I was involved with the design and deployment of a small proof of concept that would introduce virtualization to a local SMB in my area. The idea was to build them something small that they would grow into and at the same time demonstrate all the really cool things that virtualization can bring to the table. I built a couple of hosts and deployed virtual center virtually, as well as added the VMware Management Appliance and the VMware Mobile appliance. It is really fun to get a chance to introduce virtualization to people, it is almost as fun as bringing a child to a candy store. Showing the client what they can do with virtualization as well as what they can do on their iPad is just priceless.
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One of the biggest things I took away from the VMworld 2011 in Las Vegas was the all advancements within the storage part of virtualization. For me, this was the year for storage. One product that really got my attention was the new NAS appliance, VMstore from Tintri. This 3U appliance, well 5U if you count the UPC, is a single datastore with 8.5TB of usable storage. This appliance was a collaboration of some very smart individuals from different companies like VMware, Datadomain, NetApp and Sun. They put their minds together and built this NFS appliance from the ground up with specially engineered file system to work with virtualization. What makes this VM-aware appliance different from other typical storage designs is VMstore uses VM’s and virtual disks as the abstractions instead of the conventional storage abstractions, volumes, LUN’s and files that we have all been accustomed to. Each I/O request will map directly to a virtual disk all while VMstore monitors, controls the I/O and presents disk performance statistics per VM or per VMDK.