The Virtualization Practice

Who’s Who in Virtualization Management

Virtualizing business critical systems requires that a layer of virtualization management solutions be added to the virtualization platform. Virtualization management solutions in the areas of virtualization security, virtualization configuration management, virtualization service and capacity management, virtualization service and capacity management, virtualization provisioning and lifecycle management and backup and recovery should be added to the platform.

The Wall Street Journal had an interesting article on the United States General Services Administration has approved the acquisition of some cloud services for use by the Federal Government including many of the Google Apps such as Gmail, Google Docs, etc. Since these services are for sale as well as freely available this sounds more like an admission that they can be used. Will other governments follow suit? But should they be used? That is really the question.

There are two sides to any government, the classified and the unclassified. These are general terms that quantify how the government can use services. While all services require quite a bit of security, classified utilization requires even more, in many cases what most would consider to be “uber-security” requirements. The types of requirements that impact usability in some way. Can these tools provide adequate security?

With the release of vSphere 4.1 there have been some great enhancements that have been added with this release. In one of my earlier post I took a look at the vSphere 4.1 release of ESXi. This post I am going to take a look at vSphere 4.1 availability options and enhancements. So what has changed with this release? A maximum of 320 virtual machines per cluster has been firmly set. In vSphere 4.0 there were different VM/Host limitations for DRS as well as different rules for VMware HA. VMware has also raised the number of virtual machines that can be run in a single cluster from 1280 in 4.0 to 3000 in the vSphere 4.1 release. How do these improvements affect your upgrade planning?

Whilst I have been away on vacation, something fairly interesting has happened in the area of Open Source initiatives for Infrastructure as a Service in the form of a new initiative from NASA and Rackspace called OpenStack. You may remember in our last post in this area, we noted that there was a proliferation of offerings in the IaaS space, and it was in the customer’s best interest for there to be effective migrateability (or even mix and match) amongst public and/or private clouds. However, the API standards to support interoperability are proving elusive.

Virtualizing Business Critical Applications – A Reference Architecture

Virtualization Security, Configuration Management, Service and Capacity Management, Provisioning and Lifecycle Management, and Backup/Recovery are essential functions that must be added to a virtualization platform when virtualizing business critical applications. VMware vSphere is clearly the market leading and most robust virtualization platform – and clearly the virtualization platform most suitable as the foundation of a virtualization system designed to support business critical applications. However, the virtualization platform must be complemented with third party solutions in these areas in order to create a system that can truly support business critical applications in an effective manner.

The Virtualization Security Podcast on 7/22 was all about the news of the week with our panelists discussing how this news affects everyone and anyone with respect to Virtualization Security. The news discussed:

* NIST Released their Guide to Security for Full Virtualization Technologies (Draft)
* There is a Security issue with VMware vSphere 4.1
* VMware discussed the new vShield Zones Edge and vShield App products
* HyTrust and Catbird announced a cooperative effort

When you hear the term “host” when talking about virtual environment, what is the first thing you think of? For me, the answer is simple, a host is an appliance. For years now I have been standing on my soap box and preaching the power and fundamentals of automation in building and configuring your virtual environment. I came across a thread on the VMware VMTN Community Forum where a concerned individual was in a position that he was going to have to rebuild his host from scratch. What he did to get himself into this position was to run a hardening script on the host and then the host became broken and unusable. This person was concerned that he did not have a backup of the host and was looking for a way to rollback.

Cloud and hosting providers are aggressively investing in new Intel Xeon servers that can have as many as 32 cores per server (4 processors with 8 cores per server). Some of this investment is in response to current demand for actual capacity from customers. Some of it is investing ahead of the curve so that the cloud vendor is properly positioned when the demand arrives. The growth and the hype in the cloud is such that there is highly likely to be an overbuild of capacity at some point and then a crash and a period of consolidation – just as there was with ASP’s and the .com companies.