The Virtualization Practice

Tag Archive for Cisco

Since the introduction of virtualization there has been sheer joy and excitement when having to work with application owners on the amount of resources they will need and not what they really think they want. I have seen all kinds of minimum, maximum, and special recommendation for all kinds of application over the years. In most cases, applications have evolved to be able to thrive in a virtual environment without too many limitations. Now it seems we have to verify which VMware features are fully supported with certain virtualized application also.

The week before VMworld on 8/25 was the Virtualization Security Podcast featuring Greg Ferro (@etherealmind), CCIE to discuss Cisco VM-FEX and its impact on virtualization and cloud security. VM-FEX is a method by which the fabric of a UCS top of rack switch is extended to the VM, but only if the VM is using VMDirectPath. So does this impact Virtualization and Cloud Security in any way?

Your VMworld 2011 Enterprise Private Cloud and IT as a Service Short List

Choosing a Private Cloud platform involves trading off the scale of the environment, the types of applications running on the environment and compatibility with public cloud platforms with each other. VMware, DynamicOps, Gale Technologies, Abiquo, Platform Computing and Cisco offer the most compelling enterprise focused production application platforms. However other use cases and markets are best handled by other vendors.

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).

It has been just over two years that the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) was announced and released to the world. I wanted to give my feedback on the progress of the platform and how it is fitting into the Cloud Computing space.

When Cisco announced their Unified Computing Platform a couple of years ago, the thinking was not to just design and get into the server business, Cisco’s goal was to and become the heart of the datacenter itself. This was a big move by Cisco considering, that they had a very good working relationship and partnership with HP well, at least until the announcement that Cisco was getting into the server business.

Cisco has announced the intent to acquire newScale. This puts the leading service catalog into the hands of Cisco, who will certainly pursue deep integration between newScale and the UCS – providing enterprise customers breakthroughs in provisioning and workload management agility. This also sets up Cisco and VMware to compete in the IT as a Service management stack business.

Distributed Virtual Switch Failures: Failing-Safe

In my virtual environment recently, I experienced two major failures. The first was with VMware vNetwork Distributed Switch and the second was related to the use of a VMware vShield. Both led to catastrophic failures, that could have easily been avoided if these two subsystems failed-safe instead of failing-closed. VMware vSphere is all about availability, but when critical systems fail like these, not even VMware HA can assist in recovery. You have to fix the problems yourself and usually by hand. Now after, the problem has been solved, and should not recur again, I began to wonder how I missed this and this led me to the total lack of information on how these subsystems actually work. So without further todo, here is how they work and what I consider to be the definition for fail-safe.