All posts by Chris Ward

VMworld 2015: A Summary of Major Announcements from VMware

Earlier in the week, I posted recap blogs from Monday and Tuesday’s general sessions at VMworld. Below is a summary of the major announcements from VMware that came out of the event (with my own minor tweaks).


vCloud Air:

Disaster Recovery OnDemand™: VMware will add a pay-for-what-you-consume pricing option to VMware vCloud Air Disaster Recovery. Customers will pay a flat fee for each VM protected and the amount of storage consumed by the VMs. When a DR test is run or a DR event occurs, customers will only pay for the compute consumed when VMs are running.

Site Recovery Manager Air™: Site Recovery Manager Air is a SaaS offering that will provide VMware vCloud Air Disaster Recovery customers with a comprehensive management solution for designing, testing, executing and orchestrating centralized business continuity and disaster recovery plans. VMware Site Recovery Manager Air will enable fast, reliable and orchestrated recovery of multi-VM applications and data centers protected in VMware vCloud Air.

VMware vCloud Air Object StorageVMware vCloud Air Object Storage is a portfolio of highly scalable, reliable and cost effective storage services for unstructured data. VMware vCloud Air Object Storage powered by Google Cloud Platform is based on Google Cloud Storage and integrated into vCloud Air OnDemand. VMware vCloud Air Object Storage powered by EMC is based on EMC ViPR, offered by EMC Cloud Services and integrated into vCloud Air OnDemand. VMware vCloud Air Object Storage will be easy to setup and exceptionally durable and available, and will reduce the need for data protection with built-in redundancy. It will support global access use cases with easy access from any device, anywhere, anytime.

VMware vCloud Air SQL – VMware vCloud Air SQL is a new database as a service offering that will provide easy access to scalable, cloud-hosted relational databases. Delivered in a cost-efficient pay-as-you-go model, and built on the trusted foundation of vSphere, vCloud Air SQL will support hybrid data solutions that seamlessly and securely extend on-premises databases to the cloud. VMware vCloud Air SQL will support Microsoft SQL Server, with a variety of memory, compute and storage options, and plans to support other relational databases in the future.


VMware NSX™ 6.2 – VMware NSX 6.2 enables organizations to achieve application continuity through disaster recovery and metro-pooling for more efficient use of resources throughout a single data center and across data centers. With VMware NSX, customers can reduce recovery time objectives by as much as 80%. VMware NSX 6.2 also adds better integration with physical infrastructure, enabling simplified and consistent operations for the entire data center network and the extension of micro-segmentation to physical servers. Finally, new capabilities such as Traceflow and Central CLI further simplify operations and visibility.

VMware vRealize™ Operations™ 6.1 – VMware vRealize Operations 6.1 will deliver a consistent management framework as organizations evolve from the private cloud and adopt technologies for the hybrid cloud. With the new Intelligent Workload Placement capability, VMware vRealize Operations will match the workload to a customer’s specific IT and business needs, and recommend the best placement location. Proactive Rebalancing enables customers to continually meet those needs. Operating system and application monitoring will be available natively in VMware vRealize Operations and predictive analytics help IT proactively identify and avoid potential issues across infrastructure and application stacks from a unified self-learning management solution.

vRealize Log Insight™ 3 – New features in vRealize Log Insight 3 will include double the scale and performance to 15,000 messages per second, improvements in fault tolerance around clustering, analytics improvements with new charting options and query snapshots, improved integration with vRealize Operations, and improvements in Big Data style query execution.

VMware Integrated OpenStack 2VMware Integrated OpenStack 2 will be based on OpenStack Kilo, making it current with upstream OpenStack code, and will include an industry-first seamless upgrade capability that will address one of the largest deployment and operational challenges for OpenStack clouds. VMware Integrated OpenStack will also include enhancements such as load-balancing as a service, Ceilometer and Heat Auto Scaling to make VMware-based OpenStack clouds more scalable, performant and resilient. VMware also announced VMware Integrated OpenStack will be available to service providers through the VMware vCloud Air Network program. Read this blog to learn more about VMware Integrated OpenStack 2.

VMware Site Recovery Manager 6.1 – VMware Site Recovery Manager 6.1 will integrate with VMware NSX 6.2, enabling IT to use network virtualization to simplify disaster recovery management and accelerate recovery in the software-defined data center. VMware Site Recovery Manager will orchestrate the live migration of VMs at scale between sites by automating cross-vCenter vMotion operations, enabling zero downtime disaster avoidance and data center migrations. VMware Site Recovery Manager will interoperate with VMware vSphere Storage Policy-Based Management to enable automatic, policy-based disaster protection for VMs. VMware Site Recovery Manager will now add support for stretched cluster solutions including EMC VPLEX, Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform and IBM San Volume Controller. Read this blog to learn more about Site Recovery Manager 6.1.

VMware vSphere APIs for IO Filtering – VMware vSphere APIs for IO Filtering will enable ecosystem partners including Asigra, EMC, Infinio, PrimaryIO, Samsung, SanDisk and StorageCraft to offer third party software-based data services such as replication and caching. These data services will be fully integrated in vSphere and managed through vSphere Storage Policy-Based Management, which is the same framework used to manage all the software-defined storage services in vSphere.


GreenPages is hosting a webinar on 9/16, “How to Increase Your IT Equity: Deploying a Build-Operate-Transform Model for IT Operations” . Learn how to create long-term value for your organization and meet the increasing demand for services. Register now!


By Chris Ward, CTO

VMworld 2015: Day Two Recap

In this post, I’ll recap Day 2 of VMworld 2015 (you can find a recap of day 1 here).

Over the past several years, Tuesday’s general session has been focused on the End User Computing space, and this year was no exception. Sanjay Poonen, the head of VMware’s EUC business unit, kicked things off by talking about how the overall VMware SDDC strategy is making the desktop/application virtualization story stronger than ever. He highlighted tighter integration between AirWatch, Horizon, and NSX as being keys to the future success of the EUC business unit. There was a lot of focus on VMware’s recently released Identity Management solution.  This solution comes in two flavors, one being embedded in specific editions of the AirWatch mobile management platform and the second being a standalone product which does utilize some of the Airwatch back end functionality. Both are primarily SaaS base offerings. In my mind, this is a shot across the bow of Microsoft as more and more customers continue to migrate data into O365. VMware sees this as a huge threat, not because of the email migration, but because many customers are also deploying O365/Azure based Active Directory services and they see Microsoft “owning” or becoming the authoritative source for all authentication to all apps.  VMware wants to be in the game of being that hub at the center of the authentication chain. 

Sanjay then brought up Jim Alkove from Microsoft to the stage.  So, you’re probably thinking, based on the last paragraph, “why would VMware and Microsoft be holding hands on stage at VMworld?” Well, Microsoft is a big company and while there is a lot of competition between the two in some areas (Azure, Hyper-V, etc), there is a good amount of cooperation in others (Windows 10 in this case). Jim and Sanjay talked about how VMware has made use of some of the new Windows 10 embedded management features to greatly expand the AirWatch platform capabilities around Windows 10 management. While this won’t have an immediate impact, as organizations make the move to Windows 10, AirWatch can provide a very solid management platform that spans just about any type of device a user could have (iOS to Android to a Windows based desktop/laptop/tablet). Along with this was the announcement of Project A2.  This is a combination of AppVolumes application virtualization capabilities being managed by AirWatch to enable virtual apps to be pushed to physical Windows 10 based machines.  Again, a big expansion of mobile management into a more traditional desktop/laptop platform.

Next up, finally, was Pat Gelsinger (CEO of VMware).  His presentation was much different this year as he focused very high level and in general (non-VMware specific) terms about 5 imperatives for businesses across any vertical to succeed in the mobile/cloud world.  Below is a synopsis of those 5 imperatives.

1. Innovate like a start-up, deliver like an enterprise: Nimble startups are thriving in the mobile-cloud era, while large, stagnant corporations are being threatened for failing to innovate. As Eric Pearson, CIO of IHG, said earlier this week, “It’s no longer the big companies beating the small companies, it’s now the fast beating the slow.”

2. Embrace Unified Hybrid Cloud: The journey to the cloud is maturing as the industry shifts from experimentation to professional delivery. Unified hybrid cloud is bridging the gap between personal and private cloud so that organizations can take advantage of the best of both worlds.

3. Architect with security in mind: Instead of adding security in as a last minute feature, organizations need to choose solutions that have robust security capabilities built in from the start. Virtualization helps provide the foundational level of security to protect the people, apps, and data that keep organizations running.

4. Automate everything to predict (almost) anything: The next major wave of innovative technology is automated smart technology that knows what to do before you tell it to. Apps, big data, and analytics are the building blocks behind these emerging forms of proactive technology, and the businesses that know how to use them will come out on top.

5. Take risks to stand out: Businesses that don’t take risks and focus on innovation will not survive the next decade. And, as IT professionals, we must constantly lead the charge for change.

In the next post, I’ll summarize all the major announcements around the VMware solutions set that came out of the event.


GreenPages is hosting a webinar on 9/16, “How to Increase Your IT Equity: Deploying a Build-Operate-Transform Model for IT Operations” . Learn how to create long-term value for your organization and meet the increasing demand for services. Register Now!



By Chris Ward, CTO


VMworld 2015: Day One Recap

It was a long but good week out west for VMworld 2015. This year’s event was kicked off by Carl Eschenbach (COO) who said there were roughly 23,000 attendees at the event this year, a new record. Carl highlighted that the core challenges seen today by VMware’s customers are speed, innovation, productivity, agility, security, and cost.  Not a huge surprise based on what I have seen with our customer base. Carl then went into how VMware could help customers overcome these challenges and broke the solutions up into categories of run, build, deliver, and secure. The overarching message here was that VMware is keenly focused on making the first three (run, build, and deliver) easier and focusing on security across all of the various product/solution sets in the portfolio.  Carl also hit on freedom, flexibility, and choice as being core to VMware, meaning that they are committed to working with any and all vendors/solutions/products, both upstream in the software world and downstream in the hardware world.  We’ve heard this message now for a couple of years and it’s obvious that VMware is making strides in that area (one example being more and more Openstack integration points).


Carl then began discussing the concept of a single Unified Hybrid Cloud.  In a way, this is very similar to GreenPages’ CMaaS messaging in that we don’t necessarily care where systems and applications physically reside because we can provide a single pane of glass to manage and monitor regardless of location.  In the case of VMware, this means having a common vSphere based infrastructure in the datacenter or in the cloud and allowing seamless movement of applications across various private or public environments.

Carl then introduced Bill Fathers, the general manager for vCloud Air.  Apparently, the recent rumors regarding the death of vCloud Air were greatly exaggerated as it was front and center in both keynotes and during Sunday’s partner day. As far as vCloud Air adoption, Bill said that VMware is seeing the most traction in the areas of DR, application scaling, and mobile development.

Bill brought Raghu Raghuram, who runs the infrastructure and management (SDDC) business, up on stage with him. Ragu, again, kept the conversation at a high level and touched on the rise of the hybrid application and how VMware’s Unified Hybrid Cloud strategy could address this.  A hybrid application is one in which some components (typically back end databases) run in the traditional on premise datacenter while other components (web servers, middleware servers, etc.) run in a public cloud environment. This really ties into the age old concept of “cloud bursting,” where one might need to spin up a lot of web servers for a short period of time (black Friday for retail, Valentine’s day for flower shops, etc.) then spin them back down. This has really been a bit of science fiction to date, as most applications were never developed with this in mind and, thus, don’t necessarily play nice in this world.  However, VMware (and I can personally attest to this via conversations with customers) is seeing more and more customers develop “cloud native” applications which ARE designed to work in this way. I would agree, this will be a very powerful cloud use case over the next 12-24 months. I see GreenPages being very well position to add a ton of value for our customers in this area, as we have strong teams on both the infrastructure and cloud native application development sides of the equation.

Another tight collaboration between Bill and Raghu’s teams is Project Skyscraper; the concept of Cross-Cloud vMotion, which, as the name would imply, is the process of moving a live running virtual machine between a private cloud and vCloud Air (or vice versa) with literally zero downtime.  Several technologies come together to make this happen including NSX to provide the layer 2 stretch between the environments and shared nothing vMotion/vSphere replication  to handle the data replication and actual movement of the VM.  While this is very cool and makes for a great demo, I do question why you would want to do a lot of it. As we know, there is much more to moving an existing application to a cloud environment than simply forklifting what you have today.  Typically, you’ll want to re-architect the application to take full advantage of what the public cloud can offer. But, if you simply want an active/active datacenter and/or stretch cluster setup and don’t have your own secondary datacenter or co-lo facility to build it, this could be a quick way to get there.

Following Raghu was Rodney Rogers CEO of Virtustream, the hosting provider recently acquired by EMC and the rumored death nail to vCloud Air.  Rodney did a great job explaining where Virtustream fits in the cloud arena. It is essentially a place to host business critical tier 1 applications, like SAP, in a public cloud environment.  I won’t go into deep technical detail, but Virtustream has found a way to make hosting these large critical applications cost effective in a robust/resilient way. I believe the core message here was that Virtustream and vCloud Air are a bit like apples and oranges and that neither is going away. I do believe at some point soon we’ll be hearing about some form of consolidation between the two so stay tuned!

Ray O’Farrell, the newly appointed CTO and longtime CDO (Chief Development Officer), was next up on the stage.  He started off talking about containers (Docker, Kubernetes, etc.) in a general sense.  He quickly went on to show some pretty cool extensions that VMware is working on so that the virtualization admins can have visibility into the container level via traditional management tools such as the vCenter Web Client.  This is a bit of a blind spot currently as the VMware management tools can drill down to the virtual machine level but not any additional partitioning (such as containers) which may exist within virtual machines.  Additionally, Ray announced Project Photon. It’s basically a super thin hypervisor based on the vSphere kernel which would act as a container platform within the VMware ecosystem. The platform consists of a controller which VMware will release as open source and a ‘machine’ which will be proprietary to VMware as part of the Photon Platform but will be a paid subscription service.  Additionally, there will be an integrated bundle of the Pivotal Cloud Foundry platform bundled with Photon as another subscription option.  It’s apparent that VMware is really driving hard into the developer space, but it remains to be seen if workloads like big data and containers will embrace a virtual platform. I’ll post a recap of Tuesday’s general session tomorrow!

GreenPages is hosting a webinar on 9/16, “How to Increase Your IT Equity: Deploying a Build-Operate-Transform Model for IT Operations” . Learn how to create long-term value for your organization and meet the increasing demand for services. Register Now!


By Chris Ward, CTO

The Emerging Technology Landscape: The New, the Hot, and the Unconventional

I recently did a video to discuss the emerging technology landscape around three primary areas:

  1. Revamping traditional customer-owned infrastructure
  2. Mobility
  3. Security

On the traditional side, hyper-converged infrastructure is huge. Players including SimpliVity, Nutanix and VMware with EVO:RAIL will be making a big impact over the next 12 months. We’re also seeing a lot of traction with our customer base around what they should move to a cloud environment. How do you rationalize your application portfolio? What about the people and process piece? How are you going to operationalize the technology you implement? How do you get your teams trained to be able to handle new challenges? This is where GreenPages’ Transformation Services really comes into play.

As far as mobility goes, security and access are huge here. Organizations need to look into segmenting mobile devices. For example, cutting a phone in half – having a personal side of the phone and a business side of the phone. Employees can have personal apps and games on one side and have the other be for business critical applications. The business side can be locked down and if an employee leaves, the business side can be wiped while leaving the personal side of the phone alone.

Enjoy the video & please reach out with any questions or comments!


Download eBook – The Evolution of Your Corporate IT Department



By Chris Ward, CTO, LogicsOne

Leap Second Adjustment Reminder

Very quick post here. In case you haven’t heard, or to serve as a reminder, the International Earth Rotation & Reference Systems Service has called for an extra second to be added to Coordinated Universal Time on June 30th to ensure the correct alignment of astronomical and atomic time. It’s the 26th leap second adjustment since 1972. This could affect your environment!

Here is some more information on the leap second adjustment.

Let us know if you have any questions about the impact this could have on your organization.

leap second adjustment



By Chris Ward, CTO


Photo credit:

vSphere 6, vSAN 6 & Other Key Announcements from VMware PEX

Well, there’s nothing like coming back to the beautiful 4 ft. of New England snow after having been in the temperate climate of the bay area for the past week.  Might be time to consider becoming a snow bird!  In any case, there was a lot of news coming out of the VMware Partner Exchange (PEX) event over the course of the past week.  The 3 major announcements were vSphere 6.0, vSAN 6.0, and the VMware/Google partnership.  There was also some interesting news from EMC in relation to their highly anticipated launch into the hyper-converged market and the announcement of VSPEX Blue.  Today, I’ll cover the highlights of these announcements starting with vSphere 6.0.

vSphere 6

vSphere 6.0

vSphere 6.0 represents one of the, if not the, biggest launches in the history of VMware.  The core themes of vSphere 6 are scale and elasticity.  I won’t go through every new bell and whistle in this post but will focus on the highlights which include increased scale, cloud readiness and elasticity, storage, and high availability improvements.  First, on the scaling front, basically everything has doubled from vSphere 5.5:  64 hosts per cluster rather than 32, 12TB of RAM per host, 480 CPUs per host, etc.  When it comes to individual VMs, the same holds true with support for 128 vCPUs and 4TB RAM per VM.  I would love to see a system that runs VMs of that scale!

In the cloud readiness/elasticity arena, we now have more truly federated vCenters with shared catalogs, templates, etc. between them.  WAY better than simple Linked Mode of the past.  We also finally have the long awaited long distance vMotion capability supporting up to 100ms of latency and breaking the old layer 2 network boundaries. However, beware of the large pipes required to really make it sing!  Perhaps one of the most interesting new features is Instant Clone, which allows instantaneously cloning a running VM in memory.  This is going to be a great leap forward for developers, virtual desktop environments, or anywhere else where fast cloning can be utilized.

On the storage front, we saw the official introduction of Virtual Volumes (vVOL) into vSphere.  Essentially, vVOL enables storage management at the VM rather than the LUN level which can greatly simplify management.  This has been talked about for several years but is now finally a reality and we should see the majority of storage vendors offering supporting solutions very soon.  We also saw that vSphere Data Protection Advanced (vDPA) is now just rolled into the vSphere product rather than requiring additional licensing.  If you’re an EMC Avamar customer, this is great news as you’ll be able to integrate and replicate your vDPA backups to your physical Avamar appliances.  If you’ve been looking at vSphere replication, there are some great enhancements there as well, including network compression and fast full sync.  In the HA area, we’ve long awaited multi-vCPU(up to 4) support for Fault Tolerance. I believe we’ll see some actual use of this cool new feature now that it can protect higher end VMs.

vSAN 6.0 was rolled out as part of the vSphere 6.0 announcement.  As you probably know, vSAN is the idea of taking local server storage across multiple hosts and clustering it together to create a pool of primary storage capacity without the requirement of a traditional external shared storage architecture.  vSAN 1.0 was released a little more than a year ago and is the underlying foundation of the EVO:Rail hyper-converged solutions on the market today.  The problem was, while it did work, vSAN 1.0 was missing several capabilities required to really bring it into the production primary storage conversation.  Many of those missing links are now filled in with vSAN 6.0.

vSAN 6.0 now supports an ‘all flash’ configuration allowing persistent data to be stored on the flash drives, whereas in 1.0 the flash was used only for caching.  We also have a new file system format with vSAN 6.0, providing much more efficient snapshots and increased overall performance.  Support for VMDKs up to 62TB and up to 64 vSAN nodes in a cluster bring it online with the new vSphere 6 max configs.

On the HA front, with vSAN 6.0, you can now have fault domains. This basically gives you the ability to recover from a full rack failure, as well as a host failure (assuming you have a good number of hosts in your cluster).  Finally, there is greater visibility from a health and troubleshooting perspective built into vSAN 6.0, which should allow it to find its way into more production environments.

The final big announcement at the event was the partnership with Google to provide some of the Google cloud services within the vCloud Air platform.  My colleague Tim Cook will be posting a separate segment covering the details of that partnership.

So, when can you download the bits and get all of this goodness in your own environment?  Well, I don’t have a hard date, but my guess is we’ll see the GA code released sometime before the end of March.  As always, feel free to reach out if you would like more information.

If you’d like to speak with Chris in any more detail about these announcements, feel free to email us at

By Chris Ward, CTO


Gartner Data Center Conference: Success in the Cloud & Software Defined Technologies

I just returned from the Gartner Data Center conference in Vegas and wanted to convey some of the highlights of the event.  This was my first time attending a Gartner conference, and I found it pretty refreshing as they do take an agnostic approach to all of their sessions unlike a typical vendor sponsored event like VMWorld, EMC World, Cisco Live, etc.  Most of the sessions I attended were around cloud and software defined technologies.  Below, I’ll bullet out what I consider to be highlights from a few of the sessions.

Building Successful Private/Hybrid Clouds –


  • Gartner sees the majority of private cloud deployments being unsuccessful. Here are some common reasons for that…
    • Focusing on the wrong benefits. It’s not all about cost in $$. In cloud, true ROI is measured in agility vs dollars and cents
    • Doing too little. A virtualized environment does not equal a private cloud. You must have automation, self-service, monitoring/management, and metering in place at a minimum.
    • Doing too much. Putting applications/workloads in the private cloud that don’t make sense to live there. Not everything is a fit nor can take full advantage of what cloud offers.
    • Failure to change operational models. It’s like being trained to drive an 18 wheeler then getting behind the wheel of a Ferrari and wondering why you ran into that tree.
    • Failure to change funding model. You must, at a minimum, have a show back mechanism so the business will understand the costs, otherwise they’ll just throw the kitchen sink into the cloud.
    • Using the wrong technologies. Make sure you understand the requirements of your cloud and choose the proper vendors/technologies. Incumbents may not necessarily be the right choice in all situations.
  • Three common use cases for building out a private cloud include outsourcing commodity functions, renovating infrastructure and operations, and innovation/experimentation…but you have to have a good understanding of each of these to be successful (see above).
  • There is a big difference between doing cloud to drive bottom line (cost) savings vs top line (innovation) revenue expansion. Know ‘why’ you are doing cloud!
  • On the hybrid front, it is very rare today to see fully automated environments that span private and public as the technology still has some catching up to do. That said, it will be reality within 24 months without a doubt.
  • In most situations, only 20-50% of all applications/workloads will (or should) live in the cloud infrastructure (private or public) with the remaining living in traditional frameworks. Again, not everything can benefit from the goodness that cloud can bring.

Open Source Management Tools (Free or Flee) –


  • Organizations with fewer than 2500 employees typically look at open source tools to save on cost while larger organizations are interested in competitive advantage and improved security.
  • Largest adoption is in the areas of monitoring and server configuration while cloud management platforms (i.e. openstack), networking (i.e. open daylight), and containers (i.e. docker) are gaining momentum.
  • When considering one of these tools, very important to look at how active the community is to ensure relevancy of the tool
  • Where is open source being used in the enterprise today? Almost half (46%) of deployments are departmental while only about 12% of deployments are considered strategic to the overall organization.
  • Best slide I saw at the event which pretty much sums up open source….


Gartner Data Center Conference


If this makes you excited, then maybe open source is for you.  If not, then perhaps you should run away!

3 Questions to Ask Your SDN Vendor –

  • First, a statistic…organization which fail to properly integrate their virtualization and networking teams will see a 3x longer MTR (mean time to resolution) of issues vs those who do properly integrate the teams
  • There are approximately 500 true production SDN deployments in the world today
  • The questions to ask…
    • How to prevent network congestion caused by dynamic workload placement
    • How to connect to bare metal (non-virtualized) servers
    • How to integrate management and visibility between the underlay/overlay
  • There are numerous vendors in this space, it’s not just VMware and Cisco.
  • Like private cloud, you really have to do SDN for the right reasons to be successful.
  • Last year at this conference, there were 0 attendees who indicated they had investigated or deployed SDN. This year, 14% of attendees responded positively.


If you’re interested in a deeper discussion around what I heard at the conference, let me know and I’ll be happy to continue to dialogue.


By Chris Ward, CTO. Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisWardTech . You can also download his latest whitepaper on data center transformation.



VMworld 2014 Recap: SDDC, EUC & Hybrid Cloud

By Chris Ward, CTO   Another year, another VMworld in the books. It was a great event this year with some key announcements and updates. First, some interesting stats: The top 3 strategic priorities for VMware remain unchanged (Software Defined Datacenter/Enterprise, End User Computing, and Hybrid Cloud).  Some interesting numbers presented included on premise infrastructure…Read More »

VMware Horizon 6: Updates, Improvements, and Licensing Changes

By Chris Ward, CTO

I got a late start on this blog post but I’m a fan of the saying “better late than never!”  VMware officially shipped Horizon 6, the long awaited major update, to its end user computing product set late last month. There are numerous updates and improvements across the product set with this major release, but there is also a change in how it is licensed. In the past Horizon was consumed either as individual products (VIEW, Mirage, Workspace, etc.) or as a suite which included all components. With this new release, VMware has transitioned to its traditional product hierarchy which includes Horizon Standard, Advanced, and Enterprise editions.  

Each edition builds on previous versions with additional features added into the mix. The Standard edition basically amounts to what we’ve known as VIEW in the past.  It is the baseline VDI feature set inclusive of the connection and security servers, PCoIP protocol, ThinApp application virtualization, and linked clone functionality. Moving to the Advanced edition adds in the Mirage management, Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH), Horizon Workspace, and vSAN integration.  The Enterprise edition adds vCOPS monitoring and vCAC/vCenter Orchestrator integration.

One of the more exciting features of Horizon 6 is RDSH application publishing. This is a big deal because it’s been a glaring missing checkbox when comparing Horizon to Citrix in the past. This feature allows you to configure Windows terminal server (RDSH) farms which are configured to publish individual applications rather than full desktop sessions, very closely resembling Citrix XenApp. Why’s this a big deal?  Well, it can save a lot of back end horsepower when you can have 50 users share a single RDSH VM to run a few applications rather than needing 50 desktop VMs in traditional VDI. This allows a more flexible architecture so you can deliver each application in the best way possible, rather than being forced into deploying only full desktop operating systems. 

Mirage integration with the traditional VIEW product has improved as well.  While not 100% there, you can now get some of the Mirage OS/application layering functionality inside the VDI environment while still being able to use Mirage in its native capacity as a physical desktop management platform.  vSAN integration is a big step forward in potentially minimizing the typically large storage costs for a VDI environment, and the inclusion of vCOPS in the Enterprise edition is great as it provides very deep insight into what’s going on under the covers with your Horizon infrastructure, including deep PCoIP analytics.  Finally, the Workspace component of Horizon has improved greatly, allowing you to provide your end users with a single web page whereby they can access VDI desktops, RDSH based published applications, Citrix XenApp published applications, ThinApp packaged applications, and SaaS based apps such as Office365, Google Apps, etc.

With this release, VMware seems to be delivering on its promise that the EUC space is one of its 3 strategic focus areas.  I look forward to further improvements, along with the integration of Airwatch into the Horizon family in upcoming releases. For now, Horizon 6 is a very big step in the right direction. 

Have you tried or migrated to Horizon 6 since the launch?  If so, please share your thoughts!


Are you interested in learning about how you can extend your data center into the cloud with VMware vCloud Hybrid Service? Register for our upcoming webinar!



vCOPS? vCAC? Where and When It Makes Sense to Use VMware Management Solutions

By Chris Ward, CTO


I’ve been having a lot of conversations recently, both internally and with customers, around management strategies and tools related to virtualized and cloud infrastructures.  There are many solutions out there and, as always, there is not a one size fits all silver bullet to solve all problems.  VMware in particular has several solutions in their Cloud Infrastructure Management (CIM) portfolio, but it can get confusing trying to figure out the use cases for each product and when it may be the right fit to solve your specific challenge. I just finished giving some training to our internal teams around this topic and thought it would be good to share with the broader community at large.  I hope you find it helpful and know that we at GreenPages are happy to engage in more detailed conversations to help you make the best choices for your management challenges.

The core solutions that VMware has brought to market in the past few years include vCenter Operations Manager (vCOPS), vCloud Automation Center (vCAC), IT Business Management (ITBM), and Log Insight.  I’ll briefly cover each of these including what they do and where/when it makes sense to use them.


What is it?   vCOPS is actually a solution suite which is available in four editions: Foundation, Standard, Advanced, and Enterprise. 

The core component of all four editions is vCenter Operations Manager which came from the acquisition of Integrian back in 2010 and is essentially a monitoring solution on steroids.  In addition to typical performance and health monitoring/alerting, the secret sauce of this tool is its ability to learn what ‘normal’ is for your specific environment and provide predictive analytics.  The tool will collect data from various virtual or physical systems (networking, storage, compute, virtual, etc.) and dynamically determine proper thresholds rather than the typical ‘best practice’ model thus reducing overall noise and false positive alarms.  It can also provide proactive alerts as to when a problem may arise in the future vs. simply alerting after a problem has occurred.  Finally, it also does a great job analyzing VM sizing and assisting in capacity planning.  All of this is coupled with a very slick interface which is highly customizable.  

The Advanced and Enterprise editions of the suite also include vCenter Configuration Manager (vCM), vCenter Hyperic, vCenter Infrastructure Navigator (VIN), and vCenter Chargeback Manager (vCBM). 

vCM automates configuration and compliance management across virtual, physical, and cloud environments.  Essentially this means those pesky Windows registry key changes, Linux iptables settings, etc. can be automated and reported upon to ensure that your environment remains configured to the standards you have developed. 

Hyperic does at the application layer what vCOPS does for the underlying infrastructure.  It can monitor operating system, middleware, and application layers and provide automated workflows to resolve potential issues. 

VIN is a discovery tool used to create application dependency maps which are key when planning and designing security boundaries and disaster recovery solutions.

vCBM is utilized for showback or chargeback so that various lines of business can be accountable for IT resource utilization.

Where is it best utilized?

The vCOPS suites are best suited for environments that require robust monitoring and/or configuration management and that have fairly mature IT organizations capable of realizing the toolset’s full potential. 


What is it?  Stemming from the acquisition of DynamicOps, this is primarily an automation/orchestration toolset designed to deploy and provision workloads and applications across multiple platforms be they physical, virtual, or cloud based.  Additionally, vCAC provides a front end service catalog enabling end user IT self-service.  Like most VMware product sets, vCAC comes in multiple editions as well including standard, advanced, and enterprise.  Standard edition provides the base automation toolsets, advanced adds in the self-service catalog (the original DynamicOps feature set), and enterprise adds in dynamic application provisioning (formally vFabric AppDirector).

Where is it best utilized?

If you have a very dynamic environment, such as development or devops, then vCAC may well be the tool for you.  By utilizing automation and self-service, it can take the time required to provision workloads/applications/platforms from potentially days or weeks down to minutes.  If you have the issue of ‘shadow IT’ where end users are directly utilizing external services, such as Amazon, to bypass internal IT due to red tape, vCAC can help solve that problem by providing the speed and flexibility of AWS while also maintaining command and control internally.


What is it?  Think of ITBM as more a CFO tool vs. a raw IT technology tool.  Its purpose is to provide financial management of large (millions of dollars) IT budgets by providing visibility into true costs and quality so that IT may be better aligned to the business.  It too comes in multiple editions including standard, advanced, and enterprise.  The standard edition provides visibility into VMware virtualized environments and can determine relative true cost per VM/workload/application.  Advanced adds the physical and non-VMware world into the equation and enterprise adds the quality component.

Where is it best utilized?

The standard edition of ITBM makes sense for most mid-market and above level customers who want/need to get a sense of the true cost of IT.  This is very important when considering any move to a public cloud environment as you need to be able to truly compare costs.  I hear all the time that ‘cloud is cheaper’ but I have to ask ‘cheaper than what.’  If I ask you how much it costs to run workload X on your internal infrastructure per hour, week, month, etc. can you honestly give me an accurate answer?  In most cases the answer is no, and that’s exactly where ITBM comes into play.  On a side note, the standard edition of ITBM does require vCAC so if you’re already looking at vCAC then it makes a lot of sense to also consider ITBM.

Log Insight

What is it?  Simply stated, it’s a dumping ground for just about any type of log you can imagine but with a google type flare.  It has a very nice indexing/search capability that can help make sense of insanely large amounts of log data from numerous sources thus helping greatly in event correlation and troubleshooting as well as auditing.

Where is it best utilized?

Any environment where log management is required and/or for enhanced troubleshooting/root cause analysis.  The licensing for this is interesting because unlike similar products it is per device rather than a per terabyte of data model, which can potentially provide a huge cost savings.

vSOM and vCloud Suites

vSOM (vSphere with Operations Management) is simply a bundle of traditional vSphere with vCOPS.  The editions here are a little confusing as the standard edition of vCOPs comes with every edition of vSOM.  The only difference in the vSOM editions are the underlying vSphere edition.

The vCloud Suite includes most of what I have described above, but again comes in our favorite three editions of standard, advanced, and enterprise.   Basically, if you’re already looking at two to three a la carte solutions that are part of a vCloud Suite edition, then you’re better off looking at the suite.  You’ll get more value because the suites include multiple solutions and the suites, along with vSOM, remain licensed by physical processor socket vs by the number of VMs.


Leave a comment if you have any other questions or would like a more detailed answer. Again, GreenPages helps our customers make the right choices for their individual needs so reach out if you would like to set up some time to talk. Hope this was helpful!


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