Dynamically Evolving VMware Environments

Rafi Khan, CIO-Consultant at Riverside Community Care and Senior Consultant at Open Minds
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Rafi Khan, CIO-Consultant at Riverside Community Care and Senior Consultant at Open Minds

Trends in the VMWare Space

New generation technologies that manage smart flash-storage use in datacenters now provide better capacity scale and workload “throttle” capabilities. With mapped design decisions and logic preservation, these advanced high-density storage solutions maximizes the value of organizations' virtual infrastructure with scalable, automated, flexible VMware environments. Smart flash storage will also reduce latency in VMware Horizon (VDI) platforms. The business performance benefits are compelling–5x database speed boost for consistent experience during heaviest traffic, optimized database refreshes, faster data analytics, reduced storage complexity and costs.

Latest generation hyper-converged infrastructure -this infrastructure design is now becoming main stream for data center optimization. There are many incentives to integrate hyper-converged appliances when consolidating a data center. Think software-defined data center, where the software provides flexible and fast controls as business demands grow. Converging compute, storage and networking in IT using software-centric architecture is replacing legacy infrastructure. Services such as backup and replication is usually integrated, improving recovery times and recovery point objectives (RPO)

Virtualized GPU (vGPU) computing, such as NVidia’s GRID and AMD’s MxGPU, for the first time, brings recent virtualization industry standard to the GPU hardware. Implementing this allows intense virtual graphic performance and improves application compatibility. Upgrading to vGPUs can be a game changer – the technology splits a server graphics card into many “micro- GPUs” that can then be allocated to any connected device. The ability to deliver virtual desktops with specialized requirements of GPU performance and power levels removes an enormous barrier to VDI adoption.

Challenges on the Way

Dell’s recent merger with EMC (majority owner of VMware) and recent top-level VMware executive exodus, topped with 800 employee layoffs caused concerns. However, indications are that VMware has recovered and the merger process might help right-size the resulting organization.

Complexity – one VMware size does not fit all. Additional dynamic layers created by adding virtualization makes it challenging to identify causes of system events within a virtualized infrastructure. Reassigning workloads from one machine to another may leave security vulnerability if not properly configured. These layers of complexity can be daunting, especially for small businesses.

Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) has numerous implementation challenges. While this virtualized platform matured over the years and VMware’s Horizon delivers applications and desktops on a single integrated VDI platform –a more robust infrastructure to handle the demands of virtual desktops is required. VDI implementations must include review of how elastic system broadband and storage capacity is for growth.

Ushering New Technologies

VMworld 2016 announcements of VMware’s Cross-Cloud Architecture and Cloud Foundation that adds incremental value, where its partnerships with AWS and IBM Cloud will reduce some of the complexities of migrating and managing Big Data within a Cloud infrastructure.

IoT Things

According to Gartner, 6.4 billion IoT things will be connected in 2016, to top 13.5 billion in 2020. There remain several challenges:

i. Vendor Gateways - which bridge and also de-couple the device’s gap to the cloud, needs standardization as today’s proprietary IoT platforms will not scale due to lack of interoperability. VMware’s launch of Liota (Little IoT Agent) open source software, may change this landscape if large scale adoption occurs.

ii. Spectrum and Bandwidth.Spectrum –the frequency used to connect wireless devices, is a finite resource. IoT’s success will depend on how wireless service providers solve spectrum sharing and bandwidth overload. As billions of connected IoT devices grow each year, we will be challenged on the connectivity platforms these devices live in.

iii. Security. IoT security is still immature relative to other enterprise technologies, and requires a well thought out strategy. Experienced IoT security gurus are few, new threats such as IoT device tampering and impersonation can be early implementation show-stoppers.

As IoT devices and services expand and integrate into interoperable systems, users and service providers will benefit from a seamless set of connected opportunities.

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