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Introducing VMware Cloud Automation Services (CAS)

My focus on a day-to-day basis for most of the last five years has been on cloud automation and orchestration, more specifically with VMware vRealize Automation (vRA) and VMware vRealize Orchestrator (vRO). I’ve worked with a variety of customers in different verticals (government, finance, service provider) to help them design and deploy an automation platform and create services to automate many use-cases, both common and unique.

So naturally, my interest in a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that does the job too was always going to manifest itself. The day has arrived though that VMware are officially launching that service. Yesterday, January 15th 2019, VMware Cloud Automation Services became generally available.

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Unitrends announces VM Backup Essentials (vBE)

If you’re working for an Enterprise with your workloads based purely on VMware vSphere, then there’s a new launch from Unitrends that you may be interested in looking at for your virtual backup / business continuity solution that I have learned about.

vBE (short for VM Backup Essentials), converges enterprise-grade backup software, ransomware detection, and cloud continuity into a powerful, easy-to-use, all-in-one platform boasting the following features:

  • Total Protection – No limits on the number of virtual machines that can be protected on a host
  • No License Tiering – No tiering of licenses based on the number of cores in the CPU socket.
  • Only License what you need! – Only occupied sockets require a license, but ALL occupied sockets of the host must be licensed to protect its virtual machines.
  • Infinite retention!– Retention is directly proportional to the amount of storage that can be provided by the customer for backup. The license has no limits on retention.
  • Replication to the Cloud – Site-to-site replication is not supported at this time. vBE does support replication to the cloud – both hyperscale clouds such as AWS, Google and Rackspace as well as clouds pur­pose-built for DRaaS services.
  • Advanced Ransomware Protection– New ransomware variants are emerging every day and your ransomware protection needs to evolve to keep up.

Unitrends are billing vBE as an “all-in-one solution” that provides a disruptive approach to backup. It offers complete vertical integration (including the cloud), fast time to value and an all-in-one solution provided by a single vendor with industry-leading customer service. vBE includes all the software and features you would find in an enterprise-level data protection and recovery solution. vBE includes operating system, security, backup software, WAN acceleration, replication, cloud integration, and archiving. Continue Reading

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…Hello VMware!

I’ve been a user of VMware’s products since finding VMware Workstation in the early noughties but things really took off for me in 2007 with ESX3. I’ve long thought that I might work for VMware one day if the circumstances were right. As of yesterday, it became a reality.

This has been mostly a sideways move for me as I have joined the Northern EMEA PSO team as an SDDC consultant. I’ll probably be working on similar projects to the ones I have been working on already. However, I believe that the opportunities within VMware for me at this stage of my career are significant. I’m excited by the prospects and keen to get stuck in.

One downside to this move is that I have had to step down as a co-leader of the South West UK VMUG chapter. It’s been a fantastic 2 years and we’ve organised some great meetings but the remaining leaders (Barry Coombs, Simon Eady and Jeremy Bowman) are more than equal to the task. (Although they almost stole my thunder!)

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On the subject of VMUGs, a quick shout out for the next South West UK VMUG meeting on September 28th 2015. Register here. And although I can no longer have any sort of leadership role in VMUG meetings, I hope to still be presenting at them regularly.

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Thank you Xtravirt…

It was with some sadness that I left the Xtravirt offices in Surrey for the last time recently. Due to the nature of my work I’ve rarely been there, but it always felt like home because of the people.

If, for some reason, you’re not familiar with Xtravirt, they’re a leading virtualisation and cloud consultancy whose ambition and capabilities far exceed their size. They’ve got some great consultants, many of whom I’ve known from before they were at Xtravirt, great management and the highest ratio of vExperts per employee in the world (although that might have taken a hit).

All good things (including the last 18 months of automation and orchestration work on two large-scale cloud projects) must come to an end however, so I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone at Xtravirt for the great times and the opportunities there. We move in fairly small circles and I’m sure our paths will cross often.

Xtravirt Logo

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Since You’ve Been Gone…

It’s been some time since I posted anything on this site (over 4 months in fact). There could be any number of reasons I could come up with as to why that is. The truth though is that I’ve had my head down on a large cloud project (lots of vRO and vRA) for the last 6 months and a great many things have taken a back seat to it.

Whilst the project isn’t over yet, I did manage to have some much needed time off recently and have been catching up a bit since. Part of that catching up involves cherry-picking from the long list of articles that I wanted to / started to write and getting them out of the door.

Stay tuned…

(In case you were wondering about the title of this post, I heard this song on the way to work and the name sort of fit, even if the rest of the lyrics don’t.)

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Baby vSpecialist!

Just a quick one to congratulate my co-author of this blog, Jeremy, and his wife on their membership of the “new parents’ club”.

Baby Bowman arrived last night weighing in at 6lbs 9oz (about 3kg).

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ThinApp Standalone SKU Reinstated

uturnEvery now again people have to go back on a decision that they’ve made and make a U-turn.

At VMworld in Barcelona, VMware have announced a reversal of their decision earlier this year to discontinue the sale of ThinApp as a standalone product.

After December 15th 2013 it would only have been possible to purchase ThinApp as a part of the Horizon Suite but these plans have now been binned and ThinApp will continue to be available as a standalone product.

To be honest, I didn’t know about the original announcement when it happened but it’s nice that VMware have listened to feedback and changed their stance. VMTN Subscription anyone??

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ThinApp 5.0 Gets 64-bit Support

thinapp-4.0-iconThinApp has been a version 4.x product almost since VMware acquired it in 2008. On Wednesday at VMworld version 5.0 was announced and it is expected to be generally available from the end of October 2013.

With a major version bump like this you’d rightly expect some significant changes. Perhaps the most significant of these is the inclusion of support for virtualising 64-bit applications.

There have also been some architectural changes to the level of virtualisation to increase and simplify application compatibility. Together these two enhancements are likely to mean that a greater range of applications can be virtualised – something that might have held some organisations back from adopting ThinApp in the past.

One other thing that we can apparently look forward to in ThinApp 5.0 is easier integration with persona management solutions. Great for Horizon View projects! Check out the full list of changes on this VMware blog posting.

For many I suspect, this will be a welcome and maybe long overdue release.

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vCOPS for View Free for Horizon Suite Customers

vcops-viewFrom the end of October 2013 (or thereabouts) vCenter Operations Manager for Horizon View is to be included as a part of VMware’s Horizon Suite.

The Horizon Suite is currently comprised of 4 major components:

  • Horizon View
  • Horizon Workspace
  • Horizon Mirage
  • ThinApp

Presumably this move is intended to act as an incentive for existing and potential EUC customers to adopt the entire Horizon Suite rather than build solutions that rely on only a subset of the components.

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vCAC 6.0 Announced

vCAC 6.0 was announced in Tuesday’s General Session and it’s expected to be generally available in mid-November 2013. For me, this is the most exciting announcement to come out of VMworld Europe. It’s all about building, deploying and managing application catalogs.

VMware acquired DynamicOps in mid-2012 and managed to rebrand and launch it as vCloud Automation Center 5.1 at VMworld last year. There has since been a 5.2 release but 6.0 includes some very significant changes. Two of the biggest are:

Appliances!

vCAC installation has historically been a bit of a pig. 5.2 has its own pre-requisite checker and a number of hoops to jump through to get it up and running. Jonathan Medd even recently produced a superb PowerShell script to automate the setup of the pre-requisites.

With 6.0 however, vCAC is being partially released as a virtual appliance by being broken down into several components. The IaaS (.NET) core is still hosted on Windows but the Self-Service portal and Application Director (see below) components are virtual appliances. The portal appliance includes a full instance of vCO.

On the face of it, deploying vCAC may seem more involved but having some key functionality hosted in virtual appliances is a sensible move in my opinion.

Say Hello to Application Director

There is now going to be greater integration with (vFabric) Application Director and the latter will actually be bundled with vCAC 6.0 although it will be distributed as a separate appliance. The point of this is to allow organisations to define and build applications (blueprints) in Application Director and then manage deployment and infrastructure through vCAC.

There’s a lab available in the Hands-on-Labs that showcases the vCAC 6.0 beta. Try it out.