The Virtualization Practice

With virtualization technology we, the system administrators, have a lot of tools available to make our day to day operation and administration of our environments easier to work with and speeds up the time it takes to do a lot of administration tasks. Take for example the ability we have to add resources to a virtual machine. You can add processors, memory and or increase disk space within a matter of minutes and very little downtime. On a physical host you would need to purchase the hardware first and wait for it to arrive and then schedule the downtime to add the resources to the machine. This speed and power can be both a blessing and a curse. Once application owners understand how easy it is to add resources to the virtual machines then comes the requests for additional resources any time the application owners think there is the slightest bit of need for any additional resources.

Many of us have to demo virtualization technologies to our customers and colleagues, run classes, develop code for virtualization, or just play around. For many of these cases, a cloud based virtual environment may be fine. However, what do you do when the network connection to the cloud is flaky at best? You have to rely upon your local system to do the job for you. Some solve this problem by having a ready slide deck, others solve this problem by using a fairly high end laptop, and still others tether their laptops to their phones and other cell phone cards. Which method is best?

I have always found local access to my laptop has always been the better way to run demos, classes, and presentations for my customers, colleagues, and friends. As I write software for and books about virtualized environments I almost always need access to various virtualization systems. Where I can I use network connections as going back to the office lab is in most cases much faster than local, but when I have to run things local due to telecommunication issues a high end laptop is a requirement. But which one?

A new Applications Performance Management opportunity has arisen driving by virtualization, the cloud, scaled out deployment architectures, lower cost open source middleware, and agile development techniques. AppDynamics has raised an $11M series B round to address this opportunity. New Relic is the current market leader. BlueStripe and VMware with AppSpeed are also targeting this space.

“What do you wish to monitor?”, is often my response when someone states they need to monitor the virtual environment. Monitoring however becomes much more of an issue when you enter the cloud. Some of my friends have businesses that use the cloud, specifically private IaaS clouds, but what should the cloud provider monitor and what should the tenant monitor has been a struggle and a debate when dealing with them.

Storage Networking – Time to TAP the SAN

Virtual Instruments new SANInsight TAP for the Fibre Channel SAN allows organizations to collect critical performance data on a real-time, deterministic and comprehensive basis. This will allow organizations to TAP all of their SAN ports in advance of SAN or storage array performance problems so that the foundation is in place to allow for rapid problem diagnosis and resolution.

VMforce = Java + Spring Java Platform + vCloud + SalesForce Data Center

VMware and SalesForce.com have come together to provide a robust, scalable PaaS offering for Java Developers. Existing Force.com developers will now have the ability to use Java to build and extend their applications and all Java developers will have a significant and productive new run time option for their applications. VMware and SalesForce.com have both ratcheted up the pressure on Microsoft in a significant manner.

I recently spoke at the InfoSec World 2010 Summit on Virtualization and Cloud Security and also attended the main conference sitting in on many Virtualization discussions. Perhaps it was the crowd, which was roughly 30-40% auditors. Perhaps it was the timing as SourceBoston was also going on, as well as CloudExpo in NY. But I was surprised to find that people are still ‘just starting’ to think about Virtualization Security. Since I think about this subject nearly every day, this was disappointing to me at best. I found ideas around virtualization security ranging from:

* Virtualization Security is not part of an architecture/design, what do I bolt on?
* My Physical Security will work
* Virtual Environments NEED More security than physical environments
* There are no new threats, so why have something more
* Security is a hindrance