The Virtualization Practice

The question of whether and how to replace DRS is really a part of the question of what is in the virtualization platform and what is not. Clearly the virtualization platform consists of much more than the hypervisor. VMware would like to define the virtualization platform as all of vSphere Enterprise Plus, and then suggest that vCloud Director and its own performance management solutions are logical extensions of that platform. Enterprises need to be careful about where they draw their own lines in this regard. As VMware is a clear market leader both in terms of product functionality and enterprise installations, VMware needs to be given full credit for the quality of vSphere and its success. However full credit does not need to imply that one is 100% locked in to VMware solution as there is room to pursue third party IT as a Service, Performance Management, and Service Assurance strategies as well as replace/augment components in vSphere.

In the last Virtualization Security podcast on 12/2 we had with us members of the PCI DSS Virtualization Special Interest Group (SIG). Kurt Roemer of Citrix and Hemma Prafullchandra of HyTrust joined us to discuss the differences to the PCI DSS 2.0 with respect to virtualization. In essence, PCI DSS explicitly calls out the need to bring virtualization, people, and processes in scope.

As we discussed in a previous article, the PCI DSS 2.0 does not state exactly what needs to be assessed within the virtual environment, or even what part of the virtual environment is a concern of each aspect of the PCI DSS. What the PCI DSS 2.0 does do is change the language, however subtle, that technologies employing shared resources are now acceptable.

Since its inception, virtualization has changed the information technology landscape in many ways. With all the good virtualization brings to the table, in some ways, virtualization has made things to easy. One example is the ease and speed that we are able to deploy new servers has virtual machines. No longer are we waiting on physical hardware to arrive for a new deployment. We can “clone” are golden image in a matter of minutes and be on our way.

For a developer, and subsequently the team of people that has to support certain kinds of applications in production, a PaaS cloud can be a wonderful thing. Why can a PaaS cloud be so wonderful? Because if you have a web based application based upon Java, Ruby-on-Rails, or .NET you can find a cloud provider that handles the entire hardware and software platform for your application.

DesktopVirtualization

Can you use Desktop Virtualization in your organization to improve IT delivery? Desktop Virtualization, as a concept, is straightforward – separate the desktop environment from the physical machine. This gives you benefits in terms of speed of delivery, how you can provide access to mobile and remote workers, how you can ensure security and compliance.

Browsium crafts lifeline for IE 6 users

Startup Browsium, is readying a lifeline for enterprise IT organizations that moving to Windows 7 but unable to escape their addiction to Internet Explorer 6. The Washington DC-based startup staffed by ex-Microsoft employees is planning to release UniBrows an add-on for Internet Explorer 8 that lets customers access IE6 dependent web apps from the now defacto standard that is IE 8.

Red Hat today announced the acquisition of startup PaaS vendor, Makara, which provides a deployment platform for most of the Open Source application stacks onto most of the IaaS cloud infrastructures. Red Hat intends to use the purchased technology rather than the product itelf. It gains additional application-level management, monitoring and configuration functionality for an emerging stand-alone PaaS offering to drive its customers towards a fully RHEL-cloud.

I had a fun day resolving a licensing issue for a client. This one was a little different than I had seen in the past. The cluster is question is an eight node cluster running ESX 3.5. The error message that I received when trying to perform a vMotion was “Unable to migrate from HostA to HostB: Virtual machine has 2 virtual CPUs, but the host only supports 1. The number of virtual CPU’s may be limited by the guest OS selected for the virtual machine or by the licensing for the host.”

If you are a hyperscale (such as for the Cloud) data center manager, one of your top concerns is always how to get the maximum amount of computing work done per Watt of power consumed. With that in concern at the forefront Cloud Providers like Google, Microsoft, and Facebook have strong incentives to explore new solutions to delivering compute cycles. Rumors coming out of Facebook suggest that it is looking to move away from its current X86 architecture platform in favor of servers based on ARM Holdings Cortex processor range. Porting an entire service to a new processor platform may not appear to be a sensible direction to take but porting to a new architecture is more a financial consideration than a technical one. If the cost per unit of performance justifies it , it is cheaper to pay a few programmers to rework the apps for a new architecture than it is to buy more servers.