Tuesday, February 8, 2011

vFabric on vCloud - meet the vFabric cloud application platform (episode 2)

In this second episode of "vFabric on vCloud" I'll introduce you to vFabric. Our end user here is an architect/developper/devops for the cloud scale application challenge that Octo runs with VMware and Steria - but the demonstration is fairly generic.

The user is having access to the VMware powered platform through vCloud Director, over the internet using its web browser.
He has a vFabric 4 VM cluster running and has access to the built-in Hyperic instance.

Using Hyperic, the user has a centralized, secured and top to bottom view on his application platform - for the entire vFabric stack. Even if the cluster is elastic with new VM coming in, Hyperic built-in self-discovery kicks in and keeps consistency in a dynamic environment.
The vFabric cloud application platform features a number of web related platform services:
  • tc Server - lightweight and scalable enterprise version of Tomcat for Java apps and Spring apps
  • ERS - an Apache based httpd that can frontend the stack or deal with non Java apps (PHP, Perl etc)
  • RabbitMQ - an AMQP compliant messaging broker with many languages binding and additional protocols, that can also be connected straight to browsers for web messaging
  • GemFire - a distributed data grid that combines replicated / partionned caching and eviction with map reduce and no-data loss / shared nothing parralel persistence capabilities
  • Hyperic - an agent based distributed system for performance monitoring and control of the entire stack - from bare operating system to inside-application - that provides fundamental capabilities to manage elastic environments at scale, including non-vFabric if you want.

vFabric can be used as a whole platform "better together" - with for example tc Server offloading state (session, Hibernate L2 or java caching) to GemFire, and async processing to RabbitMQ - while ERS can load balance tc Server instances.
Hyperic glue the entire distributed environment together from an operational perspective - for deployment, configuration, remote control and performance management - but you can use command line just as well.

In a next episode we will look at part 3 of the user experience - as seen from a cloud operator adding new vFabric VM to the cluster to increase compute and data capacity at deploy time or at runtime with a "clone to scale" built-in design.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

vFabric on vCloud - meet the vFabric cluster vApp (episode 1)

In this first episode of "vFabric on vCloud" I'll introduce you to the end user experience. Our end user here is an architect/developper/devops for the cloud scale application challenge that Octo runs with VMware and Steria - but the demonstration is fairly generic.

The user is having access to the VMware powered platform through vCloud Director, over the internet using its web browser.
He has access to a pre-provided vApp - a set of 4 vFabric VM and one utility VM that are wired on a private network and can be managed as a whole entity by the user (start, stop, suspend etc) but also by the underlying cloud provider or organization manager if needed.
Once started, the user is having access to its 5 VM over a secured SSH and can then create a tunnel to access for example the vFabric Hyperic web UI in a secured fashion even with use of default password.

In our example, the vApp has been pre-provided through a vApp template by the organization manager. It encapsulates all best practices and ensure isolation yet flexibility for a multi tier application environment.
Depending on roles we could have given the user more freedom to create his own vApp(s) based on quotas limits and catalog access where our VM and vApp templates are listed.

In a next episode we will look at part 2 of the user experience - few seconds after a vFabric VM cluster boot where all the vFabric cloud application platform gets accessible, manageeable, and dynamic and elastic.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

vFabric (ex SpringSource) on VMware vCloud for a cloud scale app

Since I joined VMware almost 1y ago, I had little time to update my blog on what 's going on. I have a whole lot more for this year and I hope you'll find it of interest.

For this come back, I'll start a whole series of posts all tagged USI2011.
Cloud... let's get concrete please!

We just helped launched a cloud scale application challenge with 2 partners around VMware: Steria for the hosting part and Octo driving the challenge - a major consulting boutique of high level yet real solid architecture skills especially when it comes to the topics at stake - applications and clouds.

The challenge is opened to dev/devops/architect skilled teams in France and is already oversubscribed and got good buzz (here, here, and twitter #USI2011).
See the complete flyer.

In few days and for about 4 months you'll have access to VMware vCloud Director over the internet to run and test drive your platform, running atop a nice set of blades operated by Steria (we'll disclose details later), and prefilled with empty linux or better the entire portfolio of vFabric cloud application platform (it 's all your choice to use it).
If we leave Zimbra and Desktop virtualization solutions we have a great combination of what VMware cooked in 2010 - following the SpringSource, GemStone, and RabbitMQ acquisitions - now called vFabric - and combining this with the vCloud Director who went publicly generally available in second half of 2010. Awesome combination of technologies, proven for years in the field from virtualization to Java runtimes and coming to you over the cloud through vCloud!

The whole goal is to write a scalable application - and we mean large scale.

We want to observe how you deal with few issues especially when running "in a cloud" - in the 2011+ years. We want to see the solution you bring to the table - use vCloud, use vFabric (or whatever you'd like if you can sustain a discussion to a CIO on why it's the best platform for his apps), and get back to us with real code and results.

There has been a number of discussion in the twitter and blogosphere (again in France) of small tweaks enabling key differences in raw performance (indeed there might be, going back to tuning an OS TCP stack) but be aware we'll also carefully look at your cloud capabilities:
  • technologies being used are rather mainstream, digestible or plain darkness?
  • how do you deal with provisioning and management at scale?
  • are you elastic, from a compute and data perspective
  • how fast can you scale, does your scale out mechanism integrates with "add VM" in vCloud and also reduces load from existing nodes and not simply add new capacity waiting for new requests
  • are you HA and no-SPOF (it is an overkilled term but if you have elascticity you may have scale-down hence requirement for nodes being droped fairly often)
  • and the list goes on...
(disclaimer: I am not the judge - those are some thoughts)

If you want to read more (and read French) - go have a look at
For the next post, I'll uncover a bit more with pics and videos what it looks like to run vFabric in the cloud with vCloud Director