What Is APM and Why Should I Care?

In this piece, Chris Grundemann gives an overview of why application performance management matters in modern IT. As a hard-core infrastructure engineer, he appreciates the importance of getting visibility across infrastructure. But the reason that is so important is to get better indicators into application performance, which is the reason that the infrastructure exists in the first place. At Cloud Field Day, SolarWinds showed how their APM suite can help provide visibility to the application layer, even as backing infrastructure becomes more challenging with moves to the cloud.


VMC on AWS: 5 Reasons You Should Give a Damn!

Jason Benedicic was one of the delegates at our Security Field Day event last week and got to hear from VMware, and came away with a new appreciation for VMware Cloud on AWS. Much of the appeal comes from his experience refactoring applications, moving big monolithic apps to the cloud can be quite challenging. These are often tightly coupled with other infrastructure components, meaning moving to the cloud can be a very gradual process as you disentangle everything. VMware Cloud on AWS allows organizations to move the existing application and all its dependencies as-is to a familiar operating environment, as close the cloud as possible. Jason breaks down a lot of the concerns admins have with this approach, and thinks this is a viable solution for many organizations with legacy applications.


MPLS + P4 = Pensando; But Does It Add Up?

Leading up to Cloud Field Day, Chris Grundemann was exceptionally excited about hearing from Pensando. Partly because he’s a bit of a neophile and they just came out of stealth. Also because what they are working he found really cool, adding P4 programming language support with hardware to provide software-defined, edge-accelerated, always-secure and visible, centrally managed platform that can run in any environment, all aimed the cloud! Combined with a prestigious founding team, Chris thinks they offer a truly innovative solution that while a niche use case for now, can be built out over time.


The Three Philosophies of SolarWinds APM

Application Performance Management often faces the thankless task of trying to monitor and manage increasingly complex applications. SolarWinds’ APM suite smartly views apps through three distinct philosophical lenses to provide IT will a full spectrum of visibility. In this post, Rich Stroffolino takes a look at the APM solutions SolarWinds presented at Cloud Field Day, including Loggly, Pingdom, and AppOptics. Each of these provides a key component to the overall suite, and while they do interoperate and feed into each other, they do so with a unique approach to the APM problem.


Fixing the X86 Problem

Much like the IBM Mainframes that preceded it, the x86 architecture is getting long in the tooth. While still ubiquitous across enterprise and consumer devices, the once standard architecture is seeing competition at all sides, as performance scaling and process enhancements have slowed. Chris Evans highlight Persando’s presentation from Cloud Field Day as an example of this. They use an ARM-based SmartNIC that can be programmed with P4 to offload network functions workloads from x86 and realize substantial performance gains. Chris sees the further disaggregation of compute, networking and storage as a result of these kind of innovative offload solutions.


VMware TKG

VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid represents a big shift for VMware and their long history of virtualization. Larry Smith was lucky to be delegate at Cloud Field Day to get to hear an extensive session on it at the event. With Kubernetes becoming increasingly important to IT infrastructure, understanding TKG as the core of core component VMware’s Kubernetes deployments is key. Larry breaks down the architecture of TKG, how organizations can deploy it across a number of personas, and how it integrates into vSphere. Be sure to check out the piece before digging into the presentaiton video


Pensando Expands What SmartNIC Offloads Can Do

For Justin Warren, he found Pensando’s presentation at Cloud Field Day to be impressive on a technical level. They’ve developed an ARM-based chip that is programmable using the P4 network programming language. This is used in a SmartNIC called a Distributed Services Card that you install in your server to offload various network functions from the general-purpose CPU. This has the potential to offer huge performance benefits on network functions, but Justin sees this as limited to larger cloud providers and the infrastructure that supports it. Justin has questions about the actual size of the market for this solution, and how much it will cost, but was definitely impressed by the technology and team behind Persando.


DR to VMware Cloud on AWS With Site Recovery Manager

In this piece, Justin Warren considers how VMware has really embraced cloud in a big way. After some attempts at building their own cloud, VMware can concentrate on what it does well, which is providing a familiar management environment for enterprises to manage complexity at scale. This approach shows in what Justin saw at Cloud Field Day with VMware Site Recovery, which uses vSphere replication on VMware on AWS to move VMs from one cluster to another.


Pensando Places Programmability First

Programming hardware isn’t easy. Unless you start out with the idea that you’re going to use a language that is easy to adapt to your needs. Tom Hollingsworth looks at the decisions made by Pensando to leverage P4 to extend its platform to adapt to the future needs of its customers. After hearing from the company at Cloud Field Day, Tom sees Pensando in the early stages of making something big, and the power of P4 will make the sky the limit. Their platform is currently shipping with NetApp and HPE systems and likely to see wider adoption, especially in cloud providers.


Aid Complex Troubleshooting With Distributed Tracing – Day Two Cloud Podcast Video

Distributed tracing is the dark art of tracking a transaction that passes through several microservices for troubleshooting purposes. Why was the transaction slow? Hard to say, especially when the failure is intermittent. Ned Bellavance and Ethan Banks explain the problem and how SolarWinds Application Performance Monitoring suite is tackling it with Pingdom, Loggly, and AppOptics. Especially AppOptics, something they heard a lot about during SolarWinds’ Cloud Field Day presentation.


Moving Workloads With VMware HCX – Day Two Cloud Podcast Video

After hearing from VMware at Cloud Field Day, Ethan Banks and Ned Bellavance discuss moving VMware workloads with the VMware HCX. Do admins want this? Don’t they really want to move work between Kubernetes clusters instead? Or is that even the right question? It kind of was, but it kind of wasn’t. Kubernetes & containers are not simple drop-in replacements for VMware & virtual machines. Therefore, HCX has use cases, and they explain what they think they are.


Day Two Cloud 047: Highlights and Analysis From Cloud Field Day 7

In this episode of the Day Two Cloud podcast, Ethan Banks and Ned Bellavance discuss some of the presentations from Cloud Field Day. They looked at the big presentations from VMware, SolarWinds, and startup Pensando in the episode, specifically focusing on VMware Cloud on AWS, monitoring cloud performance with SolarWinds, and Pensando’s SmartNIC to offload a server’s network processing. Having two great hosts discussing the latest cloud goodness makes for a good podcast.


VMware Makes Kubernetes Even More So With Tanzu

In this post, Justin Warren considers how VMware has gone about integrating Kubernetes into its establishing management platforms, something he heard all about at Cloud Field Day. This is an inherently complex task, if for no other reason than the Kubernetes landscape is still changing and updating rapidly. Any kind of integration would seemingly have to take that on as well. For Justin, a lot of the strength of VMware’s position with virtualization is that it is a known quantity that organizations have a continuing investment with over time. Adding in Kubernetes with Tanzu Kubernetes Grid doesn’t strictly play to that strength. For Justin, the key will be for VMware to simplify the solution over time as it learns how customers actually use Kubernetes.


VMware Embracing Terraform: Infrastructure as Code

Chris Grundemann was a little surprised when he heard VMware’s Narayan Bharadwaj mention Terraform during the opening presentation of Cloud Field Day. In fact, what he said is that VMware is “embracing Terraform in a pretty big way” as part of their focus on Infrastructure as Code. This struck Chris for two reasons. One, you wouldn’t be off-base to think of Terraform as a competitor to several VMware products. And two, because of the things that it makes possible. He digs into more of the specifics in this post.


Automating Disaster Recovery Is Risky Business – Day Two Cloud Podcast Video

Ned Bellavance and Ethan Banks think through VMware’s DRaaS offering, pondering the pros and cons of automation disaster recovery & business continuity. Sounds great, but are users testing regularly? What’s the failback process after the disaster is over? VMware went into detail during their Cloud Field Day presentation, and Ethan and Ned break it down in this episode of Day Two Cloud.


Build Your Network Apps on Pensando’s Cloud of SmartNICs – Day Two Cloud Video

Pensando Systems definitely made a big impression at Cloud Field Day. The company is a startup that threatens to be a juggernaut if past performance of the founders is any indicator of future results. Pensando’s made an ARM processor and paired it to a NIC and orchestration platform. Put the NIC in your servers and manage the NIC fleet centrally. Use the platform to create networking applications offloaded from the x86 CPU, all for less than a 30W power draw. Ethan Banks and Ned Bellavance discuss the implications of what they saw at the event, and who will be Pensando’s customers.


Pensando Systems at Cloud Field Day 7

It’s always exciting to get a new presenting company at an event like Cloud Field Day. Pensando Systems joined the Field Day presenter alumni with their recent presentation, and definitely made an impression on the delegates. While the event was virtual for their debut, it actually fostered a lot of great interaction both from the delegates and our wider audience on Twitter. Be sure to check out their full presentation video to find out how they built a Distributed Services Platform that gives cloud providers the ability to build industry-leading cloud services and gives enterprises the unique ability to drive cloud-like agility, security and operational simplicity across their entire infrastructure with unmatched scale and performance.


VMC on AWS Is More Cloud Like All the Time – Day Two Cloud Podcast Video

After hearing from VMware at Cloud Field Day, Ethan Banks and Ned Bellavance consider VMware Cloud on AWS now that a couple of years have gone by since the service launched. Is it really cloud yet, or just VMware in a colo alongside AWS? It’s really both. They dig into it on a recent episode of the Day Two Cloud Podcast. Be sure to check it out, watch VMware’s presentation from the event, and let us know what you thing!


Monitoring Application Performance From the Inside Out With Solarwinds AppOptics

Are you relying on old tools to monitor your modern applications? Tom Hollingsworth takes a look at why you should examine the way you keep an eye on your applications and how your users experience them. At Cloud Field Day, he saw that this is where SolarWinds comes into play. They have spent a great deal of time creating the best tool to handle monitoring of your application from the inside out. Their AppOptics solution does more than just monitor the response time of your pages. It digs deep into the services that compose the application to find out what’s actually going on when users run complicated queries or connect to a node that is having some performance issues.


Cloud Field Day 7 – VMware Cloud on AWS

VMware is not an unfamiliar site at Field Day events, and most recently, they graced us with a presentation at Cloud Field Day. Ed Horley was a delegate for the event and got to hear a lot about VMware Cloud on AWS. For Ed, it seems like VMware has deftly navigated the often daunting challenges of adopting their established enterprise business model into the public cloud. The solution extends the ability to run cloud workloads to the scale and flexibility that AWS provides while also providing native hooks and features from AWS that extend what an enterprise can leverage from both VMware and AWS. It’s an impressive achievement that has a lot of value for organizations with deep VMware investments.