VMware vFabric Data Director–The next best thing since sliced bread.

 

bread

Introduction

VMware is in a perpetual state of change if you haven’t noticed.  Virtualization and the hypervisor will never not be a core competency of ours but we are continually expanding into other areas of IT software solutions for our customers.  I think Paul Maritz states it best with his quote “When we see a management problem, we will be replacing it with an automation solution”.  Take a look at what VMware vCloud Director is accomplishing by delivering the automation of IT services at the Infrastructure layer for our customers and service providers.  Take a look at what Horizon App Manager is doing to create and deliver a self-service enterprise application store to consume SaaS based applications.  One of the best parts about moving towards a self-service model, the system engineers can now have part of their lives back to focus on more important projects for the business since the end users can now consume services on demand. 

When I talk with my customers, half of my challenge is educating them on what we are doing to enable them to operate more efficiently from a solution perspective.  We are no longer just a hypervisor company.  Don’t get me wrong, I love talking speeds and feeds and can geek out and get distracted with the best of them on the “tech cool factor”.  Alas, at the end of the day isn’t it about finding a solution that is going to make you (systems engineer) be able to do more with less while also delivering value back to the business?  This is why our customers love us so much into the “infrastructure corner”. We have helped them to maintain happy lines of business by providing IT faster to their customers with virtualization.  As our former friend Patrick Swayze (RIP) once said,  “Nobody puts baby in the corner!”

 

baby_corner

 

Enter vFabric Data Director

Let’s think out of the traditional infrastructure box, there are challenges with virtualizing databases from a management perspective.  No it can be done, and many customers are out there deploying Oracle and Microsoft SQL databases on VMware vSphere.   It’s not the traditional I/O workload conversation that one must consider when going after these tier 1 workloads.  It’s more about the long term management of these resources that are constantly being requested, deployed, copied, backed-up,  and the backend management that goes into this entire process.  Database sprawl is a real world problem that many organizations struggle with.

Why not create a portal where a non-DBA type IT user can login and tear off a database by answering a few simple questions?  Why not pre-configure the DBA repetitive tasks from a list of options or a “catalog” and allow them to choose the correct combo meal they would like to consume?  Why not give the DBA’s back time in their day to do more productive forward thinking activities and take the easy operational stuff off their plates?  Enter vFabric Data Director (The artist formerly known as Project Aurora).  Notice the following features and functionality as your watching the clip.

  • Self-Service Provisioning
  • Linked Database Clones
  • SQL Statement Execution from the Web Portal
  • Backup and Recovery simplification

 

Demo of vFabric Data Director

 

vFabric PostgreSQL

The vFabric Data director portal probably makes sense to you now that you have seen it in action.  The first database we have enabled on top of this platform is a vSphere-optimized PostgreSQL database, the most enterprise-ready open source database.  We have specifically custom tuned this fork of Postgres to make it virtualization aware and to run more efficiently.

 

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The vFabric Postgres database  is delivered to the IT environment in the form of a virtual appliance that is intelligent and can self-tune itself as workloads change.  Database buffer sizes can scale up and down as I/O characteristics change, a special ballooning database driver can be invoked for more memory efficiencies within the virtual appliance.  The database us a standard SQL database that supports ODBC connections and supports JDBC tools to query the database just like the open source version.

What’s next?

Expect much more!  I can’t say a ton here in this forum, but know this is just the beginning for this product/solution.  EMC’s Chad Sakac put together a great video for VMworld 2011 (and apparently is allowed to say much more than I am) on his blog site.  Watch towards the end of the video for futures and where you can expect to start to see the flood gates open up as we take it to the next level! 

- Scott

Chad’s vFabric Video