The Virtualization Practice

VMware prices and licenses its products today along a set of models that are not optimized for either pure market penetration (like Microsoft) or pure extraction of the maximum cash from each customer (like Oracle). These policies will likely ensure that VMware continues to dominate the high end of the market – especially in enterprise accounts, but that VMware will leave itself open to being eaten from below by Microsoft Hyper-V (especially in Windows only SMB/SME accounts). The long term answer to how VMware positions itself with respect to price and value in the marketplace will likely come from vFabric and Cloud Foundry, as both of these products are crucial to the long term strategic position of VMware in the market – and also will rely upon aggressive third party support to succeed.

AppSense Lab’s DataLocker’s first release offers a method of encrypting and decrypting files to allow secure storage in cloud services. This is a new direction for AppSense – with support for win32/win64 platforms, but also Mac and iOS. A useful free tool, not really enterprise ready – but an important start for AppSense who are now looking at how to enable organisations to better adopt consumerization into their IT strategy.


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.


Dell has joined the the highly competitive and technically diversified single box desktop virtualization market in partnership with Citrix to package VDI-in-a-Box as a virtual appliance. The somewhat awkwardly named Dell “DVS Simplified 1010″ appliance is built on the Dell PowerEdge R710 rack server that comes pre-installed with Citrix XenServer 5.6 and VDI-in-a-Box 5.0.

SSD options for Virtual (and Physical) Environments Part III: What type of SSD is best for you?

Part 1 of this series laid out the basics of nand flash SSD with part II discussing endurance and performance. This part looks at SSD options for virtual servers, vdi or virtual desktop as well as storage for physical server environments, your usage and configuration criteria will have a bearing on what type of SSD solution is best for you.


While participating in the GestaltIT Virtualization Field Day #2, I was asking Symantec about Application Aware Backups. In other words, could one backup an entire application, regardless of how the application was defined. This concept goes hand in hand with Application Aware Security measures. We can always backup VMs and their data to remote locations, but can we backup or maintain the application interactions within a multi-VM Application regardless of how it is defined.

I was involved with the design and deployment of a small proof of concept that would introduce virtualization to a local SMB in my area. The idea was to build them something small that they would grow into and at the same time demonstrate all the really cool things that virtualization can bring to the table. I built a couple of hosts and deployed virtual center virtually, as well as added the VMware Management Appliance and the VMware Mobile appliance. It is really fun to get a chance to introduce virtualization to people, it is almost as fun as bringing a child to a candy store. Showing the client what they can do with virtualization as well as what they can do on their iPad is just priceless.

My answer to my computing needs is a very high end Windows 7 desktop, a very low end Windows 7 Netbook and an Android phone. I am and will always be a non-fan of the vertically integrated Apple model. I will probably always pay a price in terms of complexity of my computing life for this bias. But being a free market economist at heart, I like Shrek believe in the value of layers. I believe that processors, system software, device design, operating system design, applications development and content are all separate disciplines with completely separate bases of comparative advantage. I believe that attempts to integrate across these layers in a proprietary and closed way will fail. Windows computers have always outsold Mac’s for this reason. Android phones are already outselling iPhones for this reason. If Microsoft could get its act together on the phone and tablet front, it could restore the natural economic order of the marketplace to the device industry. But that is the subject of another post.

Application Security within the Virtual and Cloud Environments

Virtualization and Cloud Security architects, pundits, and writers like myself often talk about protecting the data within the virtual and cloud environments. However, in order to protect that data we need to be able to determine how the data will be used, accessed, modified, and eventually removed. So, how can we understand data security without understanding the application around it. But there is an even more fundamental problem, how do we define the application and the security measures we should take?