The Virtualization Practice

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One thing I have learned in the time I have spent working in IT is that no software product, out of the box, will do everything that you want it to do. This especially goes for VMware’s vCenter Server. This is a great product but yet still has its shortcoming. vCenter will perform a lot of the tasks that we need to do and has the ability to report on a information we need to know about in our virtual environments but unfortunately not everything we need to know about can be easily found in bulk about multiple servers.

Since coming out with VMware vSphere and Virtual Infrastructure Security: Securing the Virtual Environment, I have continued to consider aspects of Digital Forensics and how current methodologies would be impacted by the cloud. My use case for this is 40,000 VMs with 512 Servers and roughly 1000 tenants. What I would consider a medium size fully functioning cloud built upon virtualization technology where the environment is agile. The cloud would furthermore contain roughly 64TBs of disk across multiple storage technologies and 48TBs of memory. Now if you do not think this exists today, you were not at VMworld 2009, where such a monster was the datacenter for the entire show and existed just as you came down the escalators to the keynote session.

Infrastructure Performance Management Heats Up

Infrastructure Performance Management is the single most important performance and capacity management issue that owners of a virtual environment need to address. The reason for this is that since the low hanging fruit has been virtualized, what is left is business critical and performance critical applications in the hands of applications owners and their business constituents. In order to convince these groups that the virtual infrastructure is performing acceptably in support of these important applications Operations groups in charge of virtual environments need to move beyond trying to infer infrastructure performance from resource utilization patterns.

Citrix has released XenApp 6 which finally provides support for Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 – what is available in this new release for your business. Besides R2 support, what does XenApp 6 offer your business, what WOW factors are provided to help justify the cost of using XenApp6 to springboard your x64 Presentation Virtualization implementation – be that a new implementation, or a migration from your existing environment.

Virtual Computer’s release of NxTop version 2.0 of this month continues to prove their leadership in client-side virtualization by delivering robust features to meet the needs of the corporate desktop. The delayed release of Citrix’ XenClient and VMware’s Client Virtualization Platform (CVP) to the market has left few options for customers whose virtual desktop implementations need to address a larger offline or disconnected use case.

Virtualization Security vendors are starting to seriously investigate the possibilities of the various introspection APIs available to the hypervisors. Introspection APIs allow security groups to now investigate the security of a virtual network, virtual machine, and other components from without. In other words, why rely on an agent within the VM to protect your network, virtual machine, or components. Instead, we can use these APIs to peer into these components from without the system to be tested.

Security baselines and security health checks are an important part of any modern day infrastructure. These checks are done periodically throughout the year, usually ever quarter. In my opinion this is a good thing to check and make sure your security settings are following the guidelines that the company has set out to achieve. Here is where I do have a problem. When setting up the guidelines for the different technologies in your infrastructure it would make the most sense that the people establishing the guidelines need to fully understand the technology they are working with. After all, would you really want the midrange or mainframe group to write the policies and guidelines for the Microsoft Windows Servers in your environment?

Development tools like Eclipse and Visual Stuio are being built to ensur applications can be deployed in to the cloud on application servers. Key challenges include the manageability and scalability of application servers. Innovations include the use of non-java languages like Groovy and Jython and even PHP and Javascript on JVMs, and the final demise of SQL as object caches offer more natural scalability.