VMware PEX 2011 – Day Three

February 10th, 2011 No comments

Today’s meeting started by Dale Irvin who told several jokes before he introduced Carl Eschenbach, co-president of customer operations. Karl reiterated what he said before to partners, “you are not extension of our salesforce, you are our salesforce.” He reviewed four quarters in 2010 with breakdown numbers, and thanked partners for growing VMware business.

Among the top 15 partners who won awards are F5 as technology innovator of the year; and Siemens as vertical application partner of the year. Representatives from these companies got on stage with Karl for a photo. In 2010, partners got $300K opportunity on every $20K VMware sales, an increase from 11 times year before to 15 times.

Moving on, Karl went over the awards VMware got, from people to channel programs and products. He then showed a chart with four squares, on which companies like VMware, Microsoft, Citrix and other technology vendors are listed. VMware is the only company in the top right square with technical leadership. “We’re almost out of chart. They kept us in.” Karl joked.

In the second half,

Categories: News & Events Tags: ,

VMware PEX 2011 – Day Two

February 9th, 2011 No comments

This is the official day one of the conference. The most important part is of course the keynote in the moring. The following is based on my notes therefore may not accurate.

VMware CEO Paul Maritz kicked it off by reiterating the huge success last year with $2.9B revenue as 41% year-over-year increase, and $45B ecosystem around VMware technologies. He gave a big thank-you to all the partners for that.

Paul moved on by asking, “what customer want?” His answers is “enable greater business agility while becoming more efficient.” He emphasized that infrastructure is to support applications, and discussed the evolution from existing enterprise app, to new enterprise app, and to SaaS. He concluded his keynote saying “working down the road ahead can be better.”

After Paul came on stage Dale Irvin, who is a “professional summarizer” (a specialized comedic speaker?). He recapped what Paul just talked about and made small jokes. He did pretty much the same for each of the following keynote speakers therefore one “don’t need to take note and just listen to him.” To paraphrase him, you don’t need to attend PEX but read my blog. :-)

Categories: News & Events Tags: ,

VMware PEX 2011 – Day One

February 8th, 2011 No comments

Today is the first day of VMware Partner Exchange 2011 in Orlando. It’s again at DisneyWorld as two years ago. Unlike last time, the conference hotel Coronado is too far for me to walk over. As a result, I have to take bus back and forth. Other than this small inconvenience, DisneyWorld is really a pleasant place for conference.

Categories: News & Events Tags: ,

Best Practice vs Never Practice

February 6th, 2011 No comments

Today I read a commentary of latest MSDN magazine by David Platt who is famous for his book why software sucks. In his commentary titled Never, Never Land, he compared our software development to the medical industry on malpractices, and drew the following conclusion:

Certain occurrences are never, never, acceptable. We need to define these events, publicize them and educate developers about what they are and how to avoid them.

In IT world, we’ve heard many best practices. I have personally contributed many of them in using VMware vSphere APIscloud application development, and writing sample code. For consistency with best practices, I call these never land “never practices.” If you search the Internet with “never practice” today, you won’t get any but this post at the top. But we do need more never practices. In the article, David offered one general never: never lose users’ data, and he asked readers to share more.

Getting ESX and ESXi Memory Info

February 2nd, 2011 9 comments

With a vSphere Client, you can easily check the memory information of a host, either ESX or ESXi. To get that, you click on a host from the inventory tree, and then configuration tab. From the left side Hardware section of the configuration page, you click Memory and see a pane displaying the memory info as follows:

Note that if you have chosen a ESXi host, you won’t see the Service Console part because there is no console OS any more in ESXi. BTW, VMware wants you to migrate from ESX to ESXi and here is a link with helps.

This seemingly easy information is actually not easy to get. At first glance, it should be in the config property of HostSystem (managed object representing an ESX or ESXi). The config property has a sub property called systemResources, typed as HostSystemResourceInfo. But you will get null for the systemResources property most, if not all, of the time, as reported in VI Java API forum.

Interestingly enough, HostSystem has a systemResources property in peer to the config property as well. Luckily, it’s not null so you can dig down for something. Still, with 3 sub properties of complex types included, how to get the memory from the data object?

Here are the steps to collect and calculate the numbers:

Categories: vSphere API Tags: , , ,

How I Customized My WordPress Blog

February 1st, 2011 No comments

At the beginning of this year, I changed the theme of my WordPress based blog. Upon checking the site, several folks said it looked familiar and like facebook.com. In fact, when I searched for a new theme, I did use facebook as a keyword because I like the clean and simple look and feel. As you can check at the bottom of the blog, the new theme is called Crybook by Themetation and Crynobone, which you can hardly link the name with facebook except the word “book.”

The issues

After switching to Crybook, I really liked it but also found several minor issues with the theme. First of all, the “read more” link is not placed right in the overview of an article. Instead, it’s placed at its bottom. As a result, a reader may be confused where to read next. Secondly, it puts a line at the bottom at an article overview, and two links below the line. At a first impression, the two links seem more related to the next article than to the current one. Thirdly, it does not have the tags explicitly listed with the article as I expected. Tags are important to navigate through articles.

So I decided to customize the theme for my own preference which I hope leads to better reader experience.

How to Change VMX Programmatically?

January 31st, 2011 7 comments

As most of you may have known, the vmx file is the most important file at the back of a virtual machine. It defines the configurations of a virtual machine for example virtual hardware version, devices, disk files, etc. That is why it owns the virtual machine icon when you look at all the files behind a virtual machine with either datastore browser in vSphere Client or VMware Workstation/Fusion.

Given the importance of the vmx file, we don’t recommend anyone to manually modify it given that messing it up may corrupt a virtual machine. You can change the content indirectly from GUI and APIs. If you can change the virtual devices of a virtual machine, its vmx file is changed accordingly.

Beyond basic configuration entries, the vmx file can be extended to hold key/value pairs. A vmx file is really a text file with many lines of key/value pairs. By extending it, you can add extra lines of key/value pairs at the end of the file. Keep in mind that you should NOT add any key that is duplicated with predefined keys like “virtualHW.version.” As you already noticed, the key has the “.” delimiter as namespace pattern. You can start with your own namespace to avoid possible name clash.

How to Differentiate Folders in vSphere

January 28th, 2011 4 comments

As we know Folder is a container object in vSphere. It’s used to hold other managed objects in a similar way as directory holding files in an OS. There is an interesting question asking in VI Java API forum on how to tell whether a folder is vmFolder or hostFolder. BTW, you don’t see these two folders displayed in vSphere Client.

The questioner guessed correctly that you can find out by a folder’s childType property. Here is the documentation in API reference on the possible values of the childType property:

Free ESXi and API/CLI support

January 27th, 2011 8 comments

I think there is a pretty good understanding on this topic, but questions still come up once in a while in VI Java API community and my inbox. Some people got errors while trying to manage free ESXi servers via API. The API support of free ESXi is limited to ready only according to a VMware KB article:

vCLI, PowerCLI, and vSphere SDk for Perl are limited to read-only access for the free vSphere Hypervisor edition. To enable full functionality of vCLI on a VMware ESXi host, the host must be licensed with vSphere Essentials, vSphere Essential Plus, vSphere Standard, vSphere Advanced, vSphere Enterprise, or vSphere Enterprise Plus.

Categories: vSphere API Tags: , , , ,

Book Review: 6 Musts of Intelligent System Automation

January 26th, 2011 1 comment

I recently came across a book which I got from LISA conference last November. It was written by Jake Sorofman who is VP, Product/Marketing at rPath. I thought it’s just another typical book from a vendor, therefore I didn’t read it until two weeks ago while sorting my bags. It’s not. After reading it, I found this 75 page booklet pretty easy to read and very insightful.

Here are 6 musts Jake discussed in his book:

  1. Get your platforms under control
  2. Get your applications under control
  3. Version control everything

How You Can Use VI Java API in Scala: A Quick Sample

January 25th, 2011 No comments

As I blogged before, you can use open source VI Java API in all JVM languages like Jython, Groovy, JRuby and frameworks like Grail. Today Dave Briccetti (@dcbriccetti) sent me a sample showing how to use it in Scala. Dave has been a happy user of the API since he started to work at VMware as an independent consultant more than a year ago.

Here is the code sample:

Cloud Architecture Patterns: VM Template

January 24th, 2011 No comments

Intent

Standardize new virtual machine provisioning with templates

Category:

Creational pattern

Problem

It’s been a pain to create new virtual machines with the right software installed and configured properly. You can always use tools like KickStart to automatically install the operating system and then install other software as needed. But configuring such an environment is not trivial, and it takes a long time from start to finish.

With the rise of virtualization, more virtual machines are provisioned (and decommissioned) than ever before. Installing each new virtual machine from scratch is not the ideal solution.

Solution

How to Delete Virtual Machine With vSphere API?

January 18th, 2011 3 comments

This question was asked at VI Java API forum recently and has been answered by the community.

There should be a “Destroy_Task()”-Method for each Managed Object, so also Virtual Machines…. Cheers, Joerg

As  Jörg Lew has correctly pointed out the solution, I would like to elaborate a bit more here.

If you are using VI Java API, the method name is destroy_Task(). The code is as simple as:

Difference of Two Common Privileges in vSphere API

January 17th, 2011 No comments

If you have used vSphere API and read its API Reference, you may have noticed two most commonly used privileges: System.View and System.Read. They are required in many methods. As their names suggest they are different, but what is the difference? It can be confusing for some people including me initially because it’s nowhere documented.

Here are some explanations after my talking to my colleague Jianping Yang who is the vCenter DB and Security guru.

Categories: vSphere API Tags:

HP Chooses Open Source vSphere Java API

January 12th, 2011 No comments

After NetApp, Brocade and many other companies showing up on the VI Java API poweredby page, we now have the world’s biggest technology company HP officially listed. HP started to use VI Java API about two years ago and has shipped products ever since. I have attended several meetings called by my colleague Lucas Nguyen to work with HP architect Zachary Speck and his team. Included in the following short paragraph is a link to the HP plugin product. Please feel free to check it out.

Categories: vSphere API Tags: ,

Quickest Way to Support SaaS Cloud for ISVs

January 10th, 2011 2 comments

One challenge almost every ISV faces today is how to quickly get “cloudy” with least investment. From business side, SaaS is a new model for most ISVs, meaning it’s still hard to project revenue. Even worse, the SaaS service may cut into the license revenue of existing product. Technically, it may require a full re-design and re-implementation of product  for maximum multi-tenancy. Putting together, it’s a big challenge for decision makers.

But it doesn’t have to be difficult with a right strategy. This post explains how to support SaaS without re-designing existing applications, which means a big saving for the ISVs.

How to Be a Smart IT Customer?

January 5th, 2011 No comments

This is the last note I took from LISA 2010 conference. It’s a great talk by Loren Jan Wilson drawing his experience with vendors while working at a super computer center.

The super computer, Intrepid, consists of 40,960 nodes on 40 racks. Each node has 4 core CPU. Of all the nodes, 640 nodes are dedicated for I/O. There is no local storage at each node. The super computer links to a very large tape library for archiving.

While operating the super computer, the speaker had some issues with high-speed network switches, e.g. 6% random port death, 15% quad port flaky but never fail 100%. To complicate the issue, there is no log and CLI for troubleshooting, but Web interface.

I believe the trouble the speaker faced before is not a single case in the industry, and never be. As long as you have to buy equipment/software from vendors, there will be issues one way or the other. A great thing the speaker did is to summarize and share the tips on how a customer should work with an IT vendor for a successful IT project.

I find these tips are very helpful, and think customers and vendors should all know about them as listed below:

Cloud Architecture Patterns: Cloud Broker

January 3rd, 2011 No comments

Intent

Provide a single point of contact and management for multiple cloud service providers and maximize the benefits of leveraging multiple external clouds.

Category

Structural

Motivation

When you are buying and selling stocks or other securities, you hire a broker to execute the trade on your behalf. One reason for that is convenience. You don’t need to take care of the details of placing orders and working with multiple stock exchanges, and whatever else is required to trade securities.

How about working with multiple cloud service providers? For sure, you can go online to any cloud provider as long as you have your credit card ready. But is the service provider the best fit for your requirements? Do you have a backup plan if you are not satisfied with your service provider? Can you easily switch among your service providers to minimize cost or maximize flexibility? If you are not sure, you may then need something like a cloud broker.

Solution

Top 5 Predictions on Cloud Computing for 2011

December 29th, 2010 No comments

While 2011 is coming soon, many technologists and medias are busy with predictions for 2011. I got an email from the chief of Cloud Computing Journal Jeremy Geelan (@jg21) for my predictions. Here are my thoughts on the cloud computing for 2011 and beyond:

  1. The focus of cloud computing will gradually shift from IaaS to PaaS which becomes key differentiator in competition. Developer enablement becomes more important than ever in ecosystem evangelism, full software lifecycle integration, IDE support, API and framework, and etc.
  2. Many more mergers and acquisitions (M&As) will take place in cloud space for companies to build stronger cloud portfolio. For big players, it should include dual vertically complete stacks both as services and products. Whoever gets there first will gain enormous advantages over its competitors.

Join Me at Partner Exchange 2011

December 22nd, 2010 2 comments

VMware Partner Exchange takes place twice a year. One happens at the same time/location with VMworld US; the other in places like Las Vegas, Orlando. It’s a dedicated conference to educating and enabling partners for success with VMware. It has merged with Technology Exchange where you can find many technical presentations. I have been speaking at TechnologyExchange since I joined VMware in 2007. Here is the related articles I wrote earlier.

The coming ParterExchange will be in Orlando FL from Feb 7 to 11. Please join us to hear VMware’s plans for the coming year, learn of new technologies and partner programs, and understand the training roadmap. Here is the content catalog with all the sessions. Don’t forget the famous hands-on labs throughout the week. I will talk about securing vSphere infrastructure with vSphere API.