Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Cloud ready tools - yeah right!!!!

Cloud is most definitely the buzzword of the decade. If you don’t have a product that can either provide cloud, enable cloud or do cloud type stuff it appears you don’t have a product (no i dont believe this - but the various vendors landing at my doorstep do!)

Have sat in a number of vendor presentations around cloud infrastructure software and specifically focused towards capacity / monitoring / utilization etc it has really started to p!$$ me off - lots of rubbish being spoken.

A specific product & pitch that was being looked at was a really good tool for looking at VMWare virtualised environments – but over night it had suddenly turned into a “cloud enablement” tool with all sorts of random application and cloud functions that just didn’t add up - yep they over-pitched it!

On pushing the above mentioned vendor and asking around how will/ has this helped my “journey to cloud” I asked a number of questions around product direction and roadmap – a flavour of these follows:
• How are you going to help me understand when I need to burst into external provided services but also allow me to bring back into my DC boundary as I either have surplus capacity or decide to “up-rate” my infrastructure
• How are you going to interface to my service catalogue so that we can ensure that we understand where to place
• How are you going to assist with a service model to ensure that the right customer is put on the right platform at the right time
• How are you going to measure my metrics to ensure that when I pass my internal platform to an external source that it meets the right specification based on an agreed SLA

I wasn’t really expecting answers to all of the above; neither was I looking for complete roadmap answers – just a bit of a view into general direction that the product was going to take to answer some of these things.
It became obvious that no real work had been done to turn this into a “cloud tool” but somewhere along the line, someone in their marketing dept had decided that virtualisation=cloud and it was job done!
Needless to say – the vendor did in fact NOT have a great cloud story – what they did have was a pretty good virtualisation capacity management tool…
Lesson – this is an evolution – things don’t just convert / change / evolve without input… Look at where you want to take the tool and work to get it there. Don’t just flip the name in the hope that some unsuspecting customer will just fall into the trap and buy the slideware
Nuff said!

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Sunday, 14 August 2011

Competition to VMWare - There is choice

Its really interesting watching the emergence of new hypervisor, virtualisation and "cloud" tools and the way that other companies that are in this space have been dismissive of new tech / options open to end customers. When i here phrases such as “you dont need to worry about that as we already have”, and “what other choice do you have” from some of these bigger vendors - it can make my blood boil

Well... For the other choices - it seems we have lots emerging. Watching the likes of Hyper-V, Xen and KVM come flying through the ranks really should get VMWare quite concerned - and there is a number of reasons for this, the high level points being:

More management tools are becoming readily available
Customers are changing their development practices for virtualized environments
Maturity in DR and new style of application failover techniques will start removing the legacy fail-over / fail-back paradigm
Standards such as OpenStack / OpenStorage will start becoming prevalent
Open-source will win (look at what happened with proprietary unix models and Linux)

Management Tools - Yeah sure, VMWare have a tool for every day of the week - and some of it is pretty slick - but here is the problem... Large enterprises are now making investments in tools for enterprise orchestration, deployment and management - with these comes some pretty comprehensive frameworks and ability to do some smart stuff. If you have done a good job at the infrastructure layer, architected environments appropriately, some of these higher end tools such as vcloud director, vsphere etc become negated.

You start taking on products such as KVM / Xen / HyperV etc - lets buy enterprise class tools around them to manage appropriately. If you are using the correct processes, understand a common approach across your infrastructure your tool selection should not only answer your virtualisation approach but all of your platform deployment / management / orchestration needs.

You only need to take a look at IBM Cloudburst to see what is possible with non VMWare tool sets (and the fact that the likes of IBM are willing to support this config also!)

Open-Source will win! Has VMWare become the same as Solaris is to Unix (i.e. proprietary)? Not sure it has yet - however they will need to navigate there strategy carefully to ensure that this does not happen. You just need to look at market pressures and the commoditisiation / consumerisation of products to see what happens in this circumstance. In the same way that Linux is now way more prevalent than the lock-in Unix products, virtualisation tools will go the same way (Hell look at RedHat - they are shipping KVM within 6.1 - why wouldn't you use it if you can wrap the smart management stuff around it?)

Final thought / and tech that is worth following - OpenStack / OpenStorage - Follow these, and understand them... Are they fully matured yet - No!, Are they gonna get there and are they useable - HELL YES!!! These type of approaches will fundamentally change how infrastructure is architected and more importantly how the application layer is delivered. The smarts that VMWare have introduced / customers have used will start declining at some point. The smart way of working is to not to solve the worlds ills at the infrastructure layer, but solve them higher up in the stack at the application and orchestration layer.

Have a good one!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, 11 August 2011

My iPad

so... i had to write about it... I finally fell for the rotten fruit brand - and purchased an iPad..... I had avoided the hype and managed to watch various people use different devices. I even played with the ASUS EEE Transformer - which was v good... however, its just not as usable as the ipad...

This thing is brilliant - only downside i have found thus far is a lack of flash - but i guess i knew that before i purchased the device...

grumpy storage - please no nasty comments about apple being the devil ;-)

Have a good one!!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad