Pexip showcase live virtual videoconferencing at InfoComm14, via StratoGen Hybrid Cloud

Live from the show floor….

StratoGen has partnered with Pexip to demonstrate live hybrid cloud videoconferencing that bridges the gap between on premise and cloud hosted environments. During this interactive demo users are able to see instantly how easy it is to set up a private virtual meeting for users, regardless of location and capability.

Pexip Stand

Showcasing the Pexip Infinity product with the StratoGen hybrid cloud, users are able to see the solution working seamlessly. Each user has been given an instant personal virtual meeting room and can opt to experience true interoperability by dialling in with any client or device they choose.

The Pexip solution is particularly appealing because it’s revolutionising the unified communications industry.  Through the virtual backplane, Pexip’s virtualized collaboration platform provides a consistent experience to all connected endpoints, regardless of type, location, and other factors that typically hinder the meeting.

This coupled with StratoGen’s industry leading quality and experience in the cloud hosting space, gives a truly robust experience to the Pexip SaaS videoconferencing model as demonstrated live at InfoComm14 today.

InfoComm14, is the largest annual conference and exhibition for AV buyers and sellers worldwide, held in Las Vegas, Nevada.

INFOCOMM14 outside

VMware vCloud Director Quick View

The VMware vCloud Director is the browser interface to the VMware vSphere cloud. You use it to manage your applications and virtual machines plus networking, organizations, and storage.  vCloud Director is also the console for the virtual machines themselves, meaning you can use that instead of ssh or Windows Remote Desktop.

Here I present some of the features of vCloud Director by showing you how to set up a simple Ubuntu virtual machine.

Browser Support

The vCloud Director requires a plugin to Firefox.  VMware says that plugin works with Firefox and 32-bit versions of IE.  Since not many people are using 32-bit versions of IE, I use it with Firefox. I have tried it with Chrome, but the plugin crashes there at times as well as 64-bit IE.  So use Firefox, since that is where it is supported.

When you open vCloud for the first time, the browser will download and install the plugin shown below:

 VMware

How Create a new vApp and Virtual Machine with vCloud Director

A vApp is a collection of one or more virtual machines.  You create a new vApp from either your company’s or the public catalog of templates.  These templates are a collection of standard or customized Linux and Windows machines.  You can save them as templates to create additional virtual machines with similar storage profiles and hardware characteristics.

The set up screen is shown below.  As you can see, from here you can pick different versions of Linux.  Windows is available in another catalogue.

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 When you set up a vApp you indicate:

  • Memory in GB
  • Number of cpus
  • Number of cores
  • Direct network connection or connection to your VLAN or other network

You can use LDAP or specify a local root password here:

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 The virtual machines are listed in the screen below.  Here is where you power them on and off, make changes to the configuration, and login to the machine.

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 Click on the small square that represents the virtual machine to open up the console, where you log in as root, and not the user id that you used to log into vCloud Director.

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The mouse will be captured in the windows, so press (-ctl-)(-alt-) to release the mouse pointer back to your desktop or laptop PC.  (People always get stuck on that; it could be one of Google’s top VMware questions.)

From the vApps screen, you can create new virtual apps, which as I said before are a collection of one or more virtual machines.  For there you can also download vApps in OVF (Open Virtualization Format) files, in order to port them to another environment and deploy them with vCloud Director or the OVF command line tool.   You can also import a virtual machine from vSphere and make a point-in-time snapshot or revert to an existing snapshot.  If the snapshot checkbox is marked at the vApp level, that indicates that at least one of the machines in the vApp has a snapshot.

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Edge Gateway

The Edge Gateway is a software-defined network function that lets you handle multiple external networks.  There are 10 interfaces available.  Here you can configure DHCP, NAT, firewall rules, VPN, and static routing.  You can also configure the ports and URLs for health check monitoring and configure load balancing.  In the Edge Gateway, you add virtual servers and select the services the virtual server will provide (e.g., http, https, tcp).

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Storage Profiles

In vCloud Director, you configure storage pools with different storage characteristics and then assign them to virtual machines and template for virtual machines. Storage Profiles are defined by storage costs, replication support, and performance (latency).

VMware makes looking for available storage easier with VMware vSphere Storage DRS, which aggregates data storage into pools.  It assigns storage to the pool based on available disk space and storage latency.

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StratoGen

StratoGen provides you with vCloud Director to manage your vSphere environment to deliver a software defined datacenter, so that you can migrate toward your ultimate goal of having 100% of you x86 applications running on the VMware cloud.  Stratogen’s offering grows with the product, as VMware is continually adding new features, like multi-core fault tolerance to deliver additional application protection.  The vCloud Director console brings the administration function under one-web based interface to let you define Storage Profiles, vApps, Edge Networks, and virtual machines from one location.

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Science Logic Application Monitoring

StratoGen uses Science Logic Application Monitoring (SLAM) for its customers.  Customers have full access to this market-leading tool, plus StratoGen uses SLAM to help customers work through performance issues.

Extendibility

SLAM, like other monitor products, displays application metrics on dashboards.  But what makes this product different is the large collection of custom dashboards, called PowerApps, that the vendors of different applications and devices have written for Science Logic’s customers.  Plus the customer can program their own dashboards.

The customer can define custom dashboards by using the regular SNMP information output by many devices.  The customer can also program application calls using SQL, to query the database, or web services SOAP/XML, to either check the application for performance or execute actual transactions, to make sure the application is working correctly.

Features

The best way to illustrate this product is to show you some dashboards and list some of the available metric by product (e.g. Apache or EMC) and to list some of the available PowerPacks.

First we group application monitoring by type of software or hardware monitored:

Networking

Network monitoring relies mainly upon the SNMP reporting abilities of network devices and PowerPacks written by the vendor.  They show network performance and bottlenecks plus generate alerts whenever someone makes a configuration change.  Plus it can draw the topology on the dashboard.

Science Logic 1

 Here are just a couple of available metrics:

  • Cisco CM no bandwidth avail
  • Packets dropped

Server Health

Monitoring the servers is fairly standard stuff.  Service Logic also has a server monitoring product EM7 that we wrote about here http://www.stratogen.net/blog/science-logic-em7-server-monitoring-by-walker-rowe-guest-blogger-computer-technology-writer/

Science Logic 2

  • Busiest servers
  • CPU load

Custom App

You can monitor custom apps, meaning anything you have written yourself and deployed to an application servers or even purchased software, at the operating system level, the application server level, or by executing specific SQL queries, Hadoop MapReduce jobs, or calling the application using web services.

  • Processes running or not (meaning they are down)
  • App server performance
  • LDAP and Active Directory load balancing and performance
  • Database performance

Apache and IIS

Web server metrics include those listed below and the others you would normally see in an Apache, Nginx, or IIS server.

  • CPU load
  • Requests per second
  • HTTP connections

Microsoft Exchange and Outlook Web Access

For your own organization there is the need to make sure that Exchange is performing correctly and know how many messages outbound are being blocked by spam filters.  That would show the need to contact SpaumHaus.org or any of the other organizations that maintain domain blacklists. Plus a surge in outbound viruses would indicate an infection in your systems that might not have been flagged by your security monitoring.

  • Speed of delivery and connection failure
  • Messages rejected due to viruses and blacklists
  • Inbound spam surge in volume

Messaging

Messaging is the transport layer by which data objects are sent to the application that requested them.  This is used instead of direct JNDI lookups, RCP, COBRA, and DCOM.  If a queue builds up in the queue, then applications will be stuck waiting for data.

  • Number of messages in queue
  • Queue stopped
  • Change in configuration

DNS

DNS lookup time affects app performance. With Science Logic Application monitoring you can check latency for the DNS servers that you host or the DNS servers hosted by your ISP.  This could point to the need to perhaps switch to using a public DNS server like Google (8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4) if you find any latency issues.  It could also point out the need for your customers to do that as well or contact their ISP for performance issues.

  • Lookup time for A (address), MX(mail), and NS (name server records)

Storage

With Service Logic you can monitor cloud or local storage.  This lets you verify that your storage is operating at the speed in which you need it.  Monitoring points to failed disks, which must be replaced, poorly distributed replication strategies, disk under or overutilization, and controller health.  If works for solid state storage as well as HDD.

  • pool usage
  • disk controller performance
  • IOPs
  • Reads and writes
  • Write and read errors

PowerApps

A collection of PowerApps is a PowerPack. These re grouped by type of monitoring and the vendor or customer who wrote them.  A PowerApp includes alarms, dynamic dashboards, and metrics.  Customers can build their own PowerAPps to monitor their custom applications plus they can download those written by third-parties and software and hardware vendors from the ScienceLogic portal.  Most of these are written by software and hardware vendors tailored to their specific systems. We show a sample of what is available below.

First in this download screen on the portal you can see how PowerApps are grouped:

Science Logic 3

Here are some samples by vendor and by type of PowerPack

EMC

  • LUN performance
  • Storage processor performance
  • Raid group performance

F5 BIG-IP

  • Temperature
  • LTM service discovery
  • DCM caching

Security (All vendors):

  • Tipping Point
  • NetScreen (policy, session graph, VPN tunnel
  • Fortinet (disk usage, config, memory)

Science Logic 4

As you can see Science Logic Application Monitoring is a flexible product that works with lots of products out-of-the-box plus it can be extended by the customer and has been extended by vendors who have written PowerApps.

StratoGen makes extensive use of this product in their cloud services.

http://www.stratogen.net/products/vmware-hosting.html