#VMworld US 2016: New Products and Product Updates

During (and around) VMworld 2016 VMware has lifted many of their products to a new level to enable their customer a better and more agile software-defined datacenter than ever (wow, that sounded a lot like a marketing term. Therefore, back to facts).

The following post summarize the products and some of its enhancements that have been announced or even released so far.

During day 1 of VMworld the .next version of vSphere hasn’t been released. Once this is done the article gets extended. I am still hoping for any new here.


vRealize Automation 7.1

vRealize Automation is VMware’s Cloud Management Platform solution that enables organizations to deliver infrastructure-components as a service (VMs, Applications or any other software-defined server). vRA made a great enhancement from 6.X to 7.0 by simplifying the architecture. With 7.1 further improvements have been introduced.

Whats’s New:

  • new vra-command CLI tool to do an end-to-end silent installations (based on an answer file) and redeploys of existing installations (POC -> Dev -> PROD with a lowest Time-to-value)
  • Simplified Migration from vRA 6.2.X to 7.1 via an UI based migration wizard
  • vSphere Endpoint improvements for large environments and identification of vCenter objects based on IDs instead of Names (renaming of objects: now it’s possible)
  • Support for manual scale in and scale out of an existing deployments integrated with NSX’s load balancing policies.
  • Tech-preview & beta capabilities (deeper Azure integration & Focus on Container delivery)

My Opinion:

I have seen vRA at customers site and the big issues were more organizational than technical related. What services to offer, who is developing and maintaining those services (in form of workflows), how to change the peoples behaviour. 7.1 is minor release with some cool updates and a solid Cloud Management Platform (CMP). The updated version of vRA 7.1 gives customers an easier point of entry since the whole installation and pre-req process has been simplified.

After the general session at VMworld where VMware’s vision of the future (called cross-cloud) was introduced. In the nearer future I don’t see a conflict between their new multi-cloud product (which seems to be delivered as SaaS only) and vRA. But on a long-term I somehow have the feeling that this might change in the future when the multi-cloud solution becomes more functional and final. (p.s. Thanks Jad El-Zein for the vExpert session on the new release)

Additional Links:

vRealize Orchestrator 7.1

When vRealize Automation is the waiter in the restaurant accepting the orders, vRealize orchestrator (vRO) is the chef doing all the magic in the background. I still love this analogy heard during VMworld last year and it still explains pretty well on a high level how the relationship looks like. vRO allows us to automate and orchestrate everything within our environment.

Whats’s New (Taken by the mentioned VMware blogpost at additional links):

  • Swagger definition support for adding a REST host in the HTTP-REST Plug-in.
  • Improved search capabilities in the Active Directory Plug-in.
  • Pagination support and arbitrary entry querying in the Active Directory Plug-in.
  • VUM plug-in update
  • Auto-deploy plug-in update

My Opinion:

vRO is a great component within the infrastructure even though it never gained the fame it should have. Unfortunately it has a higher entry burden for administrators which never gained programming or orchestrating knowledge. The release aligned with vRA 7.1 improves minor things. Since I always been more a PowerCLI guy than vRO I unfortunately cannot comment very much on further real-life relevant improvements. Keep in mind that LDAP-authentication has been removed.

Additional Links:

vRealize Operations Manager 6.3 (vROPS)

vROPS is a solution I am a big fan of. Collecting all the bunch of metrics and data within the datacenter (Hardware and Software-Level) and abstracting those data into easy-to-interpret badges or notification (smart-alerts). The newest version of vROPS has been realeased a few days upfront VMworld.

Whats’s New:

  • New Home dashboard
  • New DRS Cluster dashboard
  • vSphere 6.X hardening
  • Improved Log Insight Integration
  • API enhancements

My Opinion:

This has been a minor release of vROPS and therefore we should not expect to much. The new dashboards are really cool and will give us quick further insights about the vSphere infrastructure. Some other things unfortunately haven’t been improved like an increased window sizes within the UI (e.g. configuring policies). Aligning vROPS to an existing environment is still a work-intensive task (creating policies that fits specific needs). I hope that vRealize network insight might get integrated (more to that later) as well during the next releases.

Additional Links:

vRealize Log Insight 3.6

When it comes to log analysis and operational enhancements, Log Insight (LI) is a solution everyone should take a look at. Collecting Log files via syslog or the LI agent gives us possibility to act on occurring or upcoming problems in a very efficient way (especially when integrated with vROPS).

What’s new:

  • vRealize Operations Manager integration enhancements by adding further meta information to the vROPS Alerts.
  • Extension of the vSphere content pack for new querries
  • Event type and event trend queries can now be saved to the Dashboard page and included in Content Packs. Top trends and event types will now displayed in the dashboard widget
  • Additional information can be send when using Syslog event forwarding
  • Log file parsing enhancements
  • API enhancements

My Opinion:

I really like vRealize Log Insight and especially the way it integrates with vRealize Operations Manager. It is the perfect piece to align a specific customers environment (with specific customer-unique problems) to enhance the operability and therefore the quality of the service. The real power IMO is achieved by the integration with vROPS. Thanks Steve Flanders for the nice chat and deeper insights into vRLI

Additional links:

vRealize Network Insight 3.0

vRealize Network Insight (vRNI) is a new product created out of the acquisition of Arkin during the year. vRNI helps to gain visibility into our (NSX-based) virtual and physical network in a intuitive way.

Whats’s New:

Kind of everything ;-) (of course not if you were using Arkin before)

  • NSX best practices checks
  • NSX component checks within the management, control and data plane
  • Interactive visualization of network flows.

My Opinion:

I haven’t seen that much of vRNI, but what I have seen looked pretty good so far. A very slick and fast user-interface delivering a lot of network insights pretty easily. I believe vRNI will be a valuable addition within the NSX field. Even though I am kind of concerned that another independent software was added to vRealize portfolio that works independent of the others. I hope it will somehow integrated with vROPS in the future. In the demo of VMware’s new cross-cloud announcement we already have seen the integration of vRNI within the SDDC-Manager to apply NSX-policies across multiple private- and public cloud provider.

Additional Links:

Actually I was kind of sad that no further announcement were made regarding the next vSphere release. Bringing us a fully-featured html5 vSphere Web Client would have brought a lot of applause to Pat Gelsinger during the general session. On the other site the general session’s target aimed more to a strategic message for the next 5-10 years within VMware.

On the other side I think it’s a good sign that VMware will not announce (and even more important) not release the new vSphere suite products until it’s in a rock-solide state.

No more CBT bugs please ;-)

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