A few years after their introduction, HyperConverged systems are now a reality, slowly but steadily eroding market shares from the traditional server/array platforms. They promised scalability, ease of deployment, operational and architectural simplification. While they mostly delivered on those promises, HCI systems introduced some new limitations and pain points. Probably the most relevant is a consequence of the uniqueness of HCI systems’ architecture where multiple identical nodes – each one providing compute, storage and data services – are pooled together. This induces an inter-dependency between them, as VM data must be available on different nodes at the same time to guarantee resiliency in case of failure. Consequently, HCI nodes are not stateless: inter-node, east-west communications are required to guarantee that data resiliency policies are applied. Unfortunately, this statefulness also has other consequences: when a node is brought down, either by a fault or because of a planned maintenance task, so is the storage that comes with it and data must be rebuilt or relocated to ensure continued operations.

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ClearSky is a Boston-based startup founded in 2014 by industry veterans Lazarus Vekiarides and Ellen Rubin; ClearSky comes with a unique proposition, which – if successful – might revolutionize the way primary storage is consumed. I introduced ClearSky in my previous TFD14 preview article where I described their solution; the objective is to reduce drastically the Data Center footprint of traditional primary storage by shifting it to the Cloud while at the same time simplifying DR operations and ensuring accessibility of data from any location. This outcome seemed to be impossible to achieve due to the strict latency requirements that primary storage inherently carries, but ClearSky has found an elegant and effective solution to this conundrum. However, there is one caveat here and it will be evident in the following paragraph.

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With the release of vSphere 6.5 there is really no reason anymore to stick with the old school Windows vCenter; finally the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) has become a first class citizen and the preferred implementation solution for the most important vSphere infrastructure compnent. This was already made clear by VMware when in 2016 they released a tool to easily migrate a Windows vCenter 5.5 to VCSA 6.0 U2 and with vSphere 6.5 the migration from an older Windows vCenter server is one of the officially supported upgrade paths.

Although not new – it was inherited from v 6.0 – one of the best features of the VCSA 6.5 is it’s ease of upgrade. I tested it myself in the homelab taking advantage of the first maintenance release (6.5a) which was released last week bringing support to NSX 6.3.

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PernixData has announced today the General Availability of both their flagship products, FVP 3.5 and Architect 1.1.

For those not familiar with PernixData technology, FVP is is the world’s first, and only, enterprise-class, server-side storage intelligence platform, embedded in the hypervisor to provide reliable I/O performance enhancements to virtual machines (VMs) on existing primary storage. In a nutshell, PernixData FVP virtualizes server-side flash and server RAM across all hosts, connecting the high-speed server-side resources into existing VM I/O paths, to transparently reduce the IOPS burden on a storage system, de-facto decoupling storage capacity and performances accelerating any VMware based application. Architect provides real-time analytics (descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive) for optimal storage and VM design, acting as a proactive, strategic data center management tool that continually generates new data based on dynamic VM and infrastructure conditions. More »

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When it was launched, vRealize Operations Manager was immediately perceived by its user base as a complete rework of its predecessor, vCenter Operations Manager. Changes were introduced not only in terms of features and capabilities, but also in the product’s architecture. Having hit version 6.2 and incorporating even some functionalities inherited by Hyperic, vROps is now definitely a mature product, which makes it an essential and indispensable component of any modern VMware virtualization infrastructure.

In this article I will try to cover most of the design considerations that need to be made when facing a vROps implementation scenario; I don’t mean to cover all the facets of the “vROps Design Dilemma”, neither will I go too much in depth analyzing all the possible design considerations. Nevertheless I hope to give you enough food for thought to succeed with your vROps implementation.

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Every now and then I realize how lucky I am to be part of this community of peers sharing a common passion for what can be (in a very simplistic way) referred to as “virtualization technology”; last November 12th, on a train back to Rome after the conclusion on VMUG Italy’s 2015 UserCon, I had once again such an epiphany. I was very tired after a long two days in Milan spent preparing and running the conference I have helped to organize together with my VMUGIT friends, but I was also very happy and proud for the awesome result we (as a community) obtained.

The outcome is here for you (not me) to judge: 274 attendees, 18 sponsors/exhibitors, 3 keynotes, 15 breakout sessions and one closing panel featuring some of the most influential leaders and visionaries in the IT industry. One of the aspects I am particularly satisfied with is that this time (our third one) the VMUGIT UserCon has become a true international event: most of sessions were delivered in English by prominent speakers coming from Europe and the US specifically to present at our conference. We also had Brad Tompkins (the VMUG International CEO) and Massimiliano Mortillaro from the Czech Republic VMUG as our welcome guests. The Italian UserCon may not be one of the biggest in terms of attendance, but for sure it can now be acknowledged as one of the leading international community events in terms of quality of content presented. This doesn’t come by chance but thanks to the hard work of all the people involved (the VMUGIT Board, the VMUG International Team, VMware itself and, last but not least, partners and sponsors).

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You know that old saying “Third time’s a charm”?

Well, I am not saying that the previous two editions of VMUG Italy’s (@vmugit) User Conference weren’t a success with almost 300 attendees each, packed sessions and the participation of some of the most famous names of the virtualization community, but believe me, this year the VMUGIT leaders are working behind the scenes to organize the best edition ever.

Here are some details about the event.

The UserCon will take place on 12 November 2015, in Milan; the venue is Centro Congressi Milano Fiori – Assago (the same of the 2013 edition, which has undergone a refurbishment process in the meantime).

The registration page (which also includes directions) is open and you can already reserve your seat. Although the page is in Italian, the process is standard, so you should know which buttons to press and how to fill the forms. In case of any issues, don’t hesitate to shout out.

All of the sponsors are confirmed and you can expect top notch, user focused technical sessions delivered by the majority of them. Just a few names: VMware (of course!), EMC, Nutanix, Pure Storage, Acronis, HP (with Intel), Infoblox, PernixData, Tintri, Webroot, Zerto, Hitachi, Micron, Simplivity, Aruba, Hitachi, Solarwinds. A few more might still be added, so be sure to keep checking the event page on the VMUG website for any updates. Be sure to visit their booths at the Solutions Exchange area to learn about the latests developments in their products and technology.

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LOGO1Starting next Monday, Sept. 29th, I will start a new chapter of my professional life: I will be joining VMware as a PSO Consultant in the Rome office.

I am very excited and grateful for the opportunity: for many reasons VMware has always been a dream destination for me. Now this is finally happening and I am sure there is going to be a lot of hard work ahead, long hours, head down on books and manuals – especially during the first weeks – to be able to quickly grasp the wealth of incredible technologies I will help to implement for our customers.

But this is also what will make this new adventure the most important one so far for me: since I started my journey with virtualization, this is where I always wanted to be.

I hope that also this blog will benefit from the experience that I will be gaining in the next few months: expect more and more technical content on these pages.

Before I turn this page, let me say a heartfelt thank you to my past employer, CTERA Networks. It was a great ride with very special people and I wish the company all the best. I am definitely a better professional thanks to what I have learned from them.

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VMworld Europe 2014 is only a mere four weeks away and now it is time to start focusing on it and achieve that sort of Zen mental state that it is required to survive the experience!

For the third year in a row the event will be held in Barcelona: somebody may object this, but from my perspective it does totally make sense. I admit I am totally biased as Barcelona is my favorite European city and a place where I’d move anytime if I had the chance, but let’s be honest: the city has a gorgeous weather in October, it is easily reachable from anywhere in Europe, it has great accommodation options, a working and efficient transportation system, food is great, it is a cheap place compared to other destinations and it is a pleasure for the eyes! Gimme Barcelona anytime!

After two Catalan VMworlds and almost a dozen leisure trips to Barcelona I can consider myself a veteran, so let me guide you through my experiences, who knows, you might find some useful advice here.

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Today it is my pleasure to review a book, specifically “vSphere Design Best Practices”, recently published by PACKT Publishing and written by Brian Bolander and Christopher Kusek (the latter well known as @cxi in the virtualization community).

I consider myself a seasoned VMware infrastructures administrator, now aiming at becoming a better designer and – as part of this evolutionary process – I am looking for good material to study for the VCAP-DCD certification. So, when I had the opportunity to put my hands on this new book I made sure not to miss it.

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