The Virtualization Practice

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When I first got started in virtualization it was a very new technology and during that time there were not that many resources available to the virtualization administrator and sometimes it would have been nice to be able to see what others were doing and to be able to share my thoughts and ideas with others to make sure I was presenting the best possible solution to my customers. During these early years the VMTN Community Forum was established and these forums were the place to do this collaboration. I found this to be one of the best arenas to ask questions and share ideas. The VMTN Community area quickly took off and in a lot of cases was the quickest way to find an answer, solution to your problem or issue you were trying to resolve.

Desktop Virtualization is not an easy undertaking. There – I’ve said it. “But,” you may say, “I take a copy of the desktops I have, I run them on servers in the data-centre. Once that’s done, I don’t need to update those desktop devices; I can update the virtualized workspace instead far more quickly. The desktops are running on server hardware so they will be more reliable. Eventually, someone may well offer to host these workspaces on some infrastructure out in The Cloud”.

“Really, how hard can it be?”

While at VMworld 2010 in San Francisco this year, I got to meet up and talk with Robert from Atlantis Computing. Our conversation was about VDI and he was quite proud of the capabilities that Atlantis ILIO brings to the table in the VDI space. The conversation went well and got me interested in investigating a little further on the technology. Atlantis ILIO or “VDI Booster” as they like to call it, is a solution to address the complexity and high costs of VDI Deployment and management. ILIO has been architected to support most of the main VDI players like VMware View, Citrix XenDesktop, Microsoft Hosted Virtual Desktop (HVD),and Quest Software vWorkplace to name a few.

On the heels of receiving United States patent approval for its RES Virtual Desktop Extender (VDX) technology, RES Software have announced that it will also be offering VDX as a standalone product. A feature within RES Workspace Manager (formerly RES PowerFuse), VDX serves as a fundamental component in the successful deployment of virtual desktops. It enables local applications that typically do not run smoothly, or at all, in virtual environments to run seamlessly within a virtual session. However, while VDX’s functionality allows wider access to hosted desktops, organisations need to ensure that the management and maintenance of that legacy environment isn’t overlooked to the point where it impacts user experience and the organisation’s security.

The Virtualization Security Podcast on 10/7 was the second in a series of Virtual Desktop Security discussions we will are having. The special guest panelist was Simon Graham of Virtual Computer, the makers of NxTop a client side hypervisor based on Xen. On this podcast, we went into the details of NxTop.

The engineers at Virtual Computer have thought about nearly everything when it comes to a Client Hypervisor. NxTop operates as a standalone or as a centrally managed client hypervisor. The difference is fairly stark. I feel that most people in the Enterprise unless this is a one off situation would want to use the managed client hypervisor.

If we are going to start over, why not really start over and reinvent the entire infrastructure and management software industries in the process. That way we end up with an infrastructure that was actually designed for the dynamic, agile, and scalable use cases that we are trying to address with a green field approach, and an appropriate set of management tools as well. Is this going to happen? You can bet that there are already VC funded startups in stealth mode working on it.

One thing I noticed while attending this year’s VMworld in San Francisco was how many people attending the event had iPads. Actually, it was the hottest item being given away by almost all the vendors in attendance at the show. I was lucky enough to get one of the iPads that EMC was giving away. I recently heard that the iPad is the hottest selling tech item in history so far. During VMworld I got a chance to see the VMware iPad application to control your virtual environment and was really impressed. I really think the iPad might have a chance to become the tool of choice for the IT admins to monitor and administrate their environment. I am hoping that by VMworld 2011 we will be seeing a lot more client applications written and ported to the iPad and/or other mobile devices.

It is also interesting to speculate what long term role the Hyperformix statistical modelling technology will play in CA performance management and performance assurance products. VMware has puts its stake in the ground via the acquisition of Integrien that only a real time and self-learning approach will be able to keep up with variability inherent in a virtualized or cloud based system in order to provide effective root cause analysis. It is possible that over time this modelling technology will evolve into a real time self learning performance management capability analogous to what is p; provided by VMware/Integrien and Netuitive. If this occurs this will mean that CA will be the first and only one of the big four systems management vendors with an effective root cause strategy for the new dynamic data center.