Kubernetes Anywhere and PhotonOS Template

Experimenting with Kubernetes to orchestrate and manage containers? If you are like me and already have a lot invested in vSphere (time, infra, knowledge) you might be exctied to use Kubernetes Anywhere to deploy it quickly. I won’t re-write the instruction found here:

https://github.com/kubernetes/kubernetes-anywhere

It works with

  • Google Compure Engine
  • Azure
  • vSphere

The vSphere option uses the Photon OS ova to spin up the container hosts and managers. So you can try it out easily with very little background in containers. That is dangerous as you will find yourself neck deep in new things to learn.

Don’t turn on the template!

media_1491484535602.png

If you are like me and *skim* instructions you could be in for hours of “Why do all my nodes have the same IP?” When you power on the Photon OS template the startup sequence generates a machine ID (and mac address). So even though I powered it back off, the cloning processes was producing identical VM’s for my kubernetes cluster. Those not hip to networking this is bad for communication.

Also, don’t try to be a good VMware Admin cad convert that VM to a VM Template. The Kubernetes Anywhere script won’t find it.

IF you do like me and skip a few lines reading (happens right) make sure to check this documenation out on Photon OS. It will help get you on the right track.

https://github.com/vmware/photon/blob/master/docs/photon-admin-guide.md#clearing-the-machine-id-of-a-cloned-instance-for-dhcp

This is clearly marked in the documentation now.

FlashStack Your Way to Awesomeness

You may or may not have heard about Pure Storage and Cisco partnering to provide solutions together to help our current and prospective customers using UCS, Pure Storage, and VMware. These predesigned and tested architectures provide a full solution for compute, network and storage. Read more here:

https://www.purestorage.com/company/technology-partners/cisco.html

http://blogs.cisco.com/datacenter/accelerate-vdi-success-with-cisco-ucs-and-pure-storage

This results in CVD’s (Cisco Validated Designs)

http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/td/docs/unified_computing/ucs/UCS_CVDs/ucs_flashstack_view62_5k.html

There are more coming for SQL, Exchange, SAP and general Virtual Machines (I call it JBOVMs, Just a Bunch of VM’s).

Turn-key like solution for compute, network, and storage

Know how much and what to purchase when it comes to compute, network and storage as we have worked with Cisco to validate with actual real workloads. Many times mixed workloads because who runs just SQL or just Active Directory. It is proven and works. Up in running in a couple of days. If a couple of months was not good (legacy way), and then 2-4 weeks (newer way with legacy HW) wasn’t good enough, how about 1-2 days? For reals next generation datacenter. Also, scale compute, network and storage independently. Why buy extra hypervisor licenses when you just need 5 TB of space?

Ability to connect workload from/to the publics clouds (AWS, AZURE)

I don’t think as many people know this as they should, but Rob Barker “Barkz” is awesome. He worked hard to prove out the ability to use Pure FlashArray with Azure compute. Great read and more details here:

Announcing: Pure Storage All-Flash Cloud for Microsoft Azure

Official Pure information here:

https://www.purestorage.com/resources/type-a/pure-storage-all-flash-cloud-azure-deployment-guide.html

Azure is ready now and AWS is in the works.

Ability to backup to the public clouds.

No secret here we are working hard to integrate with backup software vendors. Some have been slow and others have been willing to work with our API to make seamless backup and snapshot management integration with Pure and amazing thing.

Just one example of how Commvault is enabling backup to Azure:

http://www.commvault.com/resource-library/55fc5ff8991435a6ce000c9c/backup-to-azure-with-commvault.pdf

IntelliSnap and Pure Storage

https://documentation.commvault.com/commvault/v10/article?p=features/snap_backup/pure/overview.htm

Check how easy it is to setup the Commvault and Pure Storage.

Ease of storage allocation without the need of a storage specialist

If I have ever talked to you about Pure Storage and I didn’t say how simple it is to use or mention my own customers that are not “Storage Peeps” that manage it quite easily then I failed. Take away my Orange sunglasses.

If you are looking at FlashStack or just now finding out how easy it is now. Remember no Storage Ph.D. required. We even have nearly everything you need to be built into our free vSphere Plugin. Info from my here Cody Hosterman here.

The Pure Storage Plugin for the vSphere Web Client

Here is a demo if you want to see how it works. This is a little older but I know he is working on some new stuff.

Even better if you would like to automate end to end and tie the Pure Storage provisioning with UCS Director that is possible too! See here:

What do we really need? Cloud? or Change?

Going through the VCAP-DCD material and I had a question. Since it comes with the assumption that everyone is working toward building a private cloud. So I started asking, do I need to build a “cloud” and why? Now don’t think I have completely gone bonkers. I still think the benefits of cloud could help many IT departments. I think more than how do I build a cloud, the question should be what do we need to change to provide better service to the business.

We are infrastructure people

wpid1684-wpid-image1.png

As VMware/Storage/Networking professionals we tend to think about what equipment we need to do this our that. Or how if I could just get 40Gb Ethernet problems XYZ would go away. Often we have to build it on top of a legacy. If we do ever get a green field opportunity it usually needs to be done so quickly we never quite to investigate all the technology we wish we could. There is stuff like All Flash, Hyper-converged things, accelerator appliances, software defined everything all aiming at replacing legacy Compute/Network/Storage.

My last post was about knowing the applications and this is not a repeat of that, but it is very important to for us to look at how our infrastructure choices will impact the business. Beyond business metrics of my FlashArray allows business unit X to do so many more transactions in a day which means more money for the business. What else do the internal customers require from the blinking lights in the loud room with really cold AC.

Ask better questions

wpid1685-media_1390582947194.png
  • How does faster storage change the application?
  • What will change if we automate networking?
  • Could workers be more productive if the User experience was better?
  • What are things we do just because we always do them that way?
  • What legacy server, storage and network thought processes can we turn upside down?

This type of foundation enables you to focus on the important things like getting better at Halo. Just kidding. My goal is one day Infrastructure Administrators will get to sleep well at night, their kids will know their names and weekends will once again be for fun things and not Storage, Server or Network cutovers. That is the value of Private Cloud, not that I can now let internal customers self-service provision a VM or application (which is still cool). We gain confidence that our infrastructure is manageable. We have time to work on automating the boring repetitive stuff. You get your life back. Awesome.

Leadership in the Cloud (And everywhere else)

This is really a post about leadership in general, but I like to apply it to our industry. I am totally cool if you take these concepts and apply them elsewhere.

In any work environment there is constant posturing, politicing, conflicting, that has nothing to do with the actual cause of the workplace. I am going to offer a few leadership tips for everyone, not just for managers, vp’s and directors. Tips that we can all put to use.

1. It is not all about you. We all know that “guy” (or girl). Using every oppurtunity to push others down and himself up. Using others backs to climb on never lasts. Being the MVP of a losing team is never my goal, make everyone around you better. The skills involved in doing that will take you further than your daily task knowledge. No one ever says, “Wow, Jon sure can deploy a sweet VM.” If you are known for adding value, contributing and making everyone better that is how what you do will last. Valuing your team as something more than tools to make you look good is a good start.

2. Have a Purpose/Mission. I am here to change the world. Personally and Professionally. I have done jobs and have volunteered with people and organizations where no one knows why they do what they do. If you are making Pizza, make life changing pizza. If you are building next-gen datacenters, do it in a way that will alter life for someone.

3. Lead, Even if you aren’t supposed to. Don’t sit around and wait to be asked to do something leadershippy.

4. Have a Strategy. If you don’t know why you do what you do get that first. Then decide how the world will look when you are done. Impact (well good impact) on people will not happen on accident.

5. If you see a problem be part of the Solution. Stop complaining. There is only so much time in the day. Personally, it is natural for me to complain. I am very good at pointing out faults in everything. I have to consciously make the decision to work on the solutions for things I can change and shut up about the other stuff (for now). Some things just need the proper timing.

6. Community. Jump into the deep end of the pool of community. Make this a core tenant of everything you participate in. You can not do it all by yourself. Community substitues like Twitter and Facebook are a start but go meet in person with some real people. Just an idea.

The most cynical of my readers never started reading this. If you got this far, I hope in your mind you see how this applies to you. Of course any comments are welcome.

Lead the Transfomation

Speaking with customers everyday the most common thing I see the infrastructure teams struggle with is how do we get from X to Z. We are virtualizing first. Evaluating tier 1 apps as VM’s. Migrating non-essential services to the cloud. As an overall strategy how do I get from what I have, to where I want to go?
While there are many topics to get you going on this path, from management and orchestration to improved monitoring and security. One thing we as infrastructure guys often forget to ask is, “Are our applications ready for the future?” Many of the off the shelf applications are just fine for many of our use cases today will they still be viable in 5-10 years? Can we take a design that was created from a physical silo, virtualize it, and hope to be cloud ready? Maybe. How can we think in a new way about our applications?
Currently we take our application and think of it this way:

20120509-100452.jpg
It consumes parts of these buckets. Physical or Virtual, the application is bound by the contraints of a general purpose OS accessing some sort of physical resources that are bound a physical RU in a datacenter.
So even as we look to build out like this:

20120509-104434.jpg
We take the same solutions that we used in the physical world in order to provide scale and high availability. Mainly clustering. Does clustering provide actually cloud enabled applications? Most likely not. We look to the new bubble of dot com innovators for solutions to the boxes the old guard of application vendors have locked us in. I am not going negative on any current application but rather trying to challenge us to think beyond the way we have always done things.
So if we want to move towards a new model, public, private or hybrid cloud. It would be in the best interest of the infrastructure teams to lead the charge and provide thought leadership when moving applications to a cloud. I would argue in the near future you do not want to be the one that is seemingly hugging your infrastructure. It is always better to be leading the change than
roadblocking it, especially when the change will drive the business to the next level of service capabilities.

20120509-105917.jpg
So a few questions to start asking:

  • What does my data actually look like?
  • How does the business use the rows and columns to function?
  • Are all application decisions made in a room walled in by current capabilites?
  • How are we going to deliver applications with a new model? (think mobile)
  • At what point do we need to expand the foundation of what we are built on in order to increase our effectiveness in the market?
  • In 5 years do I want to be working on plumbing of the datacenter or have enough agility and scalability built in where I can drive innovation rather than daily maintenance?
  • Its About the Apps – The Need for Application Modernization Webcast

    As we migrate to Cloud models for Enterprise IT one big need that gets overlooked is how the applications are architected. Modernizing existing apps can be a very scary but a necessary step to taking advantage of what the cloud can offer.

    Just look at this crazy puzzle. As a VMware/Network/Storage geek I spend so much time focusing on the bottom of this picture the “infrastructure” part. I have to admit though without the Applications no one cares about all my infrastructure.

    So what can we do with that middle layer? The legacy apps, Analytics and Cloud applications. Expect more to come from me on this. Don’t worry they won’t be “coding” posts but rather enablement of applications in the world of Private Cloud.

    So where to start?
    I want to create some awareness for this upcoming webcast. Details are here:

    http://www.emc.com/events/2012/q1/01-25-12-application-modernization.htm

    Jan 25, 2012

    Time:
    11:00 AM – 12:00 PM EST (Set Time Zone)

    Event Type:
    EMC Live Webcast

    Location:
    Online

    Details: In this session, EMC Consulting will discuss Application Modernization on the road to Platform as a Service.

    Our expertise and experience will help you understand Cloud Application Platform technologies, architectural patterns and practical approaches to a modernization strategy that maximizes long-term benefits.

    Attend this webcast and learn:

    About next generation Application Architectures
    How other organizations have successfully tackled an Application Modernization initiative
    How to develop a strategy for Application Modernization

    vSphere Metro Stretched Clusters – Some Info/Links

    A lot of questions lately about vSphere Clusters across distance. I really need to learn for myself so I collected some good links.

    Make sure you understand what “Only Non-uniform host access configuration is supported” means. Someone correct me if I have this wrong but your device that enables the distributed virtual storage needs to be sure that hosts in site A are writing to their preferred volumes in site A and vice versa in Site B. Probably way over simplifying it.


    LINKS

    http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2007545

    http://virtualgeek.typepad.com/virtual_geek/2011/10/new-vmware-hcl-category-vsphere-metro-stretched-cluster.html

    http://www.yellow-bricks.com/2011/10/07/vsphere-metro-storage-cluster-solutions-what-is-supported-and-what-not/

    http://www.yellow-bricks.com/2011/10/05/vsphere-5-0-ha-and-metro-stretched-cluster-solutions/

    Big thanks to Scott Lowe for clearing the details on this topic.

    First Three Months and the Cloud

    This is the post where people start accusing me of working for EMC. Guess what? I do.

    Now that Geek Week and onboarding are finished and I got my really cool shirt I wanted to spend a few minutes reflecting on the things I learned in the last few months. This post will introduce a few topics and be an overall summary of my first 3 months as a vSpecialist.

    What is great is I didn’t have to be convinced to like or do something I didn’t already think or believe. I am definitely able to articulate my thoughts in a somewhat coherent manner.

    I believe the way we DO technology will need to transform in order compete in the future. If you are doing well now and still spending most of your time and money keeping the lights on the margin for error is shrinking. Your IT needs to be empowered to focus on applications that will give you a competitive edge. I have seen that EMC is going all in to make this vision of the cloud reality.

    Automate – Manage – Self-Service

    We all have a vision of how the “cloud” will help us. For us technical guys our list may look like this:

    1. I want my kids to recognize me.
    2. I want tools that work.
    3. I like sleep.
    4. My Call of Duty Black Ops game needs some work.

    Will we all be able to play golf every afternoon because of cloud? Most likely not. Let me know if it happens for you. It will enable us to provide more meaningful impact on the bottom line of our business. If that means I can spend less time pouring over logs to find errors and fixing them and more time improving the delivery and impact of our applications, I am sold. What I seek is less time fighting fires and more time creating value. I see that EMC is aiming (and currently delivers) to provide tools to make this happen. This will be done with tools to help automate, manage and supply self-service IT.

    It has been a good few months learning. Soon I will have a few more posts about the last few months.

    Coming Soon:

    Everyone has a Shiny Thing

    EMC Virtual Storage Integrator (VSI) is really cool.

    You Care about Business Impact

    A Team Makes a Difference