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.

CloudComputing

On June 26th,Red Hat announced a new version of OpenShift, and pricing for a future production offering (some time this year). You still can’t buy it but if you were able to buy it you’d know exactly how much it could cost – at least if you could work out what a “gear” is. Pricing allows us to start to compare it more meaningfully with other offerings. However rather than comparing with another PaaS offering, we think most people will be actually considering IaaS as an alternative, so we are going to do that comparison instead.

PresentationVirtualization

Ulteo Open Virtual desktop is an Open Source alternative to Presentation Virtualization solutions such as Citrix XenApp, or Ericom PowerConnect or Quest vWorkspace. We looked at Ulteo back in 2009 and that post has consistently featured amongst various top 10 lists of posts on the site. So we know you are interested but there were limitations in the Version 2 of Ulteo that made it suitable for a only a small number of use-cases. Ulteo have taken our views into account and responded to customer feedback and Ulteo OVD 3 can now provide a viable alternative in the general marketplace – not just for those enteprises who actively adopt Open Source.

CloudComputing

ActiveState has created a Private PaaS that supports Perl and Python as well as Java, and is based on the Open Source CloudFoundry distribution, packaged and distributed in a VM image, or installed to a wide range of IaaS platforms (public or private).

ActiveState is well known in Open Source communities as packaging/distribution vendor for dynamic languages – Perl, Python and Tcl. A sort of Red Hat for dynamic development languages. It also has a Komodo IDE for these languages, and a strong pedigree in contributing back into the Open Source projects which it packages. Stackato is also essentially a packaging of these and other Open Source technologies. It’s an interesting take on the PaaS space – PaaS becomes a packaging problem – just like the Linux Distro. For the customer, the choice of PaaS/Distro is partly about the breadth in the package and partly the mix of pricing, support and warranty offered by the PaaS/Distro.

Now, of course, this is a simplified version of the question, because in almost all cases Infrastructure Clouds and Platform Clouds are built on Virtual Infrastructure, and in most cases Platform Cloud is built on Infrastructure Cloud, so the question is really about how far into the Cloud you should be prepared to go. My perspective here is of a development manager – someone who is charged with building a new application. I’m thinking as a development manager not a developer and I’m taking decisions to maximise the productivity of a development team – rather than on the “shininess” of the technology.

There is now a huge amount of movement in the area of what we have called “Diverse” Platform as a Service i.e. PaaS that delivers a number of different application infrastructure technologies on a mix-and-match basis and where there is no proprietary technology layer at any point in the platform stack. Amongst these we would include OpenShift, Cumulogic and CloudFoundry from our recent set of posts. AppFog sits in this category, and the fact that it has been recently renamed from PHPFog highlights a major trend in the space, the vendors typically start by developing a single technology, build an initial business plan and gain some market traction within that niche, and then move on to supporting a broader range of platforms.

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