast and was discussing Network Virtualization. It was a can’t miss episode of the Community Podcast. Scott Lowe is probably one of the most technically diverse and deep cross discipline experts that I’ve read. He has deep experience with both Networking and Server Virtualization. He was a guest on the podcast to discuss Network Virtualization. I posed the question in the live chat on the difference between SDN and what VMware is defining as “Network Virtualization.” I’ll get to his response on my question in a second.
The host John Troyer brought up the argument that most networking professional bring up when discussing ”Network Virtualization.” The claim is that virtualization already exists in network technologies. You have VXLAN, VLAN’s and network overlays. Scott did a great job of explaining that while these technologies virtualize transport of the network they don’t actually change the operation model of networking.
As he explained when you examine the benefits of server virtualization the main benefit outside of consolidation is the change in operations. Done right, server virtualization can allow you to completely change the way you deliver and manage your compute and storage to an extent. I like to say virtualization is like the DVR. You can record, pause and rewind your server operations since they are abstracted from the physical hardware.
Network virtualization is similar to server virtualization as it lets you abstract the operations of your network from the physical access layer. Configurations can be recorded, copied, paused and rewinded. They way you provision and manage your network is completely changed by network virtualization.
How is this different from Software Defined Networking or SDN? I think VMware (who Scott works for) would like you to consider SDN as just the abstraction of the control plane from the physical plane. So in theory you could have SDN run inside of a virtual network controlling that control plan of the virtualized network. I believe the industry outside of VMware is defining SDN in a broader sense. When you think of the other Software Defined data center components such as storage its all about abstracting the management and presentation of these services from the hardware.
So, the difference between SDN and Network Virtualization depending on who you are asking. A VMware network guys would tell you SDN is about abstracting the control plane while Network Virtualization is about abstracting the entire management layer of the network including SDN. While some others would tell you that Network Virtualization is just another way of saying SDN.
He did make a statement that makes me wonder about the future of Virtualized Networks vs. SDN. My vision of SDN would be that the application is aware of the underlying SDN based network. The application can make a call to the control plane to give requirements for a connection and the SDN controller will make the appropriate pathing and connectivity decisions. Scott missioned the similarity of applications deployed on vSphere with application deployed on a VMware Virtualized Network. The application and server would treat it just like any other network it has physical connectivity.
I’m looking forward into learning the nuance differences between the two definitions and operation.
Either way I highly encourage you to listen to the podcast. Well worth the hour.
I’ve been asking myself the question ever since VMware joined OpenStack, “what’s the play?” Do they really want OpenStack to succeed. Isn’t a more capable OpenStack project counter productive to their vCloud philosophy.
According the this VMware blog post, VMware is a top 10 contributor to OpenStack Grizzly (Latest stable release). Martin Casado, who came on board to VMware via their acquisition of OpenSorce SDN company Nicira makes the argument that OpenStack is in the best interests of VMware. The Nicira purchase made sense as VMware’s software defined everything strategy plays nice with the whole SDN movement and everyone was snapping up any company with SDN marketing strategy. Oracle even brought Xsigo with the aura of SDN even if they were a converged networking play. But OpenStack benefiting VMware?
Ever sense the purchase and VMware joining OpenStack, I’ve been skeptical that their intentions were “pure”. They seemed like direct competitors from a vCloud/Cloud Foundry vs. OpenStack perspective. But since joining the project VMware has shed Cloud Foundry by spinning it off and become one of the most active contributors to the project. As the Casado blog post notes, VMware seems to be throwing seeds all over the Software Defined Data Center space and seeing what grows. If they can convince enterprises to build their private Clouds using the vSphere infrastructures they already have and bolting OpenStack on top then it’s still a win for them. I don’t know if you checked but vSphere is expensive.
It makes sense if VMware can deliver a vCloud level of integration between OpenStack and vSphere and keep their existing customers happy while dipping their toe in the Open Cloud movement. And if you really think about it OpenStack and vCloud are positioned at two completely different use cases. So, an argument can be made that VMware is actually going after a market that really never existed for them prior to their involvement in OpenStack.
This has been an interesting few months for Cloud computing.
It’s very tempting to compare vCloud and OpenStack. It’s very difficult to imagine an enterprise Cloud that both would co-exist. I wanted to take some time and really think about the two solutions and give a break down of why comparing the two solutions head to head really doesn’t work.
This isn’t about directly comparing vCloud and OpenStack Public Clouds. The drivers for a Cloud provider selecting a Cloud management platform are different from an Enterprise selecting a Cloud manager. However, selecting one over another more or less locks you into either vCloud or OpenStack Public Clouds. So, it is a consideration but we are just looking at traditional enterprise public Clouds on this post. (Hey I have to save the consultants some work)
It’s important that we take a bit of time to frame the discussion of what I consider the “typical enterprise.” This is the non-high tech enterprise. We aren’t looking at developer heavy environments such as Paypal, Netflix etc. We are looking at the enterprise that is highly virtualized, which looking at the market means VMware or Hyper-v
with or KVM and others to a much lessor extent. So, the “typical” administrator will have strong Windows skills.
I believe I’m of the same elk of the typical traditional VMware enterprise sysadmin. If I were to still be in the business of administering servers, I’d be a Windows expert and feel comfortable managing a number Linux appliances within the environment. Thinking about the nature of these traditional enterprise admins brought me to thinking about how I’d go about evaluating OpenStack and vCloud. This isn’t as simple as comparing Hyper-V to Xen. OpenStack and vCloud look to please two difference targets with the obvious overlap.
I like the Networkworld article asking if OpenStack is mature enough for the Enterprise. I believe it helps set the stage for what OpenStack is and is not. Earlier, I asked the question if the Enterprise has a need for OpenStack. When I wrote the article if you wanted to bring OpenStack in-house and compare it to vCloud you had to basically have a different skill set than someone who would manage vCloud. This is where you begin to see the difference between the two solutions.
OpenStack is a platform that’s designed from the ground up to provide and infrastructure to software developer’s to build Cloud aware applications. I believe OpenStack see’s application developer’s as the ultimate customer. This is an important observation. With earlier versions of OpenStack the administrator who wanted to take it for a dry run would find that they needed developer lite skills. This is a different skillset than most administrators that run Windows infrastructures. Most Linux admins wouldn’t have too much of a problem installing the solution. However, once you did get it installed what do you do with it? There was no portal that we see in solutions live vCenter and System Center Operation’s Manager (SCOM).
After, getting OpenStack installed you had all of the services running that allowed applications to leverage the virtual resources through OpenStack’s API’s. The admin had some ability to define and configure physical compute, storage and network resources for provisioning via the command line and scripts. This is foreign to the target administrator and is a completely different approach to consuming physical resources vs. the VMware model. It’s not better or worse, it’s different. However, who are the solutions targeting when it comes to the enterprise?
Developer’s build applications and don’t manage the data center. But given the option of which solution best supports their goals for building Cloud aware applications, I believe they’d understand and prefer the OpenStack model for Cloud management. But, again they don’t run the data center.
Administrators install, configure and administer data center management tools. They normally have a different set of requirements and general interests for management software than developers. Their roles are fundamentally different and this shows from the actually installation of the solutions.
That’s why I like how OpenStack is maturing. Rackspace now offers a packaged install for OpenStack. I haven’t played around with it yet but I plan to get it in the lab and see if the interface makes sense to a traditional Sysadmin such as I used to be.
VMware actually has the opposite problem. vCloud does a great job of provisioning physical resources similar to how we do and understand it today. vCloud wasn’t designed from the ground up to provide a different approach to infrastructure consumption. It’s a Cloud manager bolted on top of vSphere. The previous VMware management team’s approach was to marry Cloud Foundry and vCloud to provide the rich API’s that developer’s need to build Cloud aware applications within the enterprise. However, VMware has since refocused on its core hypervisor and Data Center management software products. Cloud Foundry will continue to be a hypervisor independent solution for building Cloud applications.
I’m not a fashion guy but I know if I buy a pair of Nike Air Jordans and a Air Jordan Jump Suit then I have a pretty good idea that I will have a matching outfit without much thought. This is vCloud and vSphere. They are more or less the same. If the end customer are other administrators then it’s easy to design a consumption model based on provisioning virtual machines or vApps. For large organizations that have multiple system administrators that need to provision virtual machines, vCloud Director just feels comfortable. It takes more work to make developers feel the same way.
So, like most software evaluations it boils down to the business requirements and the features needed. What type of service are you trying to deliver and to what consumers of the Cloud ends up being the driver. After the decision is made I think from a pure OpenStack vs. VMware becomes a much simpler comparison with one caveat. That being your Public Cloud strategy. If you have some religious, political or business driver that forces OpenStack over VMware or vice versa then you have some work.
Either solution can be made to fit the needed use case but you will need customize each solution to get you to where you need to be functionally. This could have been a much bigger post that looked at the actual features and more limitations of each platform. But, that’s what the comments section and Twitter are for
Last year, I considered going to VMworld to cover it for VirtualizedGeek.com and I was in the middle of helping to launch a community Cloud based on vCloud so, it made sense from a professional perspective as well. I decided not to go because I was in the middle of a large video conference system deployment and just couldn’t get away. My company at the time was a VMware government partner so there was value to be had in asking my employer to flip the bill for the conference.
This year, I work for a very large consulting company that likes to maintain their independence from vendors they may evaluate including VMware. So, I wouldn’t be able to get them to sponsor my VMworld conference fees and expenses. This got me to thinking if I’d be willing to flip the bill for VMworld myself. The conference is basically $1500 plus travel expenses from Chicago.
I’d look at this as a personal investment in my education and expanding my knowledge not just about VMware products but the whole Cloud and Data Center ecosystem. There is great value in the tools I’d acquire but the question is can I discover the same products and tools outside of vendor hosted conferences such as VMworld? I believe the answer to the question is yes but with a little more work on my part.
There is also the social part of VMworld which no matter how active you are on Twitter you just can’t replace that in-person interaction with the people you see everyday virtually on the social networks. So, I guess the bottom line is do I want to pay $1500 to meet you guys and gals
I’d like to know if you guys are willing to pay your own way to vendor conferencing?
I decided to sit for the VMware Certified Professional (VC) test. I’ve been using VMware since Virtual Infrastructure 3.5 (ESX 3.5) and figured why not take the exam since I did take the Install, Configure and Manage course back in October of 2012. My current role as a Management Consultant and previous role as a Chief Architect really doesn’t call for me to have in-depth operational knowledge of products. I just need understand the large moving parts between different products and deliver a high level solution to customers to be effective from a technical perspective.
In order to be effective in my overall job I need to understand the business drivers behind technology decisions, understand the organizational impact and help manage organizational change to be effective in my overall responsibilities. So, as I’m taking the practice examine, I’m reminded of how tedious studying for technical exams can be. I’m being asked via a sentence things like, “When looking at this part of the interface what options are available.”
This is extremely frustrating for someone with my role to answer without using the product every single day or taking the time to read study guides for about a month. I’m questioning out loud if this will actually adds enough value to actually sit the exam. I have no desire to really go back to a full technical role but the certification does have some cliche to it even when not in a pure technical role or working for a VMware partner.
I’m actually thinking this is where the vExpert membership as advantages over the VCP.
I’ll stop procrastinating via writing this post and get back to memorizing “What firewall ports need to be opened between the ESXi host and the vCenter server”
It may be a cliche, but it's also true: VMware(s vmw) is at a crossroads. The company, which dominates server virtualization in company data centers, continues to struggle for credibility in the cloud -- and it's new plans for hybrid vCloud service haven't done much to fix that.
This "VMware vCloud Hybrid Service," to be run from partner data centers and sold by VMware's channel but managed by VMware, is slated to come online later this year.