VXLAN Explained

As IT organizations to move to a converged infrastructure and service-oriented model, many are finding that current data center networking architectures are a limiting factor. VLAN-based switching models have a long history, but suffer from the following challenges in the data center:

* Inflexibility: VLAN and switching boundaries are not flexible nor easily extensible. As requirements grow or shrink, compute and storage resources need to be allocated without major operational overhead.

* Operationally Inefficient Fault Tolerance: High-availability technologies such as VMware Fault Tolerance work best with “flat” Layer 2 networks, but creating and managing this architecture can be operationally difficult, especially at scale.

* VLAN and IP Address Management Limitations: IP address maintenance and VLAN limits become challenges as the data center scales, particularly when strong isolation is required or in service provider environments.

To solve this challenge, VMware, in partnership with leading networking and silicon vendors including Cisco Systems, has created the VXLAN technology. VXLAN is a method for “floating” virtual domains on top of a common networking and virtualization infrastructure. By leveraging industry-standard Ethernet technology, large numbers of virtual domains can be created above an existing network, with complete isolation from each other and the underlying network.

VXLAN offers the following benefits:

* Flexibility: Datacenter server and storage utilization and flexibility is maximized through the support of “stretched clusters” that cross switching and pod boundaries

* Streamlined Network Operations: VXLAN runs on standard Layer 3 IP networks, eliminating the need to build and manage a large Layer 2 underlying transport layer.

* Investment Protection: VXLAN runs over standard switching hardware, with no need for software upgrades or special code versions on the switches

The video below give a nice, easy to understand, technical overview of VXLAN in just 4 minutes.

Source for the text can be found here.

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Presenting & the effects it has on people

Consulting is giving advice. Advice means communication. In most cases with consultancy this means presenting your advice to your customer.

Presenting is an important asset when consulting. It’s delivering your message. The advice that you are providing to your customer. Important thing that you always need to keep in mind is the fact that you are talking to people. You are presenting the message, your audience needs to receive and understand your message.

Dr. Susan Weinschenk over at whatmakesthemclick.net has written a book about this subject called “100 Things Every Presenter Needs to Know About People“.

It’s about presenting and the effects it has on people. The book reveals what you need to know about how people listen, how people decide, and how people react so that you can learn to create more engaging presentations.

Together with a book she also released an entertaining whiteboard video of “5 Things Every Presenter Needs to Know About People”. This video reveals 5 of the things that are also in the book. So if you want to know the other 95 things, buy the book!

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Consultancy : It’s not always about the money…

“It’s the day he had been preparing for. He had done his research, spoken to everybody in the IT department of the Money3 bank and now had to present his findings and advice to the CIO. Jack was a little bit nervous. In his career as a IT management consultant, this was the first, large financial customer that he had to present to, but Jack felt he was prepared and that he would impress the CIO with what he had to tell him. He had been researching the IT infrastructure over the last couple of weeks and had the answer : Money3 Bank had to move into cloud computing. 

Jack went into the office of the CIO. Mr. Jones was sitting at the head of the conference table with his secretary and a few of his IT managers that Jack had spoken to over the last coupel of weeks. Jack greeted everyone in the room and connected his laptop to the beamer that was waiting for him. Everybody in the room waited for the start his presentation. 

Jack started his presentation with the state of the current IT infrastructure of Money3 Bank. Presented his finding that he had gathered over the last couple of weeks and gave his advice : Money3 Bank needs to move into cloud computing. Jack had created various sheets with financial data. TCO calculations, with ROI calculations. He explained everything in detail to the people in the room. Step by step he took them through the process of what benefit it would bring to Money3 Bank. Jack finished his presentation with one big concluding slide : “Cloud computing will save Money3 Bank 1 million euros over the next 3 years!”

Jack stood there infront of the presentation screen. He though to himself “This went great!”. Everybody in the room now turned there attention to Mr. Jones. He was silent and said nothing. Jack got nervous. “Why is he silent?” “Didn’t he like what I told him?” “Why doesn’t he respond?” But Mr. Jones kept silent. He was just looking out of the windows. Nobody in the room said anything. Jack really felt uncomfortable with the situation. He really didn’t know what he had to do. Then after a minute or so Mr. Jones looked at Jack and said : “Money3just made 1 million euros. I like your story, I like saving money, but could you now please tell me how you are going to solve my problems?” 

The moral of the story is the fact that money isn’t a primary concern for most of your clients. Clients have challenges and want a solution to those challenges. Everybody knows that challenges will cost money and yes, everybody also wants to spend as less money as possible or get a nice return on investment for the money they are spending, but in most cases that is a nice to have.

The fact is that consultancy is a personal matter. It’s not only about the numbers, it’s about trying to solve real challenges that your customers face today. They want to be provided with a  solution that solves those challenges and in the end makes sure that they will get a good nights sleep. It’s about understanding your customers and getting to know what drives them. Trying to connect with them on their level and trying to help them in everyway that you can to help them to the next level. To do that you need to know their goals and what they are trying to achieve. And in most cases it’s not what you think is right, it’s what the customer thinks is right. Cause in the end : customer is king!

VMware’s road to the heterogeneous cloud

VMware acquired DynamicOps yesterday. Not the biggest news of all. VMware regularly acquires virtual and cloud software products that will then be integrated in the overall portfolio, but DynamicOps is a little bit different in my opinion. DynamicOps is a software company that builds cloud automation solutions that enable provisioning and management of IT services across heterogeneous clouds. The last part of what they do is the most interesting : “… across heterogenous clouds”.

This makes the solution a little bit different from the other acquisitions. This product not only manages VMware products, but also is capable of managing other cloud solutions of other vendors. Making it possible to move services between different vendors of cloud products.

This is a change of direction for VMware. Before this acquisition VMware had no management solutions to for other products then the VMware products. The acquisition of DynamicOps changes this and has huge benefits for the customers of VMware products. Now they can easily manage there IT services with one product. DynamicOps’s multi-platform and multi-platform service integration will help deliver the best IT solutions to the business easily and effectively.

For VMware this means that they’ve gone into the path of delivering heterogeneous cloud solution to their end customer. In my opinion a positive direction. A new path in delivering IT solutions that help customers to deliver IT in a flexible and easy way. Bringing more agility to the business.

For more information see :

VMware press release
Ramin Sayar’s blog
Leslie Muller’s blog (CTO & Founder, DynamicOps)