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.

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.

The Linux Kernel Virtual Machine (KVM) has been available for some time in, for example, Ubuntu 8.0.4 LTS (Released April 2008). KVM is widely used and stable and it is high time that Red Hat who acquired KVM when they purchased Qumranet in September 2008, started to move their customers onto it – at least to remove the uncertainty in the customer base.

When VMware acquired SpringSource it also gained an OSGi runtime known as SpringSource dm Server, to which developers can directly build applications using the Spring and other development toolsets without the use of a J2EE application Server such as WebSphere or Tomcat (which is integrated into SpringSource dm Server for backwards compatibility. It is not entirely fanciful that the OSGi Runtime could, in due course, be made to run directly on the hypervisor, removing the requirement for a Guest O/S, leaving a complete VMware Enterprise Java stack.

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