The Virtualization Practice

Author Archive for Mike Norman

Mike Norman
Mike NormanDr Mike Norman, IT Strategist and Entrepreneur - Open Source; Server Scalability and Performance; Virtual/Remote Desktop. 10 years as a CEO at Scapa Technologies ensuring the scalability and perfromance of the largest Citrix, TS and VDI implementations on the planet. 5 years on the Board of Directors of the Eclipse Open Source Foundation. Set up and led the Eclipse Test and Performance Tools Project. 5 years as an analyst/consultant - Large-scale Database, Data Warehouse. Currently implementing hosted systems for virtualised application delivery, based on open source stacks.

It’s a different way of thinking about the Cloud, where the starting point is not the DataCenter, or the IT service, or the “user”, but the direct delivery of consumer services. Into this vision plays Chromium OS (released to Open Source on November 19th). Google devices delivering Google services (and other services intermediated by Google) from the Cloud to consumers.

Ulteo has just released Version 2 of its Open Virtual Desktop (OVD), an Open Source desktop broker product which is designed to deliver GUI applications running on Linux, Terminal Services and Windows to java-enabled browsers. Ulteo’s appeal is likely to be to more cost-conscious and linux-oriented organizations than the large enterprise customers of Citrix, VMware, Ericom, Systancia or Quest, but within these potentially new markets it can deliver many of the mangeability benefits of the existing proprietary products, and it has few competitors for its key feature of delivering both Linux and Terminal Services desktop applications through the same portal.

Citrix has recently joined the Linux Foundation, and there is a report (which they seem to have endorsed) that they plan to open source XenServer. That’s not Xen, it’s XenServer – not the kernel, the product, the thing you stick on your server instead of ESXi, or sometimes vSphere.

It is entirely possible that Citrix’s lawyers have noticed that XenServer was so infected with GPL code that it was already Open Source anyway.

There’s been a lot of press around the FREE Ubuntu 9.10 Linux distribution as a client operating system, and a wide set of comparisons made (typically by Mac or PC-using journalists) between Ubuntu and Windows 7, but 9.10 is also interesting from a broader virtualization and especially Cloud perspective. Ubuntu is managed by a UK company, Canonical, through a bona-fide foundation. Ubuntu will always be free, and is aligned with the Debian community.

Microsoft and Red Hat Cross-Certify to try and get VmWare out of the Datacenter. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.2, 5.3, 5.4 has passed certification tests when running on Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V, Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V, Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2.
Windows Server 2003/ Windows Server 2008 / Windows Server 2008 R2 are validated to run on RHEL 5.4, using the KVM-based hypervisor.

Eucalyptus is a software stack that when added to a standard virtualized data-center or co-located server network, turns it into a Cloud which looks exactly like the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). It is a “self-build” Amazon Cloud kit. Just add hypervisor.

We consider Eucalyptus in the context of cloud to datacenter migrations, and standards for cloud APIs.

In the fog of the datacenter virtualization war, it is difficult to see clearly who will end up on top, and yet the outcome is almost certainly determined, and the victorious generals are even now moving on to fight new battles. Here at the Virtualization Practice we too would like to think we can see through the fog to work out who has won, so here are our thoughts, take account of them as you wish. They concern, primarily, the big four protagonists: Microsoft/Hyper-V, Citrix /Xen, VMware/vSphere and Red Hat/KVM.

In trying to re-use some old server hardware I re-vsisted VirtualBox/Ubuntu, a viable and completely free Open Source option for non-virtualization-enabled hardware. It is a neat solution, simple and well-supported, but the open source version of VirtualBox is nobbled to make it extremely awkward to use, in a different way to VMware’s nobbling of the non-Open Source (but also free) ESXi.

Now is the time, for Oracle/Sun to put all the features of VirtualBox into the Open Source version, and let it live on, perhaps not for use on Linux servers, but as free virtualization platform for other operating systems on Windows. If Apple ever loosens up the licencing on MacOS, it could turn 15 million PCs into Macs – overnight.

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