vCHS in the UK

vCHS-in-the-UK1I was fortunate and privileged recently to be invited to the UK launch event for VMware’s vCloud Hybrid Service in the UK. The first of many planned deployments in the EMEA region for VMware.

VMware’s vCloud Hybrid Service became public in the US in September last year.  Swiftly afterwards, VMware announced their plans to bring the service to EMEA in 2014 and, as of Tuesday 25th February, it is generally available in Europe.

Besides being a blogger, I’m also fortunate to work for a leading VMware Partner in EMEA (Xtravirt). As we’re one of the few Hybrid Cloud certified partners (at the time of writing), I’m hoping to be working on some vCHS projects in the near future. Exciting!

Why the UK and Why now?

The feedback from EMEA customers indicated that many of them were concerned about data locality and the sovereignty of their datacenters. A Vanson Bourne survey of 200 IT decision makers conducted earlier this year on behalf of VMware indicated that:

  • 86% recognised a business need to keep data within UK borders
  • 85% said current clouds were not integrated with their own internal infrastructure
  • 81% said that they need to make public cloud as easy to manage and control as their own infrastructure

The Launch Event

The launch of the service in London was anticipated for several weeks following a beta programme that was oversubscribed ten-fold. Initially, vCHS will be available via a single UK data centre.  An additional data centre is due to come online in the 2nd quarter of this year and VMware already have plans to expand the service into more European countries.

The relative importance to VMware of this launch was perhaps best emphasized by the presence of their CEO, Pat Gelsinger, who flew in from California for it.  VMware have invested heavily in vCHS and will continue to do so as demand for public cloud services grows. Pat’s presence underlined to me the importance that VMware places on vCHS in their future.

During Pat’s talk, he gave an overview of how he and VMware see that we’re in the middle of a shift from an appliance era to one of mobile cloud. vCHS is one of the ways that VMware are using to move with that shift. He also mentioned about how he’d recently had to write a cheque for $1.5Bn for VMware’s purchase of AirWatch. I thought I’d try it out to see what it felt like…

vchs-cheque

I guess it’d be more impressive if I actually had that money in my account! If anyone else tries this, tell me if you use Dr Evil’s voice when writing it out.

Much of the remaining time at the event was dedicated to a Q&A panel involving many of the UK / EMEA’s top brass and vCHS product managers.

vCHS Benefits – A Customer Perspective

Obviously, VMware weren’t the first to market with a public cloud offering (think Amazon AWS or Microsoft Azure for instance), but a significant portion of the launch briefing was focused around how vCHS benefits existing VMware customers more than a move to a 3rd party cloud provider does.  For this, two of the service’s beta participants talked about their experiences.

Betfair’s business activities, as part of the online gaming industry, are heavily regulated within the UK. One of their IT challenges is providing the business with sufficient agility to grow and develop. However, Betfair found that the potential benefits of cloud economics are balanced against the complexity of maintaining regulatory compliance when using cloud service providers. The key differentiator that they picked out in vCHS for them was the integration with their existing virtual platform (vSphere). Being able to migrate workloads from their on-premise platform to their dedicated vCHS space and (using other parts of the vCloud Suite) presenting business users with a single interface to request and manage virtual infrastructure made their adoption of vCHS for development and testing purposes possible.

Cancer Research UK’s story is similar. Their key driver is to reduce their spend on “tin and wires” as they’re not an IT business. As a charity, regular and predictable costs are far more preferable to infrequent capital outlays for growth and hardware refreshes. Cancer Research wanted something they could just plug into and use to maximize their IT efficiency and move away from legacy systems.

Thinking about these use cases, there’s certainly clear benefits for both customers.

Use Cases

vCHS has several use cases and benefits. Key amongst the benefits is the ability to utilise existing vSphere management products and interfaces to manage your estate. Such integration is going to be a big selling point in my opinion.

As for use cases, here are just a few:

  • Use as a Disaster Recovery datacenter
  • Migrate from existing  Virtual Infrastructure and reduce your physical datacenter assets
  • SMEs could use it to host workloads that require Enterprise vSphere features and keep test and development systems in house
  • Affordable means to grow IT infrastructure without capital investement

Put another way, if you imagine an organisation with an existing virtual datacenter, their usage of it is likely to look something like this:

vchs-use-case

  • 75 – 90% (ish) is used by running services
  • 10 – 25 % might be reserved for high availability and maintenance constraints
  • A few percent might be available to support business growth

That’s a reasonable chunk of resources that are required (and must be paid for) that don’t run any workloads under normal conditions.

Imagine though if the business had datacenter resilience requirements that necessitated a second datacenter for DR:

vchs-use-case-with-dr

The organisation has to pay for a lot more hardware and software that might never be required and that will have to kept up-to-date over time. (Of course, they could run workloads in both datacenters and fail over should DR be required but the amount of resources required wouldn’t reduce much.)

Using vCHS, such an organisation could very easily do any or all of the following:

  • Use vCHS for DR. They’d have to pay for storage used and they’d need a pretty chunky network connection but surely they have that anyway. In the evnt of needing to failover, they pay for the resource used.
  • Use vCHS to support business growth without having to invest in capital equipment.
  • Migrate their workloads to vCHS rather than refresh on-premise hardware and use multiple vCHS datacenters for resilience.

The opportunities are both interesting and exciting to me.

5 Reasons to Attend South West UK VMUG

vmug-sw-logoAs many people will be aware, there are many reasons to go to local VMUG meetings. Many people may not be aware that there is a new VMware User Group being started in the South West. Based in Bristol, the South West UK VMUG aims to bring the best of virtualization, technology, chat, networking opportunities and general cool stuff to the whole of the bottom left side of the UK. We aim to hold 3 free events in the city each year, with the first scheduled for 18th February 2014.

But why come along? Amongst many others, here are the top 5 reasons for coming to the South West UK VMUG meeting:

1. Rockstar Speakers

joe-200x301We are super lucky to be kicking off our meetings with a keynote speech by Joe Baguley, Chief Technology Officer of EMEA for VMware. Aside from running a huge company like VMware, Joe is a very ardent supported of local VMUGs, and we’ve been very lucky to secure some of his time. Joining Joe in the speaking slots are storage technology firm and platinum event sponsors Nutanix, Nathan Prisk from Falmouth University and VMware staffers Peter von Oven and Arash Ghazanfari.

2. Getting Involved in the Community

VMUG events are hugely popular and are often a gateway for people to get involved in the virtualization community. VMUGs are all about networking, communicating with other like minded individuals to form new business and technology relationships, and to expand networks to new area’s – both from a technology and a geographical perspective. VMUG events attract a cross section of the business and technology world, from those just starting out to seasoned professionals who have been in the business for years, from boardroom members to junior technical staff. Everyone is invited, everyone is welcome, and nobody pays a dime!

3. Free Training / VCDX Practice

In addition to the usual community sessions run as part of the VMUG agenda, we are also planning a coupke of extra sessions for registered attendees in the morning:

  • FREE TRAINING – delivered by another VMware Community Rockstar: Mike Laverick. A former VMware Certified Instructor, Mike is a VMware and technology evangelist, and will be delivering some free training for VMware beginners on 18th February. If you are interested, please leave a comment or get in touch!
  • VCDX Practice – organised by the community, those planning to do the top-flight VMware Certified Design Expert exam are invited to an informal study group, to practice defence sessions as we help each other to achieve VCDX status.

4. vBeers

For a little post-VMUG networking, there is also a Bristol vBeers event, starting at 5pm in a local Bristol bar (the Piano & Pitcher). Sponsored by 10zig, vBeers is an opportunity to enjoy a beverage or 2 and do some more networking. Couldn’t attend the afternoon sessions? Catch-up with the sponsors and find out all the latest information.

5. Free Stuff!

vmug-prizesEveryone likes to get something for nothing – right? There are lots of freebies on offer at South West UK VMUG:

  • Free Registration. Pay nothing to get in, and all the sessions are available to attend gratis.
  • Free lunch. Join us from 12pm to get signed-in and enjoy a bite in the process.
  • Free Training. New to VMware? Register for the morning sessions. (See above).
  • Free Beers. Join us at vBeers afterwards, sponsored by 10zig.
  • Free Stuff. We have many prize draws, including VMworld 2013 bags filled with goodies, t-shirts, mugs, pens, notebooks and other techie goodies!

So, what’s not to like about the up-coming South West VMUG meeting on 18th February? See the full agenda here, or register to attend for FREE on our VMUG.com Community website.

Follow us on Twitter for news and updates: @SWUKVMUG

South West UK VMUG: Agenda

The official agenda has been released for the up-coming first South West UK VMUG. Registration is open now via our VMUG Community page. So, what’s on?

Time Agenda
 9.45am – 10.00am  Registration for Free VMware Training Session and VCDX Practice Session delegates
 10.00am – 12.00pm  Free VMware Training Session by Mike Laverick (@Mike_Laverick), and VCDX Practice Session by Craig Kilbourn (@Craig_Kilbourn)
 12.00pm – 1.15pm  Main delegate registration, plus buffet lunch
1.15pm – 1.30pm  Welcome from the VMUG Leaders
1.30pm – 2.15pm  VMware Session – End User Computing by Peter von Oven (@pvo71) and Arash Ghazanfari
 2.15pm – 3.00pm  Platinum Sponsor Vendor Session: Nutanix
 3.00pm – 3.30pm  Breakout (Tea / Coffee)
 3.30pm – 4.15pm  Community Session: Falmouth University deployment of 10zig solution
 4.15pm – 4.30pm  Delegate Feedback and Prize Draws
4.30pm – 5.00pm Closing Keynote: Joe Baguley, VMware CTO, EMEA (@joebaguley)
5.00pm onwards Bristol vBeers @ Piano & Pitcher, Bristol (approx. 200m from the VMUG venue)

We look forward to meeting you on the 18th February at Bristol mShed!

SWVMUG Launch and Google Hangout

Jeremy and I participated in a brief Google Hangout today with Simon Eady and Barry Coombs, our co-leaders of the South West UK VMUG. We officially announced our first meeting date (Tuesday 18th February 2014 in central Bristol) and spent some time discussing some of the things that we collectively did at VMworld Europe recently.

The full video of the hangout is below. Once venues etc are firmed up for our first SWVMUG meeting we’ll get a registration link opened up on our VMUG page.