The Virtualization Practice

The 7/7 Virtualization Security Podcast with Steve Kaplan, Vice President of INX’s Data Center Virtualization Practice and well known ROI/TCO expert within the virtualization and cloud space, joined us to talk about the ROI and TCO of virtualization and cloud security. We discussed someways to view virtualization and cloud security, but mostly the fact that many people may not think ROI or TCO even applies until a problem occurs and you need to rush in and find and fix the leak that lead to a break-in. In essence, the ROI of proper security tools is your entire business.

VMware – A Train with an Engine, 3 Boxcars, and a Caboose

VMware is already the most important, and with vSphere the best systems software vendor on the planet. This is true not only based upon the current success of the vSphere platform, but the quality of the long term strategies in place for vFabric, vCloud, and vCenter. With vSphere 5, VMware can ill afford distractions that detract from the momentum of the attack upon the remaining 60% that is not virtualized. The strategic investments in vFabric, vCloud, and vCenter then call into question of viability of having a desktop virtualization business (View) that is today in product and tomorrow in vision a minor subset of what Citrix is delivering and articulating.

The single most dangerous part of this new pricing (to VMware) is rooted in the following fact. What is left to virtualize is very different from what has been virtualized to date. If what VMware has done is change its licensing around to replace one metric (cores) with another (vRAM) in a manner that would have allowed it to get the same revenue from its existing customers to date, then VMware has totally missed the boat.

RES Baseline Desktop Analyzer is a free, on-line, Microsoft Windows Azure-hosted service that allows you to gain visibility into your existing desktop infrastructure through a real-time analysis of your environment and user base. RES have shown interesting innovation in the presentation of their Baseline Desktop Analyzer. The tool can work well as an initial guide on the state of your current desktop estate. But, it acts as a guide, it can present a scale of the task. To know your desktop environment fully and to know how you will need to take-on a campaign of migration you will need a wider set of information and likely additional tools and support.

Licensing:  Pools and Architecture Changes?

In the past, virtualization architects and administrators were told the best way forward is to buy as much fast memory as they could afford as well as standardize on one set of boxes with as many CPUs as they dare use. With vRAM Pool licensing this type of open-ended RAM architecture will change as now I have to consider vRAM pools when I architect new cloud and virtual environments. So let’s look at this from existing virtual environments and then onto new virtual and cloud environments. How much a change will this be to how I architect things today, and how much of a change is there to my existing virtual environments? Is it a better decision to stay at vSphere 4? Or to switch hypervisors entirely?

Over the last few months an additional subproject codenamed Quantum has emerged which deals explicitly with networking and has particpation from networking giants Intel and Cisco as well as from Citrix. It’s a mechanism for defining network topologies aimed at providing Layer-2 network connectivity for VM instances running in clouds based on the OpenStack cloud fabric. It is designed to be extensible to allow higher-level services (VPN, QoS, etc) to be built on top, and to cleanly handle the “edge of network” problem (i.e. the binding of the cloud into the internet).