What I've Been Reading 2017-11-06 (Serverless, Cloud On-Ramps, SD-WAN, Collaboration)

It has been a busy few weeks in IT. Not surprisingly, many cloud developments, but also some interesting development in SDN and collaboration. Please let me know if you would like to discuss any of these topics in further detail. Enjoy.

  • VMware Cloud on AWS Hands-On Lab
    • Why this is interesting: I learn best through hands-on. I like to be able to tell my customers what works perfectly, what doesn’t work and what is extremely difficult to get to work. Many of my personal blog posts are walk-throughs of product implementations. Now that VMware has partnered with AWS for hybrid cloud, this is a good opportunity to see, firsthand, the specifics of implementation and management of the solution.
    • Read More
      • Access to this Hands-On Lab is here.
  • Cisco Partners with Google for Hybrid Cloud
    • Why this is interesting: Recently, I wrote about different hyperconverged platforms (Azure Stack, VMware Cloud, Nutanix) linking up with public cloud platforms (Azure, AWS, GCP, respectively) to be the default on-ramp to hybrid cloud.  At the end of October, Cisco Hyperflex linked up with GCP to be an on-ramp for Kubernetes and containers. This space is very fluid right now and WWT is connecting many of these on-ramps in our ATC Labs for customers to try and compare.
    • Read More
      • Cisco HyperFlex announcement is here.
  • AWS Lambda vs Azure Functions vs GCP Functions
    • Why this is interesting: Public cloud is most efficiently used when applications are written to be cloud-native. One type of cloud-native applications are serverless or Function as a Service. All you provide is code. The cost model for serverless is typically the first 1M transactions per month are free. Some of my customers have moved toward all new applications being written to a serverless model. Serverless can be run in public cloud or, now with Azure Stack, run in private cloud. I recently wrote a serverless weather forecast app in JavaScript on Azure Functions and then ported that app to AWS Lambda to see how different the experience was. This porting was not as easy as just copying the code across and running. The code needed to be modified, the definition of external modules was different, and the use of a web trigger was different. Not exactly write once, run anywhere. This article on cloudacademy goes into some of the differences in serverless platforms from Amazon, Microsoft and Google.
    • Read More
  • AWS Direct Connect Multi-Region
    • Why this is interesting: If you are using any cloud provider, you should be spreading workloads across multiple regions for better high availability. All cloud providers have a direct connect VPN access from private data centers to public clouds. For multi-region, you would need to have a direct connect VPN to each of the regions that you are running in. Amazon AWS has made this direct connect to multi-region easier by adding a Direct Connect Gateway feature. Connect once to the Gateway and multiple regions can be accessed.
    • Read More
      • Detail on the AWS Direct Connect Gateway is here
  • Azure Container Service (AKS) Released for Free
    • Why this is interesting: The battle for the best container platform has shifted to the battle for the best container management platform. Recently, I wrote about VMware’s entry with the Pivotal Container Service (PKS). Yes, the cool kids are now using the letter K for Containers as in Kubernetes. AKS manages not only Kubernetes, but also Docker and Mesosphere.
    • Read More
      • Article on AKS is here.
  • Equinix Adds Oracle Cloud Fastconnect
    • Why this is interesting: In terms of market share, Oracle Cloud definitely falls in the “other category”, but I do know of some customers using Oracle cloud for DBaaS and database archiving. Latency is one hurdle to overcome when moving applications to the public cloud and Equinix reduces latency by providing colocation facilities with low-latency, high-bandwidth connections to popular public cloud providers. If using, or interested in using, Oracle Cloud, Equinix is a consideration in an overall architecture.
    • Read More
      • Article on new Equinix Oracle connection is here.
  • HPE Releases Gen10 Apollo HPC Servers
    • Why this is interesting: HPE Apollo servers have always won my “inventive” award. Want a server chassis that is one server, two servers, three servers? 46 drives, 68 drives? Are you looking for Hadoop compute or Hadoop storage? Water cooled? 144 nodes? Lots of GPUs? Before every OEM, and their brother, had a four-servers-in-a-2U-HCI-chassis, HPE had been using this form factor for HPC. Also, the two server/tons of storage in a single chassis HPC form factor became the perfect fit for Exchange DAGs
    • Read More
      • Gen10 HPC Apollo update can be found here. 
Data Protection
  • Google Docs Access Denied
    • Why this is interesting: When I help my customers with their cloud strategies, one of the many questions I have them consider is “How will you protect your cloud data?” Applications and data in public cloud need a data protection strategy that provides the same RTO and RPO as their on-premises brethren. Whenever cloud applications or regions become temporarily unavailable, companies are reminded of this. Recently, Google Docs became unavailable for certain users due to a bug in Google’s anti-malware scanning. Valid, non-dangerous, documents were marked as dangerous, and made unavailable. A good reminder to have secondary or tertiary copies of cloud documents.
    • Read More
      • Google’s explanation of what happened is here. 
  • Voice Activated Conference Rooms
    • Why this is interesting: Voice commands have become the new minimum requirement for many new products. Amazon.com currently lists 91 Alexa-Enabled Devices from speakers to thermostats to watches to lighting. Cisco, who already has a nicely integrated set of communication products, has added voice commands to their upcoming Spark Room products. You will be able to start meetings and control meeting with only your voice.
    • Read More
      • WWT blog on the new Spark AI can be found here. 
  • VMware Buys VeloCloud
    • Why this is interesting: VMware’s investment in Nicira Networks has paid off now that over 2,400 customers are using NSX for micro-segmentation and stretch layer 2 networking. NSX has added simplicity and automation to Data Center networking. With the purchase of VeloCloud, VMware looks to add simplicity and automation the WAN and to NFV.
    • Read More
      • VMware announcement is here.
  • 37 Questions on Mobility, SD-WAN and Customer Experience
    • Why this is interesting: If you have never watched any of the “37 Questions” series with WWT expert, I highly recommend them. They are very entertaining and insightful. The setup is a short walking tour and questions about business and personal topics (mentoring, pizza) shot from the third person. I always learn a few pearls of wisdom watching these.  The latest installment is with WWT Practice Manager, Mobility and Access, Neil Anderson.
    • Read More
      • The latest 37 Questions video is here.
  • The “Three Ways” of DevOps
    • Why this is interesting: I finally finished “The Phoenix Project”, the DevOps fable, I have been meaning to read for a few years. The book makes a strong analogy between excellence in IT and excellence in the manufacturing plant. The same quality improvements put in place by Toyota after WWII can be put in place for IT to both increase agility and increase quality.
    • Read More
Machine Learning
  • Machine Learning in Your Browser
    • Why this is interesting: Machine learning can solve difficult problems – given the correct input. Conversation recognition, self-driving cars, medical breakthroughs. Machine learning is a dense topic full of math and algorithms. If you are not the math/algorithm type, this web site demonstrates machine learning discovering, over time, successful versus failure. All you have to do is hit play.
    • Read More
      • Browser-based neural network is here.
Digital Business Strategy
  • 5 Questions from Bill Schmarzo, Dean of Big Data
    • Why this is interesting: All organizations are defining their digital business strategy. Bill Schmarzo, Dell EMC, is my favorite writer/speaker on big data and digital business models.
    • Read More
      • Bills post on 5 Questions that Define Your Digital Transformation is here.
Shameless Self-Promotion aka I  WWT
  • WWT Named Cisco Americas Partner of the Year Among Other Awards
    • Why this is interesting: WWT is the #1 partner in terms of scale for Cisco, Dell EMC, VMware, HPE, NetApp & F5. It is nice of Cisco to recognize WWT for excellence in areas other than scale as well.
      • Partner of the Year: Cisco Services – Americas
      • Partner of the Year: Lifecycle Management – Americas
      • Partner of the Year: Enterprise Segment -- Americas
      • Outstanding Solutions Partner – U.S. Central
      • Enterprise Partner of the Year – U.S. East
      • Federal Defense Partner of the Year – U.S. Public Sector
      • Federal Partner of the Year – U.S. Public Sector
      • Public Sector Life Cycle Partner of the Year – U.S. Public Sector
      • SLED Service Partner of the Year – U.S. Public Sector
      • Architectural Excellence – Security – U.S. West
      • Enterprise Partner of the Year – U.S. West
    • Read More
      • Press release is here.