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?

VMware Buys Zimbra from Yahoo – Moves Up the Stack into Applications

If VMware buys Zimbra it will set off a a nuclear hand grenade throwing contest between Microsoft and VMware. Microsoft is trying to commoditize the layer of software where VMware makes all of its money – the hypervisor. VMware is returning the favor by using open source initiatives like SpringSource and (possibly) Zimbra to commoditize the layers where Microsoft makes all of its money – applications and applications platforms.

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.

VMware is today a product, the start of an architecture and almost certainly a culture. How this changes as VMware adapts in order to continue to grow and drive its market share will be interesting to watch. A great deal of very technically competent people have become part of the VMware ecosystem because VMware is both difficult t to fully master completely and because it drives great benefits to the enterprises that adopt it and the service providers that implement it.

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.

It’s a different way of thinking about the Cloud, where the starting point is not the DataCenter, or the IT service, or the “user”, but the direct delivery of consumer services. Into this vision plays Chromium OS (released to Open Source on November 19th). Google devices delivering Google services (and other services intermediated by Google) from the Cloud to consumers.

VMware Study – Benefits of Virtualization for the SMB

VMware has recently released the results of a new study that VMware did of 309 companies that have between 20 and 1000 employees. The two major benefits of virtualization reported by the survey participants were reduced time spent on routine and repetitive tasks, and improved applications availability. 73% of respondents reported reductions in time spent on routine tasks, and 71% reported improvements in applications availability.