Friday, September 8, 2017

VMworld 2017: Futures with Scott Davis EVP of Product Engineering at Embotics

Had a great discussion with Scott Davis the EVP of Product Engineering and CTO of Embotics at VMworld 2017. Scott was kind enough to share some of the future looking innovations they are working hard on at Embotics.

"Clearly the industry is moving from having virtualization or IaaS centric cross-cloud management platforms to more of an application-centric container and microservices focus. We really see customers getting serious about running containers because of the application portability, microservices synergy, development flexibility and seamless production scale-out that is possible. At the same time they are reducing the operational overhead and interacting more programmatically with the environment.

When we look at the work VMware is doing with Pivotal Container Service we believe this is the right direction but we think that the key is really enhanced automation for DevOps. One of the challenges that was pointed out, is that while customers are successfully deploying Kubernetes systems for their container development, production operation can be a struggle. Often the environment gets locked in stasis because the IT team is wary of upgrades in a live environment.

At Embotics we are all about automation. With our vCommander product we have have a lot of intelligence that we can use to build a sophisticated level of iterative automation. So let's take that challenge and let's think about what would be needed to execute a low risk DevOps migration. You would probably want to deploy the new Kubernetes version and test it against your existing set of containers. This should be sandboxed to eliminate the risk to production, validated and then the upgrade should be fully automated.”

Scott proceeds to demonstrate a beta version of Embotics Cloud Management Platform 'CMP 2.0" automating these exact set of steps across a Kubernetes environment and then rolling the changes forward to update the production environment.

“I think fundamentally we can deliver true DevOps, speeding up release cycles, delivering higher quality and providing a better end user experience. In addition we can automatically pull source code out of platforms like Jenkins, spin up instances, regression test and validate. The test instances that are successful can be vaporized, while preserving the ones that are not so that the issues can be remediated.

We are rolling this out In a set of continuous software releases to our product so that as customers are integrating Containers, the Embotics 'CMP' is extended to meet these new use-cases.

We realize as we collect a number of data points spanning user preference, IT specified compliance rules and vCommander environment knowledge across both enterprise and hyper-scale targets like Azure and AWS that we can assist our customers with intelligent placement suggestions.”

Scott switches to a demo in which the recommended cloud target is ranked by the number of stars in the beta interface.

“We are building it in a way that allows the customer to adjust the parameters and their relative importance so if PCI compliance is more important they can adjust a slider in the interface and our ranking system adjusts to the new priority. Things like cost, compliance can be set to be both relative or mandatory to tune the intelligent placement according to what the customer views as important."

Clearly Embotics is making some innovative moves to incorporate a lot of flexibility in their CMP platform. Looking forward to seeing these releases in the product line with cross cloud intelligence for containers and placement.

VMworld 2017: Interview with Zerto’s Don Wales VP of Global Cloud Sales

It is a pleasure to be here with Zerto's, Don Wales the Vice President of Global Cloud Sales at VMworld 2017. Don this is a big show for Zerto, can you tell me about some of the announcements you are showcasing here today?

"Sure Paul, we are extremely excited about our Zerto 5.5 release. With this release we have introduced an exciting number of new capabilities. You know we have many customers looking at Public and Hybrid Cloud Strategies and at Zerto we want them to be able to leverage these new destinations but do so in a way that is simple and straightforward.  Our major announcements here are our support for Fail In and Out of Azure, Increase AWS capabilities, Streamlined and Automated Upgradability, significant API enhancements and BI analytics.  All these are designed for a much better end-user experience.

One piece of feedback that we are proud of is when customers tell us that Zerto does exactly what they need it to do without a heavy engineering cost for installation. You know Paul when you think about taking DR to a Cloud Platform like Azure it can be very complex. We have made it both simple and bi-directional. You can fail into and out of Azure with all the capabilities that our customers expect from Zerto like live failover, 30-day journal retention and Journal level file restore.

We also recognize that Azure is not the only cloud target our customers want to use. We have increased the recovery times to Amazon Web services. We have improved the performance and it our testing we have seen a 6x improvement in the recovery to AWS. Zerto has also extended out support to AWS regions in Canada, Ohio, London and Mumbai.

All this as well as continuing to enhance the capabilities that our traditional Cloud Service Providers need to make their customers experience simple yet powerful."

Don, with your increased number of supported Cloud targets and regions how do you ensure your customers have visibility on what's going on?

Paul we have a SaaS product that allows our customers complete visibility on-premise and in public clouds called Zerto Analytics. It does historical reporting across all Zerto DR and recovery sites.  It is a significant step forward in providing the kind of Business Intelligence that customers need as their environments grow and expand.”

Don these innovations are great, looks like Zerto is going to have a great show. Let me ask you when Don's not helping customers with their critical problems, what do you do you unwind?

“It’s all about the family Paul. There is nothing I like better than relaxing with the family at home, and being with my wife and twin daughters.  One of our favorite things is to spend time at our beach house where our extended family gathers.  It’s a great chance to relax and get ready for my next adventure.” 

Many thanks for the time Don, it is great to see all innovations released here at VMworld 2017

Friday, September 1, 2017

VMworld 2017: Interview with Crystal Harrison @MrsPivot3

I had the pleasure of spending a few moments with Crystal Harrison, Pivot3’s dynamic VP of product strategy “@MrsPivot3”.

Crystal, I know Pivot3 from the innovative work you have been doing in security and surveillance. How has the interest been from customers in the move to datacenter and cloud?

“You know with the next generation release of Acuity, the industry’s first priority-aware hyper converged infrastructure “HCI” the demand has been incredible. While we started with 80% of the product being applied to security use cases we are now seeing a distribution of approx. 60% applied to datacenter and cloud with 40% deriving from our security practice. This is not due to any lack of demand on the security side it is just the demand on our cloud and datacenter focus has taken off with Acuity.”

We are pushing the boundaries with our HCI offering as we are leveraging NVM Express “NVMe” to capitalize on the low latency and internal parallelism of flash-based storage devices. All this is wrapped in an intuitive management interface controlled by policy.”

How do you deal with tiering within the storage components of Acuity?

Initially the policies manage where the data or instance lives in the system. We have the ability to dynamically reallocate resources  in real-time as needed. Say for example you have a critical business application that is starting to demand additional resources, we can recapture it from lower priority and policy assigned workloads on the fly. This protects your sensitive workloads and ensures they always have what they need.

How has the demand been from Cloud Service providers?

They love it. We have many flexible models including pay-by-the-drip metered and measured cost models. In addition the policy engine gives them the ability to set and charge for a set of performance based tiers for storage and compute. Iron Mountain is one of our big cloud provider customers. What is really unique is because we have lightweight management overhead and patented Erasure coding you can write to just about every terabyte that you buy which is important value to our customers and service providers.

Crystal, it really sounds like Pivot3 has built a high value innovative solution. Getting away from technology, what does Crystal do to relax when she is not helping customers adopt HCI?

My unwind is the gym. After a long day a good workout helps me reset for the next.

Crystal, it has been a pleasure, great to see Pivot3 having a great show here at VMworld 2017.