In my role as a Technical Account Manager (TAM), I get to work with highly skilled engineers and architects at our customers and partners that put VMware’s products to great use in their datacenters. And even though I am pretty used to all the positive impact these products deliver, I still enjoy seeing the long-term benefits of vSphere happening every day.

One of the examples I’d like to share today is the usage of VMware’s Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS). This technology has been introduced more than six years ago and still plays a key role to the core virtualization infrastructure. DRS automates the migration process vMotion to load-balance virtual machines across ESXi hosts in a vSphere Cluster.

Last year, the DRS fans and bloggers Frank Denneman and Duncan Epping even came up with a great t-shirt design for VMworld:


“Run DRS” – this is exactly what a customer of mine is doing with huge success. They were so kind to send me a screenshot of one of their vSphere clusters including the current amount of vMotion processes (initiated by DRS) that happened in the past 1.5 years:


More than 18.000 vMotions in one vSphere Cluster. In less than 1.5 years. That’s roughly 30 vMotions per day. It’s hard to imagine what the datacenter operations team would do without this. But they implemented a well-designed architecture and benefit from the flexibility of this technology every day. Do you?

Shameless plug: my VMworld Sessions on Cloud Ops

I am in the middle of preparing the VMworld session “SDDC IT Operations Transformation: Multi-customer Lessons Learned“. My colleague Valentin Hamburger and myself got accepted to present both at VMworld 2013 in San Francisco and Barcelona and we are very excited about this opportunity.

Just last week, we hosted several VMware TAM customer roundtables in Germany with focus on Cloud Operations / Cloud Ops. There is lots of interest in this topic and I am looking forward to the other VMworld sessions around Cloud Ops as well.

In case you haven’t heard of Cloud Ops so far, make sure to check out these resources:

Looking forward to seeing you at VMworld!

VMware NSX – ESX for Networking

Do you still remember the first virtual machine you created? The first hypervisor-based server that you worked with? I do. And do you want to know why? Because it was such a great experience compared to all the steps that were related to setting up a physical server in the datacenter. Identifying a rack, network cabling, ordering storage capacity, labeling all cables… But before that you had to choose the appropriate (final) server hardware. What does the customer actually need? 2 or 4 sockets? How much memory? How many NICs? Because any hardware upgrade would become pretty complex. You still remember those days? I don’t want to go back…

So, where are we today? We still need to deploy servers in racks. But (at least to my observation), this process has lost it’s complexity. Besides a certain standardization of ESXi hosts and their storage and network connectivity, resource pooling and capacity management on a cluster or virtual datacenter level brought more agility to the infrastructure.

Deploying a new VM on an existing vSphere infrastructure is pretty easy. From a compute and memory perspective, there is (nearly) always an empty slot somewhere in the cluster.

For storage, the introduction of Thin Provisioning and Storage DRS have provided lots of flexibility as well. You are now able to place new VMDKs on shared datastores more efficiently. And – if necessary – there is still the option to change the size of the individual VM or to (Storage) vMotion a VM for example from it’s temporary to a production location. Elasticity, flexibility, agility – we are done, aren’t we?

We are not. One of the biggest limitations I am seeing these days is around networking. Truth is, compute and memory resources are very often fragmented by networking constraints. “This VLAN is not available in this part of the datacenter”, “the customer can only work with this VLAN/IP range”, “we don’t have Firewall capacity and need to order a new hardware appliance in this network segment”. If you hear any of these comments, it means additional complexity. And time.

Last year, VMware acquired a company called Nicira to address this “missing piece” of the Software-Defined Datacenter vision. And just a few weeks back, VMware announced “NSX” – or “ESX for Networking” as I will call it.

In VMware NSX, the very best of Nicira’s Network Virtualization Platform (NVP) and VMware’s vCloud Networking and Security will come together to virtualize the network.

Quoting the blog article:

VMware NSX exposes a complete suite of simplified logical networking elements and services including logical switches, routers, firewalls, load balancers, VPN, QoS, monitoring, and security; arranged in any topology with isolation and multi-tenancy through programmable APIs – deployed on top of any physical IP network fabric, resident with any compute hypervisor, connecting to any external network, and consumed by any cloud management platform (e.g. vCloud, OpenStack, CloudStack).

Personally, I am pretty excited about the things to come. And the day, on which I can say: I virtualized my first network