B.Y.O.P – The Alternative Vblock

In college I often would be invited to a get together that could often include the letters BYOB, Bring Your Own Beer. Sometimes a cookout would be BYOM, Bring Your Own Meat (or meat alternative for the vegetarians). So today I want to leverage this to push my new acronym B.Y.O.P. Bring Your Own Pod. Lately I have been seeing people talk about Vblocks. If I can venture a succinct definition a Vblock is a pre-configured set of Cisco, EMC and VMware products tested by super smart people, approved by these people to work together, then supported by these organizations as a single entity. Your reseller/solutions provider really should already be doing this very thing for you. You may choose to buy just the network piece, or the hypervisor but your partner should be able to verify a solution to work from end to end and provide unified support.

So You can’t call it BYOPCVCEP

Why not Vblock? This might get me blacklisted by the Elders of the vDiva council, but VCE doesn’t exist to make your life in the datacenter easier, they exist to sell you more VMware, Cisco and EMC. Vblock for sure simplifies your buying experience. I believe they are all great products and may very well do just what you need. Without competition though the only winner is VCE. Do not by forced into a box by the giant vendors. Find someone that can help determine your end goal, provide you vendor neutral analysis of the building blocks needed to achieve your end goal. Then provide the correct vendors and unified support to Build Your Own Pod.

So What is the Alternative Vblock

Originally I was going to draw up a sweet solution of 3par, Xsigo and Dell R610’s and say, “Hey everyone! This is some cool stuff. Try to quiet the overwhelmingly loud voice calling from VCE and give this Alternative Vblock a try.” As I thought more and more about it I think doing that is contrary to my main point. I would like more to provide the discussion points or some possible products among others that can be used to Build Your Own Pod. I am a firm believer in getting what is right for your datacenter needs. So here is a few links to help begin the discussion.

Xsigo and Pod – Jon Toor
3par and iBlocks – Marc Farley

You might be a vDiva if…

I am avoiding a post where I have to think really hard about a topic. That makes me procrastinate and come up with even crazier ideas. I am writing this one down now. Most of these apply to me so if you are offended by any of them you are probably a vDiva.

You might be a vDiva if…

… you roll your eyes when someone talks about installing a PHYSICAL server.

… you are on twitter to see how many people you can get to look at your blog, but you never stoop so low to interact with the common folk.

… you are surprised when the guy at the table at the VMUG doesn’t know who you are.

… you constantly check your Google Analytics account to see how many views you have. (guilty)

… you refer to yourself as @… (your twitter account)

… you hunt down @jtroyer if you latest post takes too long to get on the v12n board.

… your require a signed rider agreement with your speaking topic for VMworld, saying you need 800 green M&M’s, a copy of Lord of the Rings in your hotel room, and direct phone access to Steve Herrod’s iPhone.

I probably ticked a bunch of people off. I am just having fun. Have a great day! Go ahead and add your own in the comments.

VMworld 2010 voting – Check out this VDI Session

I try to not “self promote” too much. A co-worker and I submitted a topic in the Desktop Virtualization track and I am giving in and spreading the word:

Thinning Down to Scale Out
Abstract:
Desktop Virtualization provides the ability run hundreds even thousands of desktops. Each small performance enhancement can make a difference when multiplied across an entire enterprise. This presentation will demonstrate the steps necessary to thin down your guest desktop image in order to provide overall better user experience.
Speaker: Kevin Miller, VeriStor Systems

We are not popular so this doesn’t qualify for the popularity contest that many other sessions have, plus my name doesn’t even show on the Session.  One thing I will say is this will be a Practical technical session. You should leave saying, “here is some stuff I can do to improve my VDI setup.”

So go vote and if we get to present the session I will give you a high five. Vote now because voting ends May 26.

Operational Readiness

One thing I am thinking about due to the VCDX application is operational readiness. What does it mean to pronounce this project or solution good-to-go? In my world it would be to test that each feature does exactly what it should be doing. Most commonly this will be failover testing, but could reach into any feature or be as big as DR plan that involves much more than the technical parts doing what they should. Some things I think need to be checked:

Resources

Are the CPU, Memory, Network and Storage doing what they should be? Some load generating programs like IOmeter can be fine to test network and storage performance. CPU busy programs can verify Resource Pools and DRS are behaving the way they should.

Failover

You have redundant links right? Start pulling cables. Do the links failover for Virtual Machines, Service Console, and iSCSI? How about the redundancy of the physical network, even more cable to pull! Also test that the storage controllers failover correctly. Also, I will make sure HA does what it is supposed to, instantly power off a host and make sure some test virtual machines start up somewhere else on the cluster.

Virtual Center Operations

Deploy new virtual machines, host and storage VMotion, deploy from a template, and clone a vm are all things we need to make sure are working. If this is a big enough deployment make sure the customer can use the deployment appliance if you are making use of one. Make sure the alarms send traps and emails too.

Storage Operations

Create new luns, test replication, test storage alarms and make sure the customer understands thin provisioning if it is in use. Make sure you are getting IO as designed from the Storage side. Making use of the SAN tools to be sure the storage is doing what it should.

Applications

You can verify that each application is working as intended within the virtual environment.

There must be something I am missing but the point is trying to test out everything so you can tell that this virtualization solution is ready to be used.