Category Archives: VMworld

VMworld 2017: NSX Cloud, AppDefense + VMware’s New Direction

Enterprise Consultant, Chris Williams recently returned from VMworld 2017 and gives his take on a few of exciting announcements made at the event. AppDefense, VMware’s newest security solution monitors the steady state of servers and stops infiltration at the application layer. It’s a cloud offering rather than an on-premise based solution. VMware also announced NSX Cloud which allows you to employ a security policy once but also deploy it everywhere, providing companies with a common networking and security model across clouds. To learn more about the key news from VMworld and hear from an experienced technologist, check out the video above.

By Jake Cryan, Digital Marketing Specialist

Key Announcements from VMworld with Chris Ward

GreenPages’ CTO, Chris Ward, recently held a webinar detailing all of the key U.S. and European announcements made at VMworld 2016. In case you missed it, watch Chris’s short webinar recap below highlighting all the news, including VMware Cloud Foundation, Cross-Cloud Services, vSphere 6.5, and vSan 6.5. If you are interested in hearing Chris dive deeper into these key announcements, download the entire webinar here.

Or watch the video on our YouTube page.

By Chris Ward, CTO, GreenPages Technology Solutions

VMworld EU – Live from Barcelona Day 2

Hello All! Another day at VMworld Europe and more information on what’s new in the VMware ecosystem.  As their recent press release has made obvious, VMware has gone all in with making their ecosystem more developer friendly:  REST-based APIs, Container Support, expanded PowerCLI to name a few.


vSphere 6.5

VMware vCenter Server® Appliance – The new vCSA appliance has made many significant improvements.  From the migration path to the ability to now have HA to the new scales of what it can manage.  There are now fewer and fewer reasons to stay with the windows version of vCenter, though there are still some use cases.

REST APIs – gives developers, DevOps, and Operations teams greater flexibility and automation options.

VMware vSphere Client – Goodbye flash-based web client, hello HTML5!, VMware listened to customer feedback and created an interface that is more responsive and (hopefully) more resilient.

VMware vSphere Integrated Containers™ – by getting in on containerized applications in a fashion that is consumable by their existing VMware infrastructure/employees, VMware is making it easier for their infrastructure and development teams to work together more cohesively.


VSAN 6.5

iSCSI Support – will enable Virtual SAN storage to be presented as an iSCSI target for external physical workloads including clustered applications such as Microsoft SQL Server with Failover Clustering on a limited number of physical servers.

Containers Support – Virtual SAN will provide persistent data layer for containerized applications via VMware vSphere Integrated Containers.

Two-node Direct Connect – having an option for ROBO sites gives customers more flexibility & options.

Expanded PowerCLI – now that PowerShell is available Linux and Mac, the new PowerCLI integrations will be even more useable.


vRealize Automation 7.2

AWS, Microsoft Azure, and container support will give IT and DevOps teams greater flexibility in deploying cross-cloud, multi-tier applications.   In addition, Log Insight 4.0 and vRealize Operations 6.4 were announced and will with all of the aforementioned technologies.


In addition, the vBrownBag Tech Talks that I’ve been helping to create have proved to be a great resource of exposure to new technical topics.  We’ve published the VMworld Europe vBrownBag tech talks here.  We recorded 21 videos!  Next week I’ll be doing the OpenStack Summit Tech Talks, so expect many more videos in the coming week!

More to come! In the meantime, register for our upcoming webinar. CTO Chris Ward will be doing a full deep-dive into all of the biggest VMworld announcements.

Chris Williams – GreenPages Enterprise Consultant


VMworld EU – Live from Barcelona

Hello all,

There have been a lot of great announcements coming out of VMworld EU this week.  Here are the exciting items that have been announced so far:

vSphere 6.5 vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA)

A lot of great changes have happened to the vCSA over the past few years.  It can now run significantly more hosts/vms.  There are less steps involved in spinning it up as opposed to the Windows version.  And NOW (finally!) one of the last reasons for keeping the windows version around has been addressed:  vUM!  VCSA 6.5 now has Update Manager integrated.  You can now upgrade from 5.5 or 6.0 (windows OR appliance) to 6.5, including vDS configuration.  It has a brand new HTML5 web client, though it doesn’t yet have feature parity with the old version, that will be addressed.

VMware Cross-Cloud services

This is the thing that I’m the most excited about and the one that has me asking “What took you so long?”.  Cross-cloud services will enable connectivity to public cloud providers for the “seamless integration of workloads”.  It will enable you to (for example) run your DB on premises, your application tier in AWS, and your web front end in Azure.  I asked some of the AWS guys here about the technical details but they haven’t been ironed out quite yet.  This offering is slated to be available “Mid 2017” and will be purported to also have “Elastic DRS” – an ecosystem that allows you to burst across clouds.  In the event of a workload spike, you would be able to provision more VMs locally via vRA and use Auto-Scale Groups to increase the number of EC2 instances in AWS to handle the increased demand.  VMware also announced that NSX micro-segmentation would also function within the public cloud providers – this will give you additional security granularity on top of native firewalls, security groups and network access  control lists.



More to come! In the meantime, register for our upcoming webinar. CTO Chris Ward will be doing a full deep-dive into all of the biggest VMworld announcements.

Chris Williams – GreenPages Enterprise Consultant

GreenPages in Barcelona for VMworld EU – vBrownBag TechTalks schedule

Our own GreenPages enterprise consultant, Chris Williams, is over in Barcelona right now helping to host the VMworld TechTalks for vBrownBag.  He’ll also be doing the Tech Talks for the OpenStack Summit next week.  Tons of great technical content will getting posted over the course of the next 2 weeks.

If you are up (very) early, the live feed can be found here: .

Otherwise the content will be recorded and posted on

Here is the schedule for this week (please note times are in CEST):

Tuesday 18th Wednesday 19th
11:00 vExpert Daily with Mike Letschin vExpert Daily with Mike Letschin
11:30 Michael White – Veeam – Use the cloud to protect your baby pictures and so much more
11:45 Mike Resseler – Veeam – Why a cloud architects capabilities differ from a data center architect Alan Renouf – Everything changes with PowerCLI from now
12:00  Steve Flanders – Fun with Log Insight APIs
12:15 Amit Panchal – Career Disruption 101 – Brand is King Steve Flanders – Let’s Talk about Log Insight Webhooks
12:30 Ather Beg – Work/Life Balance for the “Elderly” IT Professional Matt Gillard – So you want to migrate your legacy workloads to the Cloud?
12:45 Faizan Yousaf – VCP6
1:00 Luc Dekens – The “Community” part in the vSphereDSC resource module
1:15 Kyle Grossmiller – Pure Storage – Cisco CVD:  Large scale virtual desktops with Horizon 7 Chris Bradshaw – The Amazing World of IT in Higher Education
1:30  Dean lewis – Documentation doesn’t have to be daunting
2:00 Keith Norbie – an overview of the  Juan Lage – Cisco – ACI Micro Segmentation
2:15 Cody Hosterman – Pure Storage – Storage as a service using vRealize Automation and Orchestration Continued
2:30 David Klee – Performance Perspectives Joerg Lew – Scaling vRealize Orchestrator (vRO)
2:45 Tim Hynes – PowerCLI – where to start?
3:00 Mark Brookfield – Automating SRM with PowerCLI  In Tech We Trust Podcast
3:15 Continued
3:30 Ron Fuller – Understanding DVS Port Mirror Options
4:00 VMUG IT hosted by Andrea Mauro in Italian
4:15 Continued


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

Dell tells VMworld how it simplified the cloud

Dell serversDell claims it will demystify the cloud for enterprise buyers with a raft of new products and services, which it unveiled at VMworld in San Francisco.

A new release of Dell’s Active System Manager will deepen integration with the product portfolio of virtualisation vendor VMware, it claimed, making it easier to automate the management of public and private cloud computing, and hybrids of the two.

“Dell’s portfolio helps customers to design, deploy and manage hybrid clouds from the device to the data centre to meet each customer’s unique journey to a hybrid cloud,” said Jim Ganthier, VP and GM of Engineered Solutions and Cloud, Dell.

Converting public cloud deployments to hybrid cloud environments brings financial returns that have been verified by several independent studies, according to Dell. “Dell’s innovations and our VMware partnership can deliver the business results and outcomes,” said Ganthier.

Meanwhile, an updated version of its Engineered Solutions for VMware EVO:RAIL Horizon Edition will shrink workloads on virtual desktops and applications by up to 80 per cent, Dell claimed. This would cut the price of management and hosting. A new thin client operating system, Wyse ThinOS 8.1, will tighten security and make support easier, it claimed. Another improvement comes from the new version of Wyse Cloud Client Manager (CCM), which extends management to bring millions of Windows Embedded Standard (WES) and SUSE Linux thin clients under the umbrella of its management platforms.

Dell is working with VMware to make virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) easy to create and run, claimed Steve Lalla, Dell’s VP of commercial client software. “Collaboration enables us to deliver these solutions to our customers within VMware Horizon environments,” said Lalla.

One of the productivity shortcuts created by active system manager (ASM) is that any business analyst or IT architect can use templates and automation methods to speed up processes such as requests, approvals, help desk and self-service. The saving of time and manual effort and improved responsiveness and consistency will create rapid payback, claimed Dell.

Dell also claimed it has been ‘deeply involved’ in the joint development – with VMware – of EVO SDDC, which aims to ‘dramatically’ simplify the building of large scale software defined data centres. Dell’s EVO SDDC offerings will align closely with VMware’s general availability in the first half of 2016, said Dell.

My VMworld Breakout Session: Key Lessons Learned from Deploying a Private Cloud Service Catalog

By John Dixon, Consulting Architect, LogicsOne


Last month, I had the special privilege of co-presenting a breakout session at VMworld with our CTO Chris Ward. The session’s title was “Key Lessons Learned from Deploying a Private Cloud Service Catalog,” and we had a full house for it. Overall, the session went great and we had a lot of good questions. In fact, due to demand, we ended up giving the presentation twice.

In the session, Chris and I discussed a recent project we did for a financial services firm where we built a private cloud, front-ended by a service catalogue. A service catalog really enables self-service – it is one component of corporate IT’s opportunity to partner with the business. In a service catalog, the IT department can publish the menu of services that it is willing to provide and (sometimes) the price that it charges for those services. For example, we published a “deploy VM” service in the catalog, and the base offering was priced at $8.00 per day. Additional storage or memory from the basic spec was available at an additional charge. When the customer requests “deploy VM,” the following happens:

  1. The system checks to see if there is capacity available on the system to accommodate the request
  2. The request is forwarded to the individual’s manager for approval
  3. The manager approves or denies the request
  4. The requestor is notified of the approval status
  5. The system fulfills the request – a new VM is deployed
  6. A change record and a new configuration item is created to document the new VM
  7. The system emails the requestor with the hostname, IP address, and login credentials for the new VM

This sounds fairly straightforward, and it is. Implementation is another matter however. It turns out that we had to integrate with vCenter, Active Directory, the client’s ticketing system, and client’s CMDB, an approval system, and the provisioned OS in order to automate the fulfillment of this simple request. As you might guess, documenting this workflow upfront was incredibly important to the project’s success. We documented the workflow and assessed it against the request-approval-fulfillment theoretical paradigm to identify the systems we needed to integrate. One of the main points that Chris and I made at VMworld was to build this automation incrementally instead of tackling it all at once. That is, just get automation suite to talk to vCenter before tying in AD, the ticketing system, and all the rest.

Download this on-demand webinar to learn more about how you can securely enable BYOD with VMware’s Horizon Suite

Self-service, automation, and orchestration all drove real value during this deployment. We were able to eliminate or reduce at least three manual handoffs via this single workflow. Previously, these handoffs were made either by phone or through the client’s ticketing system.

During the presentation we also addressed which systems we integrated, which procedures we selected to automate, and what we plan to have the client automate next. You can check out the actual VMworld presentation here. (If you’re looking for more information around VMworld in general, Chris wrote a recap blog of Pat Gelsinger’s opening keynote as well as one on Carl Eschenbach’s General Session.)

Below are some of the questions we got from the audience:

Q: Did the organization have ITSM knowledge beforehand?

A:The group had very limited knowledge of ITSM but left our project with real-world perspective on ITIL and ITSM

Q: What did we do if we needed a certain system in place to automate something

A: We did encounter this and either labeled it as a risk or used “biomation” (self-service is available, fulfillment is manual, customer doesn’t know the difference) until the necessary systems were made available

Q: Were there any knowledge gaps at the client? If so, what were they?

A: Yes, the developer mentality and service management mentality are needed to complete a service catalog project effectively. Traditional IT engineering and operations do not typically have a developer mentality or experience with languages like Javascript.

Q: Who was the primary group at the client driving the project forward?

A: IT engineering and operations were involved with IT engineering driving most of the requirements.

Q: At which level was the project sponsored?

A: VP of IT Engineering with support from the CIO

All in all, it was a very cool experience to get the chance to present a breakout session at VMworld. If you have any other questions about key takeaways we got from this project, leave them in the comment section. As always, if you’d like more information you can contact us. I also just finished an ebook on “The Evolution of the Corporate IT Department” so be sure to check that out as well!