I know I haven’t written the day three of my PEX yet. You know there was a celebration party at that night and we had a really good time there. Now I’m back and have more time to write about day three.
CTO Steve Herrod’s Keynote
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This is the most important part of day three, followed by the celebration party:-). If you are interested in knowing what is happening in VMware R&D and what new products are coming from VMware, you don’t want to miss a single minute of Steve’s keynote. That is why I got there early and sat in the front.
Compared with Carl’s keynote, Steve’s is even “cloudier.” He first discussed why cloud matters to our industry, backed by lots of statistical data and historical analysis. Then he introduced what VMware was doing on the promise of cloud computing today, followed by cool demos that covers several new products. In the end, he tried to “get you fired up to make money and lead the cloud journey.”
Here I would like to bring up your attention to “cloud journey,” a key idea thoroughly discussed by Rick Jackson, VMware CMO, in his talk “From Virtualization To The Cloud: The Customer Value Journey” in Carl’s keynote. With this in mind, you won’t pursue cloud computing as a final destiny, but a process.
I think we all like disruptive technologies, but few of us like disruptive user experiences. When we purse cloud computing as a journey, we will have more effective and efficient transformation to simplify and optimize IT.
My Talk on Cloud Application Architecture
This is my most important job at this PEX. So after the keynote, I went back to my room to have more rehearsal in front of a big mirror till I felt tired standing there.
Right after lunch was my show. I first analyzed why architecture matters more for cloud applications, and the difference of applications in the cloud (AIC) and applications for the cloud (AFC). Then I went over 10 architecture design guidelines for AFCs, put them together in a reference architecture for web based AFCs. In the end, I closed the 50 minute presentation with 5 minute Q&A. Time well controlled.
After the session, I lingered a bit outside the room and talked to folks like Steve Wong, Jay Cai from EMC, Hank Wright, Patric Chang from Brocade, Steve Romonhr from Dell.
Discussion with F5 Networks
F5 is a leader in network balancing market. At its booth, I received more than one hour of “free education” on load balancing with f5 products, mainly from their Principal Solution Engineer Paul Pindell. When it’s over, I have an A3 paper full of notes, with which I can pretty confidently write their technologies here.
F5 load balancer family has two key members: Global Traffic Manager (GTM) and Local Traffic Manager(LTM). Both are based their proprietary BIG-IP hardware. The LTM has recently been virtualized and run on vSphere and Workstation with limited IO capability, for example 1Mbps throughput. It’s called LTM Virtual Edition and can be downloaded here for test & demo up to 90 days. Yet another great example of virtualized application after the Mitel PBX I blogged.
BTW, I got an invitation email on a Webinar about Mitel PBX by Parag Patel, VP of Alliances, VMware, and Stephen Beamish, VP of BD, Mitel, and others on Feb 17. Here is the link for registration if you are interested.
The LTM, as its name suggests, is used locally in one data center. It can balance the traffic to different hosts, offload SSL processing, and compress HTTP data.
The GTM is used globally among data centers with DNS feature. Topologically, it’s closer to the Internet and can dispatch traffic to different LTMs.
Both LTM and GTM can be managed by either Web based interface or terminal via SSH. They also allow integration with their proprietary SOAP based API. While asked whether their Web interface uses the same SOAP API, they weren’t sure.
Interesting part is that F5 has done some integration with vCenter and Orchestrator. For example, it registers a script that can be triggered by an alarm condition. The script then calls to the LTM to do a VM migration to another data center. The LVMs on both sides can accelerate the migration. The existing sessions are maintained to the VM running in the new data center, but new sessions are created directly from GTM to the new data center.
The vMotion is sometimes initiated by a user from vSphere Client. I was curious how F5 detects the migration request and acts accordingly. I was told the script should be then run outside vSphere as a command. Well, I should see a real demo some day.
As described in the diagram I wrote notes, the LTMs also accelerate SRM and storage vMotion besides normal VMotion.
Another two products Secure Access Manager and FirePass weren’t my real interest. The former is their SSL VPN server which allows you to create SSL within a browser. It of course requires some software downloaded to the browser for the first time. The FirePass is the old model, and I guess will be phased out some day.
It’s very informative session with Paul and his colleagues who had lots of patience for me. Thanks F5 folks!
The party started at 6:30PM at the House of Blues. The restaurant was fully packed with attendees from different companies and different continents with loud music that I had problem to hear each other. It was a great fun to chat with people on things like music and games, a total relaxation from full day of intensive works.