The Virtualization Practice

It has been a while since we last updated our Presentation Virtualization Solutions whitepaper. Has nothing happened in the market in 2011? On the contrary, there was a good deal going on for Presentation Virtualization in a year that saw a new benchmark setting XenApp release from Citrix, Apple remove terminal services functionality, RES Software launch their reverse seamless technology and Ericom their HTML5 client.

While the legacy enterprise management vendors might like to think of themselves as the Borg (prepare to be assimilated – there is no escape), the new technical requirements and the new buying patterns in the virtualization market do not lend themselves to a repeat of history. Legacy management vendors are unlikely to be able to acquire themselves into this market because their core platforms and business models do not work with the customers who are running virtualized environments and buying management solutions. So to my good friend Andi Mann, I respectfully disagree.

Data Protection is still an issue with many small businesses and smaller enterprises who virtualize; Specifically around the Data Protection Process and eventually where to store the data. When I speak to people they are struggling with whether or not to place the data on tape, blu-ray, into the cloud, or other disks. Medium and Large Enterprises already have such policies in place, but like everything else, when they virtualized the policies may have fallen by the road side and now need to be recovered, dusted off, and put into practice. The choice of where the data will ultimately reside when disaster strikes is an ongoing discussion in the virtualization community. Ultimately, Data Protection is just that, protecting the data from loss, destruction, and allowing for quick recovery.

There needs to be better Data Loss Prevention applied to Social Media than there exists today and how that will be applied globally is a huge issue. But it is a growing trend. I see on twitter from those I know many things that should not appear: from the discussion of internal only intellectual property to locations sent to 4 square. Add into this, the myriad forms of ‘U There’ requests. It is so easy to tell people anything on twitter, that it also becomes a problem with telling people too much even in 146 characters. Yet, I also see the same when using text messages, chat, and other technologies. So what is the solution?

Stefano Stabellini, a senior software engineer at Citrix Systems, has announced a proof of concept port of the open source Xen Hypervisor for the ARM Cortex A15 processor. The project was started in early November and has already developed to the point where it is capable of booting a Linux 3.0 based virtual machine up to a shell prompt. The Xen port has progressed so rapidly due to a decision to take advantage of the virtualization features that were introduced with the ARMv7 architecture making it small and comparatively easy to develop. However, because of this it won’t be able to run on anything older than a Cortex-A15 processor.

2011 Winners and Losers in Virtualization Management

The management ecosystem for virtualization started to transform significantly in 2011, driven by VMware’s new management strategy and management offerings. The big four are now boxed into an untenable position with expensive software that is hard to buy and hard to deploy. In 2012 there will be aggressive partnering in the ecosystem as vendors try to compete with the VMware suite by integrating with other vendors who have adjacent functionality.

The speed that technology changes are absolutely amazing in that as soon as you buy something, the next faster, bigger model comes out. I think back to around when I started my career and remember a workstation that I was using with a 200MHz processor and I was really thrilled when I got it bumped up to 64MB of ram. Now although the hardware was changing at blazing speeds you used to know you had a three to five year run with the operating system before you had to worry about upgrading and refreshing the operating systems. VMware has been changing the rules the last few years on major releases coming around every two years.

2011 saw an increase in virtualized and cloud data protection solution partnerships and advancements. One of the biggest advancements is the growing support for Microsoft Hyper-V from long-time VMware specific backup solutions. Included in the new partnerships are team ups between performance management and data protection solutions, as well as an increase in the methods for replication and other forms of data protection. 2011 was a very big year in the Data Protection arena of cloud and virtualization. This is the 2011 Year in Review for data protection.

Of all the vendors in the hosted desktop space, Citrix has been delivering desktop virtualisation solutions the longest. As such, perhaps they are the most aware that an enterprise desktop strategy isn’t about delivering a single solution. A solution needs to be flexible enough to present a variety of services to a range of devices. This isn’t just about having different client support, but about delivering applications and data either to different environments: secure and insecure, managed and unmanaged, fat and thin.