#vmworld Today’s rumblings and ramblings from the show

The moment when a customer realizes the power of the BIG-IP platform is always a wonderful thing to see. Today Paul Pindel and VMware’s Tommy Walker, delivered a session entitled “Enhancing the User Experience for Multi-Pod VMware View Deployments”. The session outlined a number of different use cases where F5 BIG-IP platforms connect a user to the best View connection broker based on location, entitlement or use history across separate View pods. It was a great talk, especially if you like ladder diagrams and dubious PowerPoint animation skills. Next came the best bit - the audience questions. A number of people in the audience had grasped the really important points:-

· You can virtualize an application namespace, but keep control over where clients end up connecting using our F5 GTM solution.

· You present an F5 LTM as connection broker to the client and then capture, encrypt and store their credentials in memory.

· You can look up user information in a directory system (LDAP, AD etc.) or fire API calls to a service.

· You can use that information to choose a real View connection broker, replay the user credentials, and then store that information for the next time they connect.

It was like crowd had a new set of blocks to play with. Suddenly they wanted to build something. People were queuing to ask about disaster recovery scenarios, migration tools (e.g. moving users one at a time to a new View deployment but keeping the same view namespace) and more. It’s great to watch a) the gears spinning on a colleague’s face as he stands in front of a crowded room b) people really get what makes F5 such a great platform.

arrow7 You can check out the F5 VMware view solutions here, but don’t let that limit your imagination, they are your building blocks, build something bigger.

No one likes to wait. There are plenty of vendors out there (F5 included) making good money out of that fact by providing application and network acceleration products. Just as people don’t like to wait for their page to load or file to open, no one wants to wait for their application to be deployed. Whilst optimization products focus on reducing network latency and application chatter VMware has addressed the human and organizational latency that slow up application deployment. vApp templates allow the rapid deployment of servers and applications, but that still leaves the supporting networking services to be configured. You probably need to get some application delivery networking in place (such as load balancing, a web application firewall or SSL termination). No problems - just drop the ADC team an email with your requirements and they will get it configured for you - once you’ve answered a couple more questions, maybe filled out a form and had a quick call to discuss it all. Great, got that done, you just need to get the AV and WAN optimization configured. Latency. All the time the customer is wondering why, with all this cool virtualization technology it’s still taking three weeks to stand up a new application service. Today several sessions discussed how VMware vShieldManager can insert 3rd party network and security services into a vCloud environment. F5 is one of the first vendors to be part of the VMware ready Networking and Security ecosystem, whereby we register available network services into a service catalog, allowing simplified and automated deployment. The key here is that control stays where it needs to be. The Application delivery or WAN optimization team creates the right policies and templates, the infrastructure provider decides which services to expose and the infrastructure consumer decides which ones to deploy. The benefit is that the definition work is done up ahead, and all that needs to happen at deployment time is a few parameters pass between components via API calls. Suddenly the rest of the components to deliver an application can get deployed as fast as the servers.

arrow7 See what Allwyn Sequeira, CTO & Vice President, Cloud Networking & Security at VMware has to say about this.

You are the weakest link. Apparently 73% of datacenter downtime is down to human error. A session (SP02288 – “Application Heal Thyself”) hosted by Simon Hamilton-Wilkes and VMware’s Chris Knowles took a look at how to create robust, reliable operational infrastructures. Smart organizations, it turns out, do two things 1) test frequently for random failures, and ensure that their systems arevmworld-sm designed from the ground up to cope with hardware, software and human failings. The Chaos Monkey code released by Netflix is a great example of how to encourage architects and developers to create robust systems by building random failures into a system. Failure-as-a-service, if you like. 2) Invest in management and automation tools as these represent the best ROI in terms of preventing downtime. The more you automate the less chance you have of deployment errors. The more you can predefine what to do under failure or stress, create triggers based on key events or metrics and then automate the actions, the faster you’re going to recover from any kind of event. This leads us nicely to VMware’s vCenter Orchestrator, and the F5 plugin. The position of an F5 application delivery controller smack bang in the middle of the user to application path makes it a great place to both detect problems such as application response latency spikes, server failures or software problems and take action (e.g. redirect traffic to an alternate infrastructure or add more resources). Simon and Chris showed off a great flowchart UI that allows customers to build their own logic to automate deployments, deal with failures or build scale-on-demand systems across not only VMware but a host of other technologies.

arrow7 Plenty more info on the management plugin can be found on the (newly repainted F5 Site).

Phone Yoga – the exercise phenomenon of VMworld. If any mobile handset manufacturers ever doubted that smartphone battery life is an issue, they should get themselves down to the halls and corridors here at VMworld. This week’s toning craze is to find a position that allows you to simultaneously use your phone and charge the darn thing up. 6310i – I miss you.

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