Sunday, January 23, 2022

What FreeBSD type of NIC to use in VMware Virtual Machine?

Today, I have received a question from one of my readers based in Germany. Hellmuth has the following question ...


i just stumbled across your blog and read that you use FreeBSD.

For a long time, I wondered what to choose as the „best“ guest driver for FreeBSD: em, the vmx in the FreeBSD source, or the kld which comes with the open VMware Tools ?

Do you have an idea ? What do you use ?

Best regards,


So here is the answer to Hellmuth and I believe, the answer can help somebody else in VMware and FreeBSD communities.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Energetics and Distributed Cloud Computing

The Energy

The cost of energy is increasing. A significant part of electrical energy cost is the cost of distribution. That's the reason why the popularity of small home solar systems increases. That's the way how to generate and consume electricity locally and be independent of the distribution network. However, we have a problem. "Green Energy" from solar, wind, and hydroelectric power stations is difficult to distribute via the electrical grid. Energy accumulation (batteries, pumped storage power plant, etc.) is costly and for the traditional electrical grid is very difficult to automatically manage the distribution of so many energy sources. 

The Cloud Computing

The demand for cloud (computing and storage) capacity is increasing year by year. Internet bandwidth increases and cost decreases every year. 5G Networks and SD-WANs are on the radar. Cloud Computing is operated on data centers. A significant part of data center costs is the cost of energy. 

The potential synergy between Energetics and Cloud Computing 

The solution is to consume electricity in the proximity of green power generators. Excess electricity is accumulated into batteries but batteries capacity is limited. We should treat batteries like a cache or buffer to overcome times when green energy does not generate energy but we have local demand. However, when we have excess electricity and the battery (cache/buffer) is full, instead of providing the energy into the electrical grid, the excess electricity can be consumed by a computer system providing compute resources to cloud computing consumers over the internet. This is the form of Distributed Cloud Computing. 

Cloud-Native Applications

So, let's assume we will have Distributed Cloud Computing with so-called Spot Compute Resource Pools". Spot Compute Resource Pools are computing resources that can appear or disappear within hours or minutes. This is not optimal IT infrastructure for traditional software applications which are not infrastructure aware. For such distributed cloud computing the software applications must be designed and developed with infrastructure resources ephemerality in mind. In other words, Cloud-Native Applications must be able to leverage ephemeral compute resource pools and know how to use "Spot Compute Resource Pools".


With today's technology, it is not very difficult to roll out such a network of data centers providing distributed cloud computing and consuming locally the excess electricity from "green" electric sources. I'm planning the Proof of Concept in my house in the middle of this year and let you know about some real experiences because the devil is in detail.

The conceptual Design of such a solution is available at

If you would like to discuss this topic, do not hesitate to use the comments below the blog post or open discussion on Twitter @vcdx200.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

How to avoid or at least mitigate the risk of software and hardware component failures?

Last Thursday, my Firefox web browser stopped working at a regular zoom meeting with my team. Today, thanks to The Register, I realized that it was due to a Foxstuck software bug. For further details about the bug read 

My troubleshooting was pretty quick. Both Chrome and Safari worked fine, so it was evident that this was definitely the Firefox issue.

I tried various classic tricks to solve the Firefox problem (clearing the cache, cookies, reinstalling the software to the latest version, etc.), but because nothing helped in the 10 minutes I was willing to invest, I decided I didn't have time for further experiments and after about a year of using Firefox, I switched back to Chrome.

The switch over was all about transferring important data from Firefox to Chrome. I use an external password manager (thank god), so the only important data in Firefox were my bookmarks. Exporting bookmarks from Firefox and importing them into Chrome was a matter of seconds.

Problem solved. Hurrah!

But, it's clear that a similar software bug may hit Chrome or Safari in the future, so it's only a matter of time before I will be forced to switch to another web browser. Actually, Chrome has made me angry in the past and that was the reason to switch to Firefox.

So what is the moral of this story?

The only way not to be affected by such software bugs is dual, triple, or even multi-vendor strategy (in this case Firefox, Chrome, Safari) and the art of quickly identifying a problematic component and replacing it with another.

This blog is about data centers, data center infrastructure, and software-defined infrastructure. Does it apply here? I think so.

In the hardware area, we can solve the MULTI-VENDOR strategy using a computer, storage, and network virtualization, where VMware is the industry leader. Server virtualization (ESXi) gives us hardware abstraction so we use HPE, Dell, or Lenovo servers in the same way. Storage virtualization (vSAN, vVols) gives us storage abstraction and independence on storage vendors. Network virtualization does the same for network components like a switch, router, firewall, and load balancer. 

When we virtualize all hardware components we have a software-defined infrastructure. If we do not want to plan, design, implement and operate software-defined infrastructure by ourselves, we can outsource it to cloud providers and consume it as a service. This is IaaS cloud infrastructure.

If we consume IaaS cloud infrastructure, we can solve the MULTI-VENDOR strategy using MULTI-CLOUD. The MULTI-CLOUD strategy is based on the assumption that if one IaaS cloud provider fails, the other cloud providers will not fail at the same time, therefore such strategy has a positive impact on the availability and/or recoverability.

And if we already have an adopted MULTI-CLOUD strategy, then we only lack modernly designed applications that can automatically detect an infrastructure failure of one cloud provider and recover from it by a fast application fail-over to another cloud. Kubernetes can help with multi-cloud from an infrastructure point of view but in the end, it is all about the application architecture having self-healing natively within application DNA. The application architected for MULTI-CLOUD architecture is, at least for me, the CLOUD NATIVE APPLICATION. The application, which is able to live in the cloud and survive inevitable failures. This is exactly how the human body works and how the human civilizations are migrating between the regions. That's why we have multi-site and multi-region architectures and cloud-native applications are able to recognize where is the best place to live, do some cost analysis and migrate if it makes sense. Isn't it similar to humans? 

And that's it. Easy to write, isn't it? ... The real implementation of MULTI-CLOUD architecture is a bit trickier, but with today's technology, it's feasible.