Tag Archives: VMware’s

Oracle andVMware forge new IaaS cloud partnership

SAN FRANCISCO — VMware’s virtualization stack will be made available on Oracle’s IaaS, in a partnership that underscores changing currents in the public cloud market and represents a sharp strategic shift for Oracle.

Under the pact, enterprises will be able to deploy certified VMware software on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI), the company’s second-generation IaaS. Oracle is now a member of the VMware Cloud Provider Program and will sell VMware’s Cloud Foundation stack for software-defined data centers, the companies said on the opening day of Oracle’s OpenWorld conference.

Oracle plans to give customers full root access to physical servers on OCI, and they can use VMware’s vCenter product to manage on-premises and OCI-based environments through a single tool.

“The VMware you’re running on-premises, you can lift and shift it to the Oracle Cloud,” executive chairman and CTO Larry Ellison said during a keynote. “You really control version management operations, upgrade time of the VMware stack, making it easy for you to migrate — if that’s what you want to do — into the cloud with virtually no change.”

The companies have also reached a mutual agreement around support, which Oracle characterized with the following statement: “[C]ustomers will have access to Oracle technical support for Oracle products running on VMware environments. … Oracle has agreed to support joint customers with active support contracts running supported versions of Oracle products in Oracle supported computing environments.”

It’s worth noting the careful language of that statement, given Oracle and VMware’s history. While Oracle has become more open to supporting its products on VMware environments, it has yet to certify any for VMware.

Moreover, many customers have found Oracle’s licensing policy for deploying its products on VMware devilishly complex. In fact, a cottage industry has emerged around advisory services meant to help customers keep compliant with Oracle and VMware.

Nothing has changed with regard to Oracle’s existing processor license policy, said Vinay Kumar, vice president of product management for OCI. But the VMware software to be made available on OCI will be through bundled, Oracle-sold SKUs that encompass software and physical infrastructure. Initially, one SKU based on X7 bare-metal instances will be available, according to Kumar.

Oracle and VMware have been working on the partnership for the past nine months, he added. The first SKU is expected to be available within the next six months. Kumar declined to provide details on pricing.

Oracle, VMware relations warm in cloudier days

“It seems like there is a thaw between Oracle and VMware,” said Gary Chen, an analyst at IDC. The companies have a huge overlap in terms of customers who use their software in tandem, and want more deployment options, he added. “Oracle customers are stuck on Oracle,” he said. “They have to make Oracle work in the cloud.”

Gary Chen, Analyst, IDCGary Chen

Meanwhile, VMware has already struck cloud-related partnerships with AWS, IBM, Microsoft and Google, leaving Oracle little choice but to follow. Oracle has also largely ceded the general-purpose IaaS market to those competitors, and has positioned OCI for more specialized tasks as well as core enterprise application workloads, which often run on VMware today.

Massive amounts of on-premises enterprise workloads run on VMware, but as companies look to port them to the cloud, they want to do it in the fastest, easiest way possible, said Holger Mueller, an analyst at Constellation Research in Cupertino, Calif.

The biggest cost of lift-and-shift deployments to the cloud involves revalidation and testing in the new environment, Mueller added.

It seems like there is a thaw between Oracle and VMware.
Gary ChenAnalyst, IDC

But at this point, many enterprises have automated test scripts in place, or even feel comfortable not retesting VMware workloads, according to Mueller. “So the leap of faith involved with deploying a VMware VM on a server in the corporate data center or in a public cloud IaaS is the same,” he said.

In the near term, most customers of the new VMware-OCI service will move Oracle database workloads over, but it will be Oracle’s job to convince them OCI is a good fit for other VMware workloads, Mueller added.

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VMware vSAN HCI: Complete stack or ‘vaporware’?

Days after VMware’s CEO proclaimed his vSAN product the winner in the hyper-converged infrastructure space, the CEO of VMWare rival Nutanix countered that VMware “sells a lot of vaporware.”

“We’re crushing Nu … I mean we’re winning in the marketplace,” VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger said during his opening VMworld keynote last week. “We’re separating from No. 2. We’re winning in the space.”

Two days later on Nutanix’s earnings call, CEO Dheeraj Pandey took a shot at VMware without mentioning the company by name. “We don’t sell vaporware,” he said, when referring to why Nutanix wins in competitive deals.

In an exclusive interview after the call, Pandey admitted the vaporware charge was aimed mostly at VMware’s vSAN HCI software.

Pat Gelsinger, VMware CEOPat Gelsinger

“VMware sells a lot of vaporware,” Pandey said. “A lot of that vaporware becomes evident to customers who buy that stuff. When bundled products don’t deliver on their promise, they call us. What we sell is not shelfware.”

Whatever VMware is selling with its vSAN HCI software, it is working. VMware reported license bookings of its vSAN HCI software grew 45% year-over-year last quarter, while Nutanix revenue and bookings slipped from last year. VMware’s parent Dell also claimed a 77% increase in orders of its Dell EMC VxRail HCI appliances that run vSAN software. Those numbers suggest Dell increased market share against Nutanix, even if Nutanix did better than expected last quarter following a disappointing period. IDC listed VMware as the HCI software market leader and Dell as the hardware HCI leader in the first quarter of 2019, with Nutanix second in both categories. Gartner lists Nutanix as the HCI software leader, but No. 2 VMware made up ground in Gartner’s first-quarter numbers.

Nutanix’s Pandey attributed at least some of VMware’s HCI success to bundling its vSAN software with its overall virtualization stack. Like VMware, Nutanix has its own hypervisor (AHV) and its share of hardware partners — including Dell — but VMware has a huge vSphere installed base to sell vSAN into.

Dheeraj Pandey, Nutanix CEODheeraj Pandey

Pandey said he was unimpressed by VMware’s Kubernetes and open source plans laid out at VMworld, which included Tanzu and Project Pacific. Both are still roadmap items but reflect a commitment from VMware to containers and open source software.

“That’s worse than vaporware, that’s slideware,” Pandey said of VMware’s announcements. “Everything works in slides. We’re based on Linux; we get a lot of leverage out of open source. AHV was based on Linux, and we’ve made it enterprise grade.”

Making vSAN part of its vSphere virtualization platform has paid off for VMware. Customers at VMworld pointed to their familiarity with VMware and vSAN’s integration with vSphere, and its NSX software-defined networking as reasons for going with vSAN HCI.

 “What really end up selling it for us was, we were already using VMware for our base product and the vast majority of the deliverables that our customers request is in vSphere,” said Lester Shisler, senior IT systems engineer at Harmony Healthcare IT, based in South Bend, Ind. “So whatever pain points we learned along the way with vSAN, we were going to have to learn [with a competing HCI product] as well, along with new software and new management and everything else.”

Matthew Douglas, chief enterprise architect at Sentara Healthcare in Norfolk, Va., said Nutanix was among the HCI options he looked at before picking vSAN.

“VMware was ultimately the choice,” he said. “All the others were missing some components. VMWare was a consistent platform for hyper-converged infrastructure. Plus, there was NSX and all these things that fit together in a nice, uniform fashion. And as an enterprise, I couldn’t make a choice of all these independent different tools. Having one consistent tool was the differentiator.”

Despite losing share, Nutanix’s last-quarter results were mixed. Its revenue of $300 million and billings of $372 million were both down from last year but better than expected following the disappointing previous quarter. Nutanix’s software and support revenue of $287 million increased 7%, a good sign for the HCI pioneer’s move to a software-centric business model. Nutanix also reported a 16% growth in deals over $1 million from the previous quarter.

However, operating expenses also increased. Sales and marketing spend jumped to $254 million from $183 million the previous year. Nutanix, which has never recorded a profit, lost $194 million in the quarter — more than double its losses from a year ago. It finished the quarter with $909 million in cash, down from $943 million last year.

Pandey said he is more concerned about growth and customer acquisition than profitability.

“Profitability is a nuanced word,” Pandey said. “We defer so much in our balance sheet. Right now we care about doing right by the customer when we sell them subscriptions.”

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Carbon Black acquisition is ‘compelling’

SAN FRANCISCO — VMware’s acquisition of Carbon Black is “the most compelling security story” Steve Athanas has heard in a while.

“I don’t know any other vendor in the ecosystem that has more visibility to more business transactions happening than VMware does,” said Athanas, VMware User Group president and associate CIO at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

At its annual user conference, VMware announced new features within Workspace One, its digital workspace product that enables IT to manage virtual desktops and applications, and talked up the enhanced security features the company will gain through its $2.1 billion Carbon Black acquisition. Like Athanas, VMworld attendees welcomed the news.

VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger
At the opening keynote for VMworld, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger speaks about the recent Carbon Black acquisition.

In this podcast, Athanas said Carbon Black could provide endpoint security across an entire organization once the technology is integrated, a promise he said he’s still thinking through.

“Are [chief security officers] going to buy into this model of wanting security from one vendor? I’ve heard CSOs in the past say you don’t do that because if one fails, you want another application to be able to detect something,” he said. “I don’t know where the balance and benefit is between being able to see more through that single view from Carbon Black or to have multiple vendors.”

Aside from the Carbon Black acquisition, Athanas was drawn to newly unveiled features for Workspace One that are aimed at making day-to-day processes for end users, IT and HR admins easier. For IT admins, a new Employee Experience Management feature enables IT to proactively diagnose if an end user’s device has been compromised by a harmful email or cyberattack. The feature can prevent the employee from accessing more company applications, preventing the spread of a cyberattack.

Another feature is called Virtual Assistant, which can help automate some of the onboarding and device management aspects of hiring a new employee.

“The Virtual Assistant stuff is cool, but I’m going to reserve judgement on it, because there is a ton of work that needs to go into getting that AI to give you the right answer,” Athanas said.

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VeloCloud SD-WAN user Brooks Brothers assesses VMware buy

The news of VMware’s intent to acquire software-defined WAN startup VeloCloud indicates a sign of the times, as the SD-WAN market continues to consolidate. While the acquisition might not have immediate repercussions for existing SD-WAN customers, it’s clear the shifting SD-WAN vendor landscape is forcing enterprises to consider how a potential sale of their current provider could affect their operations.

Case in point: Brooks Brothers. The New York-based retailer has some 300 locations using VeloCloud SD-WAN. Manny Stergakis, director of technical services, said while the clothier isn’t worried about the acquisition, he doesn’t want VMware to change VeloCloud SD-WAN.

“We would hope, obviously, [VMware] wouldn’t change the [VeloCloud] product and they would keep the support and the R&D they do for the product,” he said. He added that Brooks Brothers is currently a VMware shop, using VMware ESX hypervisor software and Dell products, as well.

“So, for us, I think [the acquisition] is a positive, because these are the vendors we use anyway,” he said.

Jim Duffy, an analyst at 451 Research, said he believes most companies using both VeloCloud and VMware software will experience few bumps along the way.

“If [customers] are already VMware shops, especially VMware NSX, they have to be feeling pretty good,” Duffy said in an email to SearchSDN. “This could potentially provide a consistent and uniform policy extension from the data center to the cloud, through the WAN.”

VeloCloud — like most vendors in similar situations — will most likely optimize its SD-WAN features for VMware environments, Duffy said. VeloCloud SD-WAN customers using Cisco products, however, could see their features capped out at the current level of capability. Cisco completed its acquisition of SD-WAN vendor Viptela this summer.

Duffy said both Cisco and VMware will try to use their SD-WAN acquisitions to persuade enterprises to unify their underlying network infrastructures on a single platform.

“It’s an opportunity for VMware to migrate those shops to NSX, and [it’s] also an opportunity for Cisco to migrate ACI [Application Centric Infrastructure] shops to Viptela,” he said. “Expect to see some incentives coming from these and other vendors in order to entice mixed-vendor environments to move one way or another.”

The right fit for Brooks Brothers

This could potentially provide a consistent and uniform policy extension from the data center to the cloud, through the WAN.
Jim Duffyanalyst at 451 Research

For Brooks Brothers, its adoption of VeloCloud SD-WAN was fueled by MPLS connectivity limitations it faced as it tried to bring up new business applications.

“As new applications were coming out on the business side for our stores — as well as our corporate locations — they had a lot more need for bandwidth, and the legacy MPLS wasn’t cutting it,” Stergakis said. Cost was another consideration.

These factors led Stergakis to look into broadband connectivity for the company’s locations. But with more than 500 company sites worldwide, this presented potential support issues.

“I didn’t want to have my network guys support 300 to 400 tunnels and firewalls all over the U.S. and the globe,” Stergakis said.

Brooks Brothers turned its attention to SD-WAN, which would allow the retailer to use broadband as the primary link, with cellular connectivity as backup. After looking at other SD-WAN startups, which Stergakis said he deemed immature, the retailer ran a successful pilot with VeloCloud SD-WAN.

“We were looking for a product that was easy to use,” he said. “Take it out of the box, set it down, configure it and send it out. That’s what we were able to achieve with VeloCloud.”

The design and prep work for the SD-WAN implementation took a couple of months, according to Stergakis.

“Obviously, when you introduce something new to the environment, we weren’t going to be converting everything over in one day,” he said. “We really had to scope out the traffic — the old traffic, the new traffic, what was going to happen, where it was going — to accommodate the routes everywhere.”

Brooks Brothers designed its SD-WAN with broadband or DSL as primary — depending on availability and location — and Long Term Evolution from Cradlepoint as the backup. MPLS is still used, but only minimally, Stergakis said, for larger corporate locations.

Brooks Brothers has already deployed VeloCloud SD-WAN in its Australian and Hong Kong locations, as well as the majority of its North American sites. Once the company completes the remaining six North American implementations, Stergakis said locations in Japan and Europe are next. Then, the company will look at the remaining sites using MPLS and determine how to move forward from there.

“Like us, I’m sure many people out there look at what’s on the market and what they have today,” he said. “You have to look at the appliance and the configuration, the ease of use, the effort the companies are putting into it, and then you make the right choice.”

VMware-VeloCloud merger raises enterprise stakes

Dan Conde, an analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group Inc. in Milford, Mass., said VMware’s intention to acquire VeloCloud is part of a bid to expand NSX everywhere.

The VMware-VeloCloud products are both based on an overlay network, with increased flexibility to separate the logical network from underlying hardware. Conde suggested there may be a transition period in which VMware VeloCloud Edge devices continue to be offered. However, VMware’s network functions virtualization infrastructure platform vision seems to include an x86 network device that can run virtual network functions through a VMware edge hypervisor.

Conde identified other SD-WAN players, such as Aerohive, Barracuda, CloudGenix and Cradlepoint, acknowledging the way the market will evolve remains to be seen.

“Ultimately, the vision of [a VMware-VeloCloud acquisition] is to create a software-defined network that spans the enterprise, and VeloCloud brings them closer to the vision. VMware has the technical assets to create an SD-WAN solution on its own, but this acquisition is a quicker way with gained access to VeloCloud’s technology and customers,” Conde said.

Dig deeper into Conde’s thoughts on VMware and VeloCloud.

The best way to segment your network

Andrew Lerner, an analyst with Gartner, explored the best approach to building a network segmentation strategy. As many organizations move to segment enterprise networks, Lerner said many teams over- or under-segment network environments.

According to Gartner, the key goals of a network segmentation strategy should focus on data criticality, sensitivity and location. In virtualized environments, Lerner said enterprises can change the technology, but never compromise on fundamental security principles.

Gartner research indicated that network segmentation decisions are usually based on internal business considerations instead of technology awareness. IT teams should avoid outsourcing network segmentation strategy and design.

“Not all segmentation mechanisms are equal in terms of trust. Mismatches of trust in segmentation result in too little risk, causing unnecessary expense and latency, or too much risk, exposing the enterprise,” Lerner said.

Explore more of Lerner’s thoughts on network segmentation strategy.

The three paths of enterprise IT

Ivan Pepelnjak, blogging in ipSpace, traded ideas with Russ White about the differences between enterprises and service providers. While pointing out that he believes defining the split between the two is “useless,” White goes on to paint the difference as a divide between organizations that make money directly off the network, such as providers, and ones that grudgingly pay for networks, like enterprises.

“If you think your network is an asset to your company, then you’re more likely to build your own, rather than dealing with vendors, either cloudy or traditional,” White said. “If you think your network is a cost, then you’re likely to pay just about any price to keep from having to think about it.”

Citing White, Pepelnjak said enterprise IT is poised to fragment into three main categories. Organizations that can’t afford on-premises storage and fabrics will move as much as possible to the public cloud, while others that wish to retain on-premises infrastructure will use hyper-converged technologies or tools such as Microsoft Azure Stack. The third category, meanwhile, will be those large enough to invest in networking software, thus controlling their own destiny.

Read more of Pepelnjak’s discussion on the future of enterprise IT.

VMware network security improves with AppDefense launch

Jon Oltsik, an analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group Inc. in Milford, Mass., discussed VMware’s launch of AppDefense at its annual VMworld conference. The new VMware network security offering works on the application layer, profiling apps and determining a baseline for normal behavior.

According to Oltsik, the new VMware network security system blurs the line between blacklisting and whitelisting. Instead, it weaves in automation and machine learning to discover apps, monitor behavior, and enable cybersecurity teams to set up rules and protocols.

In Oltsik’s view, AppDefense helps remedy the cybersecurity skills shortage, shifts security closer to app development, and is built for integration and interoperation at organizations with varying needs. IBM and Carbon Black have helped launch the product as partners.

“VMware has some work ahead. AppDefense will likely take a while to gain broad market penetration as organizations figure out how to use it, where to deploy it, and what other application [and] compute-based security tools are needed to complement it,” Oltsik wrote. He said the new VMware network security tool would likely be successful as a complement to NSX, which already brings in $1 billion a year in sales.

Read more of Oltsik’s thoughts on VMware.

How to synchronize BGP and OSPF

Ivan Pepelnjak, blogging in ipSpace, responded to a question from a colleague about synchronizing Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) and Open Shortest Path First (OSPF). The engineer imagined a situation where a router crashes, leading to a change in routing tables. When the router that crashed comes back online, a temporary traffic block occurs as BGP sessions are being re-established. According to Pepelnjak, the big question should be: How does a router know when a BGP routing process has converged?

Pepelnjak said convergence is seen as having taken place when a BGP keepalive message is received from all peers. To overcome the slowdowns resulting from this situation, Pepelnjak recommended turning the BGP-OSPF synchronization effort into a Label Distribution Protocol-OSPF synchronization project by deploying MPLS forwarding in a BGP-free core. Other options include setting up a BGP-only network, although this can run into convergence issues, or use a BGP-free core along with MPLS forwarding for segment routing as an alternative to Label Distribution Protocol.

Explore more of Pepelnjak’s thoughts on synchronization.

Savvius launches new analytics appliance

Drew Conry-Murray, writing in Packet Pushers, reviewed Savvius’ launch of its new Spotlight analytics appliance. The new troubleshooting appliance relies on real-time traffic-flow analysis to help network admins spot potential network and application latency problems.

The appliance also supports voice over IP and TCP performance monitoring, with a user interface that reports the worst-performing sections of the network. The tool is designed to support real-time and post-event forensics, and it’s deployable as a 1U stand-alone appliance or running alongside the vendor’s Omnipliance Ultra packet capture devices.

Conry-Murray said it makes sense for Savvius to expand its portfolio for situations where full-packet analysis may be unnecessary.

“The UI I saw in a demo looks clean and sensibly arranged, and customers can easily drill in from the main screen to get more details on a particular network segment, source/destination addresses, protocols, and other key information,” Conry-Murray wrote. “Spotlight also enables Savvius to push back against competitors such as ExtraHop, which touts its real-time analytics based on packet metadata as a key differentiator,” he added.

Dig deeper into Conry-Murray’s thoughts on Savvius Spotlight.

VMware’s NSX networking comes of age at VMworld

LAS VEGAS — As VMware intensifies its focus on security and enabling support for multiple clouds, VMware’s NSX networking software continues to grow in importance, and now underpins many of the company’s upcoming initiatives.

At VMworld here this week, Pat Gelsinger, VMware CEO, said NSX will serve a number of key functions to tie together multiple clouds from VMware, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and its network of business partners, as well as segment out selected capabilities of monolithic applications to share across multiple clouds.

“With micro-segmentation, we can extend out NSX to serve as the connective tissue to IoT devices,” Gelsinger told TechTarget after his keynote. “There are a ton of IoT devices out there responsible for collecting, storing and sharing critical information that are unprotected and this is a way to provide them with more security.

“It will be the secret sauce behind all of what we do — it is that important,” he said.

Tom Hull, CTO with the Moffitt Cancer Center, agrees with that assessment about the strategic importance of NSX networking. Moffitt is updating its disaster recovery (DR) architecture built around proprietary server hardware and software, and has gravitated toward a software-defined networking (SDN) approach, where NSX will play a key role.

[NSX] will be the secret sauce behind all of what we do — it is that important.
Pat GelsingerCEO, VMware

Moffitt’s largest use of NSX will be to gain more freedom for the center’s research domain without affecting the security of its clinical information. “Instead of a monolithic DR in a remote location that gets spun up once a year and tested for audit purposes, we can bring it into our active environment so DR looks more like business continuity,” Hull said.

VMware underscored its commitment to NSX with Expanded VMware NSX to support networking and security for both clouds and cloud-native applications. The new support is intended to help NSX administrators manage and troubleshoot larger-scale NSX deployments.

The company also introduced VMware NSX Cloud, a service designed to offer more consistent networking and security for applications running in multiple private and public clouds, through a single management console and common API. The new offering is supposed to simplify and help scale operations, improve standardization and compliance and lower OPEX for applications that run in public clouds. A micro-segmentation security policy can be defined just once and applied to workloads that run across multiple clouds, according to company officials.

The State of Louisiana’s Division of Administration/OTS plans to use the VMware Cloud on AWS, released this week, to better leverage NSX to extend to the public cloud across a common operating environment, said Michael Allison, the division’s CTO. This will give his organization “public cloud agility and economics” with a more proven virtualized infrastructure, he said.

One systems engineer with a large telecommunications company in Hayward, Calif. is evaluating NSX, but he said he is concerned about the costs to replace his older proprietary server hardware, as well as older remote devices that would be connected to NSX.

“[NSX] is good technology, but to take full advantage of it, I’d have to replace many of the local servers and upgrade the quality of my network and the remote devices we use to collect data and monitor traffic,” he said.