The Virtualization Practice

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One of the cool things about attending VMworld every year is seeing what is new on the horizon and this year, ironically, there is something called Project Horizon and the first milestone of that project called VMware Horizon Application Manager. Horizon is a hosted service that will centrally manage the provisioning, access and usage of software-as-a-server (SaaS) applications while at the same time applying the companies standardized security and access controls. This will give the end users of the application the ability to use the applications via VMware ThinApp or View products to stream the application across multiple devices all with a single login. The end users will also have self-service access to a corporate store for their SaaS and Web-based applications. Managing these applications will be completely user based with no need to worry about the underlying device the software or application is running on.

Agent and Agent-less Backup in the Virtual Environment

There is some debate amongst backup vendors on what defines an agent, some consider any amount of scripting to be an agent, while others imply it is what does the data transfer plus any amount of scripting necessary. Is there a need for both Agent and Agent-less within a virtual environment? This also begs the question, who is responsible for properly handling the application whose data you are backing up?

The challenge for Citrix is to position their VDI portfolio effectively. At the very least there should be a standardised license plan and migration path from (or to) the grid and non-grid solutions. There is potential to remove the reduced functionality versions of XenDesktop. Most importantly – to have a license model that allows organisations to make a choice of technology that fits their need, not their size. Can Citrix FlexCast be truly flexible if it ignores the value that having a grid technology can bring not only to the SMB market – but to any sized enterprise?

More and more is coming out about the attack from a MacDonald’s that left an organization crippled for a bit of time. The final tally was that the recently fired employee was able to delete 15 VMs before either being caught or he gave up. On twitter, it was commented that the administrator must not have been a powershell programmer because in the time it takes to delete 15 VMs by hand, a powershell script could have removed 100s. Or perhaps the ‘Bad Actor’ was trying to not be discovered. In either case, this has prompted discussions across the twitter-sphere, blog-sphere, and within organizations about how to secure from such attacks.

Enterprises considering virtualization performance and capacity management solutions at VMworld 2011 should take a look at VMware vC OPS Enterprise, Netuitive, Quest vFloglight, NetApp Insight Balance, Reflex Systems, Veeam nworks, vKernel, Virtual Instruments, VMTurbo, Xangati, and Zenoss. Read the full post for the evaluation criteria.

While looking on twitter this morning I discovered a tweet that pointed to the following article, which is relatively devoid of details but none-the-less extreme interesting to those who follow virtualization security: Fired techie created virtual chaos at pharma company. This article points out an external attack that lead to management access of a virtual environment. Now we do not know if the attack was using antiquated credentials or some other means. But what we do know is that VMs were deleted by an external source that used to be a former employee. Hoax or not, this is a very serious issue brought to light.