David Marshall

Microsoft Adds Nested Virtualization to Select Azure Virtual Machines

Article Written by David Marshall

Interesting news out of Redmond -- Microsoft users will now be able to enable nested virtualization (or the ability to run a virtual machine within another virtual machine) in Azure, as this is now a valid deployment option under Microsoft's new Dv3 and Ev3 series Azure virtual machines (VMs).

The Dv3 and Ev3 series VMs use Hyper-Threading technology found in Intel's Haswell and Broadwell chip architectures, packing more of a punch in the underlying hardware and allowing it to support larger VM sizes.  The new Dv3 VM sizes are a good balance of memory to vCPU performance, with up to 64 vCPU's and 256GiB of RAM.  And the newly named Ev3 sizes provide users with more memory to vCPU than the Dv3, so that larger workloads can be run on sizes up to the largest E64 size, with 64 vCPUs and 432GiB of RAM.  And it is that extra power that helps provide for nested virtualization.

By unlocking more power from the underlying hardware, Microsoft has been able to harness better performance and efficiency, resulting in cost savings.  These new Hyper-Threaded sizes are said to be priced up to 28% lower than the previous Dv2 sizes.

What's the reason for running nested virtualization?

Cloud Computing. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Article Written by David Marshall

Cloud computing is absolutely one of those words that shows up on everyone's "Tech Buzzword Bingo" cards. Even so, that shouldn't and doesn't negate the fact that cloud computing is driving innovation across many industries and will continue to provide a significant impact on revenue in the coming years. 

Recently, hybrid cloud has become the cloud model of choice for many companies looking to foster greater flexibility into their infrastructure, and it can do so in a cost-effective manner. For many, hybrid seems to be a good way to ease into things, allowing a company to keep some data on-premises while freeing up some of their infrastructure by moving other data up into the public cloud.

But like so many things in life, it isn't all good all the time.  So what's the good, the bad and the ugly? 

What have we learned from the Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure outages?

Article Written by David Marshall



In the past month both AWS and Microsoft Azure have experienced lengthy outages due to issues with the storage supporting the cloud. These outages have flooded through companies globally and brought into focus the potential downsides of putting all your eggs into the public cloud basket. After both of these incidents, the question is, how reliable is the public cloud and what options and alternatives are available?

A few technology experts have offered their opinion:

The best of both worlds is a multi-cloud strategy

 

Amazon Corrects Massive AWS S3 Cloud Outage While Vendors React

Article Written by David Marshall

Last Tuesday, parts of the Internet came to a grinding halt when the servers that powered them suddenly vanished.  The disappearing server act came from servers that were housed as part of Amazon S3, Amazon's popular Web hosting service.

When that incident happened, several big and popular services and Web sites were disrupted, including DraftKings, Gizmodo, IFTTT, Quora, Slack and Trello.

According to the Web site monitoring firm Apica, 54 of the largest online retailers experienced performance impairments on their Web sites, with some slowing down by more than 20 percent; 3 sites went down completely (Express, Lulu Lemon, One Kings Lane); and for effected websites, average slow down time was 29.7 seconds - 42.7 seconds to load.

What happened?

"At 9:37 a.m. PST, an authorized S3 team member using an established playbook executed a command which was intended to remove a small number of servers for one of the S3 subsystems that is used by the S3 billing process," Amazon said.  "Unfortunately, one of the inputs to the command was entered incorrectly and a larger set of servers was removed than intended.  The servers that were inadvertently removed supported two other S3 subsystems."

Those subsystems are important.  One of them "manages the metadata and location information of all S3 objects in the region," according to Amazon.  And without it, services that depend on it couldn't perform basic data retrieval and storage tasks.  The second subsystem, the placement subsystem, "manages allocation of new storage and requires the index subsystem to be functioning properly to correctly operate."  The placement subsystem is used to allocate storage for new objects.

Sneak Peek at SolarWinds NEW Correlation Technology -- PerfStack

Article Written by David Marshall

For years, VMblog has covered numerous technologies coming out of the SolarWinds think tank.  Perhaps the best known or most covered technology thus far (for obvious reasons) has been SolarWinds Virtualization Manager or VMAN -- the company's popular VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V monitoring and management solution.

[ Watch the SolarWinds VMAN video interview from VMworld 2016 ] 

Beyond Virtualization Manager, SolarWinds has been working hard to up-level and incorporate each of the company's individual product lines into a unified view and centralized management platform by leveraging its modular, extensible and unified Orion Platform.  Bringing numerous monitoring and management applications under a single umbrella was probably hard enough, but SolarWinds is about to launch something that takes the Orion Platform to a whole... other... level.  And that, ladies and gentlemen, is where things get REALLY interesting.  This upcoming technology is known as "PerfStack."

SolarWinds PerfStack and Orion

 

Free Hyper-V Backup using Vembu VMBackup

Article Written by David Marshall

Microsoft Hyper-V is becoming a tough competitor for VMware vSphere ever since Microsoft unveiled Microsoft Hyper-V 2012 R2.  And Hyper-V has been constantly attracting a lot of users, many of whom are already benefitted by the new and improved function of Hyper-V server.  Setting up a Hyper-V server and creating virtual machines is really an easy and simple task, but creating a backup policy for the VMs running on Hyper-V is still complicated for many IT admins. 

Now that  your organization has created its own private cloud by way of Hyper-V, and you've migrated most or all of your physical servers to VMs -- and in many cases, you've even moved over your mission-critical servers -- how do you protect them and keep the organization operational when "stuff happens" and things go wrong?  What, if anytrhing, are you currently using to backup those VMs? 

If your business is currently looking for such a solution, but the budget isn't where you need it in order to get all the features you require, you should check out the new Vembu VMBackup FREE edition which might just surprise you.
 

HPE Acquires SimpliVity for $650 Million, Another Proof Point for HCI

Article Written by David Marshall

This month, HP Enterprise (HPE) announced an agreement to acquire Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) vendor Simplivity for $650M.  The acquisition highlights the growing popularity of consolidated computing systems that CIOs are adopting as an alternative to public cloud services, and suggests that on-premises computing systems still remain a crucial option for many organizations.

SimpliVity is but one of many companies offering hyperconverged systems which bundle computing, storage and networking onto the same server.  The company's flagship product is called the OmniCube hyperconverged infrastructure appliance, and they've been working with hardware vendors such as Lenovo, Dell, Cisco and Huawei to bring the software portion of its solution to those vendors' hardware platforms.

SimpliVity was founded in 2009, and over the last couple of years, they raised almost $276 million in four funding rounds led by Waypoint Capital, Accel Partners, Charles River Ventures, DFJ Growth, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) and Meritech Capital Partners.  When the company raised its Series D round of $175 million in March of 2015, the company was estimated to be worth as much as $1 billion.

 

Tintri Levels Up Data Protection and Disaster Recovery for its Enterprise Cloud Platform

Article Written by David Marshall

Virtualization-aware storage provider Tintri is adding more data protection and disaster recovery to its platform and expanding its software suite with automated Synchronous Replication. The company says it fully integrating primary and secondary storage to protect enterprise cloud investments with a DP/DR solution that comprises Tintri VMstore arrays and Tintri Software Suite. Tintri also works with data backup solutions from Veeam and Commvault for secondary storage, and will soon also offer native protection of Tintri snapshots from on-premises to public cloud storage through an Amazon S3 Connector.

The new Synchronous Replication feature is part of the Tintri Software Suite, which also consists of Tintri Global Center, ReplicateVM and SecureVM.

The capabilities of the DP/DR solution includes:

How Retail IT can Address Challenges and Reach Big Data Potential This Shopping Season

Article Written by David Marshall

This year, the National Retail Federation projects that 137 million consumers will shop between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday. Retailers have stocked their shelves and warehouses and are already weathering the traffic storm that comes with this time of year. 

While the profit potential of the holiday season is the upside for retailers, there are many IT challenges related to successfully managing this increase in traffic - ensuring networks stay up, servers can handle demand and data is protected should something go wrong. In store and online, Black Friday sales are dependent on a sound IT infrastructure. On the flip side, Black Friday and Cyber Monday present many opportunities for retailers to capitalize on the massive amount of data collected at this time. To stay on top in the market, it's crucial for retailers to understand and leverage data analytics tools this season. 

How is retail IT preparing for this all important weekend? Here are a few idea from some top industry experts:  

Zerto Announces General Availability of Virtual Replication Version 5.0 With New Enterprise Cloud Edition

Article Written by David Marshall

Today Zerto announced the launch of the new Enterprise Cloud Edition with the general availability of Zerto Virtual Replication 5.0 (ZVR).  Zerto states that ZVR is the industry's only heterogeneous data and application protection, replication and mobility solution for building and managing a hybrid cloud platform, and with the 5.0 launch, is now available with Microsoft Azure support. The new Zerto Enterprise Cloud Edition that comes with the 5.0 general availability, is designed to enable organizations to implement a hybrid cloud strategy by simultaneously protecting and recovering any virtual machine (VM) in any environment, from on-premises data centers to public clouds, all with different SLAs and retention policies using One-To-Many replication. Zerto Virtual Replication 5.0 will also be available in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace starting November 15, 2016.

"Zerto Virtual Replication recently completed a successful alpha test phase, and we're pleased to see it a step closer to becoming generally available as cloud-based and software-defined infrastructures become more pervasive in today's IT-enabled businesses," said Dominic Anschutz, director, Global Cloud Team, Microsoft Corp. "Across industries we see our mutual customer base embracing the shift BC/DR software is driving for these cloud environments, including Microsoft Azure, and how they're allowing business leaders to build and execute their cloud strategies using Zerto."