What’s new in vSphere 6.5 Core Storage

Hello from VMworld EMEA in Barcelona. Well, we can finally talk about vSphere 6.5 today. In this post, I want to highlight a number of new and enhanced features that you will find in vSphere 6.5 related to core storage. I am not going to discuss Virtual SAN (VSAN), Virtual Volumes (VVols) or I/O Filter enhancements (VAIO) specifically in this post, although you will no doubt see some new features tie directly into the latter. Instead, I want to talk about those features that are specific to core storage.

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Some nice enhancements to Docker Volume Driver for vSphere v0.7

dockerThis week I am over at our VMware HQ in Palo Alto. I caught up with the guys in our storage team who are working on our docker volume driver for vSphere to find out what enhancements they have made with version 0.7. They have added some cool new enhancements which I think you will like.

First, this has been designed specifically for docker version 1.12. So the first thing you will have to do is to make sure that your docker is at this latest version. For most distros, this is quite a simple thing to do. But since I predominantly use our Photon OS distro, which ships with docker version 1.11 currently, there are a few additional steps to consider. To update the version of docker on Photon OS, you can use the following steps:

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Container Volumes in VIC v0.4.0

I mentioned yesterday that VMware made vSphere Integrated Containers (VIC) v0.4.0 available. Included in this version is support for container volumes. Now, as mentioned yesterday, VIC is still a work in progress, and not everything has yet been implemented. In this post I want to step you through some of the enhancements that we have made around docker volume support in VIC. This will hopefully provide you with enough information so that you can try this out for yourself.

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Getting Started with vSphere Integrated Containers v0.4.0

I’ve been working very closely with our vSphere Integrated Container (VIC) team here at VMware recently, and am delighted to say that v0.4.0 is now available for download from GitHub. Of course, this is still not supported in production, and is still in tech preview. However for those of you interested, it gives you an opportunity to try it out and see the significant progress made by the team over the last couple of months. You can download it from bintray. This version of VIC is bringing us closer and closer to the original functionality of “Project Bonneville” for running containers as VMs (not in VMs) on vSphere. The docker API endpoint now provides almost identical functionality to running docker anywhere else, although there is still a little bit of work to do. Let’s take a closer look.

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Docker Volume Driver for vSphere

dockerThis is a really cool development. There is now a docker volume driver for vSphere which we just made public last night, and is now available for tech preview. This will allow customers to address persistent storage requirements for Docker containers in vSphere environments. Basically, it allows you to create a VMDK, and use this VMDK as a persistent storage volume for containers. In the following posts, I will outline the steps involved in getting started with Docker Volume Driver for vSphere. In essence, there are 4 steps:

  1. Install the docker volume plugin on ESXi host. I was running ESXi 6.0U2.
  2. Deploy Photon OS VM (although you can also use Ubuntu)
  3. Install the docker VMDK plugin on VM
  4. Create docker volume and run container to consume it

All the pieces to get you started are available on github here.

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Getting started with Photon OS and vSphere Integrated Containers

PHOTON_square140There has been a lot of news recently about the availability of vSphere Integrated Containers (VIC) v0.1 on GitHub. VMware has being doing a lot of work around containers, container management and the whole area of cloud native applications over the last while. While many of these projects cannot be discussed publicly there are two projects that I am going to look at here :

  • Photon OS – a minimal Linux container host designed to boot extremely quickly on VMware platforms.
  • vSphere Integrated Containers – a way to deploy containers on vSphere. This allows developers to create applications using containers, but have the vSphere administrator manage the required resources needed for these containers.

As I said, this is by no means the limit of the work that is going on. Possibly the best write-up I have seen discussing the various work in progress in this one here on the Next Platform site.

I will admit that I’m not that well versed in containers or docker, but I will say that I found Nigel Poulton’s Docker Deep Dive on PluralSight very informative. If you need a primer on containers, I would highly recommend watching this.

So what I am going to this in this post? In this post, I will walk through the deployment of the Photon OS, and then deploy VIC afterwards. You can then see for yourself how containers can be deployed on vSphere, and perhaps managed by a vSphere administrator while the developer just worries about creating the app, and doesn’t have to worry about the underlying infrastructure.

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