The New/Original Enterprise Cloud Provider

April 27th, 2012 at 8:46 AM  No Comments

With “The Cloud” exploding and companies jumping in two feet forward there are a lot of vendors trying to get a piece of the pie.  While I was at Cloud Connect this past February there were quite a few of these companies present trying to show off their product.  One thing I took away from this trip was every one of them, with the exception of one, compared themselves to Amazon (which wasn’t even present at the show).

SunGard provides enterprise class “Cloud” services to the medium to large enterprise space instead of to anyone who wips out a credit card.  They have been a pioneer in the DR space starting out almost 30 years ago and in my opinion has been working on what we now call “The Cloud” before the term became hip.  They are using VCE’s standard Vblock platform and only allow VMware hyper-visors (a fact that my friend @JohnObeto doesn’t like but understands) but that isn’t the driving factor to their success. No matter what hardware you put in place, it is only good as the people you have supporting it.  SunGard gets this and in my opinion is one of the reasons they have been so successful since 1983.

One thing is for sure, all of these entries into what we used to call managed service providers have changed the way we do business today. As Amazon has jumped out as the clear leader in this space, I believe SunGard will continue to be the enterprise Cloud choice for mission critical solutions.

Disclaimer:  While I was waiting in the SunGard booth for my appointment at Cloud Connect I picked up a scratch card that they gave to anyone stopping by the booth.  My friend received a Starbucks gift card but I only won an iPad2. This was not a bribe but rather a bunch of luck and it did not persuade me to write this article.  My opinions are my own and my integrity and posts can not be bought, not even with a new iPad3.

Storage Tiering vs Caching

November 12th, 2010 at 9:06 AM  3 Comments

During the first day of Tech Field Day #4 in San Jose we heard from two storage vendors who had two different thoughts on how storage should be configured.  We started out the day with NetApp who went over everything from their new OnTap 8.0.1 software, to the joint venture with Cisco and VMware called FlexPod as well as a presentation from Greg Kleimanon, Director of Marketing, on how NetApp uses caching in their arrays.

NetApp believes their Intelligent caching using Flash Cache is the best way to handle some of the hurdles that customers are facing today.  Kleimanon stated that Tiering is expensive and complicated to manage.  He did comment that there are companies (Like F5, another vendor from a previous Tech Field Day) that have created algorithms to dynamically manage tiering but he echoed that these algorithms are not proven.

The last presentation of the day was from Avere Co-founder/CEO Ronald Bianchini, Jr.  He was very passionate about his product and it showed through the presentation.  Avere uses your current “slow” storage for archive and uses a hybrid of RAM and SAS/SSD drives for faster reads/writes.  This solves the problem of speed in space by using a non traditional process of putting their box with the fast stuff (RAM & SAS/SSD) in front of your traditional SATA slow array.  It uses a algorithm to decide which items should be written/read from the RAM, the SAS/SSD drives or the SATA drives depending on the most efficient way to handle the data.

So what are your thoughts?  Caching or Tiering?

After seeing both presentations I think Tiering as implemented by Avere is the right way to implement the solution.  The way Avere breaks down the data and gives it the most efficient access path to the storage just makes sense.  Look for big things coming from Avere, especially in their FXT Series.

Update:  Here are the videos of the two presentations.  Watch and share your thoughts!

NetApp Presentation 1, 2, 3

Avere Presentation

Disclaimer:  Tech Field Day is organized by the great folks at Gestalt IT and paid for by the presenters of the event.  Even though my travel, meals and hotel accommodations were paid for my opinions are my own and it will not affect my posts.

VMWare developing View client for iPad

October 30th, 2010 at 7:30 PM  1 Comment

Proof that the iPad is gaining traction in the enterprise, VMWare is hard at work developing a native version of their View client for the iPad. This will allow users to connect back to a virtual desktop infrastructure through PC over IP, which is the standard connector as of View 4.0.

While the client is only in the internal alpha stages, it will already have competition from a firmly entrenched app from Wyse called PocketCloud. Wyse’s app has been out nearly two years and is fully function on the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. Wyse’s product, in addition to speaking native to the View infrastructure also can be RDP or VNC back to another non-View or even non-virtual device. They have also ported the PocketCloud app to Android.

Both of these apps are driving mobile devices into a thin client space which I’ve always found exciting.


Great overview of VMWare vs Microsoft server virtualization options

January 16th, 2010 at 1:40 PM  1 Comment

Up until this last year, the virtualization options available from Microsoft lagged woefully behind VMWare. This is led people like me to really ignore Microsoft’s virtual offerings. However, Redmond is quickly playing catchup with the release of Windows Server 2008 R2 and the upgrades to the integrated Hyper-V virtualization options, as well as other platforms such as MED-V, Virtual PC and App-V. This is causing a lot of other administrators to take a second look.

Over at the blog Clustering For Mere Mortals, David Bermingham has a great write up comparing the features, pros and cons of  the latest version of Hyper-V vs VMWare vSphere (previously ESX)

How do I recover my virtual machines in the event of a complete site loss? The good news is that virtualization makes this process a whole lot easier since a virtual machine is just a file that can be picked up and moved to another server. While up to this point VMware and Microsoft are pretty similar in their availability features and functionality, but here is where Microsoft really shines. VMware offers Site Recovery Manager which is a fine product, but is limited in support to only SRM-certified array-based replication solutions. Also, the failover and failback process is not trivial and can take the better part of a day to do a complete round trip from the DR site back to the primary data center. It does have some nice features like DR testing, but in my experience with Microsoft’s solution for disaster recovery they have a much better solution when it comes to disaster recovery.

Head on over to his site to get the full rundown.

Eight new VMWare ESX 3.5 patches released

September 1st, 2009 at 9:59 PM  1 Comment

vmware_infrastructure_scVMWare has released eight patches for ESX 3.5, four of the eight patches are rated as critical from VMWare. There are no updates for VMWare ESXi. The updates can be downloaded from the VMWare ESX 3.5 Support website and installed manually by the using esxupdate from the command line of the host, or they can be automatically applied through VMWare Update Manager. For most of these patches, all virtual machine guests must be migrated to another host or shutdown before the patch is applied. The host server will then require a reboot.

Due to the critical nature of many of these patches, VMWare recommends quick evaluation and application of these patches.

ESX350-200908401-BG, Updates forcedeth driver
The forcedeth driver installed on the ESX hosts causes the NVIDIA nForce Network Controller NICs to lose network connectivity until the forcedeth driver is reloaded. This patch addresses the issue.

The affected NICS are:

  • NVIDIA nForce Professional 2200 MCP 1Gbe NIC
  • NVIDIA nForce Professional 2050 I/O companion chip 1Gbe NIC
  • NVIDIA nForce Professional 3600 1Gbe NIC

ESX350-200908402-BG, Updates VMware Tools
After performing VMotion between ESX 3.0.x and ESX 3.5 hosts, virtual machines running on ESX 3.5 hosts are restarted in order to upgrade to the latest version of VMware Tools. After applying this fix, VMware Tools function as expected.

ESX350-200908403-BG, Updates megaraid and mptscsi drivers
This patch fixes the following issues:

  • When the ESX host boots, the megaraid_sas driver heap gets depleted when claiming 4 LSI SAS RAID controllers on IBM System x3950 M2 Athena servers. This issue might cause the ESX host to stop booting. The fix increases the heap size for the megaraid_sas driver from 8 MB to 16 MB.
  • The mptscsi_2xx driver limits the discovery of targets to 63 SAS devices per LSI Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) host bus adapter (HBA). This fix increases the number of targets to the value returned by the HBA firmware.

ESX350-200908404-BG, Updates vmkctl
When N-Port ID Virtualization (NPIV) enabled virtual machines are powered on on ESX hosts, a rescan issued from the VI Client results in an error message stating that the rescan failed, even if the rescan is successful.

ESX350-200908405-BG, Updates vmkernel
Running the esxtop command on the service console of the ESX hosts lists high values for the max limited (%MLMTD) parameter for virtual machines when no max limited parameter is set. When the high values are listed, the performance of the virtual machines might be affected. In the VI Client, the max limited parameter is set in the Resources tab for CPU in Virtual Machine properties.

ESX350-200908406-BG, Updates vmx
This patch provides the following:

  • Adds support for new SCSI-3 status values in the SCSI emulation for virtual machines.
  • Fixes an issue where powering on customized versions of Ubuntu virtual machines from the ESX hosts might cause the ESX hosts to stop responding.

ESX350-200908407-BG, Updates kernel source and vmnix
This patch updates the service console kernel for the following fixes:

The forcedeth driver installed on the ESX hosts causes the NVIDIA nForce Network Controller NICs to lose network connectivity under certain circumstances. The affected NICS are:

  • NVIDIA nForce Professional 2200 MCP 1Gbe NIC
  • NVIDIA nForce Professional 2050 I/O companion chip 1Gbe NIC
  • NVIDIA nForce Professional 3600 1Gbe NIC

A bnx2x firmware dump issue.

The mptscsi_2xx driver limits the discovery of targets to 63 SAS devices per LSI Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) host bus adapter (HBA). This fix increases the number of targets to the value returned by the HBA firmware.

ESX350-200908408-BG, Updates bnx2x driver
This patch fixes a bnx2x firmware dump issue.

Source: Boche

VMware introduces VMware Go, designed to ease virtual migration

September 1st, 2009 at 10:38 AM  5 Comments

VMware_esx_server3i_Single_ServerYesterday at VMworld 2009, VMware announced a beta version of VMware Go, a free web-based service that is designed to allow small businesses to make the jump to virtualization by simplify and automating the installation and configuration of VMware ESXi. VMWare claims it will allow IT to get ESXi up and running with just a few mouse clicks.

VMWare ESXi is also a free product, but lacks some of the features and management abilities of the VMWare’s flagship server virtualization hypervisor product, ESX.

“Nearly every SMB stands to benefit tremendously from virtualization. VMware Go will simplify virtualization for SMBs to a few easy online steps and was designed with SMBs in mind. We want SMBs who may be sitting on the fence to realize all the benefits of virtualization without burdening their limited IT resources,” said Dan Chu, vice president, emerging products and markets at VMware.

VMware Go was developed in partnership with Shavlik Technologies, and is available now as a beta offering on at The final version should be available in 2010.

Manage your thin clients from an iPhone

September 1st, 2009 at 10:24 AM  No Comments

Straight from, Christian Mairitsch from LISCON shows the latest version of the LISCON Management Console with iPhone support. LISCON claims this is the thin client management software worldwide which provides a optimized interface for smartphones.

The LISCON branded thin client from HP with LISCON OS starts a VMware View session. After moving it into another group the thin client inherits the configuration to open a published application in the seameless mode. This only takes a few moments and a Excel Window pops-up at the LISCON Desktop. Instead of a typical Windows task bar, a Mac-like dock appears.

LISCON Informationstechnologie GmbH is an Austria based company founded in 2000 that specializes in thin client management. Their Liscon OS is a customized version of Ubuntu 8.04 LTS that is stripped down and designed to run as a thin client operating system supporting VMWare View, Citrix ICA and Microsoft RDP.