The Virtualization Practice

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In the article End-to-End Virtual Machine Backup I mentioned the new VMware Workstation 7.0 feature that creates an encrypted disk but in reality it is an encrypted virtual machine, which also implies encrypting the virtual disk. This one option to VMware Workstation is something that is needed within VMware vSphere as well as the other hypervisors. Encrypting virtual disk data can add to the overall security stance based on the encryption technology employed. So what do we need with virtual disk encryption?

As of the end of last year, there are a new breed of virtualization backup tools (Veeam, vRangerPro, esXpress) now available, end-to-end backup tools (Acronis, Symantec). These tools will backup a virtual machine to tape using built in mechanisms instead of requiring scripting, or multiple backup tools. The question is: is this necessary? Should virtual machine backups be dropped to tape at all? Something to watch through out the year.

Indeed a challenge in migrating to a Hosted Virtual Desktop (HVD) solution is what to do with existing devices. Citrix’s High Definition User EXperience (HDX) technologies for example, typically relies on the end device supporting a Microsoft Windows operating system to deliver the best user experience. If that is the case, how will you manage the end device that delivers the user’s HVD? Vendors such as DevonIT, Igel, and 10ZiG would naturally suggest you replace your traditional PC with a Thin Client: vendors such as PanoLogic, Teradici and Wyse would highlight the advantages of Zero Client devices – yet moving away from existing devices is a costly exercise in terms of providing replacement devices. And indeed – still does not address off-line working.

Just as Milton Friedman (the Nobel prize winning economist) once said “There is no such thing as a free lunch”, there is also no such thing as free software. The minimum cost of a supposedly free piece of software is the opportunity cost of your time spent using it, and the forgone value of that time spent doing something else. Therefore neither Microsoft Hyper-V, nor VMware ESXi are really free.

Xangati for ESX is a line of virtual appliances providing real-time, continuous visibility into the activity of a VMware ESX/ESXi host, its virtual machines (VMs) and the infrastructure resources they use. Xangati for ESX products uniquely display the relationships between your VMs and other resources on your infrastructure in a continuous manner to answer questions…

I recently participated in the InformationWeek Dark Security Virtual Event as a panel member with Hoff, Craig Balding, Chris Wolf, Glenn Brunette, and Jon Oberheide. A very far ranging group of individuals from research, security organizations, analysts, and authors. What is interesting is that most of these same people have joined me on the Virtualization Security Podcast, and the others I hope to have as guests next year. There was one question that set me to thinking even more, do we need a new way of thinking about virtualization security?