The Virtualization Practice

The 2/9 Virtualization Security Podcast was a discussion on when would one use a virtual firewall. This was in response to being told that there are some people that would never use a virtual firewall for anything, and that got me thinking. Outside of the politics involved with using virtual vs physical firewalls, when would you use one? What are the cut offs, and best practices around using virtual firewalls. We were joined by Rob Randell of VMware to discuss this point.

DataCenterVirtualization

For a good portion of the time I have been working in the virtualization space, there has been plenty of hype about how it is just a matter of time before Microsoft “leapfrogs” ahead of VMware in the area of virtualization and with the massive upgraded version of Hyper-V 3.0 that will ship with Windows Server 8, there is thought that Microsoft might just pull off that upset. So in classic Microsoft style, let’s take a look and compare VMware today (ESX/vSphere5) with what Microsoft will have with Hyper-V 3.0 sometime possibly in the “Fall” of 2012.

SSD options for Virtual (and Physical) Environments: Part I Spinning up to speed on SSD

Solid-state devices (SSDs) are data storage memory (Figure 1) mediums that utilize semiconductor based memoires as opposed to magnetic media found in hard disk drives (HDDs) or magnetic tape. Semiconductor memories include ultra fast volatile dynamic random access memory (DRAM) commonly found as main memory (e.g. RAM) in servers along with and non-volatile memory (NVM) typically NAND flash. Nand flash based SSDs can be found in cameras (as SD cards), cell phones, iPods, and PDAs, as well as in notebooks, net books, laptops, tablets, and workstations. SSDs are also appearing in larger servers, appliances, and storage systems from consumer to enterprise level.

Quest has for many years found itself as third-place runner-up to Citrix and VMware in the VDI business. In some respects this was justified, in others much less so. Quest has neither the resources or virtualization focus of Citrix and VMware, nor does it have the same the channel depth or marketing budget of its competitors, making it too easy to paint a picture of Quest being an also ran. However, at the same time Quest has been a credible competitor to Citrix for much longer than VMware and has managed to deliver a unified VDI and RDS solution in vWorkspace – something that neither Citrix nor VMware have been able to achieve as yet. More importantly, as Citrix’s level of innovation in XenDesktop and XenApp has slowed, and VMware has focused more End User Computing resources on Horizon, Quest has sensed an opportunity and last week’s release of vWorkspace 7.5 clearly shows that it is making the most of it.

Browsium Ion: time to get going from IE6?

Reports on IE6’s death are often greatly exaggerated. IE6 is still there alive and well in a large swathe of enterprise desktops. This puts a risk on projects that look to move an organisation beyond Windows XP. Browsium’s Ion addresses the fear uncertainty and doubt many had with Unibrows. Browsium Ion gives corporate users what will likely be a vital option not just for compatibility for IE6, but to allow for changing configurations and managing web based application access to suit the business, not the application vendor.

Cloudyn Addresses the Economics of Public Cloud Computing

Cloudyn has delivered a breakthrough SaaS delivered service that does for the first time what no one else has done before. The new Cloudyn service actually tells you how to change your image provisioning and your price plans at Amazon so that you can achieve the results that you want at the lowest possible cost. This is the first time that someone has addressed the economics of public cloud computing in this manner. Ultimately this will lead to dramatically higher usage of public cloud services (as their price/performance can now be managed), and will put pressure on internal IT organizations to provide the same kind of data and management options to their internal constituents.

VMTurbo has broken new ground by delivering the first application aware automated service assurance solution for VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, and Citrix XenServer. This is the first solution that takes advantage of the dynamic nature of these platforms and their control API’s to actually ensure something (throughput) that application owners care about. Preemptively assuring throughput (and hopefully response time in the future) may be a more effective approach than waiting for something to go wrong and then trying to pick the one root cause out of the hundreds or thousands of potential candidates.

As business critical applications move into production virtualized environments, the need arises to ensure their performance from a response time perspective. Legacy Applications Performance Management tools are in many cases not well suited to make the jump from static physical systems, to dynamic virtual and cloud based systems. For these reasons enterprises need to consider new tools from vendors that have virtualization aware and cloud aware features in their APM solutions. Vendors like AppDynamics, BlueStripe, Corellsense, ExtraHop Networks, dynatrace, New Relic, and VMware (vFabric APM) are currently leading this race to redefine the market for APM solutions.