VMware Oracle Licensing – Myths and Facts

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I’ve had a significant proportion of my clients (maybe a third?) ask for my advice and guidance on VMware Oracle licensing. They seem to be scared (either through first or second-hand experience) of a bill from Oracle for their entire virtualization infrastructure because the potential exists for vMotion-ing Oracle server workloads from machine to machine and now across vCenters (since that’s a feature now in vSphere 6!). As a result, I have clients not even connecting their virtualized Oracle hosts to vCenter at all. But what’s myth and what’s fact when it comes to Oracle licensing on VMware?

Note: Oh wow, while I’ve been sitting on this for the past month, Chad Sakac pulled the pin on his grenade.

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VMware Validated Design at VMworld 2016

One of the things I’ve been meaning to write about more is the cool technology that I didn’t realize existed inside the VMware portfolio. One of the main themes that’s emerged with my clients is having a true private cloud infrastructure. If this is on your mind, I’d encourage you to go check out the sessions on VMware Validated Design (VVD) at VMworld 2016.

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Learning Python: My Coding Journey Pt. 1

Today I began learning Python and ended the day with a script that successfully automated a process for me. Nope, I’ve never written Python code before and don’t code for my day job. In fact, it’s been over 20 years since I first took an introductory computer science class. The most significant project I worked to completion was less than 500 lines of perl, an Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) translator for the odd purchase order format that our customer used. But I’ve laid out two goals for myself, work myself up to light scripting competence in Python and light analysis competence in R. OK, those two goals are over 10 years old, so what got me moving?

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VMware 2016 – Another Job Change

fireworks photoWell, it’s happened again. I wasn’t looking to make a job change, but an opportunity I couldn’t turn down found me. In November 2015, I joined VMware’s San Francisco Bay Area Enterprise Systems Engineering team.

My previous role had me educating solution providers on the VMware software portfolio as well as teaching partner Systems Engineers about pre-sales systems engineering for their customers. I now find myself working for VMware directly as a Systems Engineer, assigned to cover a group of Enterprise level named accounts. My fiancée and I moved from Southern California to the Bay Area for me to take this job. An upheaval (and a risk!), but also an amazing opportunity to work directly for one of the most innovative and disruptive software companies around.

What does that mean for my writing? Well, I pretty much fell on my face when it came to maintaining a regular cadence during my time in the distribution channel. I’m going to try my best to do better now. There’s certainly a different emphasis within the portfolio for enterprise customers. Hopefully I can provide insight into the solutions engineering process from the inside.

Some things you probably won’t see from me:

  • Product speculation; Even with limited insider knowledge, this seems inappropriate.
  • Competitor bashing
  • Customer information; Maybe it goes without saying, but I’ll have to generalize my lessons learned.

Things I’ll try to add to the topic list:

  • Career advice that I’m finding helpful
  • Industry news that I’m finding relevant and impactful
  • Products I’m discovering within the portfolio

So thanks to anyone who’s found my writing useful so far. If there’s anything you’d like to see my thoughts on, please ask away!

High Capacity VSAN Nodes Part 3


This is part three in a series of posts discussing lessons I learned from helping a partner engineer a 400+ TB VSAN Solution. It turns out that high capacity VSAN nodes are a slightly different beast than the standard off-the-shelf solution. Part one discussed different density issues as related to disk configurations. Part two worked through a hypothetical 1TB/day, 365 day retention engineering solution. In part three, I’ll be continuing with that example and exploring possible models for purchasing and growing such a solution.

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High Capacity VSAN Nodes Part 2


This is part 2 of a series of lessons learned and examples worked based on a 400+ TB VSAN solution I helped a partner engineer. I’m comparing high capacity VSAN nodes with standard configurations. This post will focus on calculating the IOPS required to de-stage writes from the caching layer, then examining the implications on hardware choices.

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High Capacity VSAN Nodes Part 1


I was recently asked for some help engineering high capacity VSAN nodes for a large storage solution which brought up some issues I thought would be interesting to share. By high capacity, I mean the customer was looking for 400TB with the ability to grow to a petabyte. I found that the standard building blocks didn’t make economic sense for the customer’s ratio of workloads to storage. As a result, we examined the available platforms for greater capacities per node.

The first thing I’d like to examine are the various density trade-offs that can be made in choosing a configuration.

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SDN Solutions for vCloud Suite 6

In the wake of VMware’s vSphere 6 announcements, I’ve had multiple clients ask me about SDN Solutions for vCloud Suite. For quick background, SDN (Software Defined Networking) in vCloud Suite 5.x and earlier consisted of vCloud Networking and Security (vCNS). vCNS is a bundle of virtual networking appliances to provide …

… virtual firewall, virtual private network (VPN), load balancing, NAT, DHCP and VXLAN-extended networks.

So why am I bringing this up? Well, in vCloud Suite 6, vCNS is no longer included. Well, mostly. If you’re a VMware Service Provider partner (VMware IaaS Powered Services), vCNS is still part of the Premier and Premier Plus bundles. Continue reading SDN Solutions for vCloud Suite 6

Long Distance vMotion License


While presenting vSphere 6 changes this week, I was asked what vSphere Edition was required to get a Long Distance vMotion License. I hadn’t thought about it before, and stated that I thought it was part of the basic vMotion licensing. During a break, some colleagues told me they thought it was part of Enterprise Plus. That had me floored. How could vSphere check for a Long Distance vMotion license as opposed to a normal one? Is there some network check of the round trip time? What exactly is being licensed? Continue reading Long Distance vMotion License

Replicating to vCloud Air DR

Can you choose which disks are replicating to vCloud Air DR? I don't know.
The truth is, I just don’t know. Yet.

I was asked an interesting question last week which I’ve yet to get an answer on: Can users choose which disks are replicating to vCloud Air DR? Sometimes there are entire disks worth of data that aren’t core to the job of the workload in a DR situation. Not only could a customer potentially save money by not paying for unneeded storage, it’s operationally better to not replicate data that wouldn’t be used or missed in a DR situation. Like what? Well, installation package downloads, non-critical ISOs, data extractions which could be re-created from other replicated data, etc. In fact, if customers know this is a possibility, they might create a disk specifically for all the info that they don’t care to have replicated for DR. So is it possible?

Update: No. You have to replicate all disks associated with the guest (details at the bottom) 

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