The Virtualization Practice

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The Red Hat 6 Beta is out, and there is no Xen in it, only KVM. It can operate as a guest in an existing Xen environment, but it cannot act as a Xen host. A few minority interests still cling to Xen, but ultimately it makes no sense for most Linux distributions to ship with Xen. Novell will stick with Xen for a while, and also Oracle, because they are no friend of Red Hat, but when the hypervisor wars become old news, they will quietly move to KVM. It’s easier. In future we fully expect to be talking about Xen/Linux in the past tense.

Virtualizing Tier 1 business critical applications is a challenge for many enterprises due to the resistance to the concept on the part of applications owners and their constituents. Service Assurance for these applications is required in order for their owners and their users to go along with virtualization. Service Assurance requires the integration of Applications Performance Management, Configuration Management and a new category of solutions like VMTurbo to dynamically allocate resources based upon their highest and best use.

If your organisation has remote users – consider that the impact of centralisation on their desktop experience can be very different: and not always in a happy way. Citrix’s ICA protocol has been joined by the likes of Quest’s vWorkspace with EOP Xtream, or Ericom Blaze. There are a number of hardware solutions for WAN optimisation with the likes of Expand Networks focusing specifically on solutions to support VDI implementations. Don’t allow poor network performance and user experience to sabotage your desktop virtualization project.

Just like a Telco, the ‘last mile’ of Virtualization is often the most difficult, I would say even more difficult than the initial phase of virtualization. What do I mean by the ‘last mile’?

The 5-10% of systems that you have LEFT to virtualize.

These systems are your most highly used, too X to virtualize, the most complex to migrate, dependent upon specific hardware, or travel around the world (such as laptops and other hand held devices). These issues are also highly political as well.

Many of us have to demo virtualization technologies to our customers and colleagues, run classes, develop code for virtualization, or just play around. For many of these cases, a cloud based virtual environment may be fine. However, what do you do when the network connection to the cloud is flaky at best? You have to rely upon your local system to do the job for you. Some solve this problem by having a ready slide deck, others solve this problem by using a fairly high end laptop, and still others tether their laptops to their phones and other cell phone cards. Which method is best?

I have always found local access to my laptop has always been the better way to run demos, classes, and presentations for my customers, colleagues, and friends. As I write software for and books about virtualized environments I almost always need access to various virtualization systems. Where I can I use network connections as going back to the office lab is in most cases much faster than local, but when I have to run things local due to telecommunication issues a high end laptop is a requirement. But which one?

A new Applications Performance Management opportunity has arisen driving by virtualization, the cloud, scaled out deployment architectures, lower cost open source middleware, and agile development techniques. AppDynamics has raised an $11M series B round to address this opportunity. New Relic is the current market leader. BlueStripe and VMware with AppSpeed are also targeting this space.

Storage Networking – Time to TAP the SAN

Virtual Instruments new SANInsight TAP for the Fibre Channel SAN allows organizations to collect critical performance data on a real-time, deterministic and comprehensive basis. This will allow organizations to TAP all of their SAN ports in advance of SAN or storage array performance problems so that the foundation is in place to allow for rapid problem diagnosis and resolution.