Release: VMware vRealize Log Insight 4.5

Log Insight is a log aggregation, management and analysis tool, that VMware first introduced in 2013 and considered a competitor of Splunk.

Yesterday VMware announced the release of version 4.5, available for download here.
Most of the focus for this release goes to the integration with vRealize Operations which, in short, means:

  • Direct launch into Log Insight Dashboard
  • Direct launch into Log Insight Interactive Analytics mode
  • Object auto-initiated log management
  • vRealize Operations Alerts auto-initiated log management

The remnant new features are split into 4 areas:

Server Features

  • Added API to query alert execution and notification history
  • Added ability to specify basic authentication for webhooks
  • New product configuration APIs added
  • The source field is maintained when forwarding from vRealize Log Insight forwarder to a vRealize Log Insight server
  • Hosts on the /admin/hosts page can now be exported
  • Support for external servers has been deprecated
  • VMware Identity Manager (vIDM) is recommended for vRealize Log Insight. Native AD support is now deprecated.

General User Interface Items

  • Dashboard legend mouse-over in one widget now highlights corresponding chart items across widgets
  • Added ability to show a given time across all dashboard chart widgets simultaneously
  • Separate options are available for descriptions and recommendations for user alerts.
  • User alert history for aggregation queries now includes count

Agent Items

  • Added ability to send unaltered raw syslog to destination server
  • Added ability for agent syslog parser to parse structured data (SD), PRI, PROCID, and MSGID syslog fields
  • Added auto-update checkbox option on MSI user interface
  • Added support for sending logs to multiple destinations
  • Added directory wildcard support
  • Added support for Photon OS
  • Support for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS has been deprecated

Content Packs

  • Updated General and vSphere content packs
  • VSAN and vROps content packs included out of the box

Paper: Introducing the NSX-T Platform

We see greater potential strategic opportunity in NSX over the next decade than our franchise product vSphere has had for the past decade.
said VMware’s CEO Pat Gelsinger talking about NSX’s capability to reach $1B this fiscal year.

VMware NSX, launched in August 2013, unifies in a single platform Nicira NVP (that the company acquired in July 2012 for approximately $1B) and VMware vCloud Network and Security, covering the entire network and security model from Layer 2 to Layer 7 and integrating in the hypervisor to ability to manage switching, bridging, routing and firewall.

This month VMware published a technical white paper titled Introducing the NSX-T Platform to explain its new architecture described as follows:

The NSX-T architecture has built-in separation of the data plane, control plane and management plane. This separation delivers multiple benefits, including scalability, performance, resiliency and heterogeneity. In this section, we’ll walk you through each layer and its specific role and characteristics.

VMware NSX-T is a second platform in the NSX family, focused on emerging application frameworks and architectures that have heterogeneous endpoints and technology stacks aka supporting non-vSphere environments.

The 10 pages paper contains the following sections:

  • Introduction
    • Networking and security today
    • How NSX-T addresses these trends and challenges
  • Architecture Overview
  • Management Plane
  • Control Plane
  • Data Plane
    • NSX-T Compute Independent Host Switch
    • Routing Scale and Performance
    • Routing and Convergence
    • Security
    • Services
    • Operations
  • Conclusion
    • Key Takeaways
    • What You Can Do Now

Paper: VMware vSphere Virtual Machine Encryption Performance

Encryption of virtual machines is something that has been requested for years by the security community. VMware continued to postpone its implementation due to the negative operational impact that many solutions proved to have, until now. With vSphere 6.5 VMware introduced an agnostic, policy driven VM Encryption feature claiming that the impact on I/O performance is very minimal.
To prove that VMware published a 16 pages Performance Study which presents the results of several I/O experiments aimed to quantify CPU cost and I/O throughput and latency when enabling a VM with encryption.

The paper contains the following sections:

Executive Summary

  • Introduction
  • VM Encryption Overview
  • Design
  • Key Management
  • Performance Study
  • Experimental Setup
  • Server Hardware
  • Server Storage
  • Workload and Virtual Machine Configuration
  • Metrics
  • Server Software Configuration
  • Results
  • I/O Performance
  • VM Provisioning Operations
  • Conclusion
  • References

Quest Software leaves Dell

In September 2012 Dell announced to have completed the acquisition of Quest Software, a Californian company with an history in systems management, security, business intelligence and, falling back in our own area of interest, virtualization, cloud automation and backup & recovery.
Today, after 3 years, Quest is announcing its renewed independency thanks to a new acquisition by Francisco Partners and Elliott Management Corporation.

Dell is currently in the spotlight due to its acquisition of EMC Corporation, owner (among others) of VMware and Pivotal.

Jeff Hawn, chairman and CEO said:

As companies continue to embrace business transformation, particularly through adopting cloud-centric technology models, they need a trusted partner through this critical journey. In relaunching Quest, our products will be purpose-built and backed by a level of support and services that will help our customers and partners succeed. We’ll take the best of what made Quest a market maker for the past 30 years and infuse a renewed focus on security and cloud.

Citrix announces Q3 2016 results

Citrix announced its financial results for third quarter 2016.

The revenues for the second quarter were $841 million for an increase of 3% compared to Q3 2015.

Net income was $132 million and non-GAAP operating income was $208 million, an increase compared to $168 million for Q3 2015.

Examining the results in contrast with the same quarter 2015:

  • Product and license revenue remained flat;
  • Software as a service revenue increased 9 percent;
  • Revenue from license updates and maintenance increased 5 percent;
  • Professional services revenue, which is comprised of consulting, product training and certification, decreased 19 percent;
  • Net revenue increased in the Americas region by 8 percent, decreased 4 percent in the EMEA region and increased in the Pacific region by less of 1 percent;
  • Deferred revenue totaled $1.6 billion as of September 30, 2016, compared to $1.5 billion as of September 30, 2015, an increase of 7 percent;
  • GAAP operating margin was 18 percent; Non-GAAP operating margin was 30 percent;
  • Quarterly cash flow from operations of $288 million, up 11 percent year-over-year.

Release: VMware vSphere 6.5 & Virtual SAN 6.5

2016 edition of VMworld US has been quite turbulent, on the other hand during VMworld Europe, happening these days in Barcelona, the company announced a few more products for the joy of its loyal audience.

vSphere 6.5 announced yesterday, for instance, is a release focused on addressing three main challenges: simplify the user experience, integrate security capabilities and support traditional and new generation applications side by side.

To do that this dotted release introduces:

  • A newly optimised vCenter Server Appliance, with a fully integrated vSphere Update Managerfile-based backup and recoverynative VCSA high availability and a brand new HTML5-based vSphere Client plus a set of REST-based APIs for VM Management. To speedup the migration from “traditional” Windows deployments VMware also provide a brand new vCenter Server Appliance Migration tool.
  • A series of security features such: VM-level disk encryption, encrypted vMotion, secure boot model for both the hypervisor and the guest operating system and enhanced audit-quality logging capabilities that collect more information about user actions.
  • vSphere Integrated Containers now shipped with vSphere bundles.

Alongside vSphere VMware also announced Virtual SAN 6.5, the new dotted release of its software-defined storage offering that enables pooling of storage capabilities within exsisting servers.
Key new features are:

  • Virtual SAN iSCSI Service
  • 2-Node Direct Connect
    • Witness Traffic Separation for ROBO
  • 512e drive support

Release: VMware vRealize Log Insight 4.0

Log Insight is a log aggregation, management and analisys tool, that VMware first introduced in 2013 and now is usually compared with Splunk.

Yesterday VMware announced Log Insight’s new major release 4.0, scheduled for a vague “later this year”.
According to VMware’s announcement, this release is focused on delivering a brand new user interface based on Clarity standard, enhanced alert management capabilities, with a centralised interface and historical views, and better integration with vSphere, vRealize, and other VMware products.

In detail the new functionalities introduced by vRealize Log Insight 4.0 are:

New Server Capabilities

  • New Clarity UI
  • vSphere 6.5 compatibility
  • New Admin Alerts Management UI
  • FIPS-compliant deployment
  • Octet-framing over TCP
  • Public Installer APIs

Improved Agent Capabilities

  • Agent Auto-Update

New General UI Items

  • DeviceID to name Aliasing
  • New “field does not exist” filter
  • New gauge chart
  • New “blur” on session timeout

New Tech Preview Features

  • Agent scripted-input
  • vIDM SSO Support

Release: Windows Server 2016 with support for Window Server & Hyper-V containers

Yesterday Microsoft announced the general availability of Windows Server 2016 which the company defines as a cloud-ready OS.

Beside fancy definitions, one of the most relevant perks of this release is that enables windows users to consume container virtualization technologies through two different technologies: Windows Server Containers & Hyper-V Containers.

The first allowed Docker Engine to be ported on windows, where has been in technical preview for over a year.
As a consequence Docker and Microsoft announced a commercial partnership during the Ignite, but, despite this relationship, Docker Engine is not an integral part of Windows Server setup, nor Windows Update. Though a PowerShell script is at your disposal to make the magic happen.

Hyper-V Containers comes from Microsoft’s strategy to support containers within its pre-existing hypervisor ecosystem, a similar (but not identical from a technology standpoint) approach to VMware’s vSphere Integrated Containers. Using Microsoft’s own definition:

multiple container instances can run concurrently on a host; however, each container runs inside of a special virtual machine. This provides kernel level isolation between each Hyper-V container and the container host

You can give a peek downloading Windows Server 2016 Evaluation from this link.

Release: Oracle VM 3.4.2

During Oracle OpenWorld 2016 the company released version 3.4.2 of its enterprise virtualization solution.

Oracle VM is available for both x86 and SPARC based processor architectures and uses the Xen hypervisor technology, supporting Windows, Linux and Oracle Solaris guests.

Some of the changes and new features introduced with version 3.4.2:

  • Support for NVM Express (NVMe) devices:
    • Discover NVMe devices and present them to Oracle VM Manager
    • NVMe devices can be used to store virtual machine disks or create storage repositories
  • Extended SCSI functionality available for virtual machines
    • Linux guests can now retrieve vital product data (VPD) page 0x84 information from physical disks if the device itself makes it available.
  • The management domain (dom0) kernel upgraded to Oracle Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 4 Update 2 (4.1.12-61.1.9)
  • The Xen hypervisor performance and scalability updates:
    • Improved memory allocation
    • Improved aggregate performance
    • Improved performance for Windows, Solaris and Linux guests
    • Improved workload performance
    • Guest disk I/O performance improvements
  • Oracle VM Manager performance enhancements – improved performance under heavy event load
  • Oracle VM Manager Rule for Live Migration – blocks unsupported Live Migration paths
  • Hot memory modification for HVM guests with para-virtualized I/O drivers (PVHVM) – modify the memory allocated to running PVM guests as well as PVHVM guests without a reboot.
  • Package additions and updates
  • Security updates for the embedded components of Oracle VM Server and Oracle VM Manager.

VMworld US 2016 Wrap-up

Today was the last day of VMware’s flagship conference VMworld in Las Vegas, an highly controversial edition which left a good chunk of the audience disoriented if not properly disappointed.

The debate started during Day 1 Keynote and then proliferated over Twitter in various strands. Part of the audience commented that the message delivered during the keynote suggests developers and cloud-native applications (delegated to Day 2 Keynote) as second-class citizens in VMware’s world.

Others complained that the announcements of VMware Cloud Foundation and Cross-Cloud Services (moreover in technical preview) are too few and too late to amend the One Cloud mantra VMware has drummed for an entire year.

Anyway each of these (legit) comments has been addressed by the vast legion of VMware’s aficionados and you can enjoy the discussion on Twitter with the hashtag #VMworld and form your own opinion.

Criticism hasn’t ruined the party and here is a compendium of the announcements that followed:


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