VMworld 2017 Roundup: Day 4

Automating vSAN Deployments at Any Scale [STO1119GU]

This was a group discussion lead by Kyle Ruddy and Jase McCarty about automating vSphere and vSAN. They noted that PowerCLI is the most comprehensive platform for automating vSphere deployments, as many of the APIs aren’t feature complete yet. Jase noted that they were surprised in the ways that clients were adopting and deploying vSAN. For instance, one client is deploying 2-node vSAN to 5,000 retail locations, and likely using the vSAN ROBO licensing to do so.

As an example of automating vSAN and vSphere, Jase mentioned a script that can assign a VM to a particular DRS host group once a specific tag was associated with it. This allowed control over VM placement within vSAN stretched clusters. One place to find PowerCLI scripts is the VMware {code} script repo.

Regarding vSAN deployment automation specifically, you need to pay attention to your hardware procurement and/or deployment decisions. Different hardware will have subtly different deployment requirements. For example, you may need to deploy a particular firmware revision to support vSAN, or there may be a particular vendor utility or feature that needs to be scripted to set the hardware up for vSAN.

All in all, a good session for getting clients started down the automation path, both for deployment and “day 2” operations.

HPE Briefing for vExperts and Bloggers

I was invited to attend this briefing by HPE. It was an informal event, with a little under 20 of us vExperts and bloggers in attendance and about a half-dozen HPE folks. Much of the conversations revolved around the intended future for Nimble and Simplivity since HPE’s acquisitions. Some of the attendee’s were bringing forward their customer’s concerns around impact to the quality service and support they’d gotten used to.

Nimble and Simplivity are continuing to be offered in a sort of status quo state for the moment, though changes are starting to happen. For example, InfoSight, the customer-sourced predictive analytics dashboard that many Nimble Storage customers have come to love and rely on, will not only remain available but start to incorporate other, like HPE products such as 3PAR and Simplivity. HPE reps indicated that, basically if they had their druthers, that they’d love to incorporate as much as they could into the InfoSight interface, however time and resources are finite. It was noted that “it’s early days”, so it’ll be interesting to see what HPE decides to integrate beyond 3PAR and Simplivity, or if InfoSight is incorporated into other HPE platforms & applications like Synergy or OneView.

On the other hand, HPE has now committed to delivering future Simplivity solutions exclusively on HPE hardware. This makes sense for HPE, of course, however some long time Simplivity customers are anxious about the platform change.

There was a conversation around the use of VVOLs on HCI & SDS platforms like Nimble and Simplivity. Interestingly HPE considers an upcoming release VVOL “v2” as they are incorporating some major new features such as replication. Some VVOL considerations to watch out for (some of which still affect HPE’s offerings as their inherent limitations of VVOLs itself) are: VVOL feature set support (such as replication mentioned earlier), lack of SRM support, lack of RDM support, and maximum number of VVOLs per array (1000 was a number that was tossed out). Object storage still has plenty of benefits, but like all technology has cons to be considered along with the pros.

Overall it was a good briefing and I found the insight how HPE was handling it’s new (H)CI platforms illuminating. I think it’ll be interesting to see what HPE does with them in the mid to long term. There’s opportunity to componentize the tech and use it in more products and offerings. The worst thing HPE could do with Nimble and Simplivity is just sit on them and leave them as-is.

VMworld Customer Appreciation Party

This year’s event was held at the T-Mobile Arena. It’s a decent venue, very new feeling, having been open not quite a year and a half yet. It was great seeing all the customers enjoying each other’s company. Thanks VMware!

One More Sleep

Just one more sleep before the last of VMworld 2017 US. Note that unlike year’s past there won’t be any coverage here of the Thursday General Session as I’ll be otherwise engaged in the morning. Details of that will be in the next, and last, VMworld 2017 roundup.

Dee Abson

Dee Abson is a technical architect from Alberta, Canada. He's been working in the field of technology for over 20 years and specializes in server and virtualization infrastructure. Working with VMware products since ESX 2, he holds several VMware certifications. He is a 9x VMware vExpert. You can find him on Twitter and Mastodon.

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