VMworld 2014: Essential Networking Sessions

It’s that time again. VMworld 2014 opens in San Francisco on Monday, August 25. With fifty sessions covering network virtualization and security this year, it is clear that VMware is once again pushing software defined networking (SDN) and NSX, and that is as serious about the software defined network as it is about the rest of the data center. Unfortunately, I cannot make the conference this year, but I have perused the session catalog to see what sessions I would attend if I could. These cover a cross section of technical and procedural levels and should be beneficial to network virtualization newbies and veterans alike.

So, in no particular order, let’s start with my ten-ish most interesting SDN sessions. OK, so I couldn’t get it down to ten, and there are a couple more that should have made this list, but “my twenty-seven and three quarters most interesting sessions” doesn’t really cut it.

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Infinio – But is it Infinite?

Infinio is a Boston-based company that has a very interesting play on flash acceleration. Having recently sat through a briefing with its representatives, I can say that Infinio’s vision and future are bright.

Why am I saying this? I have got to admit that with this company, I have been laboring under a misconception. I had thought that it was just another flash acceleration company. I mean, it handles read acceleration of vSphere-presented storage, doesn’t it? Well, yes it does, and like all the flash acceleration–based companies, Infinio handles it well.

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VMware Fusion Tech Preview 2014 – Multiple GPU support

VMware Fusion Tech Preview 2014 (TP) has been available since the end of May and it contains a number of pretty cool new features. As I was migrating among continents (from Asia to Europe) I did not really have the time to start testing at the time that the beta started. Now that in my day to day life things are finally starting to get back to normal, I decided to dive in and installed the TP yesterday. Over the next few posts I will try to highlight my experiences. Continue reading

A Timely Remider: Passwords and Pin Codes Are Important

On June 24, 2014, a former editor of a now-defunct British tabloid newspaper (some will disagree with the use of the prefix “news”) was found guilty of phone hacking. Phone hacking is the practice of intercepting and listening to a phone’s voicemail messages without the owner’s knowledge or permission.

How did this happen? The technique used by the hackers was remarkably simple. In the first decade of the millennium, the time of the offenses, carriers had a default PIN code for remote voicemail access: “0000” or “1234,” for example. If a phone’s owner never retrieved voicemail from any device other than the owner’s personal cellphone, the default code would never be changed. All the hacker would have to do was know the mobile phone number of the target, follow the carrier’s technique for accessing voicemails from a different device, and then enter the carrier’s default number. Vodafone UK, for example, had a default of “3333.” It was incumbent upon the user of the phone to change this PIN.

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DAS Is Dead; Long Live DAS!

In a play on the old saying “the king is dead; long live the king!” this post will opine about the current resurgence of locally attached storage in the data center.

Before the emergence of virtualization, as some of you might remember, came the physical server. Yes, folks, we really did have a single machine running a single OS, and we really did have that machine running multiple applications or services. AD with DNS? DHCP and WINS? Not a problem. Also, while you are at it, put certificate management and dogfood on there too. Yep, why not?

Once virtualization started to spread though the computer room—yes it was a computer room—and processor capabilities caught up with the technology, our choke point moved to disk. DAS-based disk just did not allow the sexy stuff like vMotion. Also, the possibility of losing all our machines upon the failure of a single host was, quite rightly, a step too far. Anybody remember the “eggs in one basket” arguments? So, we started the massive move to SAN/NAS-based storage, which has arguably made many a company rich. In fact, this move made EMC buy VMware outright.

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VMware Security Advisory: VMSA-2014-0005

This patch addresses a potential guest privilege escalation caused by an issue in VMware tools installed on Microsoft Windows 8.1, so not really much of an issues as you can count the number of people using windows 8.1 on the fingers of one hand. Smile But seriously if you are using Windows 8.1 in  your environment as a VM then seriously consider this update.

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Cisco ACI: Is It Wham! or Sam Cooke?

An odd little title, I think you will agree, but consider this: Wham! had a hit with “Freedom” and Sam Cooke sang “Chain Gang,” and I think you can now see my thought process. This post is going to investigate not the technical capabilities of Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), but rather what its market placement will mean to the software-defined networking (SDN) industry.

Firstly, Cisco’s Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC), the brains behind its SDN product ACI, can only run on CISCO equipment. More importantly, APIC can only run on Nexus 9000 series switches. These are:

  • Not cheap
  • Only for the biggest environments.

So, what about those who have invested in Nexus 7000s and below? Well, up until the Cisco Live US conference, you were effectively legacy. However, Cisco recently stated that the APIC will now be able to overlay application workloads to older (read Nexus-only) switches. The first switch that will be able to have these policies is the Nexus 1K; the only issue is that a Nexus 9K series switch is still needed. Not looking so inviting now, is it? What is important here is that it is an overlay.

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End of General Support for vSphere 4.x

The 21st of May 2014 was a big day in the life of vSphere 4.x as it marked the official beginning of the end.  The product and its associated pieces are no longer under general support. this means that security fixes only from now on. Therefore if you have not started your upgrade plan now is the time to do so.  You need to be looking at moving up your version.

Other products that are added to this are Lab manager 4.x, vCenter 4.x, vCenter Update manager 4.x,

The document below shows the current status of VMware products:

https://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/support/Product-Lifecycle-Matrix.pdf