Just entered my mailbox, there is a new rev of the vSphere 5.1 hardening guide which was spoken about on the last Virtualization Security Podcast. This version of the hardening guide creates a much needed new feature: Profiles.
Cloud Computing ...
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Now that VMword 2012 San Francisco is over and I have some time to reflect on my virtualization thoughts in general before getting ready for VMworld Barcelona. One thing I took noticed with the recent announcements about vSphere 5.1 and Hyper-V 2012. Microsoft and VMware both released a specific new feature to each platform respectfully at basically the same time. Is this a sign that Microsoft is really closing the gap on VMware? I think we are getting there but I have also made some other personal observations on how I think both see virtualization in the future and I foresee a completely different method and mindset for the future between these two companies.
I mentioned in my last post that I have started the process of preparing for my VCP5 exam that I need to have finished by the end of February. While I was watching the Trainsignal training video about installing and configuring vCenter, I got to thinking about how much vCenter had changed and matured over the years. Let’s start with a look at where vCenter started and where it is today.
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.
IT as a Service ...
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The problem is that not everything is as black and white as security folks desire. If we implement performance and other management tools, we often need to expose part of our all important virtualization management network to others. But how do we do this safely, securely, with minimal impact to usability? Why do we need to this is also another question. You just have to take one look at the Virtualization ASsessment TOolkit (Vasto) to realize the importance of this security requirement. But the question still exists, how do you implement other necessary tools within your virtual environment without impacting usability?
When I first started with virtualization, the only option you had at the time was single core processors in the hosts. Scale up or scale out was the hot debatable topic when designing your infrastructure. On one side of the coin the idea was to scale up in that it was best to get a few of the biggest servers you could find and load them up with as much memory and processors that you could fit in the box. The end result were some very expensive servers able to run a lot of virtual machines for its time. The other side of the coin presented the idea that it was better to scale out with more, smaller servers to make up the cluster. I have worked in both type of environments and attitudes over the years and as for me, personally, I aligned myself with the scale out philosophy. The simple reason for aligning with the scale out group was host failure.
Have you ever considered the best way to plan, design and work with VMware Update Manager (VUM)? In the early days using VMware 3.x when VUM was first released, I would end up installing VUM on the vCenter server itself. After all, that was the recommendation from VMware at the time. I propose that this is no longer the case and I would like to present a list of best practices to follow when working with VMware Update Manager. This list came from VMware, but should only be considered as a guide. Each environment is different and your mileage may / will vary.
There is a great deal of marketing hype about which hypervisor is better but I have spent some thinking about this and really have to wonder if the hypervisor is what we should really be focusing or concentrating on. A lot of third party vendors are starting to port their products to be able to work with both hypervisors but what about the management server itself? When third party application vendors design their applications to work with VMware or Microsoft hypervisors they have been writing plug-ins for their product to work inside the management server systems and or its client.