The Virtualization Practice

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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.

Many times we virtualization experts push for backups without the agents as these backups tend to be in our opinion, cleaner and faster. But what if you could get the benefits of your existing backup tools (such as Tivoli) but gain the power and advantages of using all the possibilities within the virtual environment. For VMware vSphere this is possible using the Pancetera backup tools.

Cisco Virtual Desktop Experience

Considering the success of Cisco’s virtualization friendly UCS platform it should come as no surprise to hear that Cisco is intending to extend its data center virtualization footprint to include desktop virtualization as well. However as last week’s announcement of the Cisco Virtualization eXperience Infrastructure (VXI) shows Cisco does not expect a straight repeat of its server virtualization strategy to win the day. While Cisco’s plan to encourage mass adoption of desktop virtualization is based on the same Unified Computing System (UCS) that is behind Cisco’s current server virtualization strategy, it’s approach is distinctly different.

In my last post I talked about how to resolve an issue where a disgruntled employee walked out with the USB memory stick that had VMware ESXi installed on it. In that particular case, the VMware ESXi host kept on running and I was able to get a backup and restore the current running configuration via some PowerShell Magic. All in all it was a pretty easy issue to resolve with very little down time. This got me thinking about which method would be the best option to use in the Enterprise. Installing to local disks or installing to a USB memory stick.

One week after Austin, TX-based Virtual Bridges Inc. announced that IBM is using its flagship VERDE solution to provide virtual desktop management and provisioning capabilities for the IBM Cloud Service Provider Platform, and just days after Desktone Inc. launched release 3.0 of its desktop cloud management service; Virtual Bridges is back in the news again with its announcement today of VERDE 5.

Application Deployment solutions reduce the cost of delivering applications and help you manage license use? With the end of support for Windows XP happening in 2014 many businesses are moving towards Windows 7 – ideally this inevitable cost is kept low. Application Virtualization can be used on ‘traditional’ desktops and laptops. Application Virtualization can be used in client side-hypervisors. Application Virtualization extends and increases the efficiencies of desktop virtualization as well as enabling portability and improving compatibility of applications. Application Virtualization can free you, not only from the limitation of having to “install within each device”, but lead the way in offering an alternative to “install on only corporate devices”. Application Virtualization can be a tool to reduce the complexity and time needed to move from Windows XP to Windows 7, and from future application updates. Indeed, for many companies, Application Virutalization is an option that can be used now by utilising existing license agreements, or for less cost than converting the application to run as a web-based service.

Virtual CPU’s, CPU Ready and Applications Performance on vSphere

In a virtual system the tenancy to translate over-provisioning physical CPU’s into over-provisioning virtual CPU’s can be very harmful as the graph above shows. Assigning four vCPU’s to a VM makes it harder for that VM to get scheduled in as the hypervisor has to wait for four vCPU’s to become available at the same time. It is therefore the case that configuring a smaller number of vCPU’s for an application can actually improve the amount of CPU resource that it actually gets and therefore improve its performance. Investing in tools (like VMTurbo) that do this work for you automatically can help you convince applications owners of this, and thereby help their applications perform better.

One week after Austin, TX-based Virtual Bridges Inc. announced that IBM is using its flagship VERDE solution to provide virtual desktop management and provisioning capabilities for the IBM Cloud Service Provider Platform, Chelmsford MA based Desktone Inc. today announced two major steps forward on the road to ubiquitous public cloud-based virtual desktops – The release of Desktone 3.0, and its partnership with Rackspace Hosting to provide public cloud-based virtual desktops for just $1 per day.