Datacenter

VMware Skyline Customer Update

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Happy Holidays from the VMware Skyline team!   VMware Skyline™ Recent Announcements We made several exciting announcements last month at VMworld in Barcelona, including the GA of Version 2.0 and the availability of Skyline Log Assist™, new Inventory Filter feature, Data Segmentation and Enhanced User Access Permissions: Skyline Log Assist Eliminates the need for customers

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Breakthrough Visibility

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VMware Skyline™ is radically transforming customer support

By: Dale Ferrario

Customers like you that run business-critical operations on VMware environments need an infrastructure that’s always-on and optimized for peak performance. You expect fast, environment-specific remediation recommendations, and proactive analytics that identify problems before they occur.

We’re addressing these needs with VMware Skyline™: an innovative support technology, developed entirely by VMware Engineering, that provides VMware technical support engineers with extreme visibility into your environment.

Imagine if we knew your environment as well as you do. We could tell you - in advance - of a problem you’d have in the future. And then we gave you proactive, prescriptive, and predictive recommendations to fix the issue. And if you do need to call us with a problem, we have the visibility into your environment that lets us quickly diagnose your situation without a lot of effort and hours on your part.

Here’s how it works. Customers with active support subscriptions install the VMware Skyline Collector, a standalone appliance that automatically and securely collects product usage data such as configuration, feature, and performance data.

It then listens for changes, events and patterns and analyzes the information using a robust rules and machine learning engine. The rules engine is where an ever-growing library of support intelligence, product knowledge, and logic is stored to analyze inbound streams of product information.

It will alert when a customer has deviated from a VMware Validated Design or needs to align to a best practice configurations or patch level. Issues identified are fed into the analytics library - consisting of hundreds of detection rules - to allow us to solve the issue for multiple customers.

And you can rest assured knowing that we take privacy and security seriously - VMware Skyline has a robust privacy program. Customer data is transferred to VMware over an encrypted channel and is stored in a secure VMware repository in the US, operated by VMware.

Then the VMware Technical Support Engineer takes the analyzed, environment-specific data to provide prescriptive recommendations back to you to improve your environment’s reliability and stability.

Aligned to Global Services offerings, VMware Skyline is initially available for Premier Support customers with Production Support customer availability coming next year. Today VMware Skyline provides increased visibility for VMware vSphere and VMware NSX environments.  Additional products will be added over time.

With minimal administration, a rigorous privacy and security policy, and transformational value, VMware Skyline is a game changer for your support experience with VMware.

Sign up today to join our Managed Access program at   https://www.vmware.com/support/services/skyline.html

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I AM…all about modernizing data centers

VMworld 2017 Europe is getting closer (11-14 September). So start preparing your trip and go quickly to the content catalog to make a selection of program components that interest you the most! In some previous blogs, we have already made suggestions about transforming security, and digitizing the workspace, but also when looking for information about modernizing data centers, there are some interesting sessions.

Modernizing data centers
Technological developments are fast-pacing each other. So to remain competitive, organizations must invest in the digital transformation of all business processes. This transformation begins with the infrastructure, with data centers being crucial.

Cloud Management
Want to know more about modernizing data centers and cloud management? Don&#rsquo;t miss the following program components:

  • Break-out session: Case Study: How a Leading Health Insurance Provider Uses vRealize Business to Transform Its Cloud Initiative into a Cloud Business Management Practice [MGT1816BE]
  • Break-out session: Configuring a Hybrid Cloud with VMware Cloud Foundation: A Technical Deep Dive [PBO1757BE]

VRealize
From cloud to cloud management tools? Then you need to follow the sessions on the vRealize Suite and vRealize Automation:

  • Hands-on Lab: Automate IT - Make Private Cloud Easy [SPL180602E]
  • Break-out session: Case Study: VMware Cloud Foundation-Powered Private Cloud, Including Hands-On Labs [PBO2864BE]
  • Break-out session: Cloud Management Platform: Can I Get There From Here? [MGT2231BE]
  • Breakout session: Effectively Operating an Automated Cloud [MGT1758BE]

Cloud Management discussion
Are you looking for other IT experts to exchange ideas about cloud management and modernization of data centers? Then join the different group discussions:

  • Intelligent Operations Jam Session: SDDC Performance and Availability, Unified Management [MGT2588GE]
  • Modernizing Your Data Center with VMware Cloud Foundation: Group Discussion [PBO1224GE]
  • Using vRealize to Manage AWS as Part of Hybrid Cloud [MGT3169GE]
Register now and discover everything about modernizing data centers!
Book your ticket for VMworld 2017 Europe here!

Read more..

Four bottlenecks that can be solved with vSAN 6.6

Blog by Rory Choudhuri, Product Marketing Director at VMware. He discusses vSAN 6.6 and the HCI conversations partners can start having with stakeholders at all levels

In April, we launched the latest vSAN product update – vSAN6.6. vSAN is one of the most disruptive technologies in the infrastructure stack. More than 8,000 customers have already chosen to transform their data center, opting to virtualize their storage function and entrust their most important workloads to vSAN. The implementation sees the data centre transformed through a hyper-converged infrastructure, which combines server, storage and network functions, all managed via a software layer to help companies lower TCO, evolve without risk, and scale so they can prepare for any workload. And, of course, for that reason, we want our partners on the journey with us as you sell the solutions to your own customers.

We&#rsquo;ve deliberately developed our vSAN 6.6 kits with both the customer and partner in mind. Four new HCI Kit bundles provide an easy way for customers to get started with HCI – converging physical storage onto industry-standard servers – because they contain all the essential software needed to deploy a software-defined HCI solution. A customer can purchase any of these HCI software kits and deploy it on certified hardware from the server vendor of their choice. This simplifies the purchasing process for our channel partners, giving them a single software SKU for HCI. vSAN really does pose one of the strongest current opportunities for partners. With a HCI environment, the sales cycle tends to be turned around in 90 days. When you consider that a traditional storage solution takes around nine months, that means you can get things up and running far quicker.

What do you need to look out for when having conversations with your customers?
How do you spot the perfect opportunity to start discussing a move to a hyper-converged infrastructure with vSAN 6.6? These are the things to look out for:

  1. Budget constraints

Your customer has told you they&#rsquo;re concerned with the amount they are currently spending on storage – and won&#rsquo;t be able to sustain their current spending levels. Yet storage requirements are increasing 50% YoY – something has to change. By simplifying the storage function, vSAN significantly reduces Capex and Opex.

  1. Stretched resources and increased management complexity

They&#rsquo;re finding managing infrastructure in siloes not just increasingly complicated, but it&#rsquo;s getting harder to get a true overview of what&#rsquo;s happening across the estate. On top of that, their resources are limited – who has the time to manage silo by silo? Hyper-convergence breaks down these siloes, bringing all infrastructure into one place

  1. Their old infrastructure can&#rsquo;t help them evolve quick enough

We all know how quickly businesses need to be able to move to be competitive – are your customers saying that their infrastructures aren&#rsquo;t future-ready and can&#rsquo;t help them scale in time?

  1. Put the app in charge

Instead of individually configuring LUNs, and relying on your storage admin/architect, set storage policies for the environment. Let the software run the process, both for day 1 set up and ongoing day 2 management. Put the app in charge – that&#rsquo;s what defines the requirement after all.

vSAN 6.6 readily forms the basis of conversations with a number of stakeholders across the business, but they&#rsquo;re going to want to focus on different things. Here are our tips on the conversations you can lead with different people across your client organizations – and the benefits we see attracting each one.

With the CxO:
&#rsquo;vSAN can help you seamlessly evolve to a secure modern datacenter designed for tomorrow&#rsquo;s IT needs, at half the cost.&#rdquo;

With the IT Director/VP:
&#rsquo;With vSAN, IT spend can instead to go to strategic initiatives that actually meet businessdemand, rather than paying to keep the lights on.&#rdquo;

With the Infrastructure team
&#rsquo;vSAN offers performance and high resiliency for all types of workloads, including business-critical applications. It also has the bonus of running on the same technologies you&#rsquo;re already familiar with – if you know vSphere, you know vSAN.&#rdquo;

With storage Lead/Admin:
&#rsquo;vSAN 6.6 will let you simplify capacity planning by scaling compute and storage in tandem.&#rdquo;

We&#rsquo;re keen to work with our partners to help them help us make it even more successful. vSAN has recently won three industry awards for being the Product of the Year in this space. With the kits we&#rsquo;ve put together to help partners sell vSAN 6.6, now really is a great opportunity for our channel to get out there and start selling the software.

Want more information on selling vSAN?

  • Start with the Partner-Led vSAN Assessment
  • Visit Partner Central
  • Contact your VMware Partner Specialist at or your VMware Distributor

Read more..

How a virtual storage solution helped to address the challenges of a leading retailer

As one of Denmark&#rsquo;s leading retailers, Coop needed to ensure the best customer service at all times – and that requires keeping the infrastructure up and running continuously.

In this guest blog from our partner Atea, who worked closely with Coop on the project, they talk about the challenges the supermarket faced – and why a virtual storage solution with vSAN helped to address these.ATEAjust won both the EMEA and global 2016 Partner Innovation Award in the Digital Workspace area at our Partner Leadership Summit.

How to create a digital business supported with the right technology?
That&#rsquo;s one of the most common conversations we have with our customers at Atea. We&#rsquo;re finding most business leaders understand the need for evolved infrastructures that can support agility and help them remain competitive, but it&#rsquo;s in the low-margin retail space we&#rsquo;re especially seeing calls for achieving this with the lowest possible cost.

So how can retailers create an environment that will help them move fast, but won&#rsquo;t have an impact on those profit margins?
Let me talk to you about our work in the space with Coop Denmark, a customer of ours for the past five years.

Coop had to find innovative ways of ensuring it can cut costs while delivering great customer experience. Achieving this in a highly-saturated retail market is no mean feat, especially when you consider the fact that it needs to tackle an increasingly complex range of systems, applications and processes that require a strong, resilient infrastructure – all the way from stock control and POS terminals to supply chain integration.

For years, Coop had to rely on infrastructure that enables its systems to work all of the time. After all, if just one of its 5,100 point of sale (POS) terminals in one of its 1,200 stores goes down, not only does the company risk losing money, it can also suffer reputational damage which can affect customer loyalty in the long-term. Stopping a customer from buying their essentials just once can prevent Coop from making money from that customer ever again.

For Coop, the challenge to ensure ongoing business continuity grew exponentially as the retailer expanded and it soon became apparent that it needed more storage to ensure it would always be &#lsquo;on&#rsquo;. One solution to this was to enable expansion by repeatedly building virtual machines on top of physical infrastructure – but this meant that its estate was tough to manage and hard to control because a lack of visibility. It was also a more expensive method of expanding storage.

A helping hand
It was clear to Coop that a new way of thinking was required when it came to managing its storage - and it was at this point they came to us at Atea for a solution. Our early conversations with Coop taught us that it didn&#rsquo;t just want a solution to fix IT system crashes in-store, instead, it wanted a solution that ensures stability all of the time – thus reducing the need to fix IT issues. We needed to offer a proactive rather than a reactive solution.

Once we were on board, we quickly suggested that Coop build its datacentre on a virtual storage solution with VMware vSAN. With the help of VMware we were able to show how a software-defined approach to storage would help to create a more agile, secure and more reliable business – all while saving money.

A project of this scale can at times feel daunting to many but we always work as closely with VMware as possible to ensure a streamlined process. VMware worked on the design, while we handled the implementation. This was our first experience of deploying vSAN at that capacity, performance and scale – and it was a huge success.

Simplified datacentre
One of the key vSAN features Coop wanted to exploit was failure domains; the ability multiple data centres where if one site ever goes down, a second can carry on completely uninterrupted while intelligently creating and keeping a back-up of data. This would have been incredibly difficult to do with a legacy storage vendor and could have caused a lot of business disruption. Instead, Coop now can ensure that in the rare instance that one of its data centres does down, its systems will remain active – meaning that transactions can be processed and that customers are left satisfied with the customer service they&#rsquo;ve received.

Atea is proud to have helped Coop to have moved towards software-defined storage that underpins every business process - all the way from the tills in the stores, through to the provisioning of goods from the warehouses and ultimately the customer experience.

How a virtual storage solution helped to address the challenges of a leading retailer

As one of Denmark&#rsquo;s leading retailers, Coop needed to ensure the best customer service at all times – and that requires keeping the infrastructure up and running continuously.

In this guest blog from our partner Atea, who worked closely with Coop on the project, they talk about the challenges the supermarket faced – and why a virtual storage solution with vSAN helped to address these.ATEAjust won both the EMEA and global 2016 Partner Innovation Award in the Digital Workspace area at our Partner Leadership Summit.

How to create a digital business supported with the right technology?
That&#rsquo;s one of the most common conversations we have with our customers at Atea. We&#rsquo;re finding most business leaders understand the need for evolved infrastructures that can support agility and help them remain competitive, but it&#rsquo;s in the low-margin retail space we&#rsquo;re especially seeing calls for achieving this with the lowest possible cost.

So how can retailers create an environment that will help them move fast, but won&#rsquo;t have an impact on those profit margins?
Let me talk to you about our work in the space with Coop Denmark, a customer of ours for the past five years.

Coop had to find innovative ways of ensuring it can cut costs while delivering great customer experience. Achieving this in a highly-saturated retail market is no mean feat, especially when you consider the fact that it needs to tackle an increasingly complex range of systems, applications and processes that require a strong, resilient infrastructure – all the way from stock control and POS terminals to supply chain integration.

For years, Coop had to rely on infrastructure that enables its systems to work all of the time. After all, if just one of its 5,100 point of sale (POS) terminals in one of its 1,200 stores goes down, not only does the company risk losing money, it can also suffer reputational damage which can affect customer loyalty in the long-term. Stopping a customer from buying their essentials just once can prevent Coop from making money from that customer ever again.

For Coop, the challenge to ensure ongoing business continuity grew exponentially as the retailer expanded and it soon became apparent that it needed more storage to ensure it would always be &#lsquo;on&#rsquo;. One solution to this was to enable expansion by repeatedly building virtual machines on top of physical infrastructure – but this meant that its estate was tough to manage and hard to control because a lack of visibility. It was also a more expensive method of expanding storage.

A helping hand
It was clear to Coop that a new way of thinking was required when it came to managing its storage - and it was at this point they came to us at Atea for a solution. Our early conversations with Coop taught us that it didn&#rsquo;t just want a solution to fix IT system crashes in-store, instead, it wanted a solution that ensures stability all of the time – thus reducing the need to fix IT issues. We needed to offer a proactive rather than a reactive solution.

Once we were on board, we quickly suggested that Coop build its datacentre on a virtual storage solution with VMware vSAN. With the help of VMware we were able to show how a software-defined approach to storage would help to create a more agile, secure and more reliable business – all while saving money.

A project of this scale can at times feel daunting to many but we always work as closely with VMware as possible to ensure a streamlined process. VMware worked on the design, while we handled the implementation. This was our first experience of deploying vSAN at that capacity, performance and scale – and it was a huge success.

Simplified datacentre
One of the key vSAN features Coop wanted to exploit was failure domains; the ability multiple data centres where if one site ever goes down, a second can carry on completely uninterrupted while intelligently creating and keeping a back-up of data. This would have been incredibly difficult to do with a legacy storage vendor and could have caused a lot of business disruption. Instead, Coop now can ensure that in the rare instance that one of its data centres does down, its systems will remain active – meaning that transactions can be processed and that customers are left satisfied with the customer service they&#rsquo;ve received.

Atea is proud to have helped Coop to have moved towards software-defined storage that underpins every business process - all the way from the tills in the stores, through to the provisioning of goods from the warehouses and ultimately the customer experience.

Read more..

Five key cloud-native trends that are expected to boom

Guest blog byKit Colbert, CTO of the Cloud Platform Business Unit at VMware.

No doubt about it, 2016 was the year of the container. With new open source projects launched by major players across the board (including VMware, which launched vSphere Integrated Containers as an open source project), the momentum behind containerized, cloud-native infrastructure is undeniable.Here are five things we expect to see this year.

Kubernetes will break away from the pack of container schedulers
In 2016, a three-horse race emerged in the container scheduler space between Docker Swarm, Kubernetes and Mesos. We predict that Kubernetes will take the lead. At VMware, we&#rsquo;re already starting to see increased interest in Kubernetes from users, vendors and the open source community, and at VMworld EMEA lastyear, we introduced Kubernetes as a Service on our Photon Platform.

Containers will increasingly use virtualization technologies
Today&#rsquo;s containers rely on technologies built into the Linux kernel – including control groups and namespaces – to isolate containers from each other on the host machine. But a number of companies are already experimenting with using lightweight operating systems and the virtualization features baked into modern CPUs to transparently start a lightweight VM for each container that&#rsquo;s launched. This approach could potentially increase isolation and security for containers without adding any additional overhead, and we predict you&#rsquo;ll hear big noise around the idea in the coming year.

Container persistence technologies will mature and start seeing production use
Thus far, most containers are &#rsquo;stateless&#rdquo; – in other words, the data inside the container is destroyed when the container instance shuts down, and any necessary application state must be stored in an external database or other form of storage service. This is largely due to the immaturity of the container persistence technologies available on the market today. However, with the advent of new capabilities like Kubernetes&#rsquo; PetSets, up-and-coming technologies like those from PortWorx, and our own container persistence efforts such as the Docker volume driver for vSphere, we&#rsquo;ll soon see increased levels of maturity for container persistence, and we&#rsquo;ll finally start seeing stateful containers in production use.

The number of container security solutions will explode
Security is top of mind for most container users – it rates high in survey after survey. It should, as the security issues around containers are wide-ranging. Container images may include old versions of libraries with security vulnerabilities. Linux containers share a kernel and thus expose a porous security boundary. And container networking security is still in its infancy. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel; as we start to see more and more production use of containers, companies will increasingly demand security solutions to ensure their critical applications and data and not unduly exposed. A great many companies are working on ways to address this demand – including VMware with NSX –and you can expect to see some exciting new solutions emerge in the next 12 months.

Pivotal Cloud Foundry will get the credit it deserves
Container technologies have stolen the spotlight over the last several years. Meanwhile, the Pivotal Cloud Foundry (PCF) open source cloud-native application platform has been silently building up a large customer base of loyal cl