Lately I’ve been looking into virtualizing latency sensitive applications like the ones used in a lot of financial institutions. In vSphere 6 and below, configuring SR-IOV to hardware accelerate network traffic for latency sensitive VM’s would limit the vSphere features per the SR-IOV Support documentation. This is also true with DirectPath I/O. However, the good news is that vSphere 7 has a new feature called Assignable Hardware that has two consumers; The new Dynamic DirectPath I/O and NVIDIA vGPU. Dynamic DirectPath I/O helps by providing the same functionality as ‘legacy’ DirectPath I/O, but does not pin a workload/VM to a host. This brings back HA and DRS Initial placement to VM’s configured for latency sensitive applications. vMotion is not supported because vSphere cannot live migrate a VM that is directly tied to a physical device. SR-IOV devices are also supported by Assignable Hardware when used as pure passthrough devices.
The VMware High Performance Compute team has been working with our vSphere development teams to bring more capabilities to high performance compute and latency sensitive virtualized workloads without sacrificing bare metal performance.
For more details on Assignable Hardware, check out:
28 years ago I spent a year preparing a University thesis focused on Neural Networks. Practical usage and the job market wasn’t there back then but lots has changed and Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) is everywhere. VMware has been focused on AI/ML for awhile by incorporating it into its products and making it easier for customers to run those types of workloads on top of vSphere. Recently I started looking deeper into this and uncovered some great resources that I thought I would share.
When Internet of Things (IoT) is mentioned, people tend to get really excited about all the interesting use cases around smart building, smart city, smart manufacturing, smart retail, smart healthcare, etc. Let’s face it, the reason IoT has become so popular lately is that the data from IoT devices is being utilized in more and more intelligent ways. We commonly refer to this place where data is being collected and decisions are being made as the insight plane or content plane.
What tends to get ignored in IoT is IoT & Edge Device Management.
In my discussions with customers they tend to talk about various projects that got started, but, never moved from concept to reality because they didn’t have a way to operationalize it at scale. There are many things to think about when it comes to this that start to sound pretty boring compared to facial recognition, autonomous driving, and medical imaging analysis. First, what good is it to have a really good analytic engine making decisions on data if it can’t get the data? What if a temperature sensor battery is low, or a video surveillance camera is tampered with, or you need a software update to a edge gateway system that’s collecting data from things? How do you get all the devices onboarded under management at scale in a consistently configured manner? Then what if there’s a configuration changed needed across all devices? How about monitoring the health of the devices, or collecting data off devices? What if there’s a security patch that needs to be deployed to thousands of devices? How do you make sure all of this is done in a secure and trusted manner? We commonly refer to all this as the Management or Control Plane. Another way to describe it is that it’s the plumbing of IoT. No one really wants to deal with it, but, they know they want it all to just work. That’s where VMware’s Pulse IoT Center comes in. As I mentioned in a previous blog here, VMware has historically been great at providing world class software to manage infrastructure and help it run more efficiently. That’s what Pulse IoT Center is doing. Yes we are excited about all the extremely interesting use cases our customers are deploying. We can help them with data collection and supplying that data to their intelligent applications, but, we are also happy to help deal with the complexities of managing all these hundreds to thousands to millions of devices.
In addition, you can stop by the Edge and IoT Zone Booth
next to the VMware booth in the Solution Exchange. There you’ll find many of our
great eco system partners demonstrating interesting use cases in conjunction
with VMware solutions. You can also get a demonstration of VMware Pulse IoT
Center managing Edge and IoT infrastructure. I look forward to this event every
year so I can bump into old friends and meet some new ones. And I prefer San
Francisco over Vegas so it should be a good week.
After watching the season premiere of the Game of Thrones (GOT) final season a few weeks ago, I flew to Atlanta for EMPOWER 2019 which is VMware’s event for Partners. It kicked off with a happy hour and demo station presentations. I supported the Edge and IoT demo station where we did some fun Raspberry Pi demos and had some cool giveaways.
I was really impressed with the number of partners who had a
good understanding of Edge and IoT and were already working with customers on
their overall strategy. In one case the partner was planning for State and
Local schools to implement IoT device management for video surveillance cameras
and gunshot detection sensors. In another case, they were looking to bring
operational efficiency to their customers manufacturing floors that were being
refreshed with new ruggedized gateways and wireless sensors.
Many of the partners were excited to see the Raspberry Pi
demo which went like this.
This is a Raspberry Pi 3B+ with an add-on SenseHAT that
monitors temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, yaw, pitch, roll, and has
a joystick and LED display.
We logged into the Pulse IoT Center dashboard
which is based on the standard VMware Clarity HTML5 UI. So the look and feel
and navigation should be familiar to administrators of other VMware products.
This is our recently released Pulse IoT Center 2.0. Then we clicked on “Devices” to show list of Devices under management:
Notice that this lists “Gateway” Device Types and “Thing” Device Types and that Raspberry Pi is a Gateway and the SenstHat is a Thing. The difference is that a Gateway can run our Pulse IoT Center Agent (IOTC Agent) and a Thing cannot. However, a Thing can be managed via the IOTC Agent running on the Gateway it’s attached to. In this case, the SenseHAT Thing is physically attached to the Raspberry Pi Gateway. In other cases, Things may connect via Bluetooth, Zigbee, Modbus, or some other IoT protocol that both the Thing and Gateway can support.
Clicking on the Raspberry Pi Gateway you get this basic information:
Clicking on “Properties” you get more detailed information:
This is a good way to find the IP Address of the device, uptime, os-release, status of SSH, or any custom information specific to that device like the location of the physical gateway.
Clicking on “Metrics” shows CPU, Memory, etc. about the Raspberry Pi gateway.
Clicking on “Connected Devices” shows the Things connected to the Gateway.
In this case, there’s only one Thing, the SenseHat. Some gateways could have many Things connected physically or wirelessly. If you click on the “SenseHat” Thing and then “Metrics” you can see what the Raspberry PI has been collecting from the SenseHat.
OK, now for the fun part. If you go back to the Raspberry Pi Device view and click on the three little dots on the right you can click on “Commands” to get to the command console.
Once in the Command Console you can click on “SEND COMMAND” to get this list of predefined commands as well as some commands we added:
For the demo, we want to turn on the SenseHAT LED display so we select “SenseHatDisplay On” and then click “SEND COMMAND”.
The Pulse IoT Center Agent running on the Gateway will check in with it’s Pulse IoT Center every 5 minutes by default. For the purposes of the demo, we shortened this to 5 seconds. When it checks in, it will inquire if there is a command or campaign to run. In this case, it’ll see that there is a command to run and it will execute that command which will turn on the LED display.
If the device is in a remote location, the status of the command can be monitored:
This is an example of sending a command to a
single device. Pulse IoT Center is capable of running Campaigns which will
perform commands on multiple devices. We can address that topic in another
post. And, this is just one of the many examples of how Pulse IoT Center can be
used to manage IoT devices.
began my IT career by migrating the company I was working for off of mainframe
and onto a client/server environment. That was a major shift in how IT was done
at the beginning of the Internet era. During that time, individual business
units at many companies stood up their own LAN servers (e.g. Novel NetWare and
Microsoft Windows NT Server). You could call this the first instance of “Shadow
IT”. At some point, IT departments brought those servers and applications under
IT management. VMware then came along and helped those servers and applications
to run more efficiently on vSphere.
cloud emerged, many individual business units started consuming cloud resources
at Amazon, Microsoft, and Google and exposing sensitive company data. I was
working for EMC at the time as a vSpecialist and remember one of my colleagues
talking to a customer about “Shadow IT”. Many IT departments scrambled to gain
control of those company assets to secure them. For a while now, VMware has
helped IT with its Hybrid Cloud strategy to help support, manage, and secure
public and private cloud resources.
the mobile space, for a long time, many companies would issue cell phones to
their employees. Then Apple and Android phones became popular and workers
demanded these personal devices be able to access company applications and
data. VMware helped IT provide secure access and control with its Mobile Device
Management solutions using AirWatch and now Workspace ONE.
Internet of Things (IoT) has been going on for 20+ years back as long as I can remember when my first university internship was helping to build SCADA systems for a power company. Back then and until recently, each IoT use case was implemented and managed by the vendor providing the solution. My friend and colleague, Grant Challenger, posted a blog on the evolution of IoT in the enterprise here: What is IT’s role in IoT? He talks about the challenge with what he calls “Shadow IoT” and how now there’s a need for IT to get involved. Grant also coined the phrase “IT runs IoT” which means that it’s now time to bring IT disciplines to IoT, just like they did for LAN, Cloud, and MDM. This is the problem VMware is now targeting to help IT solve. There are millions of Edge gateways and IoT devices that need to be onboarded, managed, and secured and VMware Pulse IoT Center does just that.
When I was in a meeting last week and “IT runs IoT” came up again, I was sitting next to another long time colleague who was drinking his favorite coffee. So, I had my resident graphics artist create the image you see at the top. I hope you like it!
This is a result of some great work by our Edge and IoT product and engineering teams to test and validate gateway vendor hardware with our Pulse Agent and Pulse IoT Center.
I think VMware does 2 things really well.
1) Provides world class software to manage infrastructure and help it run more efficiently
vSphere provides an efficient and secure compute platform
for hybrid cloud and vCenter is a centralized platform for managing vSphere
environments across hybrid cloud. Workspace ONE delivers and manages any app on
any device with an integrated digital workspace platform. And now with the emergence
of Edge and IoT, Pulse IoT Center provides a secure, enterprise-grade solution
for IoT device management and monitoring.
2) Maintains an extensive VMware Compatibility Guide (VCG) of vigorously tested hardware from many different vendors that is supported by VMware software.
If you browse the VCG for Servers/Systems you’ll find Dell, HP, Cisco, Lenovo, and many many more. If you search for vSAN you’ll find thousands of HDD and flash media listed. If you search for End User Computing you’ll find various Thin Client vendor hardware listed. And now for Edge and IoT, you will find a list of devices supported by Pulse IoT Center. This is only the beginning. The VCG will be updated to reflect the rapidly expanding Edge and IoT market as new hardware is certified and new versions Pulse IoT Center are released.
About a year ago, an astute college at VMware, Kevin Lees, reached out inquiring about writing a book on Operationalizing VMware vSAN. He had created a book on Operationalizing VMware NSX and thought writing one on vSAN would be a good idea. His extensive background in consulting and expertise in operationalizing infrastructure makes him a perfect fit for this series of books. I of course said it was a great idea and we talked about the topics to cover. I kept in touch with the project for a few months and scanned an early draft. Many others jumped in after than and helped create the book that was just recently released. Its a great read so check it out here: