Just Released!! Cloud Management for Dummies

I’m proud to announce the release of my first “Dummies” book!

A Cloud Management Platform (CMP) provides a unified platform for managing private, public, and hybrid cloud environments together with conventional and modern application architectures. Cloud Management for Dummies was written to guide organizations through some of the challenges of selecting a cloud management platform as they move from traditional IT to a more modern, automated, and governed infrastructure.

cmpdummies-title

About this Book

Cloud Management For Dummies is loaded with information that can help you understand and capitalize on cloud management. In plain and simple language, we explain what a cloud management platform is, why you need it, and which capabilities to demand in an enterprise solution. We also illustrate common use cases for CMP and guide you to the path to management in the hybrid cloud era.

Excerpt: Identifying the Market Context

Companies in all industries are responding to new opportunities to leverage big data and mobility to drive a better customer experience and a more productive work environment. Many companies are actively pursuing new business models and revenue streams that rely on digitizing and modernizing business processes.

The phenomenon of digitization, along with other structural changes in the business world, is driving the need to dramati- cally speed up application delivery.

VMware Cloud Management Q1’16 Releases

Today was a big day for VMware’s Cloud Management business unit!

While most of these releases are an incremental (“sub”) release, they are quite important for all customers who have either already deployed or upgraded to vRealize Automation 7.0 and/or vRealize Business 7.0, or have been patiently holding off for the first incremental update prior to deploying or moving into production (especially considering the many platform-level enhancements introduced in 7.0).

As you’d expect, the vRA / vRB 7.0.1 updates bring with them bug fixes and minor enhancements since the 7.0 release(s). The theme is product quality, performance, scale and stability. These also represent the first releases to align with the BU’s new 90-day target for major and minor releases.

 

 

vRealize Automation 7.0.1

 

vRealize Orchestrator 7.0.1 (standalone VA)

 

vRealize Automation 6.2.4

 

vRealize Business for Cloud 7.0.1

 

vRealize CodeStream 2.0

 

vRealize CodeStream Management Pack for DevOps 2.0

And finally, the vRealize Suite 7.0 has been officially released to align with the completed portfolio of cloud management solutions.…

vRealize Automation 7 – Part 5, Identity Management

Moving right along with the next spotlight feature in vRealize Automation 7 — a totally revamped access control and authentication system brought to you by VMware Identity Manager (vIDM). What may appear as an insignificant move from 6.x’s standalone Identity Appliance (IDVA aka vCenter SSO/PSC) is actually one of the most important additions to the new platform. Allow me to elaborate…

vIDM is the result of VMware’s acquisition of TriCipher about 5 years ago (August 2010), which has gone through several iterations and has become — or will become — the de facto policy-based identity platform across VMware broader portfolio (beyond vCenter, of course). Today, it is most notably leveraged by the Horizon suite and, more recently, as a stand-alone Identity Management solution available as an on-prem or SaaS offering. Out of the gate, vIDM brings scalability, performance, and policy-based management and access controls to whichever solution it is natively integrated with. This is especially true (re: performance/scaleability) when access into said solution is extended to the entire enterprise. And with that, it was almost a no-brainer that VMware’s Cloud Management BU has chosen vIDM as it’s standard for the next-gen CMP solution, starting with vRA 7.0.

The Identity Problem

To get a better understanding of why this was a critical move for vRA, we need to understand some of current limitations and restrictions brought on by the IDVA.…

vRealize Automation 7 – Part 3.1, Deployment Wizard Video

In part 3 of this series I provided an overview of vRA 7’s new deployment wizard – an addition that will significantly increase the time-to-value (TTV) by aiming to quickly deploy vRA regardless if it’s for a minimal (monolithic) or enterprise (distributed) implementation.  I cannot emphasize enough how critical the deployment wizard (along with the new deployment architecture) will be for removing the perceived complexity of getting vRA stood up.  Competitively, this sets a new standard for how to implement any enterprise solution and will certainly allow vRA to shine above the rest (but enough about that).

Below is a video of the deployment wizard walking through a minimal implementation.  It is important to note that vRA 7 has yet to GA, so some of the automation options and the UI itself can be tweaked between the current beta code and eventual GA builds.

(The screen capture is sped up 2.5X and some long wait periods have been clipped)

vRA 7 Deployment Wizard – FAST from @virtualjad on Vimeo.

The wizard will provide a choice of a minimal (POC, small) or enterprise (HA, distributed) deployment then, based on the desired deployment type, walks the admin through a series of configuration details needed for the various working parts of vRA, including all the windows-based IaaS components and dependencies.…

vRealize Automation 7 – Part 3, The Deployment Wizard

Remember that time you downloaded vRA (or vCAC) and tried to install it on your own? After some frustration and head-scratching, you turn to documentation, blogs, events, and a variety of guides provided by the community. Eventually everything starts looking good as you’re able to get passed the install and into initial configuration. vRA 6.x’s implementation involves a series of appliance deployments, VAMI configurations, prerequisite headaches, and installation of several IaaS components on windows hosts. Taking that to a distributed, highly-available configuration was a whole different story with the added complexities of deploying several additional systems, clustering configurations, external dependencies, and a whole other set of prerequisites. Of course none of this is unique to vRA — many enterprise solutions will take weeks or months to deploy in a production-ready state. There are many complexities expected of a cloud management platform that is nested at the center of an enterprise ecosystem. While the end-to-end implementation of vRA has come a long way, there was still a lot to be desired. Fortunately, that desire was understood…and a solution was brewing.

Continuing with the theme of redefining the user experience, vRA 7’s new deployment wizard takes time-to-value to a whole new level.…

vRealize Automation 7 – Part 2, Deployment Architectures

VMware has been tackling several customer pain points when it comes to deploying and configuring vRA (6.x). But let’s get this out of the way — the ratio of level of effort vs. product capabilities make the time investment quite worth it at the end of the day (at least i think so!).  In the overview post (Part 1), I mentioned the massive focus on overall UX improvements in vRA 7. While the new deployment wizard absolutely changes the perception of complexity and takes all the work out of the admin’s hands, the reduced deployment footprint is equally important and will drastically reduce operational overhead and time to implementation. That is especially the case for distributed architectures that can grow upwards of 20+ machines. Let’s change that, shall we?…

vRA 6.x Deployment Architecture

In addition to several external dependancies, vRA 6.x requires various internal/embedded services to be taken externally for high availability. The services embedded in the virtual appliance include vRealize Orchestrator, the vPostgres DB, and the vRA framework services themselves. An external Identity Appliance (SSO) is required for authentication (vCenter SSO also an option). And, finally, the optional App Services VA for app authoring.

For distributed architectures, the components include at least 2 load-balanced vRA VA’s, an external pair of clustered vPostgres DB’s, external clustered vRO pair, a pair of [vCenter] SSO’s (the Identity Appliance does not support an HA configuration), and a single ill-fated App Services VA, which also does not support an HA setup.…

vRealize Automation 7 – Part 1, What’s New – Spotlight Features

This was a big week in Barcelona — not just because VMworld EMEA broke attendance records, but also thanks to the announcement of one of the most anticipated updates to the VMware vRealize family, vRealize Automation 7.0 (vRA 7).  I had the opportunity to hosts and co-host several vRA sessions throughout the week, including a couple exclusive ad-hoc deep dive workshops for vExperts.  Now it’s finally time to share with all of you the cloud management goodness that’s been brewing at VMware.  This is the first of many in a series that will cover all the new innovations and features of vRealize Automation 7.0 and dig deep into several advanced use cases.  So let’s get started…

Spotlight #1 – Deployment and Initial Configuration

vRA 7 focuses a lot on the user experience (UX), starting with one of the most critical — Deploying the solution — then the second most critical, configuring it.  Following through with the promise of a more streamlined deployment experience, we made a huge splash at VMworld Barcelona with the debut of the wizard-driven and completely automated installation of the entire platform and automated initial configuration.  And all of this in a significantly reduced deployment architecture.

Deployment Architecture – The overall footprint of vRA 7 has been drastically reduced.  …

Larger Stage, Louder Mic

Close your eyes and think of something you really want — whether it’s something you want to accomplish, a must-have “toy”, or anything you wish you had but weren’t really sure how you’d get it.  Sometimes that incredible thing you get isn’t something you were actively pursuing.  Sometimes it is.  I closed my eyes and did this very exercise a little less than 6 years ago.  I was at a great point in my career at Lockheed Martin and had established myself relatively well.  But I was ready for that thing.  So I closed my eyes…and when I opened them, I found myself sitting in my very own cube (with a view!) at VMware’s Public Sector HQ in Reston, VA.  I was suddenly at my favorite little tech company that had already changed the world (at least once)…and was ramping up to do it again.

Okay so maybe it didn’t happen exactly like that. There were a few interviews and several great conversations, but never did anyone have to do any convincing…I wanted in!  Ever since I joined VMware back in 2009, I knew I was suddenly a part of something huge.  My Lockheed career had been such an incredible period of my life and a significant part of developing my skills up to that point, but I often found myself wanting to grow my career and head in a direction that I wasn’t sure Lockheed was ready to support.  …