VMworld 2014: VCDX Architecture Panel

Panel: Mark Gabryjeski, Mostafa Khalil, Chris McCain, Michael Webster

VCDX Objective of the defense

  • Design judgments and technique
  • Successful interactive design exercise
  • Successful interactive troubleshooting exercise

The Art of Infrastructure Design

  • Discover inputs – Conceptual model
  • Develop solution – Logical model
  • Design Architecture – Physical model
  • Determine success – Validation

Goals of VCDX Methodology

  • Design creation meeting VCDX minimally qualified candidate (MQC)

Perspective – Conceptual Model, Logical Design, Physical Design

Design area and attributes: Design consideration, design choice, design pattern, justification, impact, risk and risk management

VCDX Overview

  • VCDX Defenses – Generally 75 minutes. Do mock defenses, and understand your design. Do not implement technology just for the sake of it. “Cool” is not a good reason to implement a technology.
  • Design area and choices: Budget, constraints, timelines, requirements

Panel Discussion

Q: How does the long term vision of the SDDC impact your design?

A: Depending on your environment you can prepare for it, if you know what changings are coming. For example, if you want to use vVols, pick a storage array vendor that you know now will support it. Or you can plan for a more modular design, where you can plug-and-play pieces. Or maybe go with a hyperconvered solution like Nutanix or EVO RAIL to help plan for your SDDC. Think of “in x number of years where do you want to be?” and start planning. The networking is the fastest changing aspect of the SDDC. You want to move towards spine/leaf design and away from the three tier model. Even if you won’t be using NSX now, if you set your physical layer in preparation for it then you will make your life easier in the long run. SDDC is all about policy based management, such as settings, security policy, etc. It’s all about applying policy out. With policy you define it once, and apply it consistently down to end devices.

Q: How does network virtualization and storage virtualization change infrastructure design?

A: The biggest hurdle is IT culture. NSX is eliminating the demarcation point between networking and the vSphere admins. A big question is “who is going to manage this?” (NSX, etc.). Network guys are wondering where their job is going. Network guys are not so sure they are ready for SDN, since NSX may take away their power and job security. A new job role: A network virtualization administrator. On the storage side, bring in the storage admin into the virtualization team. The storage assigned to a VM is now defined by policy. The storage admin administers the physical box, but the virtualization administrator will do most of the rest of the storage admin tasks. The big change is SDN and SDS. The different IT groups all blend in the SDDC vision, and don’t continue to work in silos This breaks down boundaries in the IT admin word. SDDC is very dynamic, and enables you to be more flexible and elastic.

Q: With the changing of the roles, do you where the different silo admins now determine policy and need to get more involved in the compute side. Or do you see

A: The goal of SDDC is to define policy once, and let it move around with the object. If you can get your network and security folks to define policy, then it’s defined. Shifting of a job role into a “policy definer”. The work of trunking VALANs on a daily basis is now GONE. As an organization you have to figure out the shifting job roles, and that you aren’t trying to kill of networking administrator jobs. But you will still be doing “this” part of a job, but it won’t be CLI based. The same story goes for the storage side as well. Storage admins will help define policy, but now won’t be carving up LUNs on a daily basis.

Q: Question is regarding L2 network spanned across multiple sites.

A: Today managing ingress is a PITA, and there is a road map planned to address this issue in the future.

Q: For people that become VCDXs where do you see them falling into rules?

A: It runs the gamut. VCDXs specialize in many different areas. Some work for consultants, some work in large organizations. Other roles include SEs, support staff, etc. Don’t lead with the technology, lead with good business driver questions. VCDX gives you different career opportunities. It can help you search for your ideal job, and opens up the door for opportunities. VCDX opens up doors at different levels, and up to the executive levels. The VCDX certification bar has remained high, even as a lot of people come on board.

Q: Is VMware thinking about a single management pane?

A: VMware is offering NSX training, and separate tracks for both vSphere admin and CCIE type of folks. Check out the VMware site. VMware is trying hard to attract networking people into the NSX program. CCIEs and other certs can enable you to directly take VMware tests, and skip taking classroom training. You still need hardware to run your SDDC and SDN. It’s just the role of hardware that is changing.

Author Note: For a long list of VCDX study materials check this out.

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